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#331784 - 05/23/10 07:58 PM *Triggers*The God Of Abraham, ISAAC, and Jacob
Marinan Offline

Registered: 07/03/07
Posts: 330
In 1997, Jonathan Kirsch wrote The Harlot By The Side Of The Road: Forbidden Tales Of The Bible. Though some critics called it sensationalistic, it is hard to argue with his scholarship and philology. On pages 49 to 52, he retells the story of the banishment of Ishmael, whom many Arab tribes consider their ancestor. In the section called "What Did Sarah See?" he writes:

The disappearance of four words in an early version of the biblical text raises the intriguing if troubling prospect that the Bible also records an incident of incestuous child molestation, a notion so shocking that it may have been literally written out of the Bible by the rabbinical censors. Did Ishmael, the firstborn son of the patriarch Abraham, molest his five-year-old brother, Isaac?

Recall that Ishmael is the child of Sarah's handmaiden, the Egyptian Hagar, and Isaac is Sarah's own child, conceived when she was ninety years old. In fact, when she overheard God's promise to Abraham that she would get pregnant, "she laughs, almost literally, in God's face." The name Isaac means "I laughed."

And now the Bible shows us a deeply enigmatic scene [Gen. 21:8-10] in which we find the fifteen-year-old Ishmael at play with his five-year-old step-brother at a feast in celebration of the fact that Isaac has been weaned (at last!) from the breast. But the festivities are ruined for Sarah because she happens to see Ishmael doing something to Isaac, something so disturbing that Sarah promptly demands that Ishmael and his mother be "cast out" in the wilderness a second and final time.

Exactly what does Sarah see, exactly what does Ishmael do, that prompts such anger and outrage in Sarah? All we are told in conventional English translations of the Bible is that Sarah sees Ishmael "mocking" young Isaac --and we are asked to believe that, thanks to a single adolescent taunt by one sibling toward another, Sarah drives mother and son into the desert to die.

Unless, that is, she saw something much worse than mere mockery.

The Hebrew word translated as "mocking" is t'sahak. Kirsch goes on:

One of the meanings of t'sahak is "laugh" --a play on Isaac's name-- and that's the one on which the translators, old and new, have relied in suggesting that Ishmael merely "mocked" or "laughed at" Isaac. What the translators are reluctant to let us know is that another meaning of t'sahak is "fondle," and the original Hebrew text of the Bible may suggest that what Sarah actually saw was some kind of sex play between Ishmael and his little brother.

Indeed, the very same Hebrew word that is used to describe what Ishmael does to Isaac appears only a few lines later in Genesis to describe Isaac fondling Rebekah outside the window of Abimilech, King of the Philistines . . . "Behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife" (Gen. 26:8).

My Ryrie Study Bible (King James Version) translates "sporting" as "caressing." Also, interestingly, Ryrie's notes on t'sahak for the Ishmael incident (Gen 21:9) include references to 19:14 --when Lot's sons-in-law laugh at his warnings to get out of Sodom-- and 39:14-17 --when Potiphar's wife, humiliated by Joseph's rejection of her advances, accuses him of attempted rape. But Ryrie's etymological note at 21:9 skips right over 26:8. Kirsch again:

The mystery of what Sarah saw deepens when we notice that an entire phrase has been dropped from the passage in some versions of the Bible itself. The authoritative version of the Bible in its complete Hebrew text --the so-called Masoretic Text-- includes only a truncated de>

Edited by Marinan (05/24/10 12:44 AM)

#332445 - 05/29/10 04:20 AM Re: *Triggers*The God Of Abraham, ISAAC, and Jacob [Re: Marinan]
Lenz Offline

Registered: 04/23/10
Posts: 61
Loc: San Francisco

I appreciate this, and thank you for the citations.

Perhaps, with some optimism, the very aim of the religion which aims to raise people up from corrupt material, and from the very originality of Sin, respects the testimony of many of God's children who become raised with complaints against the ministers of Jesus.

I am being called to stand up, and to call a man a criminal who understood "Jesus's love" wrongly, and taught His most original interpretation. I do hope you will pray for me (and nothing more).


Edited by Lenz (05/29/10 09:54 AM)

#332451 - 05/29/10 06:15 AM Re: *Triggers*The God Of Abraham, ISAAC, and Jacob [Re: Lenz]
calv Offline

Registered: 04/27/10
Posts: 45
Loc: seattle

I wonder if there may be other examples as well ?
I just may have to look into it !

thanks for the post! Marinan

“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.” Barbara Bloom

#332454 - 05/29/10 10:00 AM Re: *Triggers*The God Of Abraham, ISAAC, and Jacob [Re: calv]
Lenz Offline

Registered: 04/23/10
Posts: 61
Loc: San Francisco

I think this is a very profound elucidation. Sarah's anger is very understandable, and the epic scale of the scene could really not be any more suitable given the feelings that we may easily have today, given similar circumstances.


Edited by Lenz (05/29/10 03:23 PM)

#332496 - 05/29/10 10:40 PM Re: *Triggers*The God Of Abraham, ISAAC, and Jacob [Re: Lenz]
Marinan Offline

Registered: 07/03/07
Posts: 330
I"m glad I've helped some people out.


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