Sunday, January 17, 2010

Genesis Chapter 9

Goodness. Sex, drugs, slavery, death, this chapter has it all!

Okay, so god gives Noah and his sons permission to leave the ark, and commands them to repopulate the earth. It would have gone faster if they'd had more than one wife each, no?

He then tells them all the animals are now going to be afraid of humans, and we get to be in charge of them. He also gives us permission to eat their flesh, though not their blood. Tom remarked last night that I am now going to be able to catch all kinds of references in everything I see and read, and here's an example right here: in The Merchant of Venice Shylock's bloodthirsty persecution of Antonio ends when the wise Portia, disguised as a judge, points out that his contract says he can have a pound of flesh, but not a pound of blood. Slightly less entertaining, this is the verse (4) that causes Jehovah's Witnesses to refuse blood transfusions but flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

God also alls for blood sacrifices of men and animals in verse 5, but Jerry glosses over that because he's too excited about verse 6, which says the punishment for murder is death. Never mind that in chapter 4, verse 15, this selfsame god puts a mark upon Cain to let other people know they shouldn't hurt him, Jerry only has room in his head to interpret one verse, and he's chosen the one that suits his belief system.

God then gives humans the right of self-government. He promises not to flood the earth again and as a token of his regret, he gives us, get ready for it, rainbows. Thanks. He promises that any time it rains, there will be a rainbow to remind everyone he has promised not to flood us out.

So Noah takes up the profession of animal husbandry and also plants a vineyard. He promptly drinks the wine and passes out naked in his tent. Now, Jerry is very eager here to point out that Noah's drunkeness is a mistake, because of the changes to the earth wrought by the flood, the event so significant in his own brand of religious craziness that this is the only mention of said changes, and also because in ch. 6, he's the only righteous man left on earth.

One of his sons, Ham wanders past and sees the scene, then tells his brothers. And it's right here that I decide I need to buy the uncensored bible, because according to Jerry, this is completely innocent, but according to them, Ham rapes his dad. I'd really like to find out the mindset of the people who came up with this scene. Also, it explains the next part a lot better.

Ham's brothers, Shem and Japeth, are so scandalised by this that they can't even look their father in the genitalia, they took a garment and lait it upon both their shoulders and went backwards and covered the nakedness of their father (v. 23). When the old man wakes up he remembers what happened. Which is, at least in Jerry's telling, that he saw his dad naked and told his brothers. But the Old Testament is never one for letting the punishment suit the crime. So Noah, rather than punishing his son the gossip, punishes Canaan, his grandson.

His sentence is to be Shem and Japeth's servant, which many have interpreted as slave. Now, if Jerry had been writing this in the 1960s, when he opposed Brown vs. Board of Ed and Martin Luther King Jr., he'd have told you the Canaanites were black, but now he's a great pains to tell you they were white. Actually, they probably looked like everyone else who lives in the Middle East. He also wants us to know the Canaanites practised ritual prostitution, homosexuality, and orgiastic rites before they were conquered by the Israelites and the Japethic Romans, who just so happen to be the authors of this book, so maybe all of that isn't true.

Finally we find out Noah died at 950.

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