Judges 3

New International Version (NIV)

12 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and because they did this evil the LORD gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel. 13 Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms.[Jericho]14The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years.

 15 Again the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab. 16 Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a cubit [18 inches] long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. 17 He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man. 18 After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way those who had carried it. 19But on reaching the stone images near Gilgal he himself went back to Eglon and said, “Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.”

Ehud cannot pull his sword from Eglon.

Ehud cannot pull his sword from Eglon.

   The king said to his attendants, “Leave us!” And they all left.

 20 Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22 Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. 23 Then Ehud went out to the porch; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.

Eglon's bowels discharge.

Eglon's bowels discharge.

 24 After he had gone, the servants came and found the doors of the upper room locked. They said, “He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace.” 25They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead.

 26 While they waited, Ehud got away. He passed by the stone images and escaped to Seirah. 27When he arrived there, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down with him from the hills, with him leading them.

 28“Follow me,” he ordered, “for the LORD has given Moab, your enemy, into your hands.” So they followed him down and took possession of the fords of the

Israelits kill 10,000 Moabites.

Israelites kill 10,000 Moabites.

Jordan that led to Moab; they allowed no one to cross over. 29 At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not one escaped. 30That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years.

Shamgar

 31 After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel.

I do not remember hearing this story in Sunday School, probably because of the level of gore. Once again, the Israelites were bad, so Yahweh let some other country rule them for a while (Moab led by Eglon). When the Israelites call on Yahweh, he gets a man to kill the enemies and free the Israelites.

This story is unique in that Eglon is so fat that Ehud’s sword is swallowed by the fat and can not be pulled out. It also includes the wonderful image of Eglon’s bowels discharging. This is another example of Yahweh getting men to do his killing for him. Sometimes he just kills evil people (Onan and Er), but most of the time he orders men to do his killing for him. Yahweh follows the killing of Eglon with the killing of 10,000 Moabites and later 600 Philistines.

Posted by: edhensley | March 12, 2012

Judah and Tamar – Incestuous Ancestors of Jesus

Judah having sex with daughter-in-law Tamar.

Judah having sex with daughter-in-law Tamar. www.bricktestament.com

Genesis 38 (NIV)

Judah and Tamar

 1 At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. 2 There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and made love to her; 3 she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. 4 She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. 5She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him. 6 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was

 wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death.

 8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill

  your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death also.

 11Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s household until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He may die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s household.

 12After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah, to the men who were shearing his sheep, and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went with him.

 13 When Tamar was told, “Your

 
Judah wants Tamar burned to death!

father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14she took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife.

 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, “Come now, let me sleep with you.”

   “And what will you give me to sleep with you?” she asked.

 17“I’ll send you a young goat from my flock,” he said.

   “Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?” she asked.

 18He said, “What pledge should I give you?”

   “Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand,” she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow’s clothes again.

 20 Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her. 21He asked the men who lived there, “Where is the shrine prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?”

   “There hasn’t been any shrine prostitute here,” they said.

 22So he went back to Judah and said, “I didn’t find her. Besides, the men who lived there said, ‘There hasn’t been any shrine prostitute here.’”

 23Then Judah said, “Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn’t find her.”

Judah wants Tamar burned to death!  24About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.”

   Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned to death!”

 25As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. “I am pregnant by the man who owns these,” she said. And she added, “See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are.”

Judah says Tamar is more righteous than he is.

Judah says Tamar is more righteous than he is.

 26Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not sleep with her again.

 27 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 28 As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” 29 But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, “So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez.30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.

There are so many moral problems with this story that I do not know where to start. I guess we should recap last week’s bible story from Genesis 38:1-10. God kills Er, son of Judah, because Er is evil. Judah orders Er’s brother Onan to impregnate Er’s wife, Tamar. Onan refuses to impregnate her, so God kills Onan.

Judah has one more son named Shelah who is not yet grown, so Tamar can not marry him yet and goes to live with her father. Notice that Judah says Shelah may die like his brothers, which means God may kill Shelah like he killed Er and Onan.

Then the story gets even stranger. A long time passes. Judah’s wife dies. Tamar is not married to Shelah so she disguises herself and waits by a temple. Judah thinks she is a temple prostitute, asks her to have sex with him, and she does in exchange for a goat, keeping his seal, cord, and staff as promise of payment.

Tamar gets pregnant. Judah learns his daughter-in-law is pregnant from prostitution and demands she be burned to death. Then he learns she is pregnant by him and declares her more righteous.

Let’s start with temple prostitution. In Hebrew there are two different words used for prostitute, kedeshah and zonah. In Genesis 38:21 and 22, the word kedeshah is used. A kedeshah is a “holy prostitute”, most often associated with the worship of Asherah or Astarte (aka Ishtar), the Syrian Venus. Asherah is known to have been a wife or consort of Yahweh based upon multiple inscriptions found on ancient relics (see Dever, William G. (2005), Did God Have a Wife?: Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israell; also Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts).

irregardless of the nature of the shrine prostitute, Judah wants to have sex with her and does. When he finds out Tamar is guilty of prostitution, he wants to burn her to death! Talk about a double standard!

Judah and Tamar do not seem very moral in this story. However, according to Matthew 1, they are the ancestors of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus.

 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
   Isaac the father of Jacob,
   Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
 3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
   Perez the father of Hezron,

As previously noted, the genealogies of Joseph in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 are so contradictory that some Christians claim Luke’s genealogy is actually that of Mary rather than Joseph (even though the bible says Joseph and shows no evidence of Mary). Either way, the bible shows in Genesis 38 and Matthew 1 that Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, is the progeny of an incestuous relationship between Tamar and the whore mongering father of one of the 12 tribes of Israel, Judah. What a wonderful example of Christian morality!

Posted by: edhensley | March 3, 2012

God Kills Two Brothers

God kills Er.

Genesis 38

New International Version (NIV)

1 At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. 2 There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and made love to her; 3 she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. 4 She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. 5 She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him.6 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death.8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death also.

Genesis 38 is a very strange chapter with two bizarre stories. The first involves the brothers Er and Onan.  Er is said to be evil, so the LORD kills him. The bible never says what Er did that was evil. If there were a god who simply killed evil people, then the world would be a better place. Unfortunately, no such god exists, and evil is able to continue until actions are taken by men and women to stop it. This story is just another example of the Old Testament not reflecting what happens in the world. Just as we do not have a god interacting with people today, we do not have a god killing those who do evil.

After the LORD kills Er, Judah orders Onan to impregnate Er’s wife Tamar. Rather than impregnate her, Onan spills his seed on the ground. The LORD then kills Onan for not impregnating Tamar.  A Christian apology for this verse can be found at http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/genesis-deuteronomy/why-did-god-kill-man-spilling-his-seed-ground.

The reason God did this is not because Onan wasted his seed on the ground, but because Onan refused to perform his familial duties of producing offspring for his brother’s. This was a great offense at the time. Now, we must realize

God kills Onan.

God kills Onan.

that the culture was very different than ours is today. In that culture, when a man died and left no children, the next of kin was sometimes obligated to “go in to” the wife and produce children. These children were then considered to be the descendents of the original late husband and would be raised as such. This way, the offspring would be able to take care of the mother, provide more people for the community, and thereby raise their own children, continuing the name of that family. Onan knew this and refused to take part in furthering the honor and name of the brother’s wife and thereby also risking provision for her in the future. To this, God was very displeased and took Onan’s life.

First of all, the Christian apologist admits to moral relativism. This is the most frequent excuse for immoral acts by god in the Old Testament. “Back then things were different.”  Then these hypocrits accuse atheists of being moral relativists in regards to things like homosexuality. This “custom” was so important to god that he killed someone who did not follow it. Yet, I know of no apologist who espouses that Christians follow this custom today.

Also, if Er is so evil that he must be killed, why should god care whether or not he has descendants? Does killing Er give him descendants? Does killing Onan give Er (or Onan) descendants?  The killings by god does not in any way provide descendants for Er, which is the supposed reason for the killings.

More than likely, this story (and others) was invented to scare (control) people into making sure that a widow with no children would be able to have children.

This is not the only bizarre story in Gen 38. The adventures of Judah and Tamar come next time.

Posted by: edhensley | February 5, 2012

Bible Verses Supporting Geocentricity

Title Page of Galileo's Dialogue

Joshua 10 (NIV)

12 On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel:

Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
13So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself on[b] its enemies,

as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

  The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.

Ecclesiastes 1

5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.

1 Chronicles 16

30 Tremble before him, all the earth!
The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.

Psalm 93 (KJV)

1The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

Psalm 96

10Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.

Psalm 104

5 He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.

It is a sad fact that many people do not accept the theory of evolution because it violates their religious beliefs. The same reasons that people do not accept the theory of evolution are also still used to claim the earth does not move, either by rotating on its axis or by orbiting the sun. Due to evidence starting with Copernicus and Galileo and culminating with modern NASA scientists, we now know the earth does move. It was not always accepted. The Christian sects all were against geocentricity since it contradicted the bible. The Catholic Church condemned the teaching of heliocentricity  (model in which the earth orbits the sun) in 1616. Galileo published The Dialogue Concerning The Two Chief World Systems in 1632.  In 1633, Galileo was convicted of heresy and remained under house arrest until he died.  He was shown the instruments of torture used against previous heretics, such as Giodarno Bruno, who also promoted heliocentricity and was executed for heresy. The Catholic Church did not admit it was wrong about Galileo until 1992 and did not apologize until 2000.

Due to fundamentalist Christians attacking evolution and following a bible-only approach to knowledge, many Christians are not only convinced evolution is wrong but now also attack the idea of a rotating, orbiting earth. The verses above are just some of the 67 verses from http://www.fixedearth.com (http://www.fixedearth.com/sixty-seven%20references.htm) that show the bible supports geocentricity (the model in which the sun orbits the non-moving earth).  Recently there was a conference in Galileo Was Wrong, The Church Was Right conference held by fundamentalist Christians in South Bend, Indiana (http://www.galileowaswrong.com/galileowaswrong/).  Let’s hope that Christians do not return us to the Dark Ages.

Deuteronomy 13 (NIV)

6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. 9 You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 11Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.

Stone Your Friends and Family

 12 If you hear it said about one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you to live in 13 that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known), 14 then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, 15 you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. 16 You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt, 17 and none of the condemned things are to be found in your hands. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger, will show you mercy, and will have compassion on you. He will increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your ancestors— 18because you obey the LORD your God by keeping all his

http://www.thebricktestament.com/the_law/religious_tolerance/dt13_15-16.html

Kill every man, woman, child, baby and animal.

commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes.

Yesterday Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos lost in the playoffs to the New England Patriots 45-10. During the 2011 season, Tebow was the 28th rated quarterback in the NFL, which is pretty low considering there are 32 teams. He completed only 46.5% of his passes, although he did rush for 660 yards and it must be mentioned that his receivers were not the best. The Broncos won 8 games and lost 5. Tebow got all the credit for the wins, even though the Denver defense and special teams were more responsible for many of the victories.

Many Christians were giving Tebow all the credit because he is an evangelical Christian. 43% of all Americans believed God was helping Tebow win football games http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/01/12/poll-finds-43-percent-of-people-believe-god-helps-tebow-win/. Won wonders why God failed so miserably against the Patriots?  However, also adding inspiration to this delusion is the fact that in Tebow’s last victory over the Steelers he threw for 316 yards. Christians noted that Tebow wore John 3:16 in his black eye glare under his eyes while in college at Florida (the NFL does not permit this). Many Christians claimed that the 316 yards against Pittsburgh was a sign from God!

Yesterday Tebow only threw for 136 yards. Since 136 is just a two-digit reversal of 316, surely it is also a sign from God! Perhaps it refers to the passage starting in Deuteronomy 13:6 that I have quoted above.

In this passage, God is claimed to consist of “fierce anger”. I do not think anything consisting of fierce anger is worthy of worship, but the worship of a god of fierce anger is a part of Judeo-Christian-Islamic heritage.

God manifests his fierce anger by ordering his followers to kill anyone who tries to get you to worship another god (or no god at all, I suppose). You are to kill them even if they are a close member of your family or your best friend. The method of killing is, of course, stoning, which is God’s favorite method of killing individual people. The fact that the bible orders killing in a particularly archaic method (stoning) is a sign that the bible was written only for the people of its time and should not in any way be considered as a book to be used as law thousands of years later.

But if you need to kill an entire town, you must use the sword. You must stab every man, woman, little boy, little girl, little baby, pregnant woman, and unborn fetus. And when you are done killing the children and pregnant women, you must kill all the animals. I guess these animals might learn how to talk and then try to convert God’s people to other gods.

Perhaps Christians might link Tebow’s yards in the playoff game to these verses and start killing people. I hope not. But since the USA is based on humanism and secular values and is not a Christian nation, we do not need to worry about this as much as we would in a theocracy ( medieval Europe or some current Islamic states). The USA Constitution is not based upon the bible, despite the claims of some Christians. The bible permits only one religion and demands death by stoning for those of other religions. The Constitution grants religious and non-religious freedom. It is a shame that so many Christians are being brainwashed by propaganda that claims our Constitution is based upon the bible.

2 Samuel 12 (NIV)
Nathan Rebukes David
1 The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’

11 “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD, the son born to you will die.”

15 After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

18 On the seventh day the child died.

I have heard this passage read in church, so technically this is not a bible verse rarely read on Sunday. However, it does show God killing an innocent baby, as well as forcing David’s wives to commit adultery in public.

I have argued with apologists on these verses, but they can not get around the evil actions of the God they worship. Killing a baby as punishment for the actions of an adult is never justified. 

There is also the fact that God will also punish David by forcing some of David’s wives into adultery. These verses do not say “some of your wives may commit adultery in public as a choice of their free will”, but rather tells what God will cause to happen in the future. The humans doing the actions have no choice – God is going to cause them to act in this way. 

I spoke with one Christian who claimed that David was the baby killer and that his wives’ future adultery would occur as a result of free will. I got her to admit that God was killing the baby after reading the verses more carefully, but she claimed that God was justified based on David’s sin, even though she thought it would be immoral for societies to do the same thing as punishment for adultery today! She also admitted that at the moment Nathan said the adultery would occur, it was inevitable that it would happen because Nathan was speaking for God. After admitting that God was behind this future adultery, she quickly decided it was time to abandon her attempts to defend this text, making generic statements like “it must be true because it’s in the bible”, etc.   

Should we punish adulterers today by killing their children or forcing their spouses to commit adultery in broad daylight?  If you think this would not be a good law to enact, then you are showing humanism, which is a good thing. Our laws are based on humanism, not on the bizarre examples of immorality in the bible. We should be thankful that our laws are based on humanism and not on the actions and examples of the evil God of the bible.

Ezekiel 23 (NIV)
Two Adulterous Sisters
1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother. 3 They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed. 4 The older was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. They were mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem. 5 “Oholah engaged in prostitution while she was still mine; and she lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians—warriors 6 clothed in blue, governors and commanders, all of them handsome young men, and mounted horsemen. 7 She gave herself as a prostitute to all the elite of the Assyrians and defiled herself with all the idols of everyone she lusted after. 8 She did not give up the prostitution she began in Egypt, when during her youth men slept with her, caressed her virgin bosom and poured out their lust on her.

9 “Therefore I delivered her into the hands of her lovers, the Assyrians, for whom she lusted. 10 They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword. She became a byword among women, and punishment was inflicted on her.

11 “Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution she was more depraved than her sister. 12 She too lusted after the Assyrians—governors and commanders, warriors in full dress, mounted horsemen, all handsome young men. 13 I saw that she too defiled herself; both of them went the same way.

14 “But she carried her prostitution still further. She saw men portrayed on a wall, figures of Chaldeans portrayed in red, 15 with belts around their waists and flowing turbans on their heads; all of them looked like Babylonian chariot officers, natives of Chaldea. 16 As soon as she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. 18 When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her naked body, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister. 19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.

22 “Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will stir up your lovers against you, those you turned away from in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side— 23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, the men of Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, handsome young men, all of them governors and commanders, chariot officers and men of high rank, all mounted on horses. 24 They will come against you with weapons, chariots and wagons and with a throng of people; they will take up positions against you on every side with large and small shields and with helmets. I will turn you over to them for punishment, and they will punish you according to their standards. 25 I will direct my jealous anger against you, and they will deal with you in fury. They will cut off your noses and your ears, and those of you who are left will fall by the sword. They will take away your sons and daughters, and those of you who are left will be consumed by fire. 26 They will also strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry. 27 So I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you began in Egypt. You will not look on these things with longing or remember Egypt anymore.

28 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to deliver you into the hands of those you hate, to those you turned away from in disgust. 29 They will deal with you in hatred and take away everything you have worked for. They will leave you stark naked, and the shame of your prostitution will be exposed. Your lewdness and promiscuity 30 have brought this on you, because you lusted after the nations and defiled yourself with their idols. 31 You have gone the way of your sister; so I will put her cup into your hand.

32 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

“You will drink your sister’s cup,
a cup large and deep;
it will bring scorn and derision,
for it holds so much.
33 You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow,
the cup of ruin and desolation,
the cup of your sister Samaria.
34 You will drink it and drain it dry
and chew on its pieces—
and you will tear your breasts.

I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD.

35 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Since you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution.”

36 The LORD said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then confront them with their detestable practices, 37 for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them. 38 They have also done this to me: At that same time they defiled my sanctuary and desecrated my Sabbaths. 39 On the very day they sacrificed their children to their idols, they entered my sanctuary and desecrated it. That is what they did in my house.

40 “They even sent messengers for men who came from far away, and when they arrived you bathed yourself for them, applied eye makeup and put on your jewelry. 41 You sat on an elegant couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed the incense and olive oil that belonged to me.

42 “The noise of a carefree crowd was around her; drunkards were brought from the desert along with men from the rabble, and they put bracelets on the wrists of the woman and her sister and beautiful crowns on their heads. 43 Then I said about the one worn out by adultery, ‘Now let them use her as a prostitute, for that is all she is.’ 44 And they slept with her. As men sleep with a prostitute, so they slept with those lewd women, Oholah and Oholibah. 45 But righteous judges will sentence them to the punishment of women who commit adultery and shed blood, because they are adulterous and blood is on their hands.

46 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Bring a mob against them and give them over to terror and plunder. 47 The mob will stone them and cut them down with their swords; they will kill their sons and daughters and burn down their houses.

48 “So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you. 49 You will suffer the penalty for your lewdness and bear the consequences of your sins of idolatry. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.”

Skepticon, work, family, and numerous other duties have kept me too busy to post, especially on what I promised last time, polytheism in the bible. That post will have to wait until I have more time, since that will be a difficult post.

Until then, more silliness and vulgarity, courtesy of the bible. This passage discusses two sisters, one representing Samaria and the other representing Jerusalem. The sister representing Jerusalem lusts after men “whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.” This line could have come from pornographic literature (so I am told)!

I included the whole passage for context. Apologists note that the women are described as evil and then are destroyed for being evil. While this is true, the vulgarity of this passage is striking. No wonder why this passage was never read in my presence on Sunday.

Posted by: edhensley | September 11, 2011

Hey, Jude. A Short Book Referencing Apocrypha

Jude 1 (NIV)

1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,

To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for[a] Jesus Christ:

2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

The Sin and Doom of Ungodly People

3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord[c] at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”[d]10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.

11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”[e]16These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

A Call to Persevere

17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.[f]

Doxology

24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Footnotes:

  1. Jude 1:1 Or by; or in
  2. Jude 1:4 Or individuals who were marked out for condemnation
  3. Jude 1:5 Some early manuscripts Jesus
  4. Jude 1:9 Jude is alluding to the Jewish Testament of Moses (approximately the first century A.D.).
  5. Jude 1:15 From the Jewish First Book of Enoch (approximately the first century B.C.)
  6. Jude 1:23 The Greek manuscripts of these verses vary at several points.
The quote for today is the entire book of Jude, copied entirely from biblegateway.com with footnotes.  Jude is the shortest book of the bible by number of verses (3 John has 4 fewer words in the KJV).

Verse 9 assumes you are familiar with the story of the archangel Michael battling with the Devil over the body of Moses. Obviously you read that in Exodus somewhere, right?  Well, if you read it, then you must have read the apocryphal Testament of Moses (or the Ascension of Moses). (see http://www.textexcavation.com/testamentmoses.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testament_of_Moses).  We can not include this book in the bible today because we only have an incomplete 6th-century Latin translation discovered in 1861.  The document is mentioned by many early Christian fathers, and it was obviously translated into Latin. Since so little of it remains, it seems to me like the church wanted to remove all copies of it. That last part is speculation, but that is what happened to many other early Christian books later deemed heretical.

Verse 15 quotes the First Book of Enoch, written approximately 1st century BC. You can find the book online herehttp://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/boe/ and http://www.heaven.net.nz/writings/thebookofenoch.htm.  The quote from Jude, part of the Christian New Testament, is from chapter 1 verse 9 of the First Book Of Enoch. So why is the First Book Of Enoch not included in the Bible?  Since Christians believe that Jude is the inerrant word of God and it quotes the First Book of Enoch, should not that book also be included?

Well, Enoch gets interesting in verse 6. It starts discussing the first part of Genesis 6, where the “sons of God” impregnate women of earth, creating a race of giants.  The sons of god are called Watchers, and the race of giants are called Nephilim. Here is the text from Chapter 7:

1. And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants. 2. And they became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells: 3. Who consumed all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, 4. the giants turned against them and devoured mankind. 5. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another’s flesh, and drink the blood. 6. Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones.
Wow, that is much more interesting than anything else I read in Sunday School!  I wonder how they sinned against birds?  Anyway, it gets really bizarre.  Angels intercede on behalf of the earth (Ch 9 below).
1. And then Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel looked down from heaven and saw much blood being shed upon the earth, and all lawlessness being wrought upon the earth. 2. And they said one to another: ‘The earth made †without inhabitant cries the voice of their crying† up to the gates of heaven. 3 ⌈⌈And now to you, the holy ones of heaven⌉⌉, the souls of men make their suit, saying, “Bring our cause before the Most High.”.’ 4. And they said to the Lord of the ages: ‘Lord of lords, God of gods, King of kings, and God of the ages, the throne of Thy glory (standeth) unto all the generations of the ages, and Thy name holy and glorious and blessed unto all the ages! 5. Thou hast made all things, and power over all things hast Thou: and all things are naked and open in Thy sight, and Thou seest all things, and nothing can hide itself from Thee. 6. Thou seest what Azâzêl hath done, who hath taught all unrighteousness on earth and revealed the eternal secrets which were (preserved) in heaven, which men were striving to learn: 7. And Semjâzâ, to whom Thou hast given authority to bear rule over his associates. 8. And they have gone to the daughters of men upon the earth, and have slept with the women, and have defiled themselves, and revealed to them all kinds of sins. 9. And the women have borne giants, and the whole earth has thereby been filled with blood and unrighteousness. 10. And now, behold, the souls of those who have died are crying and making their suit to the gates of heaven, and their lamentations have ascended: and cannot cease because of the lawless deeds which are wrought on the earth. 11. And Thou knowest all things before they come to pass, and Thou seest these things and Thou dost suffer them, and Thou dost not say to us what we are to do to them in regard to these.’
God responds by warning Noah of the flood and having the Archangels take action against the Watchers.

CHAPTER X.

1. Then said the Most High, the Holy and Great One spake, and sent Uriel to the son of Lamech, and said to him: 2. ‘Go to Noah and tell him in my name “Hide thyself!” and reveal to him the end that is approaching: that the whole earth will be destroyed, and a deluge is about to come upon the whole earth, and will destroy all that is on it. 3. And now instruct him that he may escape and his seed may be preserved for all the generations of the world.’ 4. And again the Lord said to Raphael: ‘Bind Azâzêl hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dûdâêl, and cast him therein. 5. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. 6. And on the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire. And heal the earth which the angels have corrupted, and proclaim the healing of the earth, that they may heal the plague, and that all the children of men may not perish through all the secret things that the Watchers havedisclosed and have taught their sons. 8. And the whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azâzêl: to him ascribe all sin.’ 9. And to Gabriel said the Lord: ‘Proceed against the bastards and the reprobates, and against the children of fornication: and destroy [the children of fornication and] the children of the Watchers from amongst men [and cause them to go forth]: send them one against the other that they may destroy each other in battle: for length of days shall they not have. 10. And no request that they (i.e.their fathers) make of thee shall be granted unto their fathers on their behalf; for they hope to live an eternal life, and that each one of them will live five hundred years.’

The stories of the Watchers and Nephilim is entertaining, but I wanted to point out Chapter 20, which explains the function of the Seven Archangels:

XX. Name and Functions of the Seven Archangels.

CHAPTER XX.

1. And these are the names of the holy angels who watch. 2. Uriel, one of the holy angels, who is over the world and over Tartarus. 3. Raphael, one of the holy angels, who is over the spirits of men. 4. Raguel, one of the holy angels who †takes vengeance on† the world of the luminaries. 5. Michael, one of the holy angels, to wit, he that is set over the best part of mankind ⌈⌈and⌉⌉ over chaos. 6. Saraqâêl, one of the holy angels, who is set over the spirits, who sin in the spirit. 7. Gabriel, one of the holy angels, who is over Paradise and the serpents and the Cherubim. 8. Remiel, one of the holy angels, whom God set over those who rise.

Once again, we have a reference to Tartarus, a specific place in Greek mythology below Hades where the Titans are bound. This is in a book that is quoted by the New Testament, which is supposedly the literal word of a perfect God. There is a definite link between ancient mythologies and modern Christianity.  Any Christian who claims the quote from Enoch in Jude is the literal word of God but that the other sections of Enoch are mere writings from mankind is being inconsistent.

My Sunday school teachers made it sound like the Peter and Paul were carrying around the 66 book King James Version in the year 34 AD.  Nothing could be further from the truth (yes, I am joking about the KJV, but not about the impression from the teachers).  There were hundreds of books that were considered Christian and Jewish texts in early Christianity. Most of these books would be considered heretical by orthodox Christians today. There was proto-orthodox editing of scripture until 325 AD, there was Catholic editing from 325 – 367 AD (and beyond). Protestant editing started with Martin Luther putting 14 books into the apocrypha (doubtful) section of his bible in 1534, a tradition that was followed in the KJV 1611. Luther wanted to exclude Maccabees, so he excluded all books in the Septuagint but not in the Hebrew Masoretic text. Luther also wanted to remove Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation, but was not permitted to do so by his followers, but he did move them to the very end of his bible. The King James Version of the bible did not officially remove the 14 apocrypha books until 1885.

But the Jews were editing the texts long before the Christians. That will be my topic next time.
Posted by: edhensley | July 25, 2011

1) Tartarus and 2) Lot is Righteous in the New Testament

2 Peter 2 (NIV)

False Teachers and Their Destruction

 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them in chains of darkness[b] to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Peter 2:4Greek Tartarus
  2. 2 Peter 2:4 Some manuscripts in gloomy dungeons

2 Peter 2 (Young’s Literal Translation)

4For if God messengers who sinned did not spare, but with chains of thick gloom, having cast [them] down to Tartarus, did deliver [them] to judgment, having been reserved,

 There are four different words translated as Hell in the bible: Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, and Tartarus (spellings vary). The Hebrew word Sheol appears in the Old Testament over 60 times and is translated as Hell, Grave, and Pit (counts vary in different versions).  In some verses (i.e. Psalm 49:14) bodies are said to be decomposing in Sheol or (i.e. Psalm 141:7) bones are in Sheol. This implies a grave. Other verses imply that Sheol is deep (and therefore a pit).  The Greek word Hades is translated as Hell about 10 times in the New Testament. There is a Greek mythology definition of Hades, but most Christians view Hades and Sheol as the same, pointing to verses like Acts 2:27 in which in Greek the word Hades is used for the quoting of the Hebrew Sheol from Psalm 16:10. Some use examples like this to simply state that Hades and Sheol are one and the same in all situations (claiming both agree with their definition). 

Then there is Gehenna as shown in Mark 9:43-44, Young’s Literal Translation:

43`And if thy hand may cause thee to stumble, cut it off; it is better for thee maimed to enter into the life, than having the two hands, to go away to the gehenna, to the fire — the unquenchable —

 44where there worm is not dying, and the fire is not being quenched.

Gehenna, or the valley of Hinnon, was a deep valley outside of Jerusalem, known as a sight of child sacrifice to Baal and Moleck, and known as a place where fires were constantly burning bodies of animals and executed criminals.

Due to the nature of the definitions of the words, I know Christians who believe (1) Hell is a real place of eternal fire and torture reserved for all non-Christians; (2) Hell is a real place of eternal fire, but non-Christians’ souls are killed in the fire rather than tortured eternally; (3) Hell is the grave and is not eternal; (4) Hell is a metaphor.  There are countless websites promoting various definitions of hell (none of which are supported by any scientific evidence). Rather than get into a discussion on what the bible says on hell, I want to look at the one instance of Tartarus.

2 Peter 2:4 is the only reference to Tartarus in the bible. In Greek mythology, Tartarus is described as a place lower than Hades where most of  the Titans have been imprisoned after Zeus came to power (it is also the name of a god). 2 Peter 2:4 describes Tartarus (tartaroo) as a place where sinful angels have been imprisoned. The use of the word Tartarus in this instance appears to reflect more than a simple equivalence of Hades and Sheol. The writer of 2 Peter definitely knew the difference between Hades and Tartarus. Choosing the word Tartarus implies that there is another place of punishment other than Hades and Hell. It also is evidence of how Greek mythology influenced the writing of the New Testament.

Also in this passage, 2 Peter 2:7 describes Lot as “righteous.”  Lot was a man who offered up his daughters for rape to an unruly mob. After that, he got drunk on at least two occasions and had sex with both his daughters (Genesis 19). That is a man described as “righteous” in the New Testament!

2 Peter 2:5 describes Noah as righteous. He would later get drunk, lie around naked, and curse the descendants of his grandson Canaan  into slavery for something he did not do (it was his father Ham who did the horrible sin of telling his brothers his father was naked – Genesis 9)!

I do not consider these two individuals righteous!

Posted by: edhensley | April 10, 2011

God Threatens To Smear Dung in Priests’ Faces

Malachi 2 (NIV)
Additional Warning to the Priests

1 “And now, you priests, this warning is for you. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me.

3 “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 4 And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD Almighty. 5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.

7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the LORD Almighty. 9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”

I can never remember any preacher, Sunday School teacher, or my mother telling me about God threatening to smear dung in the faces of his priests. This is one example of the very coarse language often found in the bible and often in direct quotes from God.

Some apologists claim that God will not really rub literal dung into the priests faces, but that it is a threat of some type of punishment. I even had one Christian tell me that this is just like someone saying “eat shit.” Others note that verse two begins with “If you do not listen…”, noting that it is OK for God to rub dung into the faces of his priests because he warns them.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Categories