Genesis

Buying A Wife?

Buying A Wife

When a modern Westerner reads about an arranged marriage in the Bible it looks to us like a man was buying a wife. For example, consider the story in Genesis 24 where Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac. To us, this looks more like a business transaction than a proposal.

After Abraham’s servant encountered Rebekah at the well, her family welcomed him into their home. No doubt the golden jewelry he gave her helped pave the way for him (Gen 24:22, 47). Abraham’s servant then explained how his master had made him swear to go back to his homeland to find a wife for Isaac. After Rebekah’s family agreed for her to become Isaac’s bride, the servant gave gifts of gold and other costly items. These “presents” were given to Rebekah, her brother, and her mother (Gen 24:50-53).

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Ancient Customs, Genesis, Women

“Put Your Hand Under My Thigh”

Put Your Hand Under My Thigh

2 And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh, 3 that I may make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, 4 but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” (Gen. 24:2–4 ESV)

There are a lot of things in the Bible that are strange and outlandish to us. The traditions and cultures of people in the ancient Near East who lived thousands of years ago were, needless to say, very different from our own. For us it is common to place our right hand on a Bible to take an oath. Abraham had his servant swear by putting his hand under Abraham’s thigh. This is probably one of the most unusual customs in the Bible.

Oath by the thigh

We know very little about this practice of swearing an oath by the thigh. In fact, it seems that every attempt at an explanation raises more questions than it answers. Swearing an oath by placing one’s hand under another person’s thigh only happens two times in the entire Bible. The book of Genesis contains both. 

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Ancient Customs, Genesis

The Cave Of Machpelah

Cave Of Machpelah

Sarah, died at the age of 127 years and her husband, Abraham, buried her in the Cave of Machpelah near Hebron. Sarah is the only woman in the Bible whose age at the time of death is recorded. This is a reminder of her importance in God’s plan. Herod the Great memorialized the location of her tomb with one of his massive construction projects in the 1st century BC. 

Since Abraham did not own any land in Canaan, he had to purchase a burial place. He approached the sons of Heth to inquire about purchasing a cave to use as a family tomb. Abraham negotiated with Ephron to purchase a piece of land just east of Hebron for four hundred shekels of silver (Gen 23:17-18).

The Cave of the Patriarchs

Abraham buried Sarah “in the cave of the field of Machpelah” (Gen 23:19). When Abraham died forty-eight years later, this is where his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him (Genesis 25:9). Isaac and Rebekah were both buried here (Genesis 49:31). Jacob buried Leah here (Genesis 49:31), and Joseph buried Jacob here (Genesis 50:13).

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Archaeology, Genesis

Does God Know Everything?

Does God Know Everything

If you read my last post, the title of this article reveals how I came to grips with the assertion that God is responsible for evil. We have to ask ourselves the question, “Does God know everything?” If He does, the following syllogism reveals that God is responsible for evil:

Major premise: God knows everything including all future events.
Minor premise: God created humans who sinned.
Conclusion: Therefore, God is responsible for introducing sin into the world.

Nearly all Christians believe that God knows everything there is to know. In fact, most Christians believe that omniscience is an inherent trait of being God. They are sometimes shocked that anyone might consider God to not be all-knowing. This assumption creates a very thorny problem, doesn’t it? The next question we should be asking is, “Does the Bible really teach that God knows everything”?

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Genesis, Theology

Is God Responsible For Evil?

God Responsible For Evil

There is a statement in Genesis 22 which is related to the assertion that God is responsible for evil. Before I share with you what that statement in Genesis 22 is (in the next post), allow me to tell you a little story of one of the most puzzling theological challenges I have ever wrestled with.

Many years ago a friend presented me with a problem in logic and theology that took me months to sort out. A fellow soldier in the US Army posed a challenge that I was ill prepared for. My friend’s name was Demetrios. We worked together and we were also roommates in the barracks. This provided us with many hours of time to talk. 

Demetrios did not believe in God and presented points of view I had never been exposed to before. We spent a great deal of time debating science, philosophy, the Bible, you name it. We were soldiers with time to kill and we made the most of our conversations. I truly enjoyed his company and our debates.

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Genesis, Theology