From: Robert Schneider (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Dec 03 2002 - 20:17:07 EST
See my comment on the "recent post," below, after Howard's comment.
> Excerpt from a recent post:
> > Jacob is not simply regarded as a good con artist. Jacob stole his
> > from his older brother through cunning and his brother's failure to
> > Jacob is not condemned by the Lord. In fact the Lord has already
> > that the older will serve the younger. Isaac himself is agitated over
> > trickery but does not reassign the birthright to Esau. That suggests to
> > that cunning is favored in God's eyes.
> Here's another hypothesis to consider: Human nature -- especially as it
> expressed within a zealous religious community -- is inclined toward
> unwarranted and boastful claims of divine approval (or divine instruction)
> for its own lust for power and control.
> When we saw that in the 9/11 episode, we were repulsed. Should we be any
> less repulsed when we see it incorporated in canonical text?
> Howard Van Till
And further, it is not clear that "In fact the Lord has already predicted
that the older will serve the younger." The Hebrew of the oracle (Gen.
27:40) is ambiguous (as ancient oracles often are): it can read either,
"the older shall serve the younger" or "the older, the younger shall serve."
And when did Esau in fact serve Jacob? Even if one thinks that the Lord did
not condemn Jacob, it is certainly clear from his tragic and unhappy story
that Jacob paid plenty for his trickery, which suggests to me that cunning
is not favored in God's eyes. Isaac could not reassign the birthright,
because once the blessing was given it could not be retracted. If you read
carefully the episode of Jacob's return and meeting with Esau, Jacob
repeatedly addresses Esau as "my lord" and himself as "your servant;" and he
bestows upon Esau his blessing (Gen. 33:1-17). The oracle is fullfilled in
Unfortunately, there is a widespread tendency to read these stories in
Genesis superficially and not give close attention to the complexities and
nuances of the narratives.
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