Cosmic Goat Picture

2013

I made a painting!! This is for my Genesis class as my creative project. We were once given an assignment to "trace a goat through Genesis," and we noticed that goats come up whenever there is an instance of trickery, hence the name "scapegoat." Being a proud goat owner, I loved this discovery, and started thinking about all the different connotations goats have in mythology. When we are presented with the stereotypical image of Satan, he has goat hooves and horns. Fauns, human-goat hybrids, are creatures that cannot be trusted.


In Genesis specifically, there are numerous examples of goats being used to deceive.

  • Gen. 27:9&16, where Jacob tricks his father into giving him Esau's blessing. Esau is known for being hairy, and their father is blind, so Jacob puts goat hair on his arms as a disguise. His mother cooks a dish of goat meat to serve to his father to "prove" that he killed game as promised. Jacob ends up stealing the blessing.
  • Gen. 30:35 is when Jacob, again, is the trickster. He builds up a herd of strong, healthy goats and a herd of weaker, lesser goats. In the end he takes his half of the goats, the ones with spots, who he purposefully made stronger.
  • Gen. 38:17 shows my favorite Genesis character, Tamar, tricking Judah to have sex with her. Using her body as a resource, Tamar makes Judah promise to send a goat as payment to her, and as collateral she takes some of his valuable possessions. Later, when he discovers she had "played the harlot," he sends her to be burned, but Tamar shows him his possessions, and he realizes what he had done. Because he realized he was in the wrong, he allowed her to marry his youngest son, which was Tamar's right in the first place that he was unjustly keeping from her. This was her plan all along, and she succeeded.

Goats are known for being clever. My goat, Cracker, likes to strongly hint that we give her food that's out of reach for her. She'll look us in the eye, then look at a branch that has some tasty leaves, then look at us, then at the leaves, then at us again. And if we still don't get the hint, she uses us as a ladder and gets up on her hind legs so she can reach the leaves, her front hooves balanced on our stomach/crotch/knees. She also knows to sniff our pockets for treats we may have hidden from her, and she has learned to investigate any plastic bag she finds, just in case there's a leftover bit of bread or chips inside.


In conclusion: goats are rad, and the recurring motif of goats in mythology is also rad.


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