Thursday, January 15, 2009
Pretend You're My Sister
( If you like the stylized picture, you should check out the real one here.)
Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. Sarai may have been 65, but she looked like Kim Basinger in brunette and olive skin.
When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you."
< = = = First place, that is a lie, second place I thought Abram was blessed by God to inherit all that real estate he had been touring.
Actually it is Abram's heirs that will inherit the land. Now about the lie, I realize this will open a can of worms, but Sarai is actually his half sister. Might was well get used to this, remember Milcha? As God establishes the line of the patriarchs they are going to marry from a very small gene pool well at least until Jacob goes wild. And Sarai, as you will see, is a quite a woman, she isn't just a looker.
< = = = What a minute, I am still not buying, doesn't this pretend you are my sister stuff indicated Abram doesn't really trust God?
Well, if you want to feel you are correct, you can read any commentator, especially Christian commentators and they all pile on Abram about this. However, he did not have a Torah to study. Abram knows what about God? After the flood God was silent, or so we must assume from reading the scriptures, for ten generations. And please allow me to point out Master Cohen, that if Abram's seed was to become like the stars, as numerous as the dust, Abram might have been trying to help out by not becoming dead. If I may share a simple rule of thumb, if you hear someone talking about religion and judging someone in the Word of God, Rabbi, Pastor, matters not, if they are judging, ask yourself if you would be willing to be judged by their standard. But I digress and we must finish this portion of your lesson. Abram is going to Egypt.
When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman. Some histories claim Abram tried to sneak her in to the country in a trunk, others say she rode boldly, shoulders back. In any and every case what is certain is that when Pharaoh's officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. This was a tumultuous time in the history of Egypt, the Pharaoh was not Egyptian, a coup had occurred and a non-Egyptian Semitic people (descended from Noah's son Shem) known as the Hyksos seized power. The Semitic peoples would one day become the Hebrews, Arabs and Akkadians.
Pharaoh treated Abram well for Sarai's sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels. However, Pharaoh's intentions were not entirely altruistic. Sarai was, even at 65, a world class hottie. Pharaoh definitely wanted to go to bed with her. At first there were little things that stopped him, but one characteristic of a Pharaoh had a resolved will, a track record of getting what he wanted despite obstacles. Wimps did not become Pharaoh's and he wanted to mix his gene pool with hers as well and of course he wanted the pleasure of disrobing and bedding the most beautiful woman in the world, who can blame him?
But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram's wife Sarai. Pharaoh was no dummy and he had a strong sense of the spiritual world. Something was definitely wrong here.
So Pharaoh summoned Abram. "What have you done to me?" he said. "Why didn't you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her to be my wife? Abram stood quietly, intentionally not saying "Because you would have killed me and taken her". Pharaoh then said, "Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!"
Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had. Thus with God's help, Abram plundered Egypt. He came in a famine and left even more wealthy than when he entered, more animals, more servants. One servant in particular to introduce is Hagar, she will show up later. She was Pharaoh's own daughter. He saw the mark of destiny on Sarai and Abram and decided, it is better for my daughter to serve as a slave to Sarai, than a Mistress in a lesser house. Pharaoh was a wise and cunning man.
Abram's plunder of Egypt will not be the last time this happens when God's anointed travels down south. When you see Egypt in the Bible it often has two meanings, one is the country that just solved their Swine Flu (which was renamed to H1N1even though it really did come from pigs), problem by ordering all 300 thousand pigs in the country to be put to death. The leaders of Egypt have always been/will always be very focused, very determined men and in the case of Cleopatra, women. The other meaning of Egypt in the Bible is a spiritual and philosophical concept. Egypt is a place of food, of wealth, a great army, a place many Biblical leaders go into, but is sometimes hard to leave, in fact there is a risk of captivity and death. Egypt shows up in the Bible many times so it is probably very important spiritually, though probably not in the positive sense