A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

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

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Above: The Gilgal Gardens in Salt Lake City.  Photo from 15 Bytes

Joshua Builds a Monument to the Israelites Crossing of the Jordan River - At the time that Joshua was written, there must have been some sort of monument, or a peculiar grouping of stones, in the Jordan River and also another set on the banks of it (or not too far from shore).

Those who saw the stones probably wondered where they came from.  I say this because the author writes that the stones "are still there unto this day."  (Joshua 4:4)  This suggests that the book was written well after the fact, and the chapter serves as an explanation for these peculiar stones.  By the way, the stones are no longer there.

But according to Joshua, the stones acted as a monument to the Israelites 'miraculous' crossing of the Jordan River.  The author even writes that this is the story that should be told to children who come later, asking pesky questions.

After this unusual ceremony and the Jordan River filled back up with water, 40,000 Israelite warriors assembled on the plains of Jericho.  Another monument was erected with 12 stones Joshua had taken with him.

Perhaps one interesting correlation with this story, is the story of Moses crossing the Red Sea.  Twice Yahweh assisted the Israelites with crossing a difficult body of water.  But the situations were completely opposite.  In Moses' time, the Israelites crossed a large sea and were fleeing an oppressing army; this time the Israelites were the ones on the warpath.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Yahweh Lies to Joshua (Chapter 3) - Chapter 3 is very similar in wording to the last chapters.  Yahweh once again promises Joshua, and Joshua reports in 3:10, "He (Yahweh, or God) will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites"

In essence, this is a lie that will become obvious a few chapters later in the book. 

There is one miracle that occurs where the Israelites were able to cross the Jordan River without getting their feet wet.  This occurred during their march toward Jericho.

The Israelite priests holding the Ark of the Covenant to lead the column, until they got to the Jordan River.  the Israelites would then have to stand 2,000 cubits behind the ark, and make sure they had been properly cleaned prior to their march, etc.  As the water receded the priests holding the Ark stood in what was once the middle of the river, while the Israelites continued to the other side of the bank.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

There sure are a lot of prostitutes in the Bible (Joshua, Chapter 2) - It's no secret that prostitution is one of the oldest professions.  There will always be a demand for sex, no matter what legal restrictions are put on it. 

In this case, the prostitute becomes a central character in the story, and there's a little foreshadowing to show that she's going to play a part later on as well.

Joshua sent out two scouts to survey the land, and especially Jericho, the walled city.  While in Jericho, the scouts went into a harlot named Rahab's house, where they "came in unto her".  I'm not sure if this means they had sex with her, or if they just stayed the night.  But, it is worded as sex has been worded in previous books, especially with the phrase "came in unto her".

Well Rahab took kindly to these two gentlemen, whether it's because they were good lovers or she really bought into the notion of their god, I can't say.  But she did mention that she has heard of their god Yahweh, and that the people in the region fear the Israelites.  So, maybe she was betting that Jericho would lose the coming invasion.

Rahab's house was located on a part of the wall surrounding Jericho.  She let them rappel down the wall by a scarlet thread.  This thread was to remain on her window to warn the invading Israelites not to hurt anyone inside that house, as per an arrangement she made with the two scouts.

So, we got the making for a pretty interesting war story.  Scouts meeting with sympathizers inside the walls of Jericho, and the ominous fear being felt by its inhabitants, knowing about the coming invasion.  Too bad the authors of Joshua sucked, or perhaps it was the translators.  In any case, there are the elements for a halfway decent story to be told here, and whoever wrote it or translated blew it.  I wonder, does this mean that Shakespeare was a better author than Yahweh?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Joshua of Nun (Joshua 1:1) - Immediately after Moses's death, Yahweh looks to Joshua, the Son of Nun.  Yahweh (aka the Judeo-Christian God) says to Joshua that He will not fail him, and "every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, I will give unto you."

So, let's not bandy about here.  In order to be a fundamentalist Christian today, we have to believe the following:  the all-knowing, all-powerful Lord of the Universe, Yahweh Himself, is actively taking part of a tribe of desert barbarians wandering about the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern desert, promising them land in His role as an "omniscient real estate agent" (thank Sam Harris for that jewel).

Joshua isn't shy about this at all.  He gets right to it, and starts commanding the Israelite tribes.  And just like Moses in Deuteronomy, he falls into the same rhythm:  "Do as I say and you will get everything you ask for, but if you don't you will be put to death."

Next time, Joshua's spies hump a hooker.