This is the 3rd in a series of Biblical poetry where I am “translating” verses of the Bible. You can read the first two here: Biblical Poetry and Biblical Poetry, Part 2.
One of my primary purposes of doing this work is to strip away patriarchal veneers that have been layered upon original teachings. I reach into ancient pagan knowledge in order to reclaim what I believe to have been lost.
Below is each verse in 3 versions. First is the King James Version (KJV) for familiarity, the second is Jeff Benner’s Mechanical Translation (Benner) which uses a consistent translation for each word. I use his translations to get a better sense of how the words originally fit together.[i]
Continue reading “More Biblical Poetry by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”
Adult Daughter (“AD”): Hi Mom, Alex said to tell you “hi.”
Me: That’s nice. How is she?
AD: How are “they?” Alex uses “they,” mom.
Me: Oh right, sorry. I am having some trouble wrapping my head around using “they” and “them.”
AD: Well mom, that is something you’re going to just have to get over.
Using “they” to refer to one person short circuits my long life of grammar training. I found my mind resisting the plural no matter how many times I reminded myself that Alex uses plural pronouns. As I considered my brain’s resistance to “they/them,” I realized that singular gendered pronouns are truly a cultural construct. I went on to muse that maybe Alex was on to something bigger than themselves. I began to think about the Bible, arguably the foundational document of our patriarchal society, and how it uses a plural form while referring to a singular or one God.
Continue reading “What Gender is God Anyway? by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”
We are familiar with the covenant God made with Abraham and Moses, but are you aware that God also made a covenant with Hagar?
In the wilderness Hagar encounters a deity at the well named Beer-lahai-roi (Genesis 16). Water and wells are important because they symbolize fertility and life. Wells for women are common places where they met their future spouses. Because wanderers in the desert need water to survive, water itself becomes a symbolic of life-giving or life.
In the seemingly barren dessert, the fertile Hagar finds out that she is pregnant and going to be the mother of many children. Hagar is promised progeny in a motherless state. According to Pamela Tamarkin Reis, this is called the “after-me” descendants, which guarantees Hagar that her children will live for “immeasurable generations;” a pattern that fits within the scope of this promise. This same promise of progeny is also given to Eve in Genesis 3:20, providing and interesting parallelism between Eve and Hagar.
It is worth pointing out the irony exists in this promise. Sarai uses Hagar to “build her up.” According to Nahum Sarna, to be built up in terms of the number of children that you have, implies that you are mother to a dynasty. In this pericope, however, it is Hagar, not Sarai that is built up through this divine promise.
This patterns of promise exists within the birth narrative through the annunciation of Ishmael and the promise of progeny. It is through this narrative that Hagar enters into a covenantal relationship with the deity. According to J. H. Jarrell, birth narratives have six common elements that establish this relationship: mother’s status, protest, offer, son’s future forecast, Yahweh naming, and acceptance of the contract. Hagar’s story contain these elements:
- Mother’s Status: Hagar is without child because she is a virgin (16:1).
- Protest: Hagar flees from her mistress (16:8).
- Offer: Return to your mistress and submit to her authority (16:9).
- Son’s Future Forecast: He will live at the east of all his brothers (16:12).
- Yahweh Naming: You will bear a son Ishmael because the Lord has given heed to your affliction (16:11).
- Acceptance of the Contract: She called the name of the Lord (16:13).
Continue reading “And Thus God made a Covenant with Hagar in the Wilderness by Michele Stopera Freyhauf”