11: The humans decide to build an epic tower, and they work together nicely because they all speak the same language. God gets paranoid – again – and says “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” Way to go, god. Feel better now?
Lots of kids… and then we get to Abram. He’s important. We know this because he’s repeated… a lot. Unfortunately, the long list of descendants stops dead, because Abram’s wife Sarai is barren. It’s tragic.
12: But wait! God bestows a blessing on Abram – for no reason that I understand. But who cares? Abram, his wife, and his nephew Lot set forth to travel to Canaan. God then bestows the land to Abram’s (currently nonexistent) descendants, completely ignoring the people who currently live there. This theme pops up a lot. Abram thanks god, and keeps on walking.
Abram moves to Egypt, and decides his wife (who must be fairly old, since he’s seventy-five) is hot. If people saw that he was married to a beautiful woman, they’d kill him so they could possess her. So instead, he decides to say Sarai is his sister, so people can rape her without bothering him. A loving husband, by all accounts.
Indeed, the Pharaoh makes poor Sarai his concubine. You just wait – she’ll probably be punished for being unfaithful.
All right – instead, god punishes the Pharaoh. It’s not really his fault, which he points out. He chastises Abram and kicks both of them out of Egypt.
13: Abram and Lot are both filthy rich, and there’s not enough room for them to live together. They split up – Lot gets all of Jordan, and Abram stays in Canaan.
Oh hey – finally a mention of this famous Sodom and Gomorrah story! And then the mention is over… but I think that story’s in here somewhere. We’ll get to it.
14: A bunch of names I don’t care about fight each other. Then Lot is taken captive, and Abram becomes angry. Apparently nephews are more important than wives. Abram and his servants demolish the kings’ armies, and capture back Lot, all the kings’ stuff, and their women. Marvelous.
15: God then comes to Abram in a vision, and tells him he’s going to bestow descendants on him. To do this, Abram sacrifices a bunch of animals. Fun. Still, he doesn’t seem to be having much luck, as seen in the next chapter.
16: So Sarai still can’t have children, so she tells Abram to sleep with her slave girl Hagar, as a sort of surrogate mother. But when Hagar becomes pregnant, she sees herself as better than Sarai. Then Sarai scolds Abram. Abram, who for once is mostly in the right, reminds her that it was her idea, so Sarai ‘deals harshly’ with poor Hagar, who runs away.
Luckily for Hagar, an angel finds her and tells her to return to Sarai and Abram. She bears him a son – Ishmael, who will be ‘a wild ass of a man’. Brilliant.
17: Abram is ninety-nine, and is renamed by god as ‘Abraham’, patriarch of many nations. God keeps promising all these children, but he hasn’t delivered yet. Next, god goes on about circumcision, and then promises Abraham children. Again. Then there’s a big circumcision party, which sounds rather painful. That’s the end of this section. Is anyone else getting bored yet? I’m starting to see why you need religious fervor to make it through this book.