I’m never going to get through the Bible at this rate, so I’m taking it in larger chunks. I wanted to do ten chapters, but it grew ridiculously long. Meanwhile, NaNo is going quite smoothly, as you can see from my rarely updated word count bar. Things were dragging, but they sped up once my main character carjacked a limo and kidnapped the rich millionaire kid to rescue him from the psychotic foreign exchange student.
Yeah… it’s a weird year. But let’s get cracking on the Bible.
18: God appears to Abraham… again. Apparently god was a heck of a lot more active back then, because he sure doesn’t do much appearing now. Here, it seems like Abraham must tell Sarah “Set an extra plate for dinner, in case god shows up again.” Seriously.
Anyway, three men appear and Abraham totally pampers them. One promises that Sarah will have a kid, even though she’s menopausal. Abraham seems convinced – god has only promised to do this about five times already – but Sarah isn’t ready to believe it until it happens. She laughs at the idea, and god gets snippy.
The three men head off toward Sodom, and god starts talking to himself, saying “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” He decides not to conceal this information, and tells Abraham he’s about to do some serious smiting at Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham then points out – in the first decent move I’ve seen – that it would be pretty darn mean for god to kill the entire city if there are decent people in it. He says, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” which is a good point. Someone needs to pull an Abraham and go chat with god, because apparently it’s possible to negotiate with him. Fallible deity? It seems so…
Anyway, Abraham convinces god to forgive the entire city if just ten righteous people live there. Go Abraham! I’m starting to like this guy. Abraham then goes to bed with a clean conscience, and god ‘went on his way’ by walking, magic carpet, or whatever to see if he has to fit smiting into his schedule.
19: Two angels arrive in Sodom and meet Lot, who I seem to recall hearing about before. In the long genealogies, perhaps? Anyway, Lot convinces them to stay at his house. Then the men of Sodom show up and wish to ‘know’ (rape) the visitors. That’s kind of creepy. Lot then – in the worst example of fatherhood I’ve seen yet in the Bible, which is saying something – offers his daughters to the angry mob instead. Yes, angry mob, rape my daughters instead of two random strangers.
I wonder what his daughters thought of this. They probably won’t be buying him ‘World’s Best Dad’ t-shirts.
Anyway, the mob insists on raping the men, but the men (who are secretly angels) rescue Lot and blind the mob. This is the passage frequently used to justify homophobia. However, according to the notations in this copy of the Bible, the crime was more breaking hospitality than homosexual rape. Goodness knows the Bible doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with rape in general.
The angels explain to Lot that Sodom is about to be destroyed. (Seems like god didn’t find those ten people.) Lot, his daughters, and his wife escape the city. They’re told not to look back – a common motif in many myths. Lot’s wife, however, looks back and turns into salt. Yum. Women sure get the short end of the stick in Genesis.
Abraham gets up in the morning and sees big black craters where Sodom and Gomorrah used to be. “Well,” he must have thought, “I guess my arguing was pointless.”
Meanwhile, Lot escapes into the hills. His daughters, for some reason, think no other men in the world exist, and so turn to incest. That’s just… really gross. I wonder if their kids had three heads.
20: Lot got his cameo, and now we’re back to Abraham. He again calls poor Sarah his sister, and another king takes her as his concubine. Darn it, Abraham. I was just starting to like you too. The king, like the pharaoh, scolds Abraham for what he’s done. Abraham then says that Sarah is his sister by his father… I hope he means ‘God the Father’. Otherwise, eurgh. Incest again. Is the Bible rated R? Of course, Abraham may just be trying to rationalize his lie. Abimelech, the king, returns Sarah, and god heals all the women in the household, who he’d made barren because of the whole Sarah fiasco. Since it was Abraham and Sarah’s fault, this doesn’t seem quite fair, but all’s well that ends well.
21: Sarah finally has a kid – Isaac. When she sees Isaac and Ishmael (Abraham’s son with Hagar, the slave) she becomes angry and tells Abraham to cast the boy and the slave out. She doesn’t want Ishmael to take any of Isaac’s inheritance. Abraham is naturally upset – he is his son, after all – but god tells him to go ahead, because Isaac’s more important. He throws Ishmael a bone though, so off the mother and son go. They soon run out of water, and Hagar sets Ishmael under a bush because she doesn’t want to see him die. Instead, god sends them water, and Ishmael grows up happy and healthy – with a slight side of abandonment issues.
22: After all this crap, god decides to test Abraham. Why? I have no freaking idea. God is kind of a jerk. I am aware that child sacrifice did occur in this time period, so it wasn’t as much of a shocker when this was written. But still – if the Christian god is the kind of guy who tells you to kill your kid because he feels like playing a practical joke, this is not a god who should be worshipped. It’s the kind of god that should be shunned, scorned, and despised. Anyway – god tells Abraham to go offer his son as a burnt offering. Abraham doesn’t even argue. He’ll argue for strangers in Sodom, but his own son? Nah. Off he goes, without even telling poor Isaac until the last second. Is there a single decent parent in this whole freaking book?
We all know the story. God shouts ‘Psyche!’ and Abraham saves Isaac. Isaac doesn’t even make a comment along the lines of “Dad, next time you want to prove your loyalty, go offer yourself instead.” That’s what I’d say. Anyway, god is impressed by this show of mindless, sheep-like obedience and rewards Abraham. I suppose this helps justify the government’s encouragement to send our children off to die in foreign countries.
23: (Geez, this post is getting long. Let’s try to wrap it up.) Sarah dies, and there’s a lot of talk about where to bury her.
24: Abraham, who is growing old, makes his servant swear to get Isaac a wife from his own people. The servant swears by placing his hand under Abraham’s thigh. That’s… weird. He then travels to the land of Abraham’s relatives to find Isaac a wife. Just like going shopping. He places his order with god, and a girl shows up to let his camel drink water. This was the appointed sign, so the servant asks the girl – Rebekah – to marry Isaac. Her father (naturally Rebekah’s opinion isn’t important) agrees. At least they eventually ask her opinion as to when she should leave. Rebekah’s arrival comforts Isaac, who was saddened by his mother’s death.
25: Abraham, who must be pretty darn old, takes another wife, who bears him children. If his last wife hit menopause, I shudder to think what the age difference is now. Abraham dies soon after. Rebekah becomes pregnant with twins, who fight inside her womb because they’ll be the forbears of two divided nations. Ouch. It’s Jacob and Esau! I remember this story. One is a hunter, and one is a farmer. They have the rather familiar sibling rivalry, which their parents increase by playing favorites.
One day Esau comes in from working. He’s very hungry, and Jacob has cooked some stew. Esau asks for some stew, but Jacob refuses unless Esau gives up his birthright – the extra inheritance given to the eldest. This is an extremely low move. Esau, starving, swears reluctantly and is fed. Why do I feel like nothing good will come from this?
Ok – that’s all the Bible for today. I was going to do ten chapters, but this post is long enough.