PART XII: “Patriarchal Origins and Dissimulation; Pharaonic Fury”
God said to Abram: “Now, you go, away from your country… away from your natal land… away from your family origins (your patrimonial habitation; your “roots”). Go to a land that I shall show you. I will transform you into a mighty nation, bringing you only good, making you famous, with laudation and adoration as your constant lot. I will favor all who favor you, whilst cursing all who wish you calumny. All nations of this world will glorify you!” So Abram did go away, just as Gold had told him to do. Accompanying Abram was Lot. Abram, upon quitting Haran, was a man of 75. So Abram took Sarai, his marital consort; and Lot, his sibling’s son (Abram was in this way an avuncular sort); his family’s worldly goods; as, too, a loyal following which had grown around him in Haran (individual souls of profound spiritual gifts, whom, many would say, Abram – with Sarai’s aid – had formally brought into his spiritual fold). This not insubstantial group was off for Canaan, soon arriving in Canaan. Passing through Canaan to Nablus, location of a landmark sumac, Abram found a Canaanitish population of prior long-standing.
In a dramatic vision, God said to Abram: “I am giving this land to your offspring.” At that spot, following his vision, Abram built an altar to God. Moving on to mountainous country not far from Bait Ail (a city: aptly, “Pavilion of God”), and pitching his canvas lodging around Bait-Ail, not far from Ai, Abram built an altar to God at that location, too… calling upon God cognominally. Abram was soon off again, moving South.
With a drought and its concomitant scarcity of food raging in Canaan, Abram had to uproot, moving to Mitzrayim, and planning a stay of short duration (“Mitzrayim” – a country famous for its pyramids and Sphinx, North of what is now Sudan). Soon, upon approaching Mitzrayim, Abram (so ignobly lacking in chivalry on this scandalous occasion) said to Sarai, his marital consort, his woman, his spousal companion: “I know how good looking my Sarai is! I am afraid, though, of what is going to occur. Manly inhabitants of this land will find you charming and alluring… and, knowing of our marital status, will kill your husband – thus facilitating your romantic availability! Say, I pray you, that I am your sibling – thus assuring your husband’s survival; that is, saving my skin!”
Just as Abram had thought, all of Mitzrayim saw how good looking and charming Sarai was. Pharaoh’s high officials saw, too… praising Sarai to Pharaoh. And, so, Sarai was brought to Pharaoh’s court. This, as it turns out was of profit to Abram, with Pharaoh providing him flocks, cows, pack-animals, footboys and bondmaids.
On account of his “taking” of Abram’s Sarai, God struck Pharaoh, his family, and all his royal staff with multifarious, torturous afflictions (plausibly including: arthritis, lumbago, bursitis, cirrhosis, thrombosis, consumption, lockjaw, colitis, mumps, typhus, palsy, colic, vomiting, angina, croup, small pox, psoriasis, postprandial abdominal cramps, rotavirus, laryngitis, grip, cataracts, polyps, botulism, trichinosis, stomach spasms, glaucoma, polio, sinusitis, chronic halitosis, convulsions, common colds, puritus ani, constipation, and/or schistosomiasis).
Pharaoh was quick to summon Abram, saying (justifiably – with an air of moral indignation): “How could you possibly do such a thing?! Why didn’t you just say that Sarai was your lawful marital consort, your Missus? Why did you say that Sarai was your sibling, so that I took this woman in an illicit (though unwittingly so) conjugal union, (Pharaoh all but says outright:) in a carnal act?! Sarai is yours! Now, both of you… go away!” At Pharaoh’s command, royal guards stood watch as Abram and Sarai struck camp, with all worldly goods intact.