Following the King & I project: Genesis 11-13

The current bible reading is Genesis 11-13 – Babbling about Sex, Lies and… Cattle?

I’m so happy that I’m going along with this project, because I just learned a new word when reading the the Tower of Babel story: etiology. I’ve been using the term “ethnic cheerleading,” but etiology is a much better description of these stories.

I have often wondered whether Neal Stephenson’s explanation of about the Tower of Babel story was correct. In Snow Crash, one of Stephenson’s characters described the tower as not being tall (“let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven”, 11:4), but as a tribute to other gods in the heavens. Rather than reaching to sky literally but a figurative reach via astrology and other god worship. Wikipedia and other sites mention the Great Ziggurat of Babylon and Marduk worship, and this seems reasonable to me.

Several people have commented over on the King & I site that the book so far seems more about obeying God without question than anything else. And it does seem like a long list of do-as-I-say-or-else stories.

What to make of chapter 12? Abraham lies to Pharaoh that Sarah is his sister, but Pharaoh and other Egyptians are the ones punished when Pharaoh takes a shine to Sarah? I don’t see any way to look at this story and have it make sense.

Chapter 13 ends with what I have heard Robert M Price call a land-grant myth (13:14-17). “No, seriously, our god gave us the deed to this a really long time ago. Sure, it was a verbal agreement, but it’s ours nonetheless. So all you squatters if you’re not packing now, we’ll send you packing.”

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