Genesis 21 tells of the birth of Isaac and the bitchiness of Sarah. While Sarah wasn’t bearing children (maybe as a result of being continually pimped out by Abraham?), she was happy for a servant called Hagar to bear the heir. The second that Isaac is born, Sarah gets rid of Hagar and child. Clearly Sarah was convinced that Isaac wouldn’t fall prey to any of the usual problems that killed children back then.
The chapter is a little confusing though – Hagar and nameless child go out to a place called Beersheba, where Hagar runs out of water and leaves her son to die. God comes by and says “heres a well, have a drink. By the way, I’ll make your son a king”. No real issue, that sort of thing appears to have been common back then. But, towards the end of the chapter, Abraham is doing something holy and decides to call the place he is at Beersheba. Why do these people insist on making it difficult for the postman?
I’m not going to go into chapter 22. It’s the story where God tells Abraham to kill Isaac and Abraham (the robot) does as he’s asked. Clearly the date was April 1st, because God tells Abraham that it was a trick to see if he was loyal and they swap Isaac for a ram and they all live happily ever after. Actually, that last bit was bullshit – this is the Bible and no one lives happily ever after.
Chapter 23 tells us that Sarah dies aged 127 and Abraham is given the pick of burial places. He picks one and tries to pay for it but Ephron wont take the money. They argue good-naturedly, Abraham pays, Ephron accepts and Sarah gets buried. Apart from trying to show that Abraham wasn’t a bad bloke (despite all the previous evidence), this could have been removed and no one would have known or cared.
24:2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:
24:3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
24:4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
The first line is the bit we are interested in. There is a school of thought that believes this is a euphemism. What Abraham was actually doing was saying “put your hand on my genitals and we’ll swear an oath”. This is apparently called a “Yarek Oath”. Anyway, stop sniggering because we’re moving on…
Chapter 24 has lots and lots of words. Ultimately, the servant went out, found Rebekah and brought her back to be Isaac’s wife. And this is my major complaint with the Bible: lots and lots of it is unnecessary. In 3 chapters we see Isaac get born, almost die and then get a bride. 3 chapters. Why have we had to see so much filler?
Chapter 25 is a case in point: At 175 years old, Abraham dies. In the 8 verses to get there he gets married again, has 6 named children, 7 named grandchildren, and then his bit is done with. 10 verses of filler, then Isaac prays for a child (wife barren, not his fault) and Rebekah has twins – Esau and Jacob. Jacob tricks Esau into giving up his birthright and the chapter is done.