“The Mystery of Mysteries”:  Part 2: Anah’s Mule and Torah’s Darwinian Experiment


NOTE: This is Part 2 of a three-part series about the mule, the hybrid problem in science, and ways in which Darwinism and the Jewish Bible illuminate each other. You can find the other parts here:

“God is the source not only of order but also novelty.” – John Haught, God after Darwin (Boulder: Westview, 2000) p. 182

Anah’s mule

The Book of Genesis tells the story of how Esau met his twin Jacob (Israel) after twenty years, apparently forgives him for cheating him out of his inheritance from Isaac, and then goes down to Seir, where Jacob agrees to meet him … eventually.

Jacob’s in no rush to get there. He doesn’t trust Esau, and in any case, he and his expanding tribe have several adventures that delay them, including the rape of his daughter, annihilating a city, and burying his beloved wife Rachel.

While Jacob dawdles, Esau’s tribe (collectively known by his nickname, Edom, ‘red’, or ‘bloody’), has had the time to breed many generations alongside the tribe of Seir. The Bible, like many ancient epics, gives an extended genealogy of these two families and the eight kings of Edom, a seeminglyanti-climactic end to an otherwise dramatic portion, Vayishlach (“And he sent”).

However, in the middle of the dry account of begats and sires, one comment sticks out like a sore thumb:

“The sons of Zibeon were these: Aiah and Anah—that was the Anah who first found mules in the wilderness while pasturing the asses of his father Zibeon.” (Gen 36:24)

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