Type: Argumentative essay

Subject: Other / BIBLE AS LITERATURE ENG 2377

Topic: Writer’s choice

Style: MLA

Number of pages: 2 pages/double spaced (550 words)

PowerPoint slides: 0

Additional: None

Number of source/references: 2

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Second Essay Assignment


Another argument like the first one. Again, prove some human character guilty of a crime from the books of Exodus, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Jonah: you choose the character or characters, and you choose the crime. This time, you can look at any of the following books to find a suitable character—and there are many. Think of all the opportunities in these books:



Aaron (remember the golden calf?),



the Israelites who raped the concubine;

the “husband” of the concubine who put her outside to be raped;

the Philistines,


Eli’s sons,






Jonah – in sum, all sorts of people who did awful things.


But this time I want a real, solid argument. (As arguments, your first essays were weak.) First, NO PARAGRAPH OF PARAPHRASE. I know the story; your classmates have read the story; assume that everyone has read the story. DON’T RETELL THE STORY. INSTEAD, MAKE AN ARGUMENT.


To show you how, I’m going to reproduce a very strong argument from a student paper, and show you all the good things this person did in that argument. This model essay follows after these directions.


Also, I’m going to require that you include at least five of the following eight features in your argument (number them in parentheses in your essay):

  1. include a comparison to another biblical story
  2. include a contrast to another biblical story
  3. describe a situation as it likely happened, or what xxx must have felt as it was happening, or

what xxx must have been thinking

  1. comment on the criminal’s motive
  2. talk about consequences of what was done (how many ill consequences there were, or how

bad they were)

  1. outline an alternative, what the person should have done instead, and the probable positive

consequences of that choice

  1. explain the great degree of harm done
  2. if you can, show where the crime done has been prohibited in the biblical text.


On top of that, you should

*name the crime, of course – it should be a crime we all recognize is a crime (or might have

once been a crime; for instance, adultery may not be a crime now, but certainly often

has been)

*have a good short introduction

*include 3-5 quotations

*end strongly; don’t just end

*title this imaginatively (this was well done by many, the last time)


Now, below is the excellent student argument (based on my Genesis essay assignment) as a kind of model. See my comments in ALL CAPS within the student essay, and some short comments that follow.



Model Essay: “A Life Lost”


All rise for the honorable Judge Jones presiding. Ladies and gentlemen, we are here today to witness case number 2265, Laban vs. Leah. You may be seated. The prosecution will make its closing argument.


Prosecution: Upon hearing the facts presented against Laban in his treatment of Jacob, it is clear that he is a deceitful man. But after further investigation, it becomes evident that the worst evil was committed against his daughter, Leah. Laban committed two major offenses against his daughter. First of all, Laban should be convicted of reckless endangerment. He willingly gave Leah to Jacob (instead of Rachel) on Rachel’s wedding night without knowing what Jacob might do to Leah when he discovered the switch. Second, what he did to his daughter can simply be viewed as child abuse. He did not harm Leah physically, but destroyed her emotionally. He destroyed her chance of living a life full of love, honor, and respect, which everyone deserves. A parent is supposed to do what is best for his or her child.<GOOD GENERAL CONTRAST Laban forcing his daughter into a miserable life was certainly not what was best for her. It is clear that Laban has offended Leah and deserves to be punished. <THESE OPENING PARAGRAPHS PUT THE MAIN ARGUMENT OF THE CASE CLEARLY, IDENTIFYING THE TWO CRIMES WELL.


Laban’s first offense came about when he forced his daughter to deceive Jacob. This set up a rivalry between Leah and Jacob, even making it possible for murder to occur. This is where the reckless endangerment charge comes in. Laban had no idea what Jacob would do when he became aware of the disingenuous trick that had been played on him. It may have even caused him to do something so drastic as to take Leah’s life just to get her out of the way. You never know what a man crazed by love will do.<POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES Just take a look at the case of Samson. The woman he originally wanted to take as his wife was given to his groomsman, and he was offered her younger sister instead. Because of this, Samson became so enraged that he set “fire to standing grain and sheaves, as well as to vineyards and olive groves” (Judges 15.5). He destroyed everything! Who is to say that Jacob would not have acted the same way or possibly even worse?<EXCELLENT BIBLICAL COMPARISON Laban puts his poor daughter right in harm’s way with no concern as to what might happen to her.

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