A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Meet Maniac, from the Israeli band Mayhem. Photo from BlabberPhotos2 on Photo Bucket.

Briefly, Deuteronomy 29 brings us back to sanity.  And it's not sanity like we think of it, it's like when a raging maniac calms down to rest after hacking 30 people into pieces. 

Gone are the explicit and descriptive curses that were part of chapter 28.  Now, it's more of a yearning.  A pleading.  Moses says to the Israelites, "You've seen all the great miracles, you're clothes haven't fallen apart after 40 years in the wilderness (yes, it says that), we took the land of so many people for ourselves, and as long as you don't follow other gods, none of the curses in this book will fall on you."

Deuteronomy, which is coming to a close, is a diabolical book.  It just is.  But I think the author, or authors, got most of the angst out in the last chapter (Chapter 28).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One of the worst punishments for not following Yahweh and the Levite priests' advice: You'll eat your own children!  Family value meals!  (Deuteronomy 28:53-55)

Deuteronomy 28 is a descent into madness.  Here's a basic rundown.

It starts off innocent enough.  If you follow Yahweh and listen to the advice of the priests, you (meaning 'the Israelites') will:
  1. Be blessed in the city and in the field
  2. be blessed in body, crops, livestock, and family
  3. have your basket and store blessed
  4. be blessed when you "come in and when you go out" - not sure what that means
  5. find that Yahweh will defeat your enemies before you face them (they'll come against you one way and flee seven)
  6. find that your storehouses have been blessed
  7. be considered a holy person unto Yahweh Himself
  8. AGAIN be blessed in body, crops, livestock, and family.
  9. Have abundant crops due to good weather, other people will borrow from and owe you (not the other way around)
  10. Be the head and not the tail.
But ... if you don't follow Yahweh and you actually go after "other gods" (insinuating of course that the Israelites believed in other gods!), then:

  1. You will be cursed in the city and in the field
  2. Your basket and store will be cursed
  3. Your body, crops, livestock, and family will be cursed
  4. You will be cursed when  you "come in and go out." - still have no idea what that means!
  5. You will be sent in cursing, vexation, and rebuke in everything you do until you are dead
  6. You'll get very sick with pestilence
  7. You'll be smited with consumption, fever, inflammation, "an extreme burning", by sword, "the blasting", MILDEW, and Yahweh will pursue you until you die!!!
  8. Heaven above will be brass, while the earth below is iron. (On top of all the other stuff, you get crappy weather too!)
  9. Instead of rain, your crops will get powder and dust.
  10. Your corpse will be eaten by vultures and other scavengers
  11.  You'll get the botch of Egypt, hemorrhoids, scabs and itches that can't be healed, madness, blindness, and "astonishment of heart" (if numbers 6 and 7 weren't bad enough!)
  12. You'll grope around during day and night, won't be prosperous (no shit!)
  13. When you marry, other men will sleep with your wife
  14. Your ox will be slain before your eyes, your donkeys will be "violently taken away before your eyes", your sheep will be given to your enemies
  15. Your sons and daughters will be given away to other people; you'll look everywhere for them, but will not find them
  16. You will not be prosperous at all (how many times do the priests threaten this?), and you will be oppressed by others
  17. You'll go mad just at the sight of the things going on around you
  18.  Your knees will be smited and you'll get a huge sore botch from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head.
  19. You'll be ruled by a strange nation and worship their gods, wood, and stone.
  20. You'll become a joke to your neighbors
  21. Locusts will consume your crops; worms shall eat your vineyards
  22. You'll have fruitless olive trees
  23. You'll have sons and daughters but won't enjoy them because they'll go into captivity.
  24. The strangers among you will rise up and rule
  25. You'll serve your enemies hungry, thirsty, and naked, under a yoke of iron, until your dead.
  26. Yahweh will send a fierce nation from the end of the earth, and this nation will eat your cattle, take the fruit of your land, he'll besiege your city and easily overtake it, and you'll BE FORCED TO EAT YOUR OWN FLESH AND YOUR OWN CHILDREN'S FLESH
  27. Pretty women around you will turn an evil eye toward husband and eat her children
  28. Mass plagues will destroy your people
  29. The Israelites will be scattered around the world and follow other gods
  30. The Israelites will be sold back to Egypt as slaves.
Wow!  The Levite priests went out of their way on this one.  I admit, the first time I read the Bible this chapter didn't stick.  Now it's the craziest chapter I've read, and I've read some crazy ones so far! You'd think that since so people listen to the advice of these ancient Bronze Age people today, that this stuff would be prevalent in society. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

 Don't uncover your father's skirt!

Deuteronomy Chapter 27 is another quick chapter.  Here's the basic message:

  1. When you're passing Jordan and going into the land of milk and honey, build an altar of whole stones on Mount Ebal.
  2. After burning offerings at the altar, write on the stones the following commandments.
  3. First, Seimeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin should stand on Mt. Gerizim to bless the people.
  4. Then Rueben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali should stand on Mt. Ebal to curse.  Who do they curse?  I don't know.
  5. Don't make molten images, or display the works of craftsmen, or put such works in secret places.
  6. Those who set light by their parents will be cursed.
  7. Those who remove their neighbor's landmark shall be cursed.
  8. People who make blind people wander out of the way shall be cursed.
  9. Anyone who perverts a stranger's judgment shall be cursed.
  10. Anyone who has sex with their father's wife will be cursed because he "uncovered his father's skirt??".
  11. Anyone who has sex with an animal ... you guessed it.  Cursed!
  12. Sex with sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother.  Cursed!
  13. Anyone who has sex with his mother-in-law shall be cursed.
  14. Anyone who "secretly smites his neighbor" shall be cursed.
  15. Anyone who does not confirm these laws is also cursed.
Okay, big problems here.  What a incoherent group of laws!  And why carve it into some rocks at an altar on top of a mountain?

And, isn't a person who causes blind people to wander out of the way simply "an asshole"?  Cursing people doesn't do anything. 

And how is having sex with the father's wife "uncovering the father's skirt"?  Is it because the father's wife is actually the father's property?  More than likely!

Rule 15 is the clincher.  It hermetically seals the deal.  But I would argue that anyone who does not confirm these laws is actually wise. 

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Don't feed dead people. - Deuteronomy 26:14

Deuteronomy 26 is nice and short, and like the other chapters it's a list of arbitrary rules.  Here's basically what it says:

  1. Give the first fruit of your crops to Yahweh (actually the priesthood).  The justification for this: Yahweh brought them out of Egypt.
  2. Every three years, give more to the poor, the strangers, the priesthood, orphans, and widows.
  3. Don't eat while in mourning, don't eat for unclean reasons, and don't offer food for the dead.