Today, in an effort to convince some of the guys that they are not Jewish, I brought in a visual aid. First I sketched out a little of my own family tree so they would understand the concept and then I showed them this poster that starts with Adam and Eve and works down to Abraham, then lists all the tribes of Israel and (it seems) every name that is specifically mentioned in the Old Testament in family tree fashion. They were quite impressed by this. I didn’t snap this picture until later, but at first everybody was huddled around as I pointed out all the names we have come to in our stories. I explained that these are the people who were Abraham’s blood-line and, of course, there were many more after them, but only people in this family tree are Jewish.
Thanks to an email exchange with Joey Espinosa (my Jewish-Christian friend) I also realized I had neglected a relevant and powerful point in this discussion. So I read Genesis 17:9-14 to the guys where God makes circumcision a part of his covenant with Abraham. When I asked if they had heard this before, they all said no with shocked looks on their faces. I explained that this custom is something that all men in Abraham’s blood-line follow. I also made it clear that, regardless of what they think about being Jewish, they should not perform this rite. I encouraged them to wait until we finish our story so they can see how things turn out.
After we finished with that, I told them the story of Joseph and how all of Jacob’s family got to Egypt.
When we were all done, Dixon (sitting on the table above) looking at the poster asked if Seth was a woman. I said no, he was a man. He asked if Adam and Eve had any girls since there aren’t any on the poster. I explained that, yes they did, but the poster only has people whose names are actually mentioned in the Bible. I then read to him Genesis 5:4 and he was very relieved. It turns out he was quite worried about where Cain and Seth would get wives.* As he said, “It would be hard for only men to have babies.” I might disagree with characterizing such a feat as “hard.”
*In case you are wondering, no I did not mention the “sons of God” or the “Nephilim.”