How Desert Culture Helps Us Understand The Bible
Bedouin law explains reaction to rape of Dinah
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When Abraham sends his concubine Hagar and their son Ishmael into the “wilderness of Beersheba” (Genesis 21:14), he hangs from Hagar’s shoulder “a skin of water.” In Sinai and the Negev, Bedouin shepherdesses today still carry to pasture the same type of container, made from the skin of a butchered goat, because its porosity helps to retain the coolness of the water under the hot sun.
Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, affixes a nose-ring to Rebecca’s nose when he meets her at the well while in search of a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24:47). This is the same article of jewelry that Bedouin girls bedeck themselves with today to draw attention to themselves in a way deemed more modest than exposing their mouths, which they keep veiled so as not to evoke thoughts of the vagina.

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