Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Numbers 25-27

Happy holidays everyone! My Christmas gift to you shall be illicit sex followed by a swift and violent punishment. 

Chapter 25: 

We kick off this chapter with Israelite men having "illicit" sex with the foreign Moabite ladies. They didn't dance around describing it either. No "The Israelite men got to know the Moabite women" euphemisms.  It spells it out pretty clearly. Israelite men "made themselves impure by having illicit sex with Moabite women." I guess having sex with women who don't have at least a 1 in 3 chance of being your cousin makes you impure in this book.

Maybe God could have forgiven this non-cousin banging offense with some plaguing, but the Israelite men cross the line by worshipping the god (no capital letter for this one) of the Moabite women: Baal of Peor. Lord God insists that Moses kill all the leaders of all the people in broad daylight. Moses doesn't exactly follow this order and instead goes for a slightly more logical approach: just punishing the people who actually offended Lord God. He asks the Israelite officials to kill any of their men actually worshipping the foreign god with the fancier name.

Is your bloodlust still unquenched? Well, don't worry, we're reading the Holy Bible. An Israelite man brings a Midianite woman to hang out by the meeting tent. A guy name Phineas sees this and isn't a fan. Instead of venting his feelings through gossip or blogging, he decides to stab the Midianite woman and Israelite man through the stomach with a spear. Then a plague stops? A plague that I didn't know was happening until that sentence? Who edited this? I get that it's long, but you can't just throw a "Oh right btw there was a plague, and making a bloody mixed couple kabob put an end to it."

 Lord God's all "I like this kid, he's a real go getter." Remember how murdering thy neighbor is supposed to be a sin or whatever? Well, God doesn't.

"Because he was jealous for me among you, I didn't consume the Israelites due to my jealousy. Therefore, say: I'm now giving  him my covenant of well-being. It will be for him and his descendants a covenant of permanent priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and sought reconciliation for the Israelites."

Yeah, makes sense.

Lord God then tells Moses to go ahead and destroy the rest of the Midianites. Oh Midianites. We hardly knew ye.

Chapter 26: 

A second census is taken. Names are listed. Descendants names are listed. Land is divided among clans. I will not make you suffer as I have suffered. I offer a picture of this hideous cat instead.

Chapter 27: 

God does something weirdly progressive. He's a complicated all powerful being. A man named Zelophehad dies and doesn't have a son, only daughters. The daughters say that it is unfair that his name shouldn't be passed on just because he didn't have a son and that they should get some land. God does not smite them, burn them, or poison them, but says that they have a POINT and should get some of the land from their uncles. He then says that whenever a man dies without a son, the property should go to the daughter(s).

That shit is more progressive than a Jane Austen novel and I don't know how to feel about it. Maybe he feels bad about giving women periods? And childbirth?

Next, God tells Moses to isolate himself and prepare for death because apparently he fucked up somehow: "you rebelled against my command to show them my holiness by means of the water." Dear authors, do you think that maybe...just maybe, when important plot points happen, you could actually write that plot point out instead of having a character vaguely mention it in passing?

Moses is cool with dying and asks God to appoint a new leader. God picks some guy named Joshua. That poor son of a bitch.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Numbers 23- 24

Chapter 23:

If you recall from last time, King Balak is really afraid of those Israelite foreigners. He's worried about what those refugees will do to his people and his land and ends up making some rash decisions.  Decisions that seem to ignore history and logic and education. If only this story were relevant to today.

He asks Balaam, a man who's name is annoyingly similar to Balak, and yes that was confusing for me, to curse them. Balaam checks in with God and learns that the Israelites are God's chosen people. He tries to tell King Balak that he cannot help him out but Balak isn't good at understanding things.

In this chapter, Balaam goes to Balak and asks that the king build 7 altars to sacrifice 7 bulls and 7 rams. Balaam tells Balak to chill out, he's just got to go talk to God for a sec. God gives Balaam a boring poem to read to King Balak, which blesses the Israelite people and makes them uncursable. King Balak is not pleased with this betrayal, but suggests:

"Come with me, please, to another place where you'll see them. You'll see only part of them. You won't see all of them. Then curse them for me from there." 

Balak provides another 7 altars, 7 rams, and 7 bulls to sacrifice. Balaam tells him to wait a minute while he talks to God again then comes back and says another creepy poem to bless the Israelite people. King Balak is super bummed out about getting betrayed a second time. What does he suggest next you ask?

"Please come and I'll take you to another place. Perhaps God will prefer it, so that you could curse him for me from there." 

Can you guess what happens next?

King Balak's all "Why would you do this to me? I am so very surprised that after telling me several times that you could not curse the Israelite people, and after blessing them these two times, that you would betray me a third time. I really thought you'd change your mind the third time."

And Balaam's all "I literally couldn't have made my intentions any clearer."

Chapter 24: 

God comes down to tell say some creepy stuff about how he's going to break people's bones and devour nations and describes himself as a lion and also a lioness because God doesn't believe in having only one gender identity which is cool and progressive if it weren't for the bone breaking and nation devouring. He/She says that Balaam will be blessed and King Balak will be cursed.

Balak gets super pissed and is all "I can't believe you betrayed me like this."

Balaam's all "I can't believe you still can't believe I didn't do the thing I kept telling you I couldn't do literally over and over again."

Balaam thing goes on to predict the demise of Balaam's people as the Israelites get closer.

I have to say, I know Balak's super dumb, but I really thought he would have punished Balaam for screwing him over. All he did was send him home He's pretty merciful, unlike SOME lionesses I know.