Monday, 12 February 2018

The Sons of Anah

Interesting afternoon today, in amongst the catching up with sleep.

Went down to meet the little-known religious group, the "Sons of Anah".

You all know about Anah, of course. The father of two children - one of whom,  Oholibamah, married Esau.  We are also informed that, while looking after his father Zibeon's donkeys in the desert, he "found the hot springs."

We're not told why this is seen as important. Which is where the "Sons of Anah" fill in the gap.

In their mythology, Anah is a kind of everyperson. He's most noticeable because his second child becomes the third wife of the less important son of Isaac, Esau. So he's kind of mentioned - mentioned repeatedly, actually, in Genesis 36 - but never really does much. He looks after donkeys, and he has a couple of kids. But he mostly is notable, or not, for finding hot springs in the desert.

So to the Sons of Anah, he's like a kind of patron saint of mediocrity. Finding cold springs in the desert would be really useful. Hot springs - probably not so much. In that sense, say the Sons of Anah, he's as one with the rest of us, who plod on - never really do anything spectacular - and depend for their name being preserved on the earth upon their children.

Weirdly, while the Vulgate, and all the other translations say they were hot springs, the King James Version says he found mules in the desert. And some King James believers go further, telling us that Anah actually invented the mule. Or at least, encouraged the invention of the mule by a horse and a donkey.

Which leaves the Sons of Anah to ask themselves - he either invented mules or found hot water in a hot place. His daughter was the third wife of the wife of a widely reviled tribal leader - a kind of Old Testament Melania Trump. He never did anything spectacular - his most useful action being possibly to have invented a cross-bred equine. And yet his name appears nine times in just one chapter of the Bible. He's the one we can all aspire to be. Completely useless, and yet known to God.

But don't listen to their hymns. Oh boy their hymns are dull. And all about mules.

Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

1 comment :

  1. Flashlight Annie13/02/2018, 12:58

    If I were a nomadic pastoralist, traipsing around a hot dusty land with my sheep and goats and equine hybrids, I can think of few things more luxurious than bathing in hot water at the end of the working day. Maybe not so useless after all?


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