Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Deuteronomy 7-8: Release the drive bee!

Yep, they are still near the Jordan River listening to Moses prattle on. I am beginning to suspect he is going to do this for the entire book of Deuteronomy.

Here Moses starts talking about their impending conquest of the promised land. He says that "God will drive them out," though I suspect it will actually be the Israelites doing that; we'll just have to wait and see.

Moses reminds them (for the gazillionth time) to fucking kill everybody. No mercy! Don't spare the children, don't marry the women, just fucking kill them. Also, destroy all the alters and other holy objects. The reason is that the Israelites will inevitably start worshipping their foreign Gods, and we can't have that!

You might think it's ridiculous that a few spared children might convince all the Israelites to abandon their God for a new shiny God (I know I thought that for about half a second), but you'd be forgetting the Israelites' nature so far. They abandon God at every chance, even though they know that every time they do God kills thousands of them. And of course I can hardly blame them for doing so because God is such an asshole. This is such a frustrating story, because I hate all the characters.

Hmm, I was so excited, only to be let down again... in this next bit I thought we were going to get a reason why the Israelites are the favoritest. But, not really. It says that God "set his affection on you" because "the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors." What a steaming pile of bullshit. God loved the Israelites sooo much that he...
  • made them slaves for 400 years
  • makes them mutilate their genitals
  • has killed hundreds of thousands of them (so far) for the horrible crime of "grumbling against him"
  • killed off an entire generation before they reached the promised land, again for "grumbling"
  • set up a crazy rule system for them such that the most minor offenses (such as dishonoring your parents) is punishable by death
Have I gotten it all yet? I'm not sure. Anyway you get the point.

Then there's the other "reason," because he swore an oath! But why did he swear an oath? And why to Abraham of all people?? This is no answer at all. This reminds me of when I taught astronomy lab, and so many students would answer questions like "why is mars red?" with "because the rocks on mars are red." But why are the rocks on mars red??? Same damn thing.

Anyway, then Moses says the thing about how those who love and obey God will be rewarded "for 1000 generations," but those who "hate God" will get "repaid to their face by destruction." Lol, destruction in the face? Whatever that means.

What about people who don't believe he exists? I suppose that must count as "hate." So where's all the destruction in my face? You'd think I'd have noticed that. Furthermore, how can both of those things be true? Wouldn't I get a free pass because someone in the past 1000 generations must have loved and obeyed God? But I'm also supposed to get destruction in my face? How does that work?

Then Moses tells them not to worry about the fact that the people they're supposed to kill are much stronger than they are, because God will be with you, and God will deliver them to you, and "LORD your God will send the hornet among them."

Wait, what was that last bit? Hornet?? What hornet?? Not even a hornet, it's the hornet. What a tantalizing clue. Without further information, I will assume that the conquest of the promised land went down something like this...

God says this:

and then this happens:

All of chapter 8 basically says, love God, obey God and his commandments, remember God, don't worship other Gods, etc... again. We've heard this before, countless times. Just fucking obey is the central theme of this book, clearly.

We do learn a few interesting things in chapter 8...
  • Apparently the whole point of wandering in the wilderness for 40 years was to "humble" them. I guess, if by "humble" you mean "kill everyone over 20."
  • The point of manna was to teach them that "man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD." Funny, I thought the point was so they wouldn't starve to death. Also, I don't know how that was supposed to teach them that, unless manna was obviously words from the mouth of God. From the description, it sounded more like bread. As in, man does live on bread alone.
  • A secondary point of manna was to "test" them. What the hell kind of test is that.
  • Apparently in those 40 years their clothes did not wear out. Woo hoo, a miracle.

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