Home > E. Religion: palimpsest & reconstruction, EE. The Bible & the Z Revolution > Jacob’s Sons: The Bible and the Z Revolution, Part 3

Jacob’s Sons: The Bible and the Z Revolution, Part 3

At first glance, the birth-order of Jacob’s sons, the Twelve Patriarchs, might not seem important to deciphering the mysteries of the Elohist and the evolution of the Bible. After all, the Bible gives a clear account of the births, setting the stage for the struggle between Joseph and his brothers. But what if Genesis preserves a listing of the births that reports Joseph wasn’t the next-to-last son (and that Benjamin wasn’t Jacob’s youngest)? In fact it does, in Chapter 46, a passage that Richard Friedman attributes to the P author. And what if not one, but two other birth-orders can be discerned–the J birth-order (in Chapter 49) and the original E birth-order (a product of RT’s readings of Genesis and Exodus. And btw, what if Joseph had a second wife? RT thinks he might have–but that’s a topic for a later B&ZR posting). Could it have been that the birth-order (and everything else to do with the 12 Patriarchs) was a matter of burning religious and political concern to the E, J, and P authors? And just what was the P story of the births (a lost account implied by the survival of his list of the births)? Pesky questions to be sure, but perhaps worth pursuing. Anyway, here are the birth lists:

A. The “E” Birth-Order

Leah’s Older Sons

1. Reuben

2. Simeon

Bilhah’s Sons

3. Dan

4. Naphtali

Zilpah’s Sons

5. Gad

6. Asher

Leah’s Younger Sons

7. Isaachar

8. Zebulon

Rachel’s Sons

9. Joseph

10. Benjamin

Born in Egypt

11. Judah

12. Levi

B. The “J” Birth Order

Leah’s Sons

1. Reuben

2. Simeon

3. Levi

4. Judah

5. Zebulon

6. Issachar

Bilhah’s First Son

7. Dan

Zilpah’s Sons

8. Gad

9. Asher

Bilhah’s Second Son

10. Naphtali

Rachel’s Sons

11. Joseph

12. Benjamin

C. The “P” Birth-Order

Leah’s Sons

1. Reuben

2. Simeon

3. Levi

4. Judah

5. Isaachar

6. Zebulon

Zilpah’s Sons

7. Gad

8. Asher

Rachel’s Sons

9. Joseph

10. Benjamin

Bilhah’s Sons

11. Dan

12. Naphtali

Notice the place where the lists match: Reuben and Simeon are the first two sons in every list. And the same sons are attributed to the same mothers throughout. Why were Reuben and Simeon so important?   RT

Painting: Jacob and Rachel; Joseph Tissot; WikiCmns; Public Domain.

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: