By R. W. L. Moberly
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Additional info for Genesis 12-50
2, 3), which is 48 Genesis 12-50 similar to God's requirement for Israel's worship 'at the place which YHWH will choose to put his name there' (Deut. 21). 4. 15-18). This is notable for at least two reasons. First, it renews God's promise of blessing and does so in uniquely emphatic terms, stronger than anywhere else in the Abraham story. ; because you obeyed my voice', w. 16,18). It is this second point that is theologically most interesting, because elsewhere God's promises to Abraham are unconditional statements given with no grounding, thus implicitly being grounded in the character and purposes of YHWH himself.
But the fact that the story is suggestive of these other interpretations—perhaps because in earlier versions they were an actual part of the story—makes it likely that in a sense they are all true, as they all belong to the immediate or wider context of the story. God confronts Jacob not only in human form, but as Esau, whom he fears, as a night spirit, belonging to the time when his fears are at their sharpest, as a river spirit because he is crossing a perilous boundary into the territory of Israel, and as the embodiment of the deepest hopes and fears of his own mind.
As Auerbach puts it, Without believing in Abraham's sacrifice, it is impossible to put the narrative of it to the use for which it was written... seeks to overcome our reality: we are to fit our own life into its world... (Mimesis, pp. 14, 15). Similarly, Sternberg refers to the Bible's determination to sanctify and compel literal belief in the past. The Bible shows a supreme confidence in its facts. Any rival version, it implies, would be absurd, if at all conceivable (Poetics of Biblical Narrative, pp.
Genesis 12-50 by R. W. L. Moberly