Genesis 44:1-48:7 As the Jacob and Joseph stories begin to conclude, much to wonder about. There’s an interesting tension between verses 22 and 24 in chapter 45: just how are favoritism and reconciliation supposed to coexist? The interest in Joseph’s political/economic policies may be etiological (Why the current economic arrangements in Egypt), and in any case give readers pause. Sarna provides helpful context for 47:23-24: “Such an interest rate was not considered excessive in the ancient Near East. During the reign of Hammurabi, for instance, the state’s share of the harvest from administered fields varied between two-thirds and one-half after the deduction of production expenses. An interest rate of 20 percent on money loans was quite common in Babylon, while the rate for loans of produce was usually 33.3 percent” (JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis 322). Finally, the stories in Gen 12-50 are often about both the protagonists and the tribes/groups that bear their names. Thus, probably, the prominence of Judah, Ephraim and Manasseh (48:5-6) in these stories, reflecting their prominence in later history.
1 Corinthians 7:25-10:13 Again, much to chew on. Indigestible as some of Paul’s opinions seem at first glance (7:25-40), how many of us do half as well as Paul does in distinguishing between one’s own opinion and authoritative teaching? Chapters 8-9: a resource for sorting out relating one’s rights to one’s responsibility for the common good. Chapter 10: “So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall?” What proper role does this warning play in a healthy spirituality?
Mark 5:21-7:23 Thanks to my brother, Elvice and I have been binge watching Star Trek Voyager. In one of the last season’s episodes Neelix says “There’s an old Talaxian expression: ‘When the road before you splits in two, take the third path.’” That highlights one of the many things we might observe in these stories, Jesus repeatedly approaching issues diagonally, creating paths that weren’t on anyone’s map. What might that mean for our following that Jesus today?