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MisterSwig
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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.

The Hebrew of that verse is :

וַיֹּ֙סֶף֙ אַף־יְהוָ֔ה לַחֲרֹ֖ות בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיָּ֨סֶת אֶת־דָּוִ֤ד בָּהֶם֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר לֵ֛ךְ מְנֵ֥ה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וְאֶת־יְהוּדָֽה׃

(Bold and size added)

The subject there is clearly Yahweh, the specific name for the OT god of the Hebrews(as opposed to elohim or el, which could be twisted to mean some other god)

Edit: after a quick re-read, I realized that I made a small, yet possibly essential error. The subject of the first part of the sentence is "the nose of yahweh", as in: and it was that the nose of yahweh increased to flare against Israel (the weird figure of speech the bible uses to say "god got mad"). While this may seem a small difference, the subject of the whole sentence is god's nose, meaning it was the nose that told David to take a census.

Edited by Cogito
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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/satan as a particular individual, and as being responsible for evil.

Matthew 4:1-11, Matthew 12:26, Matthew 16:33, Rev 12:9, Rev 20:7

• The modern concept of heaven/hell

Matthew 25: 31-46

• The Christian conception of "salvation"

Through grace… Romans 3:24

• A "second coming" is mentioned that is not in the apostle's lifetime

The book of Revelation

• The "Trinity"

John 14: 25-31

• Sin - is it ever defined?

Romans 5-6

• According to Judaism, the old testament sets some pretty specific requirements for the messiah, that Jesus flunks

Matthew and Hebrew spend a lot of time trying to square the prophecies…

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My Ten Favorite Stories From First Kings

1. 1 Kings 1 - King David, the Goliath-slaying wife-stealer, is very old now, and he is having some difficulty keeping warm. His concerned servants wrap him up with blankets, but even then he continues to shiver. Ultimately, it is concluded that what David requires is a beautiful young virgin to lie in his bosom. So the servants of the king search all throughout the Promised Land, looking for precisely the right girl. In the end they select a sexy maiden named Abishag the Shunammite, and she successfully heats up the king with her hot, virgin body.

Well, it's nice to know that virgins can be used for something other than raping.

2. 1 Kings 2 and 3 - David hands over the kingship to his son Solomon and then dies. Solomon very quickly begins intermingling with heathens--establishing a treaty with Egypt and marrying the Pharaoh's daughter. Perhaps feeling a bit sinful, King Solomon subsequently sacrifices 1,000 burnt offerings on the altar at Gibeon. He then asks God for "an understanding heart" in order to "discern between good and evil." This wish very much pleases the Lord, who has, of course, proven himself to be an excellent judge of right and wrong and a big believer in gifting mankind with the knowledge of good and evil. God therefore converts Solomon into the wisest man who will ever exist. Seriously, folks, that's what the Lord says. He says to Solomon: "I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you." (3:12) Solomon must therefore be wiser than Jesus. Right?

After receiving his megawisdom, Solomon is immediately put to the test. He is approached by two harlots who both claim to be the mother of a baby. (One harlot's baby died, you see, and she is now trying to steal the other's.) Knowing that the real mother will not want any harm to come to her child, Solomon tells the bickering women that--to resolve this dispute--he will cut the baby into two pieces, and each woman can have an equal portion. In this way the king discovers who is the real mother, because she is the one who would rather give up her child than let it be killed. The fraud is the one who would rather watch the baby be cut in half than give it up. Luckily, Solomon isn't dealing with a seasoned shyster here. So the reader can only wonder what the "wise" king would have done if the fraud was smart enough to also say that she would rather give up the baby to the other than see it sliced in half.

Frankly, I'm unimpressed by Solomon's wisdom. If the above story is the best example of his mental prowess, then, in my opinion, it hardly qualifies Solomon as the wisest man of all time. Personally, I have seen more sophisticated problem-solving from the Brady Bunch--not to mention Scooby-Doo.

3. 1 Kings 6 through 8 - Four hundred and eighty years after the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites in Jerusalem finally begin construction on a house for God. After seven years the work is completed, and Solomon moves the ark of the covenant into the new temple. Afterward, Solomon delivers a celebration speech, in which he claims that God once spoke to his father David and explained that one day his son would build the temple--exactly like Solomon just did. (8:18-19)

Okay, time out . . . As far as I can tell, God never said that David's son would be the one to build the temple. After reviewing the relevant portion of Second Samuel, it seems clear to me that the Lord wanted David himself to build it. (2 Samuel 7:5) And furthermore, if you notice, God spoke about the temple to his prophet Nathan--not to David. (2 Samuel 7:4) It was Nathan who conveyed God's message to David. (2 Samuel 7:17) Thus, Solomon's story is not only inconsistent with Second Samuel, it is also nothing more than hearsay twice-removed. Solomon wasn't even alive at the time God spoke to Nathan about the temple. He hadn't been born yet. (2 Samuel 12:24) Clearly several years must have gone by before David was able to tell little Solomon what Nathan once told David about what God once told Nathan. To sum up, Solomon is full of crap.

4. 1 Kings 10 - Despite Solomon being full of crap, everyone in Bibleland seems to think that he is a genius. The queen of Sheba, for example, comes to Jerusalem to test Solomon's famed wisdom. She asks him a series of "hard questions," which he answers correctly, of course. Unfortunately, the reader is kept in the dark regarding the nature of these "hard questions." I assume, however, that they do not test Solomon's understanding of the Second Book of Samuel.

In other news, the Bible says that Solomon receives 666 talents of gold annually from his mines. (10:14) I seem to recall hearing something about this specific number, but I can't quite put my finger on it now. Oh, well, it's probably nothing important.

5. 1 Kings 11 and 12 - We are told that King Solomon "loves" many women. Indeed, he accumulates 700 wives and 300 concubines! Let's see: If Solomon has sex once a day--with a different mate each time until he has cycled through his entire harem--then that means each one of his ladies receives his manhood only once every 2.7 years. Can this really be considered "love?" Isn't it more like whatever a stud horse feels for his mares?

We are also told that many of Solomon's wives are from foreign countries, despite the fact that God explicitly commanded the Israelites not to "intermarry." These foreign chicks are, of course, responsible for turning Solomon's heart away from the Lord and convincing him to worship heathen gods. It couldn't be Solomon's fault that he sins so much. After all, he's superduper wise. Remember?

Under the spell of his foreign wives, Solomon starts building a plethora of evil altars: one for every non-God god under the Sun: Ashtoreth, goddess of the Sidonians, Milcom and Molech, gods of the Ammonites, Chemosh, god of the Moabites. The Lord does get mad, of course, but he decides not to punish Solomon for Solomon's misdeeds. Rather, he will punish Solomon's son--at a later date.

Eventually Solomon dies, and his son Rehoboam becomes king. And, as promised, God punishes Rehoboam for his father's sins. He causes the people to rebel against Rehoboam, and the rebel Jeroboam becomes king of Israel, leaving Rehoboam with only Judah. So once again Israel is split into two rival nations: Israel and Judah.

6. 1 Kings 13 - It's not long before Jeroboam, the king of Israel, builds a profane altar at Bethel. And the Lord sends a nameless "man" from Judah to Bethel, so that the man can yell at the profane altar: "O altar, altar! Thus says the Lord: 'Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men's bones shall be burned on you.'" (13:2) Then some anonymous "prophet" in Bethel hears about the man of God who shouts at altars, and the prophet invites the man of God over to his house for some food. The man, however, has been commanded by God not to eat or drink while in Bethel, so he refuses the prophet's hospitality. At this point, the prophet thinks up a lie to tell the man of God, and he says that an angel told him that it was now okay for the man to eat and drink. Apparently the man of God is dumber than a rock, because he believes the prophet's lie and, in the end, decides to join him for a meal at Bethel. Afterward, God sees to it that his disobedient man is killed by a lion.

God, if you can hear me, let me give you a little advice. If you want people to respect you, you should stick to whacking sinners yourself. Or, if you must, hire some clean-cut, professional hit man, like one of those guys in Pulp Fiction. I have no clue what you think you're doing messing around with lions. Perhaps you think you're some kind of evil Doctor Dolittle or something? Well, it's not working for me. Lose the animal assassins, okay?

7. 1 Kings 14 - King Jeroboam's son gets sick, and he tells his wife to put on a disguise and consult the prophet Ahijah. Now Ahijah is blind, so God gives him a head's up: "Here is the wife of Jeroboam, coming to ask you something about her son, for he is sick. Thus and thus you shall say to her; for it will be, when she comes in, that she will pretend to be another woman." Note here that God tells Ahijah merely to say "thus and thus" to Jeroboam's wife, conveying nothing at all about the actual message. Yet, in 14:7-11, the prophet delivers quite a long message, which goes on for several lines and mentions the nasty things the Lord has planned for Jeroboam. Apparently the author of First Kings forgot that God must first reveal at least an outline of his message before it can then be repeated to someone else. Otherwise, it makes no sense for Ahijah to know what to say to Jeroboam's wife. I suspect that the author of First Kings intended to replace "thus and thus" with the actual message from God, but then he forgot about it. Perhaps "thus and thus" is the biblical equivalent of our "blah, blah, blah" placeholder for actual dialogue.

8. 1 Kings 15 - The author of First Kings fondly recalls how David "did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite." Ha! Then what the heck was the whole census thing about in 2 Samuel 24? Why did God slaughter 70,000 Israelites? Was it because David "did what was right in the eyes of the Lord?" Ah, well. I wish the author of First Kings was still alive so I could kick him in the face.

9. 1 Kings 17 through 19 - There is a drought, and God instructs his prophet, Elijah, to go to the Brook Cherith, where he can drink and receive food from the ravens. (The ravens apparently know how to bake bread and butcher meat, because they bring these things to Elijah twice a day.) When the brook dries up, Elijah is then divinely guided to a widow in Zarephath for a cup of water and some bread. The widow's son is very ill and suddenly stops breathing. In those days nobody knew about CPR, so Elijah does the next best thing: he prays to God for the boy's recovery. Naturally praying works like a charm, and the child's "soul" returns to his body.

10. 1 Kings 20 - After losing a battle to the Israelites, the Syrians flee into the city of Aphek. Somehow a wall falls on them, and 27,000 Syrian soldiers die. That must have been a big friggin wall.

Also of some interest is the story of an unnamed prophet of God who is planning to disguise himself as a wounded soldier and confront King Ahab along a roadside. The disguise apparently requires a fresh headwound. So the prophet walks up to his neighbor and says, "Strike me, please." But the violence-shunning neighbor refuses to beat up the prophet. Thus, God is compelled to once again dispatch his trusty feline assassin, Mr. Lion. And, yes, via wildcat, he murders the unsuspecting neighbor simply because the guy wouldn't punch a prophet in the face. :)

Edited by MisterSwig
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I suspect that the author of First Kings intended to replace "thus and thus" with the actual message from God, but then he forgot about it. Perhaps "thus and thus" is the biblical equivalent of our "blah, blah, blah" placeholder for actual dialogue.

The author might have written "So, your son is sick, yadda yadda yadda, he's going to die." But wouldn't that have ruined a Seinfeld episode a couple of millennia later? Not only that, but the expression "yadda yadda yadda" would never have made it into any dictionary otherwise. God inspires writers in mysterious ways.

10. 1 Kings 20 - After losing a battle to the Israelites, the Syrians flee into the city of Aphek. Somehow a wall falls on them, and 27,000 Syrian soldiers die. That must have been a big friggin wall.

That's the famous Friggin Big Wall of Aphek, which is well-known to have existed since this morning when I wrote this reply to your post.

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My Ten Favorite Stories From Second Kings

1. 2 Kings 2 - Elijah the prophet travels around the Promised Land with his similarly named apprentice, Elisha. When they reach the Jordan, Elijah hits the river with his mantle, and this action causes the water to divide--so that the two men of God can cross on dry ground. Once on the other side, a "chariot of fire" appears, complete with flaming horses, and it separates the two prophets. Suddenly, a whirlwind arrives and carries Elijah into heaven. Left alone and amazed, Elisha then rips his robe into two pieces, picks up the mantle that Elijah dropped, and divides the Jordan again so that he can go back across.

Elisha wanders around the land some more, doing prophet things. In Jericho, for example, he heals some poisoned water by dumping salt into it. Then, while on the road to Bethel, he encounters a group of dumb boys who make fun of his baldness. They shout: "Go up, you baldhead!" And unfortunately for them, Elisha is rather sensitive about his lack of hair, and he immediately requests that God send a couple of bears to maul forty-two of the young hecklers. The Lord, who must also hate young hecklers, promptly grants Elisha's wish, and the children are slaughtered.

If you are perplexed by Elisha's rather extreme reaction to being called a baldhead, it might help to remember that his mentor, Elijah, was known for being a particularly "hairy" prophet. (1:8) Perhaps Elisha felt inadequate.

What moral lessons can be drawn from this story? Well, let's see: 1) Never ever make fun of a bald man wearing a torn-up robe, because you will probably get eaten by bears, and 2) if you have magical praying powers, don't pray for a thick head of hair, because then kids won't be able to call you a baldhead, and you won't have a good reason to kill them.

2. 2 Kings 4 - Some anonymous widow--let's call her Anonymous Bible Character #1, or ABC-1, for short--begs Elisha for help, because she is in heavy debt, and all she owns is a jar of oil. Now, Mr. Baldy likes poor widows more than young hecklers, so he decides to assist ABC-1 get out of debt. First, he instructs her to borrow many, many containers, and to pour the oil from her jar into the borrowed vessels, setting aside the full ones. ABC-1 does exactly this until she can find no more containers to borrow. Then, following Elisha's orders, she sells the borrowed containers full of oil, pays off her debts, and uses the rest of the money to live on.

You know, her original jar must have been rather friggin huge in order to fill up all those borrowed containers. And now that I think about it, she didn't really "borrow" the containers, did she? She took them and sold them.

Continuing with Elisha's adventures, he decides to reward an anonymous Shunammite woman (ABC-2) who was kind to him once. He asks ABC-2 what he can do to repay her for her kindness, and without a moment's pause she replies, "I dwell among my own people."

Uh ... okay. So Elisha turns to his servant Gehazi and asks him, "What then is to be done for her?" Gehazi wisely informs Elisha that ABC-2 does not have a son, and her husband is old--meaning, I presume, that his sexual organ no longer functions or that his sperms are too old and weak to complete the entire journey to his wife's egg. Therefore, Elisha's gift to the woman will be that she (divinely?) conceives and gives birth to a baby boy. ABC-2, being an unusually common sense-based Shunammite, cannot believe her ears and thinks that Elisha is lying to her. Little does she realize, however, that she is merely a nameless character in a mediocre work of fiction, where the impossible is actually possible. Thus, she will, in fact, conceive and give birth to a son, because Elisha is one badass prophet.

A few years later, ABC-2's anonymous boy (ABC-3) has a problem with his head and dies. ABC-2 then travels swiftly (via donkey) to Mount Carmel, in order to fetch Elisha. Now, according to the map in the back of my Bible, the trek from Shunem to Mount Carmel is about 25 miles, which makes 50 miles roundtrip. Even if it were somehow possible for a burdened donkey to sprint the whole way at top speed--which, according to this article, is approximately 6 mph--then it would take at minimum 8.3 hours for the Shunammite woman to reach Elisha and bring him back to Shunem. Keep in mind that rigor mortis sets in 3-4 hours after death. Yet somehow Elisha resurrects the boy simply by laying on top of him.

Careful readers will note that ABC-3 sneezes seven times after allegedly being raised from the afterlife. So perhaps the child wasn't dead after all, but merely caught a head cold.

3. 2 Kings 6 - One of Elisha's anonymous servants (ABC-4) accidentally drops his iron ax-head into the Jordan river. And as part of his routine miracle-making, Elisha retrieves the tool by tossing a stick into the water, which mysteriously causes the iron ax-head to float to the surface. Hrm, it seems that Elisha must not have had his magic mantle handy and thus could not divide the water like he did in chapter two. Why else would he resort to flinging a stick around? Isn't that dangerously similar to what wizards do?

4. 2 Kings 9 and 10 - We are told that Ahaziah becomes king of Judah in the eleventh year of Joram's reign over Israel. (9:29) Yet, only one chapter earlier (8:25) it was the twelfth year! No worries, though, because back then eleven was the same as twelve.

Meanwhile, Elisha the child-mauler (via bear attack) sends a servant to Ramoth to anoint Jehu as the next king of Israel. The servant tells Jehu that the Lord wants him to strike down the house of Ahab, as payback for the servants of God whom Ahab and Jezebel murdered back in First Kings. The obedient Jehu begins this holy bloodletting by shooting King Joram, the son of Ahab, in the back with an arrow. The arrowhead, by the way, pierces the king's heart and protrudes out the front of his chest. Clearly, this was a well-made arrow. Jehu then travels to Jezreel, with his sights set on Jezebel, the widow of Ahab. He convinces three eunuchs to throw Jezebel out her window, then he tramples her body with his horse. Dogs later eat her corpse--an event that was prophesied by Elijah in 1 Kings 21:23. Jehu next orders the seventy sons of Ahab beheaded and, in the end, he kills every other person from the house of Ahab.

Moral lesson? Don't have an ancestor who sinned against the Lord.

5. 2 Kings 13 - Elisha dies (yay!) and is buried in a tomb. Later, an anonymous man (ABC-5) is being buried next to Elisha, when Moabite raiders attack and drive away the entombers. In the process, ABC-5's body is hastily hurled against Elisha's bones. And upon touching Baldy's remains, ABC-5 magically springs back to life and stands up. Whatever happened next is not revealed. But I imagine that ABC-5 was immediately slayed by the Moabite raiders, who probably came to steal his jewelry. Then, most likely, he fell down on Elisha's bones again and was re-revived. At that point, perhaps not quite realizing where he was or what was happening, he dusted himself off and stood back up--only to be re-killed by the lingering raiders. Of course he touched the magical bones again and once again lived for a few seconds before being re-re-killed by the band of Moabites. This macabre scene probably continued for an hour or more before the raiders finally got bored and left.

6. 2 Kings 14 - Amaziah, king of Judah, kills the assassins who murdered his father, King Joash. But he doesn't kill the children of the assassins, because the Book of the Law of Moses says that children shall not be put to death for the sins of their fathers. (Deuteronomy 24:16) Hrm, I didn't realize this law was still applicable--not since God clearly made it his policy to kill children for the sins of their fathers. Remember the whole "strike down Ahab's house" commandment? And that's only one example from only five chapters ago.

Moral lesson? Do as God says, not as He does.

7. 2 Kings 15 - A man named Menahem leads a revolt against King Shallum of Israel. He kills Shallum and becomes king himself. Then the city of Tiphsah refuses to surrender to his rule. So King Menahem attacks the city and conquers it. He then collects all the pregnant women in the city and "rips them open"--presumably with a sharp daggar of some sort.

Okay, I know that right now you're probably saying to yourself, "Wow, that's horrible!" But, please, dear reader, I urge you to think positively. For example, whenever I read this passage, I like to imagine that those fetuses actually survived the ripping of their mother's belly, and that they all went on to become well-adjusted and happy citizens of Tiphsah.

8. 2 Kings 17 - King Shalmaneser of Assyria subdues King Hoshea of Israel and "carries away" the Israelites to Assyria. This enslavement and captivity, we are told, is God's latest and greatest punishment for the intolerable disobedience of his children. After removing the Israelites from Samaria, the Assyrians resettle the city with their own people. But they make the common mistake of not fearing the Lord, so God sends a pride of lions to kill a bunch of them. The Assyrians, being smarter than the average heathen, subsequently consult one of the Israelite prophets, who teaches them how to properly fear the Lord.

9. 2 Kings 18 and 19 - Judah at last crowns a king whom God actually likes as much as he liked David. This king's name is Hezekiah, and he spends his time removing the sinful "high places" and smashing all the idols. Hezekiah also rebels against the king of Assyria and subdues the Philistines. But suddenly things start going wrong for Hezekiah. King Sennacherib of Assyria captures the cities of Judah, and Hezekiah is forced to pay a tribute in silver and gold, including gold that has been stripped from the doors of the temple of God. The Assyrians, however, are not content and demand more in tribute. Tired of being pushed around by heathens, Hezekiah prays to God for a little help, and the Lord responds by delivering an angel who massacres 185,000 Assyrians. King Sennacherib realizes, at this point, that it is time to return home and leave Judah alone.

See, I told you the Assyrians were smarter than the average heathen.

10. 2 Kings 21 through 25 - King Hezekiah dies and his son Manasseh reigns. But Manasseh does evil and rebuilds all the idols that his father once destroyed. It's almost as if he is actually trying to provoke the Lord. Indeed, the Bible tells us that he "seduces" God's chosen people into becoming "more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel."

Hrm, if it's true that children are a reflection of their parents, then, based on the evidence so far, I think it's safe to say that God must be the most evil being imaginable. Just look at the kind of children he has produced!

Now, to continue with our story ... the Lord, being thoroughly pissed, promises to forsake Judah and hand them over to their enemies--but not right away, of course. It seems that God needs some time to plan his punishments. So, in the meantime, Judah goes through a couple more kings, and then a man named Josiah comes to power. And Josiah (via his priest) "finds" the Book of the Law in the temple of God. What this means exactly is anyone's guess. I imagine that the Judahites had misplaced the Book for many decades, because when Josiah reads it, he is utterly shocked by the contents; and, in the tradition of other important Israelites who experienced something important, he takes hold of his clothes and rips them up, like the Incredible Hulk --only I doubt he turned green. Then, inspired by the Law Book, Josiah compels the nation of Judah to pledge obedience to the commandments of God, and he destroys all the idols of other gods. He tears down everything bad that Manasseh built before him. He even "defiles" the altar at Bethel, as was prophesied by some anonymous man of God in 1 Kings 13.

It is written that no king before or after Josiah kept the Lord's laws as well as he did. (23:25) However, despite Josiah's puritanical efforts, the Lord is still planning to greatly punish Judah for the earlier sins of Manasseh. Fast forwarding through a few more lame kings, we now come to the reign of King Jehoiakim, against whom God sends every enemy of Judah available: King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon; raiding bands of Chaldeans; Syrians; Moabites; and even the Ammonites, whose cities, you might recall, were all conquered by David in 2 Samuel 12.

Those Ammonites sure are a resilient bunch of idolaters. Maybe they discovered Elisha's magical bones and resurrected all their dead warriors.

In any case, God is now intent on destroying his own people, and, ultimately, Nebuchadnezzar captures Jerusalem and brings the Israelites to Babylon as slaves. The Babylonian king does, however, leave behind a few poor Judahites and make Zedekiah king of the impoverished in Jerusalem. But stupid Zedekiah later rebels, and, to teach the Israelites a lesson, Nebuchadnezzar has no choice but to totally destroy Jerusalem. He sets ablaze the temple of God, the king's house, and all the other houses in the city. This time he burns the entire place to the ground. Then he carries away the remaining Israelites to Babylon, except for a few lucky bastards who are allowed to stay behind and work in the fields.

Moral lesson? If God tells you to invade the Promised Land and kill everything that breathes, you better damn well do it. Otherwise you're going to end up right back where you started: as conquered slaves of a heathen nation.

Previous lists: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges and Ruth, First Samuel, Second Samuel, First Kings

Edited by MisterSwig
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My Five Favorite Stories From First Chronicles

1. 1 Chronicles 1 through 9 - Chapters one through nine of First Chronicles consist of little more than the names of Adam's descendants. Nine friggin chapters worth! Clearly some of the Bible fabricators had nothing better to do with their time than invent genealogies for mythical people.

I submit that much of the Old Testament began as some crazy schoolchild's homework assignment. This mentally disturbed kid was probably given the task of writing down the names of all his imaginary friends; then a religious charlatan, perhaps one of his uncles or brothers, stole the list and turned it into a "holy" document--occasionally inserting "the son of" or "begot" between each name. Seriously, who else but a loony nine-year-old would invent names such as Bukki, Uzzi, Huppim, Shuppim, Bakbakkar, and, worst of all, Nimrod?

Some of these initial chapters also suffer from inconsistencies when compared with prior books. For example, here Amasa's father is named Jether the Ishmaelite, yet in 2 Samuel 17:25 his father is Jithra the Israelite. Granted, the names are close, but, c'mon, those are two completely different tribes! Also, in 8:33 and 9:39 Kish's father is called Ner, but in 1 Samuel 9:1 his father is Abiel. What's up with that? If these errors are indicative of the care put into creating biblical genealogies, how can we possibly be expected to take any of it seriously? The editors of my Bible (NKJV) don't even acknowledge with a footnote the problem of Kish's father. Could this mean that I know more about the Bible than they do?

2. 1 Chronicles 10 through 21 - Amazingly, the next twelve chapters are even more boring than reading the first nine chapters of genealogies, because now we are treated to the extensive re-telling of stories that we have already read in First and Second Samuel. And to make matters worse, most of the text has been lifted word for word from those prior books. So it's like you are actually beginning to regress through the Bible once you reach this book. I could be wrong, but I think I heard somewhere that most suicides are committed three hours after reading First Chronicles.

Chapter 10 - In case you fell asleep reading 1 Samuel 31, you can fall asleep to it again in 1 Chronicles 10. The last paragraph, however, does appear to be new material. It should have been left out, though, for it mistakenly claims that God punished King Saul because he "consulted a medium for guidance. But he did not inquire of the Lord." (Emphasis added) Anyone not trying to revise biblical history will remember that Saul did, in fact, "inquire" of God in 1 Samuel 28:6: "When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets." You don't need any Urim to understand that it was only after God ignored Saul's inquiry that the king, out of desperation, decided to hunt down a medium for guidance.

Chapter 11 - Chapter eleven might seem familiar, because much of it was lifted from 2 Samuel 5 and 23. Depending on which book you believe, David's "chief of captains" (and greatest "mighty man") was called either Josheb-Basshebeth the Tachmonite (2 Samuel 23:8) or Jashobeam the Hachmonite. (11:11) And this memorable warrior was famous, of course, for killing either 800 (2 Samuel) or 300 (1 Chronicles) men at the same time.

One might also notice other problems with the two separate lists of David's "mighty men." One night (around 2 AM) I happened to have some spare time on my hands, so I created a master roster of all these "mighty men." I arranged them in alphabetical order, noting the similarities and discrepancies between the two books. If you create this list for yourself, you should find that there are 61 different individuals. (Note that Second Samuel lists Shammah the Hararite twice.) Of these 61 men, only 15 appear without some discrepancy from list to list, meaning that their names and family affiliations are spelled exactly the same in each book. Another 11 do appear in both books, but only with some sort of variation. For example, in addition to Jashobeam/Josheb-Basshebeth, there is also the example of Hiddai (2 Samuel), who is renamed Hurai in First Chronicles. Excusing for variations, there are still only 26 "mighty men" who appear in both lists, while the majority of these people (35) are completely unique to one list or the other. What else can be concluded from this mess? Probably nothing. I just like creating lists.

Chapter 12 - While chapter twelve is not an obvious rip-off of Samuel, it is merely another boring list. It consists of a census documenting the names and numbers of King David's army. Thus it was most likely taken from some military roster that has since been lost or destroyed.

Chapter 13 - More than half of this chapter is a duplicate of 2 Samuel 6:1-11. And depending on which version you accept, Uzzah (or Uzza) was murdered by God at either Nachon's (2 Samuel) or Chidon's (1 Chronicles) threshing floor.

Chapter 14 - Almost all of chapter fourteen is pirated from 2 Samuel 5:11-25. There is one minor inconsistency: In Second Samuel David drives the Philistines from a place called Geba, but in First Chronicles it is Gibeon.

Chapters 15 and 16 - For those keeping score: 15:25 through 16:3 is stolen from 2 Samuel 6:12-19. It occurred to me that perhaps these sections of the Bible represent two different drafts of the same fable. Indeed, this could explain all the duplication and the changes. However, there is one problem to this theory: I simply don't believe that this author was the type of writer who would say to himself, "You know, there's just something not right about this story. I should revise it." He strikes me more as the type who would drink a bunch of booze, grab a front row seat at the nearest public stoning, scribble down whatever nonsense came to mind during the execution, and then afterward consider what he wrote to be untouchable inspiration from God.

Chapter 17 - Chapter seventeen is the same as 2 Samuel 7. Perhaps both of these works were translations of yet another document that once belonged to some tribe whom the Israelites exterminated. The children of Israel stole pretty much everything they had. So it wouldn't surprise me if they stole their religious texts, too. This would certainly explain why the Old Testament contains so much boring, repetitious content.

To be fair, I did learn one new thing from this chapter. Whereas, in 2 Samuel 7:5, it originally appeared to me that God was asking David to build the temple ("Would you build a house for me to dwell in?"), I realize now that, in actuality, the Lord was saying, "You shall not build Me a house to dwell in." (17:4) I know it's a small matter, but I'm nevertheless thankful that the author of First Chronicles cleared this issue up for me.

Chapter 18 - This whole chapter is taken from 2 Samuel 8. And, depending on which book you choose to believe, David captured either 700 or 7,000 horsemen from the Zobahites.

Chapter 19 - Chapter nineteen was, of course, cut and pasted from 2 Samuel 10. Comparing the two chapters, you'll notice that David kills either 700 or 7,000 Syrian charioteers. But who really knows whether he killed 40,000 horsemen (Second Samuel) or footsoldiers (First Chronicles)? If you ask me, I think it was horsemen, because that would be more impressive, and David is supposed to be impressive.

Chapter 20 - This entire chapter cobbles together previous text from 2 Samuel 11:1, 12:26-31, and 21:18-22. Apparently the author (plagiarist?) of First Chronicles disliked the unsavory tale of David, Bathsheba, and Uriah the Hittite (2 Samuel 11:2-27), because he conveniently left it out of his version of David's life--despite the fact that it occurs in perfect conjunction with the conquest of Rabbah, a story which does make it into First Chronicles. As it turns out, this cobbling technique results in an especially confusing portion of the First Chronicles timeline. For, it appears that David is still staying at Jerusalem, avoiding the battlefield, while at the same time he is bringing the spoils of victory out of Rabbah. (1 Chronicles 20:1-2) You see, the cobbler of First Chronicles cut out the part in Second Samuel where David marches to Rabbah after orchestrating the death of Uriah so that he could marry Uriah's beautiful wife Bathsheba. I guess that bit of vileness wasn't worth copying.

Chapter 21 - Nearly all of chapter twenty-one is a repetition of parts of 2 Samuel 24. And, as usual, there are some discrepancies. Most notably, it is either God (Second Samuel) or Satan (First Chronicles) who "moves" King David to conduct the census of Israel and Judah. For those who are keeping track, yes, this is indeed the first mention of Satan, by name, in the NKJV Bible.

Look, boys and girls! It's a poorly developed biblical villain who goes around tricking his prey into conducting a census. Run for your lives!

Even if you accept the born-again Christian dogma, Satan's only other appearance so far has been the time he transformed into a garden snake and tricked Adam and Eve into eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. (Genesis 3) Thus, it seems to me that Satan's first two acts in the Bible have been (1) tricking a couple of humans into discovering morality and (2) tricking King David into counting his people. Is this really someone we need to worry about? I mean, seriously, who's the greater terror: a shy, trick-playing Animagus who makes an appearance every few thousand years; or an angry, jealous, fire-flinging god who watches your every move and, without hesitation, would slay you and your entire family simply for sneaking a peek into his precious ark of the covenant? (1 Samuel 6:19) Can't figure out the answer? I'll give you a hint: the criminally insane god is the greater terror.

For those interested, here are some other discrepancies that you might find: David's census results in either 1.3 or 1.57 million men; he pays either 50 shekels of silver or 600 shekels of gold for the Jebusite's threshing floor; and this Jebusite is named either Araunah or Ornan. As you can see, the Bible is like a giant Where's Waldo? book--only here you're searching for contradictions and absurdities, not some goofy dude in a red-stripped shirt and hat.

3. 1 Chronicles 22 and 23 - These appear to be new chapters, but, given the author's penchant for plagiarism, I'm willing to bet that they were actually copied from some unknown source. We do discover, however, that before David died he made a few preparations for building the temple of God, and then he charged his son, Solomon, with the actual construction of it. I'm so glad this was revealed, because I had been wondering about this ever since I finished with the story of David back in First Kings. I couldn't figure out whether Solomon made all the preparations himself--or if he had some help.

We also learn that David took a census of the Levites, and that they were numbered from the age of either thirty (23:3) or twenty (23:27). Admittedly, this is not as helpful as the info about the temple preparations. But it does raise an interesting question: Precisely how inattentive to your own writing must you be to contradict yourself within the same chapter?

4. 1 Chronicles 24 through 27 - After a couple chapters of relatively interesting content, we now return to more catalogs of names, as if we didn't get enough names in the beginning of this god-awful book. These chapters contain lists of priests, musicians, gatekeepers, and military leaders. Guys, don't ask me about a list of harem-attending eunuchs, because I couldn't locate one. However, as a way of remembering and celebrating the lives of our castrated brethren, I propose that we build a monument called the Tomb of the Unknown Eunuch, and we could hire several prostitutes to walk around it at night. What do you say?

5. 1 Chronicles 29 - In this final chapter, the author of First Chronicles admits that all of "the acts of King David ... are written in the book of Samuel the seer, in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer." Ugh! Isn't this like saying, "Here are the books that I have just plagiarized and, in some places, butchered?"

Epilogue: Well, folks, the next time someone tells you that the Bible is the revealed Word of God, you can now respond in at least two different ways. One, you could do what I do: lean back and start laughing hysterically like Pee-Wee Herman. Or, you could badly feign a British accent and say: "I beg to differ, my dear fellow. If, as you claim, the Bible is the revealed Word of God, then what do you make of the fact that the author of First Chronicles expressly referenced the lost books of Nathan and Gad? I dare say, these books cannot be found in the Bible at all, and their nature, therefore, cannot be proven to be of the revelatory kind. Furthermore, what, pray tell me, was this bloke's excuse for so poorly copying the books of Samuel? I assume you have noticed that he could hardly manage one solid chapter without contradicting another. I say, now, what do you say to that, Mr. Bibleman?"

Edited by MisterSwig
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The point is: if God wrote the Bible, he's an idiot.

Below is my favorite verse for biblical clarity:

And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife;

Kind of grabs you doesn't it?

Three things notable about the Bible after I wrote funny stories from its archives:

If the Bible were written today, no editor of any printing house would touch it.

The New Testament is so contrived as to be beyond the pale of insanity.

For instance, every time Jesus has one of his pop verses to quote, the bad religious boys are right by his side. It's like they are on call at all times, day or night. Poor J.C. can't go anywhere without the bums interrupting his verily, verily stuff.

In Revelations is an outrageous faux pas. If it was a revelation then John was high on rapture weed. He missed the minor doodad on the elders throwing their crowns under the throne of Jesus; it was to last for all eternity once the act was done and never to be repeated, yet it was repeated. The elders did it again after few verse rolled on down the line and they threw their crowns under the throne again.

Edited by softwareNerd
Removed quote-in-entirety, of immediately preceding post.
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  • 2 weeks later...

My Five Favorite Stories From Ezra Through Esther

1. Ezra 1 through 6 - I guess someone really admired the last two verses of Second Chronicles, because they are repeated word-for-word at the beginning of Ezra--which is the very next book. I understand that this sort of recapping makes sense for serial TV shows like Lost, but why use it in a book? If some brain-dead reader can't remember what happened only one paragraph ago, then let him flip the stupid page over and read it again. Geez Louise! Fortunately, the rest of Ezra offers new content that does in fact move the overall plot along. And let me tell you, compared to the recurring nightmare of First and Second Chronicles, reading the book of Ezra was like having a vivid sexual fantasy. Well, maybe not quite a vivid sexual fantasy. Maybe more like a weird dream about a sexy gorilla. But, hey, even a weird dream about a sexy gorilla is ten times better than reading Chronicles.

Ezra begins with the Israelites being held captive in Persia. The Persian king is actually a very cool cat named Cyrus; he lets the Israelites return to Jerusalem so they can rebuild the temple that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed. He also gives back the Israelite treasures that were plundered from them, further proving his coolness.

Back in Jerusalem, the Israelites rebuild the altar and start laying a foundation for the new temple. After completing the foundation, they all shout and cry for joy, making such a great commotion that they can be heard from very far away. As a brief aside, I think it's unfortunate that the Israelites didn't make better use of their wonderful whooping abilities. Considering how their magical vocal chords once caused the walls of Jericho to collapse (Joshua 6), I'm positive that one really good, sustained yell could have prevented the entire Babylonian captivity. Anyway, the rest of the temple construction takes many years and suffers some delays, partly due to shifting attitudes among the Persian leaders--not all of whom are as cool as the late, great King Cyrus. Ultimately, however, the new house of God is completed in the sixth year of King Darius' reign.

You might also be interested in the fact that while reading chapter two, which is another boring genealogy, I invented an awesome two-person game called Bakbuk or Kubkab? To play this game you only need two items: a copy of the Bible and a large bottle of your favorite vodka or other adult beverage. Here are the rules: (1) Open the Bible to any page and select a name on that page; (2) Figure out what the name spells in reverse; for example, if the name is Bakbuk (2:51), then the reverse name is Kubkab; (3) Now, using our example, you would say, "Bakbuk or Kubkab?" and see if your opponent can guess which name is actually from the Bible; (4) If your opponent gets the answer wrong, then he must take a shot of vodka and then slap you across the face; however, if he gets it correct, then you have to drink the vodka and then slap him across the face; (5) Whoever laughs or passes out first loses the game. (Note that if you are facing a smart opponent, then you should consider periodically switching up the order of the names, so that the real name isn't always given before the fake, reverse one.)

2. Ezra 7 through 10 - The Bible now introduces us to a man named Ezra, whom we should probably assume is the author of the book of Ezra, because, after all, he does have the same name as the book. Notice also that Ezra initially writes about himself in the third person (7:1), but then he suddenly switches to the first person starting at 7:27. This "problem" has perplexed many great Biblicists over the centuries. But Mister Swig has thoroughly considered this issue, and I am pleased to announce that the matter has finally been resolved. For, if you think about it, it should be obvious that Ezra simply did not know about the existence of the first person narrator until he had already written several chapters of his book. In fact, he was so ignorant of writing in general that it took him six chapters just to realize that a book called Ezra should include stories about someone named Ezra.

As it turns out, Ezra is an Israelite priest being held captive in Babylon by the Persian King Artaxerxes. Artaxerxes fancies himself a friend of God, and one day he decrees that Ezra and his followers may return to Jerusalem to judge the Israelites and freely practice their religion. He also pledges much of his own silver and gold to be used for the temple's expenses. And, as if that weren't enough generosity, he kindly puts a stop to all taxes on the servants of God.

Yep, those foreigners were absolute slimeballs, deserving of death.

When Ezra reaches Jerusalem, he learns that his people have intermarried with heathens and have not "separated themselves from the peoples of the lands." In response to this news, he first tears up his clothes in "astonishment," then he pulls out hair from his head and beard. Given the Israelites' rich history of sinning, I find it very hard to believe that Ezra was actually surprised by his people's harlotry against God. Did he forget why God punished them in the first place? Either Ezra is a total moron or a sick trichotillomaniac who enjoys ripping hair out of his face. In any case, to make a short story shorter, Ezra prays to God, and the Israelites end up swearing an oath to "put away" their pagan wives and children--an oath which, for the time being, they actually fulfill. Exactly how this oath is fulfilled we are not told. Indeed, where does a man put his women and children once he is done with them? Because this is not explained, I have to assume that by "put away" the Bible means that these women and children were thrown into prison--or possibly stuffed into a large closet or attic space.

Incidentally, one would think that--after centuries of intertribal heathen-humping--all of these Israelite males should have at least one Canaanite strumpet in their family history. If that's indeed the case, then why aren't they also stuffing themselves into closets and attic spaces?

3. Nehemiah 1 through 13 - The book of Nehemiah is written mostly in the first person, and the beginning reads: "The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah." Thus, I am almost certain that this part of the Bible was not written by God. Nor could it have been dictated by God, unless we are prepared to accept the idea that God and Nehemiah are one and the same person--or that when God dictates a narrative, he likes to pretend that he is the person to whom he is dictating. As for the alternative notion that God inspired Nehemiah, I shall counter by merely pointing out that, if that is true, then the Lord is a remarkably dull muse compared to some other, much more inspiring ones, such as Homer's Calliope, da Vinci's Experience, and Lennon's Yoko Ono.

Like Ezra, Nehemiah also starts out in captivity. In fact, he holds the glorious position of cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. One day he learns about the "distressing" situation in Jerusalem, and so he requests the freedom to travel to Judah so that he can help rebuild the city. The king, being the cool (Persian) cat that he is, makes Nehemiah governor of Judah and sends him on his way to resurrect the City of David.

In Jerusalem, Nehemiah and his people first rebuild the city walls. Then the priest Ezra does his thing, convincing the Israelites to confess their sins and "separate" themselves from all the foreigners. After this, Nehemiah takes a short trip back to Babylon, and when he returns to Jerusalem he discovers that, in his absence, the Israelites have started majorly sinning again, constantly breaking the Sabbath and marrying all sorts of harlots. Obviously this causes Nehemiah's blood to boil. He charges through the streets, cursing at and striking all the sinners. He even pulls out their hair. And after he is done assaulting his people, he makes them swear to God that they will stop marrying foreigners.

Uh, yeah, good luck with that, Nehemiah. I'm sure that will work.

While reading this pretty lame book, I noticed that chapter 7 contains the same genealogy found in Ezra 2. And, yes, there are the expected nominal and numeral inconsistencies between the two lists. In this case, however, these mistakes are unusually odd, because Nehemiah claims to be quoting from a document that he found. If Nehemiah is indeed quoting from Ezra 2, why then are there so many troubling inconsistencies between the two genealogies? Is copying text really that difficult? If, on the other hand, Nehemiah did not quote from Ezra, then to what document is he referring? And, furthermore, where did he find this mystery scroll? Might we have here another case of the crazy schoolchild's homework assignment being deviously transformed into a sacred text? (For an explanation of this point see my First Chronicles commentary.)

4. Esther 1 and 2 - The book of Esther takes place during the reign of King Ahasuerus of Persia, whose kingdom stretches from India to Ethiopia. Ahasuerus is a partier, and one day, after much merrymaking, he develops the urge to show his beautiful wife to his drinking buddies. He summons Queen Vashti, the beautiful wife, to his chambers. But Vashti refuses to come when called, for she is not only beautiful, but also a pre-feminism feminist. Such female insubordination naturally irritates the king, and so he decides to give Vashti's royal position to another woman.

Submissive queens don't grow on trees, so Ahasuerus requests that beautiful virgins from all across the land be sent to him, so that he can select from them a new queen. One of his servants, a Jew named Mordecai, sends his cousin, Esther, to be considered for the queenship, and they both conceal the fact that she is a Jew. But before Esther can see the king, she must endure twelve months of beautifying preparations. As I understand it, ancient women were all hideously ugly, and they therefore required many months of de-uglifying procedures before they could be allowed to appear before the king. Also, I read somewhere that these girls smelled like skunk anus, and the only way to get rid of their horrible stink was to repeatedly drench them in all sorts of perfumes and oils of myrrh. (2:12) Luckily, Esther is not a lost cause and can be made beautiful enough to appear before the king, who, of course, instantly falls in love with her and makes her his new queen.

While this story is sexy enough to keep my attention, I cannot, despite my best efforts, figure out why it is included in the Bible. I thought the biblical message was clear: don't marry foreigners! Yet, here we have a quaint, romantic tale about a Jewish virgin leaping at the opportunity to marry a foreign king. Why does Esther get to play the harlot and then have a book of the Bible named after her? Don't get me wrong. I'm 100% in favor of Jews being encouraged to marry non-Jews, especially heathen kings who expect their women to come when called. But I'm also 100% in favor of scriptural integrity. And it seems to me that the story of Esther conflicts with the overarching theme of the entire first half of the Old Testament. Shouldn't God be promising to torture Esther's children right about now?

5. Esther 3 through 9 - After marrying Esther, King Ahasuerus makes some Agagite named Haman his right-hand man, but Mordecai the Jew refuses to bow down to Haman. As payback for Mordecai's disrespectful behavior, Haman issues a decree to exterminate every Jew in the kingdom on a certain date. When Mordecai hears about this scheduled genocide, he tears up his clothes and puts on sackcloth and ashes--because, as we all know, when you are threatened by genocide, the natural thing to do is dress as cheaply as possible and roll around in yesterday's fire pit.

Later that evening, Haman builds a gallows and prepares to hang Mordecai the next morning, because that's what his wife and friends think he should do.

Meanwhile, King Ahasuerus is having difficulty getting to sleep. So he picks up the record of chronicles and reads about the time Mordecai uncovered a plot to assassinate the king. Ahasuerus is thus conveniently reminded that Mordecai still needs to be rewarded for this good deed, and in the morning he orders Haman to parade Mordecai through town and treat him like a hero.

Doh! No Jew-hanging for Haman.

Later that same day Esther finally reveals her Jewish heritage to King Ahasuerus and tells him about Haman's holocaust plot. And, to my personal surprise, it turns out that the king is not actually gung-ho for genocide and was apparently unaware of his second-in-command's decree to kill all the Jews. How this could be, since everyone else in the kingdom knew about it, is beyond me. Nevertheless, the king is very angry at Haman and promptly has him hanged on the very gallows that he had built for Mordecai. Oh, the irony!

But, wait, it doesn't end there. Due to a little loophole in the law (concerning a signet ring), the king cannot revoke Haman's anti-Jew decree. (I guess it was also impossible for him to simply order everyone to leave the Jews alone.) So, to fix the situation, Esther issues a counter-decree, decreeing that the Jews can rise up and protect themselves from all of their enemies, including any "little children and women" who might have a thirst for Jewish blood. In the end, the Jews save themselves by killing 75,000 Persians. And all of this is, of course, what people actually celebrate during the Purim holiday.

NOTE TO MY READERS: I have now completed a little more than half of the Old Testament. Before venturing into the black hell of the second half, I will take a two-week break from this project.

Edited by MisterSwig
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Swig,

You fans will patiently await the next chapter in your Biblical adventure. I think you're getting better at the commentary as you go along. It seems like there's more in the first few chapters of the Old Testament to make fun of, but the last few chapters you've done have been some of the most entertaining. I hope you publish this as a complete work. I know a good printer if you are interested in self-publishing.

--Dan Edge

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Swig,

You fans will patiently await the next chapter in your Biblical adventure. I think you're getting better at the commentary as you go along. It seems like there's more in the first few chapters of the Old Testament to make fun of, but the last few chapters you've done have been some of the most entertaining. I hope you publish this as a complete work. I know a good printer if you are interested in self-publishing.

--Dan Edge

Thanks. The earlier lists are inferior to the later ones because I had the wrong mindset in the beginning. I didn't take the lists as seriously as I do now, partly because of my initial belief that most people were already well-acquainted with the books of Moses, and therefore I didn't need to spend a lot of time on them. Because of that erroneous belief, I also set some artificial limitations on the first few lists, such as arbitrarily limiting the number and length of the stories. My goal at that time was to keep them short, like a David Letterman top ten list, when I should have been focused on making them clear, informative, and funny, regardless of how many words that required. Genesis, I think, is by far the weakest list, and I plan to redo it before I start on Job.

Several people now have requested that I put these lists into a book. My brother is in the printing business, so it will be rather easy for me to self-publish the Bible stories once I am done with the whole thing.

If I maintain my current pace, I should be done with the Old Testament sometime around New Year's 2008. Then I will start on the New Testament, which should take another five months or so.

Edited by MisterSwig
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  • 1 month later...

My Five Favorite Stories From Job

1. Job 1 - Our story begins with a man named Job, who lives in a land named Uz. Job is "blameless and upright," (1:1) and he has a big family and a big estate with lots of servants and animals and stuff. As a matter of fact, Job is "the greatest of all the people of the East." (1:3) Moreover, he very much likes God, and to prove it, he wakes up each morning at the crack of dawn to sacrifice burnt offerings.

Unfortunately for Job, the Lord likes to torture "blameless and upright" men, as a convenient means of discovering whether they properly fear him. Thus, God decides to sic one of his itinerant sons, Mr. Satan, on the unsuspecting house of Job. (1:6-8)

Wasting no time at all,

sends heathen "raiders," "the fire of God," and "a great wind" to annihilate all of Job's animals, servants, sons, and daughters. Upon learning of these horrible horrors, Job first engages in the customary tearing of one's robe and shaving of one's head; and then, amazingly, he blesses--rather than curses--the name of the Lord. He figures that he came into this world without anything, so he might as well leave it without anything. After all, what the Lord gives, he can also take away. (1:21)

Ah, so God is an Indian giver, is he?

2. Job 2 through 15 - A short time later, God again bumps into the itinerant Mr. Satan. Being non-omniscient, he wonders where his son has been. He asks: "From where do you come?" (2:2) And Mr. Satan explains that he was on walkabout, "going to and fro on the earth." Then, changing the subject, God tells Mr. Satan that he should resume the torturing of Job.

This time Mr. Satan has been given the green light to physically harm Job, so he plagues the poor sap with painful boils that completely cover his entire body. But Job still refuses to curse God. Instead, he plops himself down on a pile of ashes, scrapes his pus-filled sores with a broken piece of pottery, and proceeds to compose a 24-line poem deploring the day he was born.

Eliphaz, one of Job's three friends who have come to comfort him, replies to Job with a 47-line poem of his own, accusing his friend of sinning against God. The sickly Job conjures up another 50 lines of verse, rejecting this notion that he has sinned. Then Bildad, another friend, injects his 21-line poem into the debate, imploring Job to beg for God's forgiveness. But Job is steadfast in his position. He responds to Bildad with an additional 56 poetic lines, again insisting that he is blameless--that God "multiplies his wounds without cause." (9:17) Job's third friend, Zophar, now enters his poem for consideration: 19 lines that constitute yet another plea for Job to repent. But the boil-covered victim of God replies with a robust, 74-line poem that once again strongly rejects the idea that he is at fault. And during the course of his response, Job makes the point that God should at least explain to him what he has done wrong. (13:23)

3. Job 16 through 31 - This poetical dialogue continues for many, many chapters, with Job's friends verbosely pleading with him to repent, and with Job verbosely pleading with them to shut the hell up: "How long will you torment my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times you have reproached me; you are not ashamed that you have wronged me." (19:2-3) He explains to them that they are "miserable comforters" (16:2) and that God has delivered him into "the hands of the wicked." (16:11) Having suffered unspeakable injustice, Job now simply wants to die. He informs his friends: "My spirit is broken, my days are extinguished, the grave is ready for me." (17:1) He believes that God has "wronged" him (19:6) and that "his breath is offensive to his wife," (19:17) who, by the way, was spared by God's enforcer, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CUwqMT5By0. Furthermore, Job describes himself as "a brother of jackals, and a companion of ostriches." His "skin grows black and falls from him; his bones burn with fever." (30:29-30) He can't, no matter how hard he tries, understand why God has ruined him.

Here's an idea: maybe God had Job tortured simply because he thought it would result in some interesting content for his Bible book. Come to think of it, this whole situation reminds me of that MTV program Viva La Bam, in which Bam Margera regularly tortures his parents in order to produce content for his reality TV show. In a sick sort of way, Bam Margera is a lot like God. They both torture innocent people in order to create content for their own work. Hmm ... maybe Bam is God.

4. Job 32 through 37 - The poetry slam continues now with a young man named Elihu, who suddenly enters the scene and requires six chapters to argue his lame points, which, as far as I can tell, are that both Job and his friends are wrong, and that God is perfect and therefore does not act unjustly. My favorite stupid part is when Elihu says: "But please, Job, hear my speech, and listen to all my words. Now, I open my mouth; my tongue speaks in my mouth." (33:1-2) Surely you have some serious communication issues if you must tell people that you are opening your mouth to speak to them.

5. Job 38 through 42 - After Elihu finishes his dumb lecture, God magically appears in a whirlwind and, without missing a beat, rattles off a series of 55 rhetorical questions that, I guess, are intended to show that Job is not as great or smart as God. The Lord asks some rather puzzling questions. For example, he asks Job: "Have you commanded the morning since your days began?"; "Have you entered the springs of the sea?"; "Where is the way to the dwelling of light?"; and "Has the rain a father?" (Job 38) Clearly, only the Lord could answer such nonsense. So Job, fearing the rhetoric-spewing Lord, has nothing to say and covers his mouth with his hand.

Determined, I guess, to get his name in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most retarded deity in the universe, God then proceeds to pummel Job with yet another long list of strange, rhetorical queries, this time concerning a mighty sea creature called "Leviathan," whose identity, by the way, is unknown, according to a footnote in my NKJV Bible.

In the end, Job finally puts a stop to the pointless questioning by admitting that God "can do everything"; by stating that he now "abhors himself"; and by "repenting in dust and ashes." (42:2-6) Pleased with this outcome, God then restores Job's property to him, and Job has more children and becomes even more prosperous than he had been before the Lord interfered with his life.

What, you ask, has this story taught us? It has taught us that if God kills your family and plagues your body with boils, then be sure to complain about it until God visits you in a whirlwind and asks a bunch of rhetorical questions about Leviathan. Then, at that point, spinelessly repent and forget all about asking him why he tortured you in the first place and murdered all your children.

Edited by MisterSwig
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My Favorite Stories From Genesis (Revisited) - Part One

NOTE: My original "Bible Stories" list for Genesis wasn't very good, because I was new to this Scripture criticism business and had the wrong frame of mind for this project. Therefore, I am now revisiting the wonderful stories of Genesis--and finally doing them justice. I will break up Genesis into manageable parts, with the intention of completing the entire book over the course of several weeks, while simultaneously posting additional lists for the later Old Testament books. This first part covers Genesis 1 through 5: the miracle of the Creation, and the important shenanigans of Adam and his kooky family.

>>>>>

Genesis 1 and 2 - We begin with the first and perhaps most famous Bible story: the Creation. To start things off, God creates the heavens and the earth. Then, in spirit form, he "hovers over the face of the waters." (1:2) Apparently God is what we today refer to as fog. Primitive humans, being meteorologically ignorant, must have been awed into worship by a rolling fog bank over the ocean. Also, notice that "fog" spelled backwards is "god," if you change the f to a d. So I think that settles it: God is fog.

Now, when you're in a fog bank, seeing clearly is very hard to do. But I think it must be at least ten times harder to do when you are the fog bank. With that in mind, it should be obvious now why God's first words were "Let there be light!" (1:3) You see, he simply wanted to see! How unfortunate it would have been if God had been forced to postpone the Creation on account of darkness.

On the second day of Creation, God creates the heavenly "firmament" whose purpose is to "divide the waters which are under the firmament from the waters which are above it." (1:7-8) Huh? The Lord allegedly installs this contraption in the sky, but I've only seen such a device in movies like Spaceballs, and in that movie the firmament was used to regulate space traffic, not space water. In any case, given the tiny amount of water that is actually in outer space, I don't think we really need a firmament. Besides, wouldn't the first moderately sized, earthbound meteor destroy a firmament in no time at all? Or is the firmament some sort of newfangled barrier that keeps out liquids, but lets solid objects through?

It isn't until the fourth day of Creation that the Lord creates the Sun. This means that, before there was sunlight, there was somehow daylight for three days; there were three mornings and evenings; grass grew; herbs yielded seeds; and fruit trees bore fruit. Uh, does God recall any of his own physical laws? I could understand the Master of the universe forgetting one or two things every so often. After all, it was his first time creating the universe, and I'm sure he had lots of complicated rules to remember. But, c'mon, how do you forget that the moon is not a "light" like the Sun? (1:16) It's difficult to believe that God was that easily fooled by his perception of his own creation. The moon might look like a light, at first. But we now know, thanks to science, that it's really a giant, shape-shifting mirror that merely reflects light. Shouldn't God have understood that when he dictated the book of Genesis?

On day six of the Creation, God creates man and woman in his own image. Then, we are famously told that he rests on the seventh day. But why does God need to rest? Does he get tired?

Chapter two (beginning at 2:4) is apparently an attempt by a later writer to make sense of some of the unexplained miracles from chapter one. (Note that God's covenant name is not used until 2:4, suggesting that the first version of the Creation story was written by a different author.) For example, the writer of chapter two clearly wondered how God managed to water the plants before there was rain. His answer? A "mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground." (2:6) How God pulled off this trick before there was a Sun to cause evaporation is beyond me.

Also left unexplained by the author of chapter one is how God created man and woman on the sixth day. Chapter two's answer? Ah, well, you see, God took some dirt and shaped it into the figure of a man. Then he performed CPR on the body, blowing into its nose holes, until it finally came to life. (2:7) Frankly, I think the first writer had the right idea in not explaining that one. I can't see how this notion of an animated dustman helps the cause of religion. I bet this myth originated with some intoxicated priest looking at a cremated body on a funeral pyre and reasoning that if humans turn to ashes when they are burned, then they must be made of dirt.

As you probably know already, God places his dustman in the Garden of Eden and tells him not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Incidentally, if dustman is forbidden to eat from this tree, then how is he to know if eating from it is actually good or evil? I suppose that obeying God is intrinsically good. But how would dustman even know that? He's totally ignorant of right and wrong, right?

Getting back to the narrative, God (in 2:19) suddenly begins referring to the dustman as "Adam," as if that has been his name all along. Then a woman is created from Adam's rib--which God just yanks out of the poor guy while he's sleeping. The Lord must have also altered Adam's DNA at this point--to ensure that the dustman's male descendants would also be missing a rib. But that bit is not currently found in the Bible. (That last sentence was a hint for any future Bible revisionists who might be reading this.)

Okay, so let's see here: of the various sciences, God has so far displayed remarkable ignorance with regard to physics, cosmology, herbology, arbology, astronomy, geology, meteorology, physiology, morality, and genetics. Not a bad start. Perhaps by the end of this book we will be able to reduce Jehovah to the intellect of a simian poop-flinger.

Genesis 3 - If you thought that dustman and riblady were silly, wait until you hear about the talking snake. No, I haven't confused the Bible with Harry Potter. There's no Parseltongue language in this story--at least not that I'm aware of. The serpent in the Bible, you should know, actually speaks man-language. It talks to the riblady (who still doesn't have a name at this point), and it tells her to eat from the forbidden tree. And, as you know, riblady somehow sees that the "tree is good for food," despite the fact that she still doesn't know good from evil, and she goes ahead and eats the forbidden fruit, also giving some to Adam. (3:6) Now, God told Adam that he would die "in the day that he eats" the forbidden fruit. (2:17) But we learn later, of course, that Adam lives to be 930 years old. (5:5) So this means that Adam's punishment for disobedience is that he gets to live about 12 times longer than we do. As a blaspheming, atheist, masturbator, I fully expect my punishment to be blissful immortality.

One of the perks that comes with Original Sin is knowing when you are naked. The first thing that Adam and riblady realize after eating the forbidden fruit is that their private parts are exposed. So they promptly "sew" some leaves together and dress themselves. (3:7)

Who taught them how to sew? Ah, hell, forget I even asked.

A little while later God comes looking for Adam, but Adam hides from the Lord, thinking that he is naked, even though he just sewed himself some clothing. Adam's not exactly the brightest star in the sky, if you know what I mean. Anyway, at least he is really good at hiding, because God can't find him and has to call out: "Where are you?" (3:9-10) Eventually, God learns about Adam and riblady's disobedience, and, as punishment for their misbehavior, he multiplies riblady's "conception." (3:16) (Since she hasn't conceived yet, I guess that means multiplying some number times zero.) And Adam the Lord condemns to a life of toil and sweat, which is, I guess, like living under communism in the summertime.

Adam finally gets around to naming his wife Eve. (3:20) Then, to prevent the clearly mischievous duo from sneaking a trip to the tree of life, God evicts them both from the Garden of Eden; he also places a cherubim on guard at the entrance to Eden, and a "flaming sword" on the path to the tree of life. (3:24) Geez, if it was that important that man not become immortal, why did God leave the tree of life unprotected for so long? I guess he had better things to do, like invent talking snakes and newfangled cosmic firmaments.

Genesis 4 - At last, Adam and Eve unceremoniously get jiggy with it and thereby produce two sons, Cain and Abel. Abel grows up to be a successful sheepherder, but Cain becomes a mediocre farmer who decides one day to kill his brother and then lie about it to God. Cain's dark motive must not be that important to the story, because we aren't told what it is. However, the Lord does condemn him to a life of vagabondism, so we know that murder didn't go wholly unpunished back then. (4:12)

Cain then moves to the land of Nod, where he builds a city and names it after his son, Enoch. (4:16-17) So much for the life of vagabondism. Also, does this mean that, according to the Bible, the first city was built by a man who murdered his brother for no apparent reason? That must have been a wonderful place to raise a family.

Edited by MisterSwig
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  • 7 months later...
  • 7 months later...

I'm sure many of you have seen this(I hope no one posted it yet), but for those who haven't, here's one of the funniest stand-up bits I've ever seen. It's Ricky Gervais at his best, talking about Bible stories:

Ricky Gervais- Animals (the bit on The Bible)

(best line at 7' 30'')

Some retard decided to cut out some of the dead air(pauses) in the video, so if it bothers you, feel free to buy the DVD. (Animals, by Ricky Gervais)

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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