Monday, May 7, 2007

Genesis Chapter 4 (v.1-26)

"Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant"

How romantic. She bore Cain first. She went through labour and then said, 'with the help of god i have brought forth a man.' Except it wasn't a man. It was a baby. Or maybe, back then, people were born fully clothed and grown. At an undisclosed time later (they could have even been twins) she bore Abel. Abel doesn't get the 'man' proclamation. The novelty of bearing children wears off so quickly. . .

So they grew up. Or they were already grown when they were born. At any rate, it turned out that Abel kept flocks, he was a shepherd. Or maybe he kept a flock of geese. Sparrows? Maybe he just wore flock pants. Cain, on the other hand, tilled the soil. He had a green thumb. A green something anyway.

People back then had to make sacrifices to their gods. Nothing special there. Saying that you appreciate benevolence by tithing a portion of what you reap to whatever god you think bestowed such benevolence seems like a pretty logical idea. And if the good times continue, well, your offering must have pleased that god. If you fall on hard times, you better sacrifice more, because whatever you were sacrificing obviously wasn't enough.

As his offering, Abel slaughtered defensless animals--fat ones that couldn't run very fast--and god really liked that. We aren't told how Abel or anyone else knew that god liked it. Just that he did. He liked it a lot.

Cain, who tilled the land remember, offered up to god "fruits of the soil." This probably didn't involve any slaughtering. . . Needless to say, god did not look with favour upon that meagre tithe. Cain was pretty pissed off at this. As would I be.

Yeah, so vegetables don't scream or moan or bleat when you kill them. And no, they don't bleed all dramatically over the altar, drip drip drip in a godly puddle. I think god was being unfair. Or that he's a bloodthirsty psycho--I mean mysterious. . .

God gave Cain a lecture about how Cain should do what is right. Not sure where the lesson is. Did he not tithe enough? It doesn't say if he did or didn't. And now he has to listen to god telling him that sin is "crouching at your door" blah blah blah.

So he went to his brother Gullabel--I mean Abel, and told him that he wanted to take a walk with him out in the fields. I imagine someone asking a dog they're about to abandon, "Wanna go for a car ride?? You like car rides, dontcha?"

Cain kills Abel. Perhaps Abel was also fat, and couldn't run very fast.

"Then the Lord said to Cain, 'Where is your brother Abel?"

He went on to say, "I want to give him this 'best person in the world' trophy. It's made of gold."

Cain said, "uhhhhhh. . . hmmm. . . Who?. . . Oh! Oh yeah, my BROTHER Abel. . . thought you meant someone. . .uhh. . . How the hell should I know?!?!" Or something like that.

Then god, who can hear blood (perhaps this is why he likes animal sacrifices so much) says he can hear Abel's blood crying out from the ground. (Imaginably, it's crying, "D'oh!") So either god is really confused, or asked Cain a question the answer to which he already knew. God isn't a very likable character so far.

He goes on to put a curse on Cain, so the man can no longer farm like he used to, and that he has to wander around restlessly. Cain replied, "Dammit!!!! What the. . . .aaaaarggggh!" And rightly so.

Cain, bewailing, "People I meet (I assume you've made more people since my mom and dad) are gonna KILL me when they find out about this curse and stuff!" is told by god that he will bear a mark, (ostensibly one that reads "Do not kill this man, signed God") and so will be spared death at the hands of another man. But bears or snakes, being unable to read, would probably find him a tasty treat.

So Cain went away from god's presence (Yes! No more nagging!) and lived in Nod, which is east of Eden. He lay with his wife (?!?!) that he acquired from. . . somewhere. . . maybe Nod was full of hotties, who knows. Anyway, she bore a kid named Enoch. Cain was building a city at the time, or just a settlement, at any rate I'm pretty sure either of those precludes the wandering part of the curse that god put on him. Cain, not wandering, named his city after his son, Enoch. So they lived in Enochville. Enochsburg. Enochborough. Enochdom. Enochropolis. Ah, the last one's the best.

In Enochropolis, Enoch had a kid named Irad (one assumes he had a wife but it doesn't say). Irad had a child named Mahujael, and Mahujael had a kid named Methushael, who was the father of Lamech. Enochropolis is now a happenin joint!

"Lamech married two women."

Whoa, full plate for the great-great-grandson of the namesake of Enochropolis. His wives names were Adah and Zillah. With Adah he had Jabal. Jabal started the whole livestock-raising, living-in-tents thing. He was a crazy trendsetter, that one. His brother Jubal (think they got mixed up in school?) was a no-good musician, who is noted as the father of ALL people who play the harp and/or the flute. So if you're thinking of taking up either of those instruments, you better check your lineage.

Lamech's other kid, the one he had with Zillah, Tubal-Cain, forged tools out of metal. He had a sister named Naamah. I cannot understand why she is mentioned at all in this sausagefest.

Lamech, one day, says to both his wives, 'listen to me! I just killed this guy. He was young. But he injured me. So I offed him. Hmmm.'

I can't help inserting a unison response from Zillah and Adah, 'You did WHAT?!?'

'Yeah,' Lamech continues, 'Uh, so if Cain is avenged seven times for killing some guy, then I am too. -NO, wait, I'm avenged. . . SEVENTY-seven times! Yeah! that's the ticket!'

This is where this story ends. I take this to mean that even if someone offs some guy, don't kill them for retribution.

The author then informs us that Adam had another kid to replace Abel, who was killed. I think that what they mean here is:

Make love, not war.

The proper response when a family member is killed, according to the author, is not to go out and kill the guy that did it, but to make more people. And I like this message.

The replacement kid's named was Seth, and he had a kid named, coincidentally, Enosh. But 'Enoshropolis' is much harder to say. . .

"At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord."

Not even gonna take a stab at this one. If you can explain why this is the last line of the chapter, comment on the blog about it.


Ishie said...

ROFLMAO!!! Dude, you should totally teach Sunday school.

I wanna live in Enrochopolis. It's a better name than Smallville, at any rate.

Ishie said...

Enochropolis, rather. Dyslexic am I.