Seven Brides for Seven Israelites (Judges 20-21)

Not a whole heck of a lot happens in the final two chapters of Judges. The Israelites battle the Benjamites, whose people were responsible for raping that guy’s concubine to death (you’ll recall that that guy chopped up his concubine’s body into twelve pieces and placed them around the land… that’s not on the table for discussion because it was “symbolic,” I guess). The Irsaelites outnumber the Benjamites by a lot and predictably, win (but of course, the Bible attributes their win to God’s intervention). Out of twenty-six thousand Benjamites, the Israelites kill twenty-five thousand and one hundred. A pretty clean sweep.

Now – what to do with the rest of them? Solution: “Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword; also the women and the little ones” (Jud 21:10). There is literally a baby-killing directive in the Bible. I don’t care much for babies but this seems a tad harsh. The only people who are spared are virgins, naturally. Four hundred headband-wearing virgins to be precise.

Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough virgins to go around at this stage in the game. So the Israelites have to get creative. They head out to Shiloh, where they lay in wait in the vineyards until some women come out to “dance the dances”. Then they steal them. Problem solved. This reminds me of the plot to one of my all-time favourtie movie-musicals, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The title pretty much says it all. It’s so antiquated and sexist that I’m just dying for a revival. It’s way more over-the-top than South Pacific. The lead character actually sings a plucky song about the rape of the Sabine women (from Roman times) and how the secretly enjoyed it. The exact lyric, if I remember correctly was…

Oh, they acted upset and annoyed

But secretly, they was overjoyed

Amazing. It’s exactly as I remembered.

Published in: on May 28, 2011 at 5:54 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,

You Can’t Get Raped in a City (Deuteronomy 22)

You know who would enjoy reading Deuteronomy 22? Feminists. Here’s why:

If you’re a virgin who is engaged and you’re raped then you and your rapist both get stoned to death. He gets stoned because he raped you and you get stoned because “[you] did not cry for help though [you] were in the city” (Deu 22:24). Who said you didn’t cry for help? The assumption here is that if you’re in a populated area and nobody hears or helps you it’s because you weren’t shouting loud enough and probably wanted it in the first place. Maybe you were yelling rape instead of “fire” or “sale” or better yet, “fire sale”.

If you’re a virgin who is engaged and you’re raped in the “open country” then only your rapist gets stoned to death. Fingers crossed you’re raped in rural Oklahoma.

If you’re a virgin and your husband has sex with you and is unsure afterward that you’re a virgin (wide pelvis?) then you and your parents have to get your “tokens of virginity” aka bloody bedsheets, round up the elders and show the bloody bedsheets to them at the edge of the city. Gross. Probably not something you want to do at a Chili’s. If your bloody bedsheets are convincing then your husband gets whipped and you’re off to a great start to your marriage.

Deuteronomy also has some non-rape-related ridiculous rules. For example, you can’t wear “mingled stuff,” like poly-cotton blends or anything sold at the store Preloved. You also can’t sow your vineyard with two different types of seed or plow your fields with two different types of animals. You can’t watch your brother’s animals run away and do nothing, even if they’re foaming at the mouth and even if your brother happens to be a jerk. You can’t take a nest with both the mother bird and the baby birds (monster!) but you can just take the baby birds (“Not without my daughter”).

The best part of the trailer below is when the voiceover goes, “He lied…”.

Published in: on March 19, 2011 at 6:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

It Always Helps to Be a Virgin When Trying Not to Die (Numbers 31-32)

Some rules are universal. Whether it’s a horror movie or the Bible, it always helps to be a virgin when trying not to die. The Israelites wage war on the Midianites, who had been giving them grief for a while, and win, hands down. The Bible says that the Israelites managed to kill every single male. This seems unlikely to me. In every battle there is at least one jerk who deserts when the going gets rough. I learned this from Braveheart (You cowardly nobles! You could’ve founded the Scotland of Sean Connery’s dreams!). But supposedly all the Midianite men are slain, leaving just the women. The Israelites grab all the booty they can get their manna-stained hands on and take the women captive. When they return to Moses (who I suppose was holding down the fort… excuses, excuses) he is incredulous and asks, “Have you let all the women live?” (Num 31:15). Moses commands that any woman “who has known a man by lying with him” be killed immediately (Num 31:17). Only the virgins are kept alive.

Anyways, since God and Moses are both obsessed with counting (traces of OCD here… before it became a thing), they count all the virgins. There are 32, 000 of them. What a boon. That’s a lot of virgins. I hate to think of what their first week living with the Israelites was like. Then again, are first times ever magical and romantic for anyone? I sometimes think that first times should be treated like horrible operations during the American Civil War were. Drink a lot of whiskey and just get it over with. Bite down on something if you have to. If I ever have a daughter (hopefully not) I will pass this sage bit of advice on to her while we perch on her canopy bed and I drink a vodka-soda.

In Numbers 32, some of the Israelites get tired of moving and fighting different people for equally crappy lands. So they put forth this idea: “Why don’t we stop moving around and just stay here? The grass is good for the cattle.” This pisses God off royally because he wants them to cross over the Jordan for some reason. So he makes them wander in the wilderness for forty years as punishment. What happens during that time? I don’t know. Probably a lot of orienteering practice.

Published in: on March 5, 2011 at 9:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,