The God of Abraham (Mk 12:26-12:26)

“As for the dead

Being raised,

Have you not read

The book of Moses?

In the story

About the bush,

How God said

To him.

‘I am the God of Abraham.

I am the God of Isaac.

I am the God of Jacob.’”

 

περὶ δὲ τῶν νεκρῶν ὅτι ἐγείρονται, οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ Μωϋσέως ἐπὶ τοῦ Βάτου πῶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Θεὸς λέγων Ἐγὼ ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ καὶ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ καὶ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ;

 

Jesus continued his explanation that can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:31-32, and Luke, chapter 20:37.  They all refer to Moses at the burning bush, a mysterious theophany that overwhelmed Moses, but is not explicitly mentioned here.  However, this was implied by the comment about God based on Exodus, chapter 3:6.  Mark said that the dead will rise up (περὶ δὲ τῶν νεκρῶν ὅτι ἐγείρονται).  Jesus reminded the Sadducees that they had not read the correct book of Moses (οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ Μωϋσέως), and not “the sayings of God” as in Matthew.  Jesus then referenced this saying of Yahweh to Moses in Exodus, chapter 3:1-6, about the burning bush (ἐπὶ τοῦ Βάτου).  Yahweh God spoke to Moses saying (πῶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ λέγων) that he was the God of Abraham (Ἐγώ ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ), the God of Isaac (καὶ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ), and the God of Jacob (καὶ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ).

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The marriage contract (Tob 7:11-7:13)

“However, Tobias said.

‘I will neither eat nor drink anything

Until you settle the things that pertain to me.’

Raguel said.

‘I will do so.

She is given to you

In accordance with the decree in the Book of Moses.

It has been decreed from heaven that she be given to you.

Take your kinswoman.

From now on you are her brother.

She is your sister.

She is given to you from today and forever.

May the Lord of heaven, my child,

Guide and prosper you both this night.

May he grant you mercy and peace.’

Then Raguel summoned his daughter Sarah. When she came to him he took her by the hand and gave her to Tobias, saying.

‘Take her to be your wife in accordance with the law

And the decree written in the Book of Moses.

Take her!

Bring her safely to your father!

May the God of heaven make your journey

Prosperous with his peace.’

Then he called her mother. He told her to bring writing material. He wrote out a copy of the marriage contract. This said that he gave her to him as wife according to the decree of the Law of Moses.”

Tobias said that he was not going to eat or drink anything until this matter was settled. The marriage contract is between Tobias and Raguel, and not between Sarah and Tobias. Raguel makes all the arrangements. Raguel agreed to give his daughter to Tobias according to the Book of Moses. It is unclear what Book of Moses this is referring to. The only possible reference might be the marriage of Isaac in Genesis, chapter 24. After all the arrangements were made, finally the daughter Sarah appeared. Then there was the famous giving of the hand of the daughter from the father to the groom, the man. In this case, Sarah had no consent. She simply did what her father wanted her to do. In fact, the mother was not even present. She was called in to get some writing materials. Then Raguel wrote out the marriage contract according to the Law of Moses. This clearly was a legal written contract with nothing to do with romantic love. Tobias was to bring his new bride home to his father.

Raphael makes a plan for Tobias and Sarah (Tob 6:10-6:13)

“When they entered Media, they were already approaching Ecbatana. Raphael said to the young man. ‘Brother Tobias!’ He answered. ‘Here I am!’ Raphael said to him.

‘We must stay this night in the home of Raguel.

He is your relative.

He has a daughter named Sarah.

He has no male heir.

He has no daughter except Sarah only.

You are as next of kin to her.

You have before all other men a hereditary claim on her.

Also it is right for you to inherit her father’s possessions.

Moreover, the girl is sensible, brave, and very beautiful.

Her father is a good man.

You have every right to take her in marriage.

So listen to me, brother.

Tonight, I will speak to her father about the girl,

Thus you may take her to be your bride.

When we return from Rages,

We will celebrate her marriage.

For I know that Raguel can by no means keep her from you

Or promise her to another man

Without incurring the penalty of death,

According to the decree of the Book of Moses.

Indeed, he knows that you, rather than any other man,

Are entitled to marry his daughter.

So now listen to me, brother!

Tonight we shall speak concerning the girl.

We will arrange her engagement to you.

When we return from Rages,

We will take her and bring her back with us to your house.’”

They do not mention the time frame, but it would have taken a few days to get to Media. Raphael told Tobias that they were going to spend the night at the house of Raguel, since he was a relative of Tobias. Raphael explained that Raguel had a beautiful only daughter. Since Tobias was the next of kin, he was entitled to marry her. No one else had such a good claim on her as he did. This is based on the Book of Moses, without indicating which book, perhaps Numbers, chapter 36, about the family with no sons. However, there was nothing about a death penalty in the biblical books. Somehow there was the levirate law that the next of kin had first rights on a woman as was laid out in Deuteronomy, chapter 25, with the brother’s right to marry the widow of his brother. This was prevalent in the book of Ruth. They would be engaged now. Then they would get married after they came back from Rages. Raphael was going to make all the arrangements with her father.

 

The exclusion of foreigners (Neh 13:1-13:3)

“On that day they read from the book of Moses in the hearing of the people. It was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God. They had not met the Israelites with bread and water, but hired Balaam to curse against them. Yet our God turned the curse into a blessing. When the people heard the law, they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent.”

They then read from the book of Moses. This passage comes from Deuteronomy, chapter 23, almost word for word. The Ammonites and Moabites could not be part of the assembly of Yahweh. Yahweh wanted the Israelites to be very harsh with these people because they refused food and water when the Israelites were about to enter the Promise Land in their Exodus from Egypt. In fact, the Moabite king tried to hire a prophet Balaam to curse them. Numbers, chapters 21-25, has more information about these groups. Although this admonition was only against the Ammonite and Moabites, the people at the time of Nehemiah decided to be more universal against all foreigners. They separated themselves from all people of foreign descent. It must be remembered that some of these Jewish people were born in Persia. However, the blood line of the father determined who was a Jew in Jerusalem and Judah. Perhaps this passage should have been earlier in this work.