Is It Because I Have Leprosy? (Chronicles 2 24-27)

Joash decides it’s time to spruce up the house of the Lord. Frankly, when isn’t it time to spruce up the house of the Lord? The rulers of Judah are like my mother, who cyclically redecorates: when all the rooms have been decorated then it’s time to start the process over again with the first room (so long peach bathroom!). Constant redecortating requires funds so Joash gets some of his cronies to do his dirty work and go out and collect some money in a big wooden chest. All this is under the supervision of his main priest, Jehoiada.

Anyways, the house of the Lord is in tip-top shape for a few years and then Jehoiada dies and everything goes to pot. Jehoiada’s son Zechariah gets pissy about this and tells everybody off. He is promptly stoned. To make matters worse, the Syrians invade and kill Joash by conspiring with some of his servants. When his son Amaziah comes to power, he dispatches with those servants but not, notably, the children of those servants. This marks a huge step forward in moral reasoning. It’s like this: “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, or the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall die for his own sin” (Chr 2 24:4). Not exactly turn-the-other-cheek but progressive nonetheless.

Amaziah goes to war a lot. The biggest battle is one with Joah, king of Israel (not the one mentioned above), who creams him (haven’t heard that expression in a while, have you?). After Amaziah dies an ignoble death, his son Uzziah becomes king of Judah. He makes a major faux pas by burning incense in the house of the Lord. Apparently, only priests – the sons of Aaron – are supposed to do that. Uh-oh. Some priest reproaches him for it and he’s like, “whatever,” so God gives him leprosy on his forehead on the spot. BLAMMO! His son Jotham takes over for him because lepers have a difficult time being accepted as authority figures. Just like those chubby trainers you see in Goodlife. I’m not buying a package of ten – are you?

It's serious.



Published in: on October 11, 2011 at 2:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Birkenstock-Wearing Granola-Heads (Kings 2 15-16)

Chapters 15 and 16 of Kings 2 talk a lot about which kings were good and which kings were bad. God comes down pretty hard on even the good kings. For example, Azariah, who ruled in Israel “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord,” except for allowing the people to still burn incense (Kin 2 15:3). So God made him a leper. For burning a little patchouli. Must have been hard to rule effectively with the threat of his nose falling off his face at any moment. I think if God was incarnated into human form in modern times, he’d probably be one of those annoying people in your workplace who are “scent sensitive” and get things like perfume and Old Spice deordorant banned.

Menahem, who ruled Israel in Samaria, was worse. When he sacked this city called Tirzah he also “ripped up all the women in it who were with child” (Kin 2 15:16). I’m not sure how exactly he ripped them up but it can’t be worse than the kind of ripping that happens during actual childbirth. So, really – he spared them.

Ahaz, king of Judah, even sacrificed his own son, burning him as an offering. Maybe God would’ve thought this was pretty cool if he was Abraham (a true original) but he’s not so it’s just lame. Ahaz was really into sacrifices in general and there’s a lot of talk at the end of chapter 16 of burnt cereal offerings which make me wonder if this was the accidental invention of granola. I’m no historian but I’m going to say, “Yes. Yes, it was.”

Takes me back to Grade 10 (my Wiccan phase).

Published in: on August 3, 2011 at 1:19 am  Comments (2)  
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Air-Born Leprosy (Kings 2 4-5)

Elisha has come to be regarded as “a man of God,” whatever that means. One of the perks of being a man of God (other than red-hot shame at one’s boners, of course) is that you can travel around and people will accomodate you in their homes. A barren women (who we can suppose is empty inside) and her husband even set up a private room for Elisha when he passes through, complete with walls (purely luxury items), a bed, a chair and a lamp. Elisha repays her for these sweet digs by getting God to allow her to conceive a son. However, when he’s still but a boy, her son gets a massive headache, falls asleep in her lap and dies. Some son.

This reminds me of my Nana’s dog Susie, a Pomeranian. My Nana was a touch dotty and used to promptly sit down to tea and shortbread biscuits at three o’clock everyday with Susie. Predictably, Susie grew into an almost perfectly spherical shape, like a basketball with fur on four sticks. When Susie’s heart could no longer deal with all that butter being siphoned into her delicate system, she waddled onto my Nana’s lap while she was watching Three’s Company (my Nana loved gay jokes), fell asleep and died.

But the formerly barren women in Kings 4 didn’t have anything to worry about, really. Elisha is no indian giver (can I still say that?). He goes to the boy’s freshly dead body and does the following: “Then he went up and lay upon the child, putting his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands; as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm” (Kin 2 4:34). My certification in First Aid and CPR has lapsed but I’m quite sure that this is not standard procedure. His eyes upon his eyes? Imagine that kid coming back to life. How super-creepy would that be?

The fifth chapter in Kings 2 turns to one of my favourite minorities (no, not male stand-ups with high self-esteem) – lepers. Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria has a bad case of leprosy. Doesn’t do too well with the ladies. He catches wind that Elisha is a man of God and goes to him seeking a cure. Elisha instructs him to go bathe in the river and he’s like, “Duh. I’ve already tried washing. It doesn’t work“. But he tries it despite his doubts and the result is “his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean” (Kin 2 5:14). Naaman is overjoyed, naturally, and offers Elisha’s servant Gehazi some gifts while Elisha is fucking off somewhere. Gehazie accepts said gifts, which pisses of Elisha. So he gives Gehazi leprosy as a punishment instead of just taking away his Christmas bonus. Bam!

Published in: on July 20, 2011 at 12:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Meat Sweats (Numbers 11-12)

The people are getting complain-y. They were just starting to feel settled in their camp at the base of Mount Sinai but for some reason, God’s decided that it’s time to move. After some trekking, they start to get hungry. Naturally. The manna doesn’t cut it anymore. They crave meat. Out of all the many things he’s able to do (whip up multiple plagues, for example), God can’t seem to produce a Brazilian buffet for his people. What gives?

A side note: You might have noticed that I remark frequently on meat. This is true. As a former vegetarian (for seventeen years, eleven of which I was also a vegan), I am now obsessed with meat, having leapt back into the fold about ten months ago. It is delicious and I crave it every single waking hour. Plus, I’m way skinnier now. I’m thinking of starting a meat blog in which I write about my experiences buying meat, cooking meat and, of course, eating meat. Thoughts? I’m also thinking about starting a club called “Meat Mates” for like-minded individuals looking to eat at amazing steak houses and enjoy good conversation that mostly revolves around what is being delivered to the face via fork. I know one person who definitely would be into this (M. Sellers). Again – thoughts?

Anyways, God gets annoyed that his people are going on and on about meat and makes threats that are exactly like a father catching his kid smoking: “Oh, you like cigarettes, eh mister? Well, then you can just sit here and smoke the whole damned pack!”). God says, “Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall not eat one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the Lord who is among you…” (Num 11:18-20). I don’t really see how the digestive system can work this way; at worst, the Israelites might suffer constipation and the meat sweats after such an extended gorge.

Next, God does a weird thing. He summons wind to carry in a large number of “quails from the sea”. Does that mean tuna? I don’t know. Regardless, the meat-crazed Israelites dive in and then – God gets pissed and sends a plague down upon them. What? “While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague” (Num 11:33). At least let them finish eating. So random. And he just had Moses do a big, boring census, too. Now those numbers are irrevelant.

In Numbers 12, which veers sharply away from the narrative of Numbers 11, Aaron and Miriam (his wife, I think) get all uppitty about the fact that God seems to be communicating directly only with Moses. Isn’t there room for other prophets (like them, implicitly)? God doesn’t like being questioned on such matters so – ZAP – he gives Miriam leprosy. No punishment for Aaron, other than not being able to have sex with his leprous wife.




Published in: on February 21, 2011 at 6:59 pm  Comments (1)  
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