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Abraham, Part 3: Do You Have to Marry a Jewish Girl?

The issue of continuity that continues to perplex.

P. David Hornik


May 5, 2013 - 8:00 am
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Running from Genesis 12 to 25, the story of Abraham is, among many other things, a cliffhanger drama of Jewish continuity. It starts with God telling Abraham, when he’s still a Mesopotamian:

Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

And I will make of thee a great nation….

But even though Abraham goes to live in Israel as he’s bidden, serious complications arise. It turns out this putative father of a great nation and his wife are an infertile couple. God, miraculously, solves that problem for them only when Abraham is a hundred years old and Sarah ninety, evoking incredulous laughter from them both.

Their son Isaac is born; but some years later the troubles continue when God again comes to Abraham and says:

Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

Since Abraham — whose identity, as I discussed last week, is based on obeying God — has no choice but to comply, it appears again that the future of the “great nation” has been lost, until God again intervenes and rescinds the terrible decree.

The next major event is Sarah’s death. Abraham, who is “old, and well stricken with age,” knows that the issue of Jewish continuity has still hardly been solved, since in all of Canaan there isn’t a single “Jewish” girl whom Isaac can marry.

Instead Abraham tells the “eldest servant of his house”:

I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:

But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.

So begins one of the Bible’s loveliest tales.

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All Comments   (6)
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Well, besides the issue of Jewish continuity, dating a Catholic girl when you weren't even a Christian wasn't fair to the Catholic girl. A Protestant can sacramentally marry a Catholic if they get permission to do so and he agrees to raise the children Catholic, but sacramental marriage is impossible between a Catholic and an unbaptized person.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Marriage wasn't on the agenda. And the dating was her choice just as much as mine.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My Israeli husband's parents were Holocaust survivors. He told me that they regarded every grandchild born as a victory against the Germans who had tried and almost succeeded in wiping out both of their families. He said that when each grandchild was born, it was like they were saying to Hitler, "Take that! Another one! And look at her...she's pregnant again...another one!!!"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In Genesis, and Job the sons of G-d are always Angels. Except for Adam. Therefore, the Nephilim can not be the sons of Cain. The Nephilim were one of the biggest reasons for Noah's flood.

The Nephilim were on the earth after the flood. This maybe the reason G-d did not want Abraham's offspring to mix with the locals. Not only did the locals worship false gods, but murdered their young. Kind of like today's world.

It is not until the New Testament that the term son of G-d was used for a fully human body. The word made flesh, who was murdered for human sin. The blood of the lamb. In this case a perfect human body which had no sin. Died willingly for all. The word made flesh would not enter a body contaminated with Nephilim DNA.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One should recognize that the first inkling of a "great nation" that would comprise the Hebrew line of Abraham didn't emerge until the third generation. One son by Hagar the concubine, Ishmael, was banished. And the sons of his second wife, Keturah, were given "gifts" and sent to the lands of the East. That left only Isaac.

Isaac had two sons, but only one got the "birthright": Jacob. Esau went his own way and created his own nation. So two generations after Abraham, that future "Jewish" nation was still just ... one person. Jacob of course had 12 sons, who each created his own tribe.

Like most Jews in the Diaspora, those in the US are mostly secular and liberal, and like most secular liberals have few children. So it's a shrinking, aging population. But in Israel, even "non-religious" Jews are marrying and having children, and so have the youngest Jewish demographic in the world.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good points all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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