Friday, July 11, 2014

Ecclesiasticus, Chapter 1: Somehow dumber than Solomon

Anonymous Prologue

This book was written by Jesus. Not THE Jesus, but another Jesus who lived while the Israelites were enslaved by the Babylonians. Anyway, Jesus wrote a lot of stuff down, but wasn't very organised, a trait shared by his son Sirach. Sirach gave the notes to his own son, Jesus, who finally compiled them into a book. It's a book of wisdom, supposedly and it can't possibly be stupider than what Solomon sought to share with us, can it?

Prologue by Jesus

Turns out Disney's new annoying movie credits have a precedent! Jesus humble-brags that all the credit for this book goes to his grandpappy, he's just the editor. He also informs us he had some translation problems, as there were some words in Hebrew that simply cannot be expressed properly in a different tongue. He also apparently mixed his granddad's notes with a book he found in Egypt once.

Chapter 1

All wisdom comes from god, who is the only person who can count the grains of sand, raindrops, or days. I'm not sure Jesus understands the difference between can and bored enough to want to. Also, since Jesus doesn't know about geometry or telescopes, he has no way of figuring out how big the earth is.Too bad he didn't just ask Eratosthenes when he was over there in Egypt looking in used book stores, since according to Wikipedia, he lived around the time this book was supposedly writtn.

So who knows the things god has revealed to the goddess Wisdom? God. Okay, we're 7 verses in and so far Jesus has committed two logical fallacies and proved he doesn't know basic math.

Anyway, Wisdom is a kind of female holy spirit, in all things and present with all believers. Fearing god is an honour and will make you happy and long-lived. It is the beginning of wisdom, but alas it can only happen while you're in your mother's uterus. As long as you fit that criterion, you will be healthy and rich and skilled

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Wisdom of Solomon, Chapters 18 & 19: The madness of king Solomon

Chapter 18

God gives the Egyptians a burning column of fire to light their way, even though they should be shut up in a dark hole for kidnapping the Israelites. Next on the list of Egyptian atrocities is the decision to kill all the Israelite children. God saved the first victim and killed a bunch of Egyptian kids in response, which doesn't seem like justice, really.

Anyway, seeing all those Egyptian kids killed by god heartened the Israelites, because they knew they would get to heaven while their enemies would be destroyed. Meanwhile, they kept sacrificing in secret. Eventually, there are so many dead Egyptians there's no one left to bury them. Only then do they acknowledge that the Israelites' god is the one true god.

God leaves them alone for awhile, then starts visiting bad dreams on them. He also kills a bunch of Israelites in the desert, but not for long, and eventually they make it to Israel again.

Chapter 19

Back to the Egyptians, who quickly forget that the Israelites are the righteous and go out to enslave them again. So god drowns them in the Red Sea. Then there are frogs and flies and sea quails. Then suddenly there are Sodomites again, even though that city was destroyed in Genesis and this book is currently recounting the events in Exodus. Anyway, the Sodomites are inhospitable so god makes them blind. Then sea animals and land animals switch environments and fire and water switch physical properties.

Yeah, that whole book pretty much made no sense. Maybe by the time he wrote it, Solomon was suffering from dementia?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Wisdom of Solomon, Chapter 17: Ghost Stories

God's wisdom is so great it cannot be expressed, which is why people do dumb shit like taking the Israelites into bondage, which led to the infidel Babylonians being shut up in their newly-haunted houses. Really? This is the best the Apocrypha can do? The Babylonians started hearing water falling down sounded about them, and sad visions appeared unto them with heavy countenances (v. 4)? Also, the stars and light bulbs stopped working for them. Boy do I hear them. I would never say it to her face, but the one and only thing I agree with Michele Bachmann on is that these new CFC light bulbs are a scam.

Anyway, after months of non-functioning illumination and regret at their failure to hoard incandescents, suddenly a fire kindles itself and scares the crap out of the Babylonians, because it turns out the things they can see are much worse than the things they couldn't. Only if the story is being told by someone with no imagination. I once stayed up past 3 in the morning in my incredibly safe suburban house in Canada reading Stephen King's The Shining because I was too scared to go to sleep.

This stops all the Babylonians' bragging about how smart they are, because even in the second century BCE, psychics were a crock. Also, dangerous things like snakes and wild animals were no longer afraid of them. Don't feed the bears people!

Also they couldn't sleep, which may explain why they were seeing things, fainting, hearing the wind or birds or rocks falling or people running past that weren't there or echoes. Their solution was remarkably 21st century: putting the crazy people in jail.