Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Exodus 20-21

It's time for God to come on down and tell his holy chosen COI (Children of Israel) all the rules they now have to follow now that they're in a relationship with him. There's a lot of them. Nobody seems to question them. I might have raised my hands a few times.

This is me the whole time. 

Chapter 20: 

They can't have any other Gods. This is a monogamous relationship. God doesn't want them to worship any other idols. This is where things get a little intense:

"Do not bow down to them or worship them, because I, the LORD your God, am a passionate God. I punish children for their parents' sins even to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me. But I am loyal and gracious to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments."

See what I mean about the intensity of this relationship? I would like to direct the COI to this article about the early warnings signs of an abusive relationship. Some of those signs are "He will want to commit--quickly" and "He will want you all to himself."

God doesn't want the COI to go throwing around his name like it doesn't have any meaning. He doesn't want them working on Sundays which sounds fine to me. I'm all for vacations where I can tell people I physically can't work or my God boyfriend will absolutely lose his shit. God wants you to honor your father and mother. This is where I would raise my hand and ask things like "What if my mother and father hate you and are cheating on you with other Gods? Should I still honor their wishes then? Or does it even matter because you said earlier that you would punish me for the sins of my family whether or not I actually committed those sins?" But nobody in the book asked that question so I'm not sure what God would have to say to that one.

Other basic rules involve not killing, committing adultery, stealing, and lying about your neighbor. Here I would shrug and mostly agree. Mostly. Then comes the more hand raising parts like not desiring your neighbor's house, wife, servants, ox, donkeys, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor. It's not the gist of it that bothers me so much as the part where he threw in the neighbor's wife as a belonging equal to donkeys and servants...

Apparently God doesn't make time for a question answer session and leaves the COI shivering in fear with a thunder and lightening display before peacing out. The COI suggest that maybe only Moses talks to them from now on because God is super intense and kind of freaks them out. Moses is all "He's cool guys. You've just got to get to know him. And never ever break one of his many rules or contradict him and everything will be ok."

God passes some more rules along to Moses about worship. It's all basically just "I want you to make the worshipping altar out of this material instead of this kind" some might call him high maintenance but he's just been around long enough to know what he wants, you know? Then there's this sentence thrown in there:

"Don't climb onto my altar using steps: then your genitals won't be exposed by doing so."

Make what you will out of that.

Chapter 21:

This is a section on what to do with your slaves. It says "Free them. It's wrong to own human beings." Just kidding. The instructions are very very detailed. You can own a male Hebrew slave for 6 years but on the 7th year, you have to free him. If he started out single, he leaves single. As in if the slave married some other slaves and had children with her, the wife and children must still remain slaves. If the male slave does not want to leave his family behind, and remain a slave, he has to get an ear piercing and remain a slave for life.

See above: A slave. 

When a man sells his daughter as a slave, a different sort of sweet sixteen tradition, she is not to be treated the same way as a male slave. Of course. If she doesn't please the master, whatever the hell that means, she must be sold back to the family where I'm sure she'll be welcomed with open arms. If he makes her his son's wife, she must get daughter benefits which I'm sure are awesome. Basically what I'm getting from this is lady slaves remain slaves for life vs. the male slave's 6 years unless they displease the master in some way.

Next there's a section on human violence. Basically if you kill or hit anyone you die. If you kill someone on accident, the Lord will bring you to safety. So remember if you're a jury member on a murder trial. If they didn't do it, God would have hid them away and the police never would have found them in the first place. Glad we could save everybody so much time and taxpayer money with that one. If you hit your mother or father, you die. It's cool if they hit you though because children are barely people. If you kidnap someone, you die...which is totally different from buying someone as a slave against their will. Two totally different things.

If you hit someone with a stone or your fist and they die, you die but if they're only knocked out for a couple of days, you're totally fine you just have to pay off the labor costs they missed out on. If you hit a slave with a rod and they die on the spot, you will be punished, not die, just punished but if the slave is only out cold for a couple of days, you're totally fine, no fines to pay because that slave is your property. If fighting people injure a pregnant woman and cause a miscarriage, they have to pay a fine to be determined by the husband.

Then there's this really ominous quote:

"If there is further injury, then you will give a life for a life, (unless it's a slave because slaves don't count) an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot, a burn for a burn, a bruise for a bruise, a wound for a wound."

Then the chapter ends on a section that is entirely too long about the semantics of oxen violence and fines. Like just so long and detailed. Way more detailed than what happens to violence against actual human beings.

Next time on the bible blog: More rules. Just so many rules.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Exodus 17-19

Hi Bible readers. I know I mentioned this before but in case you missed it, there's also a facebook page  if you'd like to like it so you can be updated when there's a new blog. I try to blog every Tuesday but sometimes things get weird. Like last week, when I didn't blog at all. Sorry about that. Anyway, onward.

Chapter 17:

The COI (Children of Israel) get super whiny again about being thirsty, again. Moses literally says:

"Why are you arguing with me? Why are you testing the Lord?"

Which sort of sounds like something a parent would say to a whiny child.

Moses talks to God about the water problem and rather than drop bottled water from the sky, God decides to give Moses an elaborate set of instructions because he can. He tells Moses to gather all the Israelite elders and go to a rock where God will be chilling, then Moses will strike the rock with his mighty staff and water will come out. They do all this and the COI drink water and probably whine about something else about 2 seconds later.

There is a battle between the COI and Amalek. There is no explanation of the conflict. All you have to know is that the COI are the good guys because God is on their side and Amalek probably had it coming.

Moses looks over the battle and helps much like an orchestra conductor. When he raises his hand, the COI start winning the battle. When he lowers his hand, the COI start losing. Eventually Moses's arms get tired so they pull up a rock for him to sit on and literally hold his arms up for him until the battle is won. I picture it like this.

Chapter 18: 

This chapter feels a little out of place. It's much too simple, straight forward and logical. People solve their problems peacefully. There's no incest, no secret seductions, no removal of foreskins, just people talking it out and solving problems.

Moses's father-in-law Jethro decides "hey Moses is free now, he'd probably like to see his wife and kids." So he just brings them out to Moses even though I thought they were all kind of lost in the desert, Jethro can just navigate right to them for the weekend. This part feels more in line with what I've come to expect from this book. The next logical weird part is coming.

Jethro sits down and has a nice chat with Moses and asks his son-in-law what it's like to be a leader of thousands of people and talk to God and stuff. Moses tells him it's ok. Then people keep coming to Moses to sort out their minor issues and Moses tells them about how to resolve it through God's rules. Jethro tells Moses that this is too stressful for him, that Moses should pick other leaders among his people to help sort through minor issues like this and they can save the big issues to take to Moses. This had not occurred to Moses because he doesn't understand how politics of any kind work. So they do that and at least in this chapter, nobody dies.

Chapter 19: 

God tells Moses that he's going to come and have a meeting with him in front of everyone in 3 days, so that the COI will trust Moses forever. God is going to come down on a cloud on Mount Sinai. There must be a fence to go around the mountain because if anyone touches it before the 3rd day, they have to die because reasons. And if you touch someone who touched the mountain, then you have to get stoned but not in a good way. Also everyone must make themselves holy by washing up and not getting it on. Also when God arrives, no one can get too close because otherwise Lord God will "break loose against them." It sort of sounds like they're preparing for the arrival of a werewolf.

Buffy nerds anyone?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Exodus 14-16

I've been told by a few people that the version of The Holy Bible I was reading by King James and Jesus would be missing some interesting parts so a good friend of mine gave me another one called The Common English Bible because the one I was reading really wasn't long enough. Hopefully this one will mention something about the rock monsters.

Chapter 14:

The COI are still wandering the desert and God tells his secretary Moses to go to a certain area so that they seem like they are wandering aimlessly to trick the Pharaoh. Because you see, God is going to pull the puppet strings on the Pharaoh once again to harden his heart and make him go after the Hebrews with 600 elite chariots and all the other less elite chariots that Egypt has to offer to capture...600,000 Egyptian men (not including the women, children, and cows and the cows will put up a serious fight) God specifically says:

"I'll make Pharaoh stubborn, and he'll chase them. I'll gain honor at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD."

This scenario reminds me of something...

I think God is sort of doing the D.EN.N.I.S. method of dating with the Hebrews. God makes the Pharaoh's heart harden so he continually harm the Hebrews that way the Hebrews will rely on God to save them. i.e. when Dennis slashes women's tires so they have to call him for a ride or in a really eerily spot on analogy pretending to be an angry neighbor that calls and harasses the woman. This isn't a healthy relationship you guys.

When the Hebrews see the Egyptians coming, they start bitching about how Moses never should have saved them in the first place, how they’d be better off as slaves. Moses assures them that if they get into a relationship with God, that God will totally make these angry neighbors go away. He cries out to God and God’s all “Why are you bothering me? Just raise that fancy stick I gave you. Try some independence for once.”

Moses does this and parts the whole red sea! Waaaaay cooler trick than snake tricks, bloody rivers, and infanticide. So the COI walk on dry land surrounded on either side by a wall of water which is probably even cooler then those tunnel things they have at the aquarium. The Egyptians try to follow and when they’re far enough in, God jams their chariot wheels so they can’t turn back and he tells Moses to let the waters go and all the Egyptians straight up drown. 

All of the Egyptian soldiers die and the COI see their corpses wash up to shore and see the awesome power of their new boyfriend who they really better not piss off. 

by Brendan Powell Smith. all rights reserved "The Brick Testament" 

Chapter 15: 

The COI sing a grisly victory song in God’s name. There’s a whole lot of lines about God throwing Egyptians in the sea and their bodies sinking like stones. Here are some highlights:

Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he hurled into the sea

The deep sea covered them; they sank into the deep waters like a stone

you overthrow  your opponents; you send out your hot anger; it burns them up like straw

Then Aaron/Moses’s sister Miriam sings gets really into it and grabs herself a tambourine with all the other women. Presumably because singing the song celebrating the grisly drowning of hundreds of people with the men would be sinful. 

It doesn’t take long for the celebrations to end and for the COI to get whiny again. They have nothing to drink for 3 days until they come upon Marah who’s water was bitter. God throws a tree in the water that sweetens it up then says more stuff that sounds like something an abusive boyfriend might say: 

If you are careful to obey the LORD your God, do what God thinks is right, pay attention to his commandments, and keep all of his regulations. then I won’t bring on you any of the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians. I am the LORD who heals you.” 

As long as you don’t talk back like my ex-girlfriend did, I’ll take care of you baby. 

Chapter 16:

The COI continue to bitch:

Oh, how we wish that the LORD had just put us to death while we were still in the land of Egypt. There we could sit by the pots cooking meat and eat our fill of bread. Instead, you’ve brought us out into this desert to starve this whole assembly to death.” 

Hebrews really don’t like hiking. 

God tells Moses that he’s going to make it rain bread but they can only gather enough to last for the day. He really likes his little food tests. He tells the people that he will give them enough bread in the morning to last them for the day and give them meat at night. Moses lets them know that they shouldn’t try to save any extra, to only gather and eat what they need for the day. Some of them don’t listen, of course, and try to save the bread for the next day only to find it covered with worms. On the 6th day, God gives them enough food to last for 2 days because he is going to take a break on the 7th day, the Sabbath, and they should all take a break and stay inside too. Some people don’t listen, and try to go out on the break day to gather food and find nothing. God’s all “Why the fuck don’t they listen?” to Moses. 

Anyway this goes on for 40 years. The COI eats the special bread called Mana for 40 years. This is still preferable to 7 years of eating corn