1. Who is Lot? Lot is the son of Haran, who is the brother of Abraham. He migrated with Abram out of Ur of the Chaldeans to the land of Canaan. There were frequent quarrels between the herdsmen of Abraham and Lot in grazing. The land could not support them together anymore. Abraham and Lot parted because the flock and their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan plain as far as Zoar pitching his tents near Sodom while Abraham stayed in the land of Canaan. (Cotter 88).
How does he compare to Abraham? In the story, Lot is a character whose shortcomings and blunders stand in opposite to Abrahams. His opinions are weak because it is diffuse and lacking in continuity which is most likely to head downhill. He exhibited poor judgment when he disregards the Promised Land by choice in favor of the deceptively attractive cities of the plain due to the proximity of good grazing for his flocks. Lot is passive and foolish in nature whose decisions are likely to initiate scant actions like offering his daughters to the Sodomites. Lot showed insensitivity and lack of caution when he chose the Plains when he already knew Sodom has the reputation of being dwelled by evil men. It is evident that he was allured by the city life seen by the diversities of its people. The choice can be a good opportunity for diversion in his trade activities in fairness. It is evident that he did not contemplate on the malice and hidden corruption of city life. (Koban 98)
2. Compare Lot and Abraham. How are Lot and Abraham similar? Lot participation in the events showed his illegitimacy or the inclusion or exclusion as a legitimate heir. He then unfavorably lost the inheritance by deception. Abraham on the other hand does not appear as a landless wanderer but as a leader with a vision and reputable fellowship and guidance from God. He manages a huge army, the one he campaigned to save his feckless nephew Lot. Abraham life lived a life of trust and faith with God, leaving his country, his father’s home and his clan. It can be seen that the overflow of blessings of Abraham from Egypt has benefited Lot through inheritance. Lot’s separation resulted to his loss of blessings. He is comparable to Abraham in terms of wealth where servants and animals are typically associated with wealthy persons. Knowing very well that this blessing comes with inheritance, the separation with Abraham just cut him from it. (Matthew 129). . Lot’s wealth and blessings flowed through Abraham. They live with the protection and blessings of the Lord. Abraham and Lot are nomadic shepherds whose task is to move through lands in search for pasture. (Koban 100).
How are they different? Abraham was singled out by the Lord to become a great and populous nation to keep his sons and his posterity to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. So the Lord may carry into effect for Abraham the promises he made with him and to find blessings in him. He loves God and always strived to do His will. He is sick of idolatry and the evil way of life. Lot’s attitude and visions are not as well laden and well structured as Abraham. He tends to give impromptu foolish decisions that will mark his kind of decision making and leadership all the more leading him to a bad plight. Lot portrayed the character of being always hesitant to follow God’s command. It is either he ignores the instructions or he is halfhearted or not convince in carrying out the order. Abraham was mild, tender, and repentant. He does not annoy God and is a submissive figure. He always surrendered himself to the divine will. Lot on the other hand is a powerless individual who cannot even control his own people during the meeting with the three strangers. (Kaltner 101). Abraham has been living a life of faith for he can sense divine presence. Lot has no relationship with God. And he got lured toward evil because of the lack of it. If we do not seek the Lord we give ourselves over to the vices of this world.
3. Who lives in Sodom? The Sodomites lives in Sodom along with the Canaanites and the Perizzites. Sodom as the name indicates was full of sodomites or homosexuals.
Are other cities beside Sodom destroyed? Yes, Gomorrah was also destroyed of the same fate and of the same date for the same sins. The two cities were totally out of control in terms of committing the abominable crime of sodomy, idolatry, perversion, and fornication. Gomorrah was full of perversion and promiscuity. (Jah 159).
What do we know about these cities? What have they done to deserve to be killed? When Lot chose the Plains, Sodom was already described as being inhabited by men that were very wicked. (Genesis 13:13). Their sins were already determined before the angels went down to destroy it. Tradition varies with regards to the nature of wickedness. In which case, Sodom, and the other city, Gomorrah, were destroyed because of their acts of homosexuality which is an unnatural vice of anal sex. This is a great form of abomination to the Lord. Their practices were so abhorrent that there was an outcry. It has hastened the decision of the Lord to destroy them both. Homosexuality also known as sodomy is a case of general immorality. From archeological records it was a common practice of the East to use homosexual rape for soldiers as a way of humiliating their enemies. Breaking the spirit of their enemies would mean raping them like women. Such practice was not driven by sexual desire but hatred and brutality. (Miner & Connoley 4). In Jewish views, the sin of the city was a technical affirmation of terrible and economic crimes, both greed against each other and outsiders. The Lord rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah. It ultimately destroyed the inhabitants down to the produce of the soil. Sodom’s name is usually linked to sexual perversion and stands in the bible as an overthrow without remedy. It reflects itself a totally abandoned culture. It was an unaccepted way of life. “God sets a limit to human wickedness beyond which judgment is inevitable, unsuspected by the majority, and final in its character.” (Phillips 159). Sodom provides a study of changeless principles. The name has become a byword for selfishness and cruelty.
4. Compare this episode with the earlier destruction by the flood. Comparing to the great deluge, in Sodom’s case, Abraham was given full knowledge and the chance to intercede in behalf of the city. Abraham showed his ability to negotiate by which God has considered the proposition. The story continues with the futile search for ten righteous people. The destruction concludes two cities. God does not want wicked people to die. He wants them to have a chance to change, the very reason he played along with Abraham. (Levin 47). In the flood, it relates destruction of the whole of humanity and the punishment of the animals was occasioned by the punishment of man. Men then were a corrupt, lawless and violent generation. Their hearts, soul, and minds are all evil. (Crowther 155). Noah was the only one who has found favor with the Lord. Only he and his family and selected animals were spared. Noah was considered by the Lord as blameless and walks in constant fellowship with Him. The deluge decreases human life term. Here the Lord did not give Noah a chance to intercede. He only gave instructions on how he should survive unlike the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. The time before the deluge and the times of Sodom and Gomorrah ranks in the same level of sins of homosexual practices, drinking and violence.
Topic: Sacrifice of Isaac.
5. Why did God test Abraham? The sacrifice of Isaac seeks to gain the perspective of Abraham’s trust and love for the Lord and his relationship with Him. Take it as an assertion of his fidelity. God both have the power to create and destroy when he chooses. The power to create life implies the concomitant power to destroy. Here, male authority is invested with sacred power. Abraham did not inform Sarah of the instructions of God. When he submits to God’s will, it flowed through and became identical with his. (Delaney 17). God was to remember the binding of Isaac in favor of his generation. (Vermes 111). The selflessness of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac portrayed obedience necessary for the blessing of humanity. The sacrifice showed that the Lord is immanent and transcendent. Isaac carrying the wood to the place of slaughter was reflected as Jesus carrying the cross. Their silence indicated the acceptance of the will of God. Isaac carried with fortitude and knew what was to befall him. Both Isaac and Jesus were bound. Neither was sorrowful of the sacrifice of their father. Isaac was paralleled to Christ in this manner. (Kessler 108). The sacrifice of Isaac recognizes the relationship of God is more important than anything else. This is a concept of giving up the finite for the sake of the infinite. It implicates suffering, a dying of one self to total dependence on God. (Evans 110).
6. What if Abraham failed the test? Would Abraham have sinned if he head failed the test? What do you think would have been God’s punishment of Abraham if he failed the test? If Abraham failed the test he sinned for disobedience. It will imply distrust and non dependence which is the sole theme of the covenant of God: you be my people, I will be your God. The most probable punishment is death in ancient times. God is very severe in His kinds of punishment in ancient times as recorded in history.
Topic: The purpose of this episode
7. The story of the sacrifice of Isaac is one of the most famous in Genesis. What does its inclusion in Genesis say about the ancient Hebrews? Here it shows that what God wills is not always His command. He willed the obedience and not the action. God recognizes freewill. This tells us how Abraham managed to distance himself with his son Isaac. God is silent, Abraham is silent, Isaac is silent, and witnessing of the readers is silent too. The projection of the emotions is strong projecting a gap of silence staring to the sky. It’s a kind of communication done in the silence of the hearts through complete integration of mind and heart. As Abraham is distance from his son, so is God distance from Abraham too. Apparently future is distanced blessing from the past by which we define obedience as the distance between. (Edgerton 110).
About their attitude towards God? The people’s attitude towards God considered the Lord more than their precious stones and belongings. They are totally dependent on the graces and blessings of God. Everything they do is taken as part of their divine relationship with God. The faithful lived in constant fellowship with God in great wisdom, skill and intelligence. They act as guide to their group or clan. The idea of divine consciousness is their absolute frame for reference in their life and activities and judgment providing their basis for truth and objectivity. The early Christians belief in God is always placed first in their creeds. Human actions did play a determining role in God’s attitude to the people and the ancient people’s attitude to God. When we speak of their relationship, we clearly speak of giving up freedom and any commitment that involves a promise. Though God is unchanging he reacts to what occurs in the world. . There is a direct supervision from God with regards to their actions and plans. (Harland 75).
About their family values? God always intervenes and takes over and it teaches us to wait on God’s action rather than presume to make such a decision. Here we clearly see that religious commitments takes precedence over family commitments. The elementary family value of loving a son more than a father loves himself has been reduced to a relative position in contrast of his absolute relation to God. Abraham demonstrates his faith in God, Isaac demonstrates his faith in his father solemnly and unconditionally. The ethics of the sacrifice portrayed reduced family cohesion for the aim of national prosperity. Here self sacrifice precludes the fulfillment of the individual which is done by both Abraham and Isaac. The absolute duty to God lies in conflict with the ethical duty to Isaac, his family and society. Examining the condition and the relationships that made this possible, we can derive from the act that many people have died and suffered in the name of religion than any form of culture. Indirectly it was often done by people they trusted to look after their souls. The demand was a simple affirmation, reinforcement, and demonstration of God’s authority. Religion in its form requires recognition of authority. It is conceivable that God wants his devotion over anything else. His family related valued stemmed from his inherited family tradition that influenced individual’s religious conceptions, family values, and approach to relating religion to values. (Newman 79).
If God told a devout religious person today to sacrifice his or her son, what would you predict he or she would do? At this modern age, nobody would want to repeat history by itself except the fanatics and the copycat or the mislead people. Many have been trying mass murders for an uncontrolled urge of philosophy and they perished for nothing. Misguided conceptions of killing families and people have led to trials of murders and being placed behind prison bars. The act of sacrifice is not well understood by the people of today. Our modern experience does not understand the implications of sacrifice and its practice in the past. The implication of a sacrifice in modern times is surrendering all that we have and all we are to God. It is sort of a dying of oneself in complete surrender which is a demand for the surrender of one’s free will to God’s will and no murder or killing whatsoever involve.
What would society say about that person if he or she did sacrifice a child? Society will cry for murder or infanticide. In modern society we do have laws against child abuse. This means that we are to rear and care for our children so that they will grow to be loving and responsible citizens of the world.
What does this all reveal about the place of religion in ancient times as compared to its place today? In ancient times laws revolve around religion as seen in the direct involvement of God to His chosen people. At this modern time, laws revolved around the nature, culture, religion, environmental, beliefs, reason and justification for its implementation. There are so many aspects that were considered in its formation. In ancient times, the high priest and the law works together while in our modern times religion and law works separately.
Topic: Women in Genesis.
8. The place of women in this society. What seems to be the role of women in this early Hebrew society? How are they treated by the society? The prevailing attitudes of women, their status, and their roles has very limited sphere of influence noting the extraordinary power of fathers on their daughters and husbands over wives. The laws of inheritance, betrothal and divorce were rest heavily on men’s favor. A woman may be and was usually passed from her father authority to his husband without being consulted. She is not expected to keep the family name nor property of the family. The law stated of women being referred to as maintenance rather than inheritance in most cases. A girl below twelve years of age has no right to her labor in the sense that everything she earns belongs to her father. Given the choice, a girl can stay at their homes until puberty subject to the arrangements made by her brothers and mother upon his father’s death. A husband can divorce a wife without her consent for reasons of chastity, burning a meal or for another woman much beautiful than her. She can be divorced if she caused an impediment to the marriage. The extent of the wife’s household task depends on the number of servants she brought during the marriage. Divorce is rarely extended to the wife. (Witherington & Witherington 3). The women in Genesis were portrayed to have exemplary beauty that can allure a man’s desire and capture a man’s heart.
9. Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel. What do you think of these women? These women of ancient times were all beautiful, wide, obedient, and has their places in the hearts of the leaders in those days. They portray different roles that have its own significance in history. In early Christian Sarah was a model of faith. Hagar is wise enough and brave to make such demands with God for the sake of his son considering her status in the society. Rebekah is scheming and is not fair in her treatment with her sons. Leah and Rachel has been out to winning Jacob’s heart by reproduction of children by themselves and their slaves.
Which women do you admire most? Which do you admire? Hagar, the maid is the one I admire most. Having to do a very difficult task of submitting to the abusive treatment of Sarah but yet she had managed to crop out an arrangement from God. Hagar was the real sufferer. She originated a rivalry that run to the keenest animosity throughout the ages. This she had displayed that she was subject to God’s special care where her extremities became God’s opportunity. She had extracted a promise from God that His favor will rest upon her and that her son will be progenitor of a great multitude. (Lockyer 3).
Which are the strongest? Hagar is the strongest. She had made well to fight a place for her son in the history of religion.
Which are the most good? Hagar is most good since she endured the abusive treatment of Sarah without retaliating. She only cries out to God.
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