Old Spice (Kings 8-10)

Solomon has impressed everyone by building a very ostentatious-looking House of the Lord with his gay lover Hiram of Tyre (“Oh, how I tire of you, Hiram. When did you become so positively bo-ring?”). It sounds pretty tacky to me. This throne, for example, is way over-the-top: “The king also made a great ivory throne, and overlaid it with the finest gold. The throne had six steps, and at the back of the throne was a calf’s head, and on each sise of the seat were arm rests and two lions standing beside the arm rests, withle twelve lions stood there, one on each end of a step on the six steps” (Kin 10:18-19). I think I’ve seen something similar in Little Italy. I hope it’s not a toilet. That’s even worse. So much for the message of humility and poverty. Well, I guess that doesn’t come until the New Testament. (Yes, I will take fresh ground diamonds on my hummus). 

Solomon has a reputation as being both really rich and really wise. Along comes the Queen of Sheba to check him out and see if he lives up to his reputation (“Queen of Sheba” reminds me of a name of that kind of cheap incense sold at dollar stores that has slightly erotic pictures on it… anyone?… anyone?). She asks him a whole bunch of really difficult questions (none of which are given any specificity… we just know that they’re super-hard… probably questions like, “Shellfish is to dining as consensual sex is to [marriage]”). He bests her and answers all of her questions satisfactorily. So she gives him lots of (Old) Spices as a reward. Good. He can built a wing to the House of the Lord for the sole purpose of spice-storage.

I think they meant "provoke your mind".

 

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Published in: on June 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Saving Solomon (Kings 7)

This post has nothing whatsoever to do with the movie “Saving Silverman” and its many complex themes. It just happened to be on my mind since I was home visiting my parents this weekend and its one of those movies that’s always on television Saturday afternoon, alongside “Jaws” and “Contact”; the former is actually my favourite movie of all time and the latter reduces me to tears everytime I watch Jodie Foster in that scene where the aliens appear to her in the guise of her dead father. Man, that scene gets me. Jodie Foster is one of the few actresses totally believable playing a scientist, not only because she has a titanic IQ in real life but because whoever styled her for the movie made her wear fleece and sport a double ponytail. 

So Solomon has built this magnificent temple and its taken a total of thirteen years to complete. It has some interesting features. Yesterday I pointed out its gay aesthetic (thanks to the plentiful cherubim). Today I’ll point out the following features:

– the House of the Forest of Lebanon (for hide-and-seek, I imagine… what else?)

– the Hall of the Throne (for pronouncing judgment)

– the Hall of Judgment (oddly enough, not for pronouncing judgment)

– the Molten Sea (a giant bath – it holds two thousand baths… that’s gross)

Solomon’s buddy Hiram of Tyre has been tacked onto this project all along. It’s mentioned that he, during this massive undertaking, is in charge of pots. Pots? They’re definitely gay lovers.

Published in: on June 27, 2011 at 3:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wipe the Sweatshop Off Your Brow (Kings 4-6)

Apparently, King Solomon is a pretty smart guy: “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure… so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt… he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman [even HE-MAN, who has the Power of Grayskull?], Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the nations round about” (Kin 4:29-31).

King Solomon is also a big believer in forced labour.

He gets together with Hiram, king of Tyre, to build an ostentatious temple in the name of the Lord. And what does he need to do that? Answer: Strong backs. And what is his building material of choice?Answer: Stone. So Solomon and Hiram “raise[d] a levy of forced labour out of all Israel; and the levy numbered thirty thousand men” (Kin 5:13). To add to that man-power, they also acquire thousands of men who are given the job title of “burden-bearer”. Sounds like thirsty work.

God promises that if Solomon builds this temple he will “dwell among the children of Israel” (Kin 6:13). Is that incentive? It sounds sort of like a threat to me because it’s like a meddling parent suggesting they move in with their twenty-five year-old. Not cool, Dad.

It’s kind of a big deal that Solomon and Hiram are building this temple out of stone but it’s an even bigger deal that they overlay everything with gold – the vestibule, the solarium, the showers… it’s all golden. They also festoon it with cherubim (also overlaid with gold) which seems like a gay aesthetic. There are two kinds of people that I imagine to have lots of cherubs as part of their decor: gay men who only wear white pants and eccentric spinsters who are perpetually dressed for dinner.

I always thought the pink shirt showed confidence.

Published in: on June 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Ol’ Switcheroo (Kings 3)

Women are baby-crazy, aren’t they? They just love ’em, don’t they? (Not I, of course; nothing bores me more than a game of “Pass the Baby” at a social gathering).

In Kings 3, King Solomon has to resolve an issue between two women and two babies, one of which is alive and one of which is dead. You do the math. Two women approach King Solomon claiming to be roommates (a likely story) who are so synched up that they both get pregnant at the same time and give birth on the same night. One of these women who must think she is a cat lies on top of her newborn during the night and kills it. So she swaps her dead baby for the other woman’s. A-ha! The ol’ switcheroo. When the other woman wakes up and finds a dead baby on her chest (could be worse, am I right, ladies?) and realizes that her roomie has pulled a fast one on her. They argue and seek out King Solomon to settle things.

Solomon is a smart guy. He’s like, “Okay, ladies. You both had a baby. Now only one of you has a baby. But you both want a baby. Why, I can’t imagine. But, whatever. Split the baby in two and each take half. Fair’s fair“. This is a scare tactic designed to reveal the real mother. It operates on the principle that a woman’s instinct for preservation of her young is so strong that she’ll do anything to see it live. Note to Solomon: This doesn’t always happen in the wild. I’m not sure which species are capable of eating their young but I’m sure there’s more than one. I decided to look it up and came across this question, which I deem to be slightly retarded:

“I am doing a report on abortion and I was wondering if you could give me a few examples of animals that kill their young?  Animals that are most commonly known would be very helpful.  Thanks!”

In the end, the real mother protests much more loudly (squeaky wheel) than her roomie that the baby should live regardless of who raises it and in so doing proves herself. Solomon gives her the baby. Problem solved.

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 10:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Goon Town (Kings 2)

When the time comes for King David to finally kick the bucket, he summons Solomon his son and gives him a long, boring, cliched speech that’s basically about “being a man”. In David’s mind, “being a man” means getting revenge and lots of it. He wants Joab killed for misdeeds during wartime: “Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me… avenging in time of peace blood which had been shed in war, and putting innocent blood upon the girdle about my loins” (Kin 2:5). Hmm. Sounds like he’s wearing an old-fashioned sanitary napkin here – the kinds with the belts.

No buckles? Bonus!

Anyways, as Solomon goes on a mission to hunt down the people who have minorly or majorly pissed off his father, Adonijah shows up asking for a wife. He can’t be king so I guess he figures he should at the very least get a hot wife; in the form of woman named Abishag, specifically. It would be a cruel irony, given her name, if Abishag did not enjoy sex at all, if she was one of those gals who just lay there and then had to shower immediately after. This request for Abishag – a seemingly ordinary one for the time – does not go over well with Solomon, who thinks that if Adonijah has enough balls to ask for a wife then he has enough balls to make a run for the throne again. So he gets Benaiah to kill him. Then he gets him to kill Joab. Then he gets him to kill another dude named Shimei. He keeps Benaiah pretty busy. If I were Benaiah, I’d be asking, “Where’s the me time?”.

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 2:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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It’s Not Cold in Here – You’re Just Dying (Kings 1)

Have to give credit to Sarah Silverman for the title to this post.

King David is at the end of his years and he’s cold. He just can’t seem to get warm. So he hires a nurse whose sole responsibility is allowing him to snuzzle into her bosom. Hey – it’s a living. 

Having noticed David’s tenuous grasp on life itself, a young upstart named Adonijah starts proclaiming that he’s going to be the next king. He makes a whole bunch of sacrifices, including something called a “fatling,” which I think should henceforth replace the word “baby”. I’ve never thought babies were particularly cute; I’ve always thought them to look very out of shape. They’re like 75% body fat. Very unhealthy body composition. Adonijah does all this sacrificin’ by this thing called the Serpent’s Stone, a place that sounds like it should be in Camelot or a video game from the late 80s.

Bathsheba tells David that Adonijah is out campaigning, impressing everyone with his fatlings. David gets pissed because he has his sights set on his son Solomon being king. So he tells Solomon to go with Benaiah (who’s capable of killing a lot of people at once if you read the last post) and Nathan the prophet and interrupt Adonijah’s partying with a trumpet blast and an announcement that Solomon is the legitimate king. They do this and scare the crap out of everyone: “Then all the guests of Adonijah trembled and rose [buzzkill] and each went his own way” (Kin1:49). I love this image of a slow scatter. They probably all walked backwards. Adonijah is then like, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” and invites Solomon to have some bevvies with him to smooth things over. Very diplomatic.

A fatling.

Published in: on June 23, 2011 at 4:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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With His OWN Spear (Samuel 23-24)

Samuel 23 names all of King David’s posse and some of them are pretty bad-ass. For example:

Joshebbasshebeth (no typo) killed eight hundred guys at once with his spear – eight hundred!

Benaiah killed a lion in a pit “on a day the snow had fallen” (Sam 23:20) – in inclement weather!

Benaiah also killed a handsome Egyptian with his own spear – a handsome Egyptian!

In Samuel 24, God gets pissy again and gets David to take a tally of all the Israelites. The sole purpose of this is so God knows just how many people to smote when he throws down the next plage (it’s coming). Why an omniscient being can’t do numbers doesn’t square with my concept of omniscience (apparently it’s much more complex than being all-knowing). Whatever. God brings pestilence – probably a nice bubonic plague – to the Israelites and seventy thousand of them are wiped out. Then – get this – God totally passes the buck and basically says, “An angel did it” because he feels bad about it. God has guilt? Again, doesn’t square with my concept of omniscience.

This movie blew chunks. I can’t believe I rented it.

Published in: on June 21, 2011 at 5:56 am  Comments (2)  
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Like a Rock (Samuel 21-22)

A famine, lasting three years, has struck. This is bad news because studies show that you should eat every two to three hours to optimize your metabolism. But this probably isn’t on the minds of the Israelites. Apparently, this famine is God’s revenge on them for killing most of a tribe of people called the Gibeonites (Gibeonite sounds like a kind of monkey so I think it’s fair to say that they were probably monkeys). To pay penance, David has to sacrifice seven sons to the Gibeonites. Not his own, mind you, anybody’s sons will do. So he grabs five of Merab’s sons and two of Rizpah’s (slightly more variety and you could call it a sacrifice medley). And he hands them over to the Gibeonites who hang them upon a mountain. And they die.

Then the Israelites and the Philistines go to war again in a place called Gob. Some of the Philistines are descended from giants. This is what I love about the Bible: it offhandedly mentions things like giants every now and again without explanation. So giants are a thing. Read on. Anyways, this one giant with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot is a ringer and he’s hard for the Israelites to take down. But they manage to do it.

After the battle, David forces everybody to listen to an ode to God that he’s written. On the subject of sensitive guys, I went on this date with this one guy (if you remember my Pizza Pizza story… it’s the same guy) who told me he wrote a lot of poetry. This sent shivers down my spine. Not because I think poetry is lame but because I immediately imagined him trying to read some to me while I squirmed uncomfortably. This is possible my worst nightmare. Don’t get me wrong – I like romance and all that but I prefer that it be wrapped up in some sort of ironic presentation. I guess that makes me part hipster.

David’s ode frequently compares God to a rock, which makes it sound like a Budweiser commercial. It also praises the complete and violent annihilation of one’s enemies, which makes it sound like a communist country’s national anthem.

Is being in a “party frenzy” the same as having rabies?

 

Published in: on June 18, 2011 at 7:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sale at Bloomingdale’s (Samuel 19-20)

King David is moping about his dead son Absalom and his people are feeling a little neglected. It’s time to be a man already, and shove all his feelings deep down inside where they can’t openly contradict established gender norms. One of his people, a real keener named Mephibosheth, pulled a Bobby Sands by refusing to wash his feet, his clothes or trim his beard while David was away at war, thereby keeping a bizarre, unhygienic vigil. I’ve never been to a vigil before but I’ve been to my share of funerals. I’m always pleasantly surprised by how good the food is at a funeral. It’s not like a wedding, in which case my expectations for the food are high because I’ve forked over a couple hundred bucks as a gift (there better be a beef tenderloin coming my way). I’m always happy with what I’m eating at a funeral, even if there’s just a nice platter of sandwiches. I guess it’s a matter of perspective. Here are my top five funeral foods:

1. deli sandwiches on rye

2. nanaimo bars

3. deviled eggs

4. meat lasagna from M & Ms

5. cabbage rolls

Anyways, David decides that, as part of the mourning process, he’s going to lock up ten of his concubines. It reads, “…and the king took the ten concubines whom he had left to care for the house, and put them in a house under guard, and provided for them, but did not go into them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as if in widowhood” (Sam 20:3). Well, it’s probably better for them; less time spent having sex with some gross old man and more time for themselves to start book clubs and wine-tasting clubs.

In Samuel 20, a nasty fellow named Sheba emerges and tries to start a mutiny against David. Joab, David’s buddy, pursues Sheba and follows him into some little town. There he meets a wise woman who is sick and tired of all this war (what is it good for? absolutely nothing). He tells her that she can put an end to it if she gives up Sheba. Not only does she do that but she rallies up some other wise women and they tear his head off and chuck it to Joab over the town wall. Nice, ladies.

 

Published in: on June 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Don’t Leave Me Hangin’ (Samuel 18)

King David is fighting his son Absalom for control. When they finally do battle, David’s warriors kill twenty thousand of Absalom’s, which is a significant dent in his army. Actually, his warriors can’t take all the credit: “The battle spread over the face of all the country; and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword” (Sam 18:8). A people-eating forest. That’s weird. Didn’t see that one coming but then again it is the Bible. David emerges triumphant from the battle… or does he?

On a side note, one of my responses to anything mundane is, “Yes. But at what cost?”.

Tragically, but more so comically, Absalom gets his head caught in the branches of an oak when he rides underneath it on his mule. Seriously. He’s hanging there for sometime (completely oblivious to the common applications of butter, margarine and, at a last resort, oleo). Enough time for David’s men to find him and argue about whether or not they should kill him. Joab takes charge and kills him hanging there by stabbing him in the heart with three tiny darts. He was probably already dead because I don’t see a dart getting through the pectoralis major muscle, let alone the ribcage and other viscera.

When David finds out that his son is dead he experiences what pop psychologists describe as “an emotional rollercoaster”. “And the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (Sam 18:33). Puh-lease. David could have stopped the war at any time by stepping down as king.

Only OK? What happened to great?

Published in: on June 14, 2011 at 2:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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