Put A Bird On It! (Psalms 50-65)

These psalms by David continue on in their usual mean-spirited way (e.g., “O God, break their teeth in their mouths” (Psalm 58:6). Ouch. Some of them are classified as miktams and others as maskils, if you’re interested (I’m not).

According to a random, non-legit-looking website I consulted via a Google search, a maskil – FYI – is a particularly “skillful, poetic, or didactic psalm”. Didacticism in the Bible?! Get outta town!!

The heading to Psalm 56 caught my eye. It reads: “To the choirmaster according to The Dove on Far-Off Terebinths. A Miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him at Gath”. “The Dove on Far-Off Terebinths”? I got excited for a moment, picturing a talking dove. I love it when animals talk in movies (G-Force, Hotel for Dogs, etc) and I half-expect it in my day-to-day life (I’m surprised that when reprimand my rooommate’s dispeptic cat Mugsy for upchucking – yet again – he has nothing to say for himself).

Anthropomorphism was the cornerstone of my former decades-long vegetarianism, I suspect.

I looked up this sassy, smart-talkin’ dove and was disappointed to find out that “The Dove of Far-Off Terebinths” was likely the title of a popular secular song at the time. Surprisingly, Psalm 56 would have been sung to its tune like a song from Weird Al Yankovic’s ouevre (he deserves that word; he’s underrated; he COMMITS).

Put a Bird On It.


Published in: on June 5, 2013 at 11:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Back That Ass Up (Numbers 22-25)

So there’s this guy named Balak and he’s the son of Zippor, king of Moab (to get these facts straight required multiple re-reads). Balak is afraid of the Israelites (because they just mopped the floor with the Amorites) and tells Balaam, the son of another ruler, that they’ve got to unite forces and drive them out of their lands. God then visits Balak and is like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. These are my people. Don’t even.” And Balak is like, “Okay.”

I think Balak was supposed to convince Balaam not to wage war on the Israelites but does a shitty job of it so Balaam heads out with all the princes of Moab, armed and raring to go. Balaam is riding his ass (the Bible uses the word “ass” instead of “donkey” which makes for plentiful out-of-context humour), whipping it so that it’ll go faster (it’s a donkey, not Black Beauty, you moron) when God gives his ass the power of speech. Yes, the ass starts talking to him, saying, among other things, “What did I ever do to you?” (literally in the Bible, the ass says, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” (Num 22:28)). It’s a moment right out of a PETA campaign.

Then an angel appears and tells Balaam to leave his ass alone. Balaam is freaked out enough by all this that he gives up his intended fight against the Israelites and makes a bunch of sacrifices to God, who loves that shit. Things are going along swimmingly between the Israelites and the people of Moab for a while until the men start to realize that their women are slutty and beging to “play the harlot with the daughters of Moab” (Num 25:1). God unleashes yet another plague to punish his people. He also decides to make an example of this one couple and has Aaron’s grandson spear them through their middles in one cool move, skewering them like kebabs. Delicious. The man’s name was Zimri, which isn’t funny, and the woman’s was Cozbi, which is.

Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 9:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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