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Another Absurd Bible Story


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Inspired by Nicoleann who decided to read through the first few books of the OT again, I decided to have a look through myself, as it's been years since I last read an OT book from beginning to end. This time I'm reading it with an opened mind. Most people mock the stories that contain supernatural events and despicable acts of God and his followers. But I couldn't help but be amazed at the absurdity of one story there, which would be considered by most to be a simple story that could have really happened. And that's the story of the Stolen Blessing.

 

The Story of the Stolen Blessing (Jacob and Esau) Genesis 27

 

I couldn't believe how preposterously ridiculous story this is. Ok, stealing a blessing? How can you really do that?

 

OK, a little back ground if you aren’t aware. Isaac is very old and blind. He has two sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau was an unusually hairy man. Esau was Isaac’s favourite. Jacob was his mother’s (Rebekah) favourite. Rebekah and Jacob plot to steal the blessing that is Esau’s. They decide to play on Isaac’s blindness by pretending that Jacob is really Esau.

 

The ridiculous stuff:

 

1) Isaac doesn’t know his son’s voices well enough to tell them apart.

 

He believes it is Jacob’s voice, but still has doubts. I mean WHAT? HELLO?? A father should be able to recognise his sons immediately by their voices, especially if he is blind. There should be no doubt in his mind!

 

2) Isaac can’t tell the difference between what a hairy man feels like and what animal fur feels like.

 

Jacob puts animal furs on to trick his father into believing he is Esau, by getting Isaac to touch him. I mean GIVE ME A BLOODY BREAK! Human hair and animal furs feel totally different. How could anyone fall for a silly trick like that?

 

3) Isaac is confused.

 

When the truth is revealed that the person he gave the blessing to was not really Esau, Isaac is in shock and asks “Who is it that I blessed then??” DUH!!! As if it isn’t bloody obvious who it was, especially when he thought it may have been Jacob in the first place. Oh, maybe it was the man in the moon or something? Or maybe Isaac was going a bit senile as well as blind?

 

4) Isaac has no blessings left to give.

 

Since when was there a limit on blessings? Jacob had already swindled Esau out of his birthright earlier on, so one can only assume this was some kind of verbal blessing. So why couldn’t Isaac bless Esau as well?

 

5) Isaac curses Esau instead.

 

The guy misses out on his rightful blessing so Isaac curses him instead? What’s with that? Is that warped or what?

 

6) Isaac gives Jacob a further blessing.

 

In the following chapter it seems all is forgiven and Isaac gives Jacob another blessing. But wait? I thought he had run out of blessings to give?

 

 

In conclusion:

 

I can’t believe I never noticed how absurd and unfair this story was when I was a fundamental Christian. How can any one really claim this to be a true story? Well it it was, then Isaac would possibly be the top candidate for the Biggest Moron in history. And to think God made this guy an icon!

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Great how all we did was look for the hidden, spiritual truths in those stories, and bypassed the idiocy. That story, however, and many of the points you bring out did always kind of rub me wrong. God did not avenge Esau's plight...but blessed Jacob's sin.

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I wonder whether maybe Isaac was suffering from Senility or Alzheimers disease. But still......

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Yeah, thinking back, that story always felt kind of funny. I was in too much denial to listen to my feelings, unfortunately. But you raise good points.

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Inspired by Nicoleann who decided to read through the first few books of the OT again, I decided to have a look through myself, as it's been years since I last read an OT book from beginning to end. This time I'm reading it with an opened mind. Most people mock the stories that contain supernatural events and despicable acts of God and his followers. But I couldn't help but be amazed at the absurdity of one story there, which would be considered by most to be a simple story that could have really happened. And that's the story of the Stolen Blessing.

 

The Story of the Stolen Blessing (Jacob and Esau) Genesis 27

 

I couldn't believe how preposterously ridiculous story this is. Ok, stealing a blessing? How can you really do that?

 

OK, a little back ground if you aren’t aware. Isaac is very old and blind. He has two sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau was an unusually hairy man. Esau was Isaac’s favourite. Jacob was his mother’s (Rebekah) favourite. Rebekah and Jacob plot to steal the blessing that is Esau’s. They decide to play on Isaac’s blindness by pretending that Jacob is really Esau.

 

The ridiculous stuff:

 

1) Isaac doesn’t know his son’s voices well enough to tell them apart.

 

He believes it is Jacob’s voice, but still has doubts. I mean WHAT? HELLO?? A father should be able to recognise his sons immediately by their voices, especially if he is blind. There should be no doubt in his mind!

 

2) Isaac can’t tell the difference between what a hairy man feels like and what animal fur feels like.

 

Jacob puts animal furs on to trick his father into believing he is Esau, by getting Isaac to touch him. I mean GIVE ME A BLOODY BREAK! Human hair and animal furs feel totally different. How could anyone fall for a silly trick like that?

 

3) Isaac is confused.

 

When the truth is revealed that the person he gave the blessing to was not really Esau, Isaac is in shock and asks “Who is it that I blessed then??” DUH!!! As if it isn’t bloody obvious who it was, especially when he thought it may have been Jacob in the first place. Oh, maybe it was the man in the moon or something? Or maybe Isaac was going a bit senile as well as blind?

 

4) Isaac has no blessings left to give.

 

Since when was there a limit on blessings? Jacob had already swindled Esau out of his birthright earlier on, so one can only assume this was some kind of verbal blessing. So why couldn’t Isaac bless Esau as well?

 

5) Isaac curses Esau instead.

 

The guy misses out on his rightful blessing so Isaac curses him instead? What’s with that? Is that warped or what?

 

6) Isaac gives Jacob a further blessing.

 

In the following chapter it seems all is forgiven and Isaac gives Jacob another blessing. But wait? I thought he had run out of blessings to give?

 

 

In conclusion:

 

I can’t believe I never noticed how absurd and unfair this story was when I was a fundamental Christian. How can any one really claim this to be a true story? Well it it was, then Isaac would possibly be the top candidate for the Biggest Moron in history. And to think God made this guy an icon!

 

 

JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEzus christ! This is bad literature at best!

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Yep...I remember my questions about this tale when I first encountered it too. It stank of unfairness. Jacob the liar actually ends up the hero of the tale? Esau the innocent loser gets a curse? Isaac is that stupid? Where is God in all this, setting all these losers straight? What is a 'blessing,' if God is not involved in granting it? Even if Isaac was that dumb and confused, how could God have gone ahead and blessed someone who deceived his way into it?

 

All those thoughts went through my head at the speed of light and were drowned out by the 'lalalalala it doesn't matter what *I* think. The bible is true, the bible is good!' mantra we all reflexively invoked at times like those.

 

However after I deconverted, I remember being in a 'survey of the bible' course in college, taught by a Catholic Priest. (This wasn't a Christian college either, so I was upset that someone so biased was teaching the course). We came to another absurd story...the one where Abram (Abraham) and Sara (Sarah) travel to Egypt and Abram the coward is afraid that he will be somehow harmed if the Pharoah thinks the drop-dead gorgeous Sara is his wife, and wants her for himself. So Abram tells Sara to lie and tell the Pharoah she is just his sister.

 

Well Pharoah becomes immediately enamored with Sara and apparently takes her for a wife of his own, all the while she's deliberately lying and saying she's a single, available woman, and allowing herself to be whored this way, and Abram is reaping all the benefits of the wealth being thrown at him by the Pharoah in return for his sister.

 

Now, who does God get mad at in this story? The lying, cowardly, pimping Abram? The lying, whoring Sara?

 

No. The Pharoah is punished by God, with plagues, for innocently taking Sara as a wife, through both Abram's and Sara's deception and encouragement.

 

In the class as we were going over this tale. I said, "How is this tale, even remotely moral? How is it moral for two people to deliberately deceive another person, and then for that person to be punished for doing something that was not a crime or a sin ?"

 

The instructor proceeded to wax eloquent about how 'ignorance is no excuse,' and that it was perfectly just and fine for the innocent pharoah to be punished for being deliberately deceived by Abram and Sara.

 

Abram comes out the hero of this whole absurd episode too...he really put one over on that Pharoah, and got rich doing it! Pharoah even bestowed more wealth upon Abram as a bribe to leave Egypt! And God was on Abram's side in the whole prank.

 

How on earth is this tale anything other than a legend depicting pride in one's own race and nationality and laughing at other nations who are merely stupid outsiders to be deceived?

 

I left class feeling absolutely nauseus. That's how I feel these days, when anyone dares to put 'truth' or 'morality' and 'bible' together in the same sentence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look what I found - an entire site of Jewish 'Legends'. Notice that many of them refer to the famous 'historical' (haha) bible characters, and could easily be plopped right alongside the existing OT tales?

 

What makes these Jewish tales ANY different than what is in the bible? If you plopped any one of these tales into the bible, people's eyes would glaze over, the drool would dribble down their chins and they would be proclaimed 'the word of God.' They read practically the same way as the absurd Esau and Abraham stories in this thread! :eek:

 

http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/jftl/index.htm

 

It seems obvious to me that the OT is just an 'aesop's fables' produced by Judaism, and Christians need to face what they've founded their entire cult of ridiculous belief upon - the nationalistic pride of an ancient tribal culture.

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I vaguely remembered this one and went and reread it. Capital example of how much I dislike this book. It makes no freakin' sense. This will be a fun one to pick up and present to fundies.

 

Anybody know how to pronounce "Esau?"

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Anybody know how to pronounce "Esau?"

I'm a pickin'...

And I'm a grinnin'...

HeeeeeHaawww

EeeeeeSaaawww

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I was always told EeeeeSaw. lol.

 

Please tell us another story, Uncle O.C.

 

:HaHa: If you're a good boy/girl I might dig another one out for you as I make my way through.

 

However after I deconverted, I remember being in a 'survey of the bible' course in college, taught by a Catholic Priest. (This wasn't a Christian college either, so I was upset that someone so biased was teaching the course). We came to another absurd story...the one where Abram (Abraham) and Sara (Sarah) travel to Egypt and Abram the coward is afraid that he will be somehow harmed if the Pharoah thinks the drop-dead gorgeous Sara is his wife, and wants her for himself. So Abram tells Sara to lie and tell the Pharoah she is just his sister.

 

Well Pharoah becomes immediately enamored with Sara and apparently takes her for a wife of his own, all the while she's deliberately lying and saying she's a single, available woman, and allowing herself to be whored this way, and Abram is reaping all the benefits of the wealth being thrown at him by the Pharoah in return for his sister.

 

Now, who does God get mad at in this story? The lying, cowardly, pimping Abram? The lying, whoring Sara?

 

No. The Pharoah is punished by God, with plagues, for innocently taking Sara as a wife, through both Abram's and Sara's deception and encouragement.

 

 

Yeah, I must admit this one pissed me off as I read through it the other day. Strange thing is, Abraham's son Isaac ended up going through much the same thing with the Pharoah with his wife. The stories were uncannily similar and it was the same Pharoah. Made me wonder whether some bible writer had mucked up the stories or otherwise Pharoah just never learnt his lesson when it came to those lying, deceiving Abraham's.

 

 

Yes, but who are we mere mortals to know and understand Gawd's Will? :Doh:

 

Don't you know that the lord works in mysterious ways? That explains it all! Hallelujah, praise be to Zarquon!

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It seems obvious to me that the OT is just an 'aesop's fables' produced by Judaism, and Christians need to face what they've founded their entire cult of ridiculous belief upon - the nationalistic pride of an ancient tribal culture.

 

Please don't insult Aesop by lumping these biblical insults to morality in with true tales of virtue and rectitude.

:nono:

:HaHa:

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The story of moses/pharoh is pretty absurd, god "hardens" pharoh and makes him stubborn and as a result won't let moses and his people go. If you want your people to be free, then why did you make pharoh stubborn? The logic is stupid. It makes me want to gag.

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Guest aldous

The story of moses/pharoh is pretty absurd, god "hardens" pharoh and makes him stubborn and as a result won't let moses and his people go. If you want your people to be free, then why did you make pharoh stubborn? The logic is stupid. It makes me want to gag.

 

Well, I have a few things here. Not to say that I am not completely in agreement with you on the absurdity of the story, but I think the ordeal was meant to be a test of some sort, at least that's the way it's always portrayed.

 

But what kills me about it are two things:

One, a human can change the mind of god to begin with. If god is supposed to be all knowing and all powerful, how can a man, and his actions affect the almightly opinion (well I should say 'FACT') of god?

 

Two, the stories of lots of old testament resemble those of egyptian mythology... ie, Isis and Osiris can be perverted into Adam and Eve, moses in the basket was the story of Horus. Of course, people of the day may have liked to emulate the myths citing reverence for the 'scriptures', and most of them couldn't read or write, so it'd just be oral stories easily perverted over time, so the parody may have happened in real life many times when a woman couldn't afford a child... But, I think the fact that the stories are like the egyptians' and the fact the jews were in egypt at the time bears a little more consideration that a mere coincidence.

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Well, I have a few things here. Not to say that I am not completely in agreement with you on the absurdity of the story, but I think the ordeal was meant to be a test of some sort, at least that's the way it's always portrayed.

It's portrayed that way but god hardens pharoah's heart as opposed to pharoah hardening his own heart. Pharoah even tells Moses to leave at one point and god hardens his heart and so pharoah reverses his decision so the plagues can continue. What's the test? God forced the chain of events well beyond what pharoah wanted.

 

But what kills me about it are two things:

One, a human can change the mind of god to begin with. If god is supposed to be all knowing and all powerful, how can a man, and his actions affect the almightly opinion (well I should say 'FACT') of god?

True enough...for the modern version of god.

 

Two, the stories of lots of old testament resemble those of egyptian mythology... ie, Isis and Osiris can be perverted into Adam and Eve, moses in the basket was the story of Horus. Of course, people of the day may have liked to emulate the myths citing reverence for the 'scriptures', and most of them couldn't read or write, so it'd just be oral stories easily perverted over time, so the parody may have happened in real life many times when a woman couldn't afford a child... But, I think the fact that the stories are like the egyptians' and the fact the jews were in egypt at the time bears a little more consideration that a mere coincidence.

The stories have a little of everything in them (Sumerian/Babylonian/Ugaritic to name a few). Also, when you say "in Egypt at the time" when exactly do you mean? There's literally no evidence for the exodus story and all evidence points to a slow migration from Canaan as opposed to Egypt. As it stands the whole thing is essentially a myth (the state of Israel pretty much dismisses the literal biblical accuracy of everything prior to Saul/David).

 

mwc

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But, I think the fact that the stories are like the egyptians' and the fact the jews were in egypt at the time bears a little more consideration that a mere coincidence.

 

Well, MWC already commented on it, but I think it bears repeating. What "fact"? Can you present any extra-biblical evidence that the Jews were EVER slaves in Egypt?

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The ridiculous stuff:

 

1) Isaac doesn’t know his son’s voices well enough to tell them apart.

 

2) Isaac can’t tell the difference between what a hairy man feels like and what animal fur feels like.

 

...

 

In conclusion:

 

I can’t believe I never noticed how absurd and unfair this story was when I was a fundamental Christian. How can any one really claim this to be a true story? Well it it was, then Isaac would possibly be the top candidate for the Biggest Moron in history. And to think God made this guy an icon!

 

HAHAHAHAHA! Oh my god, that was so funny to read through, the fur-st two were ruling. I may have to dust of my Bible (yeah, I still got it xD) and have a chuckle before bedtime tomorrow. Hahahaha, very funny OnceConvinced, love the sarcasm.

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Well, MWC already commented on it, but I think it bears repeating. What "fact"? Can you present any extra-biblical evidence that the Jews were EVER slaves in Egypt?

 

Also, there's a new line of thinking among Egyptologists and historians - Egypt probably never used slave labor to build the pyramids and such. It's just a theory, but it does make a lot of sense. :shrug:

 

Redding's faunal evidence dealt a serious blow to the Hollywood version of pyramid building, with Charlton Heston as Moses intoning, "Pharaoh, let my people go!" There were slaves in Egypt, says Lehner, but the discovery that pyramid workers were fed like royalty buttresses other evidence that they were not slaves at all, at least in the modern sense of the word. Harvard's George Reisner found workers' graffiti early in the twentieth century that revealed that the pyramid builders were organized into labor units with names like "Friends of Khufu" or "Drunkards of Menkaure." Within these units were five divisions (their roles still unknown)—the same groupings, according to papyrus scrolls of a later period, that served in the pyramid temples. We do know, Lehner says, that service in these temples was rendered by a special class of people on a rotating basis determined by those five divisions. Many Egyptologists therefore subscribe to the hypothesis that the pyramids were also built by a rotating labor force in a modular, team-based kind of organization.

 

Imagine that - the bible was wrong! :eek:

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Actually, the bible never says the Israelites built the pyramids but rather the cities of Pithom and Rameses (Exodus 1:11). Being primarily store houses I don't think there would be a problem using slaves to build them.

 

Anyhow, depending on who "Pharoah" of the bible is (most people want to think it is Rameses II) the pyramids at Geza are about 1000 years too early for the Hebrews to be involved even if they wanted to be (although Noah could just be floating overhead in his ark while they Egyptians were busy building them :HaHa: ).

 

mwc

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You all have brought up some good examples. I especially agree with the point about god hardening Pharoah's heart. Back in the days when I made a feeble attempt to be a real christian, I often wondered how god could harden someone's heart but not soften mine enough to give me faith. :shrug: Oh well, I guess the fact that he never succeeded in softening my brain explains why christinsanity never took.

 

Speaking of absurd bible stories -- there are sooo many to choose from, but the one that I found most annoying is the entire book of Job. From the first time I encountered it, as a child, through numerous rereadings and up to the present, all I got from it is (1) Job was a fool and a doormat and (2) god is one sick bastard if that's the way he treats the people who are most loyal to him.

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The story of moses/pharoh is pretty absurd, god "hardens" pharoh and makes him stubborn and as a result won't let moses and his people go. If you want your people to be free, then why did you make pharoh stubborn? The logic is stupid. It makes me want to gag.

 

Now that I've been enlightened I can see these examples all throughout the bible. God did this, God did that..... It just goes to show the mentality of the times, that God was responsible for everything they couldn't explain. In this day and age we know better.

 

Two, the stories of lots of old testament resemble those of egyptian mythology... ie, Isis and Osiris can be perverted into Adam and Eve, moses in the basket was the story of Horus. Of course, people of the day may have liked to emulate the myths citing reverence for the 'scriptures', and most of them couldn't read or write, so it'd just be oral stories easily perverted over time, so the parody may have happened in real life many times when a woman couldn't afford a child... But, I think the fact that the stories are like the egyptians' and the fact the jews were in egypt at the time bears a little more consideration that a mere coincidence.

Being a writer myself, I could fully understand people taking a story and doing their own version of it. I've done it many times. I've been inspired by some book or movie and thought, hey, I would like to experiment with that concept myself. One example was the movie Brewsters Millions. I thought about how I would spend 30 Million dollars in one month and decided to write my own mini novel about a guy who has to spend 30 Mill in one month. Great fun.

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Now that I've been enlightened I can see these examples all throughout the bible. God did this, God did that..... It just goes to show the mentality of the times, that God was responsible for everything they couldn't explain. In this day and age we know better.

 

Are you sure, because people don't understand evolution so they explain it with God.

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I know people still claim it's God that does a lot of stuff, but science has proven things like natural disasters and illnesses having natural causes, and are not caused by God. So it isn't quite as bad as it was back then.

 

The reason why people don't understand Evolution is because even that has some incredible claims that are very hard to get past.

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