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.

1 comment:

  1. Like you say, if god is really so wonderful, why does he have to threaten people to get them to love him?

    And then obsess about whether they are only pretending to love him out of fear.

    Maybe people would be more likely to love him if he weren't so incredibly insecure and high-maintenance.

    Perhaps some therapy would help? What kind of childhood did he have that would explain this?