Day Two: Gen 4-6, Ps 2, Mt 2

Just my musings, random thoughts, and ideas. Nothing profound, I’m sure.

“Now the man knew his wife…” “Knew” is one of those euphemisms for sex that Gist talks about. I’d really love to know what the Hebrew word means because I ‘ve heard sermons and read commentaries that made serious points about ” to know” and that the Bible was talking about something more than mere copulation and about partners intimate knowledge of each other’s minds and personalities that is so profound it is why the Bible teaches that a person can only have one sexual partner in one’s entire life. Which, of course, the Bible does not teach because right here in Gen 4:19 Lamech has two wives.

Something else that I note. Gist, as I previously noted the other day, explains the Cain/Abel story as the triumph of the patriarchal nomadic lifestyle (Abel) over the matriarchal agrarian lifestyle (Cain). I wonder if Gist’s theory has merit because right here in Gen 4:20, I read that Cain’s descendant Jabal was the ancestor of those who lived in tents and have livestock and that sounds like the nomadic lifestyle to me. Oh well, these are myths, after all.

Women… the first women after Eve whose names are mentioned are Lamech’s wives. Not even Cain’s wife is named. Tubalcain’s sister is Naamah. That’s all we know about her.

Seth… I’ve often wondered… what would it be like to be the youngest child born into such a family? The eldest son murdered his brother and eldest son ran off. Then the youngest son is born and seen as a replacement for the murdered child. Can’t have been easy.

Interesting too that Cain’s descendants invented music and metal work while Seth’s apparently didn’t do much of anything except live long lives.

“At that time people began to invoke the name of the LORD.” Such a tantalizing sentence. I am assuming this is the first evidence of a cultus, of an organized form of worship. Given the previous terms of intimacy the myth assumes between God and various people, it is hard for me to believe that God had not in some way revealed himself to all.

Is it in the Kabbalah where there is recorded the Jewish mystic stuff with numbers? I wonder what that makes of all the numbers listed in the beginning of Chapter Five.

The first four verses of Chapter Six have always fascinated. Of course, I have always loved science fiction. Who are the “sons of God?” Males but are they being distinguished from human males? Or are they simply men who noticed that women are lovely?

But then there is God saying how God’s spirit shall not abide in mortals forever for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years. Which seems odd considering in the previous chapter we read of lifespans of centuries. And then there is this throwaway line about the Nephilim as if everyone who reads the word knows exactly to whom this word refers. Very likely when the oral tradition first started this was true and possibly even when it was first written down. Now I want details.

This business of God deciding to destroy his creation has never sat well with me. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t jive with the joy of creation.

Psalm Two: I find myself praying that all world leaders would take Psalm Two seriously and get over their egos and start doing the right things.

Matthew Two: Doncha just love how the wise men just assumed everyone would know where the child was?

The Holy Innocents: Not the fist time people would say “how can a loving God allow such a thing?” It surely does suck, doesn’t it? I wish, though, that people would GROW UP and stop blaming God. When human beings have free will, there is a huge risk and a huge cost. If anyone honestly thinks God doesn’t grieve over the choices we make and the consequences of those choices, then that person needs to see a psychiatrist.

Some pretty horrible things have happened in my life, ugly despicable things. I could moan and groan and blame God for letting it happen, or I can choose to exercise my free will and learn to deal with what I have. That has been my choice. Can’t say I am any good at it or should be anyone’s role model, but eventually I do haul up my socks and get on with keeping on.

The first question in today’s reading in The Bible Challenge is if I find the violence recorded in the Bible more or less disturbing than violence in today’s newspapers. Several things I find just awful about violence in the Bible are the places where it says God commands it. I don’t for one second believe God commands the murder of every man, woman, child, ox, goat, and sheep in the places where it says God does. That sounds much too much like a human desire for vendetta to me. On the other hand, violence in the Bible does not begin to equal the scale of violence we are able to inflict upon each other today. Either way, I find violence horrible and the one sure thing I ‘ve learned about the violence in the violence in the Bible, the violence in modern life, is that violence only leads to more violence. So the answer to any act of violence must never be another act of violence.

The second question is how might our image of Jesus be different if we were to focus on the flight into Egypt and the slaughter of the holy innocents? I know from my readings in the writings of the early centuries of the history of Christianity that both of these received more attention than they do today. I wonder if post-modernist theologians dismiss them as fables. I do note that both of these accounts cite verses from the Hebrew Scriptures and so I wonder if there is something in these stories that a first century Jew would have understood that I as a twenty-first century Gentile do not.

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