Discovering Genesis 8: The Children of Abraham
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Chapter four finds Abraham old and wealthy. He sends his servant off with 10 camels laden with gold. The servant meets Rebecca at the well where she draws water for him and his camels. Rebecca agrees to return to Abraham's house to marry Isaac. Abraham dies and is buried in the cave of Machpelah. Rebecca becomes pregnant with Jacob and Esau. The Lord predicts that she will give birth to two nations; one will be stronger than the other and the elder will serve the younger. Esau, the hunter, sells his birthright to Jacob, the shepherd, for a bowl of porridge. Dr. Neiman explain that the sale of one's birthright was a common practice and many records of these transactions have been found among the cuneiform tablets that have been uncovered. Rebecca helps Jacob fool Isaac into giving Jacob his blessing instead of Esau. This betrayal causes a rift between the brothers and Jacob escapes to the city of Haran.
Dr. David Neiman (1921–2004) was professor of Jewish theology at Boston College and specialized in a broad range of fields, including archaeology, Biblical studies, Jewish history and Catholic-Jewish relations. He also organized Boston College’s Institute of Biblical Archeology and participated in nearly a dozen archaeological excavations in Israel. He was the author of Domestic Relations in Antiquity (Little Acorns Press, 1994) as well as a commentary and selected translation of the Book of Job (Massada, 1972). He also wrote several important articles for the Encyclopedia Judaica. His lectures on the Book of Genesis were delivered in 2000 at the University of Judaism in Bel Air, CA.