Laban’s Teraphim

I know that some people are probably wondering if I’m ever going to write on this blog again. I will. Some may have started wondering if I’m even still alive. I am. I will have more to announce later on, but my family and I are in some transition processes. That’s all I wish to say for now.

My wife and I have been reading the golden biblical-theological introduction to the Old Testament that Reformed Theological Seminary put out. The work on Genesis is by John Currid. He has this to say about the teraphim of Laban:

According to the laws of Nuzi, the family gods (teraphim) played a vital role in the process of inheritance, for whoever possessed these images was considered the rightful heir. No wonder Laban was in a panic over the loss of his household gods when Jacob fled from him to Canaan (Gen. 31:33-35). Laban, in reality, was more concerned about the whereabouts of his gods than about his relatives and flocks (p. 61).

To add on to this insight a bit, if Laban was more concerned about the household gods, because they were the indicator of rightful inheritance, then it is further confirmation of his obsession with money and goods. Obviously, he wanted not only to control what he regarded as his own property, but he also wanted to control who got the inheritance. This might throw an interesting light as well on Rachel’s motives for stealing them.

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10 Comments

  1. November 9, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    That does sound like a good motive to steal his household gods. Thanks.

  2. November 9, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Good to see you pop up again. I’ve been crazy busy all summer and haven’t had a chance to post, either.

  3. November 9, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Who’s Jaco? Heh.

  4. Steve Drake said,

    November 10, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Lane,
    It would be interesting to hear your take on the rest of Currid’s chapter on Genesis from “A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament: The Gospel Promised”.

    No discussion of the ‘days’ of Genesis and their meaning (although a subtle hat-tip to Kline and his ‘Framework Hypothesis’), no discussion of the Hebrew tov in Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, & 25 or tov meod of Gen. 1:31, no discussion of the Flood, it’s nature, duration, and theological implications, except in the “Excursus”, and there briefly to infer the distinct possibility that the Biblical writers well aware of and familiar with pagan flood myths may have “consciously and subversively used polemics against those other accounts in order to taunt them and to show that they are counterfeit”.

    Wow, something to be said for another evangelical scholar standing on the historical accuracy of the foundational book of Scripture.

  5. greenbaggins said,

    November 10, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Steve, if you read Currid’s commentary on Genesis, he addresses all those things, if I remember rightly, from a historical, literal 6 day 24 hour view. He references the commentary quite a lot, which leads me to believe that he is depending on the commentary for those things.

  6. Steve Drake said,

    November 11, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Thanks Lane. Most six-day 24 hour theologians I’ve read, however, would not have spent time describing six days in two sets of three days in parallel (a framework, in other words), note his reference to Meredith Kline in the Bibliography, nor spent an entire “Excursus” of two pages speaking about Genesis and it’s relationship to ancient Near Eastern literature and in particular as of example pagan myths about the Flood, without debunking them entirely and completely.

    Currid’s obvious omission of any discussion of Genesis 6-9, nor of including any discussion of a worldwide cataclysmic event of such magnitude and theological import as part of his subheading on “Message and Theology”, leaves me wanting as well. Just my opinion :)

  7. greenbaggins said,

    November 12, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Steve, I am a 6-day 24 hour theologian, and I would describe the six days in precisely that way as two sets of three (realms, then rulers) leading to the climactic creation of man. I just don’t believe that the said structure leads us to a non-literal literary framework.

    As to the relationship with ANE literature, many conservative theologians (and I am one of them here as well), would note the parallels as Moses’ way of doing apologetics.

    As to the Flood, I don’t remember precisely what Currid said in his commentary about that, but I don’t remember anything giving me pause at all. Are you sure you are reading him correctly here?

  8. Steve Drake said,

    November 13, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Lane,
    I guess I question why cite Kline, as a promoter and supporter of the Framework Hypothesis, Collins with his analogical-day views, Sailhammer (who has written ‘Genesis Unbound’ –promotion of a modified gap theory essentially), without citing any of the major reformed theologians who are ‘strong’ six-day 24 hour guys, or spend time on a detailed discussion of the ‘days’, their import, significance and relationship to a recent mature creation.

    Currid makes no real case for the 6-day 24 hour view here. He makes no real case for a worldwide cataclysmic judgment of God in the Flood of Noah either. In fact, these things are striking by their omission.

    If he’s a strong six-day 24 hour guy to which you infer, why is he trying to temper it or hide it in this chapter on Genesis?

  9. Trent said,

    November 13, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Steve,
    Why assume Currid is guilty is until proven innocent according to your standard? Seems rather rash and unjust.

  10. Steve Drake said,

    November 14, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Trent,
    Depends on your position I suppose, brother. Are you sympathetic to Kline’s ‘Framework Hypothesis’, Collins’ ‘Analogical Days’, or perhaps Ross’s ‘Progressive Creation’? Something else?


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