A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible
Hunc tu caveto.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's a breath of fresh air to finally hit up a new book. Exodus is differs from Genesis because while it may very well be mythical, it is no longer trying to explain the origins of man (thankfully). I can safely say that Genesis fails miserably at that. And there was only one character who I rooted for: Joseph.
A Jewish population explosion

For some reason, the authors of Exodus still come off as being prone to exaggeration. Joseph has about 70 offspring or family members (it was unclear what was meant), and then just a few hundred years, the Israelite population jumps up to MILLIONS. The new pharoah, who never heard of Joseph, began to worry about the Israelite threat, and decides that the best thing to do is to enslave them all.

But even in captivity, the Israelites bred and multiplied like rabbits. In response, the pharoah takes on a new tactic: post-birth abortion, aka infanticide. He orders that all newborn boys be killed. The midwives have trouble stomaching this, and refuse to do it. Their explanation to the pharoah is that the Israelite women were to quick and wound up giving birth before the midwives can get to them. God liked that explanation apparently, and rewards the midwives for their lie.

The pharoah, however, ups the ante and asks that all Israelite male children be thrown into the river. That's got to have a crappy effect on the water supply, but something tells me that no one followed this rule.

The Birth of Moses

The story of Moses's birth is very similar to the legends surrounding the ancient king Sargon of Akkadia, who predates Moses. Sargon reigned in 2270 BCE. In contrast, Moses was supposedly born in 1320 BCE; almost 900 years later. The existence of Moses is also questionable, and he is most likely a legendary or even mythological figure - as there really is no archaeological data to show he existed.

Anyhow, Moses was born in secret and his mother put him in a reed basket and was later found by Egyptian royalty. Similarly, Sargon was born of a woman of lower classes, placed in a river in a reed basket, and he was later found by Akkadian royalty. Both Moses and Sargon were eventually accepted by the royal family. The similarity ends there, because Sargon went on to be emperor of Akkadia and Moses went on to be the man who freed the Israelites from captivity.

Moses commits murder, exiles himself

Now an adult, Moses is the only Hebrew who isn't a slave. One day, he sees one of the slave drivers excessively beating a Hebrew, and Moses gets angry and kills the Egyptian. While Moses thought he had done it secretly, someone had apparently noticed. The Pharoah gets wind of it, Moses escapes, and flees to land of the Midianites, where he marries a Midianite and stays there until the Pharoah dies. During his stay with the Midianites, Moses's wife bears a son named Gershom.

The Israelite people were crying out to God to get them out of slavery, and the Almighty Creator of the Universe suddenly remembered his promise to Abraham, Jacob and Isaac.

The Burning Bush

Okay, now I'm confused. In Chapter 2, his father-in-law's name was Reuel. But in Chapter 3, it opens up by saying his name is Jethro. Later on in Judges and Numbers, his father-in-law's name changes to Hobab. In any case, Moses was watching his father-in-law's flock of sheep when he saw a burning bush. This wasn't any old burning bush, as the fire was not consuming the plant. As Moses got closer to investigate the strange sight, the voice of God emanated from the bush, "Before you get closer, take of your shoes. 'Cause this is holy ground."

The all-knowing Creator of the Universe explained to Moses that he heard the cries of the Israelite slaves and saw how they were being treated, and He now has a mission for Moses. To paraphrase into modern English, "Go to Egypt and bring my people out of there. I got your back."

Moses asks an interesting question to God. "Um, when I tell the Israelites that their God has sent me, and they ask what your name is, what do I tell them?"

"I AM THAT I AM," is My name, says God. Later on in Exodus, He says His name is Jealous, and still later in Exodus; Jehovah. God's got a lot of names; I AM, Jehovah, Yahweh, God, Lord, El, El Elyon, El Shaddai, etc. I wish I could do that. Sometimes I wish my name was a cool manly name like Brock, or Chuck.

The rest of Chapter 3 is God bragging about how cool He is, and how He's going to smite the Egyptians with His wonders, and how the people will follow Moses because he's buddies with the Almighty, and that the Israelites will leave Egypt with great riches because the women will basically steal from their masters when they leave. God's such a jock.

No comments: