Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Isaac's Second Marriage


Alice C. Linsley

Isaac was the proper heir to Abraham's holdings in Edom. Abraham's territory extended on a north-south axis between his two wives Sarah and Keturah. Sarah was Abraham's half-sister wife, the bride of his youth. Keturah was Abraham's patrilineal cousin wife, the bride of his old age. The map shows Hebron (Kiriath-arba) , where Sarah resided, and Beersheba, where Keturah resided. These settlements marked the northern and southern boundary of Abraham's territory. His territory was entirely in the land of Edom, called "Idumea" by the Greeks. Idumea means "land of red people."




Rebekah was to Isaac what Keturah was to Abraham. Both women were second wives and both were related to their husbands patrilineally, that is, they share a common male ancestor. Both named their first born sons for rulers from whom the sons descended. Keturah named her first born son Joktan (Yaqtan) after her father. Joktanite clans still reside in this region.

Rebekah named her first born son Esau. Esau is a royal name associated with the kingdom of Edom, and it was noted that Esau was red and had an abundance of hair: “The first to be born was red, altogether like a hair cloak; so they named him Esau.” (Gen. 25:25) More than one ruler of Edom was named Esau and the name is a variant of Issa which is also the name Jesus. Variants of the name Jesus include Yeshua, Joshua, Issa, Esse and Esau.

The cousin bride's naming prerogative was an established custom in the time of the Proto-Saharan ruler Lamech (Gen. 4). Lamech’s daughter, Naamah, married her patrilineal cousin Methuselah and named their first born son Lamech (see diagram below). This is a distinctive feature of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Horite Hebrew who ruled Edom. Some of those rulers are listed in Genesis 36.




The evidence of kinship analysis indicates that Rebecca was Isaac's second wife. His first wife would have been a half-sister living in the area of Beersheba. She would have been a daughter of Abraham and Keturah. This was the bride of Isaac's youth, but before he could ascend to the throne of his father Abraham he needed a second wife. Abraham's rightful heir was Isaac so Abraham took great care to assure that he married according to the custom of the Horite Hebrew rulers of Edom. This way his ascension to the throne was less likely to be challenged.

As Abraham approached his death in Beersheba, Isaac had not taken his second wife, a prerequisite for ascension to his father's throne. As the second wife was usually a patrilineal cousin or a niece, Abraham enjoined his servant to seek a wife for Isaac among the women of Padan-Aram in the territory of Abraham's older brother Nahor. Abraham's servant asks what he is to do if the woman refuses to come back with him to Beersheba. Abraham answered: "If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there." (Genesis 24:8) Isaac was t remain in the territory over which he would rule. As the proper heir to the throne of his father, Isaac was not to leave Abraham's territory in Edom. Abraham was confident that the Lord would insure the servant's success, and this would not entail Isaac leaving the territory he was to rule.

Abraham's servant was divinely guided to the proper bride for Isaac in the person of Rebekah. Rebekah consented to return to Beersheba in the Negev (Gen 24:62) where she married Isaac, and Isaac then ascended to the throne of his father Abraham. Note that the New Testament speaks of Jesus taking His bride at the time of His revealing as the Son of God.  Jesus is a descendant of these Horite Hebrew rulers, as was David. David and Esau are both described as having a red skin tone. Perhaps this was true of Jesus also.

Here is a diagram of the clans of Seir the Horite. This includes Job’s clan of Uz.




Note that there are two named Esau. This is explained by the cousin bride's naming prerogative.  Esau the Elder was a contemporary of Seir. Esau the Younger was Jacob’s half-brother, reinforcing the suggestion that Isaac had a sister wife in Beersheba before he married Rebecca, his cousin wife.  As Isaac's first born son by his cousin wife, Esau would have been a vizier in the hill country of Seir in Edom. Not being a first born son, Jacob would have been sent away to establish a kingdom for himself, which is exactly what Genesis 28:2-4 describes. Note the contrast between Isaac’s admonition to Jacob to leave and not marry a local girl (Genesis 28:1-4) and Abraham’s admonition to his servant never to take Isaac from his territory, but instead to fetch a wife for him from his own Horite people in Padan-Aram (Genesis 24:4-8).

Before he died, Abraham gave gifts to all his other sons and sent them away. These sent-away sons  would have to establish territories for themselves, with God's help. This feature of the Horite Hebrew marriage and ascendancy pattern drove the Kushite expansion out of the Nile Valley. The oldest known Horite shrine was there at NekhenVotive offerings at Nekhen were ten times larger than the normal mace heads and bowls found elsewhere, suggesting that this was a very prestigious shrine.

The pattern of two wives for the ruler insured a rightful heir to the father's throne and a strong alliance between the Horite Hebrew/Habiru clans. This was not the practice of the common folk. Isaac's two wives would have lived in separate settlements on a north-south axis.


6 comments:

Ramona Gordy said...

I really appreciate this Alice. I would not have thought that Abraham and subsequently his son and grandson Jacob would be considered "kings", but then the definition and lifestyles of kings and royalty have definitely changed going forward in centuries. I understand that this "pattern" continues with Moses and Aaron and his descendants as priests, who according to scripture may marry only daughters of priests, or widows of priest. Are these similar patterns.
Thanks

Alice Linsley said...

The pattern is identical for Kain, Seth, Lamech, Methusaleh, Terah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses and Samuel's father Elkanah and David's fatehr Jesse. All were Horite ruler-priests.

Nina Mag said...

Please mention another scholar and his work who agrees with the theory that Isaac had another wife besides Rebecca.

Alice Linsley said...

I don't know of one, Nina. This research is unique. And your point is?

Have you read Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions? Do you know about paradigm shifts?

“The four most influential moderns: Darwin, Marx, Freud, and (the productive) Einstein were scholars but not academics. It has always been hard to do genuine - and no perishable - work within institutions” ― Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Computer Science Chick said...

Hi Alice,

I know this is an old post, but I have a few questions in regards to your very interesting research.

If Isaac is the son of the promise and had to be born of Sarah, Abraham's sister-wife, in order to inherit that promise, then why didn't a son of promise have to come from Isaac's own sister-wife? Instead, Rebecca seems to pray over her barren womb as though a royal heir must come from herself. Or perhaps I am reading too much into that.

Also, what if Keturah didn't have a daughter for Isaac to marry? Sarah was already dead when Abraham took Keturah as his wife, and perhaps he had tried very hard to produce a cousin-wife for Isaac to marry, and had failed, producing only sons. Thus, as Isaac climbed up in age, and Abraham approached death, Abraham knew he had to do something drastic. This could be an explanation as to why the Bible seems strangely silent regarding Isaac having a sister-wife and any heir and descendants produced from such. In fact, the Bible is quite verbose regarding every wife and concubine Abraham took, and the other sons he had. It would be strange for it to suddenly fall silent regarding all of Isaac's wives and progeny. It would also make sense for him to settle for a cousin-wife if no sister-wife was available for him. It might also equally make sense as to why Jacob (while pretending to be Esau) was sent away to get a wife--Isaac didn't have a nearby cousin-wife (from his father) for him to marry, and would be forced to look for the next closest relative. Marrying any of the local girls would have meant endangering the succession line.

Finally, your post said, "Esau the Younger was Jacob’s half-brother, reinforcing the suggestion that Isaac had a sister wife in Beersheba before he married Rebecca, his cousin wife."

I'm probably getting confused by the family tree. (It's even more complicated than the family tree to be your own grandpa!) But did you mean that Esau and Jacob weren't actually twins? I'm thinking you didn't mean that and that I really need another picture. :D

Anyway, thanks for this blog. You've given me lots of interesting things to think about. I wish I had majored in archeology! Computer science.... Bleh. What was I thinking?

Alice Linsley said...

Computer Science Chick,

Thank you for this thoughtful comment. Allow me to address each paragraph.

You wrote, "If Isaac is the son of the promise and had to be born of Sarah, Abraham's sister-wife, in order to inherit that promise, then why didn't a son of promise have to come from Isaac's own sister-wife? Instead, Rebecca seems to pray over her barren womb as though a royal heir must come from herself. Or perhaps I am reading too much into that."

You mix theological material - "son of the promise" - with historical/anthropological data. The fact is that Isaac inherited Abraham's kingdom in Edom because he was the proper heir according to the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Horite Hebrew/Habiru. The heir was the first born son of the half-sister wife, in this case that is Sarah. Abraham's first born son was Joktan, the son of Abraham's patrilineal cousin Keturah, born before Isaac. According to their marriage and ascendancy pattern, Joktan (Yaqtan) served as a sort of prime minister in the kingdom of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named.

The idea of a "son of promise" comes about 1,700 years after the time of Abraham. It appears to be the language of the Deuteronomist Historian, and it does have Messianic overtones.

Rebecca is also of the Horite ruler-priest lines and her prayer is consistent with the prayers of Horite mothers that their sons might be established in positions of high rank and authority. Esau was a ruler in Edom. Consider the prayers of Rachel and Hannah, also Horite women. Rachel's prayer was answered when Joseph became one of the most powerful men of the ancient world. He married Asenath, the daughter of the Putifar, priest of On, a very prestigious Horite shrine city. Hannah's prayer was answered when Samuel became one of the most powerful men in ancient Israel.

See this: http://biblicalanthropology.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-antiquity-of-edomite-rulers.html

You write,"Sarah was already dead when Abraham took Keturah as his wife, and perhaps he had tried very hard to produce a cousin-wife for Isaac to marry, and had failed, producing only sons. Thus, as Isaac climbed up in age, and Abraham approached death, Abraham knew he had to do something drastic. This could be an explanation as to why the Bible seems strangely silent regarding Isaac having a sister-wife and any heir and descendants produced from such."

The Bible does not say that Sarah was dead when Abraham's married Keturah. This is an assumption based on the Deuteronomist's arrangement of the material; placing the data about Keturah after the description of the burial of Sarah. All the HOrite Habiru rulers had two wives. The first wife was a half-sister and this was the bride of the man's youth. The second wife was a patrilineal cousin and this marriage took place when the ruler was much older.

You write,"It would be strange for it [the Bible] to suddenly fall silent regarding all of Isaac's wives and progeny."

It is a purposeful omission in support of the theology of promise or "covenant" being exclusively attached to the line of Isaac's son Jacob.

See this: http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com/2012/12/genesis-photo-shopped.html

The best way to avoid confusion about the rulers is to refer to the diagrams of the Genesis King Lists.

See this: http://biblicalanthropology.blogspot.com/2011/02/genesis-king-lists.html

And this: http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com/2008/06/biblical-kinship-symmetrical-pattern.html

Thanks for reading JUST GENESIS. I look forward to reading more questions or comments from you.