Free Pizza and Pop (Kings 2 17-18)

The Israelites are still doing terrible things like burning incense and worshipping false (teen) idols. As a punishment, God sends the king of Assyria (who might have a hard time getting taken seriously) to war with them. The king, Shalmaneser, takes over Samaria and forces them to live in Assyria, which I’m sure they hate since if I’ve learned anything about the character of the Israelites from my reading, it’s that they’re big-time complainers. Negative Nancys, if you will.

When the Iraelites get to Assyria they find that it’s a mixed bag of other conquered peoples. Rules are lax so there’s a lot of dreaming up of new, exciting gods to worship. Some of these were Nergal (a sun god), Ashima (a goddess of fate), Nibhaz (a dog god), and Succothbenoth (a sexy god). Wikipedia didn’t exactly say that Succothbenoth was a sexy god; admittedly, that was my own description. When I looked him up, there seemed to be some hermeneutical disagreement (hermeneutical! I haven’t had the exquisite joy of using that word since my Ivory Tower days) surrounding whether “Succothbenoth” was a Hebrew term for a “sex tent” where daughters of Babylonians suffering from low self-esteem prostituted themselves in honor of an idol.

That’s the bulk of chapter 17 of Kings 2. Chapter 18 covers an epic argument between the new king of Assyria, Sennacherib, and Hezekiah, king of Judah. Basically, Sennacherib poses the the question of, “If the Lord is so good then why does he let me destroy your homes and rape your women like, all the time?”. This is a fair question. Totally. It’s no surprise that Hezekiah is at a loss for words. In the meantime, Sennacherib’s right-hand man starts working the crowd like it’s campaign season, saying things like, “Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat of his own vine, and every one of his own fig tree, and every one of you will drink the water of his own cistern” (Kin 2 18:31). This reminded me an awful lot of high school when there would be an offer of pizza to draw people to the unpopular clubs, like the Social Justice club (of which I was voluntarily a part). “Good morning, students. Mr. J. here. Just wanted to let you know that there’ll be free 2-for-1 pizza and pop and the Social Justice/Chess/Shakespeare/Recycling/Oboe/American Sign Language club for everyone. So come on out and make a difference instead of standing out on the hill and smoking and comparing your amateur sketches of Kurt Cobain. He’s dead. Let’s all get over it already”. 

Since I mentioned Babylonians, here’s David Gray’s “Babylon,” which is a song I’ll make out to with anybody. Seriously.

 

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Published in: on August 4, 2011 at 11:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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