The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)
1:6-10 - "Therefore I will make Samaria a heap in the open country, a place for planting vineyards. I will pour down her stones into the valley, and uncover her foundations. All her images shall be beaten to pieces, all her wages shall be burned with fire, and all her idols I will lay waste; for as the wages of a prostitute she gathered them, and as the wages of a prostitute they shall again be used. For this I will lament and wail; I will go barefoot and naked; I will make lamentation like the jackals, and mourning like the ostriches. For her wound is incurable. It has come to Judah; it has reached to the gate of my people, to Jerusalem. Tell it not in Gath, weep not at all; in Beth-leaphrah roll yourselves in the dust."
2:9 - "The women of my people you drive out from their pleasant houses; from their young children you take away my glory forever."
Micah 3 - No mention of any women.
4:8-13 - "And you, O tower of the flock, hill of daughter Zion, to you it shall come, the former dominion shall come, the sovereignty of daughter Jerusalem. Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished, that pangs have seized you like a woman in labor? Writhe and groan, O daughter Zion, like a woman in labor; for now you shall go forth from the city and camp in the open country; you shall go to Babylon. There you shall be rescued, there the LORD will redeem you from the hands of your enemies. Now many nations are assembled against you, saying, 'Let her be profaned, and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.' But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor. Arise and thresh, O daughter Zion, for I will make your horn iron and your hoofs bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples, and shall devote their gain to the LORD, their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth."
5:3 - "Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel."
Micah 6 - No mention of any women.
7:5-6 - "Put no trust in a friend, have no confidence in a loved one; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your embrace; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; your enemies are members of your own household."
7:10 - "Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, 'Where is the LORD your God?' My eyes will see her downfall; now she will be trodden down like the mire of the streets."
Okay, I can't seem to get over my anxiety about my Jonah post so I haven't worked on it anymore. I'm still gonna try to get time to sit and deal with my bullshit and finish it, but until then I'm going to continue to press on and cover more ground.
Honestly, I had no idea that so much of the Bible was dedicated to nothing but how much God punishes those who don't grovel every chance they get as his holy, all knowing feet. I'd gotten this idea from all my years of church and whatnot that the Bible was mostly a book about how cool and awesome God was, with a few stories and moral teachings mixed in for good measure. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it was filled with such hate and violence. Not only is it filled with hate and violence but it seems to REVEL in it. This all wouldn't be so bad if it kind of had a more somber tone. Instead it feels like it's almost enjoying it. Like a movie that claims to be making a statement about horrific topics but then takes every chance it gets to put those topics front and center on the screen. Kind of like Gamer (with Gerard Butler), if anyone ever bothered to watch those movie. It was a movie that seemed to have some notions of making a statement about violence and sex in video games and how gamers envelope themselves inside these twisted, violent fantasies. Of course, apparently to make this point they had to shove as much sex, violence, violent sex and unsubtle misogyny in your face so all it did was undermine their "point." Side note: If you ever do find yourself in the same room as that movie and you have any love for Michael C. Hall (like I do) there's a scene near the end with him dancing and singing with mind controlled inmates have a fight scene with Butler that is just the best scene ever. I hesitate to say that scene alone was worth the 5 dollars I paid to see that horrible movie in theaters, but it was really the only scene that was watchable.
But I digress! I have had some people imply that I went into this project hating the Bible. That all this I'm doing is just me going into it with anger in my head and with nothing but a motive to do as much bashing as I can. I don't think there's anything I could really say to those people to convince them otherwise, but I honestly went into this thinking, "Well, I'm sure it won't be that bad. I mean, it is the base for the religion I grew up in, and while some bits of it are troubling most services and whatnot had feel good messages. And if the majority of my church experience was fluffy God is awesome stuff then I'm sure there's at least SOMETHING to back that up in the Bible." I definitely didn't think in my wildest dreams that this is as bad as it is. I'm sure many people here haven't really read the Bible, and I'm sure a lot of you are taking this a bit like I am. Where you knew there were problems with it, but you never imagined they were THIS bad. My surprise and angry in any of my posts is my genuine surprise and anger, and my anger is only so strong because I do feel like I have been lied to my whole life about this. It's like finding out that not only is Santa Claus not quite the fat and jolly man you grew up loving but that he also murders children in their sleep when they've been naughty. Which might not be that far from the truth, really.
So I'm still honestly surprised that we're still harping on God's punishment of his people. I mean, Micah SAYS that he's walking through the ruined streets, lamenting the fate of God's people who strayed, but it's hard to think he's all THAT upset when he's got florid prose after florid prose describing these scenes in detail. Am I the only one who sees it this way? I'd hate to think I'm overreaching here, but to me, reading all these books one after the other, it's starting to really feel like these prophets are really protesting too much about how horrible they really think these scenes are. If it had just been the one or two books, I would probably say that they just wanted to definitely make sure everyone knew what sort of punishment awaited those who strayed from God. But after 6 or 7? Now it's just enjoying the whole thing.
Anyway, we have more female punishment involving being "uncovered" for all around her to see. Of course, she is merely a prostitute so this is a just punishment because she takes her clothes off and lays bare for men for money so letting other use her body without paying her is okay. Or something. It's like when people claim you can't rape a prostitute, but then men will still use rape to harm and "punish" prostitutes.
Also love how Zion has "no king in her," if you catch it the Bible's single entendre. Again, Zion is laid bare for all to see. The metaphors involving undressing and being laid naked for others to gaze upon aren't seen when the cities are neuter or male. Why is nakedness only used as a punishment for women? Is it because gazing upon men is a sin so great that God will punish an entire line of decedents simple because on man happened to see his father naked while he was trying to cover him up and make him look decent? So since gazing upon a naked man is such a great offense to God is that why God seems to never use it as a punishment?
I would say something about how pain inf child birth is also used often as a descriptor for pain when it comes to these punishments, but seeing as childbirth is pretty much one of the major punishments given to all women because of Eve eating the apple, it is not at all strange that it is often used in this manner throughout the Bible. Not that I don't find it problematic that childbirth is seen as a punishment throughout the Bible even when (male) children are seen as the only real accomplishments a woman can achieve. It is problematic, but at least the Bible seems to be consistent in the fact that labor = horrible pain comparable to the pain suffered under God's punishment.
There is also a part where God gives Zion the tools to defeat her enemies, but these tools are only provided after Zion commits herself completely and unquestioningly to God's reign and law. Only in her complete compliance will God allow her some peace. Funny, that.
Friday: Nahum and I'll continue with posting as usual and continue trying to finish up my long winded piece on Jonah.