IV i – Isaac Takes a Wife

The next evening a new sage took his place at the head of the gathering. The initiates noted a certain comical look about the sage. Tufts of hair stood out from the side of his head partially covering ears that seemed overly large. A bulbous red nose dominated the face and the sides of the mouth turned up into a continual start of a grin along with eyes that twinkled under arched eyebrows. He asked the initiates, “What have you learned thus far?”

The boy to his right answered, “We have learned many lessons about the evil duplicity of the kohanim authority. We have learned how they used their people to lie, cheat and steal the wealth of others to enrich themselves. We learned these priests have no empathy for others and care little for the suffering of those subjected to their whims and desires.”

“Quite so, quite so” replied the sage, “but there are even more lessons to come; here is the next story to enlighten your minds this evening:”

Abraham had returned to his water well at Beersheba. There he made his home with his wife to raise up a nucleus of his kin who labored for him and all of these kin were people of the pure blood. Quite suddenly, Sarah died and upon the day of her death an angent of the authority appeared at Abraham’s side saying. “Abraham know that from this sad occasion arises yet another opportunity. You are to take the remains of your wife to the sons of Heth and bury her remains among them. To accomplish this task, you will purchase a plot of land, thereby gaining lawful property rights in Heth as well as a place among the Canaanites.”

The very next day Abraham stood before the sons of Heth and prepared to make yet another pact that would once again expand the authority’s territorial claims.

Abraham now presented his case before the sons of Heth, “I am a traveler from afar, my poor wife has died on the trail and I now require a resting place for her remains, for this reason I desire a small plot of land for her burial.”

Now it happened that the men of the city recognized Abraham and knew of his deceit, but they greatly feared the power of his authority so they said to him, “Hear us Abraham, traveler from afar that you may be, we recognize you as a chosen representative of the authority. As such, we welcome you into our city and grant that you may bury your wife among our noble deceased citizens. Let there be none among us that deny you this small request.

Abraham responded to the kind offer saying, “I thank you for your offer, but there is a particular plot that I require, a field wherein lies a small cave. This is known as the cave of Machpelah. Therefore, I will meet with your leader Ephron to request title to his field in exchange for the fair market value of such property.”

Abraham however, was not aware Ephron was in attendance at the meeting. He now spoke, “Abraham, like the others, I have no issue with your burying your dead in my field and I now give you that field for your desired purpose. Therefore go freely and make your burial arrangements.”

But Abraham knew that although a promise might be broken, a contract paid in silver was binding. He therefore persisted, “If you are willing to give me use of this land, then I am in turn willing to pay you its value for I wish to be beholden to no one for my dead.”

“But this land is easily worth four hundred Sheckels of silver, a high price indeed for what is now offered freely and what is such an amount between friends?”

Yet Abraham insisted, “I will count out the full amount forthwith in payment for the property.”

When the payment was made, the deed clearly spelled out the confines of the purchase included the burial plot as well as the full limits and boundaries of the property encompassing the burial plot and all the vegetation and water to be found on that land – all now belonged to the name of Abraham. Thus it was that Abraham purchased a holding in the land of Canaan, thereby establishing legal residence in that place.

Abraham then buried Sarah in Machpelah’s cave, tarrying there for awhile before returning to his place at Beersheba. By this time Abraham was quite aged and so he called his most trusted servant, who had no name, to his quarters and said, “Ho, boy! Place your hand under my thigh and swear by my authority that you will prevent my son from marrying those Canaanite whores who dwell in that place where I have regrettably claimed residence. Instead, return to the west where our pure bloodline still dwells and there you are to find a wife for my son Isaac.”

The servant spoke quietly, but with intense earnestness, “But my lord, what if the selected woman will not return with us to this land? Would it not be best for your son to travel and make his own selection among the women of the pure blood?”

To this Abraham replied, “Beware that my son does not return to that land for this is my story, the authority took me from my people so that their domain of power and wealth might be greatly expanded. It was for this purpose I was sent to this place and made my presence known by my actions and my purchases. Should Isaac return to the land of our origin and find it pleasing, he might not return to his people. If this should come to pass then the work of the authority will be undone and it will go badly for all of you who survive me. Therefore whatever you do, it is imperative that you not allow Isaac to return to those cursed lands.

“Know the authority promises to send an angent to the land inhabited by our pure blood. They will select a wife for Isaac. You are to travel to the city of Nahor to bring the woman back here. You are not to enter the city until the angent sends forth a maiden. At that time, you are to ask her to allow you a drink from her goatskin. She will reply, ‘Here, drink from my goatskin and allow me to water your camel.’ With these code words you will know that you have found the maiden chosen by the authority to be my son’s wife.

“Hear and heed these instructions well, for if the people of my blood find this maiden is to be the wife of my son, they most surely will prevent her departure for they greatly resent that I abandoned them. If the woman selected refuses to accompany you, then you will have done your part. Therefore I will not hold you to your oath, our contract will be void.”

The servant put his hand under Abraham’s thigh and swore that he would travel west to return with a wife for Isaac and that he would not allow Isaac to return to the land of their origins.

Abraham’s servant, who had no name, donned a wide brimmed hat upon his head and strapped his deadly sling low on his hip. Throwing a brown blanket woven with patterns of white over his head and shoulders, he mounted himself upon an ass to lead Abraham’s caravan to the western regions. Abraham had placed great trust in this servant and thus bestowed upon him the proxy of his authority.

For days the caravan traveled across the burning desert accompanied only by a lonely tune whistled by a desolate, desert wind. Many days later the caravan arrived in the western regions where the servant made camp just outside the village of Nahor.

The village of Nahor was considered by the people of that region to be that place on the other side of the camel tracks where nomadic wailer trash camped; a people who constantly lamented their many imagined misfortunes. There was an unspoken understanding that Nahor was a place where women of the pure blood, but not so pure virtue, dwelt.

When the village and its people came up in casual conversation, the question would frequently be asked in jest, “why do you think they call it Na-whore?”

It was here the servant camped by a nearby well. Here he would spend the day waiting for the code words provided by Abraham. He hoped mightily in his heart that he would be able to carry out his mission. If he were to fail, he knew the authority would murder him and everyone who remained with Abraham’s family, for this was the traditional method of punishment meted out to those failing in their mission.

A few days later, while standing guard next to the communal well, the servant with no name mumbled to himself, “The things I do for a shekel, by the grace of the authority, grant this maiden should appear soon at this well to fill her goatskin; and grant that when I request a drink, she makes the proper countersign, for if this does not happen, it will surely not go well with those of us serving our master Abraham.”

Even as this plea was mumbled to the heavens, a young maiden, born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with a pitcher and goatskin upon her shoulders to the well form the well. Wearing a virgin’s robe of the pure blood, the maiden was swarthy, hirsute, squat of body, buck of tooth and with but a single brow over her eyes.

The servant could clearly see this maiden would not be considered fetching even by the standards of those who claimed the pure blood and these were a people who themselves were not considered attractive. As he surveyed the maiden, the servant thought to himself, “It is no wonder these women are virgins. This explains why men of the pure blood often prefer other men over their women, for indeed most of the men are more comely than their women!”

Abraham’s servant sauntered over to the maiden, and tipping his hat, saying in his special quiet sort of way, “Ma’am, we’ve come a far piece down the dusty trail, mightn’t you allow me a small drink from your goatskin?”

The maiden replied, “You bet handsome shepherd, have a drink from this here goatskin.”

When the servant had taken a drink, the maiden motioned for the servant to follow her into a nearby tent saying, “Let me water your camel as well.”

Now the servant, while outwardly appearing totally unruffled by this request, was in fact terrified, but said nothing. He wondered the outcome if this maiden did in fact try to water his camel. Once inside the tent, the maiden grabbed the servant by his blanket and in a husky voice said, “An angent of the authority has sent me to this well with these code words to say. It was by these words, I recognized you as a servant of Abraham. Know that my parents have secretly accepted his proposal for my marriage to his son Isaac. Therefore, let us depart this place in haste for the lands to the east.”

To this the servant replied in his lowest voice yet, “most assuredly by your response, I know you are a maiden of the pure blood.”

With great relief the servant then said, “It is done, here is the golden ring that binds you to this agreement.”

With that he took a golden nose ring that weighed half a golden Shekel and affixed it into the virgin’s nose. As he put the ring through her nose he thought to himself, a couple of tattoos and a few studs in sensitive places, and this maiden would be far ahead of these times.

Presenting the squatty maiden with a small chest of gold and silver jewelry consisting of bracelets and baubles, he intoned, “This is but a small token of wealth that will come to you upon your marriage to Isaac. But I am tired and the journey has been long; for this reason I do not make haste.

“Perchance, would your father shelter us for the night so that we may begin our journey afresh in the morning and by the way, who are you?”

The maiden replied, “I am Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor, Abraham’s brother”.

“Perfect” mumbled the servant, “The authority has made my day by keeping it all in the family!”

Now the maiden ran to her mother’s house crying out “Mama, I gots me a man! I gots me a man! Thank the authority, I finally gots me my man!”

Rebekah’s brother Laben, now ran unto his sister yelling, “Quiet you silly bitch! Do you want the whole village to know that you are promised to the son of an outcast? This will be too much even for wailer trash! If the village people find this out we will be as unleavened loaves left too long in the ovens!”

But when Laben saw her nose ring, he rejoiced, “What success! They have finally married my sister off to one who is as lucky as any leper with a nose left to smell!”

And so Laben went unto Abraham’s servant with no name, crying out, “O’ servant of Abraham, who is a representative of the authority, that is a God who cannot be named, why do you stand out there in the sun? We have prepared lodging for you and your entourage, come in, come in! Our slaves will wash your feet. (for that was the custom) and bring straw for your camels.”

Because they were people of haste, Laben said unto his slave, “Hie thee over to brother McAbrams and fetch numerous orders of his famous round bullock placed between the open loaves of unleavened bread which he hath baked hastily in the oven. Remember, hold the mayo! And take care that you forget not the sides of Egyptian fried manna!”

Then a table was set for Abraham’s servant, who still had no name. Sitting down to the resplendent feast, the servant said in his quiet, but earnest tone, “My errand is of such importance that we must first speak of certain matters before we sup, lest we are overcome with indigestion. Hear me now, for I will only say this once. I am Abraham’s man. The authority has smiled greatly upon my master and has provided him with a great wealth of cattle, gold, silver, male and female slaves, camels, oxen, sheep, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera – you get the hieroglyphs. Know that my master’s wife, although older and deader than the dirt in yonder hills, bore him a son. And although we all had a good laugh over it then, Abraham has since given all that he has to his son Isaac.

“My master made me swear an oath that I would not allow this son to marry a daughter of the Egyptians in the place we call home, but that I would travel to the western regions and there find a daughter from among those of his fathers house, for they are of the pure blood. Truthfully I had serious doubts about any woman following me back to Beersheba. Had this been the case, I was to be released upon my honor from this place forsaken by the master’s authority.

“When I looked upon the fair Rebekah, I knew by her appearance that here was a winner in the virginal sweepstakes. I bet my life when she delivered unto me the authority’s secret words, that not only had I won a hundred shekels, but had fulfilled my mission as well. And so, upon this day, as I stood by the well I knew that all was, uh – well. I stood patiently by this well and watched as the various vestal virgins of Nahor came unto the well. At last I asked this one of great beauty, please give me a little water to drink. And unto this request she replied . . .”

At this point Laben interrupted saying, “yes, yes, we hang on every word of this fascinating narration, but do you travel towards any particular destination with this story?”

The servant steeled his eyes giving Laben a withering glance before replying, “Bear with me O’ one who is yet wet behind his ears, for there is in fact a truth yet to come. Now if I may continue, ah-hem, and so this maiden said, of course, ‘Here, drink, allow me to water your camel.’ I then asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘I am Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel . . .'”

Laben thought to himself, Have we not heard this somewhere before? Does he speak that he may hear his own voice? Then Laben raised up his voice saying, “As you well know we are a people of haste. Look at the sun, how time has passed, our dinner draws cold. Therefore even at the grave risk of indigestion, let us eat now so that we may not bore any mysterious audience that may be observing this lengthy narration from an unknown place.”

And so they ate and the servant with no name presented Rebekah, Laben, Bethuel and all the rest with bounteous gifts from Abraham’s caravan. They ate and then retired for the evening and arose in the morning to depart. But Laben and Bethuel said unto themselves, “Perhaps we are too hasty in this matter, for we are a people of haste. Perhaps there is a better bargain to be made by delaying Rebekah’s departure for a few days.”

And they rose in unison saying unto to Abraham’s servant, “not so fast servant with no name, how do we know you do not bare false witness?”

Now the servant who had no name became vexed and whispered between clenched teeth, “A break be given unto me, for one has but to look upon this maiden to ask who would do such a thing unless directed by the authority!?”

But the family persisted, “Let us speak with our kin about this matter.”

They then called Rebekah into the tent asking her, “Will you depart for Beersheba with this servant who has no name?”

To this Rebekah replied, “You bet your sweet ass I’ll go! I’m outta’ here!”

And so they sent Rebekah, her nurse and two asses unto the servant with no name. When the servant saw the asses he was dumbstruck by their sweet dispositions. And so the servant sat Rebekah and her nurse upon their sweet asses and the three departed directly for Beersheba.

As the caravan rode out of town, the family said after them, “This blessing be upon you: O’ sister may you have the best of luck in your life among those who dwell in Canaan. May you be a veritable brood mare for our people of the pure blood. May you have six million children that do not perish in a Holocaust and may they possess the gates of the financial institutions of those who hate us.”

The servant with no name turned to Rebekah asking in his quiet, throaty manner, “You call that a blessing?”

Rebekah replied, “Pray, what exactly did you expect from a family of inbreeds who hate and despise all outsiders?”

The servant with no name gave Rebekah a steely-eyed glance and said nothing, but mounted his shaggy donkey for the return to Beersheba. They rode throughout the following days and traveled unto the far regions of a lost land. One day the caravan stopped at an unknown oasis where they watered their asses while taking rest under the shade of a few scraggly date palms. As they rested, three men on camels rode into camp displaying deadly weapons. The brigands, rode up to the party resting under the shade of the date palms and the servant with no name rose up to greet them.

The brigands stopped short saying, “Ho! Pilgrims, what is your purpose in this land?”

The servant said nothing, but shifted the reed he chewed upon to
the other side of his mouth. He then thrust the blanket worn upon his shoulder aside, exposing a deadly sling. Now the brigands pressed the matter, “Do you not know this is our region and we do not take kindly to strangers drinking from the waters of our oasis?”

Still the servant with no name uttered not a word, silently drawing the measure of the three brigands. Calculating the possible actions of these men, he noted the brigand on the right shift his eyes as if worried, while the one on the left fingered his spear inexpertly. From this the servant knew that he would have to take out the one in the center first and the one on the right second and the one on left last.

As he made his assessment, the brigand spied Rebekah saying, ‘Look lads, a woman!”

But the one on the right said, “She’s a pig!”

While the brigand on the left pondered reflectively, “Hmmm, It has been a while.”

Then Rebekah spoke, “Fools! Do you not understand who you are addressing? We travel under the auspices and command of the authority!”

The brigands looked from one to another and the lead brigand looked down at the servant who had no name saying, “But if you are a caravan of the authority, then . . .”

“Then you have to die” whispered the servant with no name, and with a speed like that of lightening, he drew his deadly sling and fired off three goodly size stones, striking each man in a fatal place. Before the smoke had cleared from his sling, the servant had returned it to his hip and replaced the blanket over his shoulder. Without taking his eyes off the last dying brigand he asked, “Any questions? Then let us be on our way for the day grows short. My master’s son awaits the arrival of his new wife.”

And so the caravan continued onward toward the east.

A bright, red dawn rose on the eastern horizon as the caravan pulled into Beersheba. By this time Isaac had left home and moved to the south end of Beer Lahai Roi, but he came north to meet the waiting caravan and possess his new bride. Now because of his youth and his heritage of impatience, young Isaac had gone out into the field to meditate upon his camel.

Even as he meditated, he spied the arrival of the caravan; so Isaac arose and went forth from his meditation to meet them. Approaching the caravan, he beheld the radiant visage of his future wife Rebekah. Rebekah rolled her eyes as she spied Isaac for she could plainly see his same blood of nomad trash that was in her. “Oh well,” she thought, “At least I am now in a place where they do not have their carts mounted permanently upon blocks in front of their tents.”

Turning to the servant with no name she asked, “Who is this man that comes to greet us? Why is his robe open unto us and what woman would fear sufficiently to call that a camel?”

The servant with no name replied in his usual quiet, but earnest, manner. “You should know sweetheart, you should know.”

Putting her fists upon her hips, Rebekah shot back, “Well lawdy, lawdy! This here must be my massah!”

The servant with no name shot her his famous steely glance, but said nothing. Turning to Isaac, he said, “If you will close your robe so that your camel might not offend this lady I will tell you of our journey.”

But Isaac went to Rebekah and lifted her off her ass and took her into his mother’s tent (which was strange) saying, “Later my servant, later.” And Rebekah watered his camel forthwith and became his wife.

Now Abraham took yet another wife, for his days were not yet past, and her name was Keturah. This woman bore Abraham a slew of saplings who would serve to propagate the expanding forests of the pure blood. And while Abraham gave his half-bred progeny gifts and treasures, he gave all of his wealth to his true son Isaac, for in him was the true son of the authority who would become their choice for chief spokesman. While he still held breath, Abraham sent these half-breeds further unto the eastern regions so that they might increase the influence of the authority while removing their competition with Isaac. Thus was the breeding of power and influence by the authority.

At that point the sage stopped and smiling broadly began the interpretation, “Once again, we find many lessons within these stories. First among them is the use of wealth to legally purchase property to establish residence among a foreign people, thereby allowing the establishment of one’s presence in disparate locations.

“These locations can then be used as a base of operation from within these foreign lands. This provides a distinct advantage to those who are mobile and disadvantage to those who are fixed in their location.

“The second lesson within this story is the lesson of breeding; a story of the expansion of power and influence through a select people by creating a feeling of debt by those granting them positions of notoriety among those of a perceived lesser breeding.

“Further this is a lesson of the importance of a purposefully placed son to assume the authority’s mantel, using it to their advantage. Once again this is an overall lesson of the known and dependable quantity of a pure racial blood line, along with certain cautions as to the potential drawbacks.”

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