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Deception in Genesis

An Investigation into the Morality of a Unique Biblical Phenomenon

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Michael James Williams

Because deception is usually considered immoral, it is surprising to find so many occurrences of it within Genesis, often perpetrated by Israel’s venerated patriarchs. While deception in Genesis has been addressed in piecemeal fashion in previous studies, this is the first time that it has been dealt with comprehensively. This book analyzes this phenomenon from the perspectives of the Bible itself, later Jewish exegetical tradition, ancient Near Eastern parallels, and folklore. These perspectives unanimously indicate that the moral evaluation of deception in Genesis is both complex and unique in the ancient and modern world.