Why God Hates Violence, But Loves Fiery Death-Rain
January 26, 2012 1 Comment
OT: Exodus 1-4
Joseph and all of Jacob’s other descendants – all seventy of them – are in Egypt now, breeding like rabbits. Soon, all Jacob’s sons are dead, but Egypt is chock full of Israelites, to the point where they outnumber the “real” Egyptians. A new Pharaoh comes to power and freaks out over all the Israelites, kind of like one of those jerks who panics about what will happen when white people are no longer a majority in America. So, according to this translation, Pharaoh says, “Come on, let’s be smart and deal with them” (10). But at least Pharaoh’s Final Solution is just slavery, not genocide – at first. After they’ve been enslaved for a while, he tells some Hebrew midwives to kill all the baby Israelite boys that are born, but let the girls live. But the midwives are like, “Yeah okay Pharaoh,” and then obviously don’t do what he says. But obviously Pharaoh catches on to the fact that there continue to be Israelite boy babies, so he calls the midwives in and is like, “um, what about that thing we talked about?” And the midwives are badasses and are like, “Oh, yeah, the problem is that Israelite women are just way tougher and cooler than Egyptian women – they squeeze out the babies early and fast, before midwives can get to them.” Instead of realizing that this would put them out of a job if it were true, Pharaoh’s like, “Oh, okay. Bummer.” God rewards the midwives for their badassery, but in the meantime, Pharaoh has a new solution: he orders all Egyptians to throw all baby Hebrew boys into the Nile.
One day, a Hebrew woman has a baby boy, and she decides she’s had enough of this semi-genocide bullshit, because god damn it, she loves her kid. So she hides him for three months, but then realizes she can’t hide him any longer, so she puts him in a tar-sealed reed basket and sets him down in a clump of reeds at the riverbank. But his older sister (that’s going to be Miriam, right?) stays nearby to watch what happens to him.
When Pharaoh’s daughter comes along to bathe in the river, she finds the baby in the basket, crying, and feels bad for him. She figures out that it’s one of the Hebrew boys, right when the baby’s older sister, who’s been watching, comes over and asks if she should go find a Hebrew women to nurse the baby for her, and Pharaoh’s daughter says yes. So the smart awesome girl goes to her mother and explains the situation and brings her back. Pharaoh’s daughter offers to pay her to nurse the baby for her, and the mother obviously agrees. But once he’s weaned, she has to bring him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopts him and names him Moses.
I guess Pharaoh’s daughter was upfront with Moses about his origins, because one day when he’s an adult, he goes out and sees their hard slave labor and gets upset. When he sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, he kills the Egyptian and buries him, which is a creepy detail I never hear about during Passover. Funny. So the next day he sees two Hebrew men fighting, and asks the one who started it why he would attack his fellow Hebrew. The guy pulls a “you’re not the boss of me” maneuver, and then taunts Moses by asking if he’s going to kill him like he killed the Egyptian. Oooooohhhh. Moses freaks out and realizes his murder isn’t a secret; Pharaoh finds out about it and tries to kill Moses, but he runs away to Midian (wherever that is). One day, Moses is chilling by a well in Midian, when seven sisters come to get water, but are chased away by some asshole shepherds. Moses defends the girls and draws their water for them and their sheep. When their father finds out about this, he invites Moses to come over for dinner, which turns into Moses living there. Usually that’s the worst kind of house guest, but apparently the host really liked Moses because he let him marry his daughter Zipporah, which is probably the best Bible name so far. Moses and Zipporah have a son named Gershom. Years go by and the asshole Pharaoh dies but the Israelites are still enslaved and cry out to God, who hears them and “remembers his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (24), which maybe means he forgot before? Oops.
Moses is taking care of Jethro’s (his father-in-law’s) flock when he sees a bush that is on fire but not burning up, and so he aptly thinks, “Let me check out this amazing sight and find out why the bush isn’t burning up” (3). Check out, really? Okay. So God calls Moses’s name from the bush, and Moses gives the same stupid answer that Abraham and everyone would always give when God would call them: “I’m here” (4). God tells Moses to take off his shoes because he’s on holy ground (apparently he’s on a special mountain called Horeb), and then tells Moses he’s God, so Moses averts his eyes in fear from the thing he went to “check out” a moment ago. God is like, “Moses, the Hebrews are in deep shit. You’re going to get them out of there and lead them to a land of milk and honey, aka Canaan.” Moses is like, “Who, me?” And God goes, “Yes, you.” And Moses goes, “Couldn’t be!” And God goes, “Then who?” Wait, just kidding. That was from that episode of Barney where they can’t figure out who took the cookies. Got my wires crossed.
God’s like “no it’s cool I’ll come with and make sure everything goes smoothly and then you’ll come back here and worship, okay?” Moses asks the weirdest possible question: “What if the Hebrews ask me what your name is?” But God, unfazed, replies, “I Am Who I Am” (14), and helpfully clarifies that Moses should tell people that he was sent by I Am. God promises that the Hebrews will listen to Moses, and tells Moses the plan: Moses will tell Pharaoh that all the Hebrews need to make a three-day religious pilgrimage into the desert to offer sacrifices, and then they’ll come back. God promises to manipulate the Egyptians (see?! no pretensions to free will!!) into lending the Hebrews a bunch of jewelry and riches, so they can rob the Egyptians when they don’t come back from their
three-hour tour three-day pilgrimage.
Moses is all, “What if they don’t believe me that I had a conversation with God in the desert?” And then God decides to do an epic mind-fuck: he asks Moses what he’s holding, and Moses is like, “A shepherd’s staff,” and God is like, “Throw it on the ground,” and Moses is like “I WON’T BE PART OF YOUR SYSTEM” and throws it on the ground where it TURNS INTO A SNAKE OMG EW. Moses is like “GAH WHAT THE FUCK” and God is like “Now pick it up!” and Moses is like “WHAT” but he picks it up and it turns back into a stick. So God is like “See? Isn’t that a great party trick? They’ll believe you now!” God also has Moses put his hand into his pocket and pull it out with a gross skin diseases, then put it back in and take it out again all healthy. And he tells him that if the other two magic tricks don’t work, Moses can throw some Nile water on the ground where it will turn to blood. Cool!
Then Moses keeps whining and whining and he’s like “But I’m not good at public speaking!” And God is like “Moses, who makes people good at public speaking? ME. Because I’m fucking GOD. You’ll be fine.” And Moses is like “I DON’T WANNA” and God is like “Ok I’m done with this. Aaron is coming to meet you now, and he can be your spokesperson. Now scurry along, and don’t forget your magic snaky stick. Have fun!” So Moses goes and tells Jethro he needs to go home to Egypt to find out if his family is still alive, and Jethro’s like “yeah okay.” God tells Moses it’s time to go back because everyone who wants to kill him before has died (how old must Moses be by now?!). So Moses gets his wife and his kids and his special stick and heads out on donkeys. On the way, God tells Moses what to do when he gets there: first, he should do his magic tricks for Pharaoh. “But,” God says, “I’ll make him stubborn so that he won’t let the people go” (21). Ummm…wouldn’t it be easier to not do that, so he just lets everyone go peacefully? That seems preferable in every possible way. Anyway, God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh that God says (seriously) that Israel is his (God’s) oldest son, and since Pharaoh wouldn’t let him/it/them go, now God is going to kill Pharaoh’s oldest son.
Then things get freaky, which is too bad, because so far Exodus has been so much better than Genesis. Anyway, everything about this paragraph is so weird that I can’t not post it in full:
During their journey, as they camped overnight, the LORD met Moses and tried to kill him. But Zipporah took a sharp-edged flint stone and cut off her son’s foreskin. Then she touched Moses’ genitals with it, and she said, “You are my bridegroom because of bloodshed.” So the LORD let him alone. At that time, she announced, “A bridegroom because of bloodshed by circumcision.”
what is this i don’t even
Does not compute.
God tells Aaron to go meet Moses on God’s mountain, and Moses tells the whole story. They get all the Israelite elders together and do the magic tricks and tell the story and all and everyone believes and gets excited that God has decided to get up off his ass and do something about the whole slavery situation so they all worship him.
It was so normal at first! People were nice and sane! The mother loved her child and was smart and tried to save it and the older sister was smart and saved it and the Pharaoh’s daughter was nice and everyone was doing great there for a while besides the whole slavery thing!
The foreskin situation. What. What. WHAT ARE YOU DOING.
OT: Psalms 11-12
God protects me so I don’t need to run away from evil people, God sees everything. And the Least Self-Aware Juxtaposition Award goes to…
[God’s] very being hates anyone who loves violence.
God will rain fiery coals and sulfur on the wicked. (5-6)
How is this not a Colbert Report-style ironic commentary or something!?!?
Anyway, God loves righteous people and fucks everyone else blah blah.
Oh, this one’s good. David (or whoever) is complaining to God that all the faithful people are gone and the world is overrun with lying bragging atheist assholes. But God rescues the oppressed faithful (I thought they were all gone?) and protects them from the depraved atheists.
God hates violence! That’s why he BURNS PEOPLE ALIVE BY RAINING COALS ON THEM.
NT: Matthew 19
Eh…bedtime. Matthew 19 can be tacked onto tomorrow’s chunk. This is the kind of flexibility we’re going to have to be okay with if this blog is going to survive thesis season. Sorry folks.