I always know that means they haven’t read it. Have you ever noticed how many messed-up families there are in Genesis?
Here’s a quick summary:
Cain is jealous of Abel and kills him. Lamech introduces polygamy to the world. Noah—the most righteous man of his generation—gets drunk and curses his own grandson.
Lot, when his home is surrounded by residents of Sodom who want to violate his visitors, offers instead that they can have sex with his daughters. Later on, his daughters get him drunk and get impregnated by him—and Lot is the most righteous man in Sodom!
Abraham plays favorites between his sons Isaac and Ishmael; they’re estranged.
Isaac plays favorites between his sons Jacob and Esau; they’re bitter enemies for twenty years. Jacob plays favorites between Joseph and his other eleven sons; the brothers want to kill Joseph and end up selling him into slavery.
Their marriages are disasters:
Abraham has sex with his wife’s servant, then sends her and their son off to the wilderness at his wife’s request. Isaac and Rebekah fight over which boy gets the blessing. Jacob marries two wives and ends up with both of their maids as his concubines as well when they get into a fertility contest.
Jacob’s firstborn son, Reuben, sleeps with his father’s concubine.
Another son, Judah, sleeps with his daughter-in-law when she disguises herself as a prostitute. She does this because she is childless since her first two husbands—both sons of Judah—were so wicked that God killed them both; and Judah reneged on his obligations to her.
These people need a therapist.
These are not the Waltons. They need Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura, Dr. Ruth, Dr. Spock, Dr. Seuss—they need somebody. (Feel any better about your family?)
Why does the writer of Genesis include all this stuff?
There’s a very important reason. The writer of Scripture is trying to establish a deep theological truth: Everybody’s weird.
Ortberg, J. (2009). Everybody’s normal till you get to know them. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.