Friday, 8 February 2013

Reading the Bible 12 Gen 21: 22-34 Abimelech the Trusting

Abraham makes a covenant with Abimelech concerning a well that Abraham has dug.  He offers Abimelech payment as assurance to his claim for the well.  It is interesting that Abimelech, who is the King of Philistia, and who Abraham dealt with less than honourably concerning Sarah, would agree to enter an agreement with Abraham.  He certainly wasn’t what we could call a Philistine today.  He was either very gullible or very forgiving or very kind-hearted.  The people of Philistia certainly get a bad rap in the account of history presented by the scribes later.  Those who write the history get to give their slant on the truth after all.
Another point of interest is the covenant between Abraham and Abimelech.  There is a tendency to look at covenants as something God did with the people starting with Noah giving the sign of the rainbow that God would never again send a universal flood (that may change with global warming).  However, as we see in this passage it is very much a contract between any two parties.  I remember my wonderful Old Testament prof Gordon Hamilton talking about how serious a covenant was taken in biblical times.  If you broke a covenant serious things would happen – like having your eye plucked out.  And that was probably the least serious thing that could happen.  It is a good thing that contract law isn’t enforced that way these days but it is also a reminder of the importance we should give to entering into agreements or making vows .

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