Maiello: Defeat the Press
Wolraich: Obama at the Gates of... Gates
As God had promised, Sarah gave birth to a son at the age of 91. She and Abraham were very happy. Abraham named the boy Isaac and cut off his foreskin.
All was well in the Abraham clan until Sarah remembered Abraham's bastard, Ishmael, and his slave-mother, Hagar. She said to her husband, "Drive away this slave together with her son. The son of this slave will not share the inheritance with my son Isaac!"
Commentary: Readers may remember that fifteen years earlier, Sarah had encouraged Abraham to impregnate Hagar, but after the girl became pregnant, Sarah jealously tortured her until she ran away. Hagar eventually returned after God encouraged her to submit to Sarah's abuse. [Read more]
Abraham the wandering Jew moved south again to the Negev, where he frequently visited the city of Gerar in the land of the Philistines.
Commentary: The Great Rabbi Ezekiel Bezekiel has written, "The Torah does not say why Abraham visited Gerar, but doubtless it was for a holy purpose known to God." Holy purpose my hairy Hebrew hiney. Read on, friends, read on.
In Gerar, Abraham told everyone that his wife Sarah was sister. Abimelekh, the king of the Philistines, took a fancy to Sarah, even though she was well past 100 years old, and took her to his palace. [Read more]
Two angels disguised as men came to the town of Sodom one evening. Abraham's nephew Lot met them at the city gate and invited them to stay with him. That night, all the men of Sodom, young and old alike, gathered at Lot's door and demanded that he release the strangers to them so that they could butt-rape* them.
Commentary: Sodom was not a popular tourist destination.
Lot, being a good host, refused this request and offered the mob his two virgin daughters instead. [Read more]
Three strangers on their way to Sodom stopped at Abraham’s house, and he offered them food and shelter. One of the strangers promised Abraham that Sarah would give birth in one year’s time. Sarah, who was eavesdropping on the conversation, heard the stranger and laughed, for at 90, she was post-menopausal.
God, who was eavesdropping on Sarah, asked Abraham why Sarah had laughed, for was he not all-powerful and could he not enable a 90-year-old woman to conceive if he chose? So Abraham confronted Sarah. She denied the laughing, and they had a boring argument about whether or not she had laughed. [Read more]
When Abram turned 99, God came to him and said, “'I am God Almighty. Walk before Me and be perfect.”
Commentary: Yessir, God definitely had a man-crush on Abram.
Abram complied by falling flat on his face. Then God promised several more times to give Abram many, many offspring until Abram was about ready to tell God to shut up about the offspring already.
But then God demanded a price for his largess: circumcision.
Commentary: A kinky man-crush. [Read more]
In the end, it was Sarai who solved the fertility problem. She suggested that Abram have sex with her Egyptian slave, Hagar. Abram enthusiastically followed her suggestion.
Commentary: I suppose that I shouldn't ask whether Hagar was consulted in this arrangement.
When Hagar conceived a child, she got snotty and started dissing her mistress. Irritated, Sarah whined to Abram: 'It's all your fault! I myself placed my slave in your arms! Now that she sees herself pregnant, she looks at me with disrespect. Let God judge between me and you!'
Commentary: Women! [Read more]
About this time, Abram discovered a small flaw in God’s divine plan to make his offspring as numerous as the dust of the earth: his wife was sterile. So when God came to him in a vision with more promises of greatness and plentiful offspring, Abram pointed out that Sarai’s advanced age and well-documented sterility could present a problem.
But God assured Abram that he would have a child of own. To illustrate the point, He took Abram outside to count stars and promised that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars. This was not very reassuring to Abram, who grasped the concept of numerous offspring but couldn’t figure out how he would get from no offspring to numerous offspring given the physical deficiencies of the offspringer. [Read more]
There was at this time a war between nine kings of various tribes of ites and ims. Four of the kings defeated the other five, including the king of Sodom. The victors pillaged the possessions of the vanquished and took their people captive, including Abram’s nephew, Lot, who had been chilling in Sodom. When Abram heard of the kidnapping, he chased the four kings with 318 of his servants. He split his forces (all 318 of them) and rescued the captives and their possessions.
Commentary: Obviously, these were not the most powerful kings ever to rule the Middle East.
In gratitude, the king of Sodom offered Abram all the rescued goods, but Abram was too proud to accept gifts from Sodom, and he said, [Read more]
So Abram, Sarai, and Lot, enriched by the prostitution business, headed back north to Canaan. They were so rich that the land couldn’t support all their flocks, and their herdsman started to squabble, so Abram told Lot to go one way, and he would go the other. Lot went east to the wicked city of Sodom, and Abram went west.
Commentary: Lot did not have a good head for real estate.
When Lot was gone, God promised Abram that all the land as far as he could see would soon be his and that his offspring would be as numerous as the dust of the earth. [Read more]
When Abram turned 75, God told him to move out of his father’s house.
Commentary: I have to agree with God on this one.
To encourage him, God promised: “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you great. You shall become a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and he who curses you, I will curse. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.”
Commentary: I think that God had a little man-crush on Abram. [Read more]
The descendents of Nimrod, the mighty trapper before God, settled in the valley of Shinar. Once they were settled, they decided that it would be fun to build a really tall tower that reached the sky, so that’s what they did.
Then God came around to check out their tower, and he apparently wasn’t too pleased because he said,
“They are a single people, all having one language, and this is the first thing they do! Now nothing they plan to do will be unattainable for them! Come, let us descend and confuse their speech, so that one person will not understand another's speech.” [Read more]
This is another boring chapter. It’s just a list Noah’s kids and grandkids and great grandkids who founded seventy nations between them, including a bunch of “ites” (Canaanites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Overbites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Uptites, and Chamathites) and a few “ims” (Ludim, Anamim, Wetdrim, Lehabhim, Naftuchim, Pathrusim, Casluchim, Caphtorim, and Shavincrim). I didn’t count seventy, but that’s what the Great Rabbi says, and he is one wise counter.
There is one line, however, that makes the whole chapter worth reading:
Nimrod was a mighty trapper before God. There is thus a saying, “Like Nimrod, a mighty trapper before God!” [Read more]
When we last left our hero, Noah had disembarked from the ship and sacrificed a few clean animals to thank God for not drowning him, his family, and all the animals (except the sacrificed ones). God blessed Noah and his children, and in case they had forgotten, reminded them to be fruitful and multiply.
Commentary: Sometimes, God reminds me of my mother.
God also gave the people permission to eat the animals, though He forbade them from eating live animals. [Read more]
After forty days, God, sealed the wellsprings of the deep and the floodgates of heaven. Then he created a wind that caused the floodwaters to gradually subside.
Commentary: Where did the floodwaters subside to?
After seven months, the boat ran aground on a mountain. After ten months, the mountain peaks became visible.
Commentary: What exactly did the lions eat for ten months? Just wondering…
Forty days later, Noah sent out a raven. It flew off and kept flying until the water had subsided. So then Noah sent out a dove. The dove couldn’t find any place to land and returned to the boat. [Read more]
God tells Noah to bring the animals again, but this time he specified seven pairs of each clean species and one pair of each unclean species.
Commentary: The Great Rabbi Ezekiel Bezekiel wrote,
“The Lord in his infinite foresight commanded Noah to bring seven pairs of each clean animal so that he might earn the Lord’s blessing by offering the additional pairs as holy sacrifices to His mercy.” [Read more]
The “sons of God” thought that human women were hot, so they took the ones that they wanted. The offspring (God’s grandchildren) were mighty giants. Meanwhile, God decided that humans were living too long, so he cut their maximum life spans to 120.
Commentary: God has sons? Who was the mother? Or mothers even? I must say, this is one weird passage. I cannot help but reflect upon the awesomeness of God’s magnificent manhood, or rather Godhood. Fortunately, the Great Rabbi Ezekiel Bezekial offers wise words to relieve my awe and confusion: [Read more]
This chapter is just a list of Seth’s descendents and their spirited competition to see who could live the longest. I will spare the reader its boringness except to say that the consensus winner was Methuselah, who died at the ripe age of 969. However, supporters of Methuselah’s father, Enoch, dispute the result. God transported Enoch directly to paradise while he was a still young lad of 365, so technically, he didn’t die. The Great Rabbi Ezekiel Bezekiel exhibits Solomon-like wisdom in his proposed resolution: [Read more]
Having gained the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve set about going forth and multiplying, which is what God said that he wanted them to do in the first place. They had two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain became a farmer and Abel a shepherd. Cain offered some of his crops to God, but Abel offered his fattest sheep, so God loved Abel and ignored Cain.
Commentary: Couldn’t God make his own sheep? That’s like giving eggs to a chicken.
Well, Cain got pissed off and depressed because Abel got all the divine love, so he killed him. Then God came around and asked Cain what had happened to Abel, and Cain pretended that he had no idea, but of course God knew exactly what had happened. [Read more]
So God finished his business and left for vacation. Adam and the woman hung out in the garden with a particularly clever snake. When Adam was off doing something (don’t ask), the snake asked the woman about what fruit she was allowed to eat. The woman explained what God had said about the toxic properties of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The snake, who was apparently smarter than the people, told the woman that what God had said was false. The fruit of the TKGE wouldn’t kill her; it would give her knowledge of good and evil (which is probably why they called it the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil).
Commentary: A talking snake? [Read more]
As I said, God took a day off. It’s not clear what he did on his day off, but we hope something fun and relaxing. But before he called it quits, God made a pretty garden for the first man, Adam. The garden had some nice trees, including the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which is a long name for a tree. Before heading out, God commanded Adam not to eat from the tree with the long name for “the day you eat from it, you will definitely die.” [Read more]