Monday, March 19, 2018

Samuel 13-14

Hello, fellow masochists who keep struggling through this book with me, or are you sadists because you come here to watch me torture myself?

Doesn't matter.

To recap the recaps: Samuel, a judge, was forced by the Israelites to choose a king. Samuel finds Saul, a tall glass of dumb water who just wanted to find his lost donkeys. God chose Saul to be king, but he also kind of didn't? Does that make sense?

Also doesn't matter.

Saul proved himself worthy of being king through animal dismemberment and clandestinely murdering his enemies. The enemy was Nahash, King of the Ammonites and an eyeball collector. Remember how interesting he was? He's gone now. Let it go.

Also, we have a drinking game now. It's going to be a long one, so stock up on your favorite wine coolers, get your vomit bucket, and strap in.

Chapter 13: 

The Israelites and Philistines are battling or whatever. Take a shot! Or...maybe just take a sip, we don't want to end up like Noah blacking out in tents and cursing generations of our descendants.

As Saul prepares for battle, many of the Israelites fear the Philistines and hide. Literally. They literally hide like a game of Hide and Seek but Please Don't Seek:

"When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns."

Most people might say these guys are cowards, but most people haven't read this book cover to cover. Most people love themselves. Sure, in the end, God usually helps the Israelites as a nation win, but not without taking out a few thousand red shirts first.

Saul thinks what they really need to win this battle is to make a meaty sacrifice to God. He summons Samuel to help them out because Samuel has been blessed to make the best BBQ sauce in all the land. Saul's army waits for 7 days and still no Samuel, so they make a sacrifice of their own without the sacred herbs and spices. Just as Saul finishes Samuel shows up to get all judgy, though he claimed to be retired.

"What have you done?

His best Samuel. His best.

Saul explains himself:

"When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me, and I have not sought the Lord's favor.' So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering."

I generally don't take sides in this book, because everyone is a mess, but in this case, I'm with Saul. I have hosted a lot of events and dinner parties and a lot of perfectionist Samuels offer to "help" only to show up hours late and critique my methods. I'm sorry my napkin folding abilities aren't up to your sophisticated standards KAREN Samuel I mean Samuel.

Samuel goes full Maggie Smith:

" 'You have done a foolish thing,' Samuel said. 'You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command.' "

Damn. Need some ice for those burns, Saul?

Samuel leaves Saul behind with his sub-par napkins and BBQ sauce and I'm left behind with too many analogies to keep track of. 

Without the God juice, Saul's army is looking pretty pathetic. They can't find a single blacksmith in Israel, presumably because they are all hiding in a cave somewhere, rethinking their life choices. Without their own blacksmith, the Israelite army must resort to getting their weapons sharpened by the Philistines instead. Their own enemies. I can't even think of an analogy for how humiliating that must be. 

For an inflated price, the Philistines actually go through with it and sharpen the weapons that could potentially kill them. That's how unimpressed they are with Saul's army. 

Chapter 14:

Saul has a son named Jonathon. A mother for Jonathon is never mentioned, so I'm going to go ahead and assume Saul just binary fissioned himself much like bacteria. 

Jonathon the Bacteria Prince sneaks off with his Squire to the enemy outpost. Why is Jonathon this reckless you ask? He just really hates foreskin.

"Come, let's go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few."

I assume it's because he's jealous of their enhanced sensitivity. 

Jonathon's squire is no Podrick and does not attempt to talk sense into him

"Do all that you have in mind,' his armor-bearer said. 'Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.' "

You guys think there's some bible slash fanfic out there? Because if not, I'm about to start it. 

So what's Prince Jonathon's big plan? Good question. Let's try to figure it out together:

" 'Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. If they say to us, 'Wait there until we come to you,' we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, 'Come up to us,' we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands."

Solid plan Jonathon. I only had to re-read it about twelve times. 

I'm sorry Jonathon. You're just a fictional character and this isn't your fault. It's the authors'. 

Dear Authors, as you know, I've had just a few minor suggestions here and there. Suggestions like, plot, character development, dialogue, maps, family trees, names for your female characters, less incest, less rape, a reason to keep going, etc.

I feel like I offer a lot of criticism and not a lot of tangible solutions. Here's an example of how we could make Jonathon's plan a little clearer and perhaps, dare I say, readable. Here's my first fanfic submission:

Prince Jonathon swelled with that false confidence the Squire knew so well. He was the spitting image of his father, because after all, he was a bacterial clone. Jonathon was strong and capable, capable of destroying anyone's defenses. The Squire knew to abandon his own long ago and braced himself for Jonathon's plan. 

Jonathon said: "Okay, so, we're going to stand in plain site and if they see us-"

The Squire could see where this was going:  "Your Grace, if we're standing in plain site, they're definitely going to see-"

"AND IF THEY SEE US" Jonathon continued, as though speaking louder would somehow make the concept of logic disappear. Just as stubborn as his father, both just as stubborn as their favorite animal, the ass. "and if those foreskins start talking some shit-"

"They're our enemies," the Squire countered. "We're in the middle of battle and we're marching up to their territory in the dead of night. Your Grace, the likelihood of their diplomacy is minimal."

Finally, Jonathon caught the Squire's eye with the gravitational pull of the sun despite the fact that the theory of gravity had not yet been discovered, "I thought you SUPPORTED me.  Remember, you not only promised to bear my arms, but also my heart."

The Squire felt just like an dismembered oxen, in pieces: "I wish I could quit you my Prince."

End Scene. 

Dear bible authors, I'm available for the rewrites you so desperately need. You may contact me only through carrier pigeon. The pigeon is my intern. 

God, where were we? That's right, Saul scared him off. I guess we're on our own. 

Jonathon and his Squire stand in front of the Philistine's outpost and just as my version of the Squire predicted, the Philistines get real rude:

"Look!" . . . "The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in." . . . "Come up to us and we'll teach you a lesson."

Jonathon gets his invitation to murder. He and his loyal Squire scale the cliff and kill 20 men with the power of their love and I am here for this. At least my version of this.

After Jon and Squire do away with the foreskin wearers, there is an earthquake or as this book romantically describes it, "a great trembling." I considered naming my new fanfic "A Trembling Romance" but apparently it's already taken for a Glee fanfic.

The great trembling of the earth causes the Philistines to panic and spread out in all directions. Luckily the Israelites aren't bothered by the earthquake because they've got their trusty battle earmuffs. Saul's army takes advantage of the confusion and yet again they stumble their way into another victory.

After the victory, King Saul thinks he should go on a diet. In spite of all the calories that murdering ones enemies undoubtedly burns, he is firm in his decision, and requires solidarity from his army:

"Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!"

Saul will not allow them to eat any of the Philistine's food because of reasons and I'm getting serious flashbacks to working at Victoria's Secret with girls who went on juice cleanses. Try working retail on Black Friday subsisting only on water, lemon, and cayenne pepper, and you too would be capable of unspeakable acts. 

As with any new diet, the army is immediately challenged with sweets that seem to come out of nowhere. They walk into the woods and find honey on the ground, which is honestly gross to be tempted by but at least it's more understandably tempting than an apple.

Each man covers his mouth, except for Prince Jonathon, who was away murdering in my beautiful fanfic during his father's threat speech. Jonathon pulls a Winnie the Pooh and immediately puts that dirty, sticky, mystery honey into his face. 

The soldiers inform Jonathon of his father's oath but Jonathon is having none of it:

"My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been greater?"

Honestly? Solid argument, Jonathon. I am conflicted. On one hand, food is important for murder energy but on the other hand, dirty floor honey? You really are the bacteria prince.

Jonathon's speech inspires the men to just get...just so so weird. Take two shots.

"They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood."

He said to eat some honey! Some. Honey. You monsters.

I understand the need to feed after a day of dieting. I too sometimes visualize just tackling baby animals to the ground and eating them raw, but you don't have the healthcare technology to be taking these risks!

Samuel is alerted to the betrayal and must follow through on his arbitrary threats. He explains to his men that it's nothing personal. Even if his son had broken the rules, he'd have to kill him too. I think he meant this hypothetically.

"Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today. As surely as the Lord who rescues Israel lives, even if the guilt lies with my son Jonathon, he must die."

The army breaks the news to Saul that his hyperbole is really about to backfire on him.

Saul asks Jonathon: "Tell me what you have done."

Jonathon being a little extra: "I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!"

I've been there Saul. I taught elementary school before and sometimes reward stickers just don't cut it and you find yourself making empty threats and then inevitably one of them calls your bluff and suddenly you find yourself setting up a guillotine to make sure the other children remember to stay in their seat during quiet time. 

Saul is ready to go through with it, which still doesn't make him the worst father in this book. Saul can't connect with God anymore. Saul is concerned that God isn't speaking to him anymore because of Jonathon's sin, but he doesn't get that it's kind of a him problem:

Saul is ready to do what it takes to get God to call him back even at the expense of his son's own life, but the army defends Jonathon because everybody loves Jonathon. I'm starting to love Jonathon. I'm writing him a sexy fanfic afterall. 

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