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.

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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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Father-Son Picnic (Samuel 16-17)

I think that deep down, every guy wants to kick the shit out of his own dad. There are just too many stories about it. Zeus and Cronos, Oedipus and Laius, Luke Skywalker and what’s-his-face and the list goes on.

King David and his son Absalom are at war and Absalom is frantically looking for a strategy because David is trying to track him down. This really annoying guy named Abishai slows down David while he’s on the road by alternately hurling stones and dust at him. I don’t know why David doesn’t just strike him down but he treats him like a harmless heckler in a moderately-attended stand-up show. Maybe he respects him. Abishai is alone so he’s got some balls at least.

Ahithophel gives Absalom some advice: “Go into your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; and all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father, and the hands of all who are with you will be strengthened” (Sam 16:21). Translation = rape a whole bunch of women to make everyone scared of you. Deft political strategizing. I’m surprised Bush didn’t rely on that one.

Two of David’s spies almost get caught by Absalom’s men but they manage to escape by hiding in a well. Smart. Remember when that baby fell into that well in the 80s? Well, I remember watching it live on TV. And they made a TV movie out of it. what happened to made-for-TV movies? They’re a dying breed.

But this. THIS is even better. I effing LOVE when I find stuff like THIS:

Mr. D makes history come ALIVE!

Want the whole plot? Here you go: School_of_Life

Spoiler alert! He’s unconventional!

Published in: on June 13, 2011 at 2:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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On the Lam… of God (Samuel 14-15)

After the shenanigans of Samuel 13 (the rape, I mean), Absalom is hiding out from his father, King David, who refuses to forgive him. David’s friend Joab wants him to mend his relationship with Absalom but instead of having a simple conversation with him, he hires a “wise woman” to pretend to be a mourner and cry about her dead son or something like that. This is a prime example of men not being able to talk about stuff. The wise woman must be a shitty actress because David asks, “Did Joab put you up to this?” (maybe Joab has a reputation as a prankster, like George Clooney). No matter. David has a change of heart and sends for his son.

Apparently, Absalom is quite a hunk and is blessed with a full head of hair. On average, his hair weighs in at two hundred shekels when he gets his annual haircut (normal for biblical times, I guess). David posts Absalom at the gates to the city where his job is to inquire about the origins of outsiders passing through. His job is basically asking, “So, where ya from?” which is about half of the job requirements of most beer reps. He also adds his own flair by welcoming outsiders with a big smooch. No joke: “And whenever a man came near to do obeisance to him, he would put out his hand, and take hold of him, and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel [italics added]” (Sam 15:5-6). What a job. Total nepotism. He’s running a kissing booth.

Four years later, Absalom gets itchy and decides to lead a revolt against his father to claim the title of king for himself. David is distraught by this betrayal and heads to the Mount of Olives for a good cry. Alone. Like a man.

Published in: on June 12, 2011 at 2:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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But I Incest! (Samuel 13)

King David has a bunch of sons and I’m not sure if they all have the same Mom. Regardless, what happens next is wrong, wrong, wrong.

One of David’s sons, Amnon like-likes his beautiful sister Tamar. He doesn’t quite know what to do about it so he gets some advice from his pal Jonadab. Jonadab has the bright idea that Amnon should fake sick so that Tamar can tend to him and satisfy his fetish for carbohydrates. In Amnon’s words, “let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand” (Sam 13:6). I totally understand how this could be sexy.

On a side note, I’m tired of seeing those statistics in women’s magazines that indicate that women prefer chocolate over sex. They bother me. How can anyone possibly answer this question with so little context? First of all, what is the brand and cocoa percentage of the chocolate? This is important. I wouldn’t trade good sex for Reeses Pieces but I would trade bad sex for Vivani 70% cocoa dark chocolate. It’s very smooth.

So Amnon pulls the “I’m so sick – please, please, please take care of me” routine and Tamar falls for it. Long story short, he rapes her. But here’s the kicker: then he gets mad at her. Bullshit. He tells his servants, “Put this woman out of my presence, and bolt the door after her” (Sam 13:17). Now she’s not even “Tamar, my sister,” she’s “this woman who just landed on my boner”.

Amnon might be a shitty brother but Absalom, one of Tamar’s other brothers, isn’t. He sticks up for her and goes chasing down Amnon when he finds out what went down. Amnon gets what was coming to him. King David hears a nasty rumour that Absalom has been on a killing spree and has killed all his other sons as well in a blind rage. He finds out that someone has been playing telephone but is still pissed at Absalom for killing Amnon and Absalom goes into hiding.

A passionate pairing: chocolate and chili. Like a tango in your mouth.

Published in: on June 11, 2011 at 4:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Ultimate Cock-Block (Samuel 11-12)

I don’t know how I missed this in the last chapters but somewhere in there, David enters the picture. David, I’m pretty sure, is a significant figure in the Bible and (spoiler alert!) becomes king at some point in time. Maybe he’s even that guy from the David and Goliath story. I’m looking forward to that.

David helps the Israelites take down the Ammonites and besiege Rabbah. He’s also a Peeping Tom (this term sounds far too benign to me) and espies this hot chick named Bathsheba bath-ing herself one day. He wants her. He has to have her. But she’s got a husband named Uriah. No problem. David is a Problem Solver, too.

Since there’s a war going on, David arranges to have Uriah sent to the front lines, in the ultimate cock-blocking move. If Uriah was also a black man then we’d have at least part of the plot to Glory minus all that North/South confusion (who liked black people again?). Uriah is slain and God is not happy. 

Then this guy Nathan shows up and convinces David of the error of his ways by telling him some PETA-sponsored tale about a lamb: there was this poor man and he had a little lamb and he loved his little lamb and another rich man killed it and fed it to another man even though he really didn’t have to. If that poor man was Jodie Foster then we’d have at least part of the plot to Silence of the Lambs minus all that white meat/dark meat confusion (what is human flesh again?).

David tries to atone for his wrong-doing but God’s got it out for him and hits him where it hurts: his child. God strikes down his child – not suddently, mind you – but with an agonizing week-long illness and he dies. No biggie because he and Bathsheba have a son who they name Solomon soon after. David is a Baby Maker, too.

Oh, and he’s king of the Jews. I definitely missed that somewhere in the last chapters.

Thanks to my friend Ryan for this:

Published in: on June 10, 2011 at 2:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Saul n’ Pepa (Samuel 8-10)

Samuel is kind of a prophet, but not a king. And the Israelites, lemmings that they are, need a king. Samuel’s sons turn out to be bad seeds because they take bribes and “pervert justice” (Sam 8:3). So the elders pester him to find someone more suitable.

Enter Saul. He’s… tall. This is stated several times in the ensuing chapters so apparently it counts for something and is an indication of good leadership skills. I took great offense to this, being just shy of sixty-one inches. I’ve never felt short and feel like I have a fairly commanding presence. Perhaps it’s my low centre of gravity and tendency to adopt a wide stance. If I were a dog, I’d be the kind of dog that breeders describe as multum in parvo, which is Latin for “much in a little”.

Note the perfection of this pug.

Anyways, Saul and Samuel eventually cross paths when Saul is out and about looking for some donkeys that have gone AWOL. Samuel realizes that he’s tall enough for the job and invites him to dinner. After they eat, Samuel pours a lot of oil (olive?) over his own head, smooches him and asks, “Has not the Lord annointed you to be prince over the people of Israel? And you shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their enemies round about” (Sam 10:1). Saul is like, “This is news to me; I thought we were just having a nice dinner”. Then Samuel introduces Saul to all the people he’s going to rule over and makes sure to point out how tall he is which, I’m sure, eases any of their misgivings about him being a total stranger and lacking any experience in being a king or leader of any kind. This was probably a lot for Saul to take in.

Don’t forget about the most exciting Toronto event of the summer season, happening next weekend: www.woofstock.ca

 

Published in: on June 4, 2011 at 10:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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. 

Tumor.

 

 

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