Monday, February 8, 2010

Exodus Chapter 23

Some good stuff about being a witness in court: no lying, no following the crowd blindly, be fair to the poor in lawsuits. Then about being fair to your enemies: bring back stray animals, help him if he's overburdened. Keep out of false charges, don't kill the innocent (take that, Texas). Don't accept bribes, because they blind the wise and pervert the just. No being mean to strangers, because they were also strangers in Egypt. Wouldn't life be lovely if we all just followed these rules? Too bad there's so much other stupid stuff.

The next bit is about charity, and although Jerry has been careful to point out all the anti-gay and anti-abortion bits to notice this. Also, he goes on about an angel in verse 20 that he thinks is Jesus, so he can't possible spare a footnote to talk about verses 11 and 12, which say that you can harvest your fields for six years but on the seventh you should let the poor tend them, as well as vineyards and olive groves. Everyone gets to rest on the seventh day. And don't talk about other gods!

He then gives instructions about feasting: three times a year, unleavened bread, the harvest and at the end of the year. All the men have to go, but women aren't important enough. They have to bring the first of the harvest to him. Oh, and no boiling a baby goat in its mother's milk.

Then it gets weird again. An angel is promised to keep them out of trouble. Jerry of course sees Jesus in this. If they keep their noses clean, this angel will help them in war, as long as they don't worship their enemies' gods and destroy all their religious artifacts. He'll bless their bread and water and take sickness away (note: Jerry died of heart disease! Oops!) and promises there will be no miscarriages and everyone will live a full life span. Too bad he didn't give them sanitation and vaccination and antibiotics and foreceps right then and there to fulfill that promise, eh?

He promises to terrorize anyone who attacks them and send them fleeing with his armies of hornets. Yes, it seriously says that in verse 28. God uses hornets. The original biological warfare device. He won't send them away all at once, because then the land would go fallow, but instead he'll send them away gradually so they can breed and inhabit the land. He promises them everything from the Red Sea to the Philistine sea, from desert to river. They can drive the people there out. I guess that's one explanation of the past 60 years of Israeli-Palestinian history. He reminds them not to make bargains with them, or to worship their gods. They also can't stay, because they might be a bad influence.

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