Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2 kings 18-20

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

18:2 - Hezekiah's mother's name was Abi daughter of Zechariah.

19:21 - "She despises you, she scorns you - virgin daughter of Zion; she tosses her head - behind your back, daughter Jerusalem."

2 Kings 20 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

Okay, so I was really confused about 2 Kings 19:21. The "she" that is mentioned seemed very ambiguous to me and I was not sure who it was referring to. I first thought "she" was the cities of Zion and Jerusalem, since cities are often referred to as women. So I found other translations, hoping to clear up my confusion, and the King James version says:

"This [is] the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, [and] laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee."

Here it seems to be talking about real women, so maybe the verse is talking about the actual women in the cities?

These verses are indented like they are meant to be more poetic than the regular verses, so that might be the reason why it is so ambiguous. I do love how the translations are pretty different, though. That has always been my favorite part about the Bible. If it is truly the word of God then why are there so many different versions of it?

Friday: 2 Kings 21-25

Monday, September 27, 2010

2 Kings 15-17

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

15:2 - Azariah's mother's name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem.
15:16 - Menahem sacked Tiphsah, all who were in it and its territory from Tirzah on. Because the city did not open to him he sacked it and he ripped open the pregnant women in it.
15:33 - Jotham's mother's name was Jerusha daughter of Zadok.

2 Kings 16 - No mention of any women.

17:17 - God's people would not listen to God and made their sons and daughters pass through fire; they used divination and augury; and they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord.

My Comments

I'm not sure why the Bible loves to randomly add in horrific depictions of female death, but it is getting really annoying and terrible to read. The pregnant women being ripped open was added as an after thought, it seemed. Why add them there at all? Was saying, "The city got sacked" not enough? And why only mention pregnant women? Why not the other members of the city? I'm not sure if this is some sort of literary devise, whether it's supposed to invoke some sort of feeling or whether it's just a factoid the author thought he'd add in, but whatever it's supposed to be I wish the Bible would stop singling out women like that.

And it seems the people of Israel are starting to catch on to what I was saying in my last post about God being such a horrible deity, full of punishment and wrath and not much else. These entire two chapters are basically about how the people of Israel would not stop worshiping other gods. Did not matter what God did, they kept leaving him and going back to Baal or even just gods they made up themselves. Honestly they had good reason to leave God, he wasn't doing shit for them other than making their lives harder. And seriously, 2 Kings 17:35-36 still has God harping on how he saved the Israelites from Egypt and this is why they should worship him. That was GENERATIONS ago, God. You cannot expect people to keep following you for something you did for their great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfathers. It's just ridiculous.

It's like that asshole who did that one really good thing years ago and won't shut up about it. "Hey, asshole, why the hell did you shave my dog?" "Aw, come on, man. Remember how I saved those orphans from that fire?" "That was DECADES ago!" "Yeah, but it was awesome so shut the hell up and do what I say!" One good deed does not make it okay for someone to be a complete tool in everything else they do. We wouldn't accept this behavior from our best friends so why do we allow this behavior in our deities?

I'm glad the people of Israel are growing wise to God's bullshit. Unfortunately they all pretty much suffer and die because of it, but it's good to see them noticing what I've been seeing all along.

Wednesday: 2 Kings 18-20

Friday, September 24, 2010

2 Kings 12-14

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

12:1 - In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash began to reign. His mother's name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba.

2 Kings 13: No mention of any women.

14:2 - King Amaziah's mother's name was Jehoaddin of Jerusalem.
14:9 - King Jehoash of Israel sent work to King Amaziah of Judah, "A thornbush of Lebanon sent to a cedar on Lebanon, saying, 'Gve your daughter to my son for a wife'; but a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and trampled down the thornbush."

My Comments

Really, I have no idea what is going on in 14:9. That bit comes out of no where and it's explained or referenced again. Just looks like a Big Lipped Alligator Moment to me.

Other than that bit of oddness, nothing really interesting here.

Monday: 2 Kings 15-17

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2 Kings 9-11

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

9:10 - "The dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and no one shall bury her."
9:22- When Joram saw Jehu he said, "Is it peace, Jehu?" And Jehu answered, "What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?"
9:30-37 - When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard about it and painted her eyes and adorned her face. She called to Jehu out of her window, "Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?" Jehu looked up and called for anyone who was on his side. Two eunuchs looked out at him and Jehu ordered that Jezebel be thrown down. They threw her down and some of her blood splattered on the wall and on the horses, which trampled her. So Jehu went and ate and drank and later called for her to be buried since she is a king's daughter. But when they went to bury her they found nothing of her but her skull, feet and the palms of her hands. They told Jehu of this and he told them that this was the word of the Lord, that Jezebel shall be eaten by dogs in Jezreel, and her corpse shall be like dung in the field so that no one can say "This is Jezebel."

10:13 - Jehu met relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah and said, "Who are you?" They answered, "We are kin of Ahaziah; we have come down to visit the royal princes and the sons of the queen mother."

11:1-3 - Now when Athaliah, Ahaziah's mother, saw that her son was dead, she set about to destroy all the royal family. But Jehosheba, King Joram's daughter, Ahaziah's sister, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king's children who were about to be killed. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom. So she hid him from Athaliah so that he was not killed. He remained with her for six years, hidden in the house of the Lord while Athaliah ruled over the land.
11:13-16 - Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people and went into the house of the Lord. When she looked there was the king standing by the pillar, as is custom, with the captain and the trumpeters and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, "Treason! Treason!" The priest Jehoiada commanded the captains to bring her out between the ranks and kill anyone who followed her, for she shall not be killed in the house of the Lord. So they took her and went through the horses' entrance to the king's house and she was put to death.

My Comments

Okay, now that they have gone into detail of Jezebel's death it is much less awesome as I was thinking it to be. All we had before we just her being eaten by dogs. I imagined Jezebel out in the open being chased by a pack of angry dogs send by God himself to catch her and eat her. Instead now we have these men pushing her out a window, trampling her with horses, leaving her corpse just lying there while they have their dinner and drinks, and only then deciding that maybe she should be buried but it's already too late because the dogs had gotten to her first and eaten her. Not nearly as awesome as how I pictured it. It's actually kind of insulting for her to go out this way. She spent her life killing men and staying ahead of men, and then when it's her time to go she's just thrown out a window on the command of Jehu? She spends her life outdoing men to only be humiliated and disregarded by men?

I think I liked the idea of the dogs because it was like God himself came down to dish out her punishment. She was so awesome at being evil that God himself was like, "Holy crap, I gotta take care of this." And since she was taken out by animals she'd spent her entire life being better than men, and in the end even a man couldn't best her.

But Jehu commanding two eunuchs to chunk her out a window? And the insulting treatment of her death at the hands of the men (nevermind the horrific detail the Bible goes into concerning her death) just makes her death so much less dignified. Jezebel deserves a better and more epic death than this.

And then we top off the death of Jezebel, a powerful woman, with the death of another powerful woman, Athaliah. I think she is the queen mother, but honestly 2 Kings 11 verses 1 and 2 are so confusing that I'm not really sure. But she was a woman who took matters into her own hands, used the tactics of men before her to stay in power (mainly kill anyone in her way, a tactic often condoned by God himself) but in the end she is replaced by a king and killed for daring to try and keep power. I especially love the added bit about them taking her through the horses' entrance before they killed her. Way to add insult to injury but lowering her to the level of an animal. Athaliah was a woman who did not remember her place, which was not in a seat of power but instead in a place of servitude and submission, so they reminded her of her place by treating her like livestock. I honestly don't remember any of the men's deaths, when actually detailed, being full of so many insults and humiliation. If I have forgotten something please let me know, but I don't think I've read (as of yet!) any male death scenes that reach such a level of horrible as the death scenes of these two women.

Way to stay classy, Bible.

Also, just as a side note, while I was reading about the horrific murders that Jehu committed about halfway through I was wondering if I was supposed to view this guy as a hero or an evil bastard. I figured since the deaths were so horrific and he seemed to be killing with so much joy that he must be a bad guy, someone we were not supposed to see a godly, like Ahab or Jeroboam. But then I came across the slaughter of the people of Baal and figured that maybe I should go back and see if I missed something. And lo and behold, 2 kings 9:3 mentions God appointing him the next king of Israel. But, just because he was a king doesn't mean God likes what he's doing. Those other guys were kings and God pretty much hated their guts. And Jehu was really working the killings, first with shooting Joram in the back with a bow, killing King Azahiah in almost the same manner, then killing Jezebel, the massacring all of Ahab's descendants, and then he slaughtered the worshipers of Baal. It mentioned a few times that these happened as God had said, but God never said anything directly so I still kind of had my doubts.

Imagine my surprise when, at the end of all of Jehu's killings, God says this to Jehu, "Because you have done well in carrying out what I consider right, and in accordance with all that was in my heart have dealt with the house of Ahab, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel."


I don't think I can say it enough.

Fuck. The Christian. God. It is not longer a matter of whether I believe he exists or not. Even if he appeared right in front of me, all flowing white robes and shit accurately telling me of my past and my future and whatever the else he felt like doing, it would be a completely moot point.

Whether this God exists or not I WOULD NEVER WORSHIP HIM. Even if his existence meant hell was real it wouldn't matter. I could never worship a God that would condone such wanton slaughter for such stupid reasons. We actually haven't seen much of Satan at all, and I honestly think that we got the sides all wrong. So far all we've seen Satan do is be truthful and honest with Adam and Eve while God was lying to them. From other stories I remember learning about, Satan "tempts" people in the desert by telling them to eat food or drink water. How the hell is that evil? People need food and water to survive, it's God who's depriving these people of things our bodies naturally require, so why is Satan the bad one in this story. And how about Job? Isn't it God that causes all the bad shit to happen to him, his children all killed, all his property gone, plagued, etc? All Satan did was say to God that he bet Job wouldn't worship God if Job's life wasn't so good. But it was God who fucked all of Job's shit up, all on some sort of dare? The biggest stories involving Satan and I gotta say, Satan definitely does not look like the bad guy here. What gets me the most is that people will say "Of course Satan looks like the good guy, that's the point. He's TRICKING you into picking the wrong side?" How thick do your religious blinders have to be to believe that?

Say I was in a room with two guys. One is constantly threatening me with eternal damnation, commanding me to slaughter thousands of people, punishing me for something as simple as saying his name or not slaughtering the sacrificial lamb properly or even just punishing me for no reason at all, and also lying to me about things just so I won't ask questions or just so I will be too scared to disobey him. But the second guy doesn't harm me, doesn't threaten me, he is honest with me and points out the other man's lies, he tells me to take care of myself when the other is commanding me to neglect my own physical needs, and, while he may not be actively helping me, he is definitely not the one actively causing me great harm.

I can guarantee that many people, if given this scenario, would not say that the abusive man is the one on the side of good and righteousness. And even if they don't think he's evil they would probably not follow him or worship him.

So ever think maybe people chose the wrong side?

I sometimes think people did.

Friday: 2 Kings 12-14

Monday, September 20, 2010

2 Kings 6-8

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

6:26-31 - The king of Israel walked on the city walls and a woman called to him help. The king said he could not help, and to let the Lord help her. Then the king asked her what was wrong. The woman told him how a second woman told her that they should eat her son and then eat the second woman's son tomorrow. So they ate the first woman's son and then the next day the second woman had hidden her son so he could not be eaten. When the king heard this he tore his clothes and said, "So may God help me, and more, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat stays on his shoulders today."

2 Kings 7 - No mention of any women.

8:1-6 - Elisha told the woman, whose son he had restored to life, to leave and go wherever she could because there was to be a famine for seven years. So the woman left and settled in the land of the Philistines for seven years. After the seven years she came back and set up an appeal with the king to get her land back. Now the king was asking Gehazi about all that Elisha had done And Gehazi was telling the king about Elisha restoring the boy to life when the woman came in. Gehazi told the king that that was the mother of the boy and the king questioned her. Afterward he appointed an official to her and restored all of her land along with the revenue of the fields from the day she left until now.
8:12 - Elisha tells Hazael that he knows the evil he will do to the people of Israel, "You will set their fortresses on fire, you will kill young men with the sword, dash in pieces their little ones, and rip up their pregnant women."
8:18 - Jehoram walked in the way ofthe kings if Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife, and he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.

My Comments

Okay, wtf is up with the story about the women who are eating their children? And why is it just the women involved? Did the women not share this wonderful meal with their husbands or their other children? And if they didn't share then how did they manage to do this without the knowledge of the husband/father of the sons? I mean, they ate SONS, after all. That wouldn't be done lightly since sons are the end all be all of children. And they obviously had husbands since the Bible called them "women" and not "widows." The Bible LOVES to make sure we know the marital status of a woman, whether a prostitute ( not married but a whore), a widow (woman with a deceased husband), a virgin (woman who has never been married), or a woman (married). So where were the husbands in this story? Do they not get to share a piece of the inhumanity pie?

Also, this small story is horribly reminiscent of the prostitutes that went to King Solomon with their fight over the baby boy. You have two women who have a fight over their sons without (seemingly) any provocation. One woman loses a son while the other gains/keeps a son. This problem must be brought to a male in high authority in order to solve it (a king preferably). And both women come off as being irresponsible and immature about the whole situation.

These stories seem to almost say, "See? This is what happens when a woman doesn't have a man or doesn't look for the opinion of a man." Plus, you get the added bonus of this being more proof why women cannot be trusted with decisions about their children. When you trust women to make the decisions the children end up dead or cannibalized. It's really no wonder the Bible is a wonderful tool for people who are anti-choice. The Bible constantly reaffirming that women cannot be trusted to make even the simplest decisions for her children, and the only good decision is to go to a man of authority to solve the problem. When the women put their trust in men only then are they good mothers, much like the woman whose son died in her arms, but she went to Elisha who raised him from the dead.

What gets me the most about the cannibal story is that that is about all there is to it. The women never come up again. What happened to the other woman's son? What happened to the women themselves, since they essentially killed their own children and ate them? Were they punished? Did no one care? What did God think of it? You'd think this would be a good time to show that cannibalism is wrong and you shouldn't eat human flesh. Or at least a good time for a lecture or maybe some new rules or commandments. But nope, God is oddly absent from this horrible scene. In fact, from what it seems God is the cause of the famine which led the women to becoming so hungry they ate one of their children. How horrible is that? Why does God think it's okay to put people in these horrible situations? Does he gets some sort of twisted joy out of watching people starve until they get to the point where they begin eating each other? Aren't these his people?

Seriously, it just makes me sick.

Wednesday: 2 Kings 9-11

Friday, September 17, 2010

2 Kings 4-5

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

4:1-7 - The wife of a member of a company of prophets cried to Elisha that her husband was dead, and creditors were coming to take her two children as slaves. Elisha asked what he should do for he and if she had anything in the house. The woman replied that she had nothing except a jar of oil. Elisha told her to go outside and borrow many empty vessels from her neighbors. Then go inside her home and shut the door and with her and her children start pouring oil into each vessel until each was full, and then set the vessel aside. So the woman did this and filled vessel after vessel with oil. When she called to her so to bring her another vessel her son replied that there were no more vessels, and only then did the oil stop flowing. Elisha then told her to sell the oil and pay her debts, and she and her children could live off what was left.
4:8-37 - One day when Elisha was passing through Shunem, he passed by the house of a wealthy woman, who invited him inside to eat. So every time Elisha passed by her would stop to have a meal with her. The wife asked her husband if they could set up a room for Elisha to stay in whenever he came by, since she was certain he was a man of God. So one day when he came there he lay down in his chamber. He called to his servant Gehazi to summon the Shunammite woman to him. When she came to him he asked what he may do for her since she had gone through so much trouble to set up a room for him. Should he speak a word on her behalf to the king or to the commander of the army? The woman said no, she lives among her people. Elisha asked what may be done for her and Gehazi mentioned that she had no son and her husband is old. So Elisha asked for the woman to be called again. She stood in the door and Elisha said, "At this season, in due time, you shall embrace a son." The woman replied, "No, my lord, O man of God, do not deceive your servant." So the woman bore a son in due season just as Elisha had said.

When the son was older, he worked out in the fields with his dad. One day he cried out about his head. The father said to his servant to carry the boy to his mother. The child was brought to his mother. He sat in her lap all afternoon and then died. She laid him on Elisha's bed, closed the door on him and left. She asked her husband to get her one of the servants and a donkey so that she may go to the man of God and come back again. She saddled the donkey and told the servant to urge it on and do not hold back unless she told him to. So they set out and came to Elisha on Mount Carmel. Elisha told Gehazi to run down to the Shunammite woman and ask if she was alright, if her husband was alright, and if her child was alright. The woman answered that it was alright. When she came to Elisha she caught hold of his feet. Gehazi moved to push her away but Elisha said to leave her alone for she was in bitter distress, but he did not know why. The woman said, "Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say, Do not mislead me?" So Elisha told Gehazi to take his staff and go to the boy without speaking to anyone and touch the boy's forehead with it. The woman would not leave without Elisha. So Gehazi did as he was told but the child did not awaken. So Elisha went to the child himself. He saw the child lying dead on the bed, closed the door behind him and prayed to God. He lay on the child, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, and hands to hands. The child became warm and opened his eyes. Elisha told Gehazi to summon the Shunammite woman, and when she arrived Elisha told her to take her son. She came and fell on her feet, bowing to the ground, then took her son and left.

5:2 - hen the Arameans were on a raid they took a young girl captive from Israel and she served Naaman's wife. Naaman was suffering from leprosy, and the girl told her mistress of the prophet in Sumaria who could cure Naaman of his leprosy. So Naaman went and told his lord what the girl had said.
5:26 - Elisha asks Gehazi, "Did I not go with you in spirit when someone left his chariot to meet you? Is this a time to accept money and t accept clothing, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves?"

My Comments

Am I think only one who thinks Elisha's beginning to sound alot like Jesus? So far he's done two miracles where he turned very little into a whole lot (the oil trick with the widow and feeding 100 men with very little food), brought a kid back from the dead, and cured a guy of leprosy. That right there is a lot of the same miracles Jesus did, and supposedly part of the reason why Jesus was so special. So how was Jesus so special when there had already been a guy who'd done all this before? I understand that Jesus filled alot of the prophecy that was written in the old testament, the most important being the sacrifice and rising from the dead thing. But still, Elisha is being really badass and I just have to wonder why no one seems to mention him that often. Or at least I wasn't taught a lot about Elisha when I was going through Sunday school and church services. Maybe church leaders don't feel like trying to answer questions about why Elisha and Jesus are so similar? Who knows, but I think it's really odd.

On another note, why is it that men seem to know when women need to have (or in some cases not have) babies? Like when Isaac prayed for Rebekah to have children, a pregnancy during which Rebekah was in immense pain and she even cried out to God why she must live through such pain. Deuteronomy makes mention that if a woman's husband dies and she has no sons then the husband's brother shall come into the woman, presumably the woman's wishes do not play a part in this (or at least the only time her wishes are mentioned is only in the case that the brother will not "perform"). Or in an instance when it is decided the woman shouldn't have children, their ability to have children can also be taken away without their consent much like how God played with Rachel and Leah's wombs, pitting the two against each other and never giving a thought as to what the two women would want. Even in the cases when the woman is barren and wants to be pregnant, like when Hannah wept and prayed to God to provide her a son, it is still ultimately God's decision on whether she will have that child or not. So it seems men know what needs to be done with a woman's body, whether it should be with child or without. And so often they make this decision and have it done without even checking with the woman first to see if that is what she actually want. Doesn't this seem like a gross violation of the woman's body? The woman takes NO PART in this decision whatsoever. Why isn't this seen as horrible? Though with this attitude strew all throughout the Bible, I guess it makes sense that pro-lifers feel that a woman has to choice over a fetus being in a woman's body or not. This idea, that a woman doesn't get to be an active participant in her own child bearing (including a participant in the decision on whether she even wants a baby or not) as become pretty ingrained in our culture, and I honestly blame alot of that on the Bible. When you think about it every year we're bombarded with the ultimate tale of a woman's body and what happens to it being completely not her choice. A woman who, without her consent at all, was impregnated and expected to carry that child to term and raise it and never had a chance to consent or say no.

Any guesses so far of whom I'm talking about?

Did you guess the virgin Mary?

Mary is raised up as the very model of a virtuous woman. But it seems her only real virtue is her ability to submit to men who have decided all on their own what will be done to her and when. This is something we are reminded of every year, whether we actually believe in the story or not. This reaffirmation just makes it harder for women to convince others that they can make choices about their own bodies, and that their decision are more valid than the decisions of others.

Monday: 2 Kings 6-8

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

2 Kings 1-3

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

2 Kings 1 - No mention of any women.

2:24 - Small boys called Elisha "Baldhead!" so Elisha cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two she-bears came out and mauled 42 of the boys.

3:13 - Elisha asks the king of Israel "What have I to do with you? Go to your father's prophet and your mother's."

My Comments

Man, I guess Sarah Palin was right about something. Don't mess with Mama Grizzlies. They will rip you apart just for name calling.

Also curious as to how young these "small boys" were. "Small boys" would seem to describe children, and I know God is known for being a douche but mauling 42 children just because they called a prophet baldhead seems... well, overkill even for an extreme douchebag like God. Seriously, how petty is the Christian God if he'll slaughter 42 boys on the whim of his prophet? And how insecure and assholish is Elisha who basically brought this upon those small boys. I've had small children mock me and yeah, I've kinda wished they would get a good talking to/smack for being rude like that. But I have never wished them dead or mauled. Never even thought about it. It takes a special kind of person to want children dead just because their feelings got hurt.

Guess it would make sense that a petty douche God would have petty douche prophets, though.

Friday: 2 Kings 4-5

Monday, September 13, 2010

1 Kings 21-22

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

21:5-16 - Jezebel asked Ahab why he was so depressed. Ahab told her how Naboth would not sell him his vineyard. Jezebel told him, "Do you now govern Israel? get up, eat some food, and be cheerful. I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite." So Jezebel wrote letters in Ahab's name and with his seal and sent the letters to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth's city. The letter told them to declaim a fast and seat Naboth at the head of the assembly, seat two scoundrels beside him and have them bring a charge against him. After they bring the charge they are to take him out and stone him. So the men in the city did as just Jezebel said. Then they sent to Jezebel saying Naboth has been stoned and is dead. Jezebel then told Ahab to go and take possession of the vineyard for Naboth is dead.
21:23 - God said that Jezebel shall be eaten by dogs.
21:25-26 - "Indeed, there was no one like Ahab, who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the lord, urged on by his wife Jezebel."

22:38 - The chariot of the king of Sumaria was washed in the pool of Sumaria and the dogs licked up his blood and the prostitutes washed themselves in it.
22:42 - Jehoshaphat's mother's name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi.

My Comments

Yay Jezebel gets to actually do something, which is pretty awesome. And she really gets some stuff done. Yeah, it's not ethical or moral at all, but if Jezebel is basically a "villian" then she does it spot on. Impersonating her husband, having his rival (or whatever) murdered, and then in the end acting like she didn't even do it. Just awesomely evil villain. Seriously needs a Showtime or HBO drama. Jezebel is a woman who, at least from what's told to us, doesn't take shit from any man she disagrees with. She'll just flat out kill anyone that gets in her way. She's independent and active. She takes action when her husband Ahab will not. The Bible has been throwing "villains" at us since Genesis and this it the first time where I agree with it. Jezebel is evil to the core and a badass about it.

And I love it. :D

And to be honest I don't have anything really negative to say about her punishment. To me, being eaten by dogs seemed a fitting end to an evil badass like her. To be clear, Jezebel was punished by having dogs eat her, Ahab was punished by having his entire household cut off from him, and the rest of Ahab's people were punished that if they died in the city their bodies would be eaten by dogs as well. End the end Ahab groveled before God enough to be forgiven so that disaster would not come upon his house but upon his son's house. And you might think, "But wait, why did Ahab get a chance to atone while Jezebel was automatically thrown to the dogs? Isn't that unfair?" And I would actually say no, I don't think that was unfair. Jezebel seemed to be the master mind behind things. With Naboth she took Ahab's name and seal and ordered Naboth's death, which Ahab didn't even ask her to do. Even after Naboth was killed and Jezebel told Ahab to take his vineyard Ahab didn't know that she was the one who had ordered his death. So in this case Ahab was, more or less, the innocent party. Being the innocent party his punishment should have been less severe than Jezebel's.

Now, do I think that if Jezebel had NOT actually done anything would the punishments have still been different like they were? Yeah, probably, because that's how God rolls. But as it stands, I have no real issue with the different punishments.

Plus, how badass a way is that to go out? Seriously. But I tend to have a soft spot for really good villains and love a dramatic exit so that may just be me. The only thing that saddens me is we didn't get to read more about her evil ventures.

Wednesday: 2 Kings 1-3

Friday, September 10, 2010

1 Kings 18-20

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

18:4 - Obadiah revered God greatly, for when Jezebel was killing off God's prophets, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them in caves, also providing them with bread and water.
18:13 - Obadiah explains to Elijah how when Jezebel was killing God's prophets he hid 100 in caves and provided them with food and water.
18:19 - Elijah tells Ahab, "Now therefore have all Israel assemble at Mount Carmel, with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table."

19:1-3 - Ahab told Jezebel about all the things Elijah had done, and how Elijah had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah saying, "So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow." Then Elijah was afraid and fled for his life.

20:3 - King Ben-hadad tells the king of Israel, "All your silver and gold are mine, your fairest wives and children also are mine."
20:5 - King Ben-hadad repeats his request for the king of Israel's silver and gold and wives and children.
20:7 - The king of Israel calls for the elders and said, "Look now! See how this man is seeking trouble; for he sent to me for my wives, my children, my silver and my gold; and I did not refuse him."

My Comments

Okay, my opinion, Jezebel sounds badass. I'm with her, some dude comes into my place and slaughters all my holy men I'd be out for blood too. Plus she apparently went around and single handedly killed many of God's prophets.

Sounds like it could make a total awesome HBO or Showtime drama. Better than another detective drama, anyways.

Of course even though she is completely badass and did all this of awesome stuff there's still nothing to talk right now because the Bible doesn't even go into what she did. No details, no nothing. Just an offhand comment that is part of another dudes story about how awesome he is. You'd think if someone was going around killing God's prophets that would warrant more than just a vague mention. I'd think there'd be an entire passage dedicated to it or something. But alas. Seems a good waste of a pretty cool sounding story.

Monday: 1 Kings 21-22

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

1 Kings 15-17

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

15:2 - Abijam's mother was Maacah daughter of Abishalom.
15:10 - Asa's mother was Maacah daughter of Abishalom.
15:13 - Asa removed his mother Maacah from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image and burned it at the Wadi Kidron.

16:31 - "And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, [Ahab] took as his wife Jezebel daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and wept and served Baal, and worshiped him."

17:8-24 - God commands Elijah to go to Zarepath and live there for God has commanded a widow there to feed him. So Elijah went to Zarepath and met the widow, who was gathering sticks, at the gates of the town. Elijah called to her and asked if she could bring him some water. As she was leaving to get him water Elijah also asked her to bring him some bread. The widow explained to him that she had no bread baked, she only had a handful of meal and a jar of oil which was all her son and she had to eat. Elijah told her to not be afraid and do as she was going to, but to first bring him a small cake and then afterward make something for her and her son, for if she does this the Lord will not let her jar of meal or jar of oil become empty until the next rain. The widow did as Elijah said and neither the meal nor the oil emptied, according to the words of God spoken by Elijah.

After this the widow's son became ill, so severe that there was no breath left in him. The widow cried to Elijah, asking what he had against her to come here and bring her sin to remembrance and let her son die. Elijah asked for her son, and cried out to God, asking if God had brought calamity upon the widow whom he had been staying with by killing her son. The lord listened to Elijah and brought life back into the boy. Elijah brought him up to the widow and said, "See, your son is alive." And the widow said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth."

My Comments

I wonder if the Jezebel mentioned in 1 Kings 16 is the Jezebel that is frequently referred to in pop culture. An example in one of my favorite songs. I always figured she'd have a bigger part, since only the bigger characters tend to become popular memes. So I'm not sure, maybe another Jezebel shows up later. I will have to keep my eye out for it.

I don't think I will ever like how the Bible will have an entire section dedicated to a woman's story and yet will not give the woman a name. So we have "the widow." I also don't think I will ever like how the Bible can have a whole section dedicated to a woman's story and yet still manage to not have the woman actually do anything. The widow wasn't very active in her story at all. She had faith, I guess, if that can be considered as being active. But she basically just did as she was told. She gave up food that she didn't really have to spare for her and her dying son to give to a man that could very well have been lying to her. At least she wasn't chastised for her anger at her son's death. I guess it helped that Elijah seemed to be angry about it as well.

Mostly it's just terrible to have a good section with a woman in it and yet still have nothing to really say about it because she doesn't really do anything. I would hope for more interesting passages about women but every time I hope for that it seems I get sections that make me really angry. Not sure if it's better to be super angry and have a lot to say or mostly bored and have nothing to say...

Friday: 1 Kings 18-20

Monday, September 6, 2010

1 Kings 12-14

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

1 Kings 12 - No mention of any women.

1 Kings 13 - No mention of any women.

14:1-18 - Jeroboam's son fell sick. Jeroboam told his wife to disguise herself and go to Shiloh to see the prophet Ahijah Who said that Jeroboam would be king over the people. She was to bring Ahijah ten loaves, some cakes and a jar of honey and have him tell her what is to happen to their son. Jeroboam's wife did as he asked and went to Shiloh. Ahijah could not see well because of his wage, but the Lord told him that Jeroboam's wife was coming to ask about her son and told him what to say to her. When Jeroboam's wife came she pretended to be another women but Ahijah called her to enter by name and asked why she pretended to be another. Ahijah then told her the words God spoke to him. God was upset that he had given the kingdom to Jeroboam and taken it away from David's house and yet Jeroboam had not been like David. Jeroboam had not followed his commandments and followed Him with all his heart. Worst of all Jeroboam had cast graven images and made false gods. Therefore God would bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, every male would be cut off from him and God will consume his entire house. Ahijah told Jeroboam's wife to go back to her house, and when she steps over the threshold her son will die. Israel shall mourn his passing for her alone of the Jeroboam family shall come to the grave for in him there is found something pleasing to the Lord. The Lord shall also raise up another king who will cut off the house of Jeroboam from Israel. Jeroboam's wife got up and went away, and as she came to the threshold of her house the child died. Israel mourned his passing and everything that Ahijah spoke came to pass.

My Comments

It's amazing how that entire chapter involved Jeroboam's wife and yet she does absolutely nothing during the entire thing. She listens to her husband and then the prophet and relays information between the two. That's it. Why didn't Jeroboam go himself and wear a disguise to trick Ahijah? Why did his wife need to go?

And why does God LOVE to kill children in order to punish the fathers? Plague in Egypt where all the first born are killed. God punishes David by killing Bathsheba's child. And I count God allowing Jephthah to sacrifice his daughter as a punishment. There's never a reason for why God allows this, but I think it may have something to do with Jephthah being willing to potentially sacrifice a member of his house in order to win a war. Not a good reason for the punishment (especially since it was the daughter who died) but if nothing else the Bible has given us plenty of proof that God isn't the most reasonable being out there.

So yeah, just more proof on how God loves to punish men by killing or striking ill anyone who happens to be around the man, infants and children included. What a merciful God, am I right?

Wednesday: 1 Kings 15-17

Friday, September 3, 2010

1 Kings 10-11

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

10:1-13 - The Queen of Sheba heard of Solomon and his infinite wisdom so she went to Solomon to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with many gifts for him and once she was with him she told him all that was on her mind. Solomon answered all of her questions and there was nothing he could not answer. When the queen had observed all of Solomon's wisdom, the house he'd built, his food, the seating of his officials and his burnt offerings there was no more spirit in her. So she said to the king, "The report was true that I heard in my own land of your accomplishments and of your wisdom, but I did not believe it until I came and my own eyes had seen it. Not even half had been told to me; your wisdom and prosperity far surpass the report that I have heard. Happy are your wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your wisdom. Blessed be the Lord your God who set you on the throne of Israel. Because the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king to execute justice and righteousness." The queen of Sheba gave Solomon many great treasures, and Solomon gave to the queen every desire that she expressed as well as things out of Solomon's royal bounty. Then she returned to her own land with her servants.

11:1-8 - Solomon's Errors. Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women from the nations which God said the Israelites may not take women because it would incline the Israelite men to worship their gods. Solomon clung to these in love. Among his wives were 700 princesses and 300 concubines, and his wives turned his heart away from God. When Solomon got older his wives turned his heart away to their gods and Solomon's heart was not true to God as David's was. Solomon followed the goddess of the Sidonians and Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did what was evil in the sigh of the Lord. Then Solomon built a high place for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites and did the same for all his foreign wives who offered incense and sacrificed to heir gods.
11:19-20 - Hadad (one of the adversaries God raised up against Solomon) found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him his sister-in-law for a wife, the sister of Queen Tahpenes. The sister of Tahpenes gave birth by him to his son Gerubath, whom Tehpenes weened in Pharaoh's house.
11:33 - God will give ten tribes to Jeroboam "because Solomon has forsake me, worshiped Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and has not walked in my ways, doing wat is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my ordinances, as his father David did."

My Comments

The story of the queen of Sheba is a bit boring. She comes to king Solomon to test him and fails to do so and in the end is so marveled by his wisdom and immense wealth that she loses all spirit (whatever that means). I do find it funny that she doesn't praise him for his wisdom. She understands that Solomon is nothing without God and so rightly praises God for Solomon's wisdom and wealth. She is basically just impressed by Solomon's ability to channel God's wisdom and infinite knowledge (would be like me being impressed by my radio for giving me the news every morning). Honestly if I was Solomon I would be a bit miffed that God got all the credit, but then again I guess if you know you're getting everything good in your life straight from God you wouldn't piss him off by taking away his praise. I mean, after all, that is God's main purpose for the people he created, to spend all their time telling Him how awesome He is.

Side note: I think it's funny that the queen of Sheba says, "Happy are your wives! Happy are these servants who continually attend you and hear your wisdom!" Because getting to hear Solomon talk and be wise TOTALLY makes up for the fact that he owns their lives and they are his property. Yeah, I bet the servants and wives are just thrilled.

Onto Solomon's "Errors." And by "errors" the Bible means women. Seriously. The entire section subtitled "Solomon's Errors" talks solely about the foreign women Solomon takes as wives and who lead him away from God. Nice.

First, how the hell are there even 700 princesses to take as wives? I doubt there were even that many territories at the time since they haven't explored that much and there haven't even been that many tribes listed off in the Bible. And if he's taking all the princesses who are the other higher up men marrying? And after the 700 princesses he still needs 300 concubines apparently. I mean holy shit, how many women does one man really need? How can he even have that much stamina? I still hold that the earth must be 3/4 women and 1/4 men because every man in the Bible gets at least 2 wives with added concubines for good measure. These numbers really make no logical sense whatsoever. If this is trying to be historically accurate I call bullshit.

Second, why is it not Solomon's fault that he turned away from God? Why is it the foreign women's fault? It says, "And his wives turned away his heart." Not Solomon turned away his heart, but the wives turned it away. As shown many times, women in the Bible typically did not get a choice in marriage. Men "take" their wives in marriage and it doesn't matter one bit whether the woman wants to marry the man or not. So the women did not even choose to marry Solomon so why is it their fault that Solomon married them and worshiped their gods? Seriously, Bible, we need to have a sit down talk about this. These women do not cause the men to do "evil" things, it is the men who choose to do these acts. The men don't even respect the women enough to consider them to more than property, so why would women be able to influence them enough to get them to act out against God. If someone I respected said, "Hey, why don't you go punch your dad in the face." I would probably not go punch my dad in the face because I love my dad and wouldn't do something like that especially if the person telling me to do it is someone I consider beneath me. Now I may punch my dad if I already dislike him and feel like punching him anyway, but it's still not the person's fault if I punch my dad in the face.

But the men have to blame someone, right? Why not blame those lesser than you because it's not like they have any power to dispute you or fight back. It's so easy to make yourself out to be the perfect sex when you can just pass on your faults to the women. Yay for scapegoats.

And I love how it doesn't even matter that Solomon took all these foreign wives. God may have sent adversaries after him and given some of Solomon's kingdom away (not even Solomon's kingdom, God gave away Solomon's son's bit of the kingdom), but God made sure Solomon still had some kingdom to rule for the rest of Solomon's life. All because David was such a great guy. So Solomon does something bad, the women take all the blame, Solomon gets kinda punished but still gets to be an awesome fancy pants ruler. How's that for logic?

Monday: 1 Kings 12-14

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

1 Kings 8-9

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

1 Kings 8 - No mention of any women.

9:16 - Pharaoh had gone up and capture Gezer and burned it down, had killed the Canaanites that lived in the city, and given it as a dowry to his daughter, Solomon's wife.
9:24 - Pharaoh's daughter went up from the cit of David to her own house that Solomon had built for her.

My Comments

It's still amazing to me how much slavery is condoned in the Bible. Here we have Solomon using gifted slaves to build his home, the Millo and the wall of Jerusalem. This "forced labor" is made up of the people of Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer, a conquered people that obviously were not on God's side. It is definitely not okay to use God's chosen people as slaves (you know, unless He says it's okay) but please, anyone who is a foreigner is totally fair game. Which, you know, makes sense socially. You're much less likely to shit on your own people since they are part of your group and you need your group to survive. But it definitely does not make sense MORALLY, especially when we're talking about God who is the creator of our morals. If God is perfect then he must have created perfect morals. So why then are our modern morals (ie. we commonly consider forced slavery to be not okay) better than God's "perfect" morals? And I don't buy the "it was the culture at the time" argument. Yeah, people had slaves back in those days but that does not excuse a perfect God from condoning them. Why didn't he take the opportunity to change that part of ancient culture? Or is it reinforced so much in the Bible because the men who wrote it wanted their actions to be moral (or wanted a really good justification for enslaving people), so they wrote it this way so that God would be on their side?

I guess we may never know. But now I can see that it really wasn't hard to justify American slavery using the Bible. I always figured there was some hoop jumping to justify slavery but you really don't need to stretch the meaning of the Bible to see that God is A-okay with owning people as your own property.

Also curious as to why Pharaoh's daughter is moved away from Solomon. She isn't even in the same city anymore. Was this common for husbands to do with their wives? Was this just something richer men did because they could afford to build a separate house for their wives? Did this have any sort of benefit for the marriage? It's just weird since this is the first instance we've had of a husband housing his wife away from him. What purpose could this serve other than maybe keeping an annoying wife away from a husband who doesn't want to deal with her? I guess we may never know.

Also please note that this blog has been added to the Atheist Blogroll, a link to which can be found to the right on the blog. There are lots of really good blogs listed so please check them out if you get a chance. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts for more information. :)

Friday: 1 King 10-11