Among the Israelites[as in other nations] a child became a son or daughter not by the fact of physical generation but through acknowledgement or election granted solely at the discretion of the father.
- It is not enforced by any outside authority on legal or genetic bonds, but
- publicly conferred, like knighthood by the head of the family,
- usually after some public demonstration by the child confirming shared spirit or vitality,
- and as a maturing adult in executing the father’s will.
We can most easily understand this absolute authority aspect of fatherhood over group members in Catholic priests who have authority to grant membership, to absolve from wrong-doing, to send to hell or to grant life eternal. Even in Protestant Christianity there is a concept of spiritual father as Elder. Islam has the equivalent titles of Sheikh and Imam like Abdullah Azzam, “the father of the modern global jihad”, whose directives are carried out to the death by the deeply devout.
A child born into the clan system has no prerogatives simply by being born. Providing resources for a child could be terminated by the father at will, even to the extent of ending the child’s life.
Anthropologist Laila Williamson notes that “Infanticide has been practiced on every continent and by people on every level of cultural complexity, from hunter gatherers to high civilizations, including our own ancestors. Rather than being an exception, then, it has been the rule.”
If this sounds barbaric, consider how common it is for parents to terminate a child’s life in modern society. One in five pregnancies – or 20.6% – ended in abortion in 2020,
- a father to Pharaoh,
- and lord of all his house,
- and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 45:4-8)
The Godfather saga is a case study of this concept. Out of Vito Corleone’s sons, the older two lose their intended inheritance because they go their own ways. Both out of pride – the oldest out of arrogance and the middle child out of resentment. Only Michael, the youngest, inherits the father’s dominion, because he carries out his father’s will.
Michael in turn publicly names his nephew Vincent as his heir, not his son, because Vincent, not his son, wants to carry on the position and is just like him, capable of doing so because he has submitted himself to Michael’s tutelage and authority.
The equivalent titles Master, slurred in English to Mister, and Lord derive from the authority required to fulfill responsibilities for providing for and protecting the clan, especially in times of crisis like war or famine.
since the 1500s Mr. was used as a shortening of master, a title used for men of high authority. By the mid-18th century, both Mr. and its longer form Mister had become distinct words from master and became common English honorifics to generally address men of higher social rank.
“And Joseph said unto his brethren…I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now…God did send me before you to preserve life…and he hath made me
“And the king of Israel said unto Elisha…My father, shall I…? And [Elisha] answered, Thou shalt not.” (II Kings 6:21-22)
In Western culture this is more commonly recognized in medieval rulers as a sphere of influence where subjects don’t need to be related to the ruling dynasty. It is found even in today’s egalitarian societies in brotherhoods like the Freemasons headed by a Grand Master.
We understand that the Father / leader must be willingly served and obeyed in order to belong to that lord’s dominion.
No-one can serve two masters, but fealty can be transferred from one lord to another. This applies particularly to a female’s transfer of both protection and therefore submission from her father to her husband upon marriage.
“Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.” (I Peter 3:6)
In order to inherit the father’s possessions and authority, a child has to prove his ability to carry out the father’s legacy.
“Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him…And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.” (Genesis 21)
As was Jesus acknowledged by Joseph
All a man’s acknowledged children were legitimate no matter what the status of their mother, be she wife, concubine, or harlot.
Also, a man might adopt a slave as his son and make him his heir.
As was Abram’s intention towards his steward, Eliezar of Damascus
This alone refutes the claim that the Bible is hateful because it endorses slavery.
There is no question that the 19th century African slave trade was a wicked abuse of power by Christian nations. But this doesn’t justify condemning the biblical ethics, nor take into account the historical context or the conditions of slavery in that time and culture.
Until the Industrial Revolution, there were no steady wage-based jobs. If you didn’t inherit land, or have family money to invest in trade, you would struggle to survive.
“A householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard…agreed with the labourers for a penny a day… And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace…Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us.” (Matthew 20:1-7)
The Bible provides the current exchange rate for that day’s wage: “A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny”. In other words, the bare basic bread and water diet, with inferior nutrition of barley bread instead of wheat bread for a family of just 3. And that’s not guaranteed every day.
Until factories came into being, manual labor required mobility in the most readily available jobs of soldier, sailor, caravan laborer, farm worker or ranch hand. None of these were amenable to family life.
Cowboys were mostly young men who needed cash for day to day living expenses. They didn’t earn enough to support a family or save up for the future. Everyday work was difficult and laborious for cowboys. Workdays lasted about 15 hours, and much of that time was spent on a horse or doing other physical labor.
Between 1 and 3 million migrant farm workers leave their homes every year to plant, cultivate, harvest, and pack fruits, vegetables and nuts in the U.S. Migrant farm workers are predominantly Mexican-born sons, husbands, and fathers averaging about 31 years of age.
“And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields… And when he came to himself, he said…I perish with hunger! (Luke 15)
Migrant workers are torn between meeting physical needs and equally urgent needs for emotional and social connection. The hunger for emotional connection with family drives people to take desperate measures.
The number of undocumented immigrant crossings at the southwest border for fiscal year 2022 topped 2.76 million, breaking the previous annual record by more than 1 million, according to Customs and Border Protection data.
“I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”
He is begging, a standard practice in homelessness.
Hence the agonizing of an older man about to lose his privileged position.
“What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig / perform manual labor; to beg I am ashamed.” I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship [in this house], they may receive me into their houses.
The villas of Ancient Rome were typically country Roman houses…established as retreats from the hectic pressures of everyday city life…. But they also acted as symbols of villa owners’ power and status…luxurious and extravagant, vast sprawling affairs of richly decorated rooms and gardens…
villa rustica, a functioning farmhouse estate permanently occupied and worked on by servants and a supervisor.
villa suburbana, on the edge of cities
So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
Clever man. Investing in his year-round time share resorts pass by indebting an entire porfolio of clients. Not to mention the subtle hint of blackmail reporting them back to his old boss which would force them to pay their tab,with interest. But it also sounds like a poisoning hazard to me with this group of backstabbers.
Also, he doesn’t mention family. Doesn’t he have any, or is he so focused on getting what he wants out of life that he would also betray his family?
According to a recent article, men actually become richer after getting divorced…they actually seem to benefit from no longer having a spouse.. Separated women are three times more likely to fall into poverty compared to separated men… Some studies have even suggested that a child’s ability to earn is significantly reduced after experiencing a divorce, with an average wealth decrease of 46%. Some believe that this may be due to the fact that divorce can cause a disruption in education.
It should be evident that belonging to a household where you could be provided with all of life’s necessities for the duration of your life in exchange for what might be much less return from what you have to bring to the relationship is a huge benefit to the worker.
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I…am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
Becoming a slave was a blessing not to be distained, or taken for granted. The householder put money up front without guarantee of a positive return on his investment.
In our multinational system, working for wages benefits the owner far more than the worker and does not guaranteed any security against the uncertain future.
Modern society is split into two classes—the working class and the capitalist class.The working class…produces a surplus of wealth over and above what it gets back in wages. It is this unpaid surplus which creates the vast differences in the ownership of wealth between those who produce but do not own and those who own but do not produce. This simple fact provides the answer as to why seven per cent of the population owns eighty-four per cent of the personal wealth; why some people can spend more on race horses, sex, alcohol in an hour, a day, a week, than some (the vast majority) can earn in a year or a lifetime. It also explains why constant upheavals in industry take place, as men and women struggle over the fruits of production.
This is acknowledge to be a massive short-coming in America’s capitalist society, and so some provision was made through the Social Security program which was designed to provide “old age” or retirement benefits, aid to dependent children, and unemployment insurance. Still, this was by no means a concession to the massive gap in wealth distribution between the workers and the owners as it is paid for by the workers, many of whom never collect anything back before dying first.
The rival system to capitalism is socialism.
In socialist economies, the government owns and manages the economic resources…The citizens of the country work to generate wealth, which is then distributed to everyone…
A socialist economy ensures that the basic needs of [all] the people are met…like shelter, education, healthcare, economic security, etc. The government manages the use of resources and the production of products or services that the people need, which is referred to as central planning…
it does come with some shortcomings. For example, the workers see few incentives to work hard to generate more income and wealth.
A biblical society is a form of socialism. This should lead us to question the authenticity of the Religious Right’s support of capitalism.
As far as lack of incentive, the biblical moral imperative is to “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
The Old Testament patriarchs like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were leaders of clans who worked together – leaders and followers – to meet the needs of everyone in the clan, even facing death to safeguard the weaker members of the household.
And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan…And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.” (Genesis 14)
And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother…I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight…And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him…and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother; 200 she goats, and 20 he goats, 200 ewes, and 20 rams, 30 milch camels with their colts, 40 kine / cows, and 10 bulls, 20 she asses, and 10 foals. [That gives us some idea of how much it total he had to spare these!] And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me.
“And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?” (Luke 12:42)
“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” (Acts 2:44-45)
Paul and Timotheus…James…Simon Peter…Jude…John...the servants of Jesus Christ.
In societies with a long history of stable clan membership, such as in the East and Africa, the extended family is the government. One’s human rights and provision of needs are not determined and protected by a national government, but by the head of the clan, AKA the Father. The clan leader is the legal authority, leader, teacher, master for everyone in his clan, meeting all essential needs of food, shelter, protection and quality of life
The Bible defines, not the Singularity, but Abraham, as the Father of the extended family of those whose faith in the Singular Creator God is proven by belief in his power to give life, not just once, but as many times as it takes.
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father…hath found?...what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness…How was it then reckoned? when he was in…uncircumcision…that he might be the father of all them that believe…For the promise, that he should be the heir of THE WORLD was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith…to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed…which is of the faith of Abraham...before him whom he believed, even [CREATOR] God, who quickeneth [brings to life, resurrects] the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were…He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” (Romans 4:13-25)“
“And it came to pass…that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And the sons of the prophets [of YHVH] that were at Bethel came forth…and stood to view afar off…And Elijah…said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion [as Israel willed to son Joseph] of thy spirit / power / energy [Elijah’s spirit power legacy in contrast to Israel’s physical land] be upon me [to carry out the father’s plans].And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless…and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father...And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. And they said unto him, Behold now…thy servants. (II Kings 2:1-18)
- anoint Hazael to be king over Syria[this project was accomplished by Elijah’s spiritual son]:
- And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel[this project was also accomplished by Elijah’s spiritual son]:
- and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room / spiritual son. (I Kings 19:13-16)
Judah’s atonement included – importantly! – accepting this despicable and morally ruined Canaanite – and her children – into his household of faith in righteous YHVH. He delivered them from a society where women without family were abandoned to harlotry when young, and starvation when no longer of service to men, bringing them into his household where they were loved and cared for, not just in their lifetimes, but for eternity to come.
“And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb…Pharez…and Zarah…the sons of Judah.” (Genesis 38:28-19; 46:12)
And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that…Ruth the Moabitess…have I purchased [at a cost! to me – as in slavery] to be my wife. And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said…The LORD [will repay you your cost] make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and…And let [as unstoppable a blessing as in “Let there be light!] thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.” (Ruth 4:9-12)
“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and…Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias…Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” (Matthew 1)
“ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;” (Ephesians 2:19)
In keeping with the the Singularity as Unity in Diversity, Sons of God also denotes a tribal / extended family relationship of Singularity among the siblings.
Elijah’s shared identity with God the Father was passed down to Elisha who accomplishing tasks assigned to others of God’s sons.
“a still small voice…when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him…And the LORD said unto [Elijah], Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest,
These servant members of a godly household are provided with a way of escape from the slow strangulation death by exploitation in a vicious society.
Think Tamar, a despised heathen Canaanite, who was brutalized then passed and discarded as trash from man to man as per the Canaanite culture. And also in our day.
“Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite…and he took her, [doesn’t say he took her to wife, just took advantage of her cultures promiscuous sexuality] and went in unto her. And she conceived, and bare…Er…Onan…Shelah…And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him. And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother [as is the law for my Hebrew nationality]. And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he [used Tamar for sex but refused to give her a child because he] spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father’s house.
That was a life of misery under a resentful father who thought he had gotten rid of this useless eater, and a death sentence when her elder father died, and Judah knew it. He was complicit in torture and manslaughter.
When the apostle Paul wrote his letters to his congregants he was drawing all his doctrine from the historic accounts of God’s dealing with mankind. This becomes evident when we match them up.
“it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and…Judah acknowledged them,”
“thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” (Genesis 38, Romans 2)
Judah was the complete opposite of his great-grandfather Abraham of whom God could say “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” (Genesis 18:19)
“And thinkest thou…that thou shalt escape…the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds…Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;”
So how on earth did Judah get chosen to become the ancestor and namesake of all Jews, The Son / Heir, Prince of El / Israel / leader of all God’s people??
Because he was transformed into the image and likeness of God himself when he voluntarily chose to atone for the sins of his family by taking responsibility for their sin onto himself.
“She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her no more [i.e. upheld his responsibilities as a father-in-law, not gaining any relationship entitling him to sexual gratification.]
“But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God…