Monday, February 9, 2015

Twins, Sent-Away Sons, and Heirs to the Throne

Irish twins are a Guiness World Record
Alice C. Linsley

Most of the heroes of the Bible are sent-away sons. Cain, Nimrod, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David are examples, and most were men with blood on their hands. Cain killed Abel. Nimrod was a mighty hunter and a kingdom builder who forged his territory through conquest. Abraham killed in combat. Moses took the life of an Egyptian slave driver. David killed Goliath and arranged for the death of Uriah, Bathsheba's husband. The Bible does not sanitize the lives of these men.

Cain was the first ruler and city builder named in Genesis. Abraham, Terah's youngest son, built his territory between Hebron and Beersheba and Engedi and Gerar (the land of Edom). Moses, the youngest son of Amram, did not receive a territory. David, Jesse's youngest son, forged a kingdom in Judah and Galilee. Joseph became a ruler in Egypt. Birth order and the status of the man's mother are factors that must be considered in understanding the pattern of sent-away sons as kingdom builders. The first born son of the ruler's half-sister wife was never sent away. He ascended to the throne of his biological father. The first born son of the ruler's patrilineal cousin/niece bride served as a prime minister in the territory of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named. Other sons were given gifts and sent away to establish territories of their own (Gen. 25:6).

The theme of twins as progenitors and/or city builders is found widely in ancient cultures. The twins Romulus and Remus are said to be the founders of Rome. According to the Rig Veda, Book X, Yama (a male) and Yami (a female) were the twin offspring of Surya, and the first humans. The Adam and Eve story conveys a similar idea. The man comes from mother earth as the first-born to rule over the earth. The woman comes from the man's rib, as the second born. She will rule in a subordinate role.

In the case of twins in the Bible, the first born of the half-sister bride ascends to the throne of his father and the younger twin serves the older twin or is sent away, as happened with Jacob. It is often the younger twin who receives the blessing over the first born twin. Such is the case with Joseph's sons Manasseh and Ephraim, suggesting that they might have been twins. The pattern is found with Esau and Jacob (Gen. 25:1-28) and with Perez and Zerah (Gen. 38). In the case of Isaac's twins, this reversal is explained by family deception. In the case of Judah's twins, the reversal is explained by delayed birth. The first to breach the womb had a scarlet cord tied to his arm, but he was born after his brother. The Bible does not indicate how much later. Sometimes the second twin is born much later. Though this is very rare, it can happen with twins, as in this case of Irish twins born 87 days apart.


DManA said...

I don't think Joseph fits the "sent away" pattern. We was sold by his brothers into slavery. And weren't there hints that his father was prepared to break the pattern by passing over the older sons to make him the heir?

Alice C. Linsley said...

I see what you mean. However, being sent away, by whatever means, is still part of the pattern.

I find no evidence to support the view that Jacob/Yacob was going to break with the pattern of his Horim (Horite ancestors). His first born son was Reu-ben and that is a ruler's name. Reu was a great ruler before Abraham. Yacob's utterances over his 12 sons in Genesis 49-50 are like those prophetic blessings or oracles uttered by Moses in Deuteronomy 33. Many O.T. scholars believe (and I agree) that this material is a late addition and the work of the Deuteronomist Historian defines Judaism as the religion of the Second Temple. The Deuteronomist often casts mud on rulers: Lot, Esau, and Reuben are examples. Levi and Simeon are rebuked also for killing men in their anger. To bolster the prestige of the Temple in Jerusalem, Judah receives the "blessing" of primacy over this brothers: "your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you."

DManA said...

I'm thinking specifically of the coat he gave Joseph.

From what I read this was an extraordinary display of his father's favor over his brothers.

His brothers seem to have recognized this which is one reason they hated him so much

Rick Lobs said...

You dish up such rich soul food, my friend, Alice. This is no exception.

km.tScienceInitiator said...

Moses, Aaron and Korah. These are three Priest offices. Likewise all prominent figures of three sons.Sometime these three offices work together/love each other to fulfill the divine promise.Or war each other,kill each other, and suppress the other two or one office.And the offices will be empty, desolate and the divine work will be undone.
"[Is] not Aaron the Levite thy
brother?.....And thou shalt speak unto him,
and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth,
and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.
And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and
he shall be, [even] he shall be to thee instead of a mouth,
and thou shalt be to him instead of God" Exodus 4:14-16
Aaron was under tyrant Moses all his life, and Korah killed, so there was no divine fulfillment on that occasion.
Father, son and Holy ghost are three divine offices in new era. They respect each other and fullfill there mission filling their space-time respectively in Jesus healing mission.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Excellent observation, Nimrod!