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MisterSwig
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Reverend Swig, have you ever considered moving beyond the pulpit and running for President . . . ?

Oh, I considered it once--very briefly. But then I started to wonder whether the girls are sexier in Washington, DC or southern California. And then that question made me think of Jorja Fox from CSI. And that made me go to YouTube to watch some Jorja Fox interviews and sexy tribute videos. And then . . .

What was the question?

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My Ten Favorite Stories From Joshua

1. Joshua 1 and 2 - With Moses dead, Joshua is now the new leader of the Israelites. He is told by God to move west across the Jordan river, and to invade the Promised Land. Being a loyal servant of the Lord, Joshua sends two spies into Jericho, which is the first heathen city on his hit list. The spies immediately hook up with some harlot named Rahab. She hides them from the authorities and says that all of Jericho is in mortal fear of the now world-famous Israelite death squads. Satisfied with one whore's opinion, the spies promptly return to Joshua and report that the Jerichoians are definitely afraid. Based on this rock-solid and crucially important information, Joshua decides to move his soldiers across the Jordan.

2. Joshua 3 and 4 - Joshua is now confronted with the task of moving 40,000 men and their battle gear to the other side of the Jordan river. But, thanks to the Lord, his priests are able to magically stop the water from flowing, as if an invisible wall was damming it up, allowing the army to march across on the dry ground of the riverbed. Once the Israelites are safely on the other side, the priests then step out of the Jordan, and it resumes its natural course downstream. Cool, huh?

3. Joshua 5 - After that exhausting river-crossing, Joshua makes camp at Gilgal, and God instructs him to take some time out from his busy invasion schedule in order to circumcise all of his warriors. Now, this is very odd, since Leviticus 12:3 clearly told us that newborn males are to be circumcised on the eighth day. So, why haven't 40,000 Israelite men over the age of twenty had their foreskin snipped? Could it be that the Israelites in general are terrible procrastinators? Perhaps they simply forgot about the circumcision ritual? Or, who knows, maybe engaging in genocide is much more satisfying when your penis hurts.

4. Joshua 6 - At last the Israelites arrive at Jericho and besiege the city, which managed to properly fortify itself against attack while the Israelites were fooling around with their wieners. But, never fear, God once again comes to Joshua's rescue and instructs him on what to do. For six days, the Israelites are to march around the borders of Jericho and play their trumpets. Then, on the seventh day, they are to yell as loud as they can, and this shouting will somehow make the walls of Jericho collapse. (Honestly, that's what it says in the Bible.) Naturally, this plan works, the walls fall down, and the Israelites then proceed to butcher everyone in Jericho, except for the harlot Rahab and her family. Apparently, they need Rahab around to continue telling them that the enemy is afraid.

5. Joshua 7 and 8 - An Israelite named Achan takes some "accursed" spoils of war (i.e., silver, gold, and a Babylonian garment), and for some reason this really infuriates the Lord, who clearly enjoys micromanaging his genocidal plan for humanity.

On account of Achan's transgression, God causes the Israelites to suffer a battle defeat at the city of Ai, where a whopping thirty-six Israelites are killed. Shocked by this staggering loss, the Israelites search high and low for the transgressor responsible for offending the Lord. Eventually Achan is discovered and punished by the Israelites--meaning he and his entire family are stoned to death and then burned. With justice served, the children of Israel return to the Lord's favor, they revisit Ai, and, this time, they successfully waste all 12,000 inhabitants--man, woman, and child. Joshua takes special pleasure in hanging the king from a tree.

6. Joshua 10 - Joshua miraculously makes the Sun "stand still" for "about a whole day" while the Israelites defeat five Amorite armies at Gibeon. Then, after doing the impossible, he sets his sights slightly lower and merely murders everything that breathes in Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, and Debir.

7. Joshua 11 and 12 - Having ethnically cleansed the southern portion of the Promised Land, with the exception of the enslaved Gibeonites, Joshua now engages and defeats the northern kings at the waters of Merom. To complete his essential work on earth, Joshua then annihilates the Anakim giants in the mountain regions. All in all, Joshua exterminates at least thirty-one kings and their people.

I wonder what he did with all those dead bodies.

8. Joshua 13 through 17 - In the peaceful aftermath of Joshua's terror crusade, God informs his servant that, despite having erased thirty-one kingdoms from the map, there is still much more civilization-stomping to be performed. For example, the Philistines, the Geshurites, and a bunch of other 'ites still need to die. Yes, much more land must be conquered. But, before that can occur, the Promised Land must now be divided up amongst the Israelite tribal leaders.

During the lengthy process of portioning out the land, we suddenly discover that, in fact, the ethnic cleansing crusade was not exactly as thorough as we were previously led to believe. Indeed, some heathen tribes, such as the Geshurites, Maachathites, Jebusites, Canaanites, and Whachamacallemites, continue to live amongst the Israelites!

[NOTE: As an aside, I have to say that I was personally very devastated when I first realized that the whole "let nothing that breathes remain alive" commandment was really more like a suggestion. (See Deuteronomy 20:16) Personally, I felt very much cheated. I mean, I was promised a genuine genocide, and that is what I wanted to see. I wanted to see whole tribes of people made extinct within a matter of a day or two. But, ultimately, that's not what I got. Instead, I got some sort of half-ass, let-a-few-of-them-live war! It wasn't really a genocide. It was more like, I don't know, a massacre.

It really sucks when you have your heart set on a genocide, and all you get is a stupid massacre--or, at best, a half or three-quarters genocide. This reminds me of that time I ordered a combo meal at McDonald's, and they didn't fill up my french fry box all the way. That really sucked.]

9. Joshua 17 - Some guy named Zelophehad names his daughter Noah. Ha, ha, ha! That's a boy's name.

10. Joshua 24 - Having delivered the Promised Land into the hands of the Israelites, Joshua finally dies at one hundred and ten years of age. But before he dies, he reveals to the Israelites that God gave them "a land for which [they] did not labor, and cities which [they] did not build."

What?! I was under the impression that the Israelites rightfully earned the land that they stole from the people they murdered.

Previous lists: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

Read these Bible stories for yourself here.

Edited by MisterSwig
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  • 4 weeks later...
I need my "Favorite Bible Stories" fix! Which book is next? Judges?

The next installment will combine Judges and Ruth, and it will include the story of the amazingly stupid musclehead named Samson. I hope to post it by the end of the week. I've been busy with other projects lately, but will soon return my focus to this rewarding, but grueling, assignment. In the meantime, I want to thank whoever started this thread on another forum. I can't read the thread, because it is in Swedish (I think), but the fact that people are discussing my stories in some other language just makes my day.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My Twelve Favorite Stories From Judges and Ruth

1. Judges 1 – Despite the late king Joshua's impressive people-massacring skills, the Promised Land is still intolerably polluted by all sorts of heathen tribes. Therefore, the continuing slaughter of the enemy now becomes the duty of a series of “judges”--who “judge” the children of Israel (whatever that means).

God selects Judah to be the first judge of Israel, and Judah kicks off his new reign of terror by massacring the Canaanites and the Perizzites. He slaughters a respectable 10,000 men at Bezek and cuts off the king’s thumbs and big toes. Still craving more human body parts, he then lays to waste the cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, and Debir--which, by the way, was already conquered in the Book of Joshua. (See Joshua 15).

A true man of God, Judah then proceeds to dutifully annihilate Zephath, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, and Bethel. But for some strange reason he can’t defeat “the inhabitants of the lowland,” because they have fancy iron chariots.

Ah, yes, iron chariots: the great bane of the Israelites. The great bane of the raping magicians who can magically stop the flow of the Jordan river; who can make the sun stand still in the sky for a whole day; who can topple the walls of Jericho with mere shouts; yet, put them in the path of an iron chariot, and they suddenly lose the ability to perform miracles.

2. Judges 2 – As it turns out, the Israelites only partially conquer the Promised Land. Disappointed with his people, God sends an Angel to convey his displeasure. The Angel bitches at the Israelites for a few lines. Then we read (in Judges 2:6) something about Joshua dismissing his people from a meeting--presumably the meeting in which the Angel chews out the Israelites for being genocide-challenged. But this is very strange and confusing for the reader, because Joshua should be dead. (See Joshua 24:29) How can Joshua be breaking up meetings if he is dead? Thankfully, though, Joshua promptly dies again in the very next paragraph, so the careful reader's confusion is only temporary--that is, it is temporary until you read the next line which states that Joshua was buried in Timnath Heres. Uh, hello? In the Book of Joshua he was buried in Timnath Serah!

3. Judges 3 - After Joshua’s second death, the Israelites really peeve the Lord by marrying more foreign chicks and worshipping more heathen gods such as Baal and the Asherahs (Canaanite goddesses). The Promised Land quickly becomes a real melting pot of intertribal sin. Infuriated, God decides that if his insolent children won’t obey him, he might as well make a little moolah off of them, and so he “sells” his children as slaves to the king of Mesopotamia. (Judges 3:8)

Let me get this straight: the idol-worshipping foreigners aren’t worthy of life, yet God will trade with them and take their heathen money? That’s rich!

4. Judges 6 through 8 – God repeatedly sells his people into slavery as punishment for their transgressions. And he repeatedly delivers them out of slavery by favoring a series of judges who lead the Israelites in battles against their enslavers. At one point the Israelites become the slaves of the Midianites. Gideon is then chosen to lead the Israelite rebellion. He organizes an army of 32,000 people, but God won’t allow that many in the army, because with such a large force the Israelites would get the impression that they, and not God, were responsible for any victory against the Midianites. Thus, the Lord instructs all of the "fearful" soldiers to return home. 22,000 fearful soldiers depart, which leaves 10,000 of the unafraid remaining. But this number is still way too high for God. So now he instructs the remaining 10,000 men to drink from a pool of water, and those who drop down on their knees in order to drink are dismissed. Finally, this divine process leaves only 300 men in the army--a number which pleases the Lord.

With his measly 300 soldiers, Gideon, of course, manages to totally destroy the Midianite army of 135,000 men.

5. Judges 9 - Abimelech, Gideon's son, murders his 70 brothers and becomes king of Shechem. He later attacks the Thebez tower, where a woman drops a millstone on his head. Abimelech, about to die from his crushed noggin, is thoroughly embarrassed that a woman got the better of him. So, to avoid the embarrassment, he orders one of his own soldiers to kill him quickly with a sword, so that he doesn't die from the girl-inflicted head wound.

6. Judges 11 - A man named Jephthah heads up the Israelite army, and he asks God to help him massacre the Ammonites. In return for the Lord's assistance, Jephthah promises to sacrifice "whatever comes out of the doors" of his house to meet him, once he returns home from the battlefield. God takes him up on this offer and grants him victory against the Ammonites. But when Jephthah returns home, to his surprise it is not his favorite piece of furniture that comes through the doors first, but rather it is his only child, a virgin daughter. Oh, no!

Faced with being ritually sacrificed by her dumbass father, the daughter's final wish is simply to be allowed to "bewail her virginity" on a mountain--for two whole months. After doing that, she returns to Jephthah, and he promptly sacrifices her to the Lord, who apparently enjoys burnt virgins.

[NOTE: Jephthah was not expecting his favorite piece of furniture to walk through the door. I made that bit up. But he really did sacrifice his virgin daughter.]

7. Judges 12 - By now the Israelites must be running out of foreign tribes to attack, because they start fighting amongst themselves. We learn that the Ephraimites are steaming mad that Jephthah did not invite them to partake in the massacre of the Ammonites; and they threaten to burn down his house. Not one to tolerate such threats, the virgin-daughter-burning Jephthah wages war on his fellow Israelites and kills 42,000 of them.

8. Judges 13 through 16 - The in-fighting Israelites fall under the rule of the Philistines for forty years. At which point an Angel visits the barren wife of Manoah and informs her that, even though she is barren, she will nevertheless give birth to a son, and that son will "begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." In time, the child is indeed born to the barren lady, and she calls him Samson.

The next thing we know, Samson is lusting after some Philistine chick that he saw in the city of Timnah. He rips apart a young lion with his bare hands. He kills thirty men in Ashkelon just so he can give their clothing to some people in Timnah, to whom he lost a bet concerning a stupid riddle. Then Samson catches 300 foxes and trains them to carry torches between their tails and burn down the Philistine's crops. And then, because they torched his wife, Samson attacks and kills 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey.

Eventually, Samson falls in love with a woman named Delilah, and the Philistine lords offer to pay her several thousand silver pieces for the secret of Samson's great strength. Eager for all that money, Delilah doesn't even bother to conceal her intentions. She flat-out demands that Samson reveal the secret of his great strength. Obviously aware of her treachery, he lies and tells her that fresh bowstrings will make him weak, and when the Philistines bind Samson with bowstrings, he breaks them easily. Delilah, upset that Samson is not playing fair, demands another answer. This time Samson tells her to use new ropes. But when she binds him with new ropes, he breaks those, too. Ultimately, Delilah pesters Samson for the secret until he finally gives in and tells her the truth--that he will lose his strength if someone cuts his hair. So, ultimately, the Philistines manage to cut Samson's hair, overpower him, cut out his eyeballs, and put him to work in the prison at Gaza. All because Samson got tired of being pestered!

NOTE: In his final act on earth, the blind Samson somewhat redeems his prior stupidity by knocking down a Philistine temple, thereby killing himself and 3,000 Philistines who were gathered to witness a display of his strength.

9. Judges 18 - The Danites exterminate the "quiet and secure" people of the city of Laish. Then they burn down the city and rebuild it, renaming it Dan. This is kind of odd, though, considering how, in Joshua 19:47, the Danites destroyed a city called Leshem, and renamed it Dan. So what gives? Are there two cities named Dan? Or, maybe Leshem is the same city as Laish? Or, how about this one: Go to hell, stupid Bible!

10. Judges 19 - A Levite and his concubine are staying the night at some hospitable old man's house in Gibeah (an Israelite city that is supposed to be friendly). However, it isn't long before perverted men come to the door and demand that they be allowed to homosexually penetrate the Levite. Rather than give up the Levite (which is what I would do), the old man instead offers his virgin daughter and the Levite's concubine to the mob of rapists. At first the perverts are not very keen on woman love, but after the Levite throws his concubine out the door and into the street, the rapists have a change of heart. Fresh meat at their feet, the rape-gang takes pleasure in sexually thrashing this poor girl all night long, and in the morning they leave her for dead. Most likely bleeding from every orifice in her body, she manages to hobble back to the old man's doorstep, where she succumbs to death at daybreak. The well-rested Levite then carries her corpse back to his house, cuts her up into twelve pieces, and sends the body parts throughout all of Israel--in order to convey the horror of what just happened to the rest of the nation.

11. Judges 20 and 21 - Now, the unraped Levite convinces the rest of Israel to wage war on the Benjamites (who are also Israelites), because Gibeah (the city where his concubine was ravished) belongs to the tribe of Benjamin. The Israelites actually end up fighting a sort of civil war over the Levite's concubine. And in a truly ridiculous battle that I shall not take the time to describe here, the anti-Benjamite Israelites lose 40,000 men, and the Benjamites lose 25,000 men. But the Benjamites only had 26,700 men to begin with, while the Israelites started with 400,000. So, obviously, the Benjamites end up losing the war. Some Benjamites, however, survive by fleeing to the rock of Rimmon.

In the war's aftermath, when the Israelites realize that they have nearly wiped out an entire tribe of their own people, they start to feel a little guilty. They now decide to make peace with the remaining Benjamites and provide them with new wives so they can rebuild the tribe of Israel. There is one problem though: nobody who participated in the battle actually wants to give their women to the Benjamites. Therefore, to resolve this problem, the Israelites decide to attack and murder all the males and married women in Jabesh Gilead--the only Israelite city that did not participate in the civil war--and then give that city's virgin daughters to the surviving Benjamites. This brilliant, bloodcurdling scheme, however, does not produce enough wives for the Benjamite males. So, in order to get more, the Israelites suggest that the Benjamites go to Shiloh during the yearly feast of the Lord, where they might be able to kidnap a few of the dancing Israelite maidens.

12. Ruth 1 through 4 - The brief Book of Ruth is a thought-draining story about a Moabite widow named Ruth, who travels to Bethlehem in order to work in a barley field, where she meets a nice Israelite man (and a "close relative") named Boaz, who eventually marries her for reasons of inheritance, but only after he fails to convince his friend to marry her. The end.

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Ah, yes, iron chariots: the great bane of the Israelites. The great bane of the raping magicians who can magically stop the flow of the Jordan river; who can make the sun stand still in the sky for a whole day; who can topple the walls of Jericho with mere shouts; yet, put them in the path of an iron chariot, and they suddenly lose the ability to perform miracles.

LOL, you've got to watch out for those chariots. Highly sophisticated weapons of mass destruction. ;)

Great stuff, keep 'em comin.

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My Seventeen Favorite Stories From First Samuel

1. 1 Samuel 1 and 2 - In the mountains of Ephraim there is a man named Elkanah, and he has a wife called Hannah. Hannah is having some difficulty conceiving a child, so she prays to God for a son. In return for the Lord's blessing, she promises to give her boy to God for "all the days of his life." Satisfied with this offer, the Lord provides her with a male child, and she names him Samuel.

Hannah raises little Samuel and weans him from her teats--which makes the kid at most four years old when she takes him to the city of Shiloh and hands him over to Eli the aged priest, thus fulfilling her promise to God. Eli immediately puts the munchkin to work ministering. And once a year Hannah returns to Shiloh with a brand new, little robe for her prepubescent padre. How cute!

2. 1 Samuel 3 - One day little Samuel is lying down, and the Lord calls to him: "Samuel!" Thinking that it is Eli calling his name, Samuel jumps up, runs to his master, and says, "Here I am, for you called me." But Eli replies, "I did not call; lie down again." So the boy-priest goes away and lies down again. Suddenly he hears the Lord calling him a second time. Again thinking it is Eli, Samuel gets up, runs to the old man, and says, "Here I am, for you called me." But, once again, Eli informs him, "I did not call, my son; lie down again." Thankfully, this routine does not continue in perpetuity. Eli eventually realizes what is going on, and he educates the youngling in the proper way to greet the Almighty One. Apparently, one must say: "Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears." Otherwise, God will ignore you.

NOTE: Good grief! Is it too hard for the great and glorious God to rouse people in a more direct fashion? Such as: "Hey, kid, this is God speaking." Or, how about: "Hello, little guy! I know that you have only recently stopped sucking milk from your mommy's boobs, so you probably don't realize that you need to respond to me by saying, 'Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.' Once you say those magical words, then we can start having a real conversation. Okay?"

God must simply enjoy confusing little children. I mean, did he have a problem with the "Here I am" reply when Moses used it at the burning bush? (See Exodus 3:4-5) No! So why be a dick about it now?

3. 1 Samuel 4 through 7 - The Israelites and Philistines fight a war in which 34,000 Israelites die. The children of Israel are defeated, and Eli's two sons are killed in the battle. And upon hearing that his sons are dead, the elderly priest falls backward off his seat, breaks his neck, and dies.

Ha, ha, ha! That's what you get for brainwashing little boys, old man!

The Philistines now possess the ark of the covenant, which they captured from the Israelites. They carry it to their city Ashdod and place it next to an idol of their god Dagon. Within two days the ark manages to completely destroy the Dagon idol, breaking it into several pieces. (Don't even ask how a stone tablet can beat up the Philistine's idol, because the Bible doesn't explain that one.) Not happy that his ark is in the hands of heathens, God then strikes the people of Ashdod with tumors.

The Philistines, not being too bright, move the ark to another city, and, of course, God also plagues that city with tumors. After seven months of this torture, the Philistines, having finally learned their lesson, decide to give the ark back to the Israelites--and along with it they include some trespass offerings to appease the Lord. They place the ark and the presents in a box on a cart and send it all off to the nearest Israelite city, which happens to be Beth Shemesh. When the people of Beth Shemesh discover the ark, they look inside the box and see the trespass offerings. And for merely "looking into the ark of the Lord," God slays 50,070 of his own chosen people!

NOTE: As Borat would say: Waa, waa, wee, waa! God butchered over 50,000 men simply for looking at his presents. Now that's messed up!

The Israelites then move the ark to Kirjath Jearim. And Samuel, now older, judges his people and tells them to renounce their heathen ways and return to the Lord. He gathers the tribes of Israel at Mizpah and prays for them. The Philistines then move to attack Israel at Mizpah, but the Lord hears Samuel's prayers, and he "confuses" the Philistines with "loud thunder." At this point, the Israelites attack and drive away the skyboom-baffled Philistines and subsequently reclaim all the territories of Israel.

4. 1 Samuel 8 and 9 - Samuel becomes an old man and turns over some of his "judging" duties to his two sons, Joel and Abijah. His sons, though, take bribes and pervert justice.

Rather than demanding new judges, the Israelite elders insist that Samuel select a king to reign over them. God is not happy with this idea. After all, he is a jealous god. He thinks that he, not some king, should reign over the Israelites. However, since his children don't really listen to him anyway, he decides to give them what they want. But first he warns them that they are going to regret asking for a king, because a king will tax them and force them to fight in the army and work in the fields.

NOTE: That sounds like Disneyland compared to how God has recently treated them.

A young man named Saul is selected by God to be king. Saul happens to be the most handsome person among the children of Israel. But despite Saul's exceptional good looks, the Lord claims to have chosen him because he is the man who will save the Israelites from the Philistines.

NOTE: This is very queer, because Samuel has just saved them from the Philistines (7:13). Why do the Israelites need to be saved again?

5. 1 Samuel 10 - According to this chapter, a prophet is a kind of musician who plays an instrument while he "prophesies."

QUESTION: So, does this mean that we should start paying more attention to Christian rock lyrics?

6. 1 Samuel 11 - The Ammonites besiege the Israelite city of Jabesh Gilead. Saul decides to help his brethren, and to recruit soldiers for the cause, he cuts up his oxen, sends the body parts throughout Israel, and threatens to similarly butcher anyone who refuses to join him in the fight against the Ammonites. Saul thereby raises an army of 330,000 men, with whom he defeats the enemy.

7. 1 Samuel 13 and 14 - Back for more, the once-defeated Philistines again gather to fight Israel. This time they have 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and as many soldiers "as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude."

NOTE: So, basically, the Philistines have an army of roughly 300 billion people. That might seem like a lot, but do numbers really matter anymore?

King Saul is understandably afraid of the gigantic Philistine army, so he burns an offering to the Lord. But Samuel arrives to inform Saul that he should not have sacrificed that offering. Why? It's not revealed to us. But Samuel then turns around and abandons Saul on the brink of war, leaving the king with only 600 men to defend the homeland. To make matters worse, at this time there cannot be found a single blacksmith in all of Israel! Thus, nobody in the Israelite army has a sword or a spear, except for Saul and his son Jonathan.

Of course, having only 600 weaponless men versus one of the mightiest armies so far assembled, is not a problem when God is on your side. The pathetic Israelites still manage to defeat the Philistines.

NOTE: I guess those 30,000 chariots must not have been iron chariots. (See Judges 1:19)

8. 1 Samuel 15 - Having massacred the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites (again), Edomites, and the Zobahites, Saul is commanded by God to punish the Amalekites, as revenge for when they first ambushed the Israelites--way back when the Israelites came out of Egypt and invaded the Amalekite territory. (See Exodus 17:8-16) The Lord (via his prophet Samuel) says to the king: "Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey."

Saul and his people end up slaughtering every last Amalekite, except for the king, Agag. Oh, and they also keep the "choicest sheep, oxen, fatlings, and lambs." Upset that the king did not obey his very clear commandment to "utterly destroy" everything the Amalekites owned, the Lord now "regrets" having anointed Saul the ruler of Israel.

NOTE: I suppose this means that God is not perfect. Why would he regret doing something, unless he believes it was a mistake? And if he made a mistake, he therefore could not be perfect, could he? Of course, one might argue that committing (and later regretting) that mistake was all part of the Lord's perfect plan. But, then, some people will do anything for a laugh.

9. 1 Samuel 16 - Fed up with Saul, God spends some time deciding who will eventually be the next king. He selects a "ruddy, good-looking" young man named David, the son of Jesse.

NOTE: Hrm . . . First the handsome Saul (9:2); and now the good-looking David. I'm starting to question the sexuality of this God fellow. Could it be that he is a self-hating gay? That might explain his rage against the homosexuals.

10. 1 Samuel 17 - Yet again the Philistine and Israelite armies square off against each other. And this time the heathens have a mighty champion named Goliath. Goliath is approximately ten feet tall. He wears a bronze helmet, a bronze coat of mail, and bronze leg armor. He carries a bronze javelin with an 18-pound iron spearhead (uh, oh . . . iron!)--and he swings a sword. All of his gear probably weighs 250 or more pounds. The coat of mail alone weighs 156 pounds (or 5,000 shekels).

Every day for forty days straight, this beast Goliath presents himself twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, to see if anyone from the Israelite camp will fight him. Eventually, David, wielding only a few stones and a sling, confronts the Philistine champion. Goliath notices, of course, that his challenger is a ruddy, good-looking lad, and while the beast is busy disdaining the boy for being beautiful, David smacks him square in the forehead with a shot from the sling, knocking the Philistine to the ground. David then grabs Goliath's sword, runs the giant through, and beheads him.

Observing this scene from the sidelines, Saul asks his commander, Abner, who is David's father. But this is certainly a strange question for Saul to be asking, because the king already knows that Jesse is father to David. In 16:19, Saul sent a messenger to Jesse, because the king wanted to acquire his son David for the boy's exceptional harp-playing ability.

11. 1 Samuel 18 and 19 - Now, Saul makes David a commander in the army. And all the Israelite chicks soon esteem David more highly than the king, publicly singing: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." Fearful that David will try to take the kingship from him, Saul hurls a spear at David while the Goliath-slayer is playing the harp. Luckily, Saul is a horrible aim, and he misses.

Unable to "pin David to the wall" with a javelin, Saul employs a less obvious scheme. He now offers David his daughter Michal as a wife, but, get this, for a dowry David must bring to Saul the foreskins of 100 Philistines. The king thinks that sending David against the uncircumcised will somehow result in the harpist's death. But, of course, David is not killed by the Philistines. Rather, he and his men bring back two hundred penis scalps for Saul to enjoy on his throne.

Desperate now, Saul again tries to spear David while he is playing the harp, but again the king misses. What a moron!

Saul then dispatches assassins to David's house, but David narrowly escapes through a window.

Not willing to kill his king, David flees to Samuel at Ramah. To pass the time, they both travel to Naioth and prophesy together. When Saul learns where David has gone, he sends three more groups of assassins. But instead of killing David, the assassins all join with the band of prophesying prophets that Samuel has formed. Clearly Saul can find nobody to kill David for him. So the king goes to Ramah himself. But, when Saul finds the prophets, he, too, is overcome with a desire to join in the fun, and he promptly gets naked and begins to prophesy (19:24).

NOTE: Apparently these ancient prophets did their thing in the buff. Thank God this practice has (for the most part) been abandoned by our modern seers. Personally, I don't think that I could endure the spectacle of Pat Robertson in his birthday suit melodically prognosticating with a tambourine in his hand.

12. 1 Samuel 22 - Saul's anti-David campaign quickly resumes. He discovers that the priest Ahimelech helped David acquire some supplies in the city of Nob. So the king has all 85 priests of Nob executed, then he has the entire city put to the sword, thus extinguishing all life except for Ahimelech's son, Abiathar, who escapes and joins the army of David.

13. 1 Samuel 25 - Samuel dies, but that doesn't stop him from allegedly writing seven more chapters in First Samuel, then another twenty-four in Second Samuel.

14. 1 Samuel 27 - To escape Saul, David ultimately makes peace with and lives among the Philistines. He is given the city of Ziklag. And with nothing much to do in Philistine, old habits resurface, and David finds himself conducting many brutal raids on other tribes, such as the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites--who, by my count, have been exterminated at least twice now.

15. 1 Samuel 28 - The Philistines raise another great army and prepare to attack Israel. King Saul is terrified. But God is no longer on speaking terms with him. So he is compelled to visit a medium in order to "bring up" the spirit of Samuel during a seance.

NOTE: The interesting part of this seance is that Samuel's spirit "ascends out of the earth." Could this mean that Samuel was sent to hell? Why doesn't he descend from heaven?

16. 1 Samuel 30 - After being twice put to the sword, the Amalekites attack Ziklag while David and his army are away. The heathens burn Ziklag to the ground and capture the Ziklagian women and children. Way to go, Amalekites!

NOTE: For you David-lovers, don't worry: in the end, the Goliath-slayer attacks the Amalekites and gets his women and children back--but only because the Amalekites were civil and did not butcher them for no good reason.

17. 1 Samuel 31 - Perhaps the happiest ending to any Old Testament book so far: the Israelites are thoroughly decimated by the Philistines, and the king's sons are killed. During the fight, Saul is wounded by an arrow, and he chooses to fall on his own sword rather than be killed by "uncircumcised" Philistines. Good riddance!

Previous stories: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges and Ruth

Edited by MisterSwig
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The next installment will combine Judges and Ruth, and it will include the story of the amazingly stupid musclehead named Samson. I hope to post it by the end of the week. I've been busy with other projects lately, but will soon return my focus to this rewarding, but grueling, assignment. In the meantime, I want to thank whoever started this thread on another forum. I can't read the thread, because it is in Swedish (I think), but the fact that people are discussing my stories in some other language just makes my day.

Haha, it was me who started that thread. :thumbsup:

Some christian there complained about your "fabrication and distortion" of the texts. That was kinda funny. I think most people liked your stories though.

Edited by Alfa
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When the people of Beth Shemesh discover the ark, they look inside the box and see the trespass offerings. And for merely "looking into the ark of the Lord," God slays 50,070 of his own chosen people!

What's the matter? Didn't you see"Raiders Of The Lost Ark"? Don't you know you have to close your eyes when opening the Ark? The proof is there but you refuse to see :lol:

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Oh this thread is hilarious. These all had me rolling. I'd like to address your comment on Dwarves though:

12. Leviticus 21 - The priests of God are told that they must marry only virgins, but they are also told that they must burn their harlot-playing daughters to death. Seems like a fair exchange to me.

The Lord further concludes that he doesn't want any dwarves to approach his altar, because they will "profane" his sanctuary. Dirty dwarves!

Leviticus 21 reads (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus%2021;&version=31;):

"The LORD said to Moses, "Say to Aaron: 'For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the offerings made to the LORD by fire. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God. He may eat the most holy food of his God, as well as the holy food; yet because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary. I am the LORD, who makes them holy."

To a trained scholar like myself, it is apparent that God was referring to the Dwarves and Orcs of Middle Earth described separately in books of Tolkien. The Dwarves were productive people, but they mined the earth for gold, silver and iron and wrought the iron into tools which the traded for food. These dwarves did not live for the Isrealite God and so were rejected by him. The Orcs are the disfigured, deformed, hunchback bunch. They are in general no good to anyone, especially this picky God...

:P

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Oh this thread is hilarious. These all had me rolling. I'd like to address your comment on Dwarves though:

Leviticus 21 reads (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus%2021;&version=31;):

"The LORD said to Moses........

Man! I feel enlightened!

I have never actually realised that the LORD is actually THE LORD OF THE RINGS!!

Thank you ds1973... my life is now full... :P:):lol:

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  • 2 weeks later...

My Twelve Favorite Stories From Second Samuel

1. 2 Samuel 1 - Unfortunately, Second Samuel begins by blatantly contradicting part of the glorious finale of First Samuel, in which the Israelites are massacred by the Philistines. In 1 Samuel 31:4-5, we were told that king Saul committed suicide by falling on his own sword during battle. Yet, merely a few paragraphs later in the opening chapter of Second Samuel, we are presented with the story of the wandering Amalekite who claims to have killed Saul after the king called to him and begged him to do it--due to the fact that Saul was wounded and did not want to be captured alive by the Philistines.

In general, I'm religiously indifferent to these kinds of biblical contradictions. (I'm more interested in documenting the Bible's absurdity and viciousness.) But this particular contradiction really does annoy me, because I thought that First Samuel was by far the most interesting and understandable biblical book so far, and now, because of the moron who wrote Second Samuel, I will never know for sure how that crazy old king Saul died. Thanks a lot, stupid author of Second Samuel!

2. 2 Samuel 2 through 5 - After Saul's (assisted?) suicide, David travels to Hebron and is anointed king of Judah. Meanwhile, a man named Ishbosheth is made king of Israel. The Israelites, you see, are now split into two rival groups who have their own kings; and they, of course, slaughter each other on a regular basis. Ultimately, Ishbosheth is assassinated by two of his traitorous captains, Baanah and Rechab, who decapitate the king and deliver his head to David, thinking that the king of Judah will be impressed and thankful. Little do they know that David considered Ishbosheth a "righteous person." Rather than rewarding them, David has Baanah and Rechab executed for their efforts. Not only does David kill the pair, but he cuts off their hands and feet and hangs them by his pool.

With Ishbosheth dead, David is now king over all of Israel and Judah. He goes out to fight the Jebusites and acquires the city of Jerusalem (also called Zion or the City of David). It is difficult, though, to consider this much of a victory for David, since Zion was apparently defended by "lame and blind" people.

3. 2 Samuel 6 and 7 - David decides to move the ark of God, by cart, to Jerusalem. While his people are transporting the ark, the oxen pulling the cart stumble. A perceptive guy named Uzzah instinctively grabs the ark, saving it from falling off the cart and onto the ground. But this does not make God happy. The Lord's wrath ignites, and he slays the quick-handed Uzzah simply for touching the ark.

Man, moving the ark of God is like playing with dynamite!

After that whole debacle, David concludes that bringing the ark into his city might not be the greatest idea. He orders his men to stash the ark inside some guy's house just outside the city limits. Then, after three problem-free months, the king finally summons enough courage to roll the ark into Zion. With the ark safely stowed inside the tabernacle, David then strips off his clothes and literally dances for joy, "leaping and whirling" about in the nude, playing music, etc. One of his wives, Michal, sees him acting like an idiot and begins to despise him. She pleads with him to put some clothes on, but he balks at her suggestion and promises to increase his "undignified" behavior. Michal retaliates by never again having children.

For a while things are nice and peachy in the Promised Land. Then the Lord realizes that he doesn't enjoy living in a tent anymore. (Apparently the tabernacle is a tent.) So, via his prophet Nathan, God instructs David to build him an actual "house" (i.e., a temple) to dwell in; he wants a nice cedar house like the one that David has. Unfortunately for the Lord, the king has better things to do with his time, and he never does get around to building that temple.

4. 2 Samuel 8 - What, you ask, is more important to David than building a house for God? Well, let's see, he spends some time killing off the Philistines again. He also conquers the Moabites, lining them up and executing every two out of three of them, and enslaving the third. He then defeats the people of Zobah and slaughters 22,000 Syrians after they try to defend Zobah. Not finished with the Syrians, David then kills another 18,000 of them in the Valley of Salt and places garrisons in their cities. So, you can see, David is a busy man and has no time for building cedar houses for his God.

5. 2 Samuel 11 and 12 - While his army is off fighting wars, David stays in Jerusalem. One night he spies on the "very beautiful" Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, while she is bathing. Overcome with horniness (perhaps because it is springtime), he sends his servants to fetch the lady. He proceeds to have kingly sex with her and manages to get her pregnant--all while her husband is off at war.

Afterward, David summons Uriah home from the battlefield and makes small talk with him. But the king fails to mention that he is banging Bathsheba--or that he knocked her up. Instead, David returns Uriah to war with a message for Joab, the commander of David's army. The note reads: "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die." And that is precisely what Joab does. He puts Uriah on the frontlines of the siege of Rabbah, where he knows there is the greatest chance of Uriah being killed. And, as expected, the Hittite promptly dies. After which David takes Bathsheba as his new wife.

God is somewhat displeased with David because of the king's treatment of Uriah the Hittite. But I'm not sure why he's displeased, since God has been pushing for the extermination of the Hittites ever since Deuteronomy 7:1-2. Why should he care that David orchestrated some Hittite's combat death in order to steal his sexy wife? Nevertheless, God is upset, as usual. And as punishment for David's sin, he finds it necessary to murder Bathsheba's seven-day-old baby by striking it with a lethal illness.

Fortunately, David and Bathsheba soon have another child, named Solomon, and for some reason (or maybe none), God loves this particular kid and doesn't slaughter it.

Later, David the wife-stealer returns his attentions to warmaking, and he takes the Ammonites' royal city of Rabbah. In fact, the Good Book tells us that this time he conquered "all the cities of the people of Ammon." So, I wonder, does this mean that we've finally heard the last of the Ammonites? I sure hope so. Haven't these people suffered enough already?

6. 2 Samuel 13 - Amnon, the son of David, falls in "love" with his half-sister, Tamar. Through trickery he lures her into his bedroom and "forces" himself upon her, incestuously raping her virginity. Immediately upon deflowering his own sister, his "love" suddenly turns to hatred, and he commands her to get out of his bed and leave. But Tamar, perhaps suffering from Stockholm syndrome, now wants to stay, and Amnon has to order his servants to kick her out. When David learns about Amnon's dirty deed, he does absolutely nothing about it. But, never fear, her brother Absalom comes to her rescue--two years later, when he has his servants kill Amnon while he is drunk.

7. 2 Samuel 14 - We are told that Absalom is widely considered to be the best-looking man in all of Israel; that he has his hair cut only once a year; and that the cuttings weigh 200 shekels--or 6.2 pounds.

Six pounds? That's a hell of a lot of hair for one year's growth. Did the guy have Werewolf syndrome?

8. 2 Samuel 15 through 19 - Over time, the heavy-haired Absalom becomes more powerful and more popular among the people of Israel, and he actively subverts the rule of his father David. Fearful of Absalom, David and his loyal followers flee Jerusalem and go up the Ascent of the Mount of Olives. However, the king leaves some spies in Jerusalem to undermine the council of Ahithophel, David's former counselor who has now gone over to Absalom's side.

Absalom quickly assumes control of Jerusalem and asks Ahithophel what he should do next. The first idea that springs to the counselor's mind is that Absalom should take advantage of his father's ten concubines, whom David left behind to maintain his house, and that Absalom should do them all inside a public tent so that everyone can watch.

Nice! If I ever overthrow my father's house, I want a counselor like Ahithophel! Bow, chicka, bow . . .

Ahithophel's second bright idea is for him to pursue David with 12,000 men--which, of course, would allow Absalom to stay at home with the ladies. But Hushai, David's spy, convinces Absalom to go after David himself. Upset that his advice was ignored, Ahithophel gathers up his stuff, rides home on a donkey, and hangs himself.

That's a bummer. I kind of liked him.

Eventually the armies of David and Absalom bash heads in the woods of Ephraim, where 20,000 Israelites die. David orders his men to go easy on his son. But when Absalom has a donkey-riding accident and manages to get himself stuck in a terebinth tree, the disobedient Joab ignores David's wishes, and he takes this opportunity to thrust three spears into Absalom's heart. Absalom, however, somehow survives this nasty impaling. So, ten of Joab's servants are summoned to finish the job.

When David hears about the death of his heavy-haired son, he retires to his chamber and begins to weep like a baby, wishing that he had died instead of Absalom. Unfortunately, God does not grant this wish.

9. 2 Samuel 20 - After the rebellion of Absalom, the weepy-eyed David retains his kingship over Judah, but Israel decides to follow a rebel named Sheba. The famed Goliath-slayer is now too old (and frankly too dumb) to fight, so Joab goes out and lays siege to Sheba at the city of Abel. An uninformed but "wise" woman from the city asks Joab why he is attacking them. Joab explains that he is after Sheba and promises to leave them alone if the city delivers the rebel leader to him. So the city makes quick work of killing Sheba and tosses his head over the wall to Joab. Satisfied, the commander blows a trumpet and departs, as promised. Yes, sometimes war is that easy.

10. 2 Samuel 21 - God suddenly strikes Israel with a three-year famine, allegedly because of the long-dead Saul's "bloodthirsty" campaign against the Gibeonites--with whom the Israelites had made a peace treaty. Now, I recall the peace treaty in Joshua 9, but when exactly did Saul attack the Gibeonites? Not that I would ever doubt the Word of God, but I can't help thinking that, in this instance, he might be confusing this world with another one of his universes. Perhaps Saul attacked the Gibeonites in a different version of earth that is separate from our earth.

Anyway, after the famine there is a series of wars with the Philistines in which the Israelites kill off Goliath's descendants, including one nameless mutant with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, making a grand total of twenty-four digits. This, of course, is more compelling evidence for the superior ethics of the uncircumcised heathens. Note that in Israel blind people and dwarves cannot be priests (Leviticus 21), yet in Philistine those suffering from severe polydactylism can become king. If you had to choose, wouldn't you rather be a Philistine?

11. 2 Samuel 22 and 23 - David sings a song about how great and angry God is, and how the Lord helps him annihilate foreigners. He also says that God once "rode upon a cherub."

Uh, why would the Lord ride piggyback on a child-like angel? Am I missing something here?

12. 2 Samuel 24 - At last we come to the final chapter of Second Samuel, and this one is a doozy. It begins like a lot of other chapters--with God angry at Israel for some stupid or otherwise inexplicable reason. But then things get really weird. According to the New King James Version (NKJV), which is the version I am using, the Lord "moves" David to take a census of Israel and Judah, but then he later punishes David for conducting this census by sending an angel to massacre 70,000 Israelites. Even I, being well-acquainted with the psychosis of God, thought that this was a bit out of character for the Lord. I mean, is taking a census really that big of a sin? So I consulted my King James Version (KJV) and compared it to the NKJV. As it turns out, the KJV has a footnote for the problematic verse 24:1, indicating that Satan, not God, was the one who "moved" David to order the census.

Well, okay. If we go by the KJV, then God punishes David for listening to Satan. But who the hell is Satan? I have read every word of the Bible from Genesis through Second Samuel, and I don't remember anyone named Satan.*

Furthermore, I'm still confused by the NKJV. Why does it capitalize "He" in verse 24:1, clearly making God the one who "moved" David; while the KJV uses the lower case "he" and identifies (in a footnote) the subject as being Satan? One would think that this is a significant problem that the NKJV Bible authorities would at least attempt to explain in a footnote of their own. But, no, they apparently don't care.

Absent divine revelation on this issue, I have concluded that both versions of the Bible are correct. Thus, God is also Satan.

*NOTE: I realize that "Satan" makes an appearance in First Chronicles. Right now, however, I'm trying to discuss these stories without referencing anything that occurs in a future book.

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I think what's not in the bible is just as interesting as what is. I would like to see an essay which argues that some of the key dogmas of Christianity were made up by medieval priests and modern pop-culture. In particular, while you're reading the bible, I'd like to know if these elements are explicit:

  • The devil/satan as a particular individual, and as being responsible for evil.
  • The modern concept of heaven/hell
  • The Christian conception of "salvation"
  • A "second coming" is mentioned that is not in the apostle's lifetime
  • The "Trinity"
  • Sin - is it ever defined?
  • According to Judaism, the old testament sets some pretty specific requirements for the messiah, that Jesus flunks

What else?

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I think what's not in the bible is just as interesting as what is. I would like to see an essay which argues that some of the key dogmas of Christianity were made up by medieval priests and modern pop-culture. In particular, while you're reading the bible, I'd like to know if these elements are explicit:
  • The devil/satan as a particular individual, and as being responsible for evil.
  • The modern concept of heaven/hell
  • The Christian conception of "salvation"
  • A "second coming" is mentioned that is not in the apostle's lifetime
  • The "Trinity"
  • Sin - is it ever defined?
  • According to Judaism, the old testament sets some pretty specific requirements for the messiah, that Jesus flunks

What else?

The devil is really only explored as an individual in the book of Job in the OT. It's obvious that he was a later invention. That's why, in the OT, it is usually God who is said to bring about evil intentions in people (such as King David's census), not Satan. Early OT authors held God responsible for good and evil it seems.

Heaven and hell were also later additions. From what I understand, these concepts (especially hell) were embraced by the Jews after Babylon conquered Israel and there was an emotional need to invent some sort of paradigm of ultimate justice. The whole "eternal burning" metaphor came from a valley (Hinnom) that essentially served as a dump and trash incinerator just south of Jerusalem. This was associated with the entrance to the underworld (called "Gehenna" meaning "sons of the valley of Hinnom" or something like that) in Jewish mythology. You can see where the imagery of maggots and eternal fire came to be associated with Gehenna (translated as Hell). Note: the more often referenced "Sheol" referred to the grave, not an eternal place of punishment.

The Trinity has a very interesting origin in my opinion. There was first just one God: Yahweh. But the Jews developed the concept of a feminine spirit called "Wisdom" which was a sort of intermediary that imparted knowledge from God to man. Wisdom corresponded somewhat to the Greek concept of the intermediary "Logos" which Christians adopted (see the "Logos Hymn" at the beginning of John's gospel as well as all of the gnostic gospels). The view that I tend to agree with---one that is held by some scholars who are willing to push the envelope---is that it was the Hellenistic idea of the Logos combined with Greek mystery religion ideas and soteriology, built upon an obtuse foundation of Jewish messianic expectation and tradition that eventually became anthropomorphised into the man Jesus. The distinct concept of Wisdom may have morphed into the Christians' Holy Spirit. At least that's the theory that makes the most sense to me.

For the concept of salvation, you notice that the Jews' idea of atonement was very different from the Christians'. The Old Testament is much more interested in pleasing God with their works and sacrifices, almost as a way to pay him back for their bad deeds. There is no concept of a god or man taking their sins and bearing their punishment. I think Paul (and those who followed in his tradition) created the Christian soteriology by reinterpreting Judaism's rituals to fit with the mystery cults of the Hellenistic age. He didn't think that the idea of a God who demanded animal sacrifices and strict temple rituals made sense in the then "modern" world. So he came up with the idea that it was all a metaphor pointing forward to his cosmic Christ from the spirit realm who provided the ultimate sacrifice.

Having said that, I recognize that the Jews did have a practice of placing their sins onto a scapegoat. There are references to the blood of sacrifices washing away their sins. But I see no reference to a savior providing an atonement a la Christ. So salvation, as understood by Christians, was largely a Pauline invention in the first century CE which was later attached to a literal human man/god.

In Sabbath School, I always wondered what the point was of elaborate rituals for animal sacrifice that were supposed to point forward to a perfect Christ's atonement, when the people doing the rituals and sacrifices showed absolutely no knowledge of what it was all referring to.

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I think what's not in the bible is just as interesting as what is. I would like to see an essay which argues that some of the key dogmas of Christianity were made up by medieval priests and modern pop-culture. In particular, while you're reading the bible, I'd like to know if these elements are explicit:
  • The devil/satan as a particular individual, and as being responsible for evil.
  • The modern concept of heaven/hell
  • The Christian conception of "salvation"
  • A "second coming" is mentioned that is not in the apostle's lifetime
  • The "Trinity"
  • Sin - is it ever defined?
  • According to Judaism, the old testament sets some pretty specific requirements for the messiah, that Jesus flunks

What else?

I'll reserve my comments on this until I have completed the Old Testament. I would include in your list the basic Christian conception of God as all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, etc. In my view that, so far, is not supported by the Old Testament. There are instances in which the Old Testament God is ignorant and weak. And, of course, one of his dominant characteristics is that he hates people, often including his own chosen people. He is also described as jealous and angry. Of course that view of God should make more sense to us, once we realize that he couldn't even control his own chosen people, who rebelled against him constantly and worshipped other gods. If God was so smart he would have realized that his people wanted idols to worship, and he would have given them idols of himself to worship, instead of making them haul around a stupid box that they weren't even allowed to touch.

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I'll reserve my comments on this until I have completed the Old Testament. I would include in your list the basic Christian conception of God as all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, etc. In my view that, so far, is not supported by the Old Testament. There are instances in which the Old Testament God is ignorant and weak. And, of course, one of his dominant characteristics is that he hates people, often including his own chosen people. He is also described as jealous and angry.

That would fit with the conception other cultures had of their gods. The Greek gods were a quarrelsome, violent bunch often jealous of mortals; just look what happened to Arachne.

On a related note, does the Old Testament stae unequivocally that God is the only deity in existence? The wording on some versions of the first commandment make it seem there are other gods, but God doesn't want people to worship them. Also, in Exodus the priests at Pharaoh's court do perform miracles of a sort, presumably aided by their gods.

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On a related note, does the Old Testament stae unequivocally that God is the only deity in existence?

No.

And the LORD said to Moses: “Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them."

Yes.

To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him.
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I thought that the part of Exodus where Moses' snake eats the Egyptians' snakes implies that there are many other gods, but that God is dominant over all of them.

It was Aaron's snake, and I don't think it is made clear how the Egyptians were able to duplicate the miracles of Moses and Aaron. They just did. Maybe they were being helped by their gods. Maybe not.

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It was Aaron's snake, and I don't think it is made clear how the Egyptians were able to duplicate the miracles of Moses and Aaron. They just did. Maybe they were being helped by their gods. Maybe not.

In ancient times diferent people had diferent gods. I think each acknowledged the existence of the other's deities, but naturally claimed theirs were better, stronger, maybe even wiser. Many ancients within a common religion nevertheless had a sort of patron god for their town or region, whom the worshipped almost exclusively. In the Illiad, for instance, it is clear certain gods favor Troy and others favor the other side.

It would make sense for the ancient Israelites to have held this very common view as well. It also makes sense for the Bible to lack certain explicit information. When writting about our days, we don't go into explicit mention of every assumption commonly made. We do not mention the Earth is a spheroid when discussing agriculture, for example.

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