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All Firstborn Sons Get the Shaft

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  • jimstinehart@aol.com
    George F. Somsel has succinctly criticized my historical interpretation of the Patriarchal narratives as follows: “You treat the scriptures as an historical
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 30, 2012
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      George F. Somsel has succinctly criticized my historical interpretation of
      the Patriarchal narratives as follows: “You treat the scriptures as an
      historical puzzle rather than as a document of faith.” But if the Patriarchal
      narratives are “a document of faith”, rather than being historical, then why
      is it that each and every firstborn son gets the shaft and properly so?
      That’s the case for 7 out of 7 firstborn sons: Haran, Lot, Ishmael, Esau,
      Reuben, Er and Manassah. Note in particular the odd story in chapter 48 of
      Genesis, where a semi-monotheist who was the leader of his people in Egypt for
      17 shanah properly overrules Joseph’s attempt to give Joseph’s firstborn
      son, Manassah, the better inheritance, and instead that early semi-monotheist
      correctly insists that the finer inheritance should rather go to Joseph’s
      younger son, Ephraim.

      We have previously discussed that chapters 12-14 of Genesis can be read as
      portraying Abram as going west from Bethel to the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” in
      the northeast Ayalon Valley in Year 12 [the year before “Year 13” in
      Genesis 14: 4], where the historical ruler of the Ayalon Valley in Years 12-13 was
      the Amorite princeling Milk-Ilu, whose historical name appears at Genesis
      46: 17, and whose Biblical nickname is Mamre the Amorite. Genesis 14: 13
      presents the tent-dwelling Abram as being in confederate relationship with that
      grand old man Amorite princeling. We also noted briefly that per Amarna
      Letter EA 298, Milk-Ilu was succeeded by his firstborn son, Yapaxu, who was
      appointed mayor of Gezer in the Ayalon Valley by an early semi-monotheist who
      was the ruler of his people in Egypt for 17 years (Akhenaten), with Milk-Ilu’
      s younger son objecting to his older brother being appointed to that
      position. Per Amarna Letter EA 299, Milk-Ilu’s firstborn son was a disaster on
      all counts. He hated the tent-dwelling habiru, and he was soon driven out of
      the Ayalon Valley. Milk-Ilu’s younger son never got a chance to be ruler of
      the Ayalon Valley, as Yapaxu was succeeded on a de facto, irregular basis
      by Adda-danu, who per Amarna Letter EA 292 also seems not to have had a good
      relationship with the tent-dwelling habiru in the Ayalon Valley. (Despite
      the misleading numbering of these Amarna Letters, the succession is first
      Milk-Ilu, then his firstborn son Yapaxu, and then the outsider Adda-danu.)
      Although Amarna Letter EA 273 portrays tent-dwellers as writing to Ayalon in
      Year 13 and states that both of Milk-Ilu’s sons were almost killed, it is
      likely that what the tent-dwellers objected to was the insistence by the powers
      that be that Milk-Ilu must be succeeded by his tent-dweller-hating firstborn
      son Yapaxu.

      Now we begin to see one reason why 7 out of 7 firstborn sons in the
      Patriarchal narratives get the shaft, and properly so. Akhenaten, the early
      semi-monotheist who was the ruler of his people in Egypt for 17 years
      historically, should have done as Jacob, the early semi-monotheist who was the ruler of
      his people in Egypt for 17 shanah Biblically, does in chapter 48 of Genesis.
      The early semi-monotheist should have refused to allow Milk-Ilu to name
      his firstborn son as the successor ruler of the Ayalon Valley. The underlying
      historical problem that led to the composition of the Patriarchal
      narratives in the first place was precisely that the fine old Amorite grand man
      princeling ruler Milk-Ilu [Biblical “Mamre the Amorite”], who historically
      allied with tent-dwellers like the first Hebrews in the Ayalon Valley, was
      succeeded in Year 14 by his tent-dweller-hating firstborn son, Yapaxu, whose
      disastrous, short reign put into jeopardy the first Hebrews’ ability to continue
      to sojourn in the rural nirvana of the northeast Ayalon Valley.

      If you ever wondered why every firstborn son in the Patriarchal narratives
      is, in 7 out of 7 cases, portrayed as getting the shaft and properly so,
      this is one key historical reason. The firstborn son who succeeded “Mamre the
      Amorite”/Milk-Ilu as the ruler of the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” in the Ayalon
      Valley hated tent-dwellers. His appointment by an early semi-monotheist
      profoundly jeopardized the first Hebrews being able to continue to sojourn in
      the rural nirvana “Hebron” [ “The Heaven”] of the northeast Ayalon Valley
      after Year 13, as accurately, if a bit indirectly, portrayed in the
      Patriarchal narratives.

      Jim Stinehart

      Dr. James R. Stinehart
      Evanston, Illinois


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • George F Somsel
      I only bothered to read the first paragraph since you re so long-winded.  I warned you that I wouldn t read all the tripe you publish.   As I said, they are
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 6, 2012
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        I only bothered to read the first paragraph since you're so long-winded.  I warned you that I wouldn't read all the tripe you publish.
         
        As I said, they are documents of faith.  The overturning of the normal order of society according to human reckoning is a staple of all biblical accounts.
         11 
        Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty warrior." 13 Gideon answered him, "But sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has cast us off, and given us into the hand of Midian." 14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian; I hereby commission you." 15 He responded, "But sir, how can I deliver Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." 16 The Lord said to him, "But I will be with you, and you shall strike down the Midianites, every one
        of them."
         
        Jdg 6.11-17
         
        24
        Your solemn processions are seen, O God,
        the processions of my God, my King, into the sanctuary— 25
        the singers in front, the musicians last,
        between them girls playing tambourines: 26
        "Bless God in the great congregation,
        the Lord, O you who are of Israel’s fountain!" 27
        There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead,
        the princes of Judah in a body,
        the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.
        Ps 68.24-27
         
        20
        For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4 and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. 5 When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. 6 And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ 8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ 9 When those hired about five o’clock
        came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

        Mt 20.1-16

        6 
        It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel, 7 and not all of Abraham’s children are his true descendants; but "It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you." 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. 9 For this is what the promise said, "About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son." 10 Nor is that all; something similar happened to Rebecca when she had conceived children by one husband, our ancestor Isaac. 11 Even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose of election might continue, 12 not by works but by his call) she was told, "The elder shall serve the younger." 13 As it is written,
        "I have loved Jacob,
        but I have hated Esau."  

        Rom 9.6-13

        george
        gfsomsel

        search for truth, hear truth,
        learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
        defend the truth till death.

        - Jan Hus
        _________



        >________________________________
        > From: "jimstinehart@..." <jimstinehart@...>
        >To: biblicalist@yahoogroups.com
        >Sent: Monday, July 30, 2012 7:14 AM
        >Subject: [biblicalist] All Firstborn Sons Get the Shaft
        >
        >
        >

        >
        >
        >George F. Somsel has succinctly criticized my historical interpretation of
        >the Patriarchal narratives as follows: “You treat the scriptures as an
        >historical puzzle rather than as a document of faith.” But if the Patriarchal
        >narratives are “a document of faith”, rather than being historical, then why
        >is it that each and every firstborn son gets the shaft and properly so?
        >That’s the case for 7 out of 7 firstborn sons: Haran, Lot, Ishmael, Esau,
        >Reuben, Er and Manassah. Note in particular the odd story in chapter 48 of
        >Genesis, where a semi-monotheist who was the leader of his people in Egypt for
        >17 shanah properly overrules Joseph’s attempt to give Joseph’s firstborn
        >son, Manassah, the better inheritance, and instead that early semi-monotheist
        >correctly insists that the finer inheritance should rather go to Joseph’s
        >younger son, Ephraim.
        >
        >We have previously discussed that chapters 12-14 of Genesis can be read as
        >portraying Abram as going west from Bethel to the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” in
        >the northeast Ayalon Valley in Year 12 [the year before “Year 13” in
        >Genesis 14: 4], where the historical ruler of the Ayalon Valley in Years 12-13 was
        >the Amorite princeling Milk-Ilu, whose historical name appears at Genesis
        >46: 17, and whose Biblical nickname is Mamre the Amorite. Genesis 14: 13
        >presents the tent-dwelling Abram as being in confederate relationship with that
        >grand old man Amorite princeling. We also noted briefly that per Amarna
        >Letter EA 298, Milk-Ilu was succeeded by his firstborn son, Yapaxu, who was
        >appointed mayor of Gezer in the Ayalon Valley by an early semi-monotheist who
        >was the ruler of his people in Egypt for 17 years (Akhenaten), with Milk-Ilu’
        >s younger son objecting to his older brother being appointed to that
        >position. Per Amarna Letter EA 299, Milk-Ilu’s firstborn son was a disaster on
        >all counts. He hated the tent-dwelling habiru, and he was soon driven out of
        >the Ayalon Valley. Milk-Ilu’s younger son never got a chance to be ruler of
        >the Ayalon Valley, as Yapaxu was succeeded on a de facto, irregular basis
        >by Adda-danu, who per Amarna Letter EA 292 also seems not to have had a good
        >relationship with the tent-dwelling habiru in the Ayalon Valley. (Despite
        >the misleading numbering of these Amarna Letters, the succession is first
        >Milk-Ilu, then his firstborn son Yapaxu, and then the outsider Adda-danu.)
        >Although Amarna Letter EA 273 portrays tent-dwellers as writing to Ayalon in
        >Year 13 and states that both of Milk-Ilu’s sons were almost killed, it is
        >likely that what the tent-dwellers objected to was the insistence by the powers
        >that be that Milk-Ilu must be succeeded by his tent-dweller-hating firstborn
        >son Yapaxu.
        >
        >Now we begin to see one reason why 7 out of 7 firstborn sons in the
        >Patriarchal narratives get the shaft, and properly so. Akhenaten, the early
        >semi-monotheist who was the ruler of his people in Egypt for 17 years
        >historically, should have done as Jacob, the early semi-monotheist who was the ruler of
        >his people in Egypt for 17 shanah Biblically, does in chapter 48 of Genesis.
        >The early semi-monotheist should have refused to allow Milk-Ilu to name
        >his firstborn son as the successor ruler of the Ayalon Valley. The underlying
        >historical problem that led to the composition of the Patriarchal
        >narratives in the first place was precisely that the fine old Amorite grand man
        >princeling ruler Milk-Ilu [Biblical “Mamre the Amorite”], who historically
        >allied with tent-dwellers like the first Hebrews in the Ayalon Valley, was
        >succeeded in Year 14 by his tent-dweller-hating firstborn son, Yapaxu, whose
        >disastrous, short reign put into jeopardy the first Hebrews’ ability to continue
        >to sojourn in the rural nirvana of the northeast Ayalon Valley.
        >
        >If you ever wondered why every firstborn son in the Patriarchal narratives
        >is, in 7 out of 7 cases, portrayed as getting the shaft and properly so,
        >this is one key historical reason. The firstborn son who succeeded “Mamre the
        >Amorite”/Milk-Ilu as the ruler of the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” in the Ayalon
        >Valley hated tent-dwellers. His appointment by an early semi-monotheist
        >profoundly jeopardized the first Hebrews being able to continue to sojourn in
        >the rural nirvana “Hebron” [ “The Heaven”] of the northeast Ayalon Valley
        >after Year 13, as accurately, if a bit indirectly, portrayed in the
        >Patriarchal narratives.
        >
        >Jim Stinehart
        >
        >Dr. James R. Stinehart
        >Evanston, Illinois
        >
        >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • jimstinehart@aol.com
        George F. Somsel: You wrote: “As I said, they are documents of faith. The overturning of the normal order of society according to human reckoning is a
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 6, 2012
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          George F. Somsel:

          You wrote: “As I said, they are documents of faith. The overturning of
          the normal order of society according to human reckoning is a staple of all
          biblical accounts.”

          But look at how the examples that you yourself cite from later in the Bible
          directly contradict the view of the Hebrew author of the Patriarchal
          narratives.

          1. You cite Judges 6: 15: “He responded, ‘But sir, how can I [Gideon]
          deliver Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my
          family….’ ”

          But whereas Judges there honors Manasseh as the tribe of the firstborn son
          of Joseph, in the Patriarchal narratives, by contrast, firstborn sons get
          the shaft and properly so, especially as to firstborn son Manasseh in
          particular: “And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head
          of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove
          it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head. And Joseph said unto his
          father, Not so, my father: for this [is] the firstborn; put thy right hand upon
          his head. And his father refused, and said, I know [it], my son, I know
          [it]: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his
          younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a
          multitude of nations.” Genesis 48: 17-19

          Furthermore, if Gideon is the “youngest” son (“the least in my family”),
          that is not the Patriarchal pattern for who will be the winning son. The
          oldest sons of Isaac and Rebekah are twins Esau and Jacob, and these two
          oldest sons are Isaac’s only prominent sons; Isaac’s younger sons don’t even
          rate having their names mentioned. Jacob’s youngest son is Benjamin, and per
          #2 immediately below, Benjamin ends up getting a terrible final curse from
          his father.

          2. Similarly, you cite Psalms 68: 27: “There is Benjamin, the least of
          them, in the lead….” But in the Patriarchal narratives, Benjamin is Jacob’s
          favorite son (after Joseph’s disappearance and presumed death), and Benjamin’
          s birth mother is not his father’s original main wife #1, so we know from
          those two key facts that Benjamin is going to get the shaft from his father,
          Patriarch #3 Jacob/“Israel”, and rightly so. The fact that Benjamin is
          Jacob’s youngest son does not help Benjamin. Rather, Jacob lays a terrible
          final curse upon selfish Benjamin: “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf….” Genesis
          49: 27

          3. You quote Matthew 20: 16: “So the last will be first, and the first
          will be last." The author of the Patriarchal narratives certainly didn’t
          agree with that sentiment! Leah’s fourth-born son Judah is the winning son,
          whereas her 6th-born son, being “the last”, is Zebulun, and “the last” son
          (Zebulun) of Leah receives no special honors. Jacob’s son who is “the last”
          is obviously his 12th son, Benjamin, whose final curse I quoted above. Jacob
          ’s four sons by his two minor wives (the serving women of his two main
          wives) might alternatively be considered to be “the least”; far from coming
          out first, those sons by minor wives are not in the running to be named the
          leader of the next generation of the Hebrews.

          4. Finally, you quote Romans 9: 13: “As it is written, ‘I have loved
          Jacob,


          but I have hated Esau’." But the opposite applies in the Patriarchal
          narratives: the favorite son, who is loved the most by his father, always gets
          the shaft and properly so -- Ishmael, Esau, and Jacob’s two sons by Rachel,
          namely Joseph and Benjamin (both of whom are passed over when Jacob names
          Judah to be the leader of the next generation of Hebrews; Benjamin, who for 15
          years had been the son whom Jacob loved the most, gets the terrible final
          curse quoted above).

          Your four Biblical citations from later Biblical authors in fact nicely
          illustrate my point: the Hebrew author of the Patriarchal narratives “marches
          to the beat of a different drummer”. What I am trying to do is to establish
          what specific historical events in the Bronze Age provided the beat of that
          different drummer. My goal is to try to understand why the views of the
          author of the Patriarchal narratives as to firstborn sons and favorite sons
          differ so significantly from the views of later Biblical authors, and also
          from the views of the Hebrews and Jews generally who, it should go without
          saying, loved their firstborn sons.

          Jim Stinehart

          Dr. James R. Stinehart
          Evanston, Illinois


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • George F Somsel
          I don t have time to read your magnum opus since I have more important matters to attend to. george gfsomsel search for truth, hear truth, learn truth, love
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 6, 2012
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            I don't have time to read your magnum opus since I have more important matters to attend to.


            george
            gfsomsel

            search for truth, hear truth,
            learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
            defend the truth till death.

            - Jan Hus
            _________



            >________________________________
            > From: "jimstinehart@..." <jimstinehart@...>
            >To: biblicalist@yahoogroups.com
            >Sent: Monday, August 6, 2012 11:19 AM
            >Subject: Re: [biblicalist] All Firstborn Sons Get the Shaft
            >
            >
            >

            >
            >
            >George F. Somsel:
            >
            >You wrote: “As I said, they are documents of faith. The overturning of
            >the normal order of society according to human reckoning is a staple of all
            >biblical accounts.”
            >
            >But look at how the examples that you yourself cite from later in the Bible
            >directly contradict the view of the Hebrew author of the Patriarchal
            >narratives.
            >
            >1. You cite Judges 6: 15: “He responded, ‘But sir, how can I [Gideon]
            >deliver Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my
            >family….’ ”
            >
            >But whereas Judges there honors Manasseh as the tribe of the firstborn son
            >of Joseph, in the Patriarchal narratives, by contrast, firstborn sons get
            >the shaft and properly so, especially as to firstborn son Manasseh in
            >particular: “And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head
            >of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove
            >it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head. And Joseph said unto his
            >father, Not so, my father: for this [is] the firstborn; put thy right hand upon
            >his head. And his father refused, and said, I know [it], my son, I know
            >[it]: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his
            >younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a
            >multitude of nations.” Genesis 48: 17-19
            >
            >Furthermore, if Gideon is the “youngest” son (“the least in my family”),
            >that is not the Patriarchal pattern for who will be the winning son. The
            >oldest sons of Isaac and Rebekah are twins Esau and Jacob, and these two
            >oldest sons are Isaac’s only prominent sons; Isaac’s younger sons don’t even
            >rate having their names mentioned. Jacob’s youngest son is Benjamin, and per
            >#2 immediately below, Benjamin ends up getting a terrible final curse from
            >his father.
            >
            >2. Similarly, you cite Psalms 68: 27: “There is Benjamin, the least of
            >them, in the lead….” But in the Patriarchal narratives, Benjamin is Jacob’s
            >favorite son (after Joseph’s disappearance and presumed death), and Benjamin’
            >s birth mother is not his father’s original main wife #1, so we know from
            >those two key facts that Benjamin is going to get the shaft from his father,
            >Patriarch #3 Jacob/“Israel”, and rightly so. The fact that Benjamin is
            >Jacob’s youngest son does not help Benjamin. Rather, Jacob lays a terrible
            >final curse upon selfish Benjamin: “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf….” Genesis
            >49: 27
            >
            >3. You quote Matthew 20: 16: “So the last will be first, and the first
            >will be last." The author of the Patriarchal narratives certainly didn’t
            >agree with that sentiment! Leah’s fourth-born son Judah is the winning son,
            >whereas her 6th-born son, being “the last”, is Zebulun, and “the last” son
            >(Zebulun) of Leah receives no special honors. Jacob’s son who is “the last”
            >is obviously his 12th son, Benjamin, whose final curse I quoted above. Jacob
            >’s four sons by his two minor wives (the serving women of his two main
            >wives) might alternatively be considered to be “the least”; far from coming
            >out first, those sons by minor wives are not in the running to be named the
            >leader of the next generation of the Hebrews.
            >
            >4. Finally, you quote Romans 9: 13: “As it is written, ‘I have loved
            >Jacob,
            >
            >but I have hated Esau’." But the opposite applies in the Patriarchal
            >narratives: the favorite son, who is loved the most by his father, always gets
            >the shaft and properly so -- Ishmael, Esau, and Jacob’s two sons by Rachel,
            >namely Joseph and Benjamin (both of whom are passed over when Jacob names
            >Judah to be the leader of the next generation of Hebrews; Benjamin, who for 15
            >years had been the son whom Jacob loved the most, gets the terrible final
            >curse quoted above).
            >
            >Your four Biblical citations from later Biblical authors in fact nicely
            >illustrate my point: the Hebrew author of the Patriarchal narratives “marches
            >to the beat of a different drummer”. What I am trying to do is to establish
            >what specific historical events in the Bronze Age provided the beat of that
            >different drummer. My goal is to try to understand why the views of the
            >author of the Patriarchal narratives as to firstborn sons and favorite sons
            >differ so significantly from the views of later Biblical authors, and also
            >from the views of the Hebrews and Jews generally who, it should go without
            >saying, loved their firstborn sons.
            >
            >Jim Stinehart
            >
            >Dr. James R. Stinehart
            >Evanston, Illinois
            >
            >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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