Deuteronomy 23:1

Today’s crazy Bible verse comes from the book of Deuteronomy, a book full of crazy Bible verses!  Warning:  To all the men out there, you’d better sit down and you might want to cup your balls.  🙂

“No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the Lord.” – Deuteronomy 23:1

This refers to a man’s testicles and organ, as it made clear in the ESV Bible.

“No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.” – Deuteronomy 23:1

In the end, it doesn’t matter how good of a person you are or how much faith you put in God.  If your testicles are damaged, even if it is through no fault of your own, you can’t enter the assembly of the Lord.  Get diagnosed with testicular cancer?  The good news is that the 5 year survival rate today is as high as 96%.  However, if one or both testicles must be removed, the bad news is that you have a 0% of entering the assembly of the Lord.  Sorry, but God demands you keep your balls in pristine condition!!!  ROFL!

Genesis – Chapter 16: Hagar and Ishmael

We learned, in Genesis Chapter 15, that God made a covenant with Abram.  Abram has no son but God has promised Abram a son in the future.  God has also promised Abram a new land for his people, a land already occupied by others.  Chapter 16 introduces two new characters, Hagar and Ishmael.  Let’s dig in.

“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children.  But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, ‘The Lord has kept me from having children.  Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.’” – Genesis 16:1-2

Uh…said no wife ever!  In addition, notice what Sarai says.  She doesn’t care about Hagar.  She states that perhaps “I” can build a family through her.  Sarai seems to forget that this will be Hagar’s child, not Sarai’s.  Abram sleeps with Hagar and Hagar becomes pregnant.  Sarai should be happy, right?  Nope!

“Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering.  I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me.  May the Lord judge between you and me.’” – Genesis 16:5

Excuse me?  Abram certainly holds some responsibility for this situation, but Sarai holds just as much responsibility for telling Abram to sleep with another woman to help Sarai build a family.  Abram tells Sarai to do what she wishes with Hagar.

“Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.” – Genesis 16:6

Abram and Sarai are such kind people.  Abram allows Sarai to mistreat Hagar.  Sarai loves Hagar so much that she mistreats her.  Such a lovely family!  An angel finds Hagar and asks where she’s going.  After Hagar responds, the angel says:

“Go back to your mistress and submit to her….I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.” – Genesis 16:9-10

In a way this angel has come to rescue Hagar.  Hagar living off on her own would probably be a difficult life, but the angel tells Hagar to return to Sarai and that may not be the best for Hagar given the way she was mistreated earlier.  In biblical times having many descendants is seen as a good thing, so I’ll give this angel a bit of credit for helping Hagar.  The angel goes on to tell Hagar that she is with child.

“You are now with child and you will have a son.  You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your misery.  He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” – Genesis 16:11-12

Okay, maybe I should take away some of that credit from this angel.  Ishmael will live in hostility toward all his brothers?  This is the life God has chosen for Ishmael?  Sounds like Ishmael has no choice.  Again, more evidence of a ‘loving’ God.

“Abram was eighty six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.” – Genesis 16:16

This is highly unlikely, although not impossible.  The Guinness Book of World records places the oldest known, verified father having fathered a child at the age of 92.

Oldest Known Father

I tried looking for the age of Hagar at the time of Ishmael’s birth, but could find no information.

And that concludes Chapter 16.  We learned that Sarai is eager to start a family, and to do so, she has Abram sleep with Hagar.  However, Sarai gets very mad when Hagar becomes pregnant.  Hagar bores a son named Ishmael who will lead a life of hostility toward his brothers.  Finally, Abram was 86 when Ishmael was born.  The story continues in Chapter 17.

Coming Soon:  Genesis – Chapter 17:  The Covenant of Circumcision

Book Review – The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett has always been on my must read at some point list, but until recently, I had never read one of his books.  Saddened by his recent passing, I decided it was finally time to read something of his.  I checked out The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) from the local library and quickly read it.  This book (and series) is much different than most other fantasy books I’ve read.  Discworld is a flat disc being turned by four elephants on top of a giant turtle ‘swimming’ through space.  Seriously!

I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, but as a stand-alone book, I couldn’t give it 5 stars.  I need to read a few more books in the series to see how it plays out before rating it any higher.  If you’re a fan of fantasy books and have never read Terry Pratchett, I encourage you to give his books a shot.  You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised.

Genesis – Chapter 15: God’s Covenant with Abram

Woohoo!  This is the 100th post on this blog, which I started in November 2014.  It’s been quite a ride and one that I hope to continue for a long time yet.  In Genesis Chapter 14 we learned about the story of Abram rescuing Lot, who was captured by a group of kings in the area.  Chapter 15 appears, from the title, to bring Abram a covenant with God.

Chapter 15 begins with Abram talking to God about his lack of offspring.  The Lord tells Abram not to worry, for a son will soon come.

“Then the word of the Lord came to him:  ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.’” – Genesis 15:4

The Lord goes on to say:

“I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.” – Genesis 15:7

Again, I must question the possession of this land for it is NOT unoccupied.  We will later learn that much death and destruction comes to the people already living in this land.  A just God would not do this.  A just God would lead Abram to an unoccupied land or already place Abram in the ‘promised’ land.  Next Abram says:

“O Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” – Genesis 15:8

A reasonable question, but God’s response, which should be “Because I told you so and I am a powerful God!” instead says:

“Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.” – Genesis 15:9

Uh, okay.  Very specific and a very odd response to Abram’s question.  And why three years old?  What if Abram brings a 4 year old goat?  Will Satan take over the world then?  Abram brings the animals and this is the last we hear of them, making the request even odder.  Abram falls asleep and while sleeping the Lord comes to him and says:

“Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.  But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.” – Genesis 15:13-14

There’s great value in sacrificing something in one’s life for the betterment of your offspring, but being enslaved for four hundred years?!?!?!  This is the best God can come up with?  If that is God’s offer to me, my answer is thanks, but no thanks.  I’ll figure out a way on my own to make this happen in less than four hundred years.  Sure, the nation enslaving me will be punished, but that’s small potatoes compared to four hundred years of enslavement.  I would never sign that deal knowing my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and several more generations will suffer.  There must, and most definitely is, a better way.  The story gets even better as the Lord tells us Abram will not suffer any of this.

“You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age.” – Genesis 15:15

That’s a horrible parent right there.  No loving parent sacrifices the well-being of their children in this way.  I would be ashamed to know my children would suffer as I see peace and death at a good old age.  God ends with:

“To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—the land of the Kenites…” – Genesis 15:18-19

There’s the proof this land is occupied.  Who cares about the people already living there?!?!  God has decided Abram and his people are more important.  Again, clear evidence of an unjust God.

That concludes Chapter 15.  God tells Abram he will soon have a son, and He tells Abram that this land will be his people’s one day.

Coming Soon:  Genesis – Chapter 16:  Hagar and Ishmael

Genesis – Chapter 14: Abram Rescues Lot

Little happened in Genesis Chapter 13, but it set up the story for Chapter 14.  Abram and Lot, who were traveling together, split up.  Abram moved to the land of Canaan and Lot moved near Sodom, a city we are told is wicked.  Why?  That we aren’t told yet.  Let’s see where Chapter 14 takes us.

The first ten verses provide a background of the political climate in these lands.  Several kings are warring against each other and we eventually learn:

“The four kings seized all of the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away.  They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.” – Genesis 14:11-12

Lot has found himself in a world of trouble.  Turns out he should have gone left and let Abram go right and deal with the troubles of Sodom.  🙂  Abram hears of this and takes many men to rescue Lot.

“He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.” – Genesis 14:16

A few kings bless Abram and Abram gives the king of Sodom a tenth of everything.  The king says:

“Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.” – Genesis 14:21

Abram is having none of this and says:

“I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread of the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’” – Genesis 14:22-23

Okay, I will give Abram credit for not keeping the riches (he still keeps 90%, just the 10% he refused to take back), although his reason is a bit conceited.

“I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre.  Let them have their share.” – Genesis 14:24

Again, this seems nice of Abram, but let’s remember that we don’t know what ‘share’ means.  We’ll later see that ‘share’ refers to the sharing of women captured.  Thus we should be very leery of putting too much praise on Abram.  Despite this, Chapter 14 is far from the most evil or deadly chapter in the Bible.

That concludes Chapter 14.  Lot was captured and then rescued by Abram.  The story of Lot and Abram has many more chapters, so this is just the beginning.

Coming Soon:  Genesis – Chapter 15:  God’s Covenant with Abram

Exodus 21:20-21

This week’s crazy Bible verse(s) comes from the Book of Exodus.

“Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.” – Exodus 21:20-21

Let’s begin analyzing this verse by ignoring the fact the Bible condones slavery.  Some Bible apologists argue the Bible doesn’t really mean slavery but means it as indentured servitude.  In my view indentured servitude is not much better, but I digress.

The first part of the sentence makes perfect sense.  If you beat your slave, you will be punished.  A crime was committed and a punishment was given.  All is good…if the sentence ended there.  Instead, the Bible goes on to say that if the slave recovers within a day or two, the criminal is not punished.  What…the…hell?!?!?!

The Bible, written by man, but supposedly inspired by God, tells us it is okay to beat your slave as long as you don’t kill your slave.  If you were beaten and in the hospital for two days, that’s a serious beating.  The Bible condones this beating!!!  Many Christians argue you can’t be moral without God.  God says it is okay to beat people as long as you don’t kill them.  That’s the moral you live by?  That’s the moral you want to pass along to your children?  WOW!!!

I think it’s safe for me to say that I am a much MORE moral person for NOT following the Bible.

Genesis – Chapter 13: Abram and Lot Separate

In Genesis Chapter 12 we learned God has a special land just for Abram and his people.  Abram lies to the Pharaoh of Egypt about Sarai being his sister (Sarai is Abram’s wife).  The Pharaoh takes Sarai as his wife, but God chooses to punish the Pharaoh instead of Abram.  The Pharaoh then sends Abram out of Egypt.

Abram and Lot (Abram’s nephew) are traveling together and both are rich.

“But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together.” – Genesis 13:6

Abram and Lot make the decision to split up.

“Is not the whole land before you?  Let’s part company.  If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” – Genesis 13:9

So the two part ways and move to their new respective lands.

“Abram lived in the land of the Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.  Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.” – Genesis 13:12-13

To rephrase this, Lot made a poor decision by moving near Sodom.  The wickedness of Sodom is a dangerous temptation to Lot.  God now speaks to Abram.

“All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” – Genesis 13:15

Although it is not stated here, we’ll later learn this land is occupied by others.  God will guide Abram in very deadly warfare.  My question is why God chooses this route?  If God is perfect, He can clearly see there are many other, less deadly, more perfect ways to deliver Abram to this land.  For starters, create an empty land for Abram to go to.  Or better yet, just place Abram there at the moment of creation.  If God knows all, He could easily do it.

There’s not much else to say regarding this chapter.  It’s basically setting up a more interesting story that begins in Chapter 14.

Coming Soon:  Genesis – Chapter 14:  Abram Rescues Lot