This Little Piggie is Worth $200 (Psalms 41-49)

Finally – a change of tone. Most of the psalms had been sounding much the same to me; however, in and around Psalm 44 David gets uppity with God. Check it out: “Thou hast made us like sheep for slaughter/and has scattered us among the nations/Thou hast sold thy people for a trifle/demanding no high price for them/Thou has made us the taunt of our neighbours/the derision and the scorn of those about us…” (Psalm 44: 11-13).

And he goes on like that for a while.

I like it; he’s calling God out on his shit. Now this relationship is beginning to look more like a two-way street.

Surprisingly, I also enjoyed Psalm 49, which smacks of anti-materialism (I am a plain-clothes hippie). It reads: “Why should I fear in times of trouble/when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me/men who trust in their wealth/and boast of abundance of their riches/Truly no man can ransom himself/or give to God the price of his life/for the ransom of his life is costly/and can never suffice/that he should continue to live on for ever/and never see the Pit” (Psalm 49:5-9).

I’m guessing “Pit” is capitalized for one of two reasons:

1. It is very big.

2. It is the improv theatre in New York.

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Psalm 49 reminded me of those insurance policies they asked you to buy in high school. They were policies you had in case you got into an accident. They put a price tag on your various body parts. If you lost a toe, you got paid so much money… if you lost an arm, you got paid more (obviously)… there was even a number on decapitation, gruesomely (and hilariously). I remember looking them over and thinking they were incomplete. I thought they should’ve considered combinations, like if you lost two toes on one foot. Each of those toes should’ve become more individually valuable because that would mess with your balance big-time, not to mention giving you shoe-shopping trouble for the remainder of your life (Am I right, ladies?). You should’ve been paid more. That made sense to me anyways.

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Published in: on June 2, 2013 at 8:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tired of Getting Sand Kicked in Your Face? (Chronicles 2 13-15)

A guy named Abijah begins to reign over Judah and comes up against Jeroboam who, next to Satan, seems to be one the Bible’s antagonists. Jeroboam is so bad that Abijah feels inclined to stand on a mountain and shout into the wind, “Hear me, O Jeroboam and all Israel! Ought you not to know that the Lord God over Israel gave the kinship to Israel for ever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?” (Chr 2 13:4-5). This is a very indirect way of communicating. I’ve tried many-a-time to resolve my issues with others via the wind and it doesn’t work, people. It doesn’t work. You need face time.

And… what’s a covenant of salt? Is it that thing people do when they toss spilled salt over their left shoulders? Because that’s wishing. I know this because my Nana was a fanatic for it. That and Three’s Company. We used to watch it on full volume when I visited on account of her poor hearing.

Abijah and Jeroboam eventually go to war and it’s pretty clear whose side God is on. Abijah’s forces smush (technical military terminology) those of Jeroboam. Then it’s time for another round of cleaning house. All the false idols get chucked and all the trees standing in a circle get chopped down (take that Lillith Fair… I don’t know – the association here is pretty clear in my mind).

Next, this Ethiopian leader named Zerah gets up in Asa’s (Abijah’s successor) business. Now, I could have told you this would be an easy win. Those guys are pretty skinny and they only eat lentils and squishy bread (such is my impression). The Ethiopians get sand kicked in their faces, so to speak. I used to love those old Charles Atlas ads in the back of Archie comics (which were built on the assumptions that a real man stands up for himself by throwing punches and that women like it).

Asa and his gang are pretty hardcore: “And they entered into a covenant to seek  the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul; and that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman” [italics added] (Chr 2 15:13). Hmm. Is that a good thing?

Skinny?! Why, thank you!

Published in: on September 28, 2011 at 2:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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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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Creepy Ruth (Ruth 1-4)

I got very excited when I realized the next book I’d be reading in the Bible would have a female as its protagonist. Then I saw that it was only four chapters long. Then I saw that her story is basically how she lands herself a man. Very glum indeed.

Ruth was married to one of Naomi’s sons until he died. Ruth winds up saddled with her mother-in-law (uh!) looking for a place to set up shop. The two of them find themselves near some barley and wheat fields where there are a few of Naomi’s kinsmen. This guy Boaz takes a shine to them, in particular. Naomi gives Ruth some advice on how to snag him: “Wash therefore and annoint yourself, and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies; then, go and uncover his feet and lie down; and he will tell you what to do” (Ruth 3:3-4). He certainly will. 

I must admit, the one good piece of advice here is to let the man finish his meal. Personally, I’m not much of a talker when a meal is particularly good, especially when it’s something that requires a lot of chewing, like beef tenderloin. A couple of weeks ago, I ran into this weirdo I went on a date with earlier in the year when I was en route to Pizza Pizza. It’s rare that I have pizza, and I was really looking forward to it. He kept talking and talking, and all I could think about was pizza. Inwardly, I cursed him for delaying the gratification of my pizza craving. He also refused to tell me the name of a jem of a karaoke bar he had been to that night because he “wasn’t sure [I’d] appreciate it”. Then he opened up his arms, offering me an unwanted hug like he was Father Christmas. What a douche. 

Anyways, this little trick of Ruth’s winds up working (even though I think it’s super-creepy) and Boaz takes her as his wife. She has a son by him so, according to biblical standards of female accomplishment, she can die a happy woman.

Published in: on May 30, 2011 at 2:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Why, Why, Why, Delilah? (Judges 15-16)

In Judges 15, Samson pays a visit to the [ex] wife he gave away with unrealistic expectations: “I will go in to my wife in the chamber” (Jud 15:1). Her father won’t have it and offers his younger daughter in her place. Samson reacts badly and somehow attaches lit torches to the tails of three hundred foxes that he then sends into the fields and orchards of the Philistines in order to burn them down. Samson is forced to flee after he makes an arse-onist of himself but the Philistines catch up with him and tie him to a big rock with ropes. But the “Spirit of the Lord” comes upon Samson and he busts out of his ropes as if they’re tearaway pants from 1998. He kills everyone in sight (one thousand men – impressive) with the jawbone of an ass, which he happens to see lying on the ground. This guy’s unstoppable.

But then Samson meets his match in Judges 16. In Gaza, he has sex with this woman named Delilah who is every single guy’s worst nightmare: the one-night stand who suddenly wants to know everything about your life. This bitch wants to talk. At length. In particular, she wants to know his greatest weakness (worst interview question ever). He lies to her three times but eventually she gets it out of him: it’s his hair. When he’s asleep she shaves off all his hair which, given the lack of conditioner in those times, was probably a disgusting, curly, matted mess. She must have been itching to perform this makeover for a while. In my mind there are only two types of guys who should sport long hair: androgynous Abercrombie & Finch models and Eurotrash villians on soap operas.

Once Samson’s hair is shaved he loses all his power. I felt exactly the same way when I got a terrible haircut at Magicuts when I was fourteen (how would boys notice me with a lop-sided bob?). He’s captured by the Philistines, who gouge out his eyes and make him work by grinding the mill in a prison. He calls upon the Lord so he can exact revenge which he does by pulling down a large house upon himself and a whole bunch of Philistines in a final act of strength (remember when Braveheart mustered his last ounce of energy to cry, “Freedom” right before he died… or when Maximus fatally wounded Commodus in “Gladiator” after he knew he’d been done in himself?). What a way to go.

I’ll leave you with this:

Published in: on May 23, 2011 at 6:06 pm  Comments (2)  
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