Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Samuel 8-10

Chapter 8:

Samuel gets old and has to retire. Judging people is a young man's game, so he puts his sons in charge. His sons are not good at being in charge of things. They take bribes and "pervert justice." Still, God doesn't threaten to murder Samuel and his dishonest sons, but he would he if his character was remotely consistent

The Israeli elders meet with Samuel. Since he is too old to rule and his sons suck, they would like a new ruler, a king. Kings are all the rage now. All the other nations have kings now. Being tribal is so genesis. Samuel is displeased because having a king is dangerously close to having a new god.

Samuel prays about it and shares the hot goss with the Good Lord. I picture the two of them drinking a bottle of cabernet, barefoot on the couch, just venting about how underappreciated they feel.

Weirdly I couldn't google my way to a photo of Maggie Smith drinking wine with God on a couch so please enjoy my garbage art instead.

God's big plan is for Samuel to disapprove even harder this time. Samuel gives it his best Maggie Smith. He warns the Israelites what having a king really means. A king would make them fight in wars and *shutter* tax them.

"He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves."

1. These people fight wars constantly anyway.
2. Being taxed is not the same as slavery.
3. You should know this.
4. Your people were literally slaves before you should know the difference .

The Israelites aren't having it. They know what they want and they're not going to let Ol' Judgy Samuel get in the way of it. Though, Samuel might be right. I don't think the Israelites fully understand what kings do:

"We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to leads us and to go out before us and fight out battles."

Fight your battles? They clearly haven't seen Game of Thrones.

After the Israelites defy Samuel yet again, Samuel tells God about their disloyalty and I brace myself for another plaguing smack down:

"The Lord answered, 'Listen to them and give them a king.'"

Chapter 9: 

A boy named Saul goes in search of his father's lost donkeys. I have never known what any of the characters in this book have looked like until now. They were mere shadows destined  for suffering and death. But Saul is different. We finally get some character description because the authors really want you to know that this donkey hunter is hot af.

"Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else."

Feel free to picture any tall and handsome person of your choosing. I'm not the boss of your imagination. I'll be imagining Lee Pace is case you were wondering. He's 6"4 and seems like he cares about animals.

So sad about those donkeys.

The donkeys prove difficult to find for Sexy Saul and he needs a little help. Saul hears about Samuel the seer who can speak with God. Personally, if I heard of a seer who could speak to an omniscient, omnipotent being about wars, murder and the destiny of humanity, I might feel a little self conscious asking him about where my lost donkeys went, but Sexy Saul has no such inhibitions. He already has the entitlement of a king. 

Samuel has been expecting Saul. God already told him the beautiful donkey boy would be king. Samuel doesn't tell Saul this directly but opts to be ominous and creepy instead. He first tells Saul that his donkeys are safe. Samuel then suggests that Saul, the young man (or possibly just an under-aged boy without supervision because the book really wasn't specific about his age?) stay the night "and in the morning I will send you on your way and will tell you all that is in your heart."

Chapter 10:

Samuel tells Saul that he has a message from God. I'll let the book's own words tell you what happens next. 

"Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him saying 'Has not the Lord anointed you ruler over his inheritance?'"

Samuel informs Saul that he's a king now. That's how it works. No sword in the stone this time. Just oily kisses from an old man. Mmmmm. 

Saul is finally skeptical. Not because of the kissing but because he can't believe that a small town boy such as himself could ever be king. Samuel tells Saul that he will receive three signs from God as proof that he wasn't just molested by a delusional old man.

1. Two men are going to tell him his father's donkeys are safe.
2. Three men who have three goats, three loaves of bread, and one bottle of wine will offer food to Saul. "which you will accept from them."
3. Finally, he's going to run into prophets playing harps, pipes, and lyres. The prophet marching band is going to be so inspiring that Saul will feel the spirit of the Lord  "come powerfully upon" him.

I'll stop when they stop. 

If I was Saul, I would wonder if perhaps an old man stole my donkeys, lured me into his home and drugged me via wine and food. I would have asked for more miraculous evidence like parting oceans or creative plagues, but I'm not king material. Strangers offering mystery food and a marching band are enough for the stupid donkey lover who will be king.

Samuel calls the people of Israel together to cast lots for their king. Stupid Sexy Saul is chosen. They spot their new king in the crowd right away, because he is tall. Let's check in on my imagination again. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Samuel 6-7

Happy New Year!

Let's see how much worse things can get!

I mean in this book.

But also this planet right?

I wonder if I'll finish this book before the world ends.


Previously on The Holy Bible...

A woman wanted a baby. She asked God for a baby. God gave her that baby. That baby was Samuel. 

She gave that baby up to some priests because that was the deal. A stupid deal. 

The priest family wasn't perfect. The sons sucked and the father was complicit in their sucking. 

God told Samuel that he's going to kill the priest family because of all the sucking. Samuel became a celebrity because he was a vessel for murder messages. 

There's a war! With the Philistines! The Israelites lost a battle. They also lost the Ark of the Covenant. (Yeah, like the Ark from Raiders of the Lost Ark.) The priest family died just as Samuel predicted. Hurray?

The Philistines were excited about their new God chest until people started getting tumors. The Philistines became less excited about their God chest. 

What will the Philistines do now? Let's find out!:

Chapter 6:

The Philistines don't know what to do with their cancer chest. Keep it and continue to let their people die? Get rid of it and not allow their people to keep dying? It's a real headscratcher. They ask their best priests and diviners what to do. The priests and diviners suggest getting rid of the murder box. 

The priests and diviners suggest returning the murder box to the Israelites along with an apology gift. Personally, I might send food or money in order to buy food but these guys are more of the handcrafted gift type. (i.e. the worst people). They suggest:

"Five gold tumors and fives gold rats" . . . "because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers. Make models of the tumors and of the rats that are destroying the country, and give glory to Israel's god. "

                                               Question Corner with MJ:

1. Do you really need to make a mold of a tumor? 
2. Can't you just like...sculpt an amoeba shape? 
3. Will they even be able to tell that they're tumors?
4. Won't they think you just gave them sloppy amoeba shaped gold?
5. Gold rats...
6. Doesn't this all seem kind of passive aggressive?
7. Maybe it's just the bubonic plague?

They send the murder box and the golden rat tumors back to the Israelites on a cart pulled by two cows. The cows go to the Israelite town of Beth Shemesh. All the Beth Shemeshians rejoice except for the 70 that God smites for peaking in the murder box. It wouldn't be a reunion with Lord God without some casual smiting. 

Chapter 7:

The Israelites have started experimenting with some polytheism again.

They start worshiping Baal and Astarte. A storm god and a sex goddess, who sound so cool I want to worship them too. I sympathize with the Israelites, they want to branch out, see other gods but unfortunately, God doesn't take open relationships well. Seeing other gods tends to lead to plagues for the Israelites. Samuel, the celebrity judge, gets to judging. He reminds them that the Lord won't help them fight the Philistines unless he's in a monogamous relationship. The Israelites listen to judgy Samuel and do as they're told. No conflict happens whatsoever. It's almost like none of this was necessary to add to the book and even less necessary for me to repeat here. 

The Israelites get to battling the Philistines again. Samuel sacrifices a lamb to God because God likes his sacrifices innocent and fluffy. The going rate for this baby animal is thunder. God makes thunder noises which definitely has absolutely nothing to do with his insecurity that the Israelites wanted to worship a storm god.

The thunder freaks out the Philistines but not the Israelites. My theory is Israelites always carry battle earmuffs for such occasions. It's never mentioned so my theory is not proven, or disproven. 

The scary God thunder gives the Israelites the advantage they need. They get to slaughtering and win their lands back. The land they keep losing. And have to keep winning back. Again. And again. And again. 

Samuel lives out the rest of his days walking around the countryside.  

"From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in all those places."

Samuel, the Maggie Smith of the bible.