Sunday, March 30, 2008

Genesis Chapter 13 v.1-18

Abram and Lot and Sarai (very rich from the prostitution racket) came out of Egypt and moved back to the very place where god had sent Abram earlier. I'm assuming the famine was over at this time.

Living close together, Lot and Abram's huge flocks probably got a little confused and there were quarrels between the shepherds.(My sheep! No! My sheep!) So Abram told Lot to find some other place, he didn't care where. You take the low road, I'll take the high road and all that jazz.

Lot saw the plain of Jordan and decided to take that for himself. The description of the land is that of a paradise. This was before Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, according to the author, so Lot pitched his tents near Sodom. Abram stayed in Canaan.

There is a strange aside where the author wishes us to know that "the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord." Ah, we're supposed to shake our heads and say, those rascals. What were they doing? Was it just the men? Who else was there? What about Gomorrah?

That's all there is. The author says that when Lot leaves, god tells Abram that all the land he sees will be his, and his offspring will be many--even though his wife is barren, I suppose. So Abram moved his tents near some big trees and built another altar. (Altar 3.)

Genesis Chapter 12 v. 1-20

When Abram was 75 and living with his father in Haran, god told him he needed to leave. This sounds similar to when you're in the military and you get your orders. Except when god tells you to go, the place he sends you doesn't necessarily have food, and isn't necessarily unoccupied. The place is usually just filled with promises which god may or may not get around to fulfilling--he is a busy guy, after all.

The promise sounded pretty good at the start:

"I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you."

Hey, Abram's thinking, sounds like a pretty sweet deal!

Yeah. So he left his father and took his wife Sarai with him, and his nephew Lot, and they traveled to this land where god told him to go. They went "as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem," which is quite a ways I imagine.

At that time the Canaanites were living there, but god told Abram that he and his offspring could have it. Which may translate to having a note from your parents. So Abram built an altar there. And that was probably the first sign the Canaanites had that trouble was brewing for them.

Abram pitched his tent to the east of a town called Bethel and celebrated by building yet another altar. God loves that smoky flavour. After building that altar, Abram continued on.

"Now there was a famine in the land. . ." Always a catch, isn't there? Joke's on you Abram! The land is yours but good luck *eating* off it! Oh, wait, I mean. . .I wanted to test your faith. That's it.

So, since he was hungry--I mean, impious--Abram went to Egypt to live, where there was food. Crossing the border, he told his wife that she was very beautiful. She probably blushed and said, oh, you, to which he replied, probably the Pharaoh will want you as a concubine, so say you're my sister. But I'm not your sister? I can see her eyeing him sideways.

I know, but he's going to have you as a concubine no matter what, and if you're my sister he won't kill me for the pleasure.

Can we just go back to the famine, please? This is sounding a little. . .I dunno. . . unholy?

No, no, I'm hungry. It's okay, dear. They'll feed you well in the harem, I promise.

Okay, so, because she said that she was Abram's sister, after the Pharaoh made her his fuck toy, he made her "brother" Abram into a wealthy man. I don't know how many sacred texts you have that involve a husband pimping out his barren wife, but this is rather shocking to me.

Who is god mad at for this adultery? The knowing perpetrators? The mastermind behind the ruse? No. God is mad at the Pharaoh. For not knowing something because he was being lied to by god's people.

Okay, so, bastard, right? God's acting a right bastard. He curses the Pharaoh's household for this!! They all got "serious diseases"!! So Pharaoh figures something's up. No disease *before* Sarai came. . . *Afterwards*. . . heeeeey. So he summons Abram. Says, "What the fuck?!?! Why didn't you tell me! I don't like committing adultery! I don't mind murder so much, but. . .Just get the fuck out!" So Abram--now a very rich man (and fat, I imagine)--takes his barren whore wife Sarai and leaves Egypt.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Genesis Chapter 11 v.1-32

"Now the whole world had one language and a common speech." Way to contradict yourself, god. You said in the earlier chapter that peoples spread out, "each with its own language."

The people who settled in the plain of Shinar decided that they should build a huge tower made of mud bricks and tar, so that "we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered." So the people after the flood were concerned about losing touch with loved ones, and, it seems to me, their response was to make a huge meeting area where people could come to meet up. Nothing in the text besides them wanting to be well-known (which would only facilitate their cause of keeping people in touch) describes them as being selfish or sinful.

I might also add that, contrary to what I was taught in sunday school, no mention is made of the people wanting to be as powerful as god or build the tower high enough to reach heaven. Just that they didn't want to be scattered, and they wanted some sort of notoriety.

Well, god "came down" to see the city one day and saw the tower. Throw all your ideas about omniscience out the window for the old testament, I suppose. God decides that people can accomplish a great many things in cooperation with each other, and this is made easier by them all having the same language. He decides he doesn't like this, so he "confuse[s]" their language.

Well, it worked. The people "stopped building the city." (Tower? City? Synonymous?) The name of the city was Babel, and god confused the language and then scattered the people over the face of the whole earth. Which is a little ironic, given the people's reason for wanting the build the tower in the first place.

This story really highlights how much of a bastard this god of old was. No offense implied, but when someone acts like a bastard, call them a bastard. I don't think you should be able to apply only good epithets to god--if your perception of how he acts sometimes fits the human idea of mercy, for some reason you're allowed to apply that human idea to god, but if he acts like he's got a chip on his shoulder, you're supposed to just call that 'mysterious.' Bollocks.

I remember having this story explained to me as pride going before a fall, etc. I don't read pride into what they were doing. I think if god still had his way, this whole internet thing would've been nipped in the bud a long time ago. Can't have people thinking they can accomplish anything, for goodness sake.

Anyway, the rest of the chapter sets the scene for our new main character: Abram.

The previous chapter's lineage is repeated here, from Shem to Peleg. The author goes on from there to say that Peleg had a child named Reu. And Reu was 32 when he fathered Serug. and Serug was 30 when he fathered Nahor. And Nahor was 29 when he fathered Terah.

Here's the story of Terah.

Terah had three sons, Abram, Nahor and Haran. Haran was the father of Lot, but he died in Ur while his father still lived. It doesn't say how.

Abram married Sarai (who was barren) and Nahor married Milcah who was his niece (Haran's daughter).

Terah took Abram, Lot and Sarai and set out from Ur to go to Canaan. Got sidetracked in Haran (a place apparently spelled differently than the name of the guy Haran in Hebrew) and settled there.