28.3.11

Torah, Nebi'im and Ketubim




I appreciate that God speaks to us through the law, through revelation and through our own discernment. I am looking at the ancestress in danger, the thrice telling of the passing off of a husband's wife for his sister and the resultant delay in blessing as a result until the situation is rectified. Abimelech discovers that he has taken another man's wife into his harem through the folly of Abraham/Isaac through God's curses befalling his household and then through a dream in the next version of this narrative plot and finally through discernment and his own senses: his wisdom.

These three accounts would seem to conform to Torah (Law), Nebi'im (Revelation) and then Ketubim (wisdom) in turn. (sp. correction h/t Doug)

...and I am given to reflect on how God speaks to us all differently - some of us focus on obedience to God's laws and are gifted to think things through from a biblically ethical point of view - their knowledge of the scriptures enables them to discern the mind of God on a situation. Some of us are spoken to through revelation - dreams, visions, tongues etc. Some of us are highly discerning, can think things through and are known for bringing a wise and judicious view-point.

Of course, God makes himself available to us through all these ways and more. I wonder, however, whether thinking in categories like Torah (Law), Nebi'im (Prophets) and Ketubim (Writing) might enable us to think through how we relate to God...however, as is more than likely, I am also just doing a lot of half-baked thinking out loud - but that's blogging for you....

Also are there not a few problems with the ancestress in danger texts?

It gives us cause to be hopeful - for Sarah - 65 and then possibly as old as 89 is considered very beautiful.

How can Abimelech have really been so wise to discern that Sarah belonged to another man when really it must have been pretty obvious their having the children Esau and Jacob with them?

It is believed that possibly redactors have messed about with one ethnological saga and the story probably went something like this originally:


Because of famine Isaac travelled from the desert in southern Palestine to the
nearby Canaanite city of Gerar, to live there as a 'sojourner', i.e. to keep within
the pasturage rights on the ground belonging to the city. He told everyone that
his wife was his sister so that his life would not be endangered by those who
desired her. However, Rebekah's beauty could not pass unnoticed. The king of
the city, Abimelech, took Rebekah into his harem, amply compensating Isaac. As
a material sin was about to be committed, God struck the people of the palace
with a mysterious illness. Through the medium of his gods, or a soothsayer,
Abimelech recognized what had happened. Abimelech called Isaac to account:
"What is this that you have done to me?" He then restored him his wife and sent
him away, loaded with gifts.

Well, hopefully I will find out more about this puzzle when we start Biblical Narrative on Thursday. 

2 comments:

Doug Chaplin said...

Rachel, can I correct your spelling, please? It's variously transliterated – usually Nebi'im (or Nevi'im) without any "l" in it.

I think it's an interesting question to try – if I've understood you – to link the T N K classification to a way of doing theology, but I'm not sure it doesn't create more problems than it solves.

Rachel Marszalek said...

Thanks - indeed you can.

Yes - I am probably too recently influenced by books about working out your prayer personality...

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