You’re Using the Secret, Marge! (Chronicles 2 19-20)

Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, has safely returned to Jerusalem only to be blind-sided with a trick question by Jehu: “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” (Chr 2 19:2). Hmm. Let me think about that one. “No?” Jehoshaphat – 1. Jehu – 0. Jehu, a sore loser, spends the subsquent two paragraphs chewing Jehoshaphat out and telling him what a bad leader he is (jealous?).

In Chapter 19 of Chronicles 2, Jehoshaphat has to deal with enemy forces trying to invade. The Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites all unite against him. He decides to ready himself by going on a fast that all his people must also do. This is a bad idea, from a sports performance perspective. He gathers all his people together on the eve of the battle and the Spirit of the Lord enters a guy named Jahaziel who tells him, “Fear not, and be not dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s… You will not need to fight in this battle; take your position, stand still and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf” (Chr 2 19:15-17). Oh – okay. Basically, the Spirit’s advice is this: “Show up deconditioned and woozy from lack of protein and just stand there and let it all happen”.

This sort of reminds me of the Secret, which is like praying in modern garb. As in praying, using the Secret involves wishing for something (if you’re using the Secret are you… secreting?). If you get the thing you wished for then the Secret works; if you don’t then it wasn’t meant to be and the Secret still works. Genius.

Anyway, there isn’t much of a battle at all. Jehoshaphat’s men move toward the invaders and find them all dead so it’s all pretty anti-climatic. It would have been cool if the Spirt of the Lord did something like make all the invaders attack themselves like when your older brother would take your hand and make you hit your own face (“Stop hitting yourself!”). I don’t have any siblings but this is immediately what comes to mind for me when I hear “older/big brother”.  At the end of the day, Jehoshaphat’s men pick over their bodies for valuables. There’s a passage that details all the goodies that they find which leads me to think that the Bible approves of grave robbing in certain contexts.

I'm using the Secret to lose 3lbs.

Published in: on October 3, 2011 at 1:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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Darryl (Kings 2 13-14)

I can’t imagine that the Bible would be published as is had it been written in modern times. I’m sure the editor would have wanted it “punched up” or the major love story to be “fleshed out”.

I thought it might be a good idea to get by bearings in terms of who’s who before moving forward since not much is bloody happening. 

Here we go:

Recent kings of Israel: Jehu then Jehoahaz then Jehoash

Recent kings of Judah: Ahaziah then Joash then Amaziah

Actually, that wasn’t so bad.

Anyways, in the meantime, Elisha, self-proclaimed “man of God”, kicks it. At his funeral, a “marauding band” passes by (Vikings?) and “the man was cast into the grave of Elisha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet” (Kin 2 13:21). Here’s an example of truly bad writing in the Bible (oh, how it sticks in my craw). What exactly is going on here? I guess we can assume “the man” was one of the marauders but was either already dead or punished to death by the Israelites (in a hasty fashion, apparently, since they were in the process of trying to enjoy a funeral). We can also assume that it took them a while to organize the funeral (“Who said they would bring Dixie cups again?”) since Elisha’s corpse had been reduced to bones. Poor form. I’m sure Elisha expected more of a production and a really great turn-out as well. This is what we all want in the end, isn’t it? A really great turn-out at our funerals? There’s a scene in Strangers with Candy with my favourite character, Geoffrey Jellineck, is talking to a student who’s contemplating suicide after the suicide of another suicide. Mr. Jellineck goes on and on about how great the turn-out was at that other student’s funeral and how bad everyone must have felt for mistreating him. I wish I could find that clip. Instead I found the best of Geoffrey Jellineck (Paul Dinello). Enjoy:

“I’ve gotta run; but as soon as you’re ready to talk about your family problems to an art teacher, you can call me.” (1:36 into the clip)

Published in: on July 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Why Buy the Cow? (Deuteronomy 21)

Deuteronomy 21 packs a punch.

Let’s say you’re on a power walk one day and you stumble across a dead body. Commonplace in biblical times, I’m sure. What you’re supposed to do, according to Deuteronomy 21, is gather the elders from the city that is the closest (old people have nothing better to do – well, maybe show up somewhere fifteen minutes early). They’re supposed to get a heifer that hasn’t worked much (so, a lazy one) and take it down to a valley and break its neck. Isn’t that hard to do? All I know of breaking necks I’ve gleaned from action movies. From what I understand you have to grab the head on either side and twist really fast like chiropractic gone wrong. I imagine this would be difficult if your target was a large bovine.

Let’s say you’re pillaging a city and you see a beautiful lady and you want to have sex with her. You’re not made of stone. What you’re supposed to do, says the Bible, is take her home with you, make her shave her head and give herself a mani/pedi. Literally, it says “you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and pare her nails” (Deu 21:12). This helps break her spirit. You’re supposed to give her a month of “space” during which she can cry about stupid things like missing her family and not wanting to get raped. When the month’s up you can have sex with her (says the Bible but likely not the lucky lady). If, for whatever reason, you’re left unsatisfied (maybe she just wasn’t into it) you can set her free and let her find her own way. But you can’t sell her. Oh, no. That would be immoral.

Let’s say you’re having difficulties with your son. He’s a problem child. Talks back to you, eats too much junk and drinks. Well, you can just round up all the men in town and stone him. They’re your buddies and should be happy to help resolve this familial problem. It’s probably wise that this applies only to your own children and not other people’s. I’d get a little stone-happy.

Published in: on March 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Not Without My Brother (Numbers 18-20)

God starts going on and on about what he wants to see in sacrifices, especially animal sacrifices. He wants any animal sacrificed in his name to be pick of the litter and he wants their fat to be burned on the altar because it is a “pleasing odor to the Lord” (Num 18:17). If the smell of burning fat is so pleasing to God then I wonder why bacon isn’t a bigger part of the Jewish faith.

Previously, I mentioned that God did an about-face and let the Levites socialize with the Israelites. To be fair though, the Levites are basically relegated to the position of slaves. But there are perks. After a sacrifice, for example, the Levites get some of the leftovers, which I assume would be primarily organ meat.

God brings up how touching dead bodies makes you unclean for the umpteenth time. We get it. If you touch a dead body, you’re unclean. But if you’re touched by a person who has touched a dead body then you’re unclean, too. This is sort of like second-hand smoking. I don’t understand how this doesn’t cause mayhem. If it were me, and I touched a dead body (accidentally or not), then I would touch some day-dreaming chump right away and yell, “You’re it!”. Then he would touch somebody else. Then that somebody else would touch somebody else. And before you know it, everybody’s unclean and the congregation has been involuntarily signed up for a game of Everybody’s It tag. Fun.

In Numbers 20, the Iraelites start complaining again about getting dragged out of Egypt and having to roam around in the wilderness without food or water. So Moses does that trick he did many chapters ago in which he takes a stick and beats water out of a rock. Ta-dah! It’s a good thing that his people aren’t dehydrated anymore because they have to pass through hostile territory pretty soon. Before they do that, however, God tells Aaron that he has to climb up Mount Hor, give his clothes to his son Eleazar and die. I don’t know why Aaron agrees to this but maybe he was distracted by the name of the mountain (Mount (W)Hor(e)). Whatever. He’s an idiot. When the people find out Aaron’s dead they all weep for thirty days which surely delays their journey.

Published in: on February 26, 2011 at 11:11 pm  Comments (1)  
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Is it Really that Hard NOT to Touch a Dead Body? (Numbers 6-10)

There is an awful lot of listing in numbers. I should have figured.

In Numbers 6, the specifications for a special kind of vow, called the vow of Nazirite, are presented. The vow of Nazirite is supposed to bring a man or a woman (how inclusive) closer to God, although I don’t see the point of that since God is annoyingly close already, intruding into the Israelites’ affairs willy-nilly. If anything, you’d think the Israelites would want a little space by now.

The vow of Nazirite requires one to grow their hair long and refrain from drinking anything too strong, or produced by the grapevine. Touching a dead body is off-limits, too. Touching dead bodies is something that is mentioned so often in the Bible that I wonder what I’m missing. Is is really that hard not to touch a dead body? They’re gross. Plus, the more dead they get, the grosser they get. What’s the draw?

After a certain period of time, the man or woman taking the vow goes to the tent of meeting (where all the sacrifices and cool stuff happen) and gets his or her head consecrated with fancy oils. Then he or she has to shave off all their hair and toss it into a fire and watch it burn, probably crying like one of the girls in the standard makeover episode of any given season of America’s Next Top Model. What a waste. At least make some extensions. On that note, I’m noticing that the Bible has a pretty strong anti-conservation message. So much stuff gets wasted in sacrifices and rituals; it’s quite appalling.

In Numbers 7, all the leaders from the different tribes bring special offerings to the tent of meeting. And – how embarrassing – they all pretty much bring exactly the same thing: a silver plate, flour, incense, animals for sacrifice, etc. I guess these are typical, bland offerings akin to giving someone a pomegrante-scented candle from Indigo for their birthday.

Out of nowhere, God decides that the Levite people are alright and can hang out with the Israelites. But first they have to shave their entire bodies and get washed up, emerging looking somewhat like those hairless cats, I imagine. This is probably a good move on God’s part, since he’s killed off a lot of people in the last little while. Time to beef up the numbers. God tells Moses to get two silver trumpets made so all of his commands can be made more bombastic. Meeting – trumpet blast. Alarm – trumpet blast. War – trumpet blast. Feast – trumpet blast. Nap time – trumpet blast.

After two years, two months and twenty days at the base of Mount Sinai, God tell his people (now including the Levites) to pack up shop because they’re moving. God is probably as bored as I am and needs a change of scenery. Good. Where to? Don’t know. I don’t think God knows, either, to be honest. And I doubt any of the Israelite men are asking for directions.

Published in: on February 20, 2011 at 10:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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