FEEDING THE dead was an integral part of the world in which Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived.
We’ve previously discussed Abraham’s distress at not having an heir to provide for him in the afterlife; this week, we explain why Jacob’s father-in-law, Laban, was so upset about losing his teraphim, the small idols that represented dead ancestors who had to be summoned to a meal every month with a necromancy ritual called kispum.
PORTALS AND contact with the spirit realm are at the heart of this week’s Bible study.
First, we discuss Jacob’s dream during his journey from the Negev to Haran in northern Mesopotamia. We’ve heard the term “Jacob’s ladder,” but the underlying Hebrew word reveals that what he saw was more likely a ziggurat—the ancient Mesopotamian pyramid that represented a stairway to heaven.
ISAAC IS a transitional character in the Bible, the bridge between Abraham and Jacob. We discuss the stories of Isaac’s adult life—his lie about Rebekah to the king of Gerar and how how Jacob received the blessing that Isaac had planned to give Esau.