Or is it Exodi?
In any case, everyone can see that Abram goes through an exodus in Genesis 12. But Jeffrey Geoghegan makes a compelling case for seeing a Passover-Exodus theme running through the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18-19. To wit:
1) The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah cries out to heaven, just as Yahweh hears the cries of Israel in Egypt.
2) In Genesis 18:3, 5, Abraham twice uses the verb ABAR, "to pass by," a word used for the Lord's "passing over" Egypt on the night of Paschah (Exodus 12:12-13).
3) Abraham and Sarah offer "cakes" to their guests (18:6), while Lot offers "unleavened bread" (19:3). The word for "cakes" appears also in the Passover episode (Exodus 12:39; cf. Numbers 11:8), and of course unleavened bread is used as well.
4) Both Lot and Israel hasten to leave their doomed dwellings. Jeremiah seems in fact to be reading the exodus through the story of Sodom and Gomorrah when he says that the Lord "seized them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt" (Jeremiah 31:32), alluding to the angels' seizing Lot and his family to lead them from Sodom.
Geoghegan also suggests Passover/Exodus motifs surrounding the sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22.
What do we make of this? Geoghegan says that these passages show how deeply the Exodus marked Israel's consciousness Eso much so that they read the Exodus back into their ancestral traditions. I submit that there's an alternative reading: It appears that the whole history of Abraham previews the history of Israel: an exodus from Egypt in Gen 12, followed by a conquest in chapter 13, a second exodus in chapter 20, and a death and resurrection in chapter 22. Exodus, conquest, exile, Jesus.
I've always had trouble fitting Sodom and Gomorrah into that scheme. So let's try this: Exodus from Egypt in Gen 12; conquest in chapters 13-14; division of Abram and Lot; Lot's city destroyed, a preview of the destruction of Samaria and Jerusalem, the twin cities of Ezek 23; second exodus in Gen 20; birth, death and resurrection of Abraham's seed in chapters 21-22.
There are still details that don't fit, but enough do to make it worth pondering further.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Monday, March 28, 2005 at 09:31 PM
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