Numbers 18 & 19 – More Levitical Repetition

Numbers 18 – Clarification on the role of the Levites

In another repetition of previous verse, Jehovah instructs Aaron on what his and his children’s roles are in the keeping of the Tabernacle.

Again, anyone unauthorized who comes near will die. Jehovah seems to lay the future punishments of the Israelites squarely on Aaron’s shoulders:

Numbers 18:5 – And  ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel.

So is it because Aaron and his sons didn’t keep charge of the sanctuary properly in the past that the children of Israel received wrath? If not, then what is this statement all about? Despite what the Israelites do, as long as Aaron and his sons minister properly, the children of Israel will not receive future wrath?

Numbers 18 continues with more mundane and repeated commands about offerings, gifts, responsibilities, etc.

When we get to verse 24 we hear about “tithes” and how the tithes the Israelites offer are the inheritance of the Levites.

Jehovah can’t be Jehovah without yet another death threat:

18:32 – And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.

Numbers 18: repetition, with a bit of clarification, ended with a death threat.

Numbers 19 – Eleazar and the Clean/Unclean (More Repetition)

Numbers 19 clarifies the role of Eleazar the priest, and his ritual handling of a red heifer.  Clean, unclean, defilement, cutting off of people, hyssop, cedar, clean and unclean vessels, etc.

This is all repetition and, to refute the statement by modern Christians that the Bible in its entirety is applicable to all the world throughout all time, Numbers 19 is yet another chapter that disproves this concept.

Numbers 19 ends in an interesting, if not foreign concept to those of us today: If you are unclean during the day, you will suddenly become clean once evening comes. No medicine, no washing, no ritual, just time/sun down.

A quick look at numbers 20 will require it’s own blog post, so I end this one here.

 

 

 

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Exodus 29 – The blood offerings and sacrifices

As a practicing Christian in my youth, the terms “blood offerings” and “sacrifice” that require living animal flesh and blood were normalized to me.

The concept that “God” aka Jehovah would require burning flesh and blood sprinkled everywhere didn’t boggle my mind until my adulthood. Why would the being that created heaven and earth require sacrifice, blood, and burning flesh?

Why would he require that his own creation be destroyed, mutilated, and burned to please him?

In Exodus 29 we find explicit instructions on what kind of offerings need to be made in this soon to be constructed Tabernacle. Bullocks, ram’s without blemish, unleavened cakes and bread. The bullocks slaughtered before Jehovah, the blood spread around and poured next to the altar. Animal parts burnt on the altar, and other parts burnt outside the camp. Same with the ram. Apparently Jehovah loves the smell of burning ram:

Exodus 29:18 – And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto Jehovah: it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto Jehovah

Sorry but this sounds like some sort of psychotic satanic ritual. Blood and burning flesh?

Does this mesh with New Testament teachings from Jesus? How many rams or bullocks did Jesus slaughter, sprinkle blood and then burn to appease his Father?

It gets more bizarre as we find out what what Aaron and his sons need to do with the sacrificed ram:

  • Slaughter the ram and take its blood
  • Put blood on the tip of the right ear of Aaron and his sons
  • Put blood on the thumb of the right hand of Aaron and his sons
  • Put blood upon the great toe of the right feet of Aaron and his sons
  • Sprinkle blood and anointing oil on Aaron, on all the nice clothing he was instructed to wear, on the clothing of his sons

Blood, especially dried blood is messy and gory. Yet there seems to be a lot of blood placed around these spaces. The Bible makes NO mention of how to clean it up.

Want more bizarre? Aaron and his sons now need to take the rump and fat of the ram, the fat of the innards, the caul above the liver and kidneys, the fat of the right shoulder of the ram, one loaf of bread, one cake of oiled bread, one wafer of unleavened bread, and Aaron and his sons will wave them up and down as a “wave” offering to Jehovah.

What? The creator of the universe needs offerings waved up and down?

Then it all gets burnt on the altar “as a sweet savour” to Jehovah.

Exodus 29:26 – And thou shalt take the breast of the ram of Aaron’s consecration, and wave it for a wave offering before Jehovah: and it shall be thy part.

So Moses’ part will be the breast of the ram being waved up and down as an offering. Here comes the “forever” part again:

29:28 – And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’ by a statute for ever from the children of Israel: for it is an heave offering: and it shall be an heave offering from the children of Israel of the sacrifice of the peace offerings, even their heave offering unto Jehovah

There’s the “for ever” phrase again. Yet we know today there are no bizarre offerings, and yet the sun rises and the world turns. So what is Jehovah all about? Is he pretending to be a god by demanding these odd rituals? We also learn some specifics about offerings he is mandating:

  • Wave Offering
  • Heave Offering
  • Peace Offering
  • Sin Offering

Which modern churches follow these rules and types of offerings? Yes I know the Christian church has changed much of what the Old Testament prescribes, but yet there are Christians who say the entire Bible is factual and should be followed. So the question is valid. We know the  punishment for “iniquity” in these cases is death… so where is it all at today?

 

 

 

 

 

Exodus 21: More SPECIFIC cultural judgements; Eye for an Eye!? WRONG!

I made the point that this particular exodus story and the message behind it was NOT meant for the world, but for a specific set of people of a specific culture in a specific time in a specific geographical area. In fact, I could make the argument (regardless of what the modern churches say) that this can also reflect the Bible over all.

Need more evidence? Exodus 21 proves it.

If the message of the Old Testament was truly meant for the world, how do you reconcile the content of Exodus 21 – 23 with peoples in different parts of the world who have no concept or knowledge of: servants/slaves, oxen, sheep, vineyards, fields, corn, donkeys, dowry, money, etc.

With this reasoning, I can now say that the 10 Commandments were NOT meant for the entire world as they were initially spoken in the Bible, but only for the specifics mentioned above. I reiterate, these are good moral dogmas to stand by, but the Bible is NOT needed for cultures and societies to come up with these rules on their own.

So rather than break down each commandment and judgement I’m going to list a few that stick out more than the others:

  • If you buy a Hebrew servant (slave) they will serve for 6 years and then leave for free afterwards. Guess the non-Hebrew slave is screwed for ever.
  • The idea of ownership of another man/woman is normalized, even to the point that if a servant “loves” his master, the servant can plead with judges and have himself bound to his master FOREVER (note the cultural significance of an ear ring!):

Exodus 21:6 – Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

  • A MAN CAN SELL HIS DAUGHTER TO BE A MAIDSERVANT!
    • Repeat that one multiple times and tell me that the Old Testament and the commandments of Jehovah are applicable today.
    • If a man sells his daughter today, they would be arrested, yet there are cultures that participate in similar dowry type deals, and they are looked down upon as primitive. So why isn’t the Old Testament looked down upon as primitive!
  • Murder

21:12 – He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death

  • So if that man is put to death by smiting (or stoning, or other capital punishment) will those that killed him be put to death because they broke this commandment?
  • A man who kills another (with ha*elohim’s assistance) will be given a refuge to flee to
  • Death sentence: kill your mother, father, steal a man to sell, curse your mother or father
  • If you fight a man and wound him, but he lives, the you will pay for the loss of the wounded mans time and ensure he is completely healed
  • Here’s one for the record:

21:20 – And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money

In other words, it’s ok to kill your slave servant, because all they are is “money”!

  • The infamous “eye for an eye” verse. Exodus 21:23… BUT WAIT, there is context to this quote!

21:22 – If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

Wait for it!

21:23 – And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

THERE IT IS! The context of the infamous “eye for an eye” quote, aka the oft repeated “The bible says eye for an eye so lets bomb the shit out of them!” belief of the modern warmongering Christian types. Put to rest! It’s not a blanket statement as they use it today. There is context to it that is very specific because it regards a woman with child miscarrying because of two men fighting AND THEN you apply “eye for an eye” if there is continued “mischief”. Verse 23 is absolutely tied to the context of Verse 22.

I hope this becomes clear to any reader that has used the “eye for an eye” concept to justify hurting or killing others. Will the Bible, or one of the authors of the Bible expound on this verse in the future? Time will tell but for now, the first instance of this quote is clearly tied to specific conditions. Suddenly the contradiction of the “eye for an eye” quote and Jesus’ teaching of “turn the other cheek” has become clearer.

Some more judgements from Exodus 21:

  • If a man smites his slave and they lose an eye or a tooth, the slave is allowed to leave for the eye/tooth’s sake
  • If an ox gores someone, the ox will be stoned and not eaten
    • If the ox has shown aggression in the past, and the owner knew it but allowed the ox to eventually gore someone, then the ox AND the owner will be stoned
  • BUT, if an ox gores a slave servant (male or female) the owner will pay 30 shekels of silver, and the ox will be stoned

That’s it, a human life (just because it’s a servant) is only worth 30 shekels of silver! Can you see how these mandates are incompatible today and around the world, whether modern times or historical? So when someone tells me the Bible is applicable today in it’s entirety, I say NO, once again.

 

 

 

 

 

Exodus 16: Manna and the Sabbath. Another lesson.

Was Jehovah not ready for this exodus of peoples? They keep up ending in the situation where they do not have what is necessary to survive. In Exodus 15 it was water, in Exodus 16 it is now food.

OR

Is he making his people suffer on purpose just to prove his point? Why not give them what they need in the first place, and then punish them if they get out of line to prove this point? I see this as a human flaw well documented in psychological circles.

Either way:

  • They are still under his slavery, they have no control of their survival or destiny
  • Jehovah is still showing humanistic traits
  • The Israelites in their captivity by Jehovah are going through a roller coaster of “mercy”, great things followed by starvation and thirst, followed by “mercy” most of which is all the fault/cause of Jehovah.

Back to the narrative:

Exodus 16:3 – And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to Jehovah (note, KJV: says God, not Yahweh) we had died by the hand of Jehovah in Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

The people starve. Things were better in Egypt. Note they are not complaining about being tired, hot, lost, etc. They are complaining about two ABSOLUTE NECESSITIES to survive. Once again, it sounds like Jehovah is doing this on purpose so that he can continue to issue mandates to them.

16: 4 – Then said Jehovah unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them whether they will walk in my law, or no.

There it is, he is doing this to test their ability to follow his law. So the bread that will fall from heaven, they will gather for six days, and the miracle will be that on the sixth day, they will be able to gather twice as much as they usually do (to cover for the 7th day).

Moses scolds the people telling them, despite them complaining to Moses and Aaron, they really are complaining against Jehovah (in other words, they are treading dangerous water by doing so.)

The glory (light) of Jehovah appears in the cloud (assuming this is cloud pillar). Jehovah tells Moses that in the evening, the people will eat flesh, and in the morning they will eat bread.

That evening, quails covered the camp. The next morning, manna appeared.

Manna:

  • Appears in the morning when the morning dew evaporates
  • Means “we know not what it is”
  • It was small and round (is this were the communion wafer comes from?)
  • No one mentioned it falling from the heavens.
  • When they gather it, whether they gather too much or too little, when they distributed it out, there was always just the right amount. Though they are supposed to collect an “omer” (some sort of measurement)
  • They gathered it daily, and left none over night.
  • If they did leave it over night, it gathered worms and stank (this did happen and Moses was angry)
  • Only appears 6 days out of the week
  • Looks like coriander seed and taste like wafers with honey
  • They ate manna for 40 years until they came to the borders of Canaan

16:27 – And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And Jehovah said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that Jehovah hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.

Humans, never following instructions properly.  You know you are guilty too at times. It’s who we are and if you are a parent you know children are difficult with instructions. So, much like what a parent would do, Jehovah shuts all the people in their rooms (tents?) on the Sabbath day as punishment. Is this where the “go to your room!” for misbehavior and today’s “time out” come from?

The author finishes Chapter 16 by explaining that an Omer is 1/10 of an Ephah

 

 

 

Exodus 12, Sign 10: The Murder of the First Born of Egypt; Passover defined

Sign 10 – Wiping out the First Born of Man and Animal

Jehovah begins to instruct the Israelites about the event that will later be memorialized in what is now called Passover.

  • Any form of calendar they are using ‘resets’. The current month will be called the first month.
  • They are to, after 10 days of the month, take a unblemished lamb, 1 year old, hold it for 4 more days, and then kill it the night of the 14th day
  • They are to spread the blood on the door posts of their houses, and with specific instruction on how to prep and eat the lamb that night, they dispose the remains of it by fire during the day

Exodus 12:11 – And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is Jehovah’s passover.

Why the need for such specifics and haste? If someone was to forget their staff, then what? They had their clothes on, their shoes on, their staff ready to go, but why? In case the passover didn’t work and they had to flee in haste?

12:12 – For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the elohe (gods) of Egypt I will execute judgement: I am Jehovah.

Why does Jehovah need to constantly state who he is? Can we add being boastful to one of his human-like traits? I am King! I am the Champion! I am the Winner! I am the Best! These are all boastful remarks that, at least in this culture, aren’t really looked well upon regardless if they are true or not.

What’s even more important to note, is that Jehovah (as previously mentioned he is looked upon as a judge) is going execute a judgement/sentence on the gods of Egypt. If he is the only God, then why is he acknowledging other gods? He’s not saying whether they are real or fake. The fact he is acknowledging them and the fact verse says that the Pharaoh’s magicians had powers similar, if not weaker, than his, tells me there may be indeed other gods around. If they were fake gods, powerless gods, why even bring them up? This is another point I will hammer on time and time again as I travel through Old Testament verse.

12:13 – And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

Another important verse. If Jehovah is an all knowing/omnipotent god, why would he need a marker (ironically it’s blood) to know which house to slay the first born or not? Wouldn’t he know exactly where the Israelites lived and the Egyptians lived? Are there homes actually intermingled where he would need a marker? Are there Egyptians living in Goshen among the Israelites?

Also of note: Jehovah does not seem to be present at this time. ALL actions and communications through this point in Exodus have been done through Moses and while we are told they can communicate, we are not told how. Would readers at the time of these events know how they communicate and find the fact that there is no mention of this form of communication, normal? Is Jehovah really omnipresent if he needs someone to perform his powers from a distance?

Here are some more mandates regarding Passover:

  • Hebrews are to eat unleavened bread for 7 days, and on the first day of the 7 they throw all leavened bread out of their house. The man who doesn’t is CUT OFF FROM HIS PEOPLE.
    • Thrown out of Israel?
    • Cut off as in killed? In future verse this becomes ambiguous because a man who is killed is THEN cut off from his people (his family and lineage thrown out?)
    • The same first day of the week there is no work to be done except to eat (no mention of punishment but you can probably guess it’s going to be CRUEL)
  • In the 14th day of the 1st month of the calendar they will eat unleavened bread for 1 week, where there will be no leavened bread in their homes.
    • If there is: CUT OFF FROM HIS PEOPLE
    • Even strangers living among the Israelites will suffer the same mandates and same fate.

Why all such specifics for an almighty, all powerful god? (Sorry, I will hammer this point very much more in future verse to help prove one of my eventual conclusions).

These instructions from Jehovah to Moses are repeated in Exodus 12 by Moses to the Israelites. Then the sign occurs:

12:29 – And it came to pass, that at midnight Jehovah smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of the cattle.

THE FIRST BORN OF THE CAPTIVE IN THE DUNGEON?! Jehovah’s obsession with the “first born” of everything is odd. Does this date back to the first born of Adam and Eve (his creations that turned on him), their son Abel, who was slain by his brother? Where is this first born obsession coming from? While we don’t know the details of why the captive is in the Egyptian dungeon, but if it’s for something mundane, why would his/her firstborn need to be slain? What point does that prove?

Pharaoh responds in a typical fashion:

12:31 – And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve Jehovah, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.

Pharaoh asks for a blessing, in a sort of subordinate manner, YET, there is no mention of Pharaoh or any Egyptian suddenly becoming a follower of Jehovah.

So why is it, 1, 2, and 3,000 years later, that converting people to Jehovah worship is of utmost importance, even if it means the death of the person who does not want to convert? This lack of proselytizing in the Old Testament when it runs rampant today tells me (among a laundry list of other reasons) there is a HUGE disconnect between the modern churches that look at the Old Testament and factual scripture and the Old Testament itself.

The Israelites leave Egypt, but not before spoiling and ripping off the riches of their Egyptian neighbors. Jehovah then sets down a set of rules for future passover, mundane details about leaven and unleavened bread, circumcision, servants and foreigners. All will follow the rules of Passover, in remembrance of the 12 brutal signs that led to the Israelites being rescued out of the hands of Egypt by Jehovah.

The drawn out, excessive, and frustrating story of the Israelites being led out of Egypt is over. Jehovah played a giant puppet game, caused a lot of grief, killed a lot of innocents, but yet we are told he is “righteous”. Not once has peace or the attempt at peace taken place. How does this compare to the teachings of the New Testament?. Heck, we (well most of us) strive for dialogue, peace, and treaties before we take the last resort of trying to kill our enemies. In Jehovah’s case there is no peace, only punishment, strife, and death. Unfortunately we are going to see more and it is going to get worse all the way through Chronicles, Judges, and the Books of the Prophets.

My journey continues, but after this harrowing and frustrating narrative of the 12 chapters and 10 signs of the Exodus, I need a break.

One other huge point: Is there evidence in the Egyptian material record of this brutal murder of all the first born of Egypt? Surely something of such a brutal magnitude would have been recorded in some sort of fashion?

 

Exodus 6: Jehovah self identifies; the mystery of Jehovah/Yahweh; Incest?

More to the puzzle of the multiple ‘god’ names used so far in the bible. Verse 1 starts with “Jehovah said  unto Moses…”, yet:

Exodus 6:2 – And Elohim spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am Jehovah. And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of El*Shaday (God Almighty), but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them.

In previous verse Jehovah was used, so is it true that the patriarchs did not know the name Jehovah? Clearly the author used his name multiple times in Genesis.

Why would “God” need a name? To distinguish himself from other gods? What does Jehovah (proper Yahweh) mean? I’ve been told it means “I AM”, but this is not the case because in Exodus 3:14 we are told “I AM” is ey*yeh. We are told the Hebrews in Egypt would know “ey*yeh” but now we are told they would not know “Yaweh” so they Bible proves they can’t be the same. A quick internet search shows various possibilities, i.e. “he brings into existence”, and yet another says it’s not a name as much as a concept: Take a garden hose, turn the water on, and kink the hose. When you unkink the hose the force of water expelling out is a “yahweh”, so like an eruption or expulsion. Is he called Yahweh because he has the power of a volcano? Or is it because he “expels” his people out of Egypt?

While it’s possible for people (and entities) to have more than one name, I have a feeling that this name/title change signifies a change in the times, a change of an era, a new identity for this people who are about to enter a journey to a new destination. A more glorious one, perhaps. Similar to the change from Abram to Abraham, it signifies a change in Abraham’s destiny. As for Yahweh:

The possibility yahweh is a concept to describe an expulsion/eruption is interesting for two reasons: Back in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah I got hints that the “fires of Jehovah” were in affect fires what we would see from a volcanic eruption. Fire and brimstone falling from the sky and scorching and smoking the earth. Then we are told Mt Horeb is holy, “God’s mountain”, with a “burning bush” that doesn’t get consumed, and quick search from Wikipedia says Horeb could mean “glowing/heat”. What’s another way to describe a mountain that is glowing and hot? A volcano. I’m hoping the writer expounds on this further. As to the burning bush, would we see something similar in active volcanoes today? Is it possible for lava or other volcanic formations to look like bushes? Could a small fissure behind a bush appear to be burning but not get consumed?

burning bush
A potential “burning bush”?

Back to the story: Jehovah instructs Moses to talk to the Israelites and tell them the plan. Jehovah will bring them out of Egypt, be a god to them, and lead them to a land of milk and honey as he had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses does so, but the Israelites don’t hearken to him due to their oppressive conditions under their bondage. So then Jehovah tells Moses to speak to the Pharaoh:

6:12 – And Moses spake before Jehovah, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?

Is Moses not circumcised, which would be a qualification to speak to the Pharaoh? Is he referring to actual circumcised lips? If that is the case, just what does uncircumcised mean in this situation? Does it mean Moses is not a good speaker, as he had mentioned earlier?

Exodus 6 then goes into a sort of summary mode. We are given the lineage of the peoples currently in Egypt. Then we get a look into the lineage of the Levites and thus Moses and his brother:

Kohath was the son of Levi; Amram was the son of Kohath:

6:20 – And Amram took him Jochebed his father’s sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses.

Should be noted that Amram, Moses and Aaron’s father, took his aunt by blood (his father’s sister) to wife. Something I was NOT taught in my church or bible studies. While certainly taboo today, no mention of any sort of irregularity at this point in the Bible. The precedent has already been set though. It’s assumed the son’s of Adam and Eve had relations with their own sisters to start the next generation (though that is not my belief based on the Cain story). Abram married his half sister Sara to wife. Lot’s daughters were impregnated by him. Jacob and Isaac took first cousins to marry, in fact they were encouraged to. Reuben married his aunt.

Anthropologic point of view: It was among many of my ancestors here in the America’s that marriages be outside of the immediate clan, and in some cases tribes. This prevented the well known genetic issues that occur with familial intermarriage as seen in European royalty. This didn’t skip the America’s entirely though, it was said many of the nation-state advanced civilizations (Maya, Inka, Aztec, Cahokia for example) that marriage was kept within familial groups to ‘preserve bloodlines’. I have a theory on that one as well that ties into the Bible/Middle East but will not cover it here. Overall though, smaller tribal groups encouraged outside marriage. Plus with some of the other issues (like forming bonds between different tribes and nations) this was a benefit to both groups as a whole. It prevented a lot of bloodshed (but I can imagine the marital issues if tribal knowledge or culture was not compatible!)

So here in the Biblical Middle East we have multiple generations of intermarriage with family not only through blood but also through marriage. Were there genetic issues with these peoples because of this? Hint: leprosy? Skin disorders? Did they do this because they did not want to intermingle with other groups? They were above them? We know this will not be the case with Moses (spoiler alert).

Back to the narrative: We are given a run down of the lineage of Reuben, Simeon, and Levi as being in Egypt (the three eldest sons from Leah). What about the rest of the brothers?

In an odd record skip in the narrative, verses 28 – 30 basically repeat what we read in verses 1 – 12.

Observation: This “book” or chapter was written by someone else, written at a later time, or pieced together and made into one. One thing for certain: There are NO DEFINITIVE answers to any of the questions I’ve put into place in this post, just speculation (the Internet makes this conclusion possible in a very quick manner). It’d be difficult to argue that the Bible is factual and concrete at this point in time with so many potential interpretations and questions it leaves behind.

Genesis: A quick redux. Genesis grade: A-

Genesis was an interesting read in that I started to find tangents and parallels taking place that I was not aware of before. I’ve heard people say the Bible is perfect, infallible, and the “word of God”. Well to be honest, I would think the word of God wouldn’t come off like a typical incomplete novel that was still in the works. Sounds critical of me to say but that is the truth. The timeline is erratic, a lot of information and data is missing, and I almost get the impression it was a series of stories squished together to try to fit into one.

Some major observations and questions I come across as I quickly review my findings:

  • Creation. Two stories and they do not match
  • Why is it important that precious stones exist in the lands where Jehovah and the Garden of Eden are placed?
  • Adam and Eve are assumed to be the first two people on earth but after reading the story again and comparing Genesis books 1 and 2, I no longer think that is the case: Cain is afraid of ‘whosoever’ he comes across will want to kill him despite the insinuation of modern translation that he is only the 3rd person on earth.
  • Elohim and Jehovah: Different traits, characteristics, actions
    • Elohim seems cosmic, universal, ethereal, spiritual “Elohim’s spirit floats over the waters”
    • Jehovah seems earthly, worldly, physical “he walks in the cool of the evening”
    • They give different instructions to Noah regarding animals to bring on the Ark and what animals they are allowed to eat
    • Elohim’s offerings are of bread and wine, oil and drink offerings
    • Jehovah’s offerings are beasts and blood, and rejected Cain’s offerings of first fruits
  • The patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Esau, the sons of Jacob and Esau) are all well off, lot’s of flocks and land. They live lives that TODAY would be considered sinful and evil
    • Lying and cheating their brethren
    • Having multiple wives, including wives of slave women
    • Having multiple children with multiple wives
    • Treating their children unequally in terms of their inheritance
    • Disobeying their fathers
    • Not paying heed to the promises of Jehovah “do not fear” yet they do and bring chaos to those around them (Pharaoh, Abimelech, etc.)
    • The non-Jehovah special lineage (Ishmael and Esau) really didn’t do anything wrong compared to their counterparts
  • There is no mention of a priesthood until we find out about Melchizedek, King Priest of the Most High God, who gives thanks with bread and wine (Jesus like) but not the blood and burning flesh of Jehovah
  • There is no mention that evil done by man is caused or influenced by the Devil/Satan.
  • Jehovah is not omnipotent or omniscient “I came to see for myself if the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah is true”
  • With all the knowledge we know about ancient Egypt, many data points are missing in the Genesis description of Egypt (Pharaoh names for example)
  • For one event to happen (the reunion of Joseph with his brothers which saves them from the drought) a WHOLE LOT of other steps were put into place to cause this event, as claimed by Joseph that it was all part of a master plan. Why would an omnipotent god need to do such a thing?
  • Big questions pop up why many of the events and geographical sites mentioned in Genesis are all big mysteries. Where is the evidence?
    • Where was the Garden of Eden and why is it not around today with Jehovah walking around it. Where is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Where is the “flame of a sword” that protects the Tree of Life? Where are the rivers Havilah and Pishon?
    • Do we know where Sodom & Gomorrah really were?
    • Where was the Tower of Babel?
    • Did the Nephilim who were offspring of the sons of Elohim and the daughters of man leave remains behind? Why do we not know the whole story of how that took place and what happened to those that “fell” in Genesis?
    • Is there physical evidence of the great war of kings in Genesis 14? It was of a grand scale and surely something would be left behind. And where did these kings come from?
  • “Israel” was NOT monotheistic, they CLEARLY worshiped other gods, they KNEW of other gods, they POSSESSED other gods (Jacob hiding his family’s idols from Elohim)
  • The patriarchs and the 12 sons of Israel are not boasted about, they clearly are human teetering on a wickedness that modern Christians would condemn. Will this be the case in future books ahead? SPOILER ALERT: I’m jumping ahead and spoiling the narrative by saying no, they get special treatment in future books and their wickedness still exists, if not worsens. This tells me there are yet more authors with different intentions in our future.

Some odd impressions about Jehovah I took that conflict with modern church teachings that I think the bible clearly insinuates:

  • Jehovah was a surrogate father, after all it was until “he did that thing when he visited Sarai” who the bible clearly says both her AND Abraham were beyond child birthing age, did she give birth to Isaac. Was Abraham really the father when it was only by a visit from Jehovah that she gave birth? The precedent was set in Genesis 6 when we are clearly told the spiritual/heavenly beings ARE able to breed with the daughters of man.
  • Jehovah clearly starts to sound like an earthly, tribal god. His physical form means he can walk the earth but is not always on earth because other times he appears in dreams to the patriarchs. He needs physical specificity in the case of: sacrifices (he enjoys the smell of burning flesh), Sodom & Gomorrah (he needs to see the evil for himself)
  • The 12 sons of Jacob and Jacob himself were pretty wicked, yet were protected by Jehovah despite their sins.
  • Jehovah has dragon and/or volcano traits to his being and I think we will see more of this in Exodus.

The “sins” of Adam and Eve all the way down to Jacob (who admitted to the Pharaoh his days have been short and evil) do give a very humanistic aspect to these early peoples, an aspect that even modern man can associate with: deceit, family conflict, land issues, weather related catastrophes, widespread wickedness, and much more.

Some points I’m looking to get clarified in future books:

  • The devil was not accused of involvement in any of the evil actions taken by the peoples of this day (save for the serpent who people insinuate is the devil but Genesis does NOT specify this). The evil comes from man himself, no credit is giving to the devil/Satan
  • The difference between El*elyon, El Shaddai, Elohim, and Yahweh. I no longer believe they are one in the same and have multiple Genesis verses to prove my point. I’m hoping it gets clarified in further verse.
  • When the flood occurred it was (again, different reasons were mentioned pertaining to the difference between Elohim and Jehovah) because the world was overly wicked. There is NO mention of CORRECTION to keep the world from becoming overly wicked again. All we have is a flood that wiped out the wickedness but no measure to prevent it from happening again.
    • SO, BIG QUESTION: Can the world ever become as wicked as described in the pre-flood days?
    • Just how did the author(s) of Genesis define “the world”? Was it the entire globe? The middle east specifically? The eastern hemisphere which we find that not until at least 1492 people thought was the entire world?

Overall my latest study into Genesis really opened my eyes about details NOT discussed by any church officials, bible studies, or conversations with fellow Christians of many denominations. All I get from them is broad assumptions (Adam was first man; Jehovah is the only god; the patriarchs were faithful and role models).

Let me say this, the patriarchs get a big NO WAY in terms of being role models. It can not be denied that their lifestyle would not mesh with modern times, whether the lifestyle of a modern Christian or an average US citizen (polygamy is now illegal).

The big hypocrisy between modern church goers and Genesis: Today it is frowned upon, if not outright illegal, to own slave servants or to marry multiple wives. But that’s what the patriarchs did and it was not frowned upon by Jehovah or Elohim! So why do people point to Genesis and say there are things in there that we should be doing? Isn’t it all or none? Do we get to pick and choose which rules we follow listed in the bible? I know future books of the Bible are really going to hammer this point home.

There is much much more to discuss regarding Genesis, but I need to move on to Exodus for the purpose of this blog. Genesis complete. Overall status: Confused but still open to the word of the bible, not convinced modern science meshes with Genesis, but I know there are many more themes to come in future books so I move on.

I give Genesis an A- because it is absolutely fascinating, but mysterious (thanks to all the missing information) so it puts me in detective and critical thinking mode. I think there are multiple authors and multiple stories squished into one, which is glaringly obvious, but because it warrants more questions it incites my imagination and critical thinking skills in looking for more proving data. Flaming swords, magic trees, Nephilim, giant sea and land creatures (Leviathan and Behemoth), tribal war gods: sorry to say it has a Lord of the Rings feel to it all. If someone does not take it serious I can see why, it’s not that hard to see. I loved the imagery I got from it all (Jehovah, who is given no physical description, “walking” in the cool of the evening in the Garden of Eden, or the Elohim floating over the cosmic waters) so I give it an A- in terms of its effect on my mind and how I place myself in this world.

Let’s see what Exodus does.

Genesis 40: Joseph in Egypt. The Baker & the Butler

Not describing what exactly the Pharoah’s baker and butler did, whatever it was it angered the Pharaoh and he imprisoned them both. In Chapter 39 we find that Joseph, although imprisoned, found favor with the jailer/Captain of the Guard, so Joseph finds himself overseeing these other two prisoners.

After a season, one day Joseph finds both of them with sad countenances. He inquires about it and they tell him:

Genesis 40: And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to Elohim? tell me them, I pray you.

Couple of observations:

  • The two servants (KJV calls them officers) understand the concept that dreams aren’t just sleep visions, they call for interpretation.
  • Joseph speaks to them about Elohim as if they would know who he was talking about
    • Can we assume a polytheistic people like the Egyptians would acknowledge a foreign god and his powers?
    • Can we assume the servants were Egyptians and not Hebrews or other race as if often the case with servants?

Both dreams are told to Joseph, and Joseph asks both to remember him in the presence of the Pharoah next time they speak with him so that he could be removed from his imprisonment:

  • The butler dreamed about 3 branches of a vine, which quickly blossomed forth ripe grapes, which the butler pressed into wine into the Pharoah’s cup
    • Joseph interprets this dream that in 3 days the Pharaoh would restore the butler to his job and he will deliver the Pharoah’s cup into his hand
  • The baker dreamed about 3 white baskets stacked upon his head. In the uppermost basket were breadmeats meant for the Pharaoh, which birds ended up eating
    • Joseph interprets this dream that in 3 days the Pharaoh would hang the baker on a tree and that birds would eat his flesh.

Three days later, as Joseph had interpreted, both dreams came true. In the case of the baker who lived, he did not do as Joseph asked as a favor for interpreting the dream, he did not tell Pharoah about setting Joseph free.

What stuck out to me about this story is the idea that Joseph spoke to the servants about Elohim, and because so, seemed to act as a representative of this deity.

Egyptian culture and punishment: Is hanging on a tree normal punishment in ancient Egyptian culture? Why did both servants get imprisoned and only one was granted mercy. Was it because he was innocent? Or his crime was not as bad as the bakers? It was at the Pharoah’s whim?

This story, after I read it again, didn’t sound as Egyptian or Pharaoh style as I thought it would. This is going to require more research, because if this story is true, there should be some basis in this type of treatment (jail then hanging on a tree) in the material record and history of ancient Egypt as we know it today.

Also, isn’t “hanging on a tree” the term used to describe Jesus being crucified? If that’s the case the Baker had his head lifted off of him (beheaded) and then hung on the tree (crucified). Was beheading and crucifying part of ancient Egyptian culture? If not, then the validity of this story is in question, which raises similar questions about the entire Joseph in Egypt story-line.

A quick online search doesn’t come up with anything that would specifically prove this story to be culturally accurate to ancient Egypt. A topic worth investigating and I will report back to this chapter post should I find anything of significance.

Christmas Eve 2017

It’s Christmas Eve, 2017. It sounds like a party zone outside my window. Loud music blaring from peoples homes, fireworks going off. People in the house behind me hollering, laughing loudly, cheering as they do alcohol shots. Cars speeding up and down the streets.

The night sky lit up with a plethora of Christmas lights, wreaths and decorations on every street corner. Family gatherings have some streets packed to the curb with cars. The race to complete last minute Xmas shopping is on.

Visiting my parents for my mom’s traditional Xmas cooking I got to sit down in my child hood home and reminisce about the Xmas days of my youth and how much things have changed.

It’s depressing in a way, how much my beliefs, nay, my KNOWLEDGE has changed since then. I’m no longer the naive yet studious young Christian who was fond of going to church and participating in church events. In a way I miss that naivety because it was comforting. Maybe, just maybe if I hadn’t sat down and really studied the Bible, I would still be in that comforting shell of naivety.

Fast forward a few decades later. Xmas has become just another day. The solemnity of the day is long gone. Xmas Eve used to be quiet, but now it’s like a giant party in the streets. I can not participate in the festivities however. My life is blessed, it’s not perfect, but I have much more in my life than many people in the world who suffer and starve every day. It’s those people I think about on days like this (well pretty much every day but especially on these festive holidays).

The war torn children, the starving families, the homeless, the mentally ill receiving no help. The lonely, the family-less, those with no one to reach out to for company. Some moments today I felt like I could feel their emotion all at once, it weighs on me heavily, and I feel helpless like there is nothing I could do.

Sure I could donate more money to foundations and charities that help people out. I donate but the feeling doesn’t go away, as it shouldn’t. But it can be overwhelming and has taken any festivities out of my heart and placed me inside my house, alone. You see, I am among that list, and it’s days like this that can be especially painful. In a way I just want today and tomorrow to be over as quick as possible.

It’s days like this that I feel that I’m on the outside looking in. Out in the cold, out alone, watching life play on for people with full and complete lives. Wondering why I can’t be in there, what I did wrong, what I’m being punished for. I know I’m not alone though, so I feel like I need to carry some of that burden and pain for others.

I’ve heard the usual Christian platitudes: “Well there’s a reason for it all, God has a plan for you”…. more made up dogma with no real foundation in scripture. The fact that what the future holds is unknown, and the idea that some interventionist god is going to save the day is enough for some people, well not me.

The wishes of joy and happiness for the holidays is something I pray for EVERY DAY. Not just on Xmas, not just on Easter, EVERY DAY. Just like every day should be Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day. We’ve turned simple concepts that should infiltrate daily lives into holidays that almost force people to squeeze all their effort into these concepts of life into one day.

I still have faith that things will turn around, but when they do, will I be praising God? I don’t know. When I was a naive child, the answer would’ve been a resounding yes. Now, not so much. The Xmas festivities and the naive Christian child I once was are both long gone. The idea that people need to suffer or be punished to strengthen their belief is an odd one, but it is clear that is the M.O. in the Old Testament so people readily accept it.

When bad things happen to good people, it tells me fate is not in the hand of a just and mighty God, but fate is in the hand of chance, in probability, in randomness. Not some divine decider of justice.

If it were, there would be no suffering innocent children, and the evil of the world would be punished. If there is some divine decider of justice and evil persists, the two are mutually exclusive and putting belief in this decider is impossible for me.

Christians respond: “Oh but it will! That’s the promise of Jesus and Revelation we just have to wait” when Jesus clearly spoke in his letter to the 7 churches “the time IS AT HAND”. That was 2000 years ago.

The more I read the Bible, the more I deconstruct the part of me that was just like them, with typical auto responses that, while they may make the person feel better about the situation, don’t have any basis in scripture.

I’ve disappointed many of my Christian friends but they do concede that their inability to really read the Bible as a whole (they focus on individual scriptures) may give me an edge on validity. I’m not trying to be right, I just want to understand the book. The more I do however, the farther away I get. I know I’m not the only one, there are some brave souls out there speaking out as well in more public venues.

The night is dragging on, the music and hollering has not stopped. The monster that is Xmas reigns supreme tonight and nothing will stop him except time. His carcass will stuff trash cans for the next few weeks as a solemn reminder how plastic and dirty the holiday has become. Another week or so and I can go back to normal without constantly being reminded.

The hour has turned, it is officially Christmas.

Peace to all who read this and those who in turn preach peace in this world. Merry Christmas.

Genesis 32 – Jacob & Esau his brother meet reunite. Wrestling match. The TRUTH?! Where is it!

Jacob departs after his covenant with Laban, and on his way he meets angels of God, saying, “this is God’s army” so now we have a place named Mahanaim for this reason.

At this point, these angels remain nameless.

And he seeks out his brother Esau:

Genesis 32:3 – And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the field of Edom. And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye say unto my lord Esau: Thus saith they servant Jacob, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed until now: and I have oxen, and asses, and flocks, and men-servants, and maid-servants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in thy sight.

14 years is a long time to be away from family, so this sounds like a reaching out of peace to his brother who he deceived twice, and who he knew wished him dead. His messengers return to tell Jacob his brother is indeed coming, but with 400 men. Jacob is frightened and splits his camp in two, so that if Esau was to attack and wipe out one, at least the other would survive. Jacob prays to Jehovah asking for protection, repeating the promise back to Jehovah he was told he would receive. He REALLY must have been in fear if he reaches out to Jehovah this time, which isn’t surprising knowing what he did to his brother.

Jacob gathers a large gift in hopes to appease Esau before he arrives: 200 female goats and 20 male goats, 200 ewes and 20 rams, 30 milch camels and their colts, 40 cows and 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys and 10 foals. He sent each group forward, separate from each other (goats separate from rams, etc.) so that as Esau approached each group, he would be told that they are gifts from his brother Jacob to appease him in the hopes he will accept him. The groups he divided travel on to perform their mission and Jacob prepares:

32:22 – And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two handmaids, and his 11 children, and passed over the ford of Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the stream, and sent over that which he had. And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him. And said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is they name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, They name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou has striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?

So how did this work? As he sat alone a man comes along and start wrestling him and they grapple until the sun rises? Was it customary for men to randomly wrestle strangers, if so, what for? This is the first time the Bible has mentioned wrestling, will it occur again?

As the story ends, I am reminded of the vision of Abraham and Jehovah where Abraham’s horror/dream ends as the sun rises. What is it about the sun rise that causes these supernatural events to cease? Is Jehovah primarily nocturnal? Similar to what we would know as a vampire? Does he require blood?

So thanks to this event, Jacob’s name is now Israel, he has a limp, and the children of Israel do not eat “the sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day” because this man touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh. Is this “sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh” party of every animal’s anatomy? Or just humans?

I’m pretty sure there is anatomical term for this sinew, a quick Internet search has not given me an answer yet.

So what exactly is “touched” in this case? A mere finger brush? A strike? A penetration through the skin like a stabbing? I’d also be interested in a physiologist’s interpretation of this event. Does sinew = muscle so he suffered a muscle strain? A torn ligament? Not being pastoralists or butchers of animals, most people today wouldn’t understand “the sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh”. I, in my basic understanding, would say this is a hip ligament that connects to the thigh bone (the hollow of the thigh, knowing that dried bones are hollow). Only someone who has butchered an animal (or a human!) would know what this means in human anatomy.

SIDE NOTE!

Other biblical versions are saying that this “man” was actually an angel, so suddenly the deviation of Biblical texts from one another are really throwing a wrench in translation. We are told this was a man in ASV, but after Jacob gets his revelation of his new name, he claims he has seen God face to face (32:30). So it’s been established, according to Jacob/Isaac, God can take the form of a man and the Bible will simply describe him as “a man”. A mystery man if you will.

Stepping on over to KJV, I now see that Jacob’s name Israel was defined “A prince of God”. Isra-prince, El-God? Isra sounds alot like Ezra. This ASV verse I quoted above leaves out the “prince” word, and it completely changes the interpretation in my eyes and mind.

With all these translations, versions, interpretations, how in the world is anyone supposed to find the truth? Yet I know there are churches out there, non-denominational, Born Again, Protestant, Catholic, and every mix in between that says there’s is the truth, and because they claim to be holders of the truth, they turn on and attack one another. And the followers and parishioners of each attack the other.

If this “book” in it’s multiple versions, truly was the word of God, why are there so many variations? Is this a Tower of Babel type confusion put upon the people of the earth? Not only do we speak multiple languages, but the Bible has become a series of different languages/interpretations!

Believers out there: Why should someone, with no preconceived notions about this book, who has collated a long list of inconsistencies within and among different versions of this book, not just shelve the book and move on to other fruitful endeavors?

My bet: I’d get hundred’s of different answers, most dealing with a punishment of Hell, and I’d put money on that the answers were not found in the Bible, but in individual’s translations of this Bible, negating their answers as FACT. I don’t want opinions or conjecture, I want the truth. I’d see 100 versions of the “truth” at this juncture, then 100 more, until at some point I close my eyes and ears to modern man’s Bible and wait for divine intervention to answer me.

In the meantime I would live my life in peace, with respect to all life around me, with respect to the mystery of creation and this universe, helping my fellow man/those in need to the best of my ability, nurturing future generations, respecting righteousness and fair law.

BUT, because I didn’t say those “magic words” (and you born agains know who you are and what those words are) and because I can point out inconsistencies in the Bible (from the very beginning in Genesis Books 1 and 2) I guess I’m going to burn in Hell?

Well, if hell is where I go and you arrogant Christians are not there with your falsehoods and judgements, maybe it’s not so bad.

One of the reasons I started this blog was because a friend of mine had two “Christian” women tell him he was going to hell for believing the Bible contradicted itself. When he tried to prove his point with actual verse (again, try Genesis Books 1 and 2), they laughed at him and walked away mid-sentence. They mocked him. I took up the figurative sword and shield and started reading on my own and found, that, right off the bat, the contradictions do indeed start piling up.

This is a good time for a break. Maybe the spark of divination, that same spark I had when I was very young and proved the presence of the universal force of peace and balance, and gave me belief in God, will come back and give me direction. In the meantime, this book (or books since there are so many variations) gets closed up.