The subtitle for today's chapter is "God's Covenant with Abram," which at least sounds a little more exciting than some of the previous ones. (I'm still impressed with how boring they managed to make the Battle of Siddim.)
God comes around to congratulate Abram and say again how awesome things are going to be for him. Abram points out that, so far, that doesn't seem to be the case, because he still doesn't have any children. This is pretty justified, in my opinion, and god seems to think so too, because he doesn't get mad at Abram. Instead, he takes him out and shows him the stars and we get yet another metaphor for how numerous Abram's descendants will be. It's funny how god is sometimes totally okay with people questioning him and sometimes it's The Worst Thing Ever.
Abram is still a little skeptical at this point, so god tells him to bring a bunch of animals and sacrifice them. Abram cuts them in half and guards the carcasses. This seems a little gruesome to me, but apparently is traditional. And frankly, gruesome doesn't seem to phase the OT god.
Once night comes around, god delivers a promise to Abram. He says that the descendants of Abram will be slaves in a land not their own, and they will be oppressed for 400 years. But it's okay because after that, god will judge the people oppressing them and things will get good for Abram's line. Abram himself is promised an easy death after a long life. And then they will come back after 4 generations, which allows time for the Amorites' iniquity to become "complete."
There are so many wtf things about this covenant. Four hundred years of oppression?? That's all fine for the people around at the end of it, when god apparently will get around to rewarding them, but what about all the people who will be born, live, and die in misery? Sure, heaven, I guess, but that's seems like a fantastically shitty deal to me. Especially because it's unnecessary. God is omniscient and omnipotent, so he's just showing off his puppet mastery here. He knows that the Amorites are in iniquity because he made them that way. So why the four generation wait? Why the 400 years? It just seems like god is creating some cosmic play, using the lives of real people as fodder. I find it vaguely sickening.
So then god sends a smoking fire between the pieces of the dead animals and delivers the promised covenant. He promises to give the land of a bunch of different people (Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, etc) to Abram's descendants. God is apparently quite the racist. I know this is the OT god and such, but are we seriously to believe that this is the same god that cares about all of humanity? Cause right now it just seems to be one petty tribal god promising his particular tribe that one day they'll be the ones on top.
That's all for the great covenant of Abram...tune in next time to see how it plays out!
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