7 Tales of Deception in the Bible


The Bible writes about the theme of deception in several stories. Here are 7 of them.

1. Lot escapes from doomed Sodom with his wife and two daughters, but
his wife looks back and is turned into a pillar of salt. The two (unnamed)
daughters, desiring to keep their father’s lineage alive, get Lot drunk and
seduce him. Lot wakes up with no memory of his having been raped, and
the daughters become pregnant.

2. God, speaking through an angel, tricked Abraham into agreeing to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. At the last second, Abraham is told “never mind.”

3. Jacob tricks his older twin brother Esau into giving up his rights as firstborn son in return for a bowl of lentils; later, Jacob deceives his blind and ailing father Isaac into giving his blessing to him rather than Esau.

4. Laban tells Jacob that he will have to work 7 years before he can marry
his younger daughter Rachel, but he tricks Jacob into marrying the older
daughter Leah. Jacob then has to work another 7 years before he can
take Rachel as his second wife.

5. Shekhem, the Hamorite, who later asks for Dina’s hand in marriage, rapes Dina, the daughter of Jacob and Leah. Jacob’s sons (Dina’s brothers)
respond that they are agreeable, but only if Shekhem and all of his male
relatives become circumcised, so that they can enter into an alliance
together. While the Hamorites are in a weakened state following the
surgery, they are slaughtered in an act of mass revenge.

6. Judah has three sons, Er, Onan and Shelah. Er, the first-born, is married
to Tamar. Er dies and Judah orders Onan to have sex with Tamar (in
line with the “Leverite duty”) so that Er’s inheritance rights may be preserved. Onan, whose own interests are better served if the order is defied, “spilled his semen on the ground whenever he went in to his brother’s wife” (resulting in use of the term “onanism” to refer to masturbation, when it actually should be used to refer to coitus interruptus). Tamar, despairing of the situation, disguises herself as a prostitute and seduces her father-in-law, and becomes pregnant. She protects herself against punishment by producing Judah’s ring (given as an IOU for later payment) at what Dershowitz describes as the first judicial proceeding in the Bible.

7. Joseph is sold into bondage by his jealous brothers, who tell their father,
Jacob, that a lion ate him. Joseph is then falsely accused by the wife of his
master of attempting to rape her, in retaliation for spurning her advances.
Joseph becomes a prisoner, where his talents as a dream interpreter cause
him to become a high advisor to the Pharaoh. During a famine, Joseph’s
brothers come to beg for food and (without revealing his identity) Joseph
sends them on their way with food and a supply of silver and gold, including a silver cup. He later sends the soldiers after them and has them
arrested for stealing the valuable objects. Joseph’s brothers are terrified
and fear for their lives. Joseph then reveals his identity and tells them it
was just a joke. Jacob is sent for and has a happy reunion with the son he
thought was dead.

Source: Annals of Gullibility, Greenspan

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