Much of the Bible seems like housekeeping, in which details are included just because they are part of the chronology. Thus, we spent entire chapters learning why some obscure mountain or cave bears a particular name, when that location will never be mentioned again. This is not just housekeeping, but pointless housekeeping – like tidying up a building that’s about to be bulldozed.
There is no moral message contained in these passages. These passages do not serve as prologue to a moral message. They are “history”, except that they are mostly a-historical, made-up fantasy.
So we come to Genesis 23, in which Sarah finally dies. The trailer-trash Sarah has exemplified some of the most immoral behavior you might ever come across, and she will not be missed. Sarah’s death is dispensed with in two verses; the remaining 18 are devoted to Abraham negotiating for the purchase of a cave in which to bury her, and a discussion of why that cave is called what it is called.
Genesis 24 picks up a bit, but not in a good way (unless you enjoy unintentional laughter). Abraham is now worried about his son Isaac not having a wife. Since this is the Bronze Age, Isaac cannot be expected to go off and find his own wife, so Abraham sends his slave out to find one for him.
You really need to read this chapter just to enjoy its repetitiveness. It tells the same story, in almost precisely the same words, three times – and almost tells it once more! In the end, the slave winds up finding Rebekah, who agrees to become Isaac’s wife.
We can finally say good riddance to the abominable Abraham in Genesis 25. I guess he won’t be pulling that “she’s my sister” bullshit on anybody else now. The chapter then proceeds to discuss the birth of Isaac’s two sons, Esau and Jacob.
Jacob will be one of the ancestors of Judaism and later Christianity and Islam. Like his forebears, he is a shining example of how not to treat other people. His brother Esau comes to him one day dying of hunger and begs for sustenance. Jacob agrees to give it to him, but only if Esau sells him his birthright. Thus, for the price of a bowl of beans and a piece of bread, Esau’s descendants are robbed of their rightful inheritance and must become Jacob’s servants.
Oh, what a glorious history the Jews/Christians/Muslims share!
At least we’re half done with Genesis now. It’s all (further) downhill from here.