Do as I… What Was I Talking About Again? Part 4

As we enter into the final chapters in the saga of the Ten Commandments, the Israelites have left the desert they were wandering around in for forty years. God is juuuust about ready to give them the land He promised them, but He needs to play one last joke.

The caravan of Israelites was attacked by the nation of Amalek (God didn’t let the Israelites take the shortcut because they might get into a fight with the Philistines, but after they’d been wandering for forty years and a few months, what were they gonna do? Go back to Egypt? Psh, no one would even have been alive there at this point except whatever it is that has a very strict diet of frog corpses.). Moses, caretaker of the Israelites, told Joshua to grab all the men in fighting shape he could find and take them to face the enemy army. God… God will help us defeat the Amalekites!

So Moses carried the staff that had worked the miracles of God to the top of a hill, and looked over the battle, and God said “Hey, Moses. I’ll help Joshua win the fight, but you gotta do something for me.”

“Ok,” Moses replied with a heavy tone of trepidation. “What can I do to earn your help?”

Moses thought he heard a chuckle. “You gotta… Here’s what you gotta do. You gotta hold that staff over your head! See? Not so bad!”

So Moses raised the Staff of God over his head, and the tides of the battle began to turn in the favor of the Israelites, but the battle was long and hard fought.

“Hey Moses… You’ve got to be… What? Almost 90 now? You gettin’ tired? Maybe you should ask for help holding that staff up! Better not let it drop! You’ll lose the fight if you drop your staff!” (Seriously. Exodus 17:11. I wanted to write God as a character who was a teenager, but I feel like the original author of the Bible wrote him as a child far better than I could. Again, what do I learn from this? That they win the fight as long as Moses holds the staff up? WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING? Why did anyone even want that in the Bible?)

Moses, elderly and worn down by the harsh years in the desert living only on rain-bread, felt his arms tire and the staff slipped below the crown of his head, and instantly the battle surged in favor of the Amalekites. Moses called for the help of Aaron and Hur, who held his arms up, knowing that if he dropped his arms too far they would all surely perish.

“Psh. That’s no fun. Since you are asking for help, I’ll make sure this battle lasts all the way until night. You’ll be stuck that way for hours.”  And so it was that the battle ran until sunset, Aaron and Hur holding the Staff of God, in Moses’ hands, over the head of Moses. When they had won, God said “Man, aren’t I awesome? I am so awesome, you have to write down how you won that fight, and make sure it is mostly just about how awesome I am. In fact, as soon as you write it down, go show it to Joshua, makes sure he knows he only won the fight because I helped.”

Before he even voiced the question, he began to regret it. “But God,” Moses intoned, “Joshua was out there fighting for at least 36 hours (Exodus 17:9, 12), thousands of our men are dead. Don’t you think they could have some credit?”

“Again with the whining! You know what? Fine. Mention his name. He can have some glory, but make sure everyone knows he only won because I was helping. MAKE SURE THEY KNOW THAT!” (Exodus 17:14. I don’t… I don’t even know where to begin with this one. I think it stands on its own. Hell, go read Exodus 17, SUPER short chapter, and tell me if I have in any way mistaken God’s personality in this summary.)

After the battle, Moses got to see his family. Jethro, his father in law, ran up to him, “Hey man! I heard about everything God did, with the plagues on Egypt, and rescuing you, and feeding you, and giving you water! Those are some amazing miracles, man! And then I heard you were going to get wiped out by the Amelekites, and God totally won that battle for you! Man, God is so amazing, hey! I’ve got a bunch of really young, unblemished lambs. Let’s go sacrifice some lambs and have a party in God’s honor, eh? Man, our God is an awesome God, isn’t He?!”

Moses stood staring, dumbstruck. “You know what? Sure. Sure, God is awesome. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go sit and judge some Israelites for being dicks. You go sacrifice some lambs. He’ll like that.” Moses turned and walked away, and returned to his duties of being caretaker for the Israelites. From dawn until dusk, people brought cases in front of him, and he sat in judgment, making sure to fill the role of caretaker so that God was happy.

After Jethro was done throwing a bitchin’ party for God, he came back to Moses. “Hey man, why are you sitting here alone, doing like ten people’s worth of work?”

Moses mumbled “S’long as I’m talking to people, God leaves me alone.”

“Hm? Sorry Moses, didn’t catch that…”

“Oh, sorry. God has appointed me as the agent of His will. All these people come to me asking what God wants. For some reason, God will talk to me whenever (and as soon as) I am alone, but He won’t share a single word with any of the rest of the Israelites.”

“Ah,” Jethro replied. “Look, I get that God has made you very important, but what about this. What say you teach the people what God wants, then appoint others to judge the simple cases?”

Then that happened, because it seemed like a smart thing to do.

Then God said to Moses, “Hey Moses. I know you’re having a tough time, and the people don’t like you, so here’s what I’mma do for you. I am going to come down to Earth and talk to you in front of everyone, then they’ll know that you’re my boi! So before they see me, here’s what you gotta tell them. First, tell them they are my chosen people, and because they are chosen I am going to put just a ridiculous amount of incredibly cumbersome rules on them that I don’t put on anyone else. I wanna see their face when you tell them that! Then, tell them they aren’t allowed to have sex or masturbate for three whole days before they see me talking to you. That part is important. Then bring them to Mount Sinai, but they aren’t allowed to come up the mountain. If they try to come up the mountain, kill them. Kill them so hard.”

Moses said nothing, but turned and gathered the people and delivered the message. When three days had passed, God came down in a cloud on the top of Mount Sinai, and called Moses to him.

“Heeeey buddy. Go back down and tell the people that they aren’t allowed to come up the mountain.”

“But I’ve already told them that.”

“What, you think I care? You’re 90, I’m like infinity years old. Get down that mountain and tell them they aren’t allowed on the mountain. Then come back up here. Oh, and bring Aaron. I wanna talk to him, too. But anyone else who comes up? I will smite them so hard.

(Now, I would like to think the above conversation was my idea, but it comes directly from Exodus 19 16-25. God tells Moses to come up, then go back down to deliver the same message, God tells Moses to do it anyway. In verse 25, you can almost hear the … Disappointment? Exasperation?… of the original writer. Verse 25, in its entirety, reads “So Moses went down and told them.”

I CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!)

And so God came down on the mountain to give Moses the Ten Commandments, with the people of Israel watching, and God looked like a giant storm. Everyone was like “Oh man, no wonder Moses is the only one who talks to God directly. Man, God is scary. Hey, Moses! We don’t want to talk to God directly any more. You can be the caretaker, you’ve got our vote now!”

So Moses walked up to God, and God said “Hah! I gave them a good show, didn’t I? I figure if they fear me, instead of love or respect me, that will definitely make them loyal. That’s how that works, right?! Anyway, now that they are good and afraid of me, make sure they never, ever stray from worshiping me or I’ll…”

“Smite the hell out of them,” Moses interrupted. “Yeah, got it.”

“Hey, no. No finishing my sentences for me!”

“Oh, so you weren’t going to say ‘smite the hell out of them’?”

“Well… I was… But just for that, I am going to increase the amount of sacrificing you have to do to me. So that I know you know how awesome I am. And when you build sacrificial altars, don’t use good supplies. If you use any materials that have been tooled, I’ll make sure you get… Tooled… I don’t really know where I was going with that, but just make sure you only use crappy, round rocks when building an altar. That is important to me for some reason. I don’t have to explain myself to you!” (Exodus 20:24-25)

“Also, make sure the altar is on a hill, but that there are no steps leading up to it. When you are walking up the steps, people could see up your robes, and nobody wants to see 90 year old junk.”

“Won’t they be able to see up my robe if I am walking up a hill anyway?”

“Shut up! No steps! Now get ready to write, I’ve got some of those onerous rules that I was talking about earlier all ready to go. And no complaining.”

Some parts of the Bible just stand on their own as … Weird? Without my even having to inject my own characterizations into it. I still have no idea what to make of Moses holding his hands over his head for the duration of a 36 hour battle. Seriously.

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Do as I… What Was I Talking About Again? Part 3

The Israelites have been kicked out of Egypt because they have ensured Pharaoh has had a truly bad, truly awful day (largely due to his inability to play poker at even the most basic level). Now that they are free, what lies ’round the bend?

“Hey Moses. Hey. Hey. Hey Moses. Wasn’t that awesome?”

“Yes, God. That was awesome. We are free. And Egypt is in ruins, suffering, diseased, and starving. Thank you.”

“Yeah. Hey, remember. Every year, we are going to have a week long party because of how awesome I am. And you’ll tell your kids that the party is because I am so awesome. Also, this party is not optional. If you do not party, I am gonna be so pissed. And you know what? Maybe some sacrificing is in order. Yeah, for the firstborn, I am gonna need some sacrifices. For every donkey, sacrifice a lamb. If you don’t have a lamb? Break that donkey’s neck. I COMMAND IT! And when your kids are like ‘how come we sacrifice so many lambs,’ tell ’em. Tell ’em that it is because I told you so. Because I am so awesome.”

“Yes, God. We’ll… We’ll make that work. Somehow,” and Moses turned to walk towards the land of the Caananites.

“NO!” God said. “Don’t go the short way. The Phillistines are jerks. We’ll go the long way.”

Moses heaved a sigh. “Alright. We go the long way.”

“One last thing. Remember Joseph? I’m sure you heard of him. He was a cool guy; I liked him. Go get his bones.”

“What?”

“You heard me. Anyway, set up camp once you get to the Red Sea. I’m gonna have Pharaoh come to try and kill you, but wait ’till you see what I have planned. It’s gonna be awesome!”

After walking for some time, the Israelites arrived at the Red Sea, and Pharaoh came after them. When Pharaoh was close enough to be seen, the Israelites cried to Moses thus, “You led us out of slavery to die? The hell is wrong with you?”

Moses looked up at God, and said wearily “You know, God, it would be just… Just so much easier on me if you’d just tell everyone about your plans ahead of time.”

“Stop being a whiny bitch, it’s way more awesome when it’s a surprise! Anyway, tell the people, tell ’em I am gonna protect you. And make sure they are all watching.I want everyone to see this!”

Moses shook his head and shuffled over to a rock overlooking the people. Bracing his body, he threw out his arms and shouted “God is watching over us. Look, look, and watch at the might of God!”

“Hey, Moses. I just had a thought. I am gonna split the Red Sea so you can walk over it. So maybe I shouldn’t have had you set up camp. But still… Splitting the sea, right? That’s pretty awesome, isn’t it? And I am going to make sure Pharaoh follows you, then BLOOOOOSH! Gonna drop a whole sea on him. I’ll bet they’ll talk about how awesome this is for like… 3,000 years!”

“But… But you just had us set up camp. Do you know how long it is going to take us to pack all this stuff up? Do you even care?”

“Hey, stop whining. I’ll buy you time in a way that is as awesome as it is effective. Take a look at the Egyptian army! There’s a pillar of flame all up in their face! BAM! How awesome is that?! Now pack up and get moving, I don’t care how hard you work.”

Moses and the Israelites gathered their belongings, protected by a giant pillar of flame that prevented the Egyptians and Pharaoh from following, and then the Red Sea was split in two. The Israelites crossed the sea on the land, and the flaming pillar died. The Egyptians surged forward, a mighty wave of gold and bronze, down into the chasm of the Red Sea.

Moses looked over his shoulder nervously as he walked towards the far bank. “Hey, God… I don’t mean to complain some more, but the Egyptians are moving pretty fast, hey? Like… Plenty fast enough to catch us.”

“Stop whining! All you do is whine! Fine, I’ll slow them down!” God did as God does, and the ground became wet, and the chariots and horses sank into the mud, slowing their progress. “Happy?”

The Israelites climbed onto the far bank of the Red Sea, looking back as the Egyptian army struggled after them.

“Hey, Moses, make sure everyone is watching! Are they watching, Moses?”

Moses sat down, weary, and replied “Yes, God, they are all watching. It would be hard not to, when an army is still slowly advancing on us. It would still just be fantastic if you would share your plans with everyone instead of just me.”

“Shut up! Watch this!” The waters fell in on the chariots of the Pharaoh, and the army of the Pharaoh, and they all drowned in a crushing torrent, and were never seen again. Some Israelites looked back, and realized that the Egyptians crushed to death by the sea were the lucky ones, as they had found the only possible escape from the starvation, disease, stench, and rot that was now the entire nation of Egypt–but the Israelites then turned and walked, following Moses ’round the bend.

“Hey Moses. Hey, I’m going to give you Canaan, a nation flowing with Milk and Honey. It is gonna be awesome. Hey, I heard milk and honey is actually just the best laxative. It’s gonna be hilari… I mean, you will have lots to eat and won’t suffer!”

Moses just shook his head and walked on. Sometimes, it was just better to let God have his way, and he wished he’d learned that lesson ages ago.

“Hey, don’t be a pouty face. You know what cheers me up when I’m feeling down? Songs. Songs cheer me up when I am feeling down. You should sing a song to me. Make it about how awesome I am. Sing a song about how I killed Pharaoh, I never get tired of that story!”

Moses took a deep, calming breath, and sang a song about how awesome it was that his people had just spent 430 years suffering before God decided to save them from bondage, and about how God left an entire nation in terrible, disease ridden straits, and made sure to mention how awesome God was in at least every verse so that he did not get smote.

Now, the long way to Canaan happened to run through a desert, and the 2 million Israelites could not find any water. They had forgotten that God was with them, and said to Moses “Seriously, it’s like you keep taking us from the edge of death to the next edge of death. At least under Egypt, we knew we’d have food and water, but we have been nearly dead at least once per day since we left. Get us some damn water, or we are going to turn this car around and sacrifice you to God.”

Moses replied “Give me a minute to talk to God. I am sure I can get another miracle out of him.” He walked around until he could find some privacy. “Hey, God? We need water. We need water right now; some of us are going to die of thirst, soon.”

“Oh damn! I forgot! People need to drink! Why didn’t you remind me before you spent three days in a desert? Bro, you are just the worst caretaker. Here, throw this stick in that awful, smelly spring over there. It’ll turn the water clean. Make sure to tell the people I did this for you, and remind them that I am awesome.”

Moses spluttered “But… But… Aren’t you the caretaker? Why am I the caretaker? I told you I didn’t want this job in the first place!”

“What’d I say about all that whining? Now go and give the people water, then get moving. There is lots of space left between you and Canaan, and I don’t see it getting covered. Oh, also tell the people that I am going to give you some laws, and if you break them I am gonna make them just as diseased as Egypt back there. Smelly frog corpses, Moses. So. Many. Frog Corpses.”

Moses shed a single tear, turned, and made the smelly spring run clear so that the Israelites could drink. After they had drank their fill, they moved on into an even larger desert, and wandered there for two months.

“Hey, Moses,” the Israelites said. “We’re out of food, again. And it has been a long time since we had any miracles from God. At least back in Egypt, we didn’t have to worry about whether we’d get a miracle on any given day. And hey, while we’re at it, this gold and silver we stole from Egypt is really heavy, and not very edible. What’s up with that?”

“I think God just likes shiny objects, honestly. But whatever, I’ll go and see if I can get God to miracle us up some food… But I’m going to warn you, he is probably going to put some silly restriction on the miracle for some reason.” So Moses turned, again, to find some privacy to talk with God.

“We need food, to live, and some water wouldn’t hurt. You have had us wandering around in a desert for 2 months, and there isn’t even two months worth of desert here. Have you had us walking around in circles?”

“Hey, hey, hey, what did I say about the whining? And about the food, here’s what I am gonna do. I am going to make it rain bread. Show me another god who can do that, right? There isn’t one! BAM! I’m so awesome. Oh hey, one thing though.” Moses closed his eyes, bracing himself for the conditions on this miracle. “You can only gather as much bread as you will eat. If you gather more bread, the miracles stop, capiche? If you can handle that for six days, then I’ll give you extra bread on the seventh day, because everything should be done in week long cycles, like my parties! And when you tell them about my condition, be sure to remind them how awesome I am, in case they forget.”

Moses opened his eyes and looked skyward. “Ok, I’ll give them the message… But why does it have to come from me? They hate me. They think I have killed them. And why didn’t you give us bread before we were starving to death? Why did you wait so long? Couldn’t you have miracled us up some bread thirty days ago?”

“What did I say about your incessant whining?!”

Moses turned and went to deliver the message. “Hey guys… God said he’d give us some food, just sit tight. And honestly? Please stop getting angry with me. God is the one who has the plan, and who has the power give us food. If you are going to lynch someone, try to lynch God, please? I am just… So tired of this. Anyway, God is going to give us food, but we aren’t allowed to pack extra. I don’t know why, so don’t go asking me. Just… Make sure you don’t store any in your packs, or else the food train stops.”

In the morning, when the bread rain came, many gathered, and some started to fill their packs. Shortly after, their packs were covered in maggots, and smelled of rot.

Moses followed his nose, and raged at those that had gathered too much. “What did I say about storing the food? Look, look at this plague! God said he’d do this, and hasn’t he proven he will follow through on every threat? Are you stupid? Did you forget already what God did to Egypt? HE WILL TOTALLY DO THAT TO US!

“Oh, as part of the condition of getting food from God, incidentally, we are not allowed to pick up food on the seventh day, even if it is right in front of us and prepared, for some reason. So on Friday, we collect double the food, and on Friday you are allowed to store some. But only enough for Saturday. Please, please, don’t be dense this time. God will seriously ruin us if you don’t follow his command. Remember what happened just a few days ago? With the maggots and rot? Seriously, I just don’t want to put up with Him once He gets in a bad mood.”

When Saturday came, a bunch of Israelites went out to gather food, because if there is one thing that is boundless, it is stupidity and short memory.

God went up to Moses, “Hey, hey, what did I say about Saturday? The hell is wrong with you? Why are you breaking my commandments?”

Moses didn’t know what to say. “But God, I didn’t break any, I told them what you said.”

“Moses, don’t be an idiot. You are the caretaker, you are responsible for everything they do. And, given the sin in your ranks that I am seeing right now, you are going to have just like… the worst afterlife at this rate.”

“What?” Moses was startled.

“Oh, nothing. Don’t worry about it. Hey, I am not going to be making bread rain forever, so you should put some in a jar and keep it. When you show it to people, be all like ‘Hey, this is bread rain. Not every god can make it rain bread. Isn’t God awesome?’ Then tell them how awesome I am for making it rain bread when you were hungry.”

Moses shoved some bread in a jar, and put it in the ark of the covenant, which they apparently have for some reason. (Exodus 16:34)

God fed them rain bread for forty years in the desert before they came to the borders of Canaan. The whole time they spent in the desert, they wandered as God bade them, which raises serious questions about God’s navigational skills. But soon, soon they would be in a land of milk and honey!

We have exited the desert of Sin and the forty years of wandering. This seems a good place to take a break, before we enter the next saga.

It turns out it is harder to make fun of the parts that are in the Ten Commandments movie than I thought it would be, but we are nearing the end of the Ten Commandments saga, and then we can spice it up a little. Just have to hold out for 3 more chapters of Exodus, then we are on the other side of the hump.

Do as I… What Was I Talking About Again? Part 2

This one is a little more boring than Part 1, as most are pretty well versed in the plagues, and Part 2 doesn’t go off the rails of the traditional script. But once we’re through Part 2, Part 3 is gonna be a ton of fun (for me).

When we left our intrepid protagonists, Moses and Aaron, Pharaoh had just betrayed them by going back on his word! The plague of flies drove Pharaoh to again promise to set the Israelites free (on the condition that they were only going to go worship their God for a while, then come back), but as soon as the plague was retracted decided that this was a silly thing to do. God had hardened Pharaoh’s heart against the plight of the Israelites, and so nothing could be done to persuade him to let them go. As we enter Exodus chapter 9, God is turning up the dial on plague-craft.

Moses went in front of Pharaoh and told him thus: “Alright, dick move, but you’ve still got a chance. Tomorrow, sometime, our God is going to kill literally all of your cattle, sheep, goats, oxen, camels, and he won’t touch even a single one of the Israelites’. If that doesn’t prove he means business, I don’t know what will.”

Pharaoh, who is probably history’s worst poker player (“He has told me what he has in his hand every time we bet, but this time I’ll be he’s bluffing for sure!”). Protip: God does not bluff. The very next day, the Egyptian food supply became the food supply of the plague of gnats that is probably still flying around there somewhere. And, just like God said, not one of the stock of Israel was killed by whatever unholy disease it is that swept the Egyptian countryside and presumably ruined the livelihood of the Egyptian peasants that had as much control over the Pharaoh as the Israelites did, because they are guilty of the sins of their ruler for some reason. Also, God did not provision for the removal of the frog corpses, so they are bloated and decomposing all over Egypt, as well. Yummy.

Pharaoh, as God knew beforehand, still wouldn’t back down. “OK, he is still playing a perfect game of poker. But he is probably out of cards at this point, and the cattle can’t get any more dead… So no, no the Israelites cannot go.”

Moses thus returns with a handful of soot, and warns them “It’s about to get real ugly. If I throw this soot into the air, you are going to get just… Just the worst boils imaginable, all up in your business, and in your animal’s business. I mean, I know your animals are already dead, but if you bought more they are going to get all full of boils, too.”

“Bullshit,” said Pharaoh, with all the poker sense of … Well, there is no one in the history of the planet that bad at poker.

And so, in a move that surprised no one, BOILS EVERYWHERE! The Egyptian sorcerers at this point could not even stand, as the boils on their feet were so bad that no pressure could be put on them, and obviously the sorcerers could not heal what God hath wrought.

“Alright, alright, alright. Whoever this ‘God’ fellow is, he must be out of cards this time! No dice, you’ve played the last ace up your sleeve. The slaves stay.”

Again, though, we are reminded in Exodus 9:12, “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron.” Why did the LORD keep Pharaoh’s heart hard? One presumes just because he still had more plagues. Again, following the chain of events, the plague killing the cattle and the massive outbreaks of horrible boils could have been a result of the massive hills of rotting frogs that had nowhere to go.

So God brings out the big guns. “Alright, it’s time to get serious. I could have killed you all already, but I kept you alive just to show you how far I can go. You wouldn’t let my people go, so I am going to have the greatest hailstorm EVER hit Egypt. I know my slaves will be outside when it comes, but the devastation you see will be all the greater for it! HAH!”

And the hail came, and it killed all the cattle outdoors, and all the slaves outdoors, and all the Egyptians outdoors. It didn’t hail on Goshen, where the slaves lived, but you have to remember that some slaves were still out in the thrall of their masters, and were struck down by a hail that “stripped all of the trees bare.” (Exodus 9:25)

Pharaoh was done with this horrible game of poker. “Alright, you win. I’m terrible at poker. Take your people and get out of here.”

Moses, having learned of Pharaoh’s trickery, said “Alright, once I am out of the city, I will make the hail stop.” He did not stop to think that he would be brutally struck down by this hail on his way out of the city, but apparently neither did the writer for Moses leaves and stops the hail. Then… SURPRISE! Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened by God, and he went back on his word. Again. Because he is very, very, very bad at poker. In fact, this is like Moses showing him a royal flush, and then having Pharaoh bet against him for… Reasons?

“Just so you know, Moses,” God says, “I hardened the heart of Pharaoh so I could smite the crap out of Egypt for one purpose; to give you an awesome story to tell your grandkids about how awesome I am. Remember to tell them about me. OR ELSE.” (Exodus 10:1-2)

So God had another plague ready to go. “Your livestock is dead, and your crops ruined. You are going to have an awful winter; I know it. But here’s the thing; I know you have grain stores. So if you don’t let my people go (and I know you won’t, because I commanded it of your heart), I will send locusts, and they will eat your entire grain store.

Perhaps better at poker than Pharaoh himself, his advisers said to him “DAMMIT, MAN! Let the damn slaves go! Seriously, we are already ruined. We can’t take another of these plagues!”

Pharaoh, again, says “Alright. You win. Go and worship God, as long as you come back when you are done with your sacrifices. Oh, also, only men can go. Everyone knows gods hate women and children anyway.”

“Hey, hey, hey, you think I am calling down these plagues for funsies? No, we all go, or you get the locusts!” And so it was that locusts came.

And Pharaoh said “Stop it! STOP IT! Ok, you can go. What is wrong with your God? Why does he love punishing us so?!” But as soon as Moses left, God reminds us that he had hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 10:20) so that MORE PLAGUES! Yay!

So then we get what is actually the most tame plague in days; the plague of darkness. Everything was so dark that no one could even move, except the Israelites because they get light. So Pharaoh, AGAIN, says “Take them away, and I am running out of even sort of funny ways to say this because I have said it so many times my face is stuck in a grimace of displeasure! Except leave your flocks and herds behind.”

“But Pharaoh, how can we sacrifice stunning amounts of cattle and sheep to God if we can’t bring our cattle and sheep? Seriously, you have no idea how bloody things are going to get once we start sacrificing.”

“What? No. I said no flocks!”

“It gives us the flocks or it gets the plagues again!”

And again, God hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and Pharaoh said “No dice!!” (Exodus 10:27)

And God said “Ahahahahaha look how mad he is! Isn’t this hilarious?”

Moses replied “Umm… Not really. Millions are going to die of starvation and disease, and I’d like to remind you that it was you who forced Pharaoh to keep the Israelites in bondage.”

God replied “Pfft… You’re no fun. I can hardly get my smite on with you killing my buzz, Buzz Killington. Fine, just one more plague, and I am going to make it a doozy. In fact, I am going to make it so bad that Pharaoh will make you leave and so badass that you will have a feast to remember it by for the rest of eternity! How does that sound for a party?! So here’s the plan; I am going to kill all the firstborn sons of everyone in Egypt, except the Israelites, then you guys can leave Egypt. Also, remember that thing I said about taking everyone’s gold and silver. Don’t forget their gold and silver.” (Seriously, God reminds them to rob the Egyptians blind, and says he’ll make sure the Egyptians are totally ok with it; Exodus 11:2)

“And remember,” God reminds Moses, “I am doing this so that you have cool stories to tell your grandkids. I could have let the Israelites go before all of these plagues, but what fun would that be?” (Exodus 11:9-10)

“Now, it is difficult for me to tell the difference between my chosen people and the Egyptians, so here’s what you’re gonna do. You’re gonna go to all of the Israelites (there’s only… What? A couple million of you? (Exodus 12:37)) and tell them each to prepare a lamb and put its blood on the doorframe. Also, you aren’t just going to cook a lamb, you are going to prepare that lamb, and here’s how you are going to do it: (The below is copied and pasted, because I actually can’t make it more ridiculous than it already is) (Exodus 12:6-11)

6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.

“Anyway, once that lamb is properly prepared, and your door marked, that’s how I’ll know you are one of my chosen people! Simple, right?”

And in the back of Moses’ head, surely he must have thought “You know, I am starting to have a few reservations about this plan…”

God interrupted Moses’ thoughts, continuing, “You know, I don’t just want stories told to your grandkids. This is too awesome for stories. Every year, you are going to have a bitchin’ party, and you are going to use it to remind everyone how awesome I am! Also, my parties aren’t just for a day, Moses. My parties last a full week!” (Exodus 12:14-16)

God wanted to show he was serious, so he killed the firstborn even of those in prison, because they didn’t have the good sense to go kill a lamb and paint their prison cell with blood. The shame of it!

After every household in Egypt, save for those of the Israelites, had lost a loved one, Pharaoh summoned Moses. “You win! Get the hell out of Egypt! We never wanted you here anyway! Oh, and when you are praying to your God, put in a good word for me, eh? That’d be cool.” (Exodus 12:32)

So the Israelites packed up and left, but not before taking all of the silver, gold, and clothing from Egypt! (Exodus 12:36)

“Remember,” said God. “You were slaves of Egypt for 430 years. Remember to tell your kids that number when you tell them the story of how awesome I am. 430 years! To the day!” (Exodus 12:40) “Oh, also, when eating the lambs for my bitchin’ party? Make sure ONLY circumcised people eat it. Seriously, check their penises. If they aren’t circumcised, no lamb for them. Hey, hey, are you listening to me? I’m serious here.”

Aaaaand we’re done with the plagues, so here is a good time to conclude part 2. In part 3, we find out that the Israelites have really, really, really, really short memories. I would say goldfish short, but studies have shown that goldfishes can be trained to swim through hoops for food, and they remember that trick longer than the Israelites remember (spoilers).

Part 3 is going to be fun.

Do as I… What Was I Talking About Again? Part 1

The Bible is described, by strong Christian believers, as the height of moral teaching. The Golden Rule is touted as one of the greatest pieces of bite-sized wisdom put to paper. Jesus spoke exclusively of love and tolerance of all people. The Bible is, at the very least, inspired by the spirit of God; whether you are a literalist or not, it is a general belief that the things that are in the Bible are there because God wanted them to be.

I know I’ve mentioned before the confused nature of the Old Testament, but I think I need some concrete examples to really drive the point home. Honestly, I felt the need to write this post after I was told to go and read Exodus again–my knowledge of the Bible is, generally speaking, deep, but it is certainly rusty in spots and always in need of updating. So I cracked the book open, and began to read… I am going to give you a paraphrased summary of Exodus, trying to include all of the details of… Well, how weird things get. This won’t be like my usual posts, this will be a combined summary and review, in a very sarcastic style. If you are super familiar with Exodus, maybe you will like the way I paraphrase it, and if your knowledge of Exodus comes almost strictly from The Ten Commandments, maybe you will get a chuckle out of learning what is written in that section of the Bible. Or maybe I am wasting your time. Overall, I am just trying something sort of new here–if it works out, I may make an alternate blog where I paraphrase the Bible in my own irreverent style. Let me know in the comments if that’s something that would interest you.

WARNING: The below is like… SUPER irreverent. If picking apart the Bible will offend you, this is probably not the best thing to read.

One doesn’t have to go very far to start to get an odd picture; in Exodus 2:23-25, the Israelites are slaves of Egypt, and they are not happy about it (why would that be? Slaves are totally justified according to the Bible, as long as they are not Israelite slaves). And so it goes that “The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.”

So… God is basically like “Ugh, what are they complaining about? My chosen people are always on about somethi… Oh crap! They’re slaves now? How long has that been going on? And I promised Abraham stuff like this wouldn’t happen! I’d better do something about it!!”

That being said, instead of using his omnipotence to set his people free, he appears before Moses (who, it should be said, is living in self-imposed exile after having murdered an Egyptian. Lucky for Moses, though, there was literally no law for the Jewish people at this time what with how the ten commandments had not yet been written. At least, with how hard some Christians lean on the ten commandments, one would think they are the only laws that matter). Anyway, at this point Moses is married and has a kid, and lives mostly as a shepherd of his father-in-law’s flock of sheep. So, understandably, he’s like “Ummm… Okay… But here’s the thing, I am a shepherd, I am probably not what you are looking for.”

But whatever, this post isn’t just a summary of Exodus, it is only about the weirder parts, and we don’t have long to wait, friends! Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods is another of the commandments that did not exist yet, thankfully, as through the will of the LORD, the Israelites are compelled to take, as they leave Egypt, the clothes and food and silver and gold of their neighbors. Well, isn’t that nice?

Exodus chapter 4 is rife with examples about how the LORD, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, seems to have little idea what He is doing. First, he transforms a staff into a snake, and says “There. That’ll show ’em that I am God!”

Moses is like “That’s cool, bro, but what if it doesn’t?”

God follows: “You know what, maybe you’re right. Hey, put your hand into your cloak. BAM! Leprosy. Then put it back again! HEALED! There you go, miracles. Miracles will teach them that I am God! But if they still don’t believe you for some reason, take some river water and I’ll turn it into blood. Yeah, yeah this time that’ll definitely show them!”

Moses, full of excuses, complains that he doesn’t know how to speak real gud bruh. God tells them that he is the one who makes men speak or makes them mute, deaf or hear, blind or see (in case you needed reminding that God is the source of all good and the source of all suffering), so Moses should get his ass in line and do as he’s told.

This next bit is fairly well known, so I won’t belabor it, but it bears mention. “Perform these miracles in front of Pharaoh, but I will harden his heart so he won’t let your people go.” Wait. What? Why? Why would that, in any case, be a good thing to do? What purpose does it serve? I have my own personal theories; God was feeling a bit restless, and just wanted to smite some people but wanted an excuse. If Pharaoh didn’t let His people go (and God obviously knew he wouldn’t because He made the choice for Pharaoh. I am sure there is something about free will in there…), he would have his excuse to get up with the smiting! In fact, before Moses ever gets to Egypt, God actually confirms that very thing; “You would not let my people go, and Israel is my Son, so I will smite your first-born son!” And that, before Pharaoh even knew Moses was coming, was decided; without even having a reason, the firstborn son of all of Egypt was going to die.

Now things come off the rails a little bit; no one talks about this part, and it is absent from Charlton Heston’s legendary portrayal of Moses.

On the way back to Egypt, God sees Moses on the road. He is still angry at Moses for talking back to Him, so He goes and wants to kill Moses, that little complaining son of a… But while God was getting ready to kill him, Moses’ wife circumcises their son and … Rubs… the foreskin… On Moses’ feet? And for some reason, God is like “Well, can’t kill him now. Damn.” (Seriously, Exodus 4:24-26. Again, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO LEARN FROM THIS?!)

Now, God’s action have an unintended side effect (unintended…? Isn’t He omniscient?). Pharaoh is bitter that Moses came to make the slaves stop working, so he basically doubles their labor and has them whipped EXTRA HARD if they fail to meet quota. Boy, sure am glad God is looking out for His people at this point, eh? Things are even worse for the Jewish people at the beginning of Exodus 5 than before God set to have them set free! In fact, the Israelites pray to God to judge Moses and Aaron (they blame the two upstarts for their increased burden and suffering, and want God to smite them. Little do they know, this was God’s plan all along! Why? WHO KNOWS!). Moses then shouts at God “Seriously, dude! What is going on here?! Now people hate us! In fact, right now, this is all your fault!” (Exodus 5:22-23)

But the funny thing is, at the beginning of Exodus 6, God says “All is going according to plan. Now I’m gonna really ruin Pharaoh’s day, and then he will let my people go! Just sit back and watch the show; and by sit back, I mean go in front of Pharaoh and say what I tell you to say. And stop being a little bitch about it.” (Exodus 6:1-12)

In Exodus 7, after Moses and Aaron have performed the miracle of changing a staff into a snake, Pharaoh is like “Yeah, that snake is cool and all, but my men can do the same thing. No dice; the Jewish people will stay slaves.”

God says to Moses “See? I told you he’d say that! I told you Pharaoh would say that exact thing, aren’t I AWESOME?!” (Exodus 7:14) Seemingly, Moses and Aaron forgot that God actually forced Pharaoh into that exact reaction, so it’s less awesome and more “I’m pulling the puppet strings, so of course it all goes to plan.”

In any case, God wasn’t ready to stop plagueing and smiting yet, so Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened (By God. I can’t overstate that.), especially since Pharaoh’s own sorcerer’s were also able to turn water into blood… Which actually raised a question to me; if pagans could change water into other liquids, why is it considered such a miracle that Jesus was able to change water into wine? Sounds like that’s the kind of thing that just happened regularly back then. Weird.

And again, in Exodus 8, God sort of acts like a child with a stink bomb. “Tell Pharaoh this… Heheheh… Tell him, if he doesn’t let my people go (and he won’t, I made sure of it!) I will cover everything in Egypt with frogs! EVERYTHING! Aren’t I awesome?” (Exodus 8:1-6) But guess what? Egyptian sorcerers ALSO made frogs come out of nowhere, again kind of making God’s power seem not so great if Egyptian sorcerers can do the exact same thing that God said, previously, “Will make them believe in me!”

Oddly, though, even though Pharaoh’s sorcerers created even more frogs, Pharaoh could not make the frogs go away; in verse 8 he begs Moses and Aaron to click undo! One would think that his level of blackmail would be enough for God; soften Pharaoh’s heart, and let the people go! But no, God wasn’t done having His fun with the people of Egypt yet; He could have freed his people at this point (I mean, the Nile smelled like rot, and there were piles of rotting frog corpses at this point; living in Egypt had to be pretty awful, whether slave or not, and made all the worse for being a slave). NOPE! LOCUSTS! That’s what we need. More locusts! Now, if you are fighting for the historicity of this (even though the evidence that any of this happened is nearly nonexistent), I have a theory. Flies came to eat of the rotting river Nile, the frogs came to kill the flies, the frogs died of various causes, and then the insects came to clean up the frogs (including gnats, flies, and locusts). BAM! Chain of events. Maybe God didn’t let His own people go yet because once this chain of miracles was started, he just shouted “THERE’S NO BRAKES ON THE CRAZY TRAIN!” and sat back to laugh?

Interestingly enough, this is where God starts to do things that Pharaoh’s sorcerers could not; he turns all of the dust in Egypt into gnats. One may recall that Egypt is both very large and very dusty. Pharaoh told his sorcerers to do this, though one wonders, if all of the dust was gone already, what were the sorcerers trying to turn into gnats? Whatever, they fail. BAM! Score one for God! I think it is worth reminding you, now, that these plagues affected everyone in Egypt. Including his own people. God was never big on targeted destruction, He just goes whole hog in everything He does.

So we’ve got snake staves, river of blood, frogs, and gnats so far. But you know what? It is time for God to start targeting people; after all, if His plagues affected the Israelites as well as the Egyptians, how could they prove that the plagues came from God? So after four miracles, and three major plagues, God says “Incoming flies! And this time, I won’t plague my own people! I AM A GOD OF LOVE!” And so flies came. (Exodus 8:22-24)

And at this, Pharaoh said again “Okokokok, you win. You can sacrifice to your God, but do it here. No reason to leave Egypt to worship, right?”

Moses replies with some level of self-awareness; “Look, our sacrifices are actually pretty nasty, not gonna lie. They are gonna gross you out so badly that Egyptians will probably stone us. Let us head out to the wilderness to make our sacrifices so we don’t gross you out. We won’t run away from your horribly oppressive slavery. We promise.”

“Ugh, fiiiiiine,” replies Pharaoh with all of the honesty of a teenaged girl. “You can. Just don’t go far.”

“Oh, cool beans! But this time, Pharaoh, no funny stuff! If you say we can go, let us go. For realsies!”

“You can trust me, Moses!”

SURPRISE! Pharaoh goes back on his word as soon as the flies left. One thinks an omniscient God would train Moses as a negotiator at least well enough to only pay out on their blackmail price after the Israelites have left Egypt? “The flies stay until my people have left?” No? alright, fine. Take the flies away such that Pharaoh can say “GOTCHA AGAIN!”

This is getting pretty long, and we are only just entering into Chapter 9. I am going to post this as part 1 and continue on with the weirdness and the plot twists of the book of Exodus in part 2!

Thanks for reading, and let me know in the comments if this is entertainment or just unfunny, offensive drivel.

And Also Dinosaurs

You know, while discussing my blog post yesterday with another party, it occurred to me that what I laid out was only MOSTLY silly, but not truly “Clown high on narcotics” silly, and that just would not do.

You know, dogs eat grass, so lions could have eaten grass. II can’t make fun of that as HARD as I want to. And I remembered how I could do that; dinosaurs.

Before the fall, friends, it is worth noting that dinosaurs lived in paradise with Adam and Eve, existing free of sin, and not in any way fighting each other. Do you know what that means? It means the Tyrannosaurus Rex was a vegetarian.

It means this:

Was used not to tear anything, but to delicately grind up leafs.

It means this:

Could have attended a tea party with a Disney Princess, and all of her animal attendants (adorable and delicious though they may look) without raising anything like fear in their hearts.

Allow me to help you get over some childhood trauma. With my masterful manipulation of MS Paint!

Since everything was vegetarian, this probably happened.

The Land Before Time was lying all along, and everyone got along just fine and Littlefoot’s mom did not die! We all win in the end!

Desperate Lengths

Apologetics is an interesting field, as it relates to religion. For those who are not familiar with the term, it is not the idea of saying “Sorry,” but comes from the Greek apologia (meaning to speak in defense of). It is merely a word to describe the defense of ideas, through information. It is most often employed by those in Religion (you’d have to do some deeper research as to why religious people enjoy the use of this word so much), as those I speak with outside of religion more often call it “defending your ideas,” or simply “debate.” That is not the point of this post, though.

This video is the point of this post:

http://creationtoday.org/did-god-design-parasites-s03e15/

In this video, they have a Zoologist speak about what animals did “before the Fall.” For those not intimately familiar with Young Earth Creation timelines and theory, I will elaborate somewhat. I will even *try* to keep my ridicule to a minimum, but this topic is so silly it will be difficult.

In the beginning, God etc, and it was Good. YEC Christians have interpreted that statement very, very literally; for something to be perfectly Good (and for God to have called it *Good*, it would have to be perfect), it must be without sin. Well, thou shalt not kill is fairly clear, killing is one of the 7 sins that ranked up there with the purely theistic infractions of the ten commandments. Here’s the thing, though; if *EVERYTHING* was Good, this must apply to animals.

What does that mean? It means there were no carnivores. It’s not that they didn’t exist, it is that they were vegetarians before the fall. And here’s where things get *fun* for people like me who are jerks and like to poke fun at things; when The Fall occurred, and sin entered the world, everything changed.

But how did it change? Animals started killing each other, for food. You must remember, of course, that this is a sin. So now, let’s light a hoop on fire and watch YECs jump through it. Bring some popcorn, and a lawn chair. It is so much fun!

First, they justify all the body parts of carnivores that are SPECIFICALLY for eating meat through a vegetarian telescope. In the linked video, for example, the Zoologist tells us that the proboscis (read: itch lance) of the female mosquito could have been used to surgically remove certain plant materials that are similar in function to hemoglobin.

For another fun image, imagine a lion using its sharp teeth to eat tree leaves; their justification of course is that dogs eat grass, so lions could have, too! Now, I’ve watched my dog eat grass, then locked him in a cage while I went about my day’s business. When I come back, there is grassy throw-up everywhere, and he looks sad like he knows he did wrong. It wasn’t wrong, but it is difficult to impress that upon him (like the time he *ate* his dog bed, and was pooping foam for three days). The point is this; the digestive system of the dog is not meant for fibrous plant material, and that is clear. Even if the lion *could* properly digest the grass, instead of pushing it through their digestive system like so much Liquid PumbR, how would they eat enough of it to LIVE?! I mean, watch a goat eat grass for a while. Not only is it calming, but you’ll notice that they can grab a mouthful of the stuff due to flat teeth spaced closely together. Looks at the teeth of a dog, or a cat if you’ve got one; sharp, but also spaced out. That’s why, when they eat grass, you’ll see them almost *fight* the grass to get it into their belly.

They talk about this for AGES, because it is (I guess?) very important to them to spread the idea that there was no sin and thus no death before Eve ate the apple (and also Adam, as an afterthought).

I am not so deeply familiar with this that I can tell you what viruses and bacteria did before The Fall, though I am sure that is like watching YECs jump through 12 flaming hoops over a shark tank on a motorcycle. I should look that up.

This gentleman speaking goes as far as to say that parasites did not exist before The Fall. Well, that was 10 times more boring than I had hoped, but now I have the idea in my head of The Fall, with Adam and Eve having had NO immune system, causing both humans to instantly spew fluids out of EVERY orifice shortly after bacteria and viruses found their soft, fleshy bodies (omnomnomnom).

So how does this relate to Apologetics? Well, the definition of apologetics SPECIFICALLY mentions “with information.” Well, the idea that everything was vegetarian before The Fall can only be considered information in the event that the following can be considered informational:

“Our specific interpretation of this specific passage written over 3000 years ago and translated into our native language COULD be taken to mean (possibly) that nothing died (maybe) before God got mad at humans for eating from the tree he knew they would eat from before he created them (because he can see the future), and this leads us to believe (probably) that nothing killed anything else before The Fall. Ummm… Q.E.D.? So yeah, no carnivores.”

Well, when you base your science on such solid foundations, how could anyone ever find your ministry of Apologetics dissatisfying?!

You Can’t Win Politics

So I was playing Democracy 3 last night (computer game that [this’ll blow your mind] simulates a democracy).

I was going whole hog on Socialism; 90% income tax, but all services provided for, from cradle to grave. My approval rating was over 80%, and I ended up getting more than quadruple the votes of the opposition government. My credit rating was AAA, I was the healthiest and best educated country in the whole world, unemployment was nonexistent, homelessness was nonexistent, crime was nonexistent, and I had slowly replaced all of my cabinet ministers with people who shared my political views…

And then I got assassinated by rich capitalists.

This is why we can’t have nice things.