10 months ago


Yahweh tells him not to

Yahweh tells him not to go there, but to camp in the region that he himself will show him, and promises: “I will bless you because I will give you and your offspring all this land.” In Deuteronomy (28:2 et seq.) we find further evidence of this direct and exclusive connection between the blessing and material prosperity: “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, [...] the fruit of thy land shall be blessed in your barns and in any undertaking of your hands [...] God will make you abound in goods as children [...]abundant will be the breeding of your herds and the young of the flock [...] God will put your enemies at your feet [...] the basket and the cupboard will be blessed [...] you will loan, but won't borrow.” Likewise, also the “curse” has only material implications: plague, fever, wasting, inflammation, dryness, drought, rust, pallor... In short, concrete is the blessing and concrete is its opposite: There is no spiritual blessing and no curse concerning the soul! Some examples... We will briefly quote some passages as examples, carefully examining the matter of the blessing. Certainly the most curious and strangest one, and most difficult to understand if analyzed from the traditional viewpoint, is the blessing given by Isaac to Jacob. This story includes the subsequent disappointment of Esau when he discovers that his father's blessing...has expired! How can this be possible, if a blessing is a donation of God and a sign of His presence? Let's examine the biblical examples: Jacob blesses Joseph's sons (cf. Gen 48:13 et seq.) We are at the end of the book of Genesis, the patriarch Jacob is sick and his 118

son Joseph visits him bringing his two sons: Ephraim and Manasseh. Besides the joy of having seen even his son's children, Jacob/Israel gives them his blessing. Their father Joseph puts the two in front of the patriarch in the position he considered correct for the transmission of the birthright: positioning (Gen 48:13) Manasseh on Jacob's right hand, and Ephraim on his left. The laying on of the right hand conferred those rights on which often depended a person's entire life: properties, herds, lands, slaves, wealth and power... (We remind you once again it was not about the spiritual life of the blessed person!). Contrary to the expected, old Jacob crosses his arms and raises his right hand on Ephraim's head, who was the youngest, and the left on Manasseh's head, who was the eldest son (as the author of this extract outlines: Gen 48:14). Disappointed, Joseph points out the incongruity (Gen 48:17), takes the right hand of the father and tries to move it onto Manasseh's head, but Jacob confirms his choice and says that Ephraim and his descendants are meant to become greater than Manasseh. To ensure this it was necessary that Ephraim could dispose of all that was linked to the right of primogeniture, or in other words, the right of the firstborn to inherit the entire estate. Thus in examining the precise description of the event's details, the crossing of the arms, Joseph's disappointment, his strained attempt to restore the order, let us clearly understand that it was not about a spiritual blessing (which could easily be divided between the two without privileging one or the other), but a gesture that in the culture of that time meant the clear assignment of birthright. We can now better understand the importance of this birthright when talking of Jacob and Esau. The spiritual blessing could easily be distributed without any particular spatial position, without a clear distinction between right and left, as it happens every time a priest blesses the congregation that is arranged at random in front of the officiant. In the case of Joseph, instead, the gesture was a real legal act, which stated who would become rich and powerful, and who would not. The blessing of the fields 119

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