Monday, February 28, 2011

Isaiah 3-4

The Facts (chapter number: Verse)

3:12 - "My people - children are their oppressors, and women rue over them. O my people, your leaders mislead you, and confuse the course of your paths."
3:16-26 - "The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet; the Lord will afflict with scabs the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.

"In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarfs; the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; the signet rings and nose rings; the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; the garments of gauze, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils. Instead of perfume there will be stench; and instead of a sash, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a binding of sackcloth; instead of beauty, shame. Your men shall fall by the sword and your warriors in battle. And her gates shall lament and mourn; ravaged, she shall sit upon the ground."

4:1 - "Seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, 'We will eat our own bread and wear out own clothes; just let us be called by your name; take away our disgrace.'"
4:3-4 - "Whoever is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, once the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning."

My Comments

Gotta say, I just LOVE the detail that is put into the punishment of the daughters of Zion. The Bible just waxes poetic about how they will be disfigured and removed of all their clothes and jewels. Really, it just lingers on them. The punishment of others doesn't contain nearly as much detail (when any detail is even given). The men simple die but the women are stripped and shamed and left to suffer for the rest of their disgusting and shameful lives.

You know what, I think I'll let the Dread Pirate Roberts explain this one.

And lest we have forgotten already, women ruling over you is HORRIBLE! Truly, if it has come to that your leaders have led you astray and you are all on the wrong path!

Women are bad bad bad evil bad!

In case you forgot.

No, really, I honestly have no idea why the most evil thing out of all of Zion is the women. Why? Other than recently the Bible has been on a real "women are the root of all of men's shortcomings" kick, I don't see any other reason for this to be the focus. Or why is the fact that the daughters of Zion desire to look nice such a huge issue? There is no evidence that they place their looks above God or their duties or have caused them to slut it up, though I assume that is what is being implied. Because they looked good and wore makeup and fancy dress they have suddenly stopped caring about their duties and their loyalty to God. Or their fancy dress and good looks are meant to lure men away to the depths of Sheol.

Really, why is this the reason they are being punished? Is it too much to want an explanation for this? Was the answer to this question just so painfully obvious to those who lived during these times that further explanation was unnecessary?

Also, I am uncertain what exactly to make of "the Lord will lay bare their secret parts." Does this just mean he strips them of their finery so much that they will be naked or does this mean that he actually invites their rape as a punishment? But it doesn't seem like He leaves them naked since later it describes what their fine clothes are replaced by - sackcloth for robes and ropes for sashes. It even says there will be lamenting and mourning, and "ravaged" she shall sit upon the ground.

From this section, it really looks to me like God is advocating rape as a punishment for women who dare to draw attention to themselves by way of their looks. I'm just gonna go ahead and make that call. Just from the words that were chosen and the extreme disdain in which these women are held I'm pretty sure that is exactly what is going on. If only one of those things was present, the parts laid bare or the ravaged women I would say that they were probably just stripped and that's that. But to have women laid bare and ravaged it's too much together. It seems like a description of rape to me.

What a stand up guy, that God. Totally worthy of our worship and praise, right?

Wednesday: Isaiah 5-6

Friday, February 25, 2011

Isaiah 1-2

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

1:8 - "A daughter Zion is left like a booth in a vineyard, like a shelter in a cucumber field, like a besieged city."
1:21-23 - "How the faithful city has become a whore! She that was full of justice, righteousness lodged in her - but now murderers! Your silver has become dross, your wine is mixed with water. Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not defend the orphan, and the widow's cause does not come before them."
1:27 - "Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness."

2:3 - "... For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."

My Comments

Does a city have a choice in whom lives there? Really? It's not like daughter Zion, a piece of land and a collection of citizens, has any agency to get rid of these murderers and rebels who have chosen to reside within her walls or any ability to keep them out. That job is really up to her "righteous" citizens. Maybe this is meant to refer to all the citizens of the city, but then why gender it? Why call the people responsible (ie. men, because women have no power in city government) "whores" when so far we have never had an instance of a man being referred to as such? Why, when it's suddenly an issue of rebels and monsters within a city, is it suddenly the female city's fault and not the fault of the men already within her walls?

When you gender a city like this and then choose to call it a whore for something it could never have had any choice in, you are making a statement about feelings towards women whether you mean it as a metaphor or not. Why is it that a woman can be called a whore for something she didn't consent to? Even a female city isn't safe from this idea that virginity and chastity is something a woman is supposed to safe guard and if anything happens to it, whether it was against her will or not, blame is still placed on her. This is a sentiment we still hold today, where a woman who files rape charges is often critiqued up and down for how she dressed, what kind of makeup she was wearing, how high her heels were, whether she batted her eyelashes one too many times at the accused rapist. Some blame is always placed on the victim, and I think it is because we still hold this idea that a woman is the sole protector of her chastity and there is no way that she can be violated without some consent on her part. Or this idea that all women are on this earth to tempt men with sex and so we are always consciously or subconsciously, in some way, either wanting sex or enticing men to have sex with us.

We're not people, we're walking, talking, pheromone emitting and unwitting sexual temptresses.

And just in case any of your readers are of the belief that rape victims and feminists blow victim-blaming during rape cases out of proportion and we're some how SO much better nowadays, I present to you an article from only one day ago about a judge who let a convicted rapist (note he wasn't just accused, he was convicted of the crime) go without jail time because he felt the victim was inviting the sexual advances. To many men rape is just a case of "misunderstood signals and inconsiderate behavior" and not a violent violation of another person's agency and body. Fuck, the judge even states that he's sure whatever sex signals the victim sent were unintentional, which goes with this idea that women can't help the fact that they constantly tempt men into sex with them. It's just all subconscious. So because she was tempting her rapist with unintentional signals that she had no idea about the rapist cannot be held fully responsible for his crime and therefore does not have to go to jail.

Yes, truly we are a post-feminist society! Why do I even bother having this blog? Clearly all our problems are simply made up and fabricated by a female victim mentality. I see the light!

... -_-

So here's a reminder that it isn't the choice whether or not you have unscrupulous men inside you that makes you a whore but the fact that apparently you didn't do enough to keep those men out. The city of Zion has no choice in who lives in her so how can Zion ever consent to ANYONE (the righteous or the rebellious) living within her. And yet even though she lacks consent she is still called a whore and blamed for the monsters whom have settled within her.

Bible can't even resist calling its most beloved city a whore. What chance do we flawed female human beings have?

Monday: Isaiah 3-4

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Song of Solomon 7-8

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Song of Solomon 7 - How graceful are your feet in sandals, O queenly maiden! Your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of a master hand. Your navel is a rounded bowl that never lacks mixed wine. Your belly is a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies. Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle. Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim. Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon, overlooking Damascus. Your head crowns you like Carmel, and your flowing locks are like purple; a king is held captive in the tresses.

How fair and pleasant you are, O loved one, delectable maiden! You are stately as a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters. I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its branches. Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, and the scent of your breath like apples, and your kisses like the best wine that goes down smoothly, gliding over lips and teeth.

I am my beloved's, and his desire is for me. Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the fields, and lodge in the villages; let us go out early to the vineyards, and see whether the vines have budded, whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love. The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and over our doors are all choice fruits, new as well as old, which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.

Song of Solomon 8 - O that you were like a brother to me, who nursed at my mother's breast! If I met you outside, I would kiss you, and no one would despise me. I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother, and into the chamber of the one who bore me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, the juice of my pomegranates. O that his left hand were under my head, and that his right hand embraced me! I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, do not stir up or awaken love until it is ready! Who is that coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? Under the apple tree I awakened you. There your mother was in labor with you; there she who bore you was in labor.

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned.

We have a little sister, and she has no breasts. What shall we do for our sister, on the day when she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build upon her a battlement of silver; but if she is a door, we will enclose her with boards of cedar. I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers; then I was in his eyes as one who brings peace. Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; he entrusted the vineyard to keepers; each one was to bring for its fruit a thousand pieces of silver. My vineyard, my very own, is for myself; you, O Solomon, may have the thousand, and the keepers of the fruit two hundred!

O you who dwell in the gardens, my companions are listening for your voice; let me hear it.

Make haste, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag upon the mountains of spices!

My Comments

Okay, it kinda got a bit icky once the mother and sister with no breasts suddenly became involved in this. Are they gonna have sex on the mother's bed? Or is this a euphemism for someone's vagina, not sure whose in this case? And what exactly are they doing for this sister? What makes one a wall or a door? Is it better to be a wall than a door? Is this some sort of metaphor for a chaste virgin and a woman who has premarital sex? If the young sister has sex before love/marriage how exactly do they plan to board her up? The image of boarding a woman up so that she may not be an open door for others is really, really disturbing and not the imagery I really wanted this book to leave me with. :\

Overall, this book was not terrible and was good for some giggles, but I fail to see its purpose. It has no real plot. It doesn't provide any sort of guidance or lessons. The only lesson it may be saying is "wait for love," but how can that be taken as a real warning when the entire book is praising love and waxing poetic about the physical relationship between two people. Based on the last section on the sister is this a book that is meant to encourage others to wait until marriage before being physical with one another? Is the warning to not look for love until you are ready a warning to not become physical with someone until one is married?

Odd how a book that is filled to the brim with sexual innuendos and praise for such a physical love would turn around and in its last breathe denounce such love (outside of marriage, anyways). This is another thing I really hate about the Bible. You can take one section and it says one thing and not 5 pages later it's saying the complete opposite. Without a hint of irony, mind you.

So, I guess the lesson we can take from this is that marriage is a passionate love adventure filled with phallic fruits and architectural body parts, a union which is something that melds two people together so much that they can hardly exist without the other. Without this bond that has been given to us by God love is dangerous. Love should be kept away until one is ready to face a life long promise of commitment and devotion. If one cannot wait till marriage (read: if a WOMAN cannot wait till marriage), she is not better than a door that allows anyone to enter and leave, and she should be boarded up by those around her in order to save her from the lustful urges which she is not ready for.

Ha! I knew the Bible couldn't get through one entire book without succumbing to its inherent sexism! The youthful sister at the end is the true audience of this book. It is the women who are plagued with having their womanly parts that must be warned about the dangers of love. The girls and woman are the ones who are done a dishonor by unmarried love; they are the ones who are the doors that need to be kept shut so that they may not be hurt by love. The boys and men, they are not ruined by this love. They do not need to be warned of the dangers of love nor do they need to warn others. Notice how it is the woman in this book who is always reminding the daughters of Jerusalem to "not stir or awaken love till it is ready." Ladies, it is our job and our job alone to understand the dangers of sex and how it will ruin it. We only have ourselves to blame if we become doors instead of walls.

I really had not noticed the trend before now. I looked at the warning about love to be a testament to the power love can hold over a person. A feel of powerlessness to a force greater than you, a force you may not be able to control. The idea that love is something we cannot control is a common theme in many love stories. So it would make sense for someone to warn people that love is great but at the same time one should not throw themselves into such a situation unless they known what it is they will be in for.

But they could not help adding the young sister into the mix. They just couldn't. I could have ended this book with nothing but good, giggly things to say, but no. They had to go and ruin the entire thing. The Song of Solomon brought it all home in no more than two sentences. Love as great as long as you're keeping those legs together before marriage, ladies! Ugh! I hate it when this shit gets turned around on me. Drop my guard for a bit and BAM!

Well, at least I now no longer wonder why this book is in the Bible. We all know God's number one priority in life is to make sure us women folk stay in our place and heaven forbid we have any sort of sexual independence or control.

I guess it has to remind men over and over and over again because men were constantly being made immoral and dumb by our mystical vagina powers and so God was treating the men like one would a puppy that you're trying to train but keeps getting distracted by a blowing leaf. Sit! Stop looking at the leaf! Sit! Good boy-no! Sit! Oh my god when did you have time to shit on the rug?! I was watching you the whole time! Hey, come back here! You were supposed to sit! Quit being so cute, I'm trying to hate you! D:

Friday: Isaiah

Monday, February 21, 2011

Song of Solomon 5-6

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Song of Solomon 5 - I come to my garden, my sister, my bride; I gather my myrrh with my spice, I eat my honeycomb with my honey, I drink my wine with my milk.

Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love.

Another Dream

I slept, but my heart was awake. Listen! my beloved is knocking. "Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is wet with dew, my locks with the drops of the night." I had put off my garment; how could I put it on again? I had bathed my feet; how could I soil them? My beloved thrust his hand into the opening, and my inmost being yearned for him. I arose to open to my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, upon the handles of the bolt. I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and was gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but did not find him; I called him, but he gave no answer. Making their rounds in the city the sentinels found me; they beat me, they wounded me, they took away my mantle, those sentinels of the walls. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, tell him this: I am faint with love.

Colloquy of Friends and Bride

What is your beloved more than another beloved, O fairest among women? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you thus adjure us?

My beloved is all radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand. His head is the finest gold; his locks are wavy, black as a raven. His eyes are like doves beside springs of water, bathed in milk, fitly set. His cheeks are like beds of spices, yielding fragrance. His lips are lilies, distilling liquid myrrh. His arms are rounded gold, set with jewels. His body is ivory work, encrusted with sapphires. His legs are alabaster columns, set upon bases of gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as the cedars. His speech is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

Song of Solomon 6 - Where has your beloved gone, O fairest among women? Which way has your beloved turned, that we may seek him with you?

My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to pasture his flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine; he pastures his flock among the lilies.

The Bride's Matchless Beauty

You are beautiful as Tirzah, my love, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners. Turn away your eyes from me, for they overwhelm me! Your hair is like a flock of goats, moving down the slopes of Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of ewes, that have come up from the washing; all of them bear twins, and not one among them is bereaved. Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil. There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and maidens without number. My dove, my perfect one, is the only one, the darling of her mother, flawless to her that bore her. The maidens saw her and called her happy; the queens and concubines also, and they praised her. "Who is this that looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army with banners?"

I went down to the nut orchard, to look at the blossoms of the valley, to see whether the vines had budded, whether the pomegranates were in bloom. Before I was aware, my fancy set me in a chariot beside my prince.

Return, return, O Shulammite! Return, return, that we may look upon you.

Why should you look upon the Shulammite, as upon a dance before two armies?

My Comments

I think I am having more fun reading this book than any of the others so far. It's just passionate romance and physical love. Granted, I am not a huge fan of love that is more physical than intellectual (I'm just more passionate about having someone that I can talk to than a nice set of abs, I guess) but it's just SO nice to see here. The Bible is full of relationships that are based on fear, dominance, control, and respect. The Bible hardly speaks of love between people, especially man and wife. Especially a MUTUAL love, which I think is the key. We have seen some sparks, but none that seem to really glorify a love that could surpass one's love for God himself.

I kind of see this book this way. God is hardly mentioned and is not the recipient of this love. Odd to find in a Holy book, a human relationship which seems to be held up over the love between creation and Creator.

Honestly, I like it.

Still fun to find the innuendos. I remember reading Shakespeare and having fun finding all the sexual innuendos in his plays. Get the same kind of childish giggles reading this. Especially the dream in chapter 5. Hot damn. :P

Wednesday: Song of Solomon 7-8

Friday, February 18, 2011

Song of Solomon 3-4

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Song of Solomon 3 - Love's Dream

Upon my bed at night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer. "I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves." I sought him, but found him not. The sentinels found me, as they went about in the city. "Have you seen him whom my soul loves?" Scarcely had I passed them, when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go until I brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the wild does: do not stir up or awaken love until it is ready!

The Groom and His Party Approach

What is that coming up from the wilderness, like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the fragrant powders of the merchant? Look, it is the litter of Solomon! Around it are sixty mighty men of the mighty men of Israel, all equipped with swords and expert in war, each with his sword at his thigh because of alarms by night. King Solomon made himself a palanquin from the wood of Lebanon. He made its posts of silver, its back of gold, its seat of purple; its interior was inlaid with love. Daughters of Jerusalem, come out. Look, O daughters of Zion, at King Solomon, at the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, on the day of the gladness of his heart.

Song of Solomon 4 - The Bride's Beauty Extolled

How beautiful you are, my love, how very beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats, moving down the slopes of Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes that have come up from the washing, all of which bear twins, and not one among them is bereaved. Your lips are like a crimson thread, and your mouth is lovely. Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil. Your neck is like the tower of David, built in courses; on it hang a thousand bucklers, all of them shields of warriors. Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, that feed among the lilies. Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, I will hasten to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense. You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. Come with me from Lebanon, my bride; come with me from Lebanon. Depart from the peak of Amana, from the peak of Senir and Hermon, from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards.

You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride, you have ravished my heart with a glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How sweet is your love, my sister, my bride! how much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice! Your lips distill nectar, my bride; honey and milk are under your tongue; the scent of your garments is like the scent of Lebanon. A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a garden locked, a fountain sealed. Your channel is an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all chief spices-- a garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon. Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden that its fragrance may be wafted abroad. Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits.

My Comments

Whoo, man, doesn't chapter 4 just make you weak in the knees? Apparently romantic poetry doesn't always hold up well with time. Never had a guy wax poetic about my teeth. Or my tower like neck. I think if anyone tried that would be pretty awkward.

Reading further into the Song of Solomon, the idea that this might be a metaphor for the church and God seems very unlikely. Either that or God has a very intimate relationship with his church that I really don't feel like thinking about.

I think by the time I'm done I'm just gonna pick out all the ridiculously flowery phrases they use for naughty bits and sex acts and compile them into a list for future reference. Just in case I feel like asking if anyone would like to come into my garden and eat of my choicest fruits, know what I mean? know what I mean? Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more! Say no more!

Monday: Song of Solomon 5-6

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Song of Solomon 1-2

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's.

Colloquy of Bride and Friends

Song of Solomon 1 - Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine, your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is perfume poured out; therefore the maidens love you. Draw me after you, let us make haste. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you. I am black and beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has gazed on me. My mother's sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept! Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who is veiled beside the flocks of your companions? If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow the tracks of the flock, and pasture your kids beside the shepherds' tents.

Colloquy of Bridegroom, Friends, and Bride

I compare you, my love, to a mare among Pharaoh's chariots. Your cheeks are comely with ornaments, your neck with strings of jewels. We will make you ornaments of gold, studded with silver. While the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance. My beloved is to me a bag of myrrh that lies between my breasts. My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of En-gedi.

Ah, you are beautiful, my love; ah, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves. Ah, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly lovely. Our couch is green; the beams of our house are cedar, our rafters are pine.

Song of Solomon 2 - I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.

As a lily among brambles, so is my love among maidens.

As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his intention toward me was love. Sustain me with raisins, refresh me with apples; for I am faint with love. O that his left hand were under my head, and that his right hand embraced me! I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the wild does: do not stir up or awaken love until it is ready!

Springtime Rhapsody

The voice of my beloved! Look, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. Catch us the foxes, the little foxes, that ruin the vineyards-- for our vineyards are in blossom."

My beloved is mine and I am his; he pastures his flock among the lilies. Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle or a young stag on the cleft mountains.

My Comments

This brief study guide to the Song of Solomon is about the best thing I could find that addresses who is speaking in these books. I recommend giving it a read because this book is so vague and full of unidentified pronouns (which I hate!) that I will probably not be able to get much out of this. At least not much that isn't pretty much pulled straight out of my ass.

The Song of Solomon is a love story between a man and a woman oddly placed in the middle of the Old Testament. It seems there is debate over whether this is metaphorical/allegorical or literal or whether this is between an actual husband and wife or if this is between God and church or God and the virgin Mary.

I actually find any of these cases irrelevant because you cannot tell who the hell is speaking in any of these parts. It is obvious the speaker goes back and forth, but we are given no clear indication of who is speaking when. There are very few gendered pronouns (hers and hims) and a great amount of "I" and "you." Seriously, it's ridiculous. Now, it is safe to assume, since the Bible frowns upon homosexuality, that any verses referencing the love for a man are being spoken by a woman and vice versa.

From reading the first chapter it would seem the first half of it is from a woman's perspective, describing her love and hos she wants him to kiss her. She is black and beautiful, though, according to the article I found this is an inaccurate translation, which makes sense because two verses later she asks to not be looked upon because she is dark. She talks about her love tending flocks, which was typically a male job.

The second half seems to be from a male perspective. He compares his love to a mare with jewels for whom he wishes to adorn with more jewelry. His nard (which is apparently something that is used for its fragrance and not some silly word for male anatomy) is fragrant and his love is a bag of myrrh that lies between his breasts. She is a cluster of henna blossom. His love is incredibly beautiful in his eyes.

I guess the woman is speaking the parts about being a rose and being a lily among brambles.

The entirety of chapter 2 seems to all be spoken by the woman. Her love is one of a kind and she stays with him and enjoys his shade. He comforts her, feeds her, sustains her. Her love is awakened and is apparently wild because she urges others to not awaken love before they are ready. Her lover calls for her to rise and come to him. She is his and he is hers. Her beloved is like a gazelle in the fields or a young stag on the mountains.

Honestly, the imagery is quite nice and I like the passion and romance behind it. It is reminiscent of the young love we as a culture so often admire and it is kind of cool to see that this isn't a uniquely modern thing. These passages are filled with an seemingly unsatisfiable lust, which is odd considering this book is part of the Bible. It is a love based purely on the physical, in smells and looks and feels, not in the intellectual. These two do not seem to have been friends for years who have suddenly developed feelings for one another. These two are physically drawn together by a force greater than they (and no, I don't mean God, just good old fashioned hormones). Which is a love story older than time, I guess.

Funny, seems I have the least amount of issues with the book that is the least God-fearing. This book seems to celebrate a love between a man and a woman without any guilt attached. These two love each other and that seems to be okay. Granted, they are being married so their love is all a-okay according to the Biblical laws, but it's nice to see an actual celebration of love in the Bible instead of the parade of woman-hating we often get in the place of love.

Do love how comparing a woman to a bedazzled horse (albeit a NICE bedazzled horse) is considered a compliment. Boy, how the times change. :P

Friday: Song of Solomon 3-4

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ecclesiastes 5-12

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

5:15 - "As they came from their mother's womb, so they shall go again, naked as they came; they shall take nothing for their toil, which they may carry away with their hands."

Ecclesiastes 6 - No mention of any women.

7:26-29 - "I found more bitter than death the woman who is a trap, those heart is snares and nets, whose hands are fetters; one who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. See, this is what I found, says the Teacher, adding one thing to another to find the sum, which my mind has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these, I have not found. See, this alone I found, that God made human beings straightforward, but they have devised many schemes."

Ecclesiastes 8 - No mention of any women.

9:9 - "Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun."

Ecclesiastes 10 - No mention of any women.

11:5 - "Just as you do not know how the breath comes to the bones in your mother's womb, so you do not know the work of God, who makes everything."

12:3-4 - "[Remember your creator] in the day when the guards of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the women who grind cease working because they are few, and those who look through the windows see dimly; when the doors on the street shut, and the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low."

My Comments

Okay... Sometimes I'm pretty sure these translators are just pulling words out of their ass because the text they have isn't all that complete or is just jumbled from years of translations because does the last half of 7:26-29 make any sense to anyone? I get the first part, a woman (presumably an adulteress or prostitute) is a fate worse than death and the faithful will resist her while the sinful will fall into her trap.

But what is all that nonsense about adding sums and a woman isn't among them and God has made humans straightforward so it is humans who brought in deceit? Does that mean women are not counted about the people because of their ability to ruin man so handily, and in the next sentence the divisors of schemes are women? Since God made MAN perfect but had to create Eve to suit Adam and she is the one who "devised a scheme" that got them kicked out of paradise? That is the only way I can make all three of those verses together make sense. First verse: Women are the downfall of man. Second verse: A woman cannot be found that can add up to a sum (a Godly sum perhaps?). Third verse: God created humans (man) perfect, but they (women) devise schemes. It just seems odd for that last verse to move from being women specific to suddenly being a general thought on humans. It would be like telling someone that cats are evil and do not fit into the scheme of the world, so I have found that all animals are mischievous and up to no good. That does work. You cannot say a subset is all this way therefore the group that subset comes from is all that way. Logic goes the other way around, if all of a group is a specific way then you can conclude logically that a subset of that group must all be that way.

So going from women to all humans is just weird and does not flow logically, which is why I do believe that last verse is actually about God's perfect creation being man (because God created Adam first and Eve was a mutation of God's perfection) and women being the deceivers of his creation.

Of course that may not be what the last parts of those verses are about. I swear, that math verse in the middle is ridiculous. From what I can tell it is saying women do not add up in God's plans, but really it could be something completely different. That is just a mess of words that happen to be in English. Reminds me of my days in Latin classes, when I'd get to a sentence that I had no clue about, and I would just translate the words and try to arrange them in a way that made sense. It usually came out as jumbled up nonsense that was completely unreadable. That is what that math verse reminds me of. Ridiculous.

Anyone have any other thoughts as to what those verse may actually be trying to say?

Also, Ecclesiastes 11:5 just seems silly now. We do know how breath comes to the baby in the womb, so does this now mean that we can understand the workings of an invisible all powerful creator? Or does this mean we can apply the same things we use to determine how a baby grows in the womb (science) and use it to determine the nature of God? Because when we use science (and logic) to determine the nature of God his nature turns out to be nonexistent, so... case closed?

... no, I guess not.

Wednesday: Song of Solomon

Let's get ready for Bible porn! :D

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ecclesiastes 1-4

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Ecclesiastes 1 - No mention of any women.

2:7-8 - "I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house; I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, and many concubines."

Ecclesiastes 3 - No mention of any women.

Ecclesiastes 4 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

Ah, for now at least it is nice to have a break from the rampant sexism of Proverbs. I know I'll get bored after a while if this lack of women keeps up, but for now it'll be nice to end a blog post without a huge ball of rage in my throat.

Though it's not really very exciting to be reading more groveling "Oh God you are so wonderful! I'm such a sinful, selfish wretch without you!" verses. Those always make great reading. -_-


Unrelated, but I am uncertain if anyone has heard the hoopla that is going on on the atheist blogs about this panel that went on at American Atheists SERAM. The blog posts I had read about this (this post at Blag Hag is the only one I will link to because I think it is the only one that actually understands why people are upset about all this) have already upset me. But the video that I found today has made me cry.

A panel that began to discuss sexism and making women feel more comfortable in the atheist movement, where men outnumber the women 5:1 and the vast majority of voices heard are men, is already a recipe for disaster. But then it only gets worse. Women are constantly referred to as "females" and "girls" while men are "men", "males" and "guys" (never boys). Men go off about how it's biological for them to hit on women they meet and since atheist group meetings are places they can make sure the women aren't Christian they feel this rationalizes them wanting to hit on women at these meetings. And when the only woman who actually stands up to address an issue of sexism that is happening RIGHT THERE (the terminology used to refer to women, which was troubling in its quantity) she is literally mocked and laughed out of the room. Seriously, when you asked someone, "What can I do to make you more comfortable in the group?" and they reply, "Well, something you could do is stop referring to me like I'm an animal because it makes me feel undervalued," the correct response is not, "That's a stupid suggestion, why would you even bring that up." It should have gone more like, "That is an interesting thought and I was unaware of how this was making you feel. Maybe we can discuss this issue further and see if there is more to this." Some members of the atheist community like to say that sometimes you have to be a dick and ridicule someone so that they will understand that something like religion is ridiculous. Like how kids laugh at their peers who still believe in Santa Claus. I, to be honest, do not think this is always the best route to go and should definitely not be heralded as some masterful and wonderful discussion tactic. If you start to treat every opinion and belief that doesn't match yours as automatically wrong and invalid, you become unwilling to listen to those who have real concerns (ie. women concerned about very real sexism) and you will eventually lose those whom you were trying to attract (ie. women who wish to be active in a community that shares their lack of belief in a deity in a country that is overwhelmed by the religious).

This issue is not about whether women would want to be referred to as "females" or "girls" or "women" or how the hell we are supposed to know if referring to women as such will upset them. The issue is that even when a woman stands up to address an issue she has, instead of discussing the issue she is mocked. Her issue is seen as petty and ridiculous and she is dismissed. This panel seems to send the message that women should just sit down and shut up because men are just built to be this way and it's you're problem if you get offended because they're all just being Nice Guys(tm) and you don't have any reason to be getting so upset.

This is why I tend to never bother with actual feminist discussion in atheist environments. Because they are usually comprised of a majority of men (who have never once tried to do any research on sexism or the feminist movement) whom dismiss the issues that are bothering women (or atheists of color because trying to discuss racism in the atheist community is just as frustrating) because those problems are silly. The atheists are so much better than those conservative Christians so they can't possibly be sexist or racist, right? Trying to educate a privileged white guy about his privilege when he honest to dog thinks he is way better than those other privileged white guys simply because he isn't in a privileged religion is far more frustrating than talking to a wall.

So I seethe. It feels pointless because the a lot of the women in the atheist blogging community are trying to say that this isn't an issue about whether women want to be called "female" or "women" but an issue of whether women can add to the conversation at all. Whether the majority of us (not just the atheist women who hold higher positions in the community, since there are many) can have a say in how we would like the communities to be. I don't even think the women with more power and voice in the community can speak much about sexism without getting a lot of guff from the men because they shouldn't be talking to the men in the community but just the jerks and the creepers and the dicks. Most of the atheist men are really Nice Guys (tm) and if they happen to mock you with a sexist joke they don't REALLY mean it, they were just being funny and you shouldn't get so upset about it. I mean, really, who gets all offended at a simple joke, right? You can see how much the appreciate a female voice leading them when the woman on that panel maybe got to say at most 3-5 sentences. When you bring up sexism it's suddenly all about how men are ruled by their biology and they can't help it if they wanna have sex all the time and women are just quieter, more in the closet and don't feel like coming out to events.

Honestly, when they say stuff like that they really just sound no better than most religions. Men want sex because that's how God made them so women are responsible for keeping men from having sex with them (unless they are married). Women are just naturally meant to be quiet and not try to voice their opinions or real concerns because they were just meant to be quieter and not debate.

That woman left that panel not because these men were calling women "females" and "girls" but because this panel was obviously not going to be about women and their real concerns and what needs to be done and what attitudes need to be changed in order to make women feel comfortable and welcome in the atheist community. She left because the panel and everyone else in the room laughed at her "petty" comment. Because no one would listen to her or try to keep her in the room even when she was at a panel that was basically discussing how to stop women from wanting to leave the room. Because that panel was basically turning into a discussion where dude's patted themselves on the pack for not being one of those "dicks" at the meetings who harassed women.

I would have stormed out with her.

I do not wish to get into this debate as it is right now. I do not want to hear anymore whining about how stupid it was that she was offended by the panel saying "female" and that this whole issue isn't worth talking about. You are missing this woman's point entirely. And honestly, I'm not going to talk or discuss anything with someone who seems to purposefully be keeping themselves ignorant of the actual issue at hand.

The atheist community is pretty much steeped in just as much sexism as the religious community. I have not gone out to join an atheist group because, from what I have seen, I would definitely not feel comfortable or welcome. If they can't even sit and listen to one woman speak her piece at a panel without laughing in her face (and from what I've seen it looks like the rest of the atheist blogging community would have laughed and mocked right along with them), then I really want nothing to do with it.

I just wanted to say my piece in a place where I know I cannot be silenced. And right now I am too pissed off to deal with those whom cannot comprehend what actually happened at that panel to try and get into any of the comment sections at any of these atheist blogs.

Monday: More Ecclesiastes

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Proverbs 28-31

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

28:24 - "Anyone who robs father or mother and says, "there is not crime," is partner to a thug.

29:3 - "A child who loves wisdom makes a parent glad, but to keep company with prostitutes is to squander one's substance."

30:11 - "There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers."
30:15-23 - "The leech has two daughters; 'Give, give,' they cry. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, 'Enough': Sheol, the barren womb, the earth ever thirsty for water, and the fire that never says, 'Enough.' The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures. Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a girl. This is the way of an adulteress: she eats, and wipes her mouth, and says, 'I have done no wrong.' Under three things the earth trembles; under four it cannot bear up; a slave when he becomes king, a fool when glutted with food, an unloved women when she gets a husband, and a maid when she succeeds her mistress."

Proverbs 31 - The Teachings of King Lemuel's Mother. This is an oracle that his mother taught him. No, my son, do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings. Rulers should not drink strong wine 'lest they forget what they have decreed and pervert the law. Give strong drink to those in bitter distress and for those who wish to forget their poverty. Speak out for those who cannot speak, and defend the rights of the poor and the needy.

"A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away. She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson. She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates."

My Comments

Why does the leech specifically have daughters and not just children? Why is a barren womb never satisfied? Is it because the women bemoans her lack of ability to have children? I really don't think that's really her fault since it’s everyone else who deems her life only worth something if she can bear sons. Do you think that women who never bear sons are considered barren during this time? Notice how he doesn't understand the relationship between a MAN and a GIRL, not a man and a women or a boy and girl. This implies an age gap in relationships which creates a power difference. Or is he confused because this is not normal? Though I cannot imagine that being the case since marrying young (virginal) girls has been a primary part of many cultures (past and present).

Once again we meet the adulteress. Oh, adulteress, you are always right at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts. How devious you must be that young men require a constant reminder of your pitfalls. Still, how is the man involved with the adulteress never mentioned? Why doesn't he also wipe his mouth and say he has done no crime? Why is he NEVER thought about unless he is being pitied as a victim?

I also do not really understand how the earth cannot bear an unloved woman who gets a husband or a mistress being succeeded by a maid. Why is the women getting married a problem? Isn't it good that she is getting married? Or is it bad because the husband supposedly does not love her and this is a problem for him? Because we must always pity the man in these situations, so his situation is the key and the woman’s is an afterthought (or she is the actual perpetrator of the man’s less than awesome life). That is the only reason I can think that this would be a bad thing. I guess it is assumed that this poor man was practically forced to marry this completely unlovable woman and she becomes his tormentor. Though he can just go out and get some concubines and mistresses to make up for his now shitty wife, so I’m not exactly sure why this would hurt the man. It’s not like today where men can only marry one woman so having a crappy wife would actually be kind of a poor situation. But these men could have as many wives as they wished so where is the issue?

And I think maids usually succeed their mistresses because someone else wishes them to (be it the husband, God or the mistresses themselves), not because the maid really had a great desire to oust her mistress. Anyone remember Hagar? Or Bilhah and Zilpah? You could even count Esther in this, since she was a concubine who replaced the queen at the king’s wishes. So how exactly can the earth not bear it when it seems these types of successions are actually part of God’s plan? Did God not make the Earth strong enough to bear his own bidding? So I guess this also means that God actually can make a rock big enough so even he cannot lift it? Or when the king’s mother mentions “Earth” does she really just mean society? No, that metaphor doesn’t work much either because the husbands (and even wives) are also commanding the maids to take their mistress’ place. And these people are not punished for doing this so I don’t think that this was seen as some sort of “sin” within the community. So what the hell is the king’s mother mean? :\

Also, don’t forget, kings (as with most men) must not give their power to women, which I guess also implies that a man should not rely on a woman for advice on what he should do. Following advice from a woman would be akin to giving her some of your power, as would telling them the secrets to your power. Anyone remember the downfall of Samson?

And now we finally come to the big revealing passage on a woman’s role in the family. Was it as revealing as I was led to believe? She seems to do work: She gathers wool and flax, she travels far to bring food (like fishers), she buys land for fields and helps farm, she orders the serving girls around, she aids the poor and needy, she makes clothes and she goes to market. Because of all this work she “rises while it is still night” and “her lamp does not go out when it is night.” (I take this as implying that she is pretty much the sole person awake, while the rest of her family sleeps and rests) A family woman is constantly having to work to keep her house running. She does not rest or sleep but it is still expected that she “looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’” A wife’s life is full of responsibilities and necessary chores, but a CAPABLE and GODLY wife does all this with a smile on her face and constant pep in her step. It would seem that she may not have a bad day, or be tired and become cross at some annoyance. A capable and godly wife does her husband good all his days while he takes his place with the elders.

Responsibilities are good and the wife (in the Bible) seems to be a key player in the stability of a home (even if she does seem to be confined basically to the home and the property). And I’ll grant it that this may seem like a lot to me because I think of the family as two parents and their children with no outside help. In this scenario the wife would more than likely have help from other women family members, other wives or concubines and also the serving girls. Yet the wife is still expected to work all day and all night and never rest. On top of this, she must be HAPPY that she is working this hard without a break because it is helping her family and serving the family Is the greatest joy a wife can have. Which I call bullshit on. I would think that even though family was important that these women would love the chance to be officials in their city (maybe sit with the elders like their husband does) or love to take a holiday and just spend some time chillaxing with their friends. Oh, wait, maybe the men consider their monthly tent exiles and birthing cleansing time to be a woman’s holiday. Because I know that being ousted from my community because I am unclean would make a great start to my holiday.

But this still rings true today, right? Women who are not happy and chipper are not good women. If we are having a bad day a million and one people will tell you to smile, not even knowing why you are so upset. That happen to anyone here? I know I’ve been told by strangers (usually men) to smile on more than one occasion, even when these people couldn’t possibly know how my day has gone. Or people assume I’m a horrible bitch or think I’m being rude to them just because I don’t have a huge shit eating grin on my face. I got used to putting on a smile around people after working a few years in retail because so many people would assume I was a rude person if I wasn’t happy smiley all the time. Didn’t seem like my male coworkers had to work quite as hard to be so happy, but I guess they may have not had to put up with all the shit that I as a girl gamer had to put up with working at a videogame store. But still, people do not like unhappy women. Not women who are being actively rude or bitchy but just women who are not smiling and full of pep. It’s weird. I know I’m not the only one who notices this since I have heard many women talk about the “Smile!” comments before. Anyone else here have any experience with this?

So I dunno, it’s still good to know that women were an integral part of family work and their responsibilities were more than just do the dishes and sweep the floors. But it is a bit disheartening that the Bible adds the “Smile!” bit to it. Must have been tough to keep a smile on your face while you worked your fingers to the bone. Working even while the rest of your family slept. Women’s work is a pretty big double edged sword.

Friday: Ecclesiastes

Whew, I didn’t think I’d make it through the swamp of sexism that was Proverbs (which is still amazing because I never suspected that Proverbs was so steeped in sexism) but here we are. Onwards to new books and new adventures. What surprises will the Bible bring to us next? Man, I just can’t wait! :D

Lol, sarcasm.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Proverbs 23-27

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

23:22 - "Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old."
23:25 - "Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice."
23:27-28 - "For a prostitute is a deep pit; an adulteress a narrow well. She lies in wait like a robber and increases the number of the faithless."

Proverbs 24 - No mention of any women.

25:24 - "It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a contentious wife."

Proverbs 26 - No mention of any women.

27:15-16 - "A continual dripping on a rainy day and a contentious woman are alike, to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in the right hand."
27:27 - "There will be enough goats' milk for your food, for the food of your household and nourishment for your servant girls."

My Comments

Well, since the Bible can't be bothered to come up with anything new, I won't bother either. It really is a time saver to just copy and paste something you've already said before. :)

"Geez. We ladies are just a constant source of grief for those poor men. It is apparently better to life on a corner of a roof or out in a desert than it is to have to even share a space with a woman who dares to disagree with you. I mean really? And I imagine the 'contentious' woman doesn't even have to be that disagreeable. She probably would be considered 'contentious' if she just dared to voice her opinion that may go slightly against her husband's plans." (from Proverbs 19-22)

And I don't feel like repeating my diatribes on the fuckery of the Bible's views on prostitutes and adulteresses so I'll again simply reiterate my previous thoughts and point towards my posts on Proverbs 6-7 and Proverbs 3-5.

Isn't it comforting to know that women can only either be extremely virtuous mothers or extremely soul destroying whores? I guess it's comforting, only having two choices on what I'm gonna do in life really takes a lot of the pressure off. Don't have to even think about being a doctor or a lawyer or whether or not I wanna go to grad school. Nope, instead it's pop out babies and be a quiet submissive to my husband or go out and send men to the pits of hell!

I'll let the wonderful webcomic Sinfest finish this one up. Love that comic. :)

Friday: 27-31

I'm excited for the next post. This will end Proverbs and chapter 31 is supposed to cover women's real roles in the family (or so I've heard). I've already done research on it so I can't wait to see what the Bible actually has to say on the matter. Should prove to be interesting to say the least.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Biblical Family

We interrupt our originally planned Proverbs reading to bring you some rudimentary research on the Biblical family: past and present.

I have been doing a little online research on Biblical families, just so I can have a little more background to go on when I talk about the family structures in the Bible. You'd think the Bible itself would be enough, but it is horribly vague and doesn't talk enough about some aspects of the family. So let's see what the internet has to say about this. I do intend to see if I can locate a book that will have the information I want, but that will take me time to find, purchase and then read so for now we'll have to be okay with internet research. Note: I will include a couple of more academic articles (I wish the internet actually had more academic articles to read) and also modern interpretations of the Biblical family (mostly for the lols).

Researchy Articles

Family, Work, Worship in the Bible:The Ideal Woman; Slaves and Servants; Daily Tasks

Biblical Archaeology: Work

So it seems women actually did have a wide variety of tasks, even if they are not mentioned in the Bible. Apparently there was a head matriarch in the central family (which we will read about in Proverbs 31 soon) who actually had power and real respect, it seems. Women had jobs that ranged from the inane (making herself look pretty, being on call for anyone who may need her, overseeing emotional needs of the household) to actually pretty interesting (clothing and tent making, gathering food, administering finances and buying investment property). Childrearing did not seem to play a huge role in the life of a woman in these times (more on that in a second). I find it interesting that it was women who were relegated to bury the dead, especially when handling the dead was decidedly unclean in the Bible. While it may have been considered a noble job in other religions or a noble job today, it was definitely considered lesser work to the Biblical God. Reading the description of life for these women, though, I do not think they were given the task of burying the dead as some sort of slight against them. Women seemed to have been revered and they played such a huge part in life and death in these communities. During births, the pregnant woman was surrounded by other women. Midwives, female relatives and female slaves all gathered around to help bring another life into the world. Giving life was something women did, and it was given the respect it so deserved. It only makes sense that since women were the bringers of life that they would also take care of the dead. Women are there at the beginning and the end, and during these times when many tribes and clans were still deeply entrenched in goddess based religions (like Ashera, who we have heard about in the Bible as an enemy to God) these roles were greatly respected.

It makes sense, then, that God, who views women as the downfall of his perfect creation, would use these roles to work against women. Once God started making the rules, birthing was no longer a celebration or a power that women held. Instead, giving birth and everything associated with it become unclean. Women who menstruated were exiled to tents until their bleeding stopped, and any man who dared to touch anything that may have been contaminated with the blood, including the women herself, were also declared unclean and had to perform purification rituals. Being born of a woman becomes a fault in the Bible, not something to be proud of. Then God declares corpses and those who touch them to be unclean, when this was apparently a woman’s job. Corpses had not been unclean up to this point. Dying was a part of life, and women being the keepers of life honored the dead by taking care of them. But God cannot tolerate women having any sort of power in the community so he declared that the handling of corpses was unclean and whoever should touch one would be exiled outside of the town until they are clean once more. God stripped women of a vast majority of their power, all so that men, his favored creation, could truly have full reign over every creature, big and small.

Once everything about a woman become unclean it didn’t take long for them to become the bottom rung of the ladder and for goddess worship to disappear. Why would one worship a female god when everyone knows that women are weak and unclean?

And if anyone here has never watched the documentary The Burning Times you really have to take time out of your day and watch it. It is an excellent documentary that covers the gendercide of women during the witch hunts that didn’t happen all that long ago. So many women murdered at the hands of religion and patriarchy. Really, it is amazing to watch.

Modern Interpretations of Biblical Families

Note: These all make me laugh and cry at the same time. It shows that even though women back in the day actually did have a decent amount of power in the home, the Bible's harsh take on women can slowly chip away at that power. What the Bible says beats out the actual reality of those times, and, more often than not, interpretation matters far more than the reality.

A Look At The Biblical Family

What does the Bible have to say about the family?

The Feminization of the Family

What Does The Bible Say About Family Relationship?

How revealing are these articles? It is insane how much they differ from what the reality of what a real “Biblical” family would have been like. Like I have stated before, what people do with something and how they interpret it is often much more important that what the actual reality is. Women in the times of the Old Testament had respect and power, but this reality has been completely overshadowed and pushed away by what is written in the Bible. If I had never done this research, I would have never known how life really was. I, like many, many people, viewed the Bible as at least ahistorical text if nothing else. A first hand view into how life was for these people. But the reality is that the Bible doesn’t even do that. It cannot even do the simple task of giving us an accurate description of the family. All we have in the Bible is what GOD wishes a family that follows his ways to look like. A home with a man as the head and all others under him to look to him as the leader, for the father is lord of them all. These men today can sugar coat that all that want, but the truth is they teach and preach that men are above women, they still teach that one is better than the other. That is the basis of this Christian family model. How do you have a happy well balanced family when one of the parents is considered a problem if she does not do as the husband wishes. If she does not bear as many children as her husband wishes, if she does not keep the house clean, if she does not cook efficiently, if she does not sacrifice all that she is so that the rest of her family may live better than she, that is a bad mother. A good mother, by the definition of a good “Biblical” family, is one who must think nothing of herself or what she may want.

This is the antithesis of what an actual Biblical family was like. A woman was part of her family but she was also one who held responsibilities that were respected. Her housework was respected. Her ability to bear life was respected. She seems to have had as much power in a family as her husband did. Elder women were respected for their knowledge, not chided as being spinsters and called witches. And because these families lived in tribes and clans they were not just one family. A mother had the help of all of her relatives, her servants, her community when it came to taking care of her family. This, I think, is one of the biggest differences between being a mother today and being one back in the ancient times. Mothers today do not have the community to help her. No, instead often the community despises a mother who requires help to keep her family going. A mother is a bad mother if she must leave her child at any time to work or to run errands. A mother who needs to take welfare is a leech on the system and isn’t fit to raise her children. Today, a modern mother is expected to shoulder all of the responsibilities that were once the responsibilities of an entire village. Yet, as mother’s were given more responsibility as house keepers men were not. Men have no rules or laws concerning aiding their wives in work. While women are commanded to honor and obey their husbands, husbands are only instructed to “love” their wives, whatever that may mean. Love does not require action. Often in our patriarchy, love can simply be a lack of abuse. Love can be nothing more than a lack of action.

So a Biblical family requires most of the household responsibilities to rest on the mother’s shoulders, while the father is simply only required to love his wife and children and make sure his house remains in order. And yet despite the father’s lack of responsibilities, that seems to be all these men can talk about when it comes to a modern Biblical family. The “feminizing” of the family, which is becoming the ruin of society, is because men are losing control of their household. Their women are leaving the house to work, their women are becoming too independent, and, worst of all, their women can now decide to divorce and leave if they do not like their marriage. All of these “problems” of the family boil down to one thing: independence. According to the Bible and the way many people interpret it, women are meant to be dependent on their husbands completely. So when women gain independence and realize they do not need a man to survive (especially a man that is abusive or unloving), this chips away at the hierarchy that God has set up. This is also why so many religious people bemoan the single mother. There is constant talk and debate on how a child just cannot be raised correctly or will grow up to be a detriment to society (or worse in the case of male children, gay) simple because they do not have a father to discipline them. A woman without a man is a terrifying thought to a patriarchy that holds men in such high regard.

Fathers are the keystone to a family, so they get the most attention in these articles. Men are urged to regain control (“loving” control) of their households. To make the household like church, with him as Christ and the rest of the family as congregation. Men are placed in a worship position, they are expected to be revered and if they are not they are a failure. Is it no wonder that some men can so easily use the Bible to justify physical abuse in the house?

But let us not forget the biggest enemy to the family. The evil that slithers throughout our society corrupting our women and destroying the very foundation of a functioning community.


Dear sweet baby Jesus please save us from these horrible, corrupting women!

Seriously. Feminists are held up as the greatest plague upon the family. And why? Because they DARE to let people know that women are individuals who have a right to equality. They have a right to life and a right to happiness just like everyone else. That women should not be discriminated against just because of the sex we were assigned at birth. That women should be able to choose what happens to their bodies and when. That women should be allowed the resources to take care of themselves without having to rely on a man to get through life. That women should have equal pay for equal work, and that “women’s” work, both in the workplace and at the home, should be given the same amount of respect as “men’s” work. That simply being female shouldn’t be seen or treated as a handicap.

Oh my god what monsters! D:

Although they are not wrong. These ideas shatter the very foundation of what a “Biblical” family is. A Biblical family requires the woman to not be a person. To be nothing more than a servant to those around her and a slave to her husband. A woman who realizes that she can be her own person and is given the tools to be independent is the exact opposite of the subservient and dependent woman that Christianity calls for. Feminists are the greatest enemy of the Christian patriarchy and the Christian patriarchy knows this. It fights back as hard as it can against the feminist movement. It does its best to convince its followers (women especially) that God’s laws are really in the best interest of the family and that women’s subservience and dependence is really not bad. It is in fact a special form of power for a wife to submit to her husband and to think only of her family, and it is utterly selfish to think of anything or do anything that does not benefit the family. And the Christian patriarchy does its best to control those women who are not already under its control. Its foot soldiers work to restrict a woman’s right to choose. They work to insert their religious beliefs and hierarchy into government and laws. They work to keep gays and lesbians from being able to marry or adopt children. Women (and many others who choose to not live in a “Christian” way) are not safe either inside the religion or outside it. Christianity works to put everyone under its thumb.

In the end, it does not matter what the reality is, women today must face the consequences of the interpretations of “historical” writings in the Bible. Women may have held respect and power in the ancient communities, but today that power has been stripped down to nothing. Wives much submit if they are to be “good” wives, which means that they must forgo being a person with wishes and choices in order to serve the family. Feminists are such a danger to these ideals and are constantly being vilified by those who see ideas of female equality and independence as a detriment to society. Christianity plays a big part in making sure that wives remain dependent on and subservient to their husbands, both by making sure laws stay in place or are put in place to keep women from having full independence and by telling the women in their congregations over and over and over again that subservience is a virtue and is what God has decreed a woman’s role to be.

And honestly, who can argue against the truth of an almighty God?

Monday: Proverbs 23-27

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Proverbs 19-22

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

19:13-14 - "A stupid child is a ruin to a father, and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. House and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord."
19:26 - "Those who do violence to their father and chase away their mother are children who cause shame and bring reproach."

20:20 - "If you curse your father or mother, your lamp will go out in utter darkness."

21:9 - "It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a contentious wife."
21:19 - "It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and fretful wife."

22:14 - "The mouth of a loose (alt translation: strange) woman is a deep pit; he with whom the Lord is angry falls into it."

My Comments

Geez. We ladies are just a constant source of grief for those poor men. It is apparently better to life on a corner of a roof or out in a desert than it is to have to even share a space with a woman who dares to disagree with you. I mean really? And I imagine the "contentious" woman doesn't even have to be that disagreeable. She probably would be considered "contentious" if she just dared to voice her opinion that may go slightly against her husband's plans.

So now we see father's dealing with the unruly children but it seems there is a twist because the unruly child is being joined by a quarreling (as well as contentious or fretful) wife who is as joyful as constant rain. Supposedly a prudent wife (ie. quiet and doesn't speak her mind) is a gift from the Lord.

It really just seems ridiculous for the Bible to speak of both a father and mother raising a child because it seems a good wife wouldn't step out of place at all. How can a mother who is expected to stay under her husband's thumb going to raise a child or give orders for a child to obey? If anything she might be allowed to enforce the rules the father has set down, but it seems so odd that a mother would be allowed to have any authority over a son. A daughter, sure, but both her and the daughter would technically be under the rule of the father so even then I don't think she'd have much room to be any sort of teacher or authority figure to her children.

So why bother mentioning both parents when the Bible is making it perfectly clear that in a good, God fearing marriage only one parent (the father) is actually supposed to do what he wants and exert any sort of control? Why include the mother at all? Other than just a formality, which is what I think is going on. You pretty much never have a mother mentioned on her own when it comes to rules that involve obeying one's parents. Fathers a mentioned on their own, but mothers pretty much only showed up when mentioned right after the father. And how are children supposed to have any sort of respect for a person who is treated as no better than cattle and is only respected when she stays in line and keeps her mouth shut? The Bible claims that mothers are supposed to be respected along with their father but honestly, how do you expect a child (mostly male children) to respect someone that is treated as less than human. Kids are smart, they can tell when someone is being treated differently. Especially when the person being treated differently is being treated WORSE. The kid/son will realize that in the scheme of things his mother is less than him and will notice that it is her sex that is the reason. Daughters will notice this too, but instead of seeing themselves as better because of their sex they will realize that their lot in life is to be treated as less than by men for the rest of her life.

Kids are not stupid. Why does the Bible seem to think this is the case? If you treat half of the human race as things that are best kept quiet and out of the way kids will notice. Hell, kids notice the differences in the ways boys and girls are brought up today, and things are generally much better than they were in Biblical times (not that that's hard, the Bible sets a REALLY low bar).

It's because these ideas were constantly passed down to children that they continue to thrive. You treat you kids that women are inferior and men are the rulers of all and the kids will grow up believing that and will then teach their kids the same thing. It is a very hard cycle to break. Especially in societies as insular as tribes and clans were back in the BC. You cannot change your views until you go out and learn new ideas and new views from other people.

And I have written about 4 different ending paragraphs and haven't liked a single one, lol. So I have no real way to end this. I blame it on the fact that my all of me is frozen and I am thinking much more about curling up under the covers in bed and watching Farscape than a decent concluding thought. So I shall just leave it here.

Friday: Proverbs 23-27