Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Exodus, Chapter 1

Oh boy! The story of the Israelites' trials and tribulations in Egypt, aka the book of Moses, the supposed author of the book.

He isn't in chapter one, though. It's just scene-setting. The story has advanced several hundred years and as promised Israel's children have been fruitful and multiplied to the point where Egypt is now in a population crisis, specifically a Hebrew population crisis. The latest Pharaoh (none of them ever gets a name) is worried that there are too many of them, not enough of us. A reverse of Eurabia if you will. What would that be? Cohenic Cairo? Sorry. London, Ontario, Canada, where I grew up, is not exactly the Jewish-joke capital of the world, nor is Rotterdam, Holland, where I live now.

Anyway, he gives the people license to harass the Israelites, but the worse they treat them, the more of them there are. Kind of like Gaza? So they sort of kind of but not really enslave them, and make them build stuff and work the fields and they aren't very nice, but it still doesn't work. They breed like rabbits.

The king finally calls the Hebrew midwives to him and tells them to kill the baby boys but spare the girls. They don't, not because it's barbaric, but because they fear god. As long as no one kills the cute little babies, I suppose. Pharaoh notices, of course and asks them why they didn't obey his commands. They lie and say that Hebrew women are lively (v. 19) and the babies have always arrived by the time they get there. God rewards them for this with houses, and Jerry twists himself in knots saying that the reward is for fearing god, not lying, but for those of us who can just relax and accept that this particular deity punishes and rewards more or less based on which side of the bed he woke up on that day know that it's actually for lying to the big baddie. Anyway, the people continue to breed unfettered. Finally, Pharaoh gets fed up and, since forced sterilization hasn't been invented yet, tells everybody, not just the Jews, to throw their sons into the river and keep the daughters. Great plan! This is going to go over really well, I can just tell!

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