Biblical Patriarchs

Patriarchs: the names given to the alleged heads of families in early Scriptural “history.”  Any of the progenitors of the human race before the Deluge, from Adam to Noah: the post-Flood characters of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or any of Jacob’s twelve sons, said to be the eponymous  progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel. 

It has been noted in these Time Frame posts that the 8th and 7th centuries BCE covered a period of intense writing in Jerusalem of those “sacred” tales regarded as patriarchal narratives.  In this period of dynamic priest writing the nation of Assyria dominated much of the Mid East region; it was, we should note, only in this timeframe that camels became common enough as beasts of burden to merit mention only incidentally in trader’s reports.  Archaeology research has shown that camels were not domesticated until after c. 1000 BCE., which makes it awkward for some Genesis tales. 

In Genesis 37:25, for example, the story goes that Joseph, the eleventh son of the patriarch Jacob (generally claimed to have lived c. 1700 BCE) is alleged to have been sold into slavery by his brothers and taken to Egypt.  In the scene that is set with the slavery sale, there is mention of camels as beasts of burden as well as products such as “gum, balm and myrrh.”  In the 7th century BCE, at the time of the writing, these were main products in active  trade under Assyrian supervision—but not in the alleged time-setting of the Jacob-Joseph story.

Given mention in Genesis 20:1, in the alleged Isaac narrative, is found reference to a Philistine center named Gerar in connection with the Abraham saga, which implies it was a center of some importance in Abraham’s time.  By some accounts the time projected for Abram and Sarai was c. 2150-2100 BCE.  Others insist that Abraham departed from Ur in Chaldea around 2100 BCE.  And  others assert that Abraham made his way to Egypt c. 1935 BCE.  In the Isaac narrative Gerar is not actually identified as a Philistine center by the authors—probably because that location did not gain importance until about the time of the priestly composition of patriarchal lore—the 7th century BCE—when it was a heavily fortified Assyrian administrative stronghold.  Nonetheless, in Genesis 26:1, we are told that Isaac, son of Abraham, encountered King Abimelech of the Philistines, the very king who had taken to his harem Abraham’s wife Sarah.  And Isaac is said to have dwelt the Gerar because the Lord had told him, “Go not down into Egypt (verse 3).  But archaeological evidence shows that no city of the Philistines flourished until after c. 1200 BCE; they did, however, continue into Assyrian times.

Obviously the alleged patriarchal narratives were late compositions, for the incidental details that set the scenes, such as camels, non-existent cities, caravan products, etc, are out of  place for the timeframes of the alleged patriarchal characters.

The priests of Yahweh, in authoring their version of “history,” also freely indulged themselves in reproachful commentary on any and all cultural neighbors—especially those to the east such as Moab and Ammon.  With holy hatred they declared that the nations of Moab and Ammon arose from sons born to the two daughters of Lot who had an incestuous union with their father following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:30-38).  This was clearly invented propaganda by the 8th-7th century BCE priests to inflame followers with hatred for those rival nations across the Dead Sea.

Thus today do the three organized religions of the west still dish out the legacy of crafted lies and practiced hatred as the sacred path into God’s acceptance!

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