Thursday, March 26, 2015

Leviticus 6-10

Chapter 6-7:

God repeats himself. A lot.

He keeps talking to Moses about the ritual sacrifices and what everyone's supposed to do. Particularly the priests.

Chapter 8:

Moses dresses up his brother Aaron and Aaron's sons to be fabulous priests.

Chapter 9:

They have a sacrificial BBQ. God shows up and brings the fire.

"Moses and Aaron then entered the meeting tent. When they came out, they blessed the people, and the LORD's glorious presence appeared to all the people. Fire flew out from before the LORD and devoured the entirely burned offering and the fat pieces on the altar. All the people saw it. They shouted for joy and fell facedown."

Chapter 10: 

Aaron's sons have a hard time following the rules. Nadab and Abihu "each took an incense pan. They put fire and incense on them and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD." From what I gather they smear incense and fire on themselves? Which is...weird? Lord God does not appreciate the sons unauthorized fire: "Then fire flew out from before the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD."

Moses is kind of a dick to his brother and is all "See? That's what happens when we don't listen to instructions."

The lesson I took away from this is this is what happens when you invite God to your BBQ.

Aaron remains silent. Moses doesn't bat an eye before bringing in some cousins to dispose of the bodies, then tells Aaron's remaining sons that they cannot mourn their dead loved ones, his own nephews, or they will die too. Anyone else feeling that Moses is kind of a dick? Anyone?

God lays on some more good news. Aaron and his remaining sons and their descendants must remain the DD's of Israel forever:

"Both you and your sons must not drink wine or beer when you enter the meeting tent to that you don't die--that is a permanent rule throughout your future generations."

Then Moses throws a hissy fit about Aaron's remaining sons not eating goat meat at the exactly precise time and place.

"Then Moses asked about the male goat for the purification offering, and discovered that it had already been burned. He was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's remaining sons, and asked, 'Why didn't you eat the purification offering in the holy area? It's most holy, and it was assigned to you for bearing the community's punishment by making the reconciliation for them before the LORD. Since its blood wasn't brought into the sanctuary's interior, you were to have eaten it in the sanctuary, just as I was commanded."

Aaron then breaks his silence and calls Moses out for being an idiot who also can't listen to instructions.

"'Look,' Aaron said to Moses, 'today they offered their purification offerings and their entirely burned offerings before the LORD, but these things still happened to me! Would the LORD have approved if I had eaten a purification offering today?'"

Yeah, I didn't get it either. I looked it up for you. You're welcome. Basically, Aaron is saying that God wouldn't want them to eat the goat meat now because the ritual needs to be pure and now the bloodied corpses of his loved ones have made everything all icky.

What we have learned today is that Moses also has difficulty listening to instructions but isn't getting punished for it. Moses is a teacher's pet for a teacher that has the worst kind of zero tolerance policy.

Next time on the bible blog, we learn about dietary rules and presumably Moses is still a dick.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Leviticus 1-5

Now that we've put the rule filled Exodus behind us, we can move onto Leviticus which I'm sure will bring us back to the adventure and character development we saw earlier in the book. These first few chapters focus mainly on how God likes his offerings provided to him, whether you're doing it voluntarily or out of guilt. There's a whole bunch of bloody animalistic rituals. It's almost like they're all pagans or something.

Chapter 1:

Recipe for an Offering to the Lord

Ingredients: 1 flawless male from the herd (if you're running low on herd, a flawless male sheep or goat makes a fine substitute)

Materials: Knife, Fire proof altar (preferably homemade), Fire, Priests, Cheese grater

Serving Size: Serves 1 God


1. Grill up the flawless male offering entirely (don't kill it just yet, that comes later ;) )
2. Press the head of the offering with your hand so your vengeful yet merciful God knows that this ritual sacrifice is meant to represent you.
3. Now comes the slaughtering. Use a sharp object so as to drain the blood.
4. Present the blood then allow your priests to add some splashes of it to your altar.
5. Skin the offering with whatever you have handy: cheese grater, vegetable peeler, knife, etc. and dispose of it separately so as to avoid trans fats.
6. Chop the offering into large pieces, no mincing needed here.
7. Light a fire at your altar and arrange the already burned pieces on the wood. God likes his offerings very well done.
8. Wash your flawless male's insides and lower legs before adding them to the fire.
9. Allow the Lord to enjoy the soothing smell of your flawless male goat/sheep/cow.

Chapter 2: 

If you're on a budget, you can present a grain offering to God. Neat.

Chapter 3: 

If you would like to make a "well being sacrifice" you can use a flawless male or female. In this recipe you only need to burn up the fatty bits, the kidneys, the fat around the loins, and the liver lobe. You can keep the rest but:

"All fat belongs to the LORD. This is a permanent rule for your future generations, wherever you live: you must not eat any fat or blood."

This is for the LORD!

Chapter 4: 

This chapter is about what to do should you sin unintentionally. If a priest does it, he has to sacrifice a flawless bull and sprinkle it's blood on curtains and horns. He must also remove God's favorite fatty bits and burn them up except for the hide, flesh, head, lower legs, entrails, and dung which must be burned in a separate location. If the entire Israel community sins unintentionally (like worshipping stupid cows for instance) the priest must do all the stuff he did for his own unintentional sin on behalf of the community. If a leader of the community sins, he has to do all the same stuff but with a flawless male goat. If some nobody commits an unintentional sin, a female goat will do in a pinch.

Chapter 5:

Here God lists some examples of unintentional sins such as not showing up to testify in court or touching unclean things or swearing to do something and then getting flaky about it. God's not a fan of germs or broken promises.

Then he lists some alternative offerings. If you can't afford to kill cows or sheep, you can absolve yourself of one unintentional sin for the price of 2 doves or pigeons. No word on what God's policy is on other bird species.

How many sins does this one buy me?

Then God goes on to explain "Compensation Offerings." You have to make a sacrifice of a flawless male ram if you commit other accidental sins such as corrupting something holy, committing robbery, or being involved in bad financial dealings. Question. How do you do those ones on accident exactly? Like if I borrow someone's pen and forget to give it back, do I have to sacrifice a ram every time?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Exodus 33-40

Chapter 33:

The Lord tells the COI (Children of God) to go to the land of milk and honey without him. He can't go with them because they are stubborn and would annoy him and then he would have to hurt them. Does this not sound like the words of an abusive boyfriend? "I don't want to hurt you anymore baby, but you keep making me because you're so damn stubborn." 

Moses reasons with God that if he doesn't travel with the COI that the COI aren't anymore special or chosen than any other tribe that claims they are special. God says "You got me." Moses says that he would like to see God's glorious presence. God's all "No you'd die. but you can see my glorious butt." So they arrange for Moses to see God's glorious butt by playing a game of peekaboo. Moses will stand beside a rock, God with walk by and put Moses in the gap of the rock, cover it with his hand until he's passed by, take away his hand, then Moses will get to see the backside of God but not his face. 

Here is a reenactment of God's peekaboo game drawn by someone who can barely use scissors to cut paper in a straight line, let alone create art. 



Chapter 34:

Moses has to rewrite the 10 commandments because he broke the last ones in a hissy fit. He has to cut two more stone tablets and meet God on the mountain again, no one can follow, not even sheep. 

God renews the covenant he made with the COI. 

"The LORD said: I now make a covenant. In front of all your people, I'll perform dramatic displays of power that have never been done before anywhere on earth or in any nation. All the people who are around you will see what the LORD does, because I will do an awesome thing with you.

Oh YES. God's going to do a MAGIC SHOW and Moses is going to be his lovely assistant.

God repeats the rules of the covenant. Moses writes them down. This takes 40 days and 40 nights because writing things down on stone tablets is time consuming. Here are some highlights:

  • Don't make a covenant with the foreigners. They're a bunch of prostitutes. Destroy their altars and smash their sacred stone pillars because tolerating other religions is lame.
  • Don't make metal gods for yourself. Especially not any fucking cows.
  • "Every first offspring is mine. That includes all your male livestock, the oldest offspring of cows and sheep. But a donkey's oldest offspring you may ransom with a sheep. Or if you don't ransom it, you must break its neck. You should ransom all of your oldest sons."  What exactly does he mean by the firstborn sons being "mine"? 
  • Don't boil a goat in it's mother's milk. Still solid advice.

When Moses is done and goes down the mountain. His face is shiny because of talking to God. God causes oily skin. 

When's the magic act happening?

Chapter 35-40:

Moses passes on the rules to the COI. It basically just involves the special dwelling they have to make for God and all the gifts they have to bring him. Everybody gets to work on it. The next 5 chapters are VERY detailed about EVERY material used and how people built it.  Then God fills the dwelling with his cloudy presence. Some might suggest that these chapters were a little unnecessary and perhaps even self indulgent on the part of the authors. Some might wonder what the purpose of knowing that one hundred "kikkars" of silver were used to cast the bases for the sanctuary or where exactly God wants Moses to arrange his furniture "Place the chest containing the covenant inside the dwelling. Hide the chest from view with the veil. Bring in the table and arrange its items. Bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps. Place the gold altar for burning incense in front of the chest" and so forth. If you find God's interior decoration choices fascinating, go ahead and read these chapters on your own because I'm not dissecting them for you. Also, there wasn't any magic show. 

Exodus is finished! 75 pages in and only 873 to go!

Next week we will read a section called "Leviticus" and hopefully there will be no more discussion of rules or God's opinion of feng shui. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Exodus 31-32

Hello HBB readers. It's been a little while. I've been on the other side of the world and when you're on the other side of the world, you don't do anything productive. Let's recap what happened last time. There were many rules. Ok all caught up now? Let's see what happens next.

Chapter 31:

God tells Moses that he's given a guy named Bezalel special powers. Who's Bezalel you ask? Why he's the son of Uri and the grandson of Hur from the tribe of Judah. Does that clear things up for you? Bezalel has the skill, ability and knowledge for EVERY KIND OF WORK. He will use this power in order to make a pretty temple to hold all the neat stuff God wanted made in his honor. Bezalel can do any sort of work. He could be like Tesla. He could invent things like the internet or indoor plumbing. How will he use his insanely awesome powers? He will be God's interior designer.

God wants the COI (Children of Israel) to take a day off during the week for the Sabbath. If you choose to not rest during the Sabbath and wants to run some errands during your free time YOU SHALL BE PUT TO DEATH.

Sorry, if I pick you up at the airport today I'll be put to death. 

Chapter 32:

Moses has been away for some time up on the mountain listening to God's rules and shopping list. While he is away the COI get impatient that they don't have something to worship. They're addicted to worshipping things. They don't know what's happened to Moses so they ask his brother Aaron to whip them up some new gods to worship. Aaron says all right and has them melt down their jewelry to make them some new gods. That easy.

"Then he made the metal image of a bull calf, and the people declared 'These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!" When Aaron saw this, he built and altar in front of the calf. Then Aaron announced, 'Tomorrow will be a festival to the LORD' They got up early the next day and offered up entirely burned offerings"

No wonder God was acting like a jealous boyfriend. God leaves them alone for 5 minutes and they're already moving on to some shabby homemade golden cow and you know how God feels about cows. God gets pretty pissed and talks about all the horrible things he's going to do to the COI as punishment. Moses calms him down. He asks God why he would want to do horrible things to the people he took such great pains to save in the first place. Moses adds a little slyly that the Egyptians will get to say that God took the COI out to the desert just to murder them if he doesn't show some mercy.

"Well done Moses." I said to myself before I read the next section.

Moses comes down with 2 big stone tablets with all the special rules God wrote down himself. Once Moses sees the COI worshipping the golden calf, he throws a hissy fit and breaks the tablets. Moses asks his brother Aaron.

"What did these people do to you that lead you to commit such a terrible sin?"

"Well they asked me to...soooo I did."

Moses gathers those that claim to be on the Lord's side.

"Each of you, strap on your sword! Go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other. Each of you, kill your brother, your friend, and your neighbor!"

In order to rectify the sin of worshipping another god, the true believers commit the sin of murder and not really respecting their neighbors. After they kill off 3,000 of their family, friends, and neighbors, Moses informs them that they all now get a special blessing but the next day Moses reminds them that they still committed a terrible sin and he will go up to the Lord to try and cool things down because it worked out so well the last time.

Moses says to God: "Oh what a terrible sin these people have committed! They made for themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin! And if not, then wipe me out of your scroll that you've written."  

God says that he will only erase the names of those that have sinned against him. He reminds Moses that in spite of the spectacular murder spree the remaining COI survivors have committed, the sin will count against them on the day of reckoning. The Lord then shows mercy by sending a plague on what's left on the true believer.

The lesson to take away here? Don't ever worship a fucking cow.

Murder and plagues coming their way