Saturday, May 14, 2011

Isaiah, Chapter 7: Jesus is coming! Maybe!

War! But the Israelites defeat their enemies pretty easily. God tells Isaiah and his son to go and meet the king in the washing field at the end of an aqueduct. Why it can't be in his palace or in a fancy hotel, where a king would not stick out like a sore thumb is not explained. And what are they supposed to tell him in this primitive laundromat? Not to be afraid because god is on their side. That certainly seems worth all the drama and intrigue.

Then like all skilled liars, god challenges the king, Ahaz, to test him on his sincerity. Ahaz refuses, but god, ever the show-off, insists on testing himself, therefore proving... absolutely nothing. What he will do is, get ready for it... get a virgin pregnant! Or young woman, depending how you interpret your Hebrew. I say since 'I'm a virgin, I swear! This is god's baby!' usually works so well, good for her for pulling it off. Anyway, this pregnant virgin is going to call her son Immanuel and give him the best of foods so he'll know the difference between good and evil. As you can imagine, Jerry Falwell's bible is having multiple orgasms at this point because clearly this is a sign that Jesus' birth is imminent. Except not, because by his very own dating system, all this is taking place between 736 and 720 BC and Jesus won't be born for another 700-odd years. So what god is doing here is saying to a king that he's going to prove he's not lying now by making something happen in 700 years, according to Jerry. Totally the best way to win an argument the other person is refusing to have with you.

Far more relevant than a 700-years distant birth to an unnamed virgin living somewhere on the planet Earth, god also tells Ahaz that the Assyrians and the Egyptians are going to attack, and god is going to use a razor to shave off all Ahaz' head and foot hair. Of course Jerry ignores the part that Isaiah has clearly been digging into the wacky tabacky by this point. The same day as the foot-shaving, a man with a cow and two sheep will somehow produce enough milk and honey to feed everybody, and all the crops are going to wither and fail. But don't worry! Jesus will be along in 700 years' time!

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