Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Reading the Bible 29: Genesis 36 – Esau – There shall be Kings

I can’t say that I was engaged with the generations of Esau as described in this episode.  Then again I have not been one who is interested in tracing my family tree unlike someone close to me who goes steady with at times.  I’m sure that the compilers of the bible had their very good reasons for including all this information on the generations of Esau.  I am sure it was necessary from their perspective.  This gives me a good example of how important perspective is in attempting to discern God’s will for us what was the importance of generations to the Israelites?  Of course it showed the connection between their history from Abraham to their time.  It gave them an understanding of the covenant that God made with the Patriarchs and how it was still active in their lives.  It may also have been a way of establishing their right to the Promised Land.  That claim is still being made by the Jewish settlers in Palestine today as they encroach on the Palestinian territory.  They are being permitted to do so by the government of Israel today for its own political reasons and not because it is part of the land promised to them by YHWH. 

One verse jumps out at me among all the list of descendants in this passage.  Verse 3:These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the Israelites.  There seems to be an ulterior motive for placing this information about the neighbours of Israel and by inference about Israel.  It implies that there will be kings in Israel.  It raises the question, will this or does this (is this now in terms of the compilers) a good thing or a bad thing?  Should Israel have kings as the Edomites do/did?  They will be clamoring for a king as their neighbours have in the time to come – with mixed results.  Their heritage can be traced back to Abraham through Esau.  Does it mean that Israel has lost its way by going this route?   

All in all it is a reminder that religion and politics are seldom far apart and we should always be aware and wary when we try to use religious justification for a political agenda.  Beware in recruiting God to your side in an argument It might just as easily be the devil as God that is making you do it.


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