The Bible Is a Parable: A Middle Ground Between Science and Religion
He leads his people from Ur (Mesopotamia), the -land between two rivers, | that
many believe to be the nursery of civilization, to Canaan, the -land between | two
civilizations, which has been contended over by all the major powers of the ancient as
well as the modern -Middle East. |
The -land of his promise | doesn‘t seem to have lived up to expectations. A severe
drought forced him to move on to Egypt, the -great power of the south, | the -oldest
civilization | that seems to have exercised some sort of protectorship over the land of
Canaan at that time. Egypt was the ancient -sanctuary of last resort | that was sought out
by the peoples in the many lands surrounding it who were afflicted by the periodic
droughts as that part of the world entered a long drying cycle.
According to the Bible, Abraham had two sons, Ishmael the elder and Isaac the
younger. These two half brothers became the biblical progenitors of two lineages: for
Ishmael, the Arabs, and for Isaac, the Hebrews. They have historically contended with
each other over the land of Canaan and others around it, and do so to this day. Like Cain,
Ishmael was the older brother, the emotionally more volatile, the one closer to nature,
while Isaac the younger, was the more civilized in his behavior. His sacrifice (restitution)
seems to have been for the sin of artifice, contributing to his brother‘s loss of his
birthright. The herds that were his offering seem to be equivalent to Abel‘s animal, or
meat sacrifice, but were accepted by his brother, not God.
Isaac had two sons. Twins. The technically firstborn was named Esau. The one that
quickly followed was named Jacob. Esau was a -great hunter. | He had a certain wildness
of physic and nature. He was called -the hairy one. |
Jacob was of a milder nature, preferring camp life to wildlife. In his maturity he was a
skilled herdsman and farmer.
In these two, the story of Cain and Abel is retold, but with a twist. Like Cain, Esau
was the elder son, and had a more volatile temperament. But unlike him, Esau was a
hunter, which skill came before shepherding and long before farming.
Like Abel, Jacob was the younger and had a similar mildness of nature. Unlike him,
Jacob survived a confrontation with his elder brother. The second story seems like a
sequel to the first, as if to indicate what might have happened if Abel had lived to spread
his goodness into the whole world, as did Jacob whose lineage reached all the way down
to Jesus of Nazareth.
Once again we have the primary figure in the trilogy, Abraham. Then, we have the
sons of two different natures, Ishmael and Isaac and thirdly, we have the grandsons, Esau
and Jacob, replaying an earlier scenario, while also giving us in the succeeding
generations the opportunity to partake of the offered inheritance.
Abraham like Noah was a -moral | man obedient to his God‘s direction through all
manner of life‘s vicissitudes. The sons witnessed their father‘s odyssey and largely
respected its meaning. However, they were only able to pass this witness on by word of
mouth to their progeny, who seemed to be unable to avoid the conflict of their fathers.
Additionally, they were able to be enticed toward the easier living of the Egyptian delta,
as a prelude to all that denigrated the spirit in the following generations.
The fourth occasion concerns the story of Jacob. He had several sons, the youngest of
whom was named Joseph.