God Gives You Cancer (Samuel 5-7)

Now we know it’s got nothing to do with cigarettes or drinking out of plastic bottles.

God is pissed about his ark being stolen by the Philistines and he lashes out in a weird, weird way.

The Philistines take the ark to Ashdod, to the house of Dagon where, appropriately, a guy named Dagon lives. They set it down in front of him and immediately, he falls down, doing an unexpected faceplant. Interestingly, there are a lot of faceplants in the Bible – I take them to be indications of either awe or extreme drunkeness (too much Shiraz – oh, hello – what have I got here on a Thursday night? My writing partner, Mr. Jackson Triggs). Um, anyways, the next morning Dagon is found decapitated and “only the trunk of Dagon was left to him” (Sam 5:4). Gross. The Bible doesn’t mention any foul play amongst the humans in the house of Dagon so one can only conclude that God is the guilty party here. After all, he is a vengeful God.

Well, if that doesn’t prove it, God decides to give everyone cancer. That’s right: “The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory” (Sam 5:6). It’s pretty crazy how God covers his bases here by nailing not just Ashdod but the Mississauga and Etobicoke of Ashdod. You know, just in case. Better everyone gets cancer than to miss a few.

The Philistines are panicky and rightly so. They want to appease God so they fashion a “guilt offering”. You know what that is? Five golden tumors and five golden mice. What? I know. I had to re-read this passage a few times to make out where the mice figured in. It’s mentioned (in a kind of ad hoc way) that mice are also ravaging the land so I guess that makes sense. But what does a golden tumor look like? Like a slightly misshapen ball, I imagine. Whatever. The Philistines should probably just be quick about returning the ark. Eventually, they get it together and cart the ark to some place called Kiriathjearim. Twenty years pass and the Philistines and Israelites go to war again. This time, however, God is squarely on the side of the Israelites and helps them beat the Philistines at Mizpah. Then Samuel says some special speech about how great God is, which is ironic since he gave a lot of people cancer. 




Published in: on June 3, 2011 at 2:36 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Honestly, I never realised what a riotous read the bible was ’til I start reading your blog!
    Love it!

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