Ironic Tidbits (Psalms 126-137)

I’m trying to imagine the person(s) who wrote the Bible, re-read it, edited it and said, “People will fer sure take this seriously; there’s nothing in here worth making fun of at all”.

Wrong.

A large slice of the joy I’ve derived from painstakingly reading the Bible is stumbling across ironic tidbits. They’re delicious to my atheist palate. Psalm 136 is chock-a-block with them. I think that it’s supposed to be sung because every other line pretty much is “…for his steadfast love endures for ever.”

Try this on for size:

“…to him who smote the first-born in Egypt/for his steadfast love endures for ever” (Psalms 136:10)

Ironic, n’est pas? Even more so when the language is updated:

“…the guy who killed thousands of little, tiny, defenseless babies… he’s nice”

Here’s a couple more:

“…to him who smote great kings/for his steadfast love endures for ever/and slew famous kings/for his steadfast love endures for ever” (Psalms 136:17-18)

Both great AND famous kings? Those were the best ones!

I’m glad that I’ve only got one more post on Psalms to get through. I’m really reaching here. I can feel it.

Don't smite me!

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Published in: on July 30, 2013 at 10:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What Every Woman Wants to Hear (Psalms 114-125)

I’ve heard that a big appetite codes for sexual desire in literature (Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, for example) but it doesn’t seem to play out in our day and age. Unfortunate for me, because I have a gargantuan appetite and spotty dating history. A couple of nights ago, I was at my boss’ for a barbeque and it took everything ounce of self-control I had in me not to go for the largest steak on offer. I knew that would look greedy and earn me some choice remarks. I went for the second biggest instead, which was approximately the size of my left butt cheek.

This post’s selection of psalms keep coming back to the refrain “[God’s] steadfast love endures for ever”. There’s also an awful lot of criticizing of the author’s enemies. This seems decidedly un-Christian to me but then again, this is the Old Testament, not the touchy-feely New Testament. Psalm 119 goes, “The godless besmear me with lies/but with my whole heart I keep/thy precepts/their heart is gross like fat/but I delight in thy law” (Psalms 119: 69-70).

“Gross like fat”???

Fat is wonderfully delicious!!!

“Gross like poo” would have been much less contentious in my opinion. And it hits harder.

I was genuinely surprised to see fat used negatively in the Bible since last time I checked, the Bible was not written in the 80s, the heydey of low-fat yogurts and Snackwell cookies (barf). I thought fat would be precious food in biblical times – calorie-dense in times of scarcity and tasty to boot. Weird.

I find it odd when folks dissect their meat to avoid the fat. What a waste. I was enjoying some rare lamb chops with a gentleman the other night I was taken aback when he left much of the fat around the cylindrical marrow-filled bone that you typically find in the centre of the chop. I asked, “Are you going to eat that?” (which is the question I ask the most in my life). As I did my borderhouse reach across the table with my fork he asked, “Are you seriously going to eat that?” (which is the question every woman wants to hear).

I ate it anyway and saved the bones from the chops to make a broth. More on that later.

 

Published in: on July 24, 2013 at 2:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Womb with a View (Psalms 100-113)

I hope you got a kick out of this play on words as much as I did.

I’ve been plugging along, reading various psalms that exalt God’s goodness and power, and came across this gem:

“Who is like the Lord our God/who is seated on high/who looks far down/upon heavens and the earth?/He raised the poor from the dust/and lifts the needy from the ash heap/to make them sit with princes/with the princes of his people/He gives the barren woman a home/making her the joyous mother of children/Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 113:5-9) [my italics]

I find children somewhat distasteful. In my observation, they seem to be needy individuals and make for very poor problem solvers. I have no interest in negotiating another person’s meals, bedtime, or jacket choice in my lifetime. This past weekend I was in the grocery store and overheard this slice of parenting:

Child: “Why can’t I get ice cream?”

Parent: “Because you don’t own your own home and make your own money.”

Enough said. I wish I’d high-fived that parent.

As a woman who, in Margaret Cho’s words, “ovulates sand,” I get a kick out of anything linking a woman’s essential happiness with having children. I cannot relate. Even in biblical times there must have been women who didn’t want children. What about the figurative woman in Psalm 13? First, she’s given a home. Cool. Second, she’s knocked up. Not so cool. I bet she was like, “What the hell’s in this water?”.

Published in: on July 18, 2013 at 1:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Gardyloo! (Psalms 90-99)

Exactly two thirds of the way through Psalms! Whew!

These ten psalms continue to bemoan the (attributed) author’s enemies and celebrate God’s glory and anger… or glanger, as I’d like to say. I was speed reading along à la Tim Ferriss (he wrote “The 4 Hour Work Week” and “The 4 Hour Body,” and has made a career out of showing up everyone at everything… if I were a dude, I’d NEVER invite him to my parties) when I caught the word “wast” in the following psalm:

“O Lord our God, thou didst answer them/thou wast a forgiving God to them/but an avenger of their wrongdoings” (Psalms 99:8)

As someone who regularly uses the words “betwixt” and “mayhaps,” the word “wast” tickled me. I looked up “archaic english words” on ye olde Google and stumbled upon a few dandies. Here’s a few of my favourites that ought to be reincorporated into daily parlance:

1. “Gardyloo” – a warning cry, as in “Gardyloo! Everyone out of the water! Shark!”

2. “Swoopstake” – in an indiscriminate manner, as in “The shark made multiple swoopstake attacks on the bathers.”

3. “Wanion” – ill-luck, misfortune, as in “It was a slice of wanion that your cousin got eaten by that shark.”

Published in: on July 10, 2013 at 11:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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