Sunday, August 1, 2010

1 Kings, Chapter 13

God sure is capricious!

Jeroboam is doing some sacrificing in Bethel when an old man approaches and prophesies that one of his descendants, Josiah will sacrifice priests on that very same altar. So much for that argument that the Israelites are somehow better than the worshippers of Baal because they don't sacrifice each other! He also predicts the destruction of the altar.

Jeroboam orders his men to capture the prophet, but as soon as he touches him, his arm shrivels up à la Bob Dole or John McCain. Then the altar falls apart. Then Jeroboam asks the prophet to ask god to restore his hand. And god does. Remember how thousands of people died after the first golden calf debacle? And now Jeroboam's arm is temporarily shrunken? God sure is inconsistent!

Jeroboam invites the man back for dinner, but he says he can't: god told him not to eat or drink until he gets home.

As he's on his way, another prophet waylays him and asks him in for dinner. He convinces the first prophet by saying an angel told him it would be okay. That convinces prophet one, who makes merry until the holy spirit takes over prophet two and informs him he's broken god's commandment. He informs him that his punishment is he won't be buried with his ancestors. The host sends the prophet away. The prophet is immediately killed by a lion, who then hangs out on the road with the body and the ass he was riding on.

Prophet two goes around like a member of The Hills cast, telling everyone who will listen that the visitor was punished by god. Of course he doesn't mention his own role in all of this.

He does feel some guilt, however, because eventually he goes and collects the body and puts it in his own mausoleum and tells his sons to put him next to the other prophet on his death.

Jeroboam, meanwhile, hasn't taken anything away from the incident. He continues to make anyone and everyone a priest, kind of like those web sites now where you can be ordained so you can perform your friends' wedding ceremonies. It is predicted that eventually this will destroy the house of Jeroboam.

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