#78. Before giving his blessing does Jacob know OR not know who Manasseh and Ephraim are? (Gen 48:5 vs Gen 48:8)
#79. Does Jacob adopt Joseph’s two sons OR merely bless them? (Gen 48:5-6 vs Gen 48:9-20)

As we’ve already seen in previous entries, the Priestly writer had a vested interest in rewriting  earlier Yahwist and Elohist covenant or blessing passages and in the case of the latter even converting them into covenantal ceremonies. This was so in the case of the Abrahamic covenant (#28), the transference of that covenant to Isaac (#40), then Jacob (#46-47), and finally Joseph’s two sons here in Genesis 48. We also saw thatRead More

#74. On their first trip back to Canaan from Egypt, the brothers open their bags and find their silver at a lodging place en route OR home in front of Jacob? (Gen 42:27-28 vs Gen 42:35)

Continuing our examination of the two Joseph stories (#69, #71, #72-73), which a later editorial endeavor had woven together in Genesis 37-48, this contradiction picks up where we left off. Genesis 42 displays a variety of doublets that reenforce our hypothesis that the Joseph story is in fact a compilation of two once separate Joseph stories. These duplicate renditions of the same narrative details once belonged to each of the two originally separate sources.Read More

#72. Who sells Joseph to the Ishmaelites: his brothers OR the Midianites? (Gen 37:27 vs Gen 37:28)
#73. Who sells Joseph to Potiphar: the Midianites OR the Ishmaelites? (Gen 37:36 vs Gen 39:1)

These two contradictions, like those of the flood narrative (#14-18), are also used as a classic example to demonstrate the Documentary Hypothesis. Genesis 37:28 provides us with our first clue. And Midianite merchants passed, and they pulled and lifted Joseph from the pit. And they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty weights of silver and they brought Joseph to Egypt. As the grammar of the sentence now stands, verse 28 claimsRead More

#69. Is the conflict between Joseph and his brothers, with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah only OR all his brothers? (Gen 37:2 vs Gen 37:4)

We are almost through the book of Genesis. What remains is a discussion of the Joseph story or stories as we shall see. A close reading of Genesis 37-50 would reveal that the Joseph story is a composite of two once separate versions of this story. When these two versions were later edited together minor narrative inconsistencies and contradictions were created. Since Joseph is a hero of the north, it is notRead More

#51. Is the origin of the name Rebeun “Yahweh has seen” or “he will love me”? (Gen 29:32 vs Gen 29:32)
#52. Is the origin of the name Issachar “for I have hired you” or “God has granted me my reward”? (Gen 30:16 vs Gen 30:18)
#53. Is the origin of the name Zebulun “my man will bring me presents” or “God has given me a precious gift”? (Gen 30:20 vs Gen 30:20)
#54. Is the origin of the name Joseph “may Yahweh add” OR “God has removed”? (Gen 30:24 vs Gen 30:23)

More fun with duplicate etymologies (see also: #37, #41, #44)! In the ancient word, people told (and created) stories about the origins of names and what those names meant. There are numerous stories of this sort told in the Bible’s various different textual traditions. Not surprisingly all of the names of the children of Jacob, the eponymous twelve tribes of ancient Israel, were given fanciful etymologies where the meaning of each nameRead More