Some Truly Perverted Shit

I’ve been making this critique for a while, but now Genesis is really getting repetitive. I never remembered so many obviously recycled stories, but we’re clearly on a repeating ten chapter loop where only the names are changed. Here goes:

This story starts with Rachel being jealous of Leah because Leah is getting knocked up every five minutes while Rachel is still childless. Very familiar. She blames Jacob (and threatens to kill herself), and Jacob blames God. Fortunately, a solution presents itself: Jacob will nail Bilhah, Rachel’s “handmaid.” And we have a virtual repeat of the Abraham-Sarah-Hagar story from Genesis 16.

Of course, Bilhah immediately gets pregnant and Rachel claims the child as her own. In other words, Rachel demands that her husband rape and impregnate her slave, then steals the child born of the coupling. That’s uh, a bid…edgy. Also, in orchestrating this whole affair, Rachel was motivated by her hatred and jealousy of her sister, who is also her cousin, who is also her sister-in-law. God damn it Bible.

The success of the baby-making scheme convinces Rachel that she is onto something, so she makes Bilhah and Jacob do it again. He probably didn’t take too much convincing. After a second son is born, she spitefully declares victory over her sister:

and Rachel saith, `With wrestlings of God I have wrestled with my sister, yea, I have prevailed…’

The victory speech seems premature and, naturally, it causes a slave-rape arms race. Baby-crazy but now vaginally-overtaxed Leah offers her slave to Jacob for copulation. She literally declares baby-war on Rachel (it’s not as cute as it sounds), saying upon the birth of the first child from Zilpah:

11 “…a troop is coming”

I feel like what I’m about to say next is also becoming a common theme. NOW it gets weird. The part about two sisters marrying the same man, their cousin, because their father tricked him into sleeping with the wrong one on his wedding night? That’s not the strange part, it gets stranger.

The part about  the sisters trying to get pregnant as many times as possible as a “fuck you” to the other woman, then getting so tired-out by fucking and birthing that they have to call in reinforcements and  have their slave-women also copulate with their husbandcousin. Is that the weird part?

Nope. No, it gets stranger.

See, because then one of Leah’s sons from the arms-race picks some “love-apples” from the field (which the NIV translates as “mandrakes” but everything else I’ve consulted says means “tomato”). Rachel is all “give me a tomato,” and Leah’s like “you already stole my man, now you want my motherfucking tomatoes too?” And naturally, Rachel says “keep the man, gimme them tomatoes.” So Leah fucks Jacob and has another baby. Yes, there is a protracted dialogue about the sisters bickering about tomatoes and fucking, and Rachel trades a night in the sack with her husband for some tomatoes. In case you think I’m making this shit up, here’s the whole exchange:

14 And Reuben goeth in the days of wheat-harvest, and findeth love-apples in the field, and bringeth them in unto Leah, his mother, and Rachel saith unto Leah, `Give to me, I pray thee, of the love-apples of thy son.’

15 And she saith to her, `Is thy taking my husband a little thing, that thou hast taken also the love-apples of my son?’ and Rachel saith, `Therefore doth he lie with thee to-night, for thy son’s love-apples.’

16 And Jacob cometh in from the field at evening; and Leah goeth to meet him, and saith, `Unto me dost thou come in, for hiring I have hired thee with my son’s love-apples;’ and he lieth with her during that night.

I laughed out loud when Leah said “I have hired thee with my son’s love-apples,” i.e. “I bought you fair and square with tomatoes, now take your pants off and bark like a dog.” Now THAT would have been an interesting frame in the Picture Bible. Some truly perverted shit.

We get more details about Leah having two more kids, then, curiously, it says

22 And God remembereth Rachel, and God hearkeneth unto her, and openeth her womb,

So apparently God occasionally (or frequently) just forgets about people. Their life could be going to shit while the sick fuck is focused on watching some chick get knocked up again and again. Damn god, you nasty.

PART II: Magic Sticks

After all of this fucking and fighting, Jacob decides it’s time to leave Laban’s domain. Laban tries to renegotiate the pay-rate for the work Jacob has been doing for him while all of the baby-drama was taking place. In a long and annoying diatribe, Jacob reminds Laban how good of a shepherd he has been and that his labor has paid for the wife and children he wants to take with him. Blah blah. They strike a deal whereby Jacob can leave and take the spotted animals.

Then it gets weird.

Jacob uses magic rods to induce the flock to have more spotted animals:

37 And Jacob taketh to himself a rod of fresh poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut, and doth peel in them white peelings, making bare the white that [is] on the rods,

38 and setteth up the rods which he hath peeled in the gutters in the watering troughs (when the flock cometh in to drink), over-against the flock, that they may conceive in their coming in to drink;

39 and the flocks conceive at the rods, and the flock beareth ring-straked, speckled, and spotted ones.

That’s some bizarre superstitious shit. It’s not God who makes Jacob rich, but his own ingenuity and some brand of  black magic. It’s a bit confusing, frankly, to find a story about the power of magic sticks in the foundational book of a monotheistic religion. In How to Read the Bible, Kugel talks a lot about how these early Biblical characters are not actually monotheistic, even though Abraham is usually credited with originating the concept of one god. I think this story is more indicative of how these people (if they were real, which they almost certainly were not) actually would have thought and behaved. Peeled sticks make brown cows? Sure, seems plausible. He probably built a fucking altar to peeled sticks after that. But that part is skipped over when these characters are built up into paragons of faith in the one true god and all that bullshit. It’s another example, and there will be many, of selective reading. I’m sure Christians read it and think it’s just a cultural oddity or a metaphor, and skip by without giving it any significance, but why should the forefathers’ belief in magic sticks have any less credence than their belief in a magic man in the sky? Why don’t they worship peeled sticks on Sunday morning? Because the quasi-human “god” is more easily anthropomorphized than a piece of wood. To me, it’s no more ridiculous to believe in magic sticks than an omnipotent creator entity, but I suppose that’s why they are religious and I am not.

For that matter, how did the values they espoused — keeping multiple wives and concubines for example — not make the cut, but other values endured? *Side note* If having to pleasure multiple wives who also demand you sleep with their servants was still part of the religion, I would be dogmatic as fuck.

The answer to this and the magic stick issue is that religion is not universal. As much as Christians, Jews, and Muslims claim that their religious fundamentals are timeless and static, it’s just not true. Their morals and ethics are inextricably tied to factors outside of their religion. This should be obvious, but in my experience, they will deny it steadfastly. They’ll say the reason we don’t rely on magic sticks for making us wealthy is because that story had some other meaning — etiological, metaphorical, or otherwise — and not that science has impacted that belief and shown it to be false.

The idea that even religious mores are tied to existing cultural norms has been advanced before. It’s the only explanation for why all but the fringe fundamentalists don’t endorse taking multiple wives or keeping slaves. Independent of religion, we have evolved moral and ethical norms that say these things are not acceptable. That is one reason I think religion is not only unnecessary, but also harmful and problematic. If everyone — religious or not–is referring to a collective, secular morality, and that morality is constantly evolving in a positive, humanist way, and the only function of religion is to retard the adoption of that advanced morality, then religion is at best pointless, and at worst an evil.

On a positive note, that suggests to me that even with religion slowing the advancement of a secular humanist morality, if we survive as s species long enough we will eventually outgrow religion, as more and more of its beliefs and dogma are disproven by science and the progress of rational thought. Don’t get too excited, you and I probably won’t live that long 😦

GENESIS 30

1 And Rachel seeth that she hath not borne to Jacob, and Rachel is envious of her sister, and saith unto Jacob, `Give me sons, and if there is none — I die.’

And Jacob’s anger burneth against Rachel, and he saith, `Am I in stead of God who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?’

And she saith, `Lo, my handmaid Bilhah, go in unto her, and she doth bear on my knees, and I am built up, even I, from her;’

and she giveth to him Bilhah her maid-servant for a wife, and Jacob goeth in unto her;

and Bilhah conceiveth, and beareth to Jacob a son,

and Rachel saith, `God hath decided for me, and also hath hearkened to my voice, and giveth to me a son;’ therefore hath she called his name Dan.

And Bilhah, Rachel’s maid-servant, conceiveth again, and beareth a second son to Jacob,

and Rachel saith, `With wrestlings of God I have wrestled with my sister, yea, I have prevailed;’ and she calleth his name Napthali.

And Leah seeth that she hath ceased from bearing, and she taketh Zilpah her maid-servant, and giveth her to Jacob for a wife;

10 and Zilpah, Leah’s maid-servant, beareth to Jacob a son,

11 and Leah saith, `A troop is coming;’ and she calleth his name Gad.

12 And Zilpah, Leah’s maid-servant, beareth a second son to Jacob,

13 and Leah saith, `Because of my happiness, for daughters have pronounced me happy;’ and she calleth his name Asher.

14 And Reuben goeth in the days of wheat-harvest, and findeth love-apples in the field, and bringeth them in unto Leah, his mother, and Rachel saith unto Leah, `Give to me, I pray thee, of the love-apples of thy son.’

15 And she saith to her, `Is thy taking my husband a little thing, that thou hast taken also the love-apples of my son?’ and Rachel saith, `Therefore doth he lie with thee to-night, for thy son’s love-apples.’

16 And Jacob cometh in from the field at evening; and Leah goeth to meet him, and saith, `Unto me dost thou come in, for hiring I have hired thee with my son’s love-apples;’ and he lieth with her during that night.

17 And God hearkeneth unto Leah, and she conceiveth, and beareth to Jacob a son, a fifth,

18 and Leah saith, `God hath given my hire, because I have given my maid-servant to my husband;’ and she calleth his name Issachar.

19 And conceive again doth Leah, and she beareth a sixth son to Jacob,

20 and Leah saith, `God hath endowed me — a good dowry; this time doth my husband dwell with me, for I have borne to him six sons;’ and she calleth his name Zebulun;

21 and afterwards hath she born a daughter, and calleth her name Dinah.

22 And God remembereth Rachel, and God hearkeneth unto her, and openeth her womb,

23 and she conceiveth and beareth a son, and saith, `God hath gathered up my reproach;’

24 and she calleth his name Joseph, saying, `Jehovah is adding to me another son.’

25 And it cometh to pass, when Rachel hath borne Joseph, that Jacob saith unto Laban, `Send me away, and I go unto my place, and to my land;

26 give up my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and I go; for thou — thou hast known my service which I have served thee.’

27 And Laban saith unto him, `If, I pray thee, I have found grace in thine eyes — I have observed diligently that Jehovah doth bless me for thy sake.’

28 He saith also, `Define thy hire to me, and I give.’

29 And he saith unto him, `Thou — thou hast known that which I have served thee [in], and that which thy substance was with me;

30 for [it is] little which thou hast had at my appearance, and it breaketh forth into a multitude, and Jehovah blesseth thee at my coming; and now, when do I make, I also, for mine own house?’

31 And he saith, `What do I give to thee?’ And Jacob saith, `Thou dost not give me anything; if thou do for me this thing, I turn back; I have delight; thy flock I watch;

32 I pass through all thy flock to-day to turn aside from thence every sheep speckled and spotted, and every brown sheep among the lambs, and speckled and spotted among the goats — and it hath been my hire;

33 and my righteousness hath answered for me in the day to come, when it cometh in for my hire before thy face; — every one which is not speckled and spotted among [my] goats, and brown among [my] lambs — it is stolen with me.’

34 And Laban saith, `Lo, O that it were according to thy word;’

35 and he turneth aside during that day the ring-straked and the spotted he-goats, and all the speckled and the spotted she-goats, every one that [hath] white in it, and every brown one among the lambs, and he giveth into the hand of his sons,

36 and setteth a journey of three days between himself and Jacob; and Jacob is feeding the rest of the flock of Laban.

37 And Jacob taketh to himself a rod of fresh poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut, and doth peel in them white peelings, making bare the white that [is] on the rods,

38 and setteth up the rods which he hath peeled in the gutters in the watering troughs (when the flock cometh in to drink), over-against the flock, that they may conceive in their coming in to drink;

39 and the flocks conceive at the rods, and the flock beareth ring-straked, speckled, and spotted ones.

40 And the lambs hath Jacob parted, and he putteth the face of the flock towards the ring-straked, also all the brown in the flock of Laban, and he setteth his own droves by themselves, and hath not set them near Laban’s flock.

41 And it hath come to pass whenever the strong ones of the flock conceive, that Jacob set the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, to cause them to conceive by the rods,

42 and when the flock is feeble, he doth not set [them]; and the feeble ones have been Laban’s, and the strong ones Jacob’s.

43 And the man increaseth very exceedingly, and hath many flocks, and maid-servants, and men-servants, and camels, and asses.

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Some Truly Perverted Shit

  1. This is an amazing post, I love everything about it. But, I ESPECIALLY loved this:

    “For that matter, how did the values they espoused — keeping multiple wives and concubines for example — not make the cut, but other values endured? *Side note* If having to pleasure multiple wives who also demand you sleep with their servants was still part of the religion, I would be dogmatic as fuck.”

    I’m still laughing…

  2. Pingback: Some Truly Perverted Shit | Freethought Today

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s