Day 13

Genesis 38-40

Chapter 38

First issue of interpretation today is 38:2. Judah ‘took her and went in unto her’ in the KJV; I checked the Hebrew/English translation and it’s the same. Does this somehow imply marriage? Because at least 3 modern translations (NLT, NIV, and NET) say he married her. Are they just trying to make this passage more ‘politically correct’ or palatable to modern readers???

Best part of Genesis is this little ditty based on 38:8-10.


Back to the family values with the story of Tamar, who prostitutes herself to her own father-in-law. The story itself doesn’t surprise me (nothing should by now); what does is that one of the children of this union becomes an ancestor of Jesus! That’s just bizarre, given that so much will later be made of Jesus’ genealogy.

Chapter 39-40

Joseph and Potiphar's wife, Guido Reni, 1630

Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, Guido Reni, 1630

Question for bible or history scholars. Chapter 39:1 reads “…Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard,…”. The original Hebrew is the same, ditto in the 3 modern translations I checked. But in the SAB there is a link to the Brick Testament, with a photo entitled “Joseph and the Eunuch’s Wife”, and the caption “Potiphar the Egyptian, one of the Pharaoh’s eunuchs and head of the executioners….” Where did that  come from? There no version cited. Is there an assumption based on historical knowledge that pharaoh’s officers were all eunuchs? or that ‘captain of the guard’ means ‘executioner’? Or something else I don’t know?


And finally, this nostalgic film strip from 1958 is exactly the sort of sanitized Pablum I was fed in Sunday school as a kid in the 1960’s. The story is ‘cleaned up’ to reflect family values; in this instance, Jacob’s favoritism of Joseph is explained by Joseph’s devotion and obedience etc – which is not in the bible. Any hint of sex is omitted – in this case the stuff about Potiphar’s wife. And the ending is turned into a morality story about being pious and obedient to parents and god etc etc. I feel queasy.

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