Fabio and the Amazing Technicolor Loincloth
January 22, 2012 5 Comments
OT: Genesis 39-42
Joseph does a good job as Potiphar’s servant (Potiphar is Pharaoh’s chief officer), so Potiphar makes him his head of household. God likes Joseph, so he blesses the household for Joseph’s sake. Now, Joseph, we are told, is “well-built and handsome” (6). Potiphar’s wife has the hots for Joseph and asks him to nail her. Joseph’s like, “Look, your husband trusts me and gives me complete control and denies me nothing but you; how could I screw him over like this and offend him and God?” (My response would be, “Because he bought you as a slave.”) Every day the crazy lady tries to seduce Joseph, but he keeps say no. One day when nobody’s around she grabs his clothes and is like “TAKE ME NOW.” He flips out and runs away, leaving her clothes in his hands. So she summons the other servants and is like, “Joseph tried to rape me but I screamed so he ran away but I grabbed his clothes for some reason!” Potiphar hears this and throws Joseph in jail. But God still likes Joseph so he makes the prison guard like him too. The prison guard puts Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and trusts him as much as Potiphar did, which is some pretty unorthodox prison-guarding if you ask me.
Pharaoh gets pissed off at his baker and his sommelier and sends them to jail, where they are put under Joseph’s supervision. One day they look upset, so he asks what’s up, and this is their answer: “We’ve both had dreams, but there’s no one to interpret them” (8). I’m pretty sure it was for situations like this that the hashtag #firstworldproblems was invented.
Joseph tells them he’ll interpret their dreams for them. The wine steward (I’m going to go on assuming this means sommelier because it reminds me of that snooty sommelier who was on Top Chef a few years ago) tells Joseph he dreamed he saw a three-branched grape vine, and crushed the grapes into Pharaoh’s cup and gave it to Pharaoh. Joseph says the three branches are for three days, meaning that Pharaoh will give the sommelier an audience in three days and forgive and re-hire him, and he’ll put the cup in Pharaoh’s hand like the good old days. Joseph also asks the sommelier to put in a good word for him with Pharaoh to get him out of prison since he didn’t do anything.
The baker tells his dream: he had three baskets of bread on his head, but the birds were eating Pharaoh’s bread out of the baskets. Joseph delivers the following horrifying interpretation of this seemingly harmless dream: “After three days, Pharaoh will give you an audience and will hang you from a tree where birds will peck your flesh from you” (19). ?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Three days later happens to be Pharaoh’s birthday, so he throws a party for all his servants, which is a cry for help if I’ve ever heard one. He decides this would be the ideal time to hear the pleas of the imprisoned baker and sommelier, and to rehire the sommelier and hang the baker. Many happy returns! Also, the sommelier forgets all about Joseph in his joy. Oops.
Genesis 41 [just ten more you guys!!!!]
Two years later, Pharaoh dreams that seven healthy cows and seven emaciated cows climb out of the Nile, and then the skinny cows eat the fat cows. Then he dreams that seven shitty grain stalks somehow devour seven healthy grain stalks. None of Egypt’s “religious experts” (8) – or, alternatively translated, “magicians” – can figure out what this means. This whole debacle jogs the sommelier’s memory, and he’s like, “SHIT. I forgot all about that dream guy in jail!” He tells the story to Pharaoh, who summons Joseph from the prison and asks if he can interpret his dream. Joseph’s all “it’s not me, it’s God,” which he said before, too. Pharaoh’s like “yeah whatever just tell me what it means.” Joseph says it means that God is going to send seven years of prosperity to Egypt, followed by seven years of famine; he suggests that Pharaoh respond by reserving one fifth of the produce for the next seven years and saving it for the famine. Pharaoh’s impressed with this wisdom, so he makes Joseph second-in-command over all of Egypt, gives him a bunch of jewelry and fancy clothes, renames him Zaphenath-paneah (?!), and marries him to Asenath, a priest’s daughter.
Joseph, who’s 30 now, spends the next seven years traveling around Egypt and storing grain for the famine. Meanwhile, Asenath has two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. The famine strikes when predicted, and Pharaoh tells everybody to follow Joseph’s instructions, and everybody buys the grain that he stockpiled. The famine hits surrounding countries, too, and people come from all over to buy Egypt’s grain.
Back in Canaan, which is also hit by the famine, Jacob learns that there’s grain in Egypt and sends his ten oldest sons to go buy some. He keeps Benjamin at home, probably since the last time he sent his youngest son along with the older ones, he never came back. When the ten older boys get to Egypt, Joseph recognizes them but they don’t recognize him, so he pretends not to know them. They bow down to him, like in his dreams back in the day. He asks where they’re from, and they say they’ve come from Canaan to buy food. He’s like, “I don’t believe you. I think you’re spies.” And they’re like, “No, Master, we’re your servants, we just want food.” And Joseph’s like, “SPIES.” And they’re like, “No, we’re twelve brothers! Except one is back in Canaan and one is gone.” And Joseph’s like, “SPIES!! Here’s what we’ll do. We’ll put all but one of you in prison until the other one brings back your youngest brother. If he comes and confirms your story, you’re free. If not, you’re SPIES!” But he puts them all in prison, and three days later he’s like, “Ok, look, one of you stay in prison, and the rest of you can take grain back home, but you’d better bring back your youngest brother.”
The brothers are getting ready to go, and they’re all like, “Shit, we are probably being punished for that time we sold our brother into slavery. Oops.” And Reuben is all “I TOLD YOU SO.” And Joseph is eavesdropping and cries. He takes Simeon and ties him up, and packs up grain and loads up the donkeys for the rest of them – and, when they’re not looking, he puts their money (which they had paid for the grain) back into their grain bags. They head out, and when they stop for the night, one opens his grain bag to feed his donkey, and he finds the silver inside, which causes everyone to flip a shit, for some reason: “Terrified, they said to each other, ‘What has God done to us?'” (28). They get home and tell Jacob the whole story. Then they find the silver in all the bags, and freak out again, still for unclear reasons. Jacob is like “Joseph’s gone, Simeon’s gone, and now you’re taking Benajmin? FML.” Reuben is like, “Look, I promise I’ll bring him back safe. If I don’t, go ahead and execute both my sons.” WTF?!?! How would it be their fault?! WHY DOES EVERYBODY SUCK? Jacob’s like, “No, I’m not sending Benjamin with you. If anything happened to him, I’d die.”
It was nice of Joseph to give his mean brothers the grain for free. Yay forgiveness!
Why would Reuben let his sons be sacrificed for his own failure? Why would he ever think Jacob would want to do that as punishment? Why was the baker hung?!
NT: Matthew 14-15
Herod – the sneaky one, remember? – hears about what Jesus is up to, and concludes that John the Baptist has been raised from the dead and that “miraculous powers are at work through him” (2). Wait a minute, you’re thinking, since when is John the Baptist dead? At least, that’s what I thought. But then we go into flashback mode!
Herod’s brother Philip was married to a woman named Herodias, and Herod had a crush on her and wanted to marry her. I’m not sure whether or not Philip was still alive at this point, but in either case, John the Baptist was like, “Dude, not okay.” And Herod was like, “Ugh, John the Baptist won’t let me marry Herodias, so I wish I could kill him, but people think he’s a prophet so they’ll riot if I do. Oh well, I’ll just put him in prison since he’s annoying.” But then at Herod’s birthday party, Herodias’s daughter (and so probably his own niece?! ewww) danced for him, and “thrilled Herod” (6). GROSS. So Herod offered her anything she asked for. Herodias knew John the Baptist was all that stood between her and marriage to Herod, so she told her daughter to request John the Baptist’s head on a plate. So Herod had John the Baptist beheaded and gave the head to Herodias’s daughter, who gave it to Herodias. John’s disciples came to get the body and buried it and told Jesus what happened.
Okay, so now John the Baptist is dead and Jesus knows about it and Herod thinks Jesus is zombie John the Baptist. When Jesus hears about John the Baptist, he rides off in a boat by himself to mourn. But people can’t leave him alone, so they go on foot to meet him at the shore, and he feels bad for them so he heals all the sick ones. His disciples are like, “okay, let’s send everyone home now so they can buy dinner,” and Jesus is like, “no, they can stay, feed them here.” The disciples are like, “um, there are approximately five thousand people outside, and we only have five loaves of bread and two fish.” Jesus is like, “NBD.” He blesses the bread and fish and then has the disciples break them apart and distribute them and the food magically amplifies and they all stuff themselves and still have leftovers.
Jesus sends the disciples back across the lake and sends everyone else home, then goes and prays on a mountain. In the morning, the disciples are still in the boat on the lake, and it’s storming. Jesus walks to their boat across the water, and the flip out, thinking it’s a ghost. Jesus says it’s him, and proves it by ordering Peter to walk on the water too, which he does. But then Peter gets scared of the storm wind and starts sinking and freaks out, but Jesus saves him and says, “You man of weak faith! Why did you begin to have doubts?” (31). They get back to the boat and the storm ends, and the disciples worship Jesus and conclude that he’s the son of God. The boat lands at Gennesaret, where all the sick people hear he’s there and come touch his clothes to be cured.
Those phucking Pharisees whine to Jesus about how his followers don’t ritually wash their hands before meals and follow other old rules. Jesus is like, “You guys are a bunch of hypocrites. You’re breaking God’s command by following the letter but not the spirit of the law.” Jesus calls everyone over and is like, “Listen up people: God cares about what you do and say, not about what you eat and whether you follow the laws to the letter.” The disciples are like, “Um, you upset the Pharisees.” Jesus is like, “Don’t worry about them. They’re fucked. They’re the blind leading the blind. Look, whatever you eat, you’re going to shit it out and it’s going to end up in a sewer. Whatever. But the things you say come from your heart, and those are the things that can contaminate you if they aren’t pure.” And then he tells us that “eating without washing hands doesn’t contaminate in God’s sight,” and I know what he means, but the public health implications still frustrate me.
Jesus goes to Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman asks Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter, but Jesus ignores her. He says he’s only come for “the lost sheep, the people of Israel” (24). I guess all that shit about loving your neighbor as yourself goes out the window, or else it only applies to the neighbors who share your beliefs or ethnicity. The woman begs him to help, but he says, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs” (26). Turns out Jesus is mad racist, since I’m assuming the children are the Israelites and the dogs are poor people like this Canaanite woman who weren’t lucky enough to be born into God’s Chosen People of Superior DNA and General Excellence, and so will have to suffer. This woman is a badass and talks back to racist Jesus, pointing out that even dogs get to eat the crumbs from the table. Jesus is convinced and praises the woman’s faith and heals her daughter, finally.
Then Jesus gets all repetitive again and goes up a mountain and heals a bunch of sick people and then feeds thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and some fish. Not so impressive the second time around (or the millionth time around, in the case of the healing). Then he takes the boat to Magadan.
It’s nice that Jesus is still using his powers for good by healing and feeding people…
…but it’s shitty that he only wants to extend those benefits to Jews. Why is he so racist? Why is he so mean to the Canaanite woman? And why does he have to discourage people from washing their hands?!