Day 9, Chapter 26. Young Isaac is a chip off the old block. He pulls the same weird get-rich-quick scheme that his father did, and with the same guy; Abimelech, the king of Gerar.
God tells Isaac to go to Gerar, because He will make Isaac's seed "multiply as the stars of heaven." Isaac is quick to be sold to this idea. This is the Bible, and it's telling us about the interests of Bronze Age people. Again, we see how important it is for men to have a strong lineage. I suspect at the period of time that this was written, the Israelites didn't have a belief in the afterlife. Rather, their immortality came from their bloodlines.
Anyways, the men of Gerar find Isaac's wife Rebekah to be gorgeous, and Isaac, just like his dad Abraham, says that Rebekah is his sister. After awhile, Abimelech looks out the window and sees Isaac "sporting" with Rebekah. Abimelech catches on and says, "Man, why the F*CK did you lie to us about being married to her @$$HOLE!"
No, he didn't say that. But he should've. Hell. If I was Abimelech, I would have as well.
Abimelech then decrees that no man shall sleep with Isaac's wife, and if they try, they will surely be killed.
Isaac was probably already rich at this time, but what he gained from Abimelech was an element of security.
Later, after Isaac has matured as a businessman and landowner, God reappears to him and other people see that God was hanging out with Isaac, and so King Abimelech, a guy named Ahuzzath (who was Abimelech's friend), and the general of army of Gerar, come to Isaac and form an alliance of sorts. Who can blame them, after all? The friggin' LORD OF THE UNIVERSE is hanging out with Isaac, the guy they just kicked out of Gerar.
At the end of Chapter 26, Isaac and Rebekah's son Esau marries TWO Hittite women, Judith and Bashemath. Isaac and Rebekah are pissed off because their son actually had the gaul to marry a Hittite! The nerve of him. Wow, Hittites must've been pretty low back then.
Chapter 27. The oddest, craziest, most f***ed up thing happens in Chapter 27. Isaac is now an old, blind man, and asks his hairy son Esau to hunt some venison and bring it to him. Isaac tells Esau that when he comes back from the hunt, Esau will receive his "blessing." "Blessing" seems to refer the passing on of Isaac's inheritance.
A few chapters ago Esau gave up his birthright, which is apparently not the same thing as a blessing. I suppose a birthright just means some other sort of privilege (like being the favored son). Blessing is the actual passing of inheritance.
Rebekah overhears the conversation and while Esau is out doing his father's bidding, she sends the younger, smooth-skinned son Jacob to his father with freshly killed and prepared goats. Rebekah also disguises Jacob by making him put goat skin over his neck and hands. Jacob enters his father's room and tells him that he is Esau, and that the reason he came back so fast was that God gave the meat to him.
Isaac buys it! And oddly enough, God buys it too! Isaac hears Jacob's voice, but after touching his hands concludes that this is indeed Esau. He tells Jacob, "Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee."
As soon as Jacob leaves the room, Esau comes back, and is understandably pissed off that his dad gave the blessing to Jacob. Esau cries to his father, and says, "Don't you have at least one blessing for me?"
If I was Esau, I'd say something like, "Um dad, you're blind and you just blessed the wrong guy. Your OTHER son just tricked you."
Isaac then does something that is truly jacked up. He tells Esau his blessing, "You get to serve your little brother as his right-hand man."
Esau is pissed off and vows to kill his brother. Rebekah overhears this and sends Jacob away until Esau's anger wavers. And then racist Rebekah closes the chapter by hoping that Jacob doesn't marry one of those dirty Canaanites.
Chapter 28. Aside from more intolerance from Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob is also fleeing his brother Esau and has a vision of the ladder, known more popularly as "Jacob's Ladder."
At the top of the ladder is God, who promises Jacob, just like he promised Abraham and Isaac, that his seed will be like dust and that his people will be spread all over the Earth.
Man, this promise is said repeatedly by the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the Universe, and still has not been upheld to this very day!
He wakes up, pours oil on the stone that he was sleeping on, and calls the town "Bethel", although the town is called Luz.
First of all, who is Jacob to be naming other people's towns??? Most importantly, in this chapter Jacob names the town "Bethel" before he meets his future wife Rachel. Later on in Genesis, he names the town Bethel again just before Rachel dies. AND, the town has always been called Bethel, according to Genesis 12:8 and 13:3.
Okay, so I'm still upset about fundamentalists who believe these things are literally true; but I'm also a bit confused with the moderates and liberals who not only don't know what they believe, but they offer some sort of legitimacy to the fundamentalists.