Abraham gets over the tragic loss of Sarah by getting down and dirty with a new wife, Keturah. It says he “addeth” a wife, so it’s likely that he already had a couple before Sarah died, or went on a wife-spree after she died. We are also informed that he had also been prolifically banging his sex-slaves (“concubines”). I see why the Bible tries so hard to protect the patriarchal culture. That’s a nice racket: “God told me to be fruitful, I’m just trying to be obedient.” I’m pretty sure that’s the line David Koresh used to score all that hot Branch Davidians ass.
Abraham had six sons with Keturah, and a bunch with the sex-slaves, but because he’s a good, principled guy he exiles the sons of his concubines. Our Leprechaun paterfamilias has to protect his fortune, after all. He lives 175 years and then dies. They bury him in the field he bargained for a couple chapters ago. He got a great deal on that death-cave. Following that, we have another several verses of funny names and begetting, and then Ishmael dies at 137 years old. Then we flash back to Isaac being forty years old and “taking” Rebekah. We learn that Rebekah, like Sarah, is barren. Curious. Maybe that has something to do with insisting on impregnating members of your immediate family. He has to beg Jehovah for children, in what is becoming a disturbing trend. Why the hell does God keep promising people countless offspring and commanding them to be fruitful and multiply, and then making them infertile until they beg him to conceive? God is an asshole.
Rebekah gets preggers, and
22 the children struggle together within her
How the fuck does the author of the book know that? The anatomical knowledge and sophistication of these superstitious primitives consisted of clubbing things they didn’t like and having sex with things they did like. Having this omniscient narrator providing play-by-play on the nuances of Rebekah’s pregnancy is an immediate red-flag about the reliability of the text.
Rebekah goes to consult Dr. Jehovah on why her babies are fighting inside her, and ever the optimistic cheerleader, God tells her
23 `Two nations [are] in thy womb, and two peoples from thy bowels are parted; and the [one] people than the [other] people is stronger; and the elder doth serve the younger.’
So Isaac has to beg for the children that God repeatedly promised him, then God tells his wife that their sons are going to be mortal enemies. Great. The God who has been silent for several chapters decides to start talking again, and it’s to give people shitty news for no good reason.
Rebekah carries the babies to term and then craps out a disgusting soulless ginger child who “cometh out all red as a hairy robe, and they call his name Esau.” I’ve said it before, you do NOT want to be on the receiving end of a covenant with Jehovah. The other brother is not a fucking anthropomorphized Elmo, so at least they have one useable son. The other one’s name is Jacob. As they grow up, Esau is a hunter and Jacob is a layabed. Isaac loves Esau and Rebekah loves Jacob. They had no qualms picking favorites, I guess. It’s what I always suspected about my parents.
One day Jacob is making food and Esau comes in hungry from hunting. They have a hilarious exchange, which sounds like my wife on the rare occasion I cook food, when she is hungry enough to sample my cuisine: “Let me eat some of this red thing.” And then I say “it’s hot dog soup and it’s a fucking delicacy, you’re welcome.”
Anyway, Jacob sets a very reasonable price for the food, now that Esau has told him he will die without it: his birthright, all of the benefits and honors that come from being the eldest son in this ridiculously stupid culture of theirs. Maybe if they weren’t so ready to exile and disinherit sons and openly pick favorites, they wouldn’t have so many problems with blood-feuding siblings. This is the same shit God pulled with Cain and Abel.
Esau eats the lentil soup, and has some serious buyer’s remorse. The end…? (Sweet foreshadowing, right?)
1 And Abraham addeth and taketh a wife, and her name [is] Keturah;
2 and she beareth to him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.
3 And Jokshan hath begotten Sheba and Dedan; and the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim;
4 and the sons of Midian [are] Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abidah, and Eldaah: all these [are] sons of Keturah.
5 And Abraham giveth all that he hath to Isaac;
6 and to the sons of the concubines whom Abraham hath, Abraham hath given gifts, and sendeth them away from Isaac his son (in his being yet alive) eastward, unto the east country.
7 And these [are] the days of the years of the life of Abraham, which he lived, a hundred and seventy and five years;
8 and Abraham expireth, and dieth in a good old age, aged and satisfied, and is gathered unto his people.
9 And Isaac and Ishmael his sons bury him at the cave of Machpelah, at the field of Ephron, son of Zoar the Hittite, which [is] before Mamre —
10 the field which Abraham bought from the sons of Heth — there hath Abraham been buried, and Sarah his wife.
11 And it cometh to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blesseth Isaac his son; and Isaac dwelleth by the Well of the Living One, my Beholder.
12 And these [are] births of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, hath borne to Abraham;
13 and these [are] the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their births: first-born of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,
14 and Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,
15 Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:
16 these are sons of Ishmael, and these their names, by their villages, and by their towers; twelve princes according to their peoples.
17 And these [are] the years of the life of Ishmael, a hundred and thirty and seven years; and he expireth, and dieth, and is gathered unto his people;
18 and they tabernacle from Havilah unto Shur, which [is] before Egypt, in [thy] going towards Asshur; in the presence of all his brethren hath he fallen.
19 And these [are] births of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham hath begotten Isaac;
20 and Isaac is a son of forty years in his taking Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel the Aramaean, from Padan-Aram, sister of Laban the Aramaean, to him for a wife.
21 And Isaac maketh entreaty to Jehovah before his wife, for she [is] barren: and Jehovah is entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceiveth,
22 and the children struggle together within her, and she saith, `If [it is] right — why [am] I thus?’ and she goeth to seek Jehovah.
23 And Jehovah saith to her, `Two nations [are] in thy womb, and two peoples from thy bowels are parted; and the [one] people than the [other] people is stronger; and the elder doth serve the younger.’
24 And her days to bear are fulfilled, and lo, twins [are] in her womb;
25 and the first cometh out all red as a hairy robe, and they call his name Esau;
26 and afterwards hath his brother come out, and his hand is taking hold on Esau’s heel, and one calleth his name Jacob; and Isaac [is] a son of sixty years in her bearing them.
27 And the youths grew, and Esau is a man acquainted [with] hunting, a man of the field; and Jacob [is] a plain man, inhabiting tents;
28 and Isaac loveth Esau, for [his] hunting [is] in his mouth; and Rebekah is loving Jacob.
29 And Jacob boileth pottage, and Esau cometh in from the field, and he [is] weary;
30 and Esau saith unto Jacob, `Let me eat, I pray thee, some of this red red thing, for I [am] weary;’ therefore hath [one] called his name Edom [Red];
31 and Jacob saith, `Sell to-day thy birthright to me.’
32 And Esau saith, `Lo, I am going to die, and what is this to me — birthright?’
33 and Jacob saith, `Swear to me to-day:’ and he sweareth to him, and selleth his birthright to Jacob;
34 and Jacob hath given to Esau bread and pottage of lentiles, and he eateth, and drinketh, and riseth, and goeth; and Esau despiseth the birthright.