Thursday, January 30, 2014

1 Esdras, Chapter 9: Hectoring in the rain

Esdras gets tired of sulking on the ground, so he goes to annoy someone called Joanan. He sits in Joanan's house, not eating or drinking, just glaring at the sins of the Israelites.

Someone issues a proclamation that all the Jews have three days to get to Jerusalem. Anyone who isn't there forfeits his cattle to the temple and will also be excommunicated. Everyone gathers in the forecourt of the temple, it's raining, which probably means Esdras has a 4-hour speech prepared.

So our hero stands up and starts haranguing them about their strange wives (v. 7) and the crowd agrees to send their foreign wives and children 'home.' Bear in mind that these assholes are the ones we're supposed to be rooting for. They do stand up for themselves a tiny bit, pointing out that the weather sucks and it will take some time to figure out which women exactly are non-Israelites. My money is on the fatties and the old. They propose that the priests stay in the temple to figure out which marriages are mixed, and they'll come back to find out later. The priests agree and tell everyone to come back later. They find a long list of men, including the sons of Jesus (v. 19) and someone named Momdis and tell them to send their wives away and barbecue rams. They do so cheerfully and that's the last we hear of it.

But of course, that's not the end of Esdras' hectoring, not by a long shot. He stands up in front of the people, who include someone named Anus and starts lecturing them about the law. After a few hours, they break for a party.

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