A Daily Genesis

Genesis 47:30b-31

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[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 47: 30b-31a . . He replied: I will do as you have spoken. And he said: Swear to me. And he swore to him.[/B]

Some Bible students construe Jesus' words at Matt 5:33-37 to mean that taking an oath is a sin. But that's not what he said at all. What he really said in that passage is that taking an oath sets you up for a fall because human beings cannot guarantee that unforeseen circumstances won't prevent them from making good on their promises.

"Moses spoke to the heads of the Israelite tribes, saying: This is what Yhvh has commanded: If a man makes a vow to Yhvh or takes an oath imposing an obligation on himself, he shall not break his pledge; he must carry out all that has crossed his lips." (Num 30:2-3)

If taking an oath were intrinsically a sin, then God himself would be a sinner (e.g. Gen 22:15-18, Ps 89:3-4, Ps 89:35-37, Ps 110:4, Isa 14:24, Isa 45:23, Isa 54:9, Heb 4:3, et al). Jesus too would be in contradiction of his own teachings because he testified under oath that he was the Messiah; God's son (Matt 23:63-65). The holy angels would be sinners too. (Rev 10:5-6)

I think most people would have been satisfied to just take Joseph's word for it; had they been fully aware of his reputation; but Jacob was old school. In his experience, to trust a man's word-- especially his own (cf. Gen 27:1-40) --even the word of the one son whom he loved and trusted above all the others, was foolhardy.

"Let God alone be true, and everyone else in the world a liar." (Rom 3:4)

Well . . Jacob isn't taking any chances that his number-one son might get so caught up in State business that he lets an idle promise to his dad slip through a crack. The patriarchs regarded oaths very seriously because they all believed in a God who held men accountable.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 47:31b . .Then Israel bowed at the head of the bed.[/B]

There's differences of opinion among the experts how best to interpret that verse; but in context, it appears to me that Jacob has become bedridden, and is-- as best he can for a man of his age and health --doing obeisance to Joseph as a courtesy in the manner that Abraham did with the Hittites back in chapter 23. In other words; Jacob lowered his eyes and nodded his head in a sort of salute; which, courtesy aside, was somewhat equal to saying: Okay then; we're good.

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