Thursday, August 26, 2010

Exodus: So God and Moses Walk Into A Bar...

Updates may be less frequent for a while, because I left my Kindle at my boyfriend's place so I have to read Exodus online, unless someone in Chicago wants to lend me a bible, and I tend to read slowly online. But I did manage to knock back the first few chapters!

I am a bit concerned; four chapters in and we are definitely over halfway through the plot of The Prince of Egypt. I'm starting to think Exodus is going to be 10 chapters of awesome plot, 30 chapters of people whining in the desert and listing boring and outdated rules for society.

Still, let's enjoy the awesome plot for as long as it lasts! First off, the Pharaoh of Egypt is not super great at thinking things through: "Uh oh, the Jews outnumber us and might one day decide to conquer us! Let's preemptively strike by enslaving them and giving them a really good reason to hate us!" Also, I love that he's ruthless enough to want to kill all the baby boys, but mostly just politely asks the two Hebrew midwives to do it for him, and when they're like, "Sorry, no can do," he's all, "Oh, okay".

Also, the Jews vastly outnumber the Egyptians, who were pretty numerous, but they only have two midwives?

In the Bible version, baby Moses is not surrendered upon the treacherous Nile, but instead hidden on the shore-much less dramatic! I hear in the Qu'ran it is different and more exciting, though. And then Moses' older sister is like, "Hey, I noticed you found a Hebrew baby just this second, want my mom who literally just lost her baby to nurse him?" and nobody puts two and two together, it's great.

Moses grows up in all of two verses, and kills an Egyptian in defense of a Hebrew slave. But then the next day he tells two Hebrews to stop fighting and they're like, "What're you gonna do, murder us like you did yesterday?" Jeez, ungrateful much? I guess, though, if I were part of an enslaved demographic and there was ONE member of the demographic who got to be ROYALTY that would kind of get to me, too.

At the end of Chapter 2, God remembers that promise he made about ten times in Genesis, and how all those descendants he promised don't mean much if they're all enslaved, and how maybe he should be doing something for those people he Chose. It's weird to think that this is the God people credit with constantly watching and caring about every little thing that happens, because here it reads like he spaced out for a few generations. This kind of neglect spells Child Protective Services for us ordinary humans, but God naturally is held to a different, lower standard.

GUYS did you know the phrase Stranger in a Strange Land comes from Exodus 2: 22? It does! It is Moses' self-description, and his explanation for why he names his firstborn son Gershom. Go figure.

In Chapter 2 Moses' father-in-law's name is Reuel, but in Chapter 3 it's Jethro. Go figure again.

God deliberately hardens Pharaoh's heart so that he won't let the Hebrews go. What the hell, God? I mean, seriously, he explicitly says he will make sure Pharaoh is non-compliant. Why?

But everyone's complained about this. What is more confusing, and what is left out of every telling of Moses's story even though it's AMAZING, is this:
24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast [it] at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband [art] thou to me.

26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband [thou art], because of the circumcision.

What the hell? Moses runs into God in an inn. Clearly the way God interacts with the world is not the way he used to interact with the world. And he wants to kill Moses, in the middle of Moses' journey to do his bidding? Why? And then Moses' wife steps up to the plate, which is awesome, and realizes that God wants what God always wants, which is baby penis skin. The whole incident is very confusing, and entirely ignored. I suppose God was mad that Moses' son wasn't already circumcised, but you'd think it would have come up earlier. Also, why isn't Moses' son circumcised? I guess when you are doing it as part of a deal with God and God clearly isn't holding up his end of the agreement, you stop mutilating penises after a few generations. That's reasonable. But God's back now, and he wants his foreskins!


  1. That inn scene was my FAVORITE SCENE as a kid, because it's just nonsense! God likes Moses! WHAT IS HAPPENING? My mom used to read me that story and a laugh and laugh.

  2. Sounds like a B-movie...

    "God needs foreskins", the sequel to "Mars needs women" ?

    Anyway, more proof (if ever that was needed) that this god character is a complete psycho.

    As it turns out, those fanatics who want to kill everyone in the name of God really have read the Bible correctly, after all !