Monday, February 20, 2006

A Thought To Ponder...Could It Be That.....?

This will probably be one of the more weird posts that I blog. In a discussion last night at a Bible study I attend, we noticed that an easy way to get killed in Old Testament Days was to have a good-looking wife. That got me to thinkin', and well, you know, when you chase a rabbit sometimes you wind up in all sorts of unexpected places.

Let's start with an introduction.

On Monday night each week I participate in a world-wide Bible Study called Bible Study Fellowship International (BSF for short). Many of you may be familiar. The concept is that everyone around the world is studying the same thing at the same time. It's actually really cool.

BSF has a four-fold approach. First...daily questions for personal Bible study. Second...discussion groups. Third...lecture by a Bible teacher. Fourth...notes. Notes on the passage prepared by BSF are distributed as you exit the lecture to further enhance your study. basically study the passage four times each week. I'm amazed at how much better I learn about the passage due to the repetition.

A BSF "class," as it is called, can be either a women's class, a men's class, or a young adult class. I'm a part of the Memphis Men's Class.

BSF has a seven-year study. This year we are studying Genesis. Other studies, in order as they are coming up, are Romans, Matthew, the Life of Moses, John, Israel and the Minor Prophets, and the Acts of the Apostles. Then, you start all over again with Genesis.

I'm very excited that the Memphis Men's Class that I attend also has a children's program. So, my daughters Hannah and Clara attend with me and attend an age-appropriate program while I'm in my group and lecture. They study the same passage, complete with daily questions. Diane is in one of the Memphis day-time women's classes, and Noah attends with her. So five of the six of us are studying Genesis. get the picture.

Now to the focus of this entry (I hope you're not disappointed after the verbose introduction). Tonight we were in Genesis 26 and were talking about Isaac. Isaac had settled in Gerar with Rebekah. Apparently, Rebekah was quite the doll (v. 7, "Rebekah, for she is beautiful.") Isaac had a trophy wife. A real head-turner. A '10.' BUT...when the men of Gerar asked about Rebekah, Isaac said that she was his SISTER. WHAT?!?! Well, apparently if he said she was his wife, he was scared the men would kill him to get his wife.

Earlier in the study, we learned that Abraham had been similarly deceiftul about Sarah. Apparently Sarah was quite the looker too (Genesis 12:11 "I know what a beautiful woman you are..."). On two occasions Abraham lied and said Sarah was his sister (well, actually, she was his half-sister, so he was only half-lying...but he did it twice so maybe two half-lies make a full lie...but I digress). He too was scared of being killed because his wife was so good-looking!

Finally, the point to ponder. I know the suspense is killing you. Here appears as though the culture in that day and time made it rather difficult to have an attractive wife. It appears as though it was the point of being occasionally deadly. The point to ponder? Could that cultural norm of husband killing as the preferred method to get a good-looking wife instead of hanging out at the local bar and sheep-roasting grill be the historical basis for the women of many middle-eastern cultures wearing veils...covering everything but their eyes with their garments? Could it be that the men, out of fear of their lives, decided that they didn't want anyone to know what their wives really looked like for fear that someone will kill them and take their wife?

Years and years and years ago, sitting around the fire one night while the sheep grazed nearby, some shepherd says as he is taking off his sheep-herding robe and head covering..."hey Roi, this lying thing saying that your wife is your sister...that ain't workin'...God keeps spilling the beans so no one will sin and sleep with your wife...what else could we do to keep from getting our throats slit because both of our wives are so fine?" Shepherd #2 says "dang, Lam, I didn't realize just how ugly you really are until you took off the head-covering-thingy...put it back on so I don't know what you look like." A few skins of wine later, Roi says "Hey...I got an idea...if no one knows what our wives look like...we're home free!" Thus, the modest head covering was born. could happen...things that make you go hmmmmmm.

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