Jungle Fever (Ezra 7-9)

Ezra, a scribe and a prophet, is tasked by King Artaxerxes of Persia to go to Babylon and collect some goods in the forms of gold and silver mainly. Artaxerxes sends Ezra along with a little note that basically says, “Listen to this guy. He’s for real.” Sort of like when your Mom sent you to Beckers for cigarettes with a note. Ah, Beckers. You could really stretch your dollar there as a kid.

Ezra takes a big team with him to Babylon. As a leader, he’s a real buzzkill because he keeps making everyone go on fasts, which is impractical for a bunch of guys who hauling around precious metals. Maybe he wasn’t aware of the atomic weight of gold. It doesn’t say but I assume that these guys aren’t getting paid much so they at least deserve a hot lunch.

When Ezra gets back into town an interesting issue pops up: mixed marriages. Hmm. Ezra hears that there has been some intermingling of such VASTLY DIFFERENT groups as the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites. SCANDAL. Upon receiving this new, he says he “rent [his] garments and [his] mantle, and pulled hair from [his] head and beard, and sat appalled” (Ezr 9:3). UNNECESSARY. Sitting appalled is particularly funny to me since it’s the exact same reaction of my roommates cat whenever we dress him up in costumes.

Maybe it’s just Ezra’s bias, but it would seem that the Bible comes down heavily on mixed marriages. “Therefore, give not your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong, and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.” (Ezr 9:12) Hmm. I don’t quite know what to say. Chalk it up to the time period the Bible was written in and ignore it? If yes, why not the rest of its prescriptions?

I have nothing else to add here.

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Published in: on October 31, 2011 at 1:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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What to Get the Man of God Who Has Everything (Kings 2 8)

In chapter 8 of Kings 2 Elisha, the man of god about town (godabout as opposed to gadabout?), has got his work cut out for him. The king of the Philistines is afflicted with some sort of sickness (likely syphilis) and wants Elisha to tell him whether he’ll live or die. To butter him up, he sends a little gift. Or, rather, forty camel loads of goods from Damascus (this is something I write on my Christmas list every year hoping to encourage my family members to get me something other the plethora of bath products I usually receive). Smooth.

Elisha relays his prophecy to Hazael, the king’s servant. He says, “Go say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover’; but the Lord has shown me that you shall certainly die” (Kin 2 8:10). Does he mean the king is going to die soon or in the way in which we all do, that is, eventually, at some point so far in the future that it’s not worth thinking about right now lest we all descend into an intractable existential paroxysm?

At a recent wedding (at which I was flying solo) a gentleman approached me and asked if I was alone. My reply? It was: “Aren’t we all alone? I mean, like, really”. That was the end of that conversation. Existential buzzkill. Bad move, KG.

Turns out, what Elisha was prophesizing was that the king would indeed recover from his sickness but Hazael would kill him and take over as king. It’s kind of funny: Hazael kills the king in the only way a trained servant could – murdering him but also trying to make him comfortable, oddly enough. “But on the morrow he took the coverlet and dipped it in water and spread it over his face, till he died” (Kin 2 8:15). That sounds nice. It was probably a hot, steamy day and the cool water would have been much appreciated, despite the circumstances.

Two gadabouts.

Published in: on July 24, 2011 at 1:59 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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