Keturah and Abraham’s Other Children

His story being told, God grants Abraham something of a retirement for a job well done: roughly 35 years where he can settle down with a new wife, have six more children, and generally just stay out of the way. Isaac and his descendants will take the stage in a moment, but before that happens let’s take a brief look at Keturah, his new wife, and what the bible says about his new children. It’s not much, but anything the bible can do to flesh out the final days of the first great patriarch is welcome.

A mysterious new wife (that may have been an old wife)? New children who will lead great nations? Read on! Continue reading Keturah and Abraham’s Other Children

My Son Is Born!

My son, Abram, was born this week– very premature, but doing well and his mother and I are thrilled to discover our new little person. For now, we have some walls separating us as he works very hard to finish being ready for the world, but I look forward to the day that he can come home.

In Buddhism, there is a story about the birth of the baby Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. His parents were of a highborn Hindu family and because of a prophecy, his mother was traveling to his father’s kingdom late into the pregnancy. While they had stopped so that she could admire a garden, the baby Buddah was suddenly born! He walked a few steps, announced to the world that this would be the reincarnation where he would reach enlightenment, and then promptly settled back down into being a baby.

I bring this up because in the delivery room, none of the doctors or nurses mentioned our child suddenly getting up and talking, so he’s probably not going to be a reincarnation of the Buddha. Which is good, because since neither his mother or I are Buddhist and it would be terribly difficult to explain to our rabbi, or to my Christian side of the family.

For now, I plan to keep posting when I can. Writing and studying is calming, even as I sit with my wife as she recovers.

Matchmaking of the Patriarchs – Finding a Bride for Isaac

019.The_Meeting_of_Isaac_and_RebekahAfter coming down from Mount Sinai and the death of his mother, Sarah, Isaac was in a bit of a funk. He may not have been on speaking terms with his father and had gone off with his mother’s tent to live near Beer-lahai-roi, in the south of Israel. Abraham knew that the future of his line, of God’s promise, rested in the unsteady hands of his second son. But Abraham had a plan to set things right: he would find a bride for Isaac, someone that could take his mind away from his troubles. It was time for some matchmaking!

Although this is Isaac’s second story as an adult, this is really the story of Abraham’s final victory. This is the moment when he makes his inheritance secure and could go off and be happy on his own. In the process, we also get to meet one of the strong-willed wives of the patriarchs, Rebekah. What are you waiting for? Read on!

Continue reading Matchmaking of the Patriarchs – Finding a Bride for Isaac

Stateswoman or Propagandist? Unraveling the Song of Deborah

deborah-detailWhere we left off in our story, Deborah and Barak– with an assist from a housewife and a tent spike– had succeeded in conquering Jabin, one of the kings of the Canaanite kingdoms, and his 900 iron-fortified chariots. This post will revisit a lot of that material, so see my previous entry if you want a refresher.

What did they do when they won this peace? Like any great Broadway musical, they sang a song about it. I will leave you to imagine the choreography, but it probably didn’t involve dancing girls. The Song of Deborah offers a second look at the events of Judges 4, but also depicts how Deborah wanted the story to be remembered. This song, far from being just an epilogue, depicts a woman that was both an expert at statecraft and perhaps a little bit of propaganda. Read on for the end of the story about this amazing woman.

Continue reading Stateswoman or Propagandist? Unraveling the Song of Deborah

Who was Deborah, the Mother of Israel?

Today’s post was inspired by my wife. And whidevorahle I say “inspired”, I mean something else entirely. When I come home from work, if she beats me home, our conversations start off something like this:

Me: Hello! How was your day?

Wife: Have your written that post about my Hebrew name yet? (*)

And you know, I was going to get around to it… in a few years… when I made it to the Book of Judges. My wife’s Hebrew name is “Dvora”, better known in English as Deborah, the so-called “mother of Israel” and the only female Judge mentioned in the Bible. And while I thought I could hold off, in truth Deborah is a fascinating biblical figure and worthy of a deeper look. She’s also one that I had only the vaguest recollection of before I started working on this blog.

But what made the story of Deborah so special? Not one, but two powerful and influential women and a fantastic bit of false foreshadowing that reads like something out of the Lord of the Rings. Read on for more.

Continue reading Who was Deborah, the Mother of Israel?

Where Are We? Where Are We Going?

I did proDeadSeaScrolls_Amman_Museummise a few moments of navel gazing, but I swear it will be over quickly. Let’s be blunt: if you’re reading this, it’s not because you cherish regular updates in a blog. Or, if you do, you have the patience of an elephant. We’re nearly 1000 days old with 83 posts– and while once every two weeks sounds pretty good on paper, it’s really just been fits and starts with periods of lots of progress followed by long periods of inactivity. I apologize for that.

My plan is to get back to a regular posting schedule with a mix of “main narrative” posts as I continue to work my way through Genesis, plus interruptions as I finish up my Torah Family Tree project and all the little one-offs that I find so mesmerizing. My wife has also made a special request for a post which I hope to finish this week. This should continue over the summer, but I will be having a child in August and I have no idea how that will affect my ability to read and study. My hope is that now that I am out of school (for a while), I’ll be able to devote more time to blogging over all.

As we get to this magic 1000 days of blogging, I value  your feedback. What do you like and want to see more of? What less? You can reach me most easily on our Facebook page, or on Twitter at @coatofcolors.

Can I promise that I will be a better blog-host? Absolutely not. But darned it, I want to be and I want to share this journey with you. So please hold on, and there’s some fantastic stuff coming!


Is Eliezer Abraham’s Servant in Genesis 24?

Rebecca and Eliezer by Paolo Veronese, c1580 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Who was the servant that Abraham sent away to find a bride for Isaac? The bible itself does not say, but out of habit I referred to him as Eliezer when I posted about the text on Facebook. Both Jewish and Christian sources agree that Eliezer, a man otherwise mentioned only once in Genesis 15, was the servant that Abraham entrusted the future of his line to.

This post is brought to you thanks to the generous help of Jeremy from Study With Jeremy. I’ve misplaced my copy of Genesis Rabbah and he was kind enough to delve into the original Hebrew to help bring this mystery to a satisfactory conclusion.

So, who was this Eliezer fellow anyway? Sounds like a great mystery! Read on for more.

Continue reading Is Eliezer Abraham’s Servant in Genesis 24?