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Many contemporary critics

Many contemporary critics view the stories in the Bible as not only literature but also not having any usefulness in today’s society. But a closer look at the Bible, its stories and life lessons offered, the reader will discover that there is more intrigue, deception, good vs. evil and complicated story lines that anything on television today. The Old Testament furnishes many of these interesting stories. Chief among them are the stories that deal in sibling rivalries and the motivations behind the primary characters.

The deception involved in the stories of Cain & Abel, Jacob and Esau as well as the motivations behind the actions of Job as seen later on in The Old Testament, are all themes that can be seen in today’s society. If God is a fictional character or is seen as a mean spirit that enjoys hurting people and allowing good things to happen to people who regard themselves as good, then God is responsible for the actions of Jacob, Cain and Abel. Wilkie and Hurt’s summation of these stories in the context of Western Civilization and the impact of these stories in the greater story of The Bible is helpful as well.

However, this paper would contend that it was the human lusts that provoked these people to do what they wanted and that free will allowed them to make the decisions that they made. They were tricked by the impediments of their own flesh and not by God. In the story of Cain and Abel as seen in the 4th chapter of the first book of the Bible: Genesis, Cain and Abel each present a sacrifice to God. Abel brings his best flock of sheep and the sacrifice is accepted. Cain brings a gift of his farm’s produce and the offering is not well accepted by God.

Upon hearing and seeing the negative reaction and the jealousness by Cain towards his brother, God says: “Why are you son angry? Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it. ” (Bible, 1996) God sees the feelings of anger, jealousy towards Abel as well as Cain’s pride being hurt and knows a negative reaction will occur.

God warns Cain about the consequences of listening to these human feelings but does not force him to comply with what Cain knows to be God’s will: to simply give another sacrifice in order to achieve God’s favor. Cain’s pride is hurt and what is usually the case when a person’s pride has been wounded, rash and thoughtful actions subside in favor of impulse and passion. The result is the death of Abel by the hands of his brother Cain. And the punishment of Cain far outweighs the effort needed to present that second attempt at a sacrifice.

In the story of Jacob and Esau, deception is what causes the fallout between the brothers. Esau is promised to receive his birthright before the death of his father Isaac. Jacob is able to con Esau out of his birthright by exploiting the trusting nature of his brother, the infirmities of his father as he is blind as well as the help from his own mother who favors Jacob over her other son Esau. Upon the knowledge that Jacob has deceived him, Esau says: No wonder his name is Jacob, for he has deceived me twice, first taking my birthright and now stealing my blessing!

” (Bible, 1996) More harm is caused and more effort exerted in an attempt to offer recompense for the initial offense that many times, avoiding the trouble in the first place is the most advantageous course of action. Living in fear and hiding in order to receive a birthright that was a slightly more desirable than the blessing that he would have received anyways, Jacob needed to realize that the deception, as is the case with all deceptions, is not worth the trouble.

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