In my Thursday morning bible study class we are going through Genesis, albeit slowly. Why? Because you miss a lot when you read it fast. You miss the nuance. You miss the way the translations move things around and hide things. You miss the euphemisms. You miss solid discussion about what Scripture meant, what it means, and what it can mean. And you miss ways to read it that may make it more interesting.
For instance, we were previewing Genesis 17 for next week. It is here we are introduced to El Shaddai, often translated as God Almighty (because of the Greek, not the Hebrew). Better, it is God All-Sufficient. I say better because there are different understandings of the Shaddai bit. My Jewish Study Bible says “God from the Mountain” (in the notes). The translation really depends upon where you think the Hebrew loan word came from.
Some suppose it is to be translated as “breasted one.” Only if we demand a gender for God do we start to wonder if God is a male or female. I do not. I think we have ways of describing God that includes mother, breasts, etc… We see this really developed with Sophia and Logos. But, I digress. This is supposed to be a funny post.
We are introduced to El Shaddai in Genesis 17, just a few verses before the covenant of circumcision was given. I don’t mean to cut you short here, but that’s dang near funny. Especially if you read it from the point of a Breasted God giving Abraham the command to take a knife to his 86 year old penis. As some in the class pointed out, I mean.
I would never laugh at such a prospect.
“It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it” – GK Chesterton.
Laughter is an invitation.