Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Well That Got Interesting Fast

So let's start here, and see who gets uncomfortable:

19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.

20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:

21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.

23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.

24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.

25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

28 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.

29 And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.

Genesis 9:19-29

Having seen my elderly father naked (first sign he had serious mental problems; shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, from which he died within a week or so of the diagnosis), I can tell you I wish I could have "walked backward and...saw not [my] father's nakedness."  Or my mother's, a few years later, when she was in the throes of hysteria from hypoglycemia (like single digits measure of blood sugar) and stood in her bedroom shitting herself.  Just remembering it makes me feel uncomfortable.

Anyway, I've said too much.  Reading that tweet I also remembered Onan:

1 And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.

2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.

3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.

4 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.

5 And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.

6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.

7 And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him.

8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.

9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also.

 Genesis 38:1-10

It's been a long time since I read extensively in Genesis.  Wandering the wilds of the internet, I fell upon Wikipedia, which pointed this very interesting fact out:

After Onan's brother Er was slain by God, his father Judah told him to fulfill his duty to his brother by entering into a levirate marriage with his brother's widow Tamar to give her offspring. Religion professor Tikva Frymer-Kensky has pointed out the economic repercussions of a levirate marriage: any son born to Tamar would be deemed the heir of the deceased Er, and able to claim the firstborn's double share of inheritance. However, if Er were childless, or only had daughters, Onan would have inherited as the oldest surviving son.

When Onan had sex with Tamar, he withdrew before he ejaculated and "spilled his seed on the ground", since any child born would not legally be considered his heir. The next statement in the Bible says that Onan did evil and that God slew him.

I know the prevailing interpretation of Onan is that he "spilled his seed" and ever since any masturbation resulting in ejaculation is the "sin of Onan" because God'll kill ya for that!  But that's not, as Professor Frymer-Kensky points out, what the text says.  Technically this all happened before Moses got the Law from God on Sinai, but this is the "first book of Moses," according to tradition, and Onan's sin is completely in keeping with Mosaic law.  Onan has cheated Tamar of her due as the widow of Er, not only to cheat her but to enrich himself.  That's the "thing" he did which "displeased the Lord."

But how uncomfortable would people be if you taught that lesson from scripture, probably the prevailing lesson of scripture all the way down to Matthew 25 and through Paul to the Revelation to John? That it’s not about sex, but it is about economic justice.

Take if from the guy who lost two pulpits in four years; they'd be damned uncomfortable.

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