Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Genesis 49: The Prophecy of Israel

In this chapter, Jacob (Israel) explains how the tribes will come to be, and provides an explanation for why they come to be what they will someday become. This prophecy makes little sense if it is taken to be about the twelve children, but it makes perfect sense when taken as a story to explain the nature of Hebrew tribes by the time that this national origin myth was generated and put into writing. Reuben will be punished for his sexual escapades, and the tribes of Simeon and Levi will be scattered among the other tribes, because of their wrath, Zebulun shall be a coastal people, and so on. Israel blesses all of his son's

As in the previous chapter, we see here two fundamental themes. Firstly, that the first shall be last, with the demotion of Reuben from the pride of place usually reserved to the firstborn. Secondly, we see here once again the overarching purpose of this book: Explaining the relationships of the tribes one to another, binding together those considered to be Israel's children, and setting them apart from and against foreign tribes.

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