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2010-11-10

All throughout the rest of Genesis 36, we get the linage of Esau. It’s one of those massive genealogies that the bible expressly forbids in Timothy 1:4. The genealogy isn’t even important in any regard because Esau is a minor character who exists merely as a foil for Jacob. Ask yourself this, would I rather read all of Genesis 36, or watch the would-be Moist storyline that Zack Whedon talks about in the Commentary of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog? Which is more compelling?

If you recall, Esau picked up the nickname “Edom” when he traded his birthright for a bowl of red soup, and all throughout his lineage here in chapter 36 he is referred to as both Esau and Edom. Supposedly, this is why his offspring are called the Edomites, and not the Esauites. Believers argue that this is just simply a second name, and that many people in the bible have multiple names. However, from what we’ve seen with the broken lineages so far, I think it’s far more likely that the people of the bible have multiple names because they were different people that the biblical authors tried to squash together as one because they didn’t really know who was who.

Also, on the topic of names, the bible is pretty interesting in the fact that even though it contains over 2,500 names used though the various genealogies, only a small percentage of the names repeat. Think about your own family tree. How many Michaels, Johns, Jennifers, and Sarahs can be found? Name repetition occurs in every culture of the world, all throughout history. However, in the bible, we see thousands of unique names, never to be seen again anywhere in ancient literature! The names are so unique, in fact, that they appear to be artificially unique.

To drive the point home, look at some of the names in Esau’s lineage: Gatam means “burnt valley”, Mizzah means “fear”, Hemam means “exterminating”, Bela means “destruction”, Alvah means “evil”, and Pinon means “darkness”. Did a couple of parents actually name their newborn “destruction”? I think a more likely outcome is that this genealogy is meant as propaganda against the line of Esau. I’m sorry, Edom.

 

Comments

Ray writes:

 

Oh, Qazar. It's good to see you finally taking action.

Maju writes:

 

"I think a more likely outcome is that this genealogy is meant as propaganda against the line of Esau".

Totally: the whole Jacob-Esau story stinks to tribal conflicts between related Semitic tribes: the Edomites or Idumeans, of the red land, who have red hair and eat red soup (it's a platter of lentils in the Spanish version I know anyhow, the expression "por un plato de lentejas", is still in use), and the proto-Hebrews (I don't think there's really any Hebrew nation in the Bible before Moses, right?) As the Hebrews are the ones telling the story... well, they bias it a bit... well, totally.

They seem to be quarreling about the tribal primacy on some sort of alliance. The proto-Hebrews seem the more civilized ones now (they have lentils and are not mere hunters) but in the previous Cain and Abel myth the correlation is the opposite (Cain is the farmer) and Abel (obviously meaning ancestor or god-father or something like that) is the sepherd, as expected for earliest Semites from the Circum-Arabian Pastoralist Complex.

Rather than an allegory is oral tribal history (one-sided, of course). And that aspect is interesting, once you put aside all the nonsense hypocrite pseudo-morals and the "modern" monotheistic interpretations.

 

Oh the irony!