Family Values Fail
January 11, 2012 1 Comment
Things I learned this week: the last book of the New Testament is actually called Revelation, not Revelations. Go figure.
Also, I came down with a nasty cold yesterday, which is probably divine punishment of some kind.
OT: Genesis 22-23
Oh, shit’s about to get real. This is the chapter where Abraham almost kills his own son. Yay family values!
God decides to “test” Abraham, so he calls him and Abraham answers, “I’m here” (Genesis 22:1), which is probably one of the dumbest things you can say to God, since he already sees you. God tells Abraham to “Take your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac” (Genesis 22:2) – even though Abraham explicitly said a couple chapters ago that he loves Ishmael equally – up a mountain and sacrifice him as a burned offering. Instead of concluding that either A) he’s hearing violent voices and is probably schizophrenic, or B) the God he’s been serving is a supreme asshole, Abraham is like “Whatever you say, boss!” and starts up the mountain in the morning with a donkey, his son, a couple servants, and a bunch of kindling. After they’ve been climbing for a while, Abraham is all, “Hey servants, stay here with the donkey while I and my son go up on the summit and worship. Also we’re taking the wood with us. Why? Oh, no reason. Why are you asking so many questions? What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?! LEAVE ME ALONE!”
Abraham makes Isaac carry the wood – which is kind of sick and twisted – and carries a torch and a knife himself. Eventually Isaac notices there’s something missing, and asks, “Where is the lamb for the entirely burned offering?” (Genesis 22:6). [Tangent: people consistently use the phrase “entirely burned offering” throughout this chapter, which leads me to believe that there must be distinct Hebrew words for “entirely burned offering” and “lightly singed offering.” I like my offerings quickly seared and then served with a nice balsamic glace, but it’s all a matter of personal preference.] Abraham is like, “Lamb? Lamb?! WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ LAMB!!” Except he actually says, “God will see to it, my son” (Genesis 22:8). Isaac doesn’t say anything, indicating that either he doesn’t realize how weird it is to expect God to provide the materials for his own offering, or he has figured out that his dad has a screw loose and doesn’t want to push him.
When they get to the special spot, Abraham builds an altar, stacks the wood on top, ties up Isaac (who doesn’t say a single word for the rest of the chapter, so we have no idea what he’s thinking through all this), and sets him on the wood. As Abraham is lifting the knife in preparation to murder his son, a messenger calls out to him from heaven, and again he stupidly answers, “I’m here” (Genesis 22:11). The messenger is like, “Guess what? You just got punk’d! You don’t have to kill your son since you’ve proven that you would do anything I tell you to.” Abraham conveniently finds a ram stuck in a bush, so he sacrifices it instead.
God promises to reward Abraham for his Nurembergian compliance by blessing him with infinite descendants who will conquer the world. Abraham & co. go home, and Abraham learns that he has a bunch of nephews now.
Sarah dies at age 127, and Abraham grieves. He asks the people whose land he’s living in for a place to bury his wife, and they’re like “mi graveyard es su graveyard!” So Abraham is like, “Okay, ask that guy Ephron if he will sell me the cave at the edge of his field so I can bury my wife in it.” And Ephron’s like, “Dude, I’ll give you the cave, and the field.” And Abraham’s like, “No, I insist, let me pay you for the field.” And Ephron responds, “Sir, what is four hundred shekels of silver between me and you for the land so that you can bury your dead?” (Genesis 23:15). Now, that sounds to me like Ephron is telling Abraham again to forget about it and take the land for free. But the next verse says that “Abraham accepted Ephron’s offer and weighed out for Ephron the silver he requested publicly” (Genesis 23:16), even though it really didn’t sound like he requested any silver. In any case, Abraham gets the field and the cave and buries Sarah in the cave.
It’s nice that Abraham was sad when his wife died?
God told a guy to murder his own son as a test and he was actually going to do it and was somehow rewarded for that. Jesus fucking Christ.
OT: Psalms 5-6
This is another Psalm of David. I’m starting to get the idea that all the Psalms might actually be by David.
David demands that God listen to him. He talks about how “you aren’t a God who enjoys wickedness; evil doesn’t live with you” (Psalm 5:4), proving that David has not read as much of Genesis as I have. He goes on to say that “The LORD despises people who are violent and dishonest” (Psalm 5:6), which completely contradicts the idea that God loves everybody and the “love the sinner, hate the sin” philosophy. David says that he’ll worship God because of his love, and asks God to lead him in righteousness. Speaking of his enemies, David says that “their throats are open graves; their tongues slick with talk” (Psalm 5:9), which is a repulsive image. He tells God to condemn them and protect the faithful.
David asks God for mercy and salvation because he is afraid of all those enemies we’ve been hearing so much about. He inexplicably informs God that “No one is going to praise you when they are dead” (Psalm 6:5). He complains that he cries every night and is worn out by grief. He announces that God has heard his prayer and so will defeat his enemies.
None, really. The Psalms are pretty underwhelming.
David kind of sounds like a paranoid schizophrenic.