Monday, November 29, 2010

Job 1-4

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

1:2 - Job had seven sons and three daughters.
1:4 - His sons used to go and hold feasts in one another houses in turn; and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
1:13 - Job was visited by a messenger on a night that the sons and the daughters were eating and drinking wine.
1:18-19 - While the messenger was still speaking another one came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house, and suddenly a great wind came across the desert, struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; I alone have escaped to tell."
1:21 - Job tore his clothes and shaved his head and said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

2:9-10 - Job's wife said, "Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God and die." But he said to her, "You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

3:10-12 - "because [the stars] did not shut the doors of my mother's womb, and hide trouble from my eyes. Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire. Why were there knees to receive me or breasts for me to suck?"

Job 4 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

Sorry, Job, but I'm with your "foolish" wife on this one. I've never understood this story. How is this supposed to make me see Job as some sort of righteous man or God as loving? Job just looks like a dumb ass who thinks abuse is love and God looks like a douchebag because he lets Satan go down and completely destroy Job's life. Yeah yeah, I know in the end Job gets rewarded for being continually loyal to this asshole of a deity despite his entire life being ruined. But how does this help the lives lost just because God thought it'd be fun to test him? They died all because God wanted to have a dick measuring contest with Satan.

Yeah, I can totally feel the love.

And why can't Job be angry and upset that his kids are killed by God? Why can't a child be upset with their parent when their parent meddles with their life or denies them something? I would make a comparison to a child being angry when a parent denied them something harmful (like putting a metal bracelet in the wall socket to make "fireworks") but I think that would really be offensive to good parents everywhere. Nothing God is allowing to be done to Job is redeeming in the slightest. And yet, we do not begrudge the child's anger when his parents tell him to not play with the wall socket. Even when that anger is completely unjustified not many parents will punish a child because it's upset that it didn't get it's way. They won't be happy about the anger directed at them, sure, but the child's anger isn't a sin against the parent.

God, on the other hand, slaughters all of Job's children and Job isn't allowed to say any ill word about God or what God has done. Job HAS to accept this because to do otherwise would apparently mean he doesn't really love God.

Think about that. That child may be angry at his parents but does that automatically mean that the child doesn't love them? I know I've said horrible things to my parents in my life, many things I wish I could take back, but I still love them and I don't think they ever thought I really hated them. In the heat of the moment people will say a lot of shit to each other even when the smallest thing happens. Teenagers say they hate their parents when their curfew is 10pm instead of midnight. Toddlers scream when their parents won't get them a lollipop. It's the way children work.

Of course this isn't the case with all parents. Some parents are very vindictive to their children when the child lashes out at them. They would be more God-like, in this case, assuming just because their child is angry right now means that that child never loved them. And some parents rightfully deserved to be hated for things they have done to their children.

But if human kind's relationship with God is supposed to be some sort of idyllic parent/child relationship, I would expect it to look more like the understanding relationship between parent and child I gave as an example. If God created us he knows how our psychology works. And if God is all knowing he would know that a moment of rage does not equal an eternity of hatred.

But like I said before, any comparison of God I make to a parent/child relationship you would find around you does a great disservice to the vast majority of parents on this planet.

The only way to compare God to any living person is to create a complete sociopath who managed somewhere along the line to have children. Like say a parent allowed their child to pick out a few pets at the pound, to take them home, then feed them and raise them all on their own, and then one day, years later, that parent lets their neighbor come over and and slaughter all of the pets outside. THAT would be more like what God has done here.

I would not expect any person, normal or not, to be okay with this.

Yet God does ask you to be okay with this. God comes into the house, let's you know that your much loved pets have been killed by your neighbor, and expects you to say, "God's will be done. The Lord gives and the Lord takes, so we must take the good with the bad."

I'm sorry, but I call bullshit.

Wednesday: More Job

I hope this made some sense. I may go back and look through it when I have more time, but I'm still recovering from the holiday and am trying to get most of this out at work. :\

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Esther 9-10

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

9:11-14 - The king tells Queen Esther, "In the citadel of Susa the Jews have killed five hundred people and also the ten sons of Haman. Now what is your petition?" Esther replied, "If it pleases the king, let the Jews who are in Susa be allowed tomorrow also to do according to this day's edict, and let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows."
9:25 - Esther came before the king and the king gave orders that the wicked plot against the Jews shall come to an end and Haman's sons should be hanged on the gallows.
9:29-32 - Queen Esther daughter of Abihail, along with the Jew Mordecai, gave full written authority, confirming this second letter about Purim. Letters were sent wishing peace and security to all the Jews and giving orders that these days of Purim should be observed at their appointed seasons, as the Jew Mordecai ad Queen Esther enjoined in the Jews, just as they had laid down for themselves and for their descendants regulations concerning their fasts and their lamentations. The command of Queen Esther fixed these practices of Purim, and it was recorded in writing.

Esther 10 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

And in proper Bible fashion any celebration of Esther's deeds is almost completely erased. It's no longer Esther who gave the orders to stop the plot, now it's the king. Esther is no longer mentioned alone, but only along with the king and Mordecai. Mordecai is praised throughout both chapters (he's the only one mentioned in 10) and the only solo bit Esther gets is to request one more thing from the king. Based solely on the last chapter Mordecai is being praised as the real hero in all of this, so why is the book even called Esther? Why not just call it Mordecai? Mordecai is the one remembered and honored in the last chapter. Mordecai was the one ranked next to King Ahasuerus and the one powerful amongst the Jews. "For Mordecai sought the good of his people and interceded for the welfare of all his descendants."

Way to completely erase all that Esther did in just one small chapter.

Ugh. I seriously take back any nice thing I said about this book. At the beginning I was a bit hesitant, didn't want to get too excited about a possible woman hero. And then I was frustrated because Esther didn't seem to be doing anything at all. Then I was a bit impressed because Esther managed to stand up to Haman and outed his plans to the king. And now it just feels like why the hell did Esther bother doing anything at all because the Bible completely erases her biggest role in destroying Haman (outing him to the king) and makes it all about Mordecai. And in the end Mordecai gets EVERYTHING, the honors, the land, the titles, the nice shiny gaudy robes. Everything. And I guess Esther's reward is getting to stay the queen to a king who has no less than two concubine houses and who she is afraid to even speak to without his permission because she may be killed for daring to do so. Also, might I add, a husband who doesn't even want to see her on any sort of regular basis since it chapter 4 we learned that Esther hadn't seen the king in 30 days. What kind of reward is that? A life time of neglect and subservience to a man who can dismiss or kill her at a whim. A man who has been shown to punish his queen for simply daring to not want to come see him and prance for his guests when ordered.

Oh yeah, I can definitely see that Esther is the real hero in this story. She had all the major roles and got the best rewards, right? Yeah, right. I feel I should make a tag for disappointments such as these, but I am unsure what that tag should be...

Looks like we get to start Job next. Should be interesting.

There won't be a post on Friday since Thanksgiving is Thursday and my birthday is Friday. Gonna be pretty busy with awesome food and awesome people. Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving/holiday break! :D

Monday: Job

Monday, November 22, 2010

Esther 7-8

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Esther 7 - The king and Haman went to feast with Queen Esther. On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king asked Esther, "What is it you petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled." Queen Esther answered him, "If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me - that is my petition - and the lives of my people - that is my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king." The king asked whom it was who presumed to do this and Esther named Haman. And Haman was terrified before the king and queen. The king rose from the feast in wrath and went into the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg his life from Queen Esther. When the king returned Haman had thrown himself on the couch where Esther was reclining. "Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?" said the king. Haman's face was covered and Harbona, one of the king's eunuchs, mentioned the gallows that Haman had constructed for Mordecai. The king said to hang Haman on those gallows. So Haman was hanged and the king's anger was abated.

Esther 8 - On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman. Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told him what he was to her. Then the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. So Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.

Then Esther spoke again to the king; she fell to her feet, weeping and pleading for him to avert the evil design of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. The king held out the golden scepter to Esther and she rose and stood before the king. Esther asked that an order be written to revoke the letters f Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote giving orders to destroy the Jews. The King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to the Jew Mordecai, "See, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he plotted to lay hands on the Jews. You may write as you please with regard to the Jews in the name of the king, and seal it with the king's ring; for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the King's ring cannot be revoked.

My Comments

Okay, at least now Esther's banquet plot makes a bit more sense. I assume the multiple banquets was to give Haman a sense of security so it would be easier to surprise him when she revealed to the king what he had planned. She's even treated like basic people in these chapters. She has her own ideas, she's able to speak these ideas to the king without any negative repercussions and she's given leave to put her plan in motion. Of course because of the way the plan works out, it seems none of the Jewish people will ever associate her with their salvation. The king's name and seal is on all the written mandates and Mordecai went out into the people with the king's honors. Doesn't seem like anyone will have any clue what Esther had done for them. Whether she ended up as the queen by accident or not it does seem she put her fortunate circumstances to good use and even used them to her advantage. She knew she had the king's favor and she used it the best way she knew how. That does count for something, especially in a book that loves to vilify its women.

And it would have been easy for the Bible to make this story about just Mordecai and the king, and given them all the credit for this deed. And especially at the end of Friday's post it certainly seemed like that was how the whole thing was going to work out.

So props to the Bible for its decent handling of Esther's story. I don't get to give the Bible props very often so it's kind of a nice change of pace when it all ends and I don't have any major complaints. Even though I had my issues while I was reading the book I kinda take some of that back now, mostly just the issues I had with her plan last two chapters. Of course when you're only reading it a piece at a time those kind of confusions can happen.

Let's hope Esther ends on a decent high note as well.

Wednesday: Esther 9-10

Friday, November 19, 2010

Esther 5-6

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Esther 5 - Esther goes to have an audience with the king. As soon as the king saw Esther standing in the court she won his favor and he held our the golden scepter to her. Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter. The King asked her what it was she requested, even if it is half the kingdom he will give it to her. Esther requested that he and Haman come to a banquet that she has prepared. The king commanded Haman be brought quickly so that they could do as Esther desired. So the king and Haman had their banquet, and while they were drinking wine the king again asked Esther what she requested, even if it is half his kingdom he will give it to her. Esther only requested that the king and Haman once again come to a banquet that she will prepare tomorrow.

Haman left in high spirits, but he saw Mordecai by the king's gates as he was leaving. Haman saw that Mordecai neither trembled nor rose before him, and he became infuriated. Haman went home and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh, and Haman recounted the splendors at the king's palace and the honors and promotions the king had honored him with, even advancing him above his officials and ministers. Haman added that even Queen Esther let no one but himself come to the banquet that she had prepared, and tomorrow there would be another banquet. He lamented that this did him no good as long as the Jew Mordecai sat outside the king's gates. So Zeresh and all his friends suggested he construct a gallows to hang Mordecai on before the banquet, then he could go on in high spirits. This advice pleased Haman and the gallows were made.

Esther 6 - The king, reading annals and records, found that Mordecai had been the one to save him from the earlier assassination attempted and wanted to honor him for the deed. Haman went to the king and the king asked him, "What shall be done for the man the king wishes to honor." Haman thought he was speaking of him so he said that the man should be clothes in royal robes and be paraded around on a horse borrowed from an official. So the king told Haman to quickly take the royal robes and do just that for Mordecai. After this was done, Mordecai returned to the king's gates but Haman ran home. Haman told his wife and friends what had happened and they replied, "If Mordecai, before whom your downfall has begun, is of the Jewish people, you will not prevail against him, but will surely fall before him."

My Comments

So... Esther's big plan was to hold a couple of banquets? Really? I'm tempted to believe that she planned the entire scheme, that she accurately predicted everything that Haman and Mordecai and the king did and thus the banquet was the key to it all...

But that doesn't make any sense. The only thing the book says she actively did was propose the banquet. She did not suggest that the king lavish Haman with promotions and honors, which was an essential part to Haman getting all high and mighty and believing he was suddenly the king's favorite. The banquet helped that, yes, but without the honors and promotions I don't think the banquet would have had the same impact. It's possible Esther asked the king to honor Haman like that, but we are given no indication of this.

It is possible that Esther and Mordecai planned for Mordecai to sit outside the gates and rile Haman up, but to what end? I find it hard to believe that they could accurately predict that the very next day the king would decide to go through the record books and just happen to notice that Mordecai was the one who saved him from assassination. Or that then the king would decide to honor Mordecai but at that moment Haman would walk in and the king would decide to vaguely ask him how to honor Mordecai simply because Haman was just there. I mean seriously, you just CAN'T predict that without more pushing and prodding done to move things along. No one suggested the king look at the records. No one stalled or rushed Haman along so he'd get to the king at the right time so he could be asked about honoring Mordecai. No one asked the king to be horribly vague about whom he was planning to honor. You could possibly predict Haman's hubris and the fact that Haman would try to kill Mordecai, but outside of that this does not seem planned or devised at all. Shit just happened to work in Esther and Mordecai's favor.

Although I'm not sure things worked in their favor since nothing seemed to happen other than getting Haman all pissed off and presenting Mordecai as the one who will destroy him. I wouldn't think making Haman MORE pissed off at Mordecai would be helpful to the Jew's. Haman's anger at Mordecai was the reason this started, it makes no sense to think that MORE anger would be beneficial here.

But the funniest part here is if Mordecai is the one that is supposed to defeat Haman then that would make Mordecai, not Esther, the person who saves the Jewish people. It seems Mordecai is supposed to be the hero, not Esther.

Unless, you know, you consider Esther making two banquets for men a heroic deed. Or take great leaps in logic to assume that somehow Esther actually orchestrated the entire thing and the Bible just felt like not including those important bits of plot information.

How did this story that was supposed to be about Esther saving the Jews suddenly turn into a story about how Mordecai is supposed to save the Jews? I seriously hope this does not end up being the case, but since Chapter 6 had no mention of Esther whatsoever I'm not very hopeful in that regard...

Monday: Esther 7-8

I seem to have no tag for this post... perhaps I need to make a new one... like "disappointment" or "How is cooking a banquet a heroic deed?" Ugh...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Esther 3-4

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

3:13 - Letters were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces, giving orders to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all Jews, you and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.

Esther 4 - Haman has decreed to kill all of the Jews on account of Mordecai. Moredecai learns of this and in his outrage he rends his clothes and puts on sackcloth and ashes. But because he was dressed in sackcloth he could not enter the king's gates. Esther's maids and eunuchs told her about Mordecai and she was greatly distressed and sent garments to clothe him. Mordecai refused the garments. So Esther called for Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs, and ordered him to go see what was wrong with Mordecai. Hathach went to Mordecai and Mordecai told him all that had happened and the exact amount that Haman had offered the king's treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave Hathach a copy of the decree so that he might show it to Esther and charge Esther to go to the king and entreat him for her people.

Mathach went to Esther and told her what Mordecai had said. Esther spoke to Hathach and gave him a message for Mordecai, "All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if a man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law - all alike are to be put to death. Only if the king holds out the golden scepter to someone, may that person live. I myself have not been called to come in to the king for thirty days." When Mordecai was told this his reply was, "Do not think that in the king's palace you escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father's family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this." So Esther told Mordecai to gather up all the Jews in Susa and hold a fast on her behalf., and neither eat nor drink for three days and nights. Esther and her maids will fast just as they do. After the fast she will go to the king and either perish or not. So Mordecai went and did everything as Esther told him.

My Comments

Why can't the QUEEN go see the king? Seriously, even the queen herself has to be summoned before she may see the king or she'll be put to death? The hell kind of logic is that?

Although I guess it's not odd for her to have not seen the king in a month since he's apparently got two concubine houses to get women from. No real need to have the queen around more than necessary when you have so many other disposable women to choose from.

Also gotta love how Mordecai practically threatens Esther to risk her life and go see the king. "If you don't go see the king I'm sure us Jews will be fine but you and your family will probably die." And if he's so convinced that the Jews will be saved with or without her help then why is it so important for her to risk her life? Did I mention how stupid it is that the king will apparently kill the queen just for daring to speak to him without him summoning her? Sorry, I just can't get over how stupid that is.

So in essence Esther is told to risk her life to save her and her family's life, not to really save the Jews. Sounds like a really shitty deal, to be honest. But perhaps she has a cunning plan on how to speak to the king without getting her head lopped off? She doesn't seem too confident about it right now but maybe during her fasting she will come up with a plan or God will send messengers to her to aid her in creating a plan? Such suspense!

Friday: Esther 5-6

Monday, November 15, 2010

Esther 1-2

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

1:9-20 - King Ahasuerus held a great banquet for all his officials and ministers. During this time, Queen Vashti gave a banquet for the women in he palace of King Ahasuerus. On the seventh day, the king commanded his seven eunuchs to bring the queen before him wearing her crown, so that he could show the officials and people her beauty. The queen refused to come at the king's command. At this the king was enraged and his anger burned within him.

The king consulted the sages who knew the laws . The king wanted to know what to do with the queen because she had not done what was commanded by the king. One of his officials, Memucan, said, "Not only has Queen Vashti done wrong to the king, but also to all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. For this deed of the queen will be made known to all women, causing them to look with contempt on their husbands, since they will say 'King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.' This very day the noble ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen's behavior will rebel against the king's officials, and there will be no end of contempt and wrath! If it please the king let a royal order go out from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and Medes so that it may not be altered, that Vashti is never to come before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to one better than she. So when he decree made by the king if proclaimed throughout all his kingdom, vast as it is, all women will give honor to their husbands, high and low alike."

Esther 2 - After the king's anger had abated, he remember Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed. The the King's servants aid let beautiful virgins be sought out for the king, and let the king appoint commissioners i all the provinces of his kingdom gather all the beautiful young virgins to the harem in the citadel of Susa under custody of Hegai, the king's eunuch who is in charge of the women. There the women could have their cosmetic treatments given to them, and the girl who please the king most shall take Queen Vashti's place. his advised pleased the king and so he did just this.

There was a Jew in the citadel of Susa named Mordecai son of Jair son of Shimei son of Kish, a Benjaminite. Kish had been carried away from Jerusalem among the captives taken away with King Jeconiah of Judah. Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is Esther, his cousin, for she had neither father nor mother. Esther was fair and beautiful. So when the king's order and edict were proclaimed, Esther was gathered up with many other young girls in the citadel of Susa in custody of Hegai. Esther pleased Hegai and she was quikly taken to get her cosmetic treatments, her portion of food, seven chosen maids from the king's palace and advanced her to the top place in the harem. Esther did not mention her people or kindred for Mordecai had charged her not o. Everyday Mordecai walked around in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was.

After twelve months under the cosmetic treatment regulations for the women(six months with oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and cosmetics), the time came for each girl to take a turn in front of King Ahasuerus. When the girl went in to the king she was given whatever she asked for to take with her from the harem to the king's palace.In the evening she went in, and the next morning she came back to the second harem in custody of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch, who was in charge of the concubines. The girl would not see the king again unless he delighted in her and summoned her by name.

When Esther went to see the king she asked for nothing except what Hegai had advised her to ask for. Esther was admired by all who saw her. When Esther was taken to see the king in the tenth month the king loved her more than all the other women; of all the virgins she won his favor and devotion, so the king set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the king gave a great banquet to his ministers and officials ("Esther's Banquet"). He also granted a holiday in the provinces and gave gifts with royal liberality.

When the virgins were being gathered together, Mordecai was sitting a the kings gate. Esther had still not revealed her people or kindred for Esther obeyed Mordecai just as when she was brought up by him. While Mordecai had been sitting outside the gates he overheard two of the eunuchs plotting to assassinate the king. Mordecai told this information to Queen Esther and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai. When the affair was investigated and found to be true both men were hanged on the gallows.

My Comments

Ah, I think I already see a pattern here. We open up with the story about the woman who does not listen to her husband or any man, as it would seem. This is seen as a great insult since she is a woman, queen or no, and should not insult a man, especially the king, by not listening to his commands. So this queen is gotten rid of just for simply not wanting to prance around for the king and his officials. Right off the bat too. As far as we know this was her only offense, but it seems it only takes one sign of rebellion to be labeled a trouble maker. On top of that it is pointed out that if other women get wind of the fact that the Queen refused an order from the King that these other women would start disobeying their husbands. Supposedly this would cause their entire culture and civilization as they know it to collapse around them, I guess. So their course of action is to treat Vashti as an example to all women who would dare to not obey their husband's every whim. Vashti is not only punished but her punishment is made extremely public and the search for her replacement is decreed throughout the land. The message is clear: if a woman does not do exactly as you say it is perfectly okay to cast her aside and find a more subservient woman who will do everything you desire.

I mean really, even the Queen herself cannot show any sort of individuality or personality. If someone as powerful as the queen can't assert ANY power over her life then what chance does a normal common woman?

Vashti, the horrible rebel woman, is quickly replaced by Esther, the beautiful and virginal women who listens to any advice or command given to her by a man. Every single one. Mordecai tells her to never mention her people or kindred, and she never does (a point which is repeated no less than three times during the second chapter). She says exactly what Hegai tells her to say, and she does just that. She is subservient to the king and quickly becomes his favorite.

The moral so far for women: if you dare to go against a man's wishes in the slightest you will be cast out and made an example of, but if you listen to every whim and advice given to you by a man you will be showered with gifts, given a crown, and even have a banquet and holiday in your name.

And oh my god I cannot accurately explain how horrible I think the process of the king choosing a new queen is. I mean really, he herds all of the virgins in the kingdom into a citadel to have a year long cosmetic treatment. And virgins during this time, far as I can tell, are very young women. Especially in cultures during this time period (hell, even in some cultures today) a girl as young as 13 or 10 is considered eligible for marriage and having kids. Honestly, it seems the younger the better since the younger they are the more likely it is that they are virginal. Even if these girls are 15 or so it's still skeezy. Really is. So he rounds up these girls, holds them up for a year to get all prettified, and after that year he takes a girl a night to "try out" and in the morning shoves her into his second harem. Seriously, a second harem? I mean holy shit, this is just glorified sex slavery. The whole thing is glorified sex slavery. Taking girls captive, more than likely against their will. I'm sure no one asked these girls if they minded being taken to see if the king wanted them to be the next queen. The commissioners probably went to the father of the family and offered him the deal, and since it sounds like a fine deal for the father, (since he's not the one who's about to become a sex slave and who will probably only gain from this agreement) most of the girls were probably taken without even a thought to what they would want.

Just, I really dunno what to say about this. The king isn't presented as some sort of villain or un-Godly man. So far the Bible has been very neutral about him. And yet here is this entire story about how he casts out a woman just for pissing him off and then he proceeds to gather virgins to basically become his sex slaves. If not sex slaves then at least one night stands which I honestly consider to be rape because the incredible difference in power in this situation, considering how little power women have at all, basically means that any idea of consent is just out the window. Even if the women bothered to say no to the king would it have mattered? After the example made of the queen what might they think would happen to them, women who aren't even the queen and are denying him what he wants? I know if I was a young girl in that situation I would probably agree to anything if it meant possibly getting out of there with my life. And it seems he kept all of the girls he had his way with, since they went to his second harem. Which makes sense, they were no longer virgins and getting them a husband after that would be extremely difficult. He had to have kept them. He may have never used them again, but they were still his.


Wednesday: More Esther

Friday, November 12, 2010

Some Days Real Life Sucks

Right now my real life is trying its best to kill me. So unfortunately I could not get a post written for today. I'm hoping the camping trip I'm taking this weekend will help clear my head a bit and make me feel a little less stressed. Posting should resume Monday as normal.

Hope everyone has an awesome and safe weekend.

Monday: Esther

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nehemiah 12-13

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

12:43 - They offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. The joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.

13:23-27 - In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashod, Ammon, and Moab; and half of their children spoke the language of Ashod, and they could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke the language of various peoples. And I contended with them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair; and I made them take an oath in the name of God saying, "You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. Did not King Solomon of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him and he was beloved by his God and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin. Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?"

My Comments

If I had realized there were only two books left in Nehemiah I would have finished it yesterday. That'll teach me to not check ahead while reading for a post.

I'm seriously getting tired of the immense hatred and scorn God and his favored people have against foreign women and their children. Hatred and scorn which is then acted out on the foreign women and children and not the men who took them in the first place or the men. The men may get the lecture but it's the women and children who are forced to leave their husbands/fathers.

Often times I feel like a broken record on this blog. It feels like I don't even need to read through the entire Bible now, I seem to have all the main points down and from here on in it's just going to be me talking about the same shit over and over and over again. But it's also amazing how the Bible constantly talks so negatively about women. It just LOVES to repeat itself when it comes to warning men of the dangers of women, whether the women are foreign or whores or just women who darned to want a little more power for themselves.

These last few books seem hell bent on showing just how evil foreign women are. Nehemiah even brings up King Solomon and his affairs with foreign women to drive home his point. I mean, in that book the women were straight up referred to as his "errors." His errors and yet they are to blame for his sin.

I guess the biggest error is daring to let a woman have any sort of control over your life, including influence or control over what god you worship. For the Lord is a jealous god and he'll be damned if he's gonna let some sissy women lead his noble men away from him.

Again, I feel like a broken record.

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate the Bible's abuse of pronouns? Nehemiah says "And I contended with them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair." Who the hell is "they?" I mean seriously, previously he was talking about the foreign women and children, so is that who he is talking about? If so he's really a huge asshole because who beats up a child and then pulls the hair out of its head? Even a child you dislike? I'd ask who does that to a woman but the Bible condones even worse behavior towards women so I wouldn't be surprised if it advocated such violence towards women. Or are "they" the men he is addressing in the men I assume he forces to take the oath? It could really go either way. Once can't just put in a pronoun without clarifying who that pronoun addresses like that. The semicolon leads one to believe that he is beating up the men who took the foreign wives. But the children and wives were the last people to be properly addressed so it is perfectly reasonable to assume that the children and wives are the "they" mentioned.

Seriously, I bet this reads so much better in the older dead languages. Especially Latin. You could have weird sentences like that and it would make sense in Latin. You just don't get the same kind of clarity in English.

Friday we start the book of Esther. Our first female book since Ruth. This should be interesting. :)

Friday: Esther

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nehemiah 6-11

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

6:18 - Many in Judah were bound to Tobiah because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah son of Arah; and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son if Berechiah.

7:67 - The exiles that had been carried out by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon returned with their seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven male and female slaves and two hundred forty-five singers, male and female.

8:2-3 - The priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding. He read it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of the people were attentive to the book of the law.

Nehemiah 9 - No mention of any women.

10:28-31 - The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the temple servants and all who have separated themselves from the people of the land to adhere to the law of God, their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding, join with their kin, their nobles, and enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God's law. They will not give their daughters to the people of the land or take their daughters for their sons, they will not purchase merchandise or grain from the peoples of the land on the Sabbath, and they will forgo the crops of the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.

Nehemiah 11 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

And more examples of how foreign people are bad and only the people of God can be trusted. Hurray for xenophobia.

Wednesday: More Nehemiah

Friday, November 5, 2010

Nehemiah 1-5

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Nehemiah 1 - No mention of any women.

2:6 - The queen sat beside the king.

Nehemiah 3 - No mention of any women.

4:14 - Nehemiah tells the people to not be afraid of those hostile to them. They must remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for their kin, their sons, their daughters, their wives and their homes.

5:1-5 - Now there was a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish kin. For there were those who said, "With our sons and our daughters, we are many; we must get grain, so that we may eat and stay alive." There was also those who said, "We are having to pledge out fields, our vineyards and our homes in order to get grain during the famine." And there were those who said, "We are having to borrow money on our fields and vineyards to pay the king's tax. Now our flesh is the same as that of our kindred; our children are the same as their children; and yet we are forcing our sons and daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been ravished; we are powerless and our fields and vineyards now belong to others."

My Comments

Regarding Nehemiah 4:14, I love it when the Bible just lets you know that the people God addresses are just the adult men. Not the sons or daughters or wives. Just the men. Which is nice, I do like to have a reminder here and there that the Bible is actually NOT speaking to me, a woman, in the slightest. Most of the time even when the Bible is telling a story about a woman it isn't meant to be addressed to other women but to more men, either has a cautionary tale (ie. don't trust women they will only get you into trouble with God) or as a tale of how women are supposed to behave (ie. subservient and will stop at nothing to have their husband's sons). Sure, I guess us women could take SOMETHING out of these stories, but most of what you can take out of it is just "Good women should be in the kitchen, bare foot and pregnant" drivel that I find more harmful to women than good. I guess maybe I just like being a person more than being a piece of property.

Of course it makes total sense to direct the Bible only towards men. Men are the owners and pretty much anyone else in the society is property. And really, do you care if your chair or television or cat has a say in your holy book? Or if they are even addressed in it? Your cat is never gonna learn how to read, nor is your chair's feelings a priority. They are your things, you pretty much treat them as you will. Which is pretty much how I think many men back in those times viewed their children and wives. And also why the Bible never addresses them. Why address someone who is never going to read what you've written?

Also note that women and children apparently take no part in protecting themselves or their homes and land. I'm sure they cared about their homes and land and people just as much as their husbands and fathers did, but they don't get to do anything about it. All they could do, I guess, is sit back and wait to be slaughtered by the invading forces.

I'm not certain if Nehemiah 5 is anti-taxation or just a general anti-kings being douche bags who take advantage of their people. It also kind of sounds like it's trying to say that because the king is taxing them then the people of God are becoming like the other people of the kingdom? Does that sound right? I'm getting that kind of feeling mostly from the "Now our flesh is the same as that of our kindred; our children are the same as their children" line. I'm not exactly sure what it is really about other than these people are having a rough time paying for food during a famine because they are poor and are having to sell off their children and land in order to pay for food. Sounds like there is some subtext in there... maybe I'm just not quite seeing it right now... any ideas?

Monday: More Nehemiah

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ezra 4-10

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Ezra 4 - No mention of any women.

Ezra 5 - No mention of any women.

Ezra 6 - No mention of any women.

Ezra 7 - No mention of any women.

Ezra 8 - No mention of any women.

9:2 - The people of Israel had taken daughters from the people of the lands as wives for themselves and for their sons.
9:12 - Ezra tells the people to not give the foreign daughters to their sons and never seek their peace or prosperity so that the people of Israel may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for their children.

10:1-3 - An assembly of men, women and children gathered to Ezra outside of Israel and the people wept bitterly. Shecaniah son of Jehiel, of the descendants of Elam, addressed Ezra saying, "We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the people of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. So now let us make a covenant with our God to send away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God and let it be done according to the law."
10:10-11 - Ezra the priest stood up and said to the peopel of Judah and Benjamin, "You have trespassed and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel. Now make confession to the Lord the God of your ancestors, and do his will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives."
10:17-20 - By the first day of the first month they had come to the end of all the men who had married foreign women. There were found of the descendants of the priests who had married foreign women, of the descendants of Jeshua son of Jozadak and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib and Gedaliah. They pledged themselves to send away their wives and their guilt offering was a ram of the flock for their guilt.
10:44 - All of these men had married foreign women and they sent them away with their children.

My Comments

Oh no, not foreign women! However could God's people do such a thing?! D:

Gotta love the extreme xenophobia of the Bible. Love thy neighbor as long as thy neighbor is of the correct tribe, right?

So the obvious solution to this problem is to throw the women and their children (presumably not all of these children are adults) out of the tribe to fend for themselves. Don't punish the men who took the wives in the first place, let's just punish the people who didn't have much choice in the matter. I just find the wanton killing and exiling of those whom are not God's chosen people unsettling. According to the old testament you have to be born into the religion, you can't be converted or pay a price to become one of God's people. You either are or you aren't. So I guess I find it kind of funny that according to today's Christianity God is a completely different person who will accept anyone into his fold. Why would God's attitude towards that kind of thing change so drastically? I just don't get it...

Friday: Nehemiah

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Delay

Due to massive mounts of fun this weekend at both Oni-Con and Halloween night partying Monday's post will be moved to Wednesday.

Hope everyone had a delightful Halloween as well. :)