9. The Fights of the Lord and the Fights of the Ladies

After reading how Abraham avoided a conflict with his nephew Lot and even rescued him when he became a prisoner of war, one would expect Abraham’s descendants to display the same graciousness of character and establish societies free of any violence that would eventually spread all over the world and fulfill that purpose of God that through Abraham, the whole world would be blessed. Instead, what we read as Abraham gets children of his own, is about bitter conflicts and fights not with strangers, but with brothers who are all descendants of Abraham. Contrary to what both fundamentalist and critical scholars read in the Bible, the source of the conflicts are not the patriarchs as abusive men but rather their wives who all come from the family of Abraham who left Ur after the collapse of the Tower of Babel and carried with them the mentality of that type of society that has remained universal even today. The conflict between Abraham’s fist two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, was triggered by Abraham’s wife Sarah who could no longer tolerate Hagar after she because Abraham’s second wife and the mother of his first son. Similarly, the fight between the sons was carried on by Isaac’s two sons, Esau and Jacob, who this time were twins, and the conflict was again masterminded by the mother, who decided that Jacob should receive the inheritance and the parental blessing, and then to go to her brother in Haran and marry women who had mentalities of being boss and having everyone else under their feet. As a result, Jacob ended up married to two sisters who started to fight with one another who should be the boss over the family, and they started a competition to get as many boys as possible to get the upper hand over the other sister. As Rachel herself put it, these fights she had with her sister were “the fights of the Lord.” Even after Rachel died, the fights of the two ladies were taken over by their sons so that Joseph, the firstborn of Rachel, started to have dreams that the whole family would crawl at his feed, dreams that Jacob himself openly encouraged. Understandably, when the other brothers learned about such dreams, they used the first opportunity to get rid of their infatuated brother, who ended up sold as a slave in Egypt. Being a good slave, Joseph managed to rise to the position of the most trusted servant of Pharaoh, and when his brothers came to Egypt to buy food as a result of a famine, Joseph managed to have all his brothers at his feet as he had imagined in his dreams. As a result of those fights who should be boss over the whole family, not only Joseph ended up slave in Egypt, but everyone else. As a result, Abraham’s descendants, instead of establishing an ideal society according to God’s intentions in Palestine, they ended up all slaves in Egypt, another garden of Eden like Ur from where Abraham had come. Now God was again back to square one to get Abraham’s descendants from being slaves in Egypt back to Canaan where he had wanted them to be all the time.

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