Photography by Grandpa D. Plasman
These are my twin granddaughters. They were born two days before Christmas and a month early. Caroline (Carrie) is on the right and Emily is on the left. Wait a minute, I might have that wrong. It’s really hard to tell, and it won’t be the last time I get them mixed up.
With my new-found interest in twins, I did some research and discovered several sets of twins in the Bible, the most famous being Esau and Jacob. These biblical brothers were not identical, neither in physical appearance nor personality. Throughout their lives, Jacob was a schemer and liar, a cheater and conniver, a Bernie Madoff kind of guy who pretty much said and did whatever it took to get ahead. Yet Jacob is the twin who seems to get the blessings!
Esau’s offspring were the Edomites. In biblical times, they occupied the area of the map known today as the Sinai Peninsula. The Edomites don’t come off well. They were a nuisance to Israel, which has prompted certain end times futurists to predict that Esau’s descendants will be the first to be slain in the Battle of Armageddon. Funky stuff! In more than one way Esau got ripped off.
An even more bizarre story about twins is told in the 38th chapter of Genesis. Here’s the short version. Judah, one the twelve sons of Jacob, marries a woman named Shua. They have three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah. Eventually, Judah finds a wife for Er named Tamar. But Er is wicked and God kills him. Really!!??
Judah orders his son Onan to do the proper thing and take Tamar as his wife so that they will have children. Onan isn’t dumb. He knows any children Tamar produces won’t legally be considered his, so every time he has sex with Tamar he “spills his semen on the ground,” apparently more than once. This displeases God to no end, so God kills Onan. Really!!??
Through various R-rated plot twists, Tamar seduces her father-in-law into getting her pregnant. Another set of biblical twins are born, Perez and Zerah. A little known fact though I can’t fully prove it: the Perez lineage produced a marvelous major league ballplayer named Tony Perez. He spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Reds, batting .317 for the 1970 “Big Red Machine.” Tamar would have been proud.
The last set of biblical twins is somewhat incomplete. The disciple Thomas – Doubting Thomas – in John’s gospel is called the twin, a translation from the Greek word didymus. Thomas’ twin sibling is never identified. I’m guessing a sister, a gutsy one who persuaded her oft-times timid brother to join her to such far-flung places as India. Thomas agreed, and churches that bear his name are still there.
I wonder what adventures await my twin granddaughters? Maybe one will become the third woman president of the United States. Maybe the other will become a diplomat like her father or a gifted graphic designer like her mother. Who can say? The possibilities are unfathomable. The adventure that awaits is best described by T. S. Eliot, “The journey not the arrival matters.”