I’m hitting a bit of a low spot in my Bible Project. Frequent readers of this blog may say that the low spot started more or less in Genesis, but I’m really struggling at the moment. Why? Because Isaiah and Jeremiah are just so endlessly boring and repetitive. Which is saying a lot, considering the Bible is nothing but repetition.
I can’t remember whether I said this last week – and I can’t be arsed to check – but Isaiah is pretty much 66 chapters of Isaiah prophesying doom and gloom for the Israelites because they stopped worshiping God and started worshiping home-made statues instead. It turns out that the ten commandments really were given in order of importance, that being 1) don’t worship other gods and 2) don’t make any images of gods. Every now and then there is a half-hearted mention of sticking to God’s laws as well, but since those include stupid stuff like don’t eat pig and don’t wear two different fabrics together, I’m still not impressed.
So, let’s see what comments I’ve noted down this week. I appear to have started this week by musing that most of the stuff Jehova’s Witnesses come out with must have come from Isaiah, like the whole predators dwelling in peace with prey thing.
Isaiah 36 – Tailors in Israel must have done booming business, since everyone is always tearing their clothes whenever they hear bad news. ‘Your dog has died.’ *rrrrip!* ‘Your cattle has been stolen by the Philistines.’ *rrrrip!* ‘Your entire people shall be captured and taken into exile by the Babylonians.’ *rrrip!*
Isaiah 39 – God has just saved Hizkia from death. Hizkia then gets a visit from the Babylonians, and proceeds to show them all his riches, both in the temple as well as in the palace. Clearly Hizkia was a very trusting soul. Once the Babylonians have gone, however, God tells Hizkia ‘you know those Babylonians you showed all your treasures to? They’ll come and take it all away, and they’ll take your sons to be your servants.’ And Hizkia’s response? ‘Oh, that’s alright then, it’ll happen after I’m dead, so watch me not give a fuck.’
This is how bored I was – next entry is for Isaiah 60, where I just say ‘It’s nothing but ‘you shall be lifted up above all nations because the Lord wills it’. Provided you don’t forsake him, of course.’
Bleh, on to Jeremiah, or Jeremia in Dutch.
I was briefly amused in Jeremiah 1, where he is urged to gird his loins. I’ve never been entirely clear what girding your loins entails, but I’ve always imagined it to look vaguely similar to some old guy with a beer gut hoisting up his trousers so they don’t slip down his arse. If I’m wrong, don’t educate me.
Jeremiah 3 puzzled me a bit. It says this:
“The word of the Lord came to me: If a man casts out his wife, and she leaves him and becomes another man’s wife, shall he then return to her? Will not that land be very much defiled? Yet you have committed adultery with many lovers – and then you would return to Me? is the word of the Lord. Raise your eyes to the barren hills and see, where have you not let yourself be misused? By the roads you have waited like an arab in the desert, and you have defiled the land with your adultery and your evil ways. Thus have the streams of rain been held back and the late rain has not come, but you have a whore’s forehead, you choose not to be ashamed.”*
*The stupid wording isn’t me being a shitty translator – I’ve pretty much literally translated what it says in Dutch here. Some of these sentences just don’t make sense.
Fairly random and obscure, as usual, but this suggests to me that Israel is being compared to a rejected wife, but it’s somehow Israel’s fault that it/she has been rejected.
Jeremiah 4 mentions circumcision, yay! I must have gone at least five bible books without having to think about bits of skin being cut off parts of your anatomy that normal people don’t want a knife anywhere near to.
At Jeremiah 9 I remark upon the fact that there is the constant repetition that God is benevolent and does good and justice in the world, but I just don’t see any evidence of that. Hey, God, here’s a thought for you: maybe people are worshiping carved wooden images because they don’t demand the constant genocide of everyone living around you. Because seriously? That’s the only lasting image I have of Old Testament God so far.
That’s it for this week; I made it to Jeremiah 19. Unfortunately Jeremiah is just as relentlessly huge as Isaiah, and just as relentlessly boring. Bring on Daniel, at least that’s got people being thrown to the lions. At this point I’m even looking forward to the New Testament, even though as a kid I always found the Jesus stories much more boring than Samson killing an entire temple full of Philistines.