Monday, January 31, 2011

Psalms 31-35

Psalm 31

God is a rock, god is an island. Oh, wait, that's Simon and Garfunkel. God is just a rock. David hates pretty much everybody, but loves god. Is this where the expression, 'So heaven-bound he's of no earthly good' comes from? Anyway, David talks about his wilderness years and thanks god for bringing him back and making him king and stuff. He also asks god to keep dead people dead, which I totally agree with, and to stop liars lying.

Psalm 32

David waxes on about the catharsis of confessing your sins, which should be familiar to viewers of daytime talk shows. He exhorts us to pray to Oprah god, though he doesn't outline any of his own transgressions.

Psalm 33

Praying makes you hot. It should also be done exuberantly. Of course, at the same time, we have to fear god.

God, we are told, looks down from heaven on us and all the king's horses and all the king's men can't save him if he's a bad king. If you're good, though, god keeps you alive and doesn't let you starve, which really seems the minimum required of a deity.

Psalm 34

David vows to devote all his time to praising god. Also, fearing god means you get your needs met and you won't go hungry. I love the prosperity doctrine! If you're poor and hungry, it's because you didn't love god enough! If you're a fat cat, it's because you're so righteous! So we don't need welfare, we need prayer! Rock on!

Next, he exhorts us to do good and not tell lies and seek peace and all that good stuff that he couldn't actually bring himself to do. God doesn't do bad shit to righteous people like breaking their arms . Yes but it's the shifting definition of 'righteous' that's so troublesome.

Psalm 35

Smitey smite smite. David asks god to send his avenging angels against his enemies and to kill them unawares and hoist them by their own petards. This will make him happy. He then turns around and says that when his enemies were sick he prayed and fasted for them. Of course he's not actually the bigger person because he spends the rest of the prayer asking god to humiliate them.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Psalms 26-30: Dear god, pls smite my enemies kthksby David

Psalm 26

In case we didn't get it from reading the last 25 Psalms, David has a pretty big ego. He won't sit with the vain, liars, evil-doers, wicked people, sinners, murderers or people who give bribes. Fun people, in other words. Why is he so awesome? So he can praise god, of course!

Psalm 27

David wants attention again, but god ain't answering.

Psalm 28

David thanks god for his victories in war and smiting his enemies and bad people and stuff. 122 of these to go.

Psalm 29

David describes the voice of god: it's very loud, it carries over water, it's powerful and majestic. It can break cedar trees and make them skip like baby unicorns, it can split fire, cause earthquakes and make deer go into labour.

Psalm 30

David thanks god for giving him victory and not letting him die. He informs us that god's anger lasts but a moment, which is a pretty liberal definition of 'moment' if you remember Numbers. He's happy now and has cast off his sackcloth for his dancing clothes.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Psalms 21-25: Yea, though it feels like I'm walking in the valley of the shadow of death

Psalm 21

It turns out David's heart's desire was to wear a gold crown. Somehow, I doubt that's going to put those rumours about Jonathan to rest. It's all thanks to god, who will roast his enemies alive in an oven, kill their children and shoot the survivors in the back with arrows. Doesn't it just warm the cockles of your heart?

Psalm 22

David is feeling ignored again and his enemies are making fun of him for his faith. In this case, his enemies are bulls, unicorns, dogs and lions. His bones are out of joint and his heart feels like melted wax, he's weak and has a dry tongue. He's like a middle-aged woman. In a foreshadowing of Jesus (I didn't know this, David Plotz told me), the enemies rip David's clothes off and draw lots for them. He promises that if god helps him, he'll worship him in return, a reversal of the entire rest of the book, but it's David, so I guess it's okay.

Psalm 23

I perk up a bit here, because this is the Sonnet 18 of the Psalms, the LORD is my shepherd / He maketh me to lie down in green pastures (v. 1-2), yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall not want (v. 4), my cup runneth over (v. 5) Psalm that you've heard at every funeral you've ever been to.

Psalm 24

David is back onto zoning questions, again wondering who will get into heaven. Again, it's the people with clean hands who are pure of heart, the humble and the honest.

Psalm 25

David asks god to lead him down the path to salvation, to be kind and to forget his past sins. Does he know who he's dealing with here?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Psalms 16-20: There is no theme

Psalm 16

David asks god to keep him safe, then says all the good stuff in his life comes from god, as well as all his friends. He vows not to sacrifice to other gods or even to say their names aloud. Praise praise praise. Blah blah blah.

Psalm 17

David wants attention again and invites god to examine him for sins. He asks god to keep him as the apple of the eye (v. 8) and keep him safe from the wicked.

Psalm 18

A repeat of 22 Samuel.

Psalm 19

More praise for the sky, then for god's laws, which are richer than gold and sweeter than honey. I'll take the gold and honey, thanks. He asks god to search his heart for secret sins and purge it.

Psalm 20

David asks god to protect his people and make their lives happy. He points out that the wicked put their faith in horses and chariots, but his people put theirs and god. And horses and chariots.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Psalms 10-15

Psalm 10

David, or whoever wrote this one, complains about god ignoring him in times of trouble, thus allowing the wicked and godless to pick on the weak. I'm sensing a theme here. The middle bit is a list of crimes committed by atheists, ending with a rousing call to god to punish them by breaking their arms and banishing them while rewarding the oppressed.

Psalm 11

David apparently 'wrote' this before he met Abishag, because instead of seeking solace in a comely young virgin, he wants god to provide it and is hurt when the lord's advice is to flee. He wants to know what to do when his institutions collapse, because god is up there watching and judging and raining fire and brimstone down on his enemies.

Psalm 12

David asks god to help because the righteous are being taken over by the wicked. It's Eurabia all over again! Apparently the problem is everybody is lying and claiming it's 'free speech', so David calls on god to cut off the liars' lips and tongues. Well, that's one method of contract enforcement, I suppose. You could also, say, develop contract laws and courts. God finally speaks and says he'll help the needy, but as far as this Psalm goes, he's all talk no action.

Psalm 13

Even though god just talked to him in the last chapter, David is whining again about feeling neglected, though he continues to express undying love and faith.

Psalm 14

To a man, atheists are corrupt good-for-nothing fools. God, watching from heaven, tries to determine if any of us is truly righteous. Again, wouldn't an omniscient god... know? Does he really have to check our Facebook statuses to see who's in a relationship with him or seeking 'play'? Anyway, god decides that no one is good and despairs at the wicked, though he does nothing to convince them to change their ways, he only promises vague action, some time in the future, that will please Jacob.

Psalm 15

David is concerned about zoning legislation. Specifically, he wants to know who can go into the tabernacle and who can live on the hill. He decides it's only the righteous and honest who neither slander their neighbours nor hurt them, keep their promises, lend their money without interest and can't be corrupted in court testimony. I'm flabbergasted. I really thought it was going to be the wicked and the liars.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Psalms 6-9

There are 150 of these damned things.

Psalm 6

David asks god not to rebuke or discipline him in anger. Good advice for a parent but shouldn't a deity have more self-control? He asks for healing and compassion because he's troubled. He asks how long until god soothes him. He reminds us that the dead have no memories, nor can they praise anyone. That would be creepy. He's tired and he's been crying all night. Then he warns his enemies to go away before he sics god on them.

Psalm 7

David asks for salvation some more. He says if he did anything wrong, god should feel free to let his enemies win, but otherwise could he save David? Kthanksbye.

He pleas with his fellow man to gather 'round god and permit him to judge. God is Gossip Girl. David asks for peace. He informs us that god is a fair judge who gets wrathful with the wicked every day and shoot flaming arrows at them.

Psalm 8

Blah, blah, blah, god is so great even children praise him. David is especially happy with the heavens, moon and stars today and in awe that he even cares what humans think. Dude, in the Old Testament, god doesn't care about anything else. He's like an insecure 15 year old girl who runs home from school every night to see what her friends wrote about her on Twitter. He thanks god for making us in his image and putting us in charge of the earth, 'cuz we're doing so well at it.

Chapter 9

Another praise hymn. Here are the great things god has done for David: killed his enemies, told off heathens, killed sinners, killed them so hard their names disappeared, destroyed his enemies' cities. God himself will rule forever and judge people fairly. He'll shelter the oppressed and not betray their trust. He advises believers to pray, proselytize, avenge murders. He asks god to torture his enemies some more so he can sing in Jerusalem. He informs us that those who don't accept god will die and urges god to hurry it along

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Psalms 1-5: Psalm, Psalm, everywhere a Psalm

So, here we go with the book of Psalms. Supposedly they're prayers, if your idea of praying is to bash your child's head into a rock.

Psalm 1

People who don't hang out with the wicked, sinners or mockers are happy. Also bored. I think my favourite movie quotation ever is by Clairee (Olympia Dukakis) in Steel Magnolias: if you can't say anything nice about anybody, come sit by me. Instead, they sit and think about god day and night. I can tell you that I have been reading this book for over a year now and thinking about god more than the rest of my life put together and I am not particularly happy about it. I just want to finish this fucker and read the Koran.

Anyway, happy people are like trees and the wicked are like wheat chaff, blowing in the wind, and will not be allowed into heaven on judgement day.

Psalm 2

This poem contemplates war and why we have it. Never mind that god himself has been known to order a king or two into battle, war is a personal affront to him and Jesus, because people should like being slaves.

God, showing the thinness of his skin, laughs at people who don't want to serve him then goes all scary and says his king is in Israel. The king, for his part, claims to be the son of god and therefore the owner of everything. He says this also gives him the right to bash people's heads in if they get stroppy. It's very confusing and makes me wonder, if serving god is so awesome, why do you need to rule like Alexander Lukashenko? God therefore advises rulers to be prudent and suck up to his son.

Psalm 3

Apparently written by David after his son Absalom rebelled in 2 Samuel to avenge his sister Tamar's rape by their half-brother Amon. David complains about the rebellion, but praises god for helping him and letting him sleep and wake up. Thanks to his nap, he's now ready to face the rebels, and asks god to punch them in the jaw and knock their teeth out.

Psalm 4

Another poem by David, to be set to music. He asks forgiveness for his sins and accuses his enemies of rumour spreading. About Jonathan? It doesn't matter, because god will help him. He advises them not to sin in anger but to sleep on it. That's actually really good advice. Of course the next verse admonishes us to sacrifice and look to god for better times. Then David says he's happy and he's going to sleep.

Psalm 5

Another musical interlude. David asks god to listen to and answer his prayers in the mornings. He then informs us that god takes no pleasure in evil, then turns around and says he hates arrogant, cruel people. Apparently, god kills liars and murderers. Same basket? Really? What if I lied about why I was late for work today? Wow.

But never fear! David's cool, because he prays and therefore god lets him defeat his enemies, which leads me to wonder what would happen if nobody prayed and then there was a war. He goes on to tell us that enemies are liars and want to destroy others. Isn't that the definition of 'enemy'? Then he asks god to banish them and let his followers stay behind.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Job, Chapters 40-42: New Kids on the Block

Chapter 40

God turns from irritating 5 year old to hectoring school principle, demanding Job repeat his accusations to his face. Job, like a 14 year old who's all talk, is cowed and calls himself nothing (v. 4) and puts his hand over his mouth.

God keeps going with his bullying, asking if Job still thinks he's unjust and should be condemned. Then he asks if Job is as strong as him or has as thunderous a voice. If he does, he should dress and act like it. Acting like it means humiliating the proud and killing the wicked, btw.

Next, god starts bragging about all the weird animals he created, like the behemoth, which eats grass, has strong legs and abs, a thick tail and strong bones. God is its only predator. It lives in the mountains but sleeps under lotus fronds in the marshes. It likes to play in the Jordan River and isn't worried when it floods. It can't be tamed by humans. Creationists everywhere salivate at further evidence for human-dinosaur cohabitation. Personally, I'm thinking it's another scary bedtime story.

Chapter 41

Next on god's bragging list of weird and wonderful animals: Leviathan. Leviathan cannot be trapped on a hook or tied with rope. He won't humble himself to man or be domesticated. Traders won't sell him in their shops (I'm guessing crocodile handbags weren't in vogue yet). His hide is so tough, you can't pierce it with a harpoon and if you touch him, don't expect your hand back.

In an act of twisted logic worthy of Sarah Palin, god then informs us that since he created Leviathan, nobody can sue him. Also, everything under heaven is his.

Back to Leviathan: he has strong limbs but a graceful form and can't be skinned or saddled. He has terrible teeth and a scaly exterior. When he sneezes, light flashes, and his eyes are red. He breathes fire powerful enough to light coals. Everything is afraid of him and no weapons are effective against him. He can bite through iron or bronze. He churns water as he swims. It, not the lion, is the king of beasts.

Most reasonable Christians will explain that Leviathan is either a crocodile or a whale and the descriptions are exaggerated or metaphorical. Other, more susceptible Christians, will insist it's either a crocodile-dinosaur hybrid or an outright dinosaur.

Chapter 42

Job acknowledges god's greatness and admits he didn't know what he was talking about and repents.

God then turns his wrath on Eliphaz & co., accusing them of misrepresenting him and ordering them to sacrifice seven bulls and seven rams.

Then, despite his insistence that he has nothing to apologise for, god makes Job twice as rich as he was before. All his old friends come to his new house and empathise about his travails and give him gold and silver. His flocks are huge. Last of course, he has 10 new children. Oddly, the bible names his daughters but not his sons. Jemimah, Keziah and Keren-Happuch are hotties, so much so that their father breaks with tradition and gives them an inheritance. Job himself lives to be 140. Doesn't that just warm the cockles of your heart?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Job, Chapters 38 & 39: The child-rearing habits of ostriches

Chapter 38

God finally arrives in a whirlwind, because there's no such thing as an undramatic entrance in his mind, and asks who is questioning his wisdom. He doesn't let Job get a word in edgewise either as he informs him that he will now take over the questioning. He asks where Job was when he (god) created the earth. Or if he knows what it's made of. Or if he keeps the sea confined (I'm pretty sure the answer to that one is: The Dutch) or controls the clouds. Does Job decide when sunrise is? Does he force the light over the earth, stopping the wicked with their arms raised? Has he mapped rivers? Seen the gates of death? Travelled the world? Does he know where light comes from and darkness goes? It's like a 5 year old on a long car trip. He pauses to mock poor Job, saying of course he knows everything, he's old!

Back to challenging: does Job know where god keeps his jars of snow and hail? How about lightening or the east wind? Does he cut channels for the rain? Does he make it rain in the desert? Is he the rain's father? The dew's? Did he give birth to ice? Frost? Did he make the constellations? Does he change the seasons? Did he create bodies? Consciousness? Can he count the clouds? Can he feed the hungry lionesses? The ravens? It's all much more entertaining in Lego.

Chapter 39

God keeps going with his kid-on-a-car-trip questions: Does Job know when mountain goats give birth? Has he ever seen a deer foal in the wild? Does he know how long they gestate for? Do they let him know when they're about to give birth? Then he informs us that they crouch down to give birth and when their young grow up, they leave home. Except both goats and deer are herding animals, so that would be suicide. Did he set the donkeys free? Give them a habitat? Did he domesticate oxen? Can he plow the fields with a wild ox? Does he trust it? Did he give the ostrich and the ibis different feathers? We are then informed that ostriches lay their eggs in sand and then more or less abandon them to careless feet or wild animals, and those that do hatch are harshly disciplined at the same time as they're neglected, because god made them stupid but swift. Some literalist Christians tie themselves into such knots trying to prove the veracity of this chapter that they produce such laughably stupid articles as this one Speaking of swift animals, did Job make horses strong? Give them a mane? Did he give them jumping ability? Their snort? Did he make them brave? Did he create hawks? Bird migration patterns? Eagle nests? Does he make them devour their prey?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Job, Chapters 36 & 37

Chapter 36

Eliphaz is still talking. I'm only able to bear it because I'm on my second glass of (non-Canaanite) wine, so god only knows how Job & co. are able to stand him. In the mode of many a 19 year-old under the influence of pot, he assures us he's very learned and honest. Then he telles us god is mighty, but also a generally agreeable sort and very smart but who nevertheless kills the wicked and rewards the poor by making them kings. Maybe it's the wine, but I laugh so hard at that last bit that I fall off my chair, which is hard because it's very cushy. He also informs us that if the righteous are ever in chains, god tells them why and corrects their behaviour. Godless people, however, refuse to ask god for help and die among the unclean (v. 14), which the New International Version informs us means male temple prostitues. But this is all god's plan: he gets your attention by punishing you. Apparently the proverb, 'You'll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar' hadn't quite caught on yet. Elihu assures Job that god is acting with the best of intentions and will restore him in the end and warns him not to be coerced into sinning. He reminds us again that god is powerful and therefore can't be told what to do or that he has done wrong. As my commenter pointed out yesterday, that's awfully reminiscent of Saddam Hussein or, for that matter, George W. Bush. Instead, we have to praise him because he gives us rain and lightening, which bring us food and which, since we can't understand them, must be divine. Something tells me god wouldn't have liked Wikileaks. Or science.

Chapter 37

Elihu trembles even to say all this. Don't worry, Elihu, it's the DTs. Just have another drink and you'll be fine. He insists again that god manifests himself in thunder and lightening, which, oddly, I did think were caused by angels bowling and flashing the lights on and off when they got a strike as a kid. We are also informed that god controls all the weather, including snow, rain, hurricanes, ice and polar caps which are further proof of his power. Or, you know, latitude. We are informed that all meteorology is a result of god's love or hatred of us, which only makes sense if your micro-climate is so small you have different weather to your neighbours, which I can assure you, as an apartment dweller, is well-nigh impossible. He stops for a second to ask if Job realises all this, but of course doesn't let him answer. No, instead he goes on about god making it so hot we sweat in our clothes when the wind stops and asks him if he has that power. No, but I believe it's called 'summer,' Elihu. He asks us what we should say to god, whether god should be told when someone wants to speak to him (wouldn't an omniscient being know?), and whether anyone is even capable of speaking to god. According to Elihu, the answer is no, because you can't look at the sun. But I thought god appeared as rain? Oh, well, it doesn't make any sense. Anyway, his point is we should love god because he brings weather. Or something.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Job, Chapters 32-35: A new frenemy

Chapter 32

Job's friends finally realise they aren't going to get the last word and give up. But then Elihu, a hotheaded young fellow from the area gets angry at Job's refusal to admit his sins, and his friends inability to get him to, and speaks up, first with a long speech about how sometimes, even young people can be intelligent. No they aren't Elihu, they're just arrogant. Shut up.

Chapter 33

Elihu, in love with the sound of his own voice, speechifies for 9 more verses before he finally starts challenging Job. Then he reminds us of Job's insistence that he's innocent and god is just fucking with him. He says god is so perfect we don't always notice when he speaks. You would think a perfect being would be able to devise a way to communicate with the imperfect in a way they understand then, no? According to Elihu, that way is through dreams, visions, whispering in our ears and appearing in oil slicks. I may have misquoted that last one. Also, I was thinking talking to us might be easier if he used this little device I've heard of called a 'telephone.'

Anyway, god also keeps us from doing bad, being prideful or dying and punishes us with illness, arthritis, loss of appetite and weight loss. In other words, the punishment for sin is... getting old. Just when we're at death's door, however, an angel may show up and save him, just like happened to Susan Boyle or Ted Williams! Then he'll be young again, start praying, and brag to his friends about how awesome god is. Does anyone actually believe this? Then he encourages Job to speak up like all the other sinners.

Chapter 34

Elihu won't let anyone get a word in edgewise (or they've dismissed the ignorant whippersnapper) and repeats Job's assertions of his innocence. With no self awareness whatsoever, he accuses Job of blathering on about it. Then, without a shred of evidence, he informs us that Job keeps evil company and doesn't see the point of trying to please god. Moving on, he states that god can't sin and he only treats people the way they deserve. He tells us that if god ever left the world, we'd all die. I don't know, we've been doing pretty well since he wrote this book and stopped talking to us (unless you count burning his image into a piece of toast).

Elihu next queries whether a being that hates justice can govern, and insists that god tells kings and nobles wicked and unjust. Why didn't he say that to Dick Cheney? He also says god doesn't discriminate against poor people. God watches us all the time, so we have no right to appeal his sentences. Punishment is swift and public. However if he chooses to stay silent, we shouldn't complain, either. He also claims that asking for forgiveness is up to Job, but calls for the maximum punishment. He's a Republican!

Chapter 35

Elihu winds up his long lecture by asking Job if he's correct to ask for an appeal to god at the same time as he's asking why he should be good. He asks how our sins affect god, or our good deeds, then answers that neither of them affects god. He says people are oppressed all the time, but they don't demand an audience with god, but that's not to say god isn't listening, and promises god will dispense justice in this case.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Job, Chapters 30 & 31: Class warfare

Chapter 30

Job complains that people who weren't fit to join his sheepdog herd now make fun of him. Their sons even have a nickname for him though unfortunately we don't hear what it is, and they spit at him. He reminds us that he's afraid and cold and calls out to god again. God ignores him, of course, and he bitches some more about his outcast status and tells us he's a brother to dragons. Creationists everywhere pee their pants at this further evidence for their wack-a-mole version of science. Of course this situation has failed to make him self aware vis-a-vis his treatment of people like him when he was rich, he just feels sorry for himself.

Chapter 31

Job promises not to watch girls. If girls were still throwing themselves at him in this state, what did the other guys look like? He doesn't because god is still keeping count of all his sins, like lying or lusting after his neighbour's wife. He says if he ever cheated on his wife, she's free to do the same, a surprisingly modern opinion. He also claims to have treated his slaves fairly, helped the poor and widows and yada yada yada. He's a saint and he'll accept full responsibility for any accidental sins.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Job, Chapters 28 & 29: The first boy scout

Chapter 28

Job blathers incongruously about mining for 11 verses before getting to his point: we know where to dig for shiny stones, but not for wisdom. Nor can it be purchased, for the price of wisdom is above rubies (v. 18). Chalk that up under 'sayings I didn't know were biblical.' Only god is wise.

Chapter 29

Job waxes nostalgic for his old life, when he could go out at night in safety and his kids were around and he had plenty of cream and olive oil. Notice where in that list the kids are. He was a public figure and everybody loved him because he helped widows and orphans and did good deeds for the blind and the lame and gave hospitality to strangers, and, and, and. Does anybody get the feeling god might be punishing Job for his smugness?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Job, Chapters 25-27: Do the wicked live in Florida?

Chapter 25

A blessedly short speech by Bildad reminding us how powerful god is and how that makes it impossible for us to be innocent in his eyes and that god is the moon and we're worms. I'm not sure that comparison makes sense.

Chapter 26

Job makes fun of his friends again, then speaks in incredibly confusing metaphors about things god can do to moons and clouds and dead things. Apparently god once got angry and killed a sea monster. Then he says we're like ants on a tire in the face of god: we know something's happening, but we're too insignificant to understand it.

Chapter 27

Job vows not to lie or speak unjustly and not to concede anything to his friends. He states again, for the record, that his conscience is clear and wishes punishment on his enemies. He explains about atheists: they have no recourse when god ends their lives or sends trouble their way. Uh, Job, neither do YOU. Then he says he's going to teach us a lesson about god: the wicked have children, but not enough food. The ones that don't starve will die of plague, unmourned by their wives. They get rich, but the righteous get their money and clothes in the end. Their houses are shoddy, they die in their sleep or lose their fortunes, they live in terror and are frequently swamped by hurricanes. So the wicked live in... Florida?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Job, Chapters 22-24

Chapter 22

Eliphaz asks Job what good a human can ever do for god, then accuses him of being too pious. Then he goes back to probing him for his sins: did he take clothing as security for a loan? Withhold food from the poor or water from the thirsty? Was he mean to widows and orphans? Because god would have seen that. Then he tells us again how the wicked are punished and the righteous rewarded. And again, that's exactly how it goes so often in real life. He advises Job to turn his heart to god again.

Chapter 23

Now serving: Job. He's feeling especially cranky today. He whines again that he wants to look god in the eye and ask him what he did wrong, but he can't find him. He admits god terrifies him, but won't stop talking.

Chapter 24

Job wonders why god doesn't set hearing dates, because when god isn't around, the wicked do things like steal cows and cheat widows, then kill them under cover of darkness. Is he channeling Jan Brewer? Then he changes his tune and says god punishes the wicked. The hell?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Job, Chapters 20 & 21: The Never-Ending Argument

I find myself wondering, as I force myself to read endless, repetitive arguments between Job and his friends, how many people have resolved to read this wretched book from cover to cover, only to get bogged down right about here and give up.

Chapter 20

Zophar. Blah blah blah. He insists that god punishes the wicked and they're forgotten like dung, contrary to every empirical observation ever. Then he'll punish their children and make them pay back all their ill-gotten gains. Tell that to the Bushes. We're also told that wealth without god brings no joy, because it oppresses the poor and takes their houses. Funny, I never heard that passage cited in the bailout debates. Nor the next one that informs us greed is insatiable. Of course then it's right back to BS, saying that melancholy strikes the rich right in the middle of their prosperity, then god takes it away. Obviously Zophar never watched Ducktales.

Chapter 21

Job points out that his friends are talking crap, because evil people live long and prosper all the fricking time, as do their children and grandchildren. They live in safety, without punishment from god. Their bulls breed, and their children dance to harp music. This was before My Super Sweet 16, I guess, so harp music was all they had. Then they die without ever accepting god. He points out that their religion unfairly punishes the children for their fathers' sins and challenges god to punish men directly for their transgressions. He points out that righteous people die poor and the wicked die rich, their houses untouched, their sins uncriticized. Apparently there were yes-men even then.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Job, Chapters 18 & 19: Who said god was fair?

Crap. Not even halfway done this boring, repetitive book.

Chapter 18

Bildad speaks again, first asking if Job thinks they're stupid. I don't know about Job, but I sure do. He informs us that the wicked are punished for their deeds and after they die no one remembers them. That's some revisionism worthy of Glenn Beck right there, folks.

Chapter 19

Job again bitches to his friends to leave him alone. I wish this book would leave me alone. He points out that if he has sinned, it's on him and accuses them of exalting themselves at his expense. He complains again that god has wronged him and won't listen to him. He complains how everyone has forgotten him and his breath offends his wife. You don't have to be cursed by god for that, buddy. Then I discover that the expression 'to escape by the skin of one's teeth' is biblical. Or at least it's in the bible. He believes his Redeemer is coming and he'll see god in the flesh. Oddly, Jerry Falwell doesn't pee his pants at yet another sign of Jesus, and thinks Job is talking about god himself here. However, every other bible commentator's excitement more than makes up for it. Never mind that Job is a Jew and Jews don't believe in Jesus. He then tells his friends that they'll get their punishment later.