Hospitality, Power, and Sacrifice: Reading the Bible’s Little Lambs

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb 13.2, NRSV). Hospitality was an enormously important ritual in the ancient world. Because traveling was dangerous, ancient Mediterranean societies often attempted to incentivize protecting strangers by honoring those who practiced hospitality. In ancient Greece–since atContinue reading “Hospitality, Power, and Sacrifice: Reading the Bible’s Little Lambs”

Reading Genesis and Reading Joseph: Land

Whenever you come to a particular pericope (yes, pericope, not periscope Microsoft Word!) there are a few questions that you should ask. What is the point of this single narrative episode? In other words, if this text existed in a vacuum, how would we interpret it if the only context we had was the contextContinue reading “Reading Genesis and Reading Joseph: Land”

Father, Mother, Sons, and Strife: Reading Stories Intertextually

A few posts ago, I talked about how intertextuality—the practice of lining up two or more texts that are close enough to compare in order to emphasize differences or help aid in interpretation—can help us better understand the Bible. Both of these posts used Genesis 19 to show how this text can help us betterContinue reading “Father, Mother, Sons, and Strife: Reading Stories Intertextually”

Joseph’s Dreams

I’m going to tell you something shocking: Joseph is not a hero. Well, ok, there are two misleading things in that statement. First of all, if you’ve known me for very long, taken my classes, or read more than one of my blogs, you probably aren’t shocked that I would say that Joseph isn’t aContinue reading “Joseph’s Dreams”

The “Other Brother”: Genesis 43 and Father’s Day

The story of Joseph (Gen 37–50) is a family drama. And like so many family dramas, from Wes Anderson films to Inception, the focus is on redemption and reconciliation. All of the action that takes place serves only to move the characters into the right place—both locationally and mentally—to confront their past mistakes and eachContinue reading “The “Other Brother”: Genesis 43 and Father’s Day”

“They Did Not Recognize Him”: Identity and Dress and Joseph

Travelling to Egypt I’ve taught the Joseph Cycle in Hebrew several times and am currently preaching through it, so I’ve thought about it a lot. I will probably be blogging on and off about it in the near future, but as I was working through chapter 42, I came across a cool tie-in to theContinue reading ““They Did Not Recognize Him”: Identity and Dress and Joseph”

Rape in the Ancient World (Slaves)

Genesis 37 is one of the most famous texts in the Hebrew Bible. In this narrative we read that Joseph—having been sold as a slave to the Egyptians due to jealousy by his brothers—is very beautiful. Beautiful enough that his master’s wife lusted after him and wanted to sate his lust. Repeatedly she commands, “LieContinue reading “Rape in the Ancient World (Slaves)”

Rape in the Ancient World

In 2 Samuel 13, we read about the horrible situation of Amnon and Tamar, which we talked about last time. However, one aspect of the story bears a closer look. As Amnon begins to force his sister, she cries out: No, my brother, do not degrade me, for such a thing is not done inContinue reading “Rape in the Ancient World”