Who were the first brothers in the Bible? Of course they were Cain and Abel. Their story is of course a warm and fuzzy one full of hugs and brotherly love. NOT. How long did Cain hate his brother? As long as he was Abel. Of course Cain killed his brother out of jealousy over God accepting Abel's sacrifice and not his own.
I would think that Noah's brothers would be the next in line and we know that one of them was a pervert, for lack of any better word to call him. He brought disgrace on the household.
Abraham had two sons by two women. There is no record of Isaac and Ishmael ever having any kind of relationship at all due to Hagar being sent away. So much for brotherly love being manifested by the offspring of the father of faith.
Isaac had two sons and of course they got along famously. I don't think so Tim. Jacob and Esau were engaged in intense sibling rivalry which ultimately led to Jacob (with the help of his mother) tricking his own father into giving him the birthright. He then had to run for his life to a distant country and live in fear that his brother would find him and kill him.
Jacob had 12 sons who were all brothers or half brothers. We all know how much they loved Joseph. Yea sure, they loved him enough to bury him in a hole and later sell him into slavery.
Time and again after the kingdom was established there were records of sibling rivalry as brothers jostled for position in order to somehow end up as king. Perhaps the saddest of all these incidents was what happened in David's house. As part of the consequence to his sin with Uriah, his sons became bitter enemies toward each other and one even tried to kill his own father.
Proverbs says that there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I believe that verse with all my heart. I think the balance of evidence indicates that the closest relationships mentioned in the Bible were NOT blood relationships but rather deep friendships that developed over time such as with David and Jonathan.
Jesus had friends, such as Lazarus, but there is little if anything said about his relationship with his own half brothers. Although within the group of 12 disciples there were brothers, there is no record that the physical brothers were any closer to each other than the whole of the group.
I think many times that Christians look at the New Testament term "brotherly love" and strictly equate it with the love brothers have within a family. Clearly this could pose some real problems based on what we have seen in the Bible. I believe the whole idea of "brotherly love" actually has little to do with earthly families but rather the common courtesy and hospitality we are to show each other.
I believe Jesus showed us the essence of brotherly love through examples such as going the extra mile, forgiving seven times seventy times and generally looking out for the welfare of each other. As nice as this is, and brotherly love is mainly defined as being nice to each other, it pales in comparison to God's love in manifestation.
God's love demands self sacrifice and the willingness to lay down one's own selfish desires for the good of another. No greater love has any man than he lay down his life for another. The love of God, as described in I Corinthians 13 demands the willingness to bury all the bitterness, rivalries, pride, ego, desire for revenge and other less than desirable traits many times manifested among brothers. The love of God, in other words, is FAR greater and FAR MORE demanding than brotherly love.
The New Testament tells us to let brotherly love continue in the sense that we SHOULD be nice to each other but that for which we should strive to attain in not brotherly love but rather the richness of the love of God in manifestation. May we all seek to become toward each other that friend, who by manifesting the love of God, becomes closer than any brother or sister ever could be.
[quote]I think the balance of evidence indicates that the closest relationships mentioned in the Bible were NOT blood relationships but rather deep friendships that developed over time such as with David and Jonathan. [/quote]
I do not have any "natural" sisters but I do have sisters in Christ. I only have one "natural" brother but I have brothers in Christ. We throw around the terms "brother" and "sister" I'm afraid. Perhaps that is not true for I am basing that observation on the fact that I grew up in a denomination where people were referred to and referred to others as "brother/sister so and so". While that certainly could be and was genuine some of the time, often it was simply a title which in reality meant little or nothing to either party.
I want to take this just a step further. Not every single friend of David's could be a Jonathan to him. Indeed to try to be a "Jonathan/David" to every single person would be impossible! I do praise God, however, that I have definitely learned that we sometimes can have several :D
Wow! I never thought about this before -but - It certainly shows me that brother/sister rivalry's are nothing new. They have been around since the beginning.
I've read these so many times and just never made the connection. It is so true that those special friends are usually closer to us than our siblings.
I do agree about "brotherly love" and always di think of it as that kind of love not love towards siblings.
Thanks B2Y for pointing these facts out .
I never considered these thoughts before. You are right in showing the difference between earthly family and Christian family. There are none so special as our brothers and sisters in Christ! We CAN love our earthly family too...Ha!
Bless you in your work.
Rest In Him,