Tag Archives: Mythology

Exodus Chapters 1-5

Welcome to the book of Exodus.  All of the incest, lying, and deceit in Genesis have led up to this book wherein we see God’s penchant for killing children, find out that God’s people prefer being master over being slave, get a little more incest, and get a whole bunch of new rules.

So let’s get started.

Chapter 1

The book of Exodus begins by telling us that 70 of Jacob’s family came into Egypt with him, that Joseph has died and that the family has bred like bunnies. (1:1-7) Where Jacob’s extra family member came from is not explained.

A new pharaoh takes over and decides that the Hebrew population is getting too large to ignore, and worries that they could be a problem if they sided with an enemy, so he enslaves them and has them build the cities of “Pithom and Raamses.” (1:8-11)  No explanation is given for how they built the cities hundreds of years before they were built.

When the pharaoh makes it hard on the Hebrews their population increases, so he mandates that all midwives kill newborn male Israelites, but the midwives go against his wishes, and let male babies live. God rewards the midwives for their insubordination with houses, and the Hebrew population continues to grow.  Since his mandate to kill male babies didn’t work, the pharaoh mandates that all newborn male Hebrew babies are to be thrown in the river. (1:12-22)

Chapter 2

MosesRescued_FromTheNileA man and woman of the house of Levi, the seller-of-his-brother, and son of Jacob’s first wife, have a son during this time, and the boy’s mother hides the child for three months, before putting him in a little boat made of reeds and putting the little boat in the river.  The pharaoh’s daughter finds the little boat and saves the boy from certain death. (2:1-5)

The princess knows it is a Hebrew child but she feels sorry for him, and hires a slave to wet-nurse and take care of him, who as it happens is Moses’ mother.  When the boy gets a little older he is brought back to the princess, who names him Moses. (2:6-10)

490px-Moses_erschlägt_den_Ägypter_F_19_JhAs Moses grows older he leaves the palace and starts hanging around with his own people. One day he comes upon an Egyptian beating on a Hebrew so he kills the Egyptian and buries him. The next day a couple of Hebrews give him a hard time about killing the Egyptian which makes Moses worry about how many people know about the murder he has committed. (2:11-14)

The pharaoh finds out about the murder and puts out a death warrant on Moses, so Moses runs away to Midian where he ends up helping the daughters of a local priest overcome some bullies. The priest in turn gives Moses a place to stay and one of his daughters,  Zipporah, as a wife.  Moses has a son with his new wife, whom he names Gershom. (2:15-22)

Eventually the pharaoh dies, and God finally notices the problems his followers are having and remembers his promises to them. (2:23-25)

Chapter 3

395px-Domenico_Fetti_-_Moses_before_the_Burning_Bush_-_WGA07855One day while Moses is tending to his father in law’s flocks he spots a bush on fire and goes to check it out. (3:1-3) When God sees Moses headed toward the bush he talks to him through it, telling him to take off his shoes. The bush then tells Moses that it is God, and Moses turns away out of fear of looking at God. (3:4-6)

The bush then says that it knows all about the slavery and such of his followers, so it has decided to come down and deliver his people back to Canaan, a land described as “flowing with milk and honey.” (3:7-8)

BushGod then repeats himself, and tells Moses that he has been appointed to do the actual work. (3:9-10)

Moses questions God’s choice of him as a messenger, and God tells him not to worry about it. God tells Moses to simply tell the elders that God has sent him and what the plan is and that doing those things should be sufficient proof. (3:11-18)

In regard to the pharaoh, God tells Moses that he is positive that the pharaoh won’t initially cooperate, but that after God bullies him a bit he will give in, and not only will the Israelites be let go, but they will take a bunch of their Egyptian neighbors’ money and valuables with them. (3:19-22)

Chapter 4

Moses is still not convinced that anyone is going to believe the whole “God sent me” thing, so God gives him a magic wand, the ability to make his hand look like it is rotting away, and the ability to turn water into blood. (4:1-9)

Moses continues to try to get out of being God’s spokesman by pointing out that he is no Charlton Heston, and doesn’t do so well with public speaking. God tells him not to worry about it, but Moses keeps whining, so God, who at this point is starting to get angry about Moses’ whining, tells him that he will have Aaron, the previously unknown brother of Moses, do the talking and that Moses will just have to do the magic show.  This arrangement seems to satisfy Moses. (4:10-17)  No explanation is ever given as to why God doesn’t just free the Israelites himself.

Moses goes back home and tells his father-in-law that he needs to go back to Egypt. God tells Moses that it should be safe to do so because all of the people there who wanted him dead are themselves dead. Moses gathers up his wife and sons and, magic wand in hand, heads out for Egypt. (4:18-20)

God then tells Moses that he will make the pharaoh refuse to cooperate, and that he should threaten to kill the pharaoh’s kids. (4:21-23)

On the way to Egypt, Moses and his family stop at an inn for the night and for some unexplained reason, God tries to kill his newly appointed messenger.  Moses’ wife runs God off by cutting their son’s foreskin off and throwing it on the ground then saying something similar to the old AC/DC lyric: “if you want blood, you got it.” (4:24-26)

Unphased by his defeat at the hands of a woman, God arranges for Aaron and Moses to meet in the wilderness, and the two of them put on their show for the elders, who believe what Aaron and Moses have to say. (4:27-31)

Chapter 5

Artist's Rendition of the Pharaoh

Artist’s Rendition of the Pharaoh

After their success with the elders, Moses and Aaron go to the pharaoh and tell him to let their people go or else.  The pharaoh dismisses them and their god as insignificant, and tells them to get back to work. (5:1-4) No explanation is given as to why the pharaoh even bothered giving an audience to two slaves in the first place.

389px-Figures_The_Israelites'_Cruel_Bondage_in_EgyptAfter the meeting, the pharaoh decides to make things even harder for the Israelites by reducing the availability of materials needed to do their job, yet keeping their quota the same.  When asked about this new policy, the pharaoh explains that it is designed to keep them busy so they won’t have time to organize; an ancient union busting tactic if you will. (5:5-19)

The workers then complain to Aaron and Moses about how the demands on the pharaoh made by the two brothers have made things harder for the people they say they’re trying to help.  (5:20-21)  Moses takes the grievance to God, (5:22-23) and the chapter ends.

Now that we have the basic plot lines and a good introduction to the major players in the upcoming story, we are left with some questions: Will God help the workers fight management?  Will there be any more good ole’ Abrahamic incest?  Will God try to kill Moses again?  For answers to these questions and more, be sure to tune in next time.

Genesis Chapters 29-35

Chapter 29

Rachel_WilliamDyceSo, after Jacob has his dream of grandeur, he heads east toward his uncle’s.  After a while he comes upon some guys watering their sheep and asks them if they know his uncle Laban; they say yes and point out his daughter Rachel who’s approaching the well to “water” her sheep.  So, Jacob goes over, helps her water her sheep and kisses her.  After he kisses her, he tells her who he is. (29:1-12)

Rachel tells her dad about Jacob, and instead of killing him for attacking his daughter he invites him to his home, where Jacob tells him that he is his nephew.  Jacob stays there for a month free of charge. (29:13-14)

541px-Dante's_Vision_of_Rachel_and_LeahAfter a while Laban asks Jacob what he wants and what he has to offer. Jacob offers seven years of service for Rachel, even though Rachel has an older sister Leah. Laban accepts the deal and Jacob works for him for seven years. (29:15-20)

At the end of seven years Jacob says it’s time for Laban to honor his deal and give him his wife so he can “…go in unto her.”  So Laban throws a big feast, and that night Jacob takes his mother’s cousin, Leah and goes “in unto her.” (29:21-23) and Laban gives Leah his maid. (29:24)

Well, Jacob doesn’t realize that he went in unto the wrong sister until morning.  He goes to Laban and complains about being tricked.  Laban tells him that the youngest daughter can’t get married before the older, but if Jacob will work for him for seven more years he can have Rachel too. Jacob agrees, so he marries his sister-in-law, and works for her dad/his great-uncle for seven more years.  During this time, he treats Rachel better than he does Leah. (29:25-30)

God sees how Jacob is treating his first wife, so he makes Rachel Barren and makes Leah quite fertile.  Leah ends up having four sons:  Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. (29:31-35)

Chapter 30

Rachel starts getting jealous of her sister/sister-in-law’s having children when she’s not.  At first she gets all dramatic and blames Jacob for her not having any kids, but then decides that if her maid gives birth in her lap then it’s the same as if she gave birth.  She has Jacob sleep with her maid Bilhah. (30:1-4)

Jacob starts sleeping with Rachel’s maid and she starts having kids, which Rachel, who doesn’t seem to understand the idea of childbirth, starts taking credit for.  Bilhah has two sons in Rachel’s place:  Dan, and Naphtali. (30:5-8)

Not to be outdone, Leah pimps her maid Zilpah to Jacob, and Zilpah has two sons:  Gad, and Asher (30:9-13)

As time goes on Reuben, Leah’s oldest boy, finds some mandrakes.  Rachel tells Leah that she can have her turn with Jacob in return for the magic roots.  Leah takes her up on her offer, and as a result has three more children: two boys, Issachar, and Zebulun, as well as a girl, Dinah. (30:14-21)

Now that Rachel has mandrakes God allows her to have a kid whom she names Joseph. (30:22-24)

After Joseph is born Jacob decides that it’s time for him to get ready to move back home, so he makes a deal with his great-uncle/father-in-law to earn some livestock.  Jacob then uses magical animal-husbandry to increase his own stock while depleting Laban’s stock. (30:25-43)

Chapter 31

Jacob finds out that his brothers-in-law/cousins are upset about his using magic to increase his own herds and depleting their father’s.  Jacob and God decide that it’s time for Jacob to run away back to his father’s land.  Jacob gathers all his livestock, children and wives together, and tells his wives to take whatever they think should be theirs.  Rachel does as Jacob suggested, and the Jacob clan takes off. (31:1-21)  It takes Laban, Rachel and Leah’s father, three days to notice that the Jacob clan had fled. (31:22)

Seven days later, Laban catches up with Jacob and company, and God tells Laban not to talk with Jacob, so Laban goes to talk with Jacob. (31:23-25)

Laban asks Jacob why he snuck away without a goodbye and subtly mentions that he could kill him, but chooses not to because God told him not to.  Jacob uses a version of his father’s and grandfather’s old excuse and says he did it because he thought Laban would take his wives. (31:26-31) Then Jacob claims ignorance of Rachel stealing anything. (31:32)

512px-Ciro_Ferri_-_The_Reconciliation_of_Jacob_and_Laban

So Laban searches for the stuff that Rachel had stolen, but doesn’t find it.  Then Jacob throws a hissy fit, and Laban says that even though everything Jacob has is technically his he will make a deal with him. (31:33-44)  Laban says that as long as Jacob doesn’t mistreat his daughters, then he will let everything slide.  Jacob agrees and promises to do right by the girls, and the two men part amicably. (31:45-55)

Chapter 32

Jacob takes all of his ill-gotten gains and heads toward home.  On the way he sends a messenger to Esau to let him know he’s coming.  The messenger comes back and says Esau is headed their way with 400 men, and Jacob gets scared, so he divides his crew into two groups, and then has some men take a bunch of livestock and get between him and Esau as an offering for Esau, then he prays for help, and hides his family. (32:1-23)

Then Jacob spends the night wrestling with some angel who decides to change Jacob’s name to Israel. (32:24-32)

Chapter 33

Rubens_Reconciliation_of_Jacob_and_EsauJacob meets with Esau in the morning, and introduces his family.  Esau it seems was happy to see him and had brought the men to help Jacob defend his family and livestock, so Jacob had been scared of nothing. (33:1-15)

Then Esau goes home, and Jacob sets up camp in Shechem and builds an altar which he names Eleloheisrael. (33:16-20)

Chapter 34

Shechem_seizes_DinahThe local prince sees Dinah, rapes her, then decides that he would like to marry her, so he tells his dad to get her for him. (34:1-4)

So the boy’s dad meets with Jacob, and Jacob says that if every man in the city will get circumcised then he’ll agree to the marriage.  The king says ok, and has every man get circumcised.  Three days later when all the men of the city are hurting from the crude penile surgery, Jacob and his men go in and kill all of the men, take the women and children as slaves, and destroy everything else. He does this because he doesn’t want his children breeding outside of the family. (34:5-31)

Chapter 35

God tells Jacob to go to Bethel.  Jacob has his clan change their clothes and hand over all their jewelry and gods, which Jacob stashes under an oak tree by the city that he had just destroyed. (35:1-4)

As Jacob travels, everyone leaves him alone since he had already destroyed one city, and Jacob eventually arrives in Luz where he had started his run from Esau.  While there, God promises him all the stuff that he had promised his father and grandfather, they bury Rebekah’s dead nurse, God changes Jacob’s name to Israel, even though an angel had already done that, obviously without telling God about it, and Jacob renames the place Bethel having completely forgotten that he had already renamed the place Bethel before, and that he had gone there since God told him to go to Bethel. (35:5-15)

After leaving Bethel, Rachel dies giving birth to a son that she names Benoni.  Jacob doesn’t like the name and changes it to Benjamin, then buries Rachel in Bethlehem, before heading out again “beyond” Edar. (35:16-21)

While near Edar, Reuben Jacob’s oldest boy, gets his late-mother’s maid Bilhah pregnant and she gives birth to a son who doesn’t get a name. (35:22-26)

Soon after Jacob gets home, Isaac dies (1758 BC) and is buried. (35:27-29) Esau doesn’t kill Jacob, since they have made up since Esau’s vow. And so ends our trip through the Bible for this time.

Since the family tree gets quite convoluted in the preceding chapters I have include an updated family tree through Jacob (below left), and then a separate family tree for Jacob and his immediate family (below right).  (Click on either table to see a larger image if need be) With explanations as needed below the trees.

The Abraham Family tree (4)Jacobs family

Updates on the Abrahamic Family tree:

  • Rachel and Leah are Jacob’s second cousins/wives
  • Rachel is Leah’s sister/sister-in-law.  The reverse is also true.
  • Jacob has 13 children and 1 grandchild.  4 of the children and the grandchild are born out of wed-lock
  • Bilhah is Rachel’s maid, Jacob’s mistress, and Reuben’s servant-with-benefits.
  • Bilhah is the mother of two of Jacob’s children and the mother of his grandchild.
  • Bilhah is Reuben’s aunt, and the mother of his child.

Next time:  

We learn about Esau’s huge family; more incest (of course); God kills some of Jacob grandkids; and we get into the story of Jacob’s son Joseph (of “coat of many colors” fame)

Genesis Chapters 20-24

In this post:  Abraham has a son with his wife, and throws his bastard son and his mother out into the desert, Abraham tries to kill his legitimate son, Incest, Incest, and more Incest, Sarah dies, Abraham stays in family to buy a wife for his son, and we try to unravel Abraham’s tangled mess of a family tree to this point.

 Chapter 20

 We move from Lot’s little cave of incest back to Abraham who is up to his old tricks.

After watching the Genocide in Sodom, Abraham and Sarah head south to Gerar a Philistine town in what is today south central Israel. (20:1)  The odd thing is that they would have had to be in Gerar at least 700 years before it was ever settled.  Isaac, who hasn’t yet ben born in the story, was born in 1938 BC. Gerar wasn’t settled until sometime around 1200 BC and nothing more than a small village until around 800 BC.  Odd isn’t it.

Anyway, once in Gerar, Abraham and Sarah pull their old sister/wife routine on the King. (20:2)  Sarah must have truly been an outstanding woman to still be so desirable at the age of 90.

This time, instead of plagues on the King’s children, God threatens the king directly through a dream.  In this dream God tells the king that he’s a dead man for what he’s done. However, the king defends himself by mentioning Abraham’s lie, and asking God if he would kill an innocent man for a crime he didn’t actually commit.  The king clearly didn’t know about the infanticide in Sodom, or he would have been worried about the answer.  But, God relents and tells the king to release Sarah and treat Abraham well and his non-existent crime will be forgiven. Otherwise God will go on another baby killing spree.  So the King agrees. (20:3-8)

The next day the king asks Abraham what his deal is with trying to get him killed.  Abraham pulls the ‘ole I thought you’d kill me to take my wife bit (20:9-11) and then admits that Sarah is in fact his half-sister. So, in a way, Abraham wasn’t lying when he called his wife his sister because, he was married to his sister.(20:12-13)  That’s right folks, more incest, and there’s more to come later.

So, the king gives Abraham more livestock and protection money, and says he can camp out there as long as he wants.  In return, Abraham gets God to let the king’s wife have babies again since God had shut off all the baby making machinery in the king’s household. (20:14-18)

 Chapter 21

A little time goes by, and God visits Ma Sarah and gets her pregnant. Sarah gives birth to Isaac, in 1938 BC when Abraham is 100 years old and she is 94. The boy is circumcised and eventually bar mitzvahs and all was good. (21:1-8)  Well, almost all.

480px-014.Abraham_Sends_Hagar_and_Ishmael_AwayAfter Isaac’s bar mitzvah, Sarah starts thinking about Ishmael, and tells Abraham that she doesn’t want Ishmael to have any rights as a son.  Abraham talks to God about it, and they decide to toss Ishmael and Hagar into the desert with some bread and a bottle of water. (21:9-14)

As will happen in the desert, the water runs out and the child almost dies.  But, God shows Hagar where to find water for the boy, and he ends up surviving and doing relatively well in the wilderness with a wife that his mother gets for him in Egypt.  The wife wasn’t a blood relative as was the custom in Abraham’s family. (21:15-21)

Sometime after throwing his son and the child’s mother out into the desert, Abraham is visited by the king from chapter 20.  Abraham and the king get into a little argument about a well that Abraham supposedly dug, but they part amicably, and Abraham sticks around for a little longer and names the area around the well Beersheba. (21:22-34)

 Chapter 22

God then tells Abraham to take Isaac to Moriah and burn him as an offering.  Without batting an eye, Abraham grabs Isaac, a couple of servants and a bunch of wood and heads to the mountains to kill Isaac. (22:1-6)

778px-Sacrifice_of_Isaac-Caravaggio_(Uffizi)When they get there, Isaac gets a little suspicious since they don’t have an animal to sacrifice, so Abraham ties him up and throws him on the altar they had built, and, without pause, raises the knife to kill him, but an angel steps in and stops him. (22:7-12)  So, Abraham grabs a ram and kills it instead. (22:13-14)

God then promises Abraham, all of the stuff he had promised him several times before, and Abraham and crew go back to Beersheba. (22:15-19)

Once back in Beersheba, Abraham is brought up to date on the family of his brother Nahor and Nahor’s niece/wife who has eight children and a grand-daughter Rebekah.  He’s also told that Nahor has some other kids with his mistress.  Seems that Nahor was not only incestuous, but also adulterous; truly a brother of Abraham. (22:20-24)

 Chapter 23

This chapter begins with the death of Sarah, Abraham’s sister/wife/extortion partner.  Sarah dies in 1905 BC at the age of 127. (23:1)

The rest of the chapter details how Abraham buys a piece of land to bury her in. (23:2-20)

 Chapter 24

Abraham is starting to feel old so he sends a servant back to Nahor (the town) to find a wife for Isaac, because he doesn’t want Isaac finding his own wife in Canaan. (24:1-10)

When Abraham’s servant gets to Nahor, there is a line of women at the well and he’s really thirsty, so he says to himself, that whoever gives him and his camels a drink will be the woman he takes back as Isaac’s wife. (24:11-14) An old version of eeny-meeny-miney-moe.

He soon spots a hot young virgin and asks her for a drink and she gives him one, then she gets water for his camels.  The little hottie is Rebekah, Abraham’s brother’s granddaughter, but the servant doesn’t know this yet. (24:15-20)

So, the servant thinks that God might be helping him with his quest, but, just in case, he gives the girl a bunch of jewelry to soften her up, then asks her who she is, and if he can spend the night at her place. (24:21-23)

Rebekah tells him who she is and offers him a place to stay, the servant is overjoyed to find out who she is in relation to Abraham, most likely because he knows how much Abraham likes incest, and the girl goes to tell her family. (24:24-28)

Rebekah’s brother fetches the servant to their house where he unpacks and gets ready to eat. (24:29-33)

Bacciarelli_Rebecca_and_EleazarBefore he eats, the servant tells them who he is and why he’s there.  Bethuel, Rebekah’s father, happily sends his daughter off to be married to his great-uncle’s son, after all the entire family is built on incest, and Rebekah, being a good daughter agrees.  So, the servant gives Rebekah’s family a lot of money for her, and takes her and her stuff back to Abraham. (24:34-61)

When they get to Lahairoi where Isaac now lives, Isaac and Rebekah meet, and Isaac immediately takes his second-cousin into his late mother/aunt’s tent and they have some pre-marital sex.  After sleeping with Rebekah, Isaac no longer feels bad about his mother/aunt having died. (24:62-67)

The Convoluted Abrahamic Family Tree

The Convoluted Abrahamic Family Tree

So, now we have a family line from Terah to Jacob.  However the family tree reads like some stereotype hillbilly family tree.

I have included a diagram of Terah’s family line at right, and to help understand it I have listed some of the highlights below:

  • Terah is Abraham’s Father, Nahor’s Father, and Sarah’s father
  • Abraham is Sarah’s half-brother and husband
  • Rebekah is Abraham’s great-niece and daughter-in-law.  She also has the same relations to Sarah
  • Rebekah is Isaac’s wife and second cousin
  • Moab, and Benammi are Lot’s sons as well as his grandsons
  • Benammi is Moab’s brother and uncle. The reverse is also true.
  • Nahor is Milcah’s uncle and husband as well as Lot’s uncle and brother-in-law
  • Milcah is Bethuel’s cousin and mother
  • Isaac is Bethuel’s cousin and son-in-law.  He is also the son and nephew of both Abraham and Sarah.
  • Jacob is Rebekah’s cousin and son, as is Esau
  • There are four generations from Terah to Jacob, there are also only three generations from Terah to Jacob
  • There are also three and four generations from Terah to Moab

Confusing isn’t it.  Ishmael should be thankful he was tossed into the desert to die by his father, otherwise he might have ended up married to his mother or grandmother.

Next time:  Abraham gets married again, and then dies;  Isaac marries his cousin and they have kids;  brotherly love Bible style; Isaac keeps his dad’s con alive; and, of course, more incest.  Until then, beware of incestuous con artists.  Ron

Genesis Chapters 8-11

Genesis Chapter 8-11

In this post: The flood comes to an end, I explain where the water went, more divine senility, Noah the Drunk, God gives away the first slave, Tower of Babel, Noah’s family line to Abraham

Chapter 8:

When we last saw our heroes they were floating around on a small boat with millions of animals and a few thousand tons of manure.

We pick up our story in Gen 8:1 when God recovers from another bout of senility and “…remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark… .”  Then God causes a wind to stop the rain, and the other water coming from the sky as well as the water shooting up from the bottom of the ocean (Gen 8:2-3).

The water starts slowly receding.  Where did all the water go?  Well literalists will tell you that God lowered the ocean floor and raised the land so the water is still here.  Aside from there being no basis for that in this story or in any geological record, and its being an ignorance-based version of plate tectonics, it’s just plain stupid.  I find it much easier to believe that it all went down a drain at the bottom of the ocean, next to the spigot that it was coming out of in 8:2-3.  The spigot and drain are as of now undiscovered, but that in no way definitively proves that they aren’t there.  Then God put a stopper (also undiscovered…yet)  in it which left us with the water we have.  My version has just as much evidence as theirs and is better written.  Na Nanna, Boo, Boo.

Mt. Ararat

Mt. Ararat

Anyway, after 150 days it had gone down about 13,000 feet to around 16,850 ft, so that on July 17th 2348 BC the Ark settles on Mt. Ararat, and by the first of October the mountain tops could all be seen.(Gen 8:3-5)  Actually the story says “mountains of Ararat” so it could have landed on any peak in the Armenian Highlands, but Mt. Ararat is a good choice because it is a volcano, and many early cultures loved their volcano gods.

After forty days of sitting on top of a mountain in a boat full of 10s of millions of pounds of manure, Noah opens the little window on top of his boat, and lets out a raven and a dove.  The raven flew around in circles for the next few months landing on the stinking boat, nevermore, while the dove flew around for a while and came back. (Gen 8:6-9)

After a week, Noah let the dove out again, and this time it came back with a newly sprouted olive leaf, which told Noah that the water was “abated from off the earth”,  or at least the hill that the olive tree was growing on. (Gen 8:10-11)  How an olive tree had survived almost six months under water is never explained, though I guess it could have been growing in one of the many empires that survived the flood intact with no water damage.

Noah waits another week and lets the dove go again, and the dove doesn’t come back. (Gen 8:12)  He probably got sick of the smell like the raven had.

8:13 tells us that on New Year’s Day “in the six hundredth and first year” Noah opens the Ark to reveal dryland.  Now obviously this isn’t the 601st year because the World had been around over twice that long, we can only assume that it means Noah’s 601st year, which would mesh with the rest of the story.  What doesn’t mesh is why Noah waited 37 days to open the boat if the land was already dry.  You would think he would want to air the place out as soon as possible.

Anyway, 8:14 says that the Earth wasn’t dry until the 27th of February which means 8:13 lied, or the author forgot.

Whenever the drying out happened, God told Noah to get his family and all the animals out of the boat, and Noah happily complied. (Gen 8:15-19) I’m sure everybody was getting tired of the piles of manure that by now were surrounding the boat.

390px-Figures_011_Noah_offered_burnt_offerings_on_an_altar_to_the_Lord[1]It wasn’t to be a happy day for all involved because Noah immediately took one of every “clean” animal and bird, and set them on fire. (Gen 8:20)  We can’t be sure if this means that these animals had babies before they were put to death, or if this offering led to the extinction of these animals whose significant other was left without a mate.

Anyway, God catches a whiff of burning flesh and seems to like it.  It was probably a welcome smell since the millions of dead bloated people, and the 10s of millions of dead bloated animals that surely littered the ground, along with the heaping piles of manure surrounding the Ark, were most likely quite smelly.  Because of Noah’s animal scent-candle, God vows to never again kill everything on the planet: (Gen 8:21-22) I would just like to thank Noah for his flood-stopping Bar-B-Que.

Chapter 9

Chapter 9 starts with God telling Noah and his boys to go make babies, lots of babies. (Gen 9:1)

Not the Least Bit Scared of People

Not the Least Bit Scared of People

Then God tells the guys that every animal on the planet will now be scared of them.  (Gen 9:2)  It would have been nice if that fear had passed down through the generations, but alas, it hasn’t. It would seem that God cared more for Noah than he does for 13 year old admirers.  God then goes on to explain that animals should be scared of them because “every” animal is now to be considered food.  The one caveat is that they can’t eat hearts or blood. (Gen 9:3-4)

Verses 5-6 re-establish capital punishment, but this time for murderers instead of for killers of murderers.

God tells them to have babies again, in case they didn’t hear him the first time. (Gen 9:7)  And, this isn’t the end of his repeating himself:

In verses 8-13 Gods promises to never kill everything with a flood again and creates rainbows as a reminder of this.

In verses 14-17 God promises to never kill everything with a flood again and creates rainbows as a reminder of this.

Is God repeating things because he thinks Noah and his sons are thick-headed?  Is divine senility rearing its ugly head again?  Were there multiple authors?  You decide.  My money is on senility.

Gen 9:18 starts a rather odd side story.  In this story, Noah plants a vineyard, makes some wine from the grapes, gets blackout drunk, and passes out naked in his tent.  His son Ham stumbles upon his drunk, naked father and tells his two brothers, Shem and Japheth about it.  Shem and Japheth go to great lengths to cover their drunkard of a dad with a blanket without looking at him. (Gen 9:18-23) There is no mention of where Mrs. Noah is during this.

When Noah wakes up from his drunken coma, does he apologize to his family for getting blind drunk and passing out naked in a tent?  No, he gets mad at his son Ham for stumbling onto the sight of his alcoholic naked father, and curses Ham’s son Canaan to be a servant to his uncles. (Gen 9:24-27)

Then we are told that the drunk lived for 350 years after the flood and dies (liver cirrhosis) at the age of 950 in 1998 BC. (Gen 9:28-29)   Did you see the math error?  According to Gen 7:6 and 11 Noah was 600 when the flood started.  According to Gen 8:13 Noah was 601 when the flood ended, and 8:14 reiterates that the flood lasted for a year.  601 + 350=951, not 950.  God’s divinely guided messenger isn’t very good at math, or maybe God isn’t.  Either way a big mistake.

Chapter 10

This chapter is a series of begats.

Nimrod's Nemisis

Nimrod’s Nemisis

First we get  Noah’s oldest son Japheth’s family tree. (Gen 10:1-5) Then Ham’s. (Gen 10:6-20) Then Shem’s. (Gen 10:21-31)  Chapter 10 ends by telling us that this  was how the Earth was repopulated (Gen 10:32)  The only name of any interest is Nimrod the Hunter (Grandson of Ham) who rules Babel, and then goes on to fight the X-Men.

Chapter 11

Our final chapter for this post starts by telling us that everyone was speaking one language (Gen 11:1)  This should have been obvious since everyone at this point is descended from one family.

Babel[1]Then we are told that all of these people got together and started to build a huge tower toward the heavens as a way to unite them as a people.  (Gen 11:2-4)

So, God wonders out from where ever he had been hanging out since completing his first genocide and sees the tower (Gen 11:5)

When God sees the tower he tells his female companion that it is a sign that people have become smart, and full of ingenuity, and that if they can do such a wonderous thing then there is nothing that they can’t do if they put there minds to it (Gen 11:6)  Generally, such words spoken about children by a parent would be considered a good thing.  Not so to humanity’s kind and loving father.  Instead of congratulating his children, he and his female companion make it so the children can’t understand each other thereby creating the different languages and scattering the people all over the planet. Which is why the tower came to be called Babel. (Gen 11:7-9)

What God didn’t know was that there were at least four recorded languages before this: Sumerian , Egyptian, Akkadian, and Eblaite.  But, since these languages were different from Noahnese God probably didn’t understand them and ignored them, especially since speakers of these languages had all managed to survive the flood.

Then the chapter starts another begat list. This time just from Noah’s son Shem to Abram (Abraham born 2038 BC) and Abram’s nephew Lot. (Gen 11:10-27)  All the men mentioned in this list live longer than God’s set lifespan for humans.  It seems that God forgot again and let these guys live too long.

11:29 tells us that Abram marries a woman named Sarai, and that Abram’s brother Nahor marries their niece, Lot’s sister, Milcah.  It aint love if it aint in the fam’ly.

Then God gets a little personal and lets us know that Abram’s wife was barren. (Gen 11:30)

Then Abram’s dad takes Abram, Sarai, and lot from Ur where they had been living to live in a city named after Abram’s brother, and Abrams’ brother’s father-in-law, and lot’s father, Haran, in Canaan. (Gen 11:31)  Where Abram’s father dies in 1903 BC (probably from shame about his son marrying his granddaughter) (Gen 11:32)

Why they moved from a city that had survived the flood to a place designated as bad, we are not told.

Next time:  Abram, Sarai, and Lot wander around the Middle East making money.

See you then, Ron

Genesis Chapter 7

In this post:  I cover the genocide of every human on the planet except for seven people, I try to figure out how to stuff millions of animals on a boat smaller than any NFL stadium, we see a few examples of God’s senility, and we look at God’s confusion about how many animals to put on the Ark

Genesis Chapter 7

Remember at the end of chapter 6 when God told Noah that he would establish a covenant with him and that he should build an Ark then take his family and two of every animal and bird and put them into the Ark?

Well, chapter 7 starts off the same way by God telling Noah, again, to put his family in the Ark, only this time in a much more poetic way.(Gen 7:1)  Maybe God forgot that he had already told Noah this. God has been around for infinity, so he could be showing signs of senility.

Most  Biblical scholars say that the reason it seems to repeat itself a lot is that Genesis had more than one author, and early manuscripts combined all of the different accounts into the book we would come to know as Genesis.  I know what you’re saying:  It’s much easier to just believe that God forgot and is repeating himself.  I agree, because the only sensible reason for the confusion that follows would be divine senility.

Chapter 7 continues with God telling Noah that not only should he put his family on the big boat but the following as well:

2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

Now some people might say that this completely contradicts the previous chapter when God told Noah to take two of “every” animal, whereas here God says to take seven of some and two of others.  These people clearly know nothing about Divine Senility, or they would understand that this is divinely inspired confusion and not a contradiction.  What other explanation could there be?

So, God goes on to tell Noah that he has seven days to get the boat loaded, because after that God plans to make it rain for 40 days and 40 nights and thereby destroying “every living substance…from off the face of the Earth.” (Gen 7:4) Unless, of course, he forgets.

And Noah says ok, again.(Gen 7:5)  It would seem that Noah is familiar with God’s senility  because he doesn’t ask for clarification on the whole numbers thing.

We get a date for the flood from Gen 7:6 when it says that Noah is 600 years old when the flood started.  If you’re keeping track that puts the flood at  1656 AC or 2348 BC.

Where did I get the BC?  Well, a long time ago an Irish Bishop named Ussher meticulously went through the Bible and available historical records, and came up with the evening of Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC as the date creation was finished.  While challenged in many different arenas this date is the most widely accepted of the creation dates proposed, largely due to it’s inclusion in King James Bibles and Scoffield Reference Bibles.  Naturally, since it is the most relied on date it’s the one I use.

To put the date for The Flood in a historical context here are a few events to consider:

  • 5400 BC:  Almost 1400 years before the Earth is created, Eridu, the World’s first city, is built in Mesopotamia, near present day Abu Shahrein, Iraq.  No signs of the Flood some 2,100 years later have been found on that site, but of course that doesn’t discount its having happened.
  • 3800 BC Sumerian city of Ur founded.  Strangely enough this city survived the Flood with no apparent damage or interruption of daily life.  However, is was conquered by Sargon the Great  8 years after the flood, completely intact, people and all.  It would seem that Sargon and his empire survived the flood.
  • 2490 BC the last of the three pyramids at Giza is completed.  The is no sign of any flood at this location either.
  • 2500 BC Great Sphinx of Giza built.  Again no sign of flood damage.
  • 2375-2345 Unas is ruler of Egypt.  Oddly enough, Like Sargon to the east, he and his entire kingdom survived the flood unscathed, and there is no mention from this time period of the flood which covered the rest of the planet to a depth of 29,000 or so feet for a year.

Anyway on with our story.

The obedient Noah puts his family into the boat (Gen 7:7), and then puts two of each animal on the boat “as God had commanded Noah.”(Gen 7:8-9)  It seems that Noah made a command decision and went with the earlier amount for how many animals to load.  God didn’t correct him, so he must have forgotten all about the whole seven-of-some and two-of-others thing.

So at this point in the story we have 7 adult human beings, at least 2 million insects (2 of each known species), around 20 million other land animals (2 of each),  and 20,000 birds (2 of each), on Noah’s boat, which has three decks each of which is 33,750 square feet.

So we have a boat with a total floor space of 101,250 square feet housing at least 20 million animals, 2 million insects, 20,000 birds, (Remember, God said two (or seven) of “every” animal, and we know that every animal alive now or in the past was created in one day back in 4004 BC 1400 years after the Mesopotamian city of Eridu was built.) and 7 humans, plus enough food to last all the inhabitants for just over a year.  And this doesn’t even count the 250,000 or so species of extinct animals that we have fossils of which includes 1,047 dinosaurs some of which were as large as 120 feet long and weighed more than 100 tons.  Creationists will tell you that these animals were on the Ark too.

Fun fact:  The San Diego Zoo houses around 3,700 animals and employs 6,000 people.  The 3,700 animals at the San Diego Zoo produce about 2.5-3 tons of manure every day.  If we put this in terms of the number of animals on the Ark we get at least 6,757 tons or 13.5 million pounds of manure every day that Noah and his family had to scoop up and throw out an 18” square hole on the roof of the boat.  The amount of ammonia and methane in the air would have probably killed everything on the boat since the only ventilation was the little hole in the roof.

Another fun fact:  If each animal on the Ark took up only a 3”x 3” space (just a little bigger than a dollar bill folded in half) they would have taken up 625,000 square feet or just over six Arks. But we all know that there was only one Ark, so each animal only had about a 1½ inch square space (about the size of a silver dollar). And this isn’t counting insects, birds, dinosaurs, mammoths, food, or humans.  Animals were obviously quite teeny back in Noah’s day.  How they have gotten so big since then, and why fossils and skeletons of these animals are so much larger are things which aren’t explained in the Bible.

Of course, to get really picky, it is estimated that of all the species that ever lived only about 10% are alive today or are known about from fossils, and since God said two of “every” animal, and creationists say that the only mass extinction event ever was the flood then all 90,000,000 of those animals were on the boat also, so each animal and human would have had a square with sides as long as the thickness of 4 sheets of notebook paper, but I think things are getting a bit silly now.

Now some doubting Thomases will try to deny God’s great feat of shrinking all the animals to fit on the boat by saying that Noah took baby animals, and only took two of every “kind”, or family, of animal, and that these animals bred afterwards to give up the diversity we see today.  Aside from this idea being stupid and not grounded in any way by science or the Bible, there is the issue of what the Bible actually says.  These heathen unbelievers obviously haven’t read Genesis 7:2 where it says: “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens (pay no attention to this number, Noah doesn’t), the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female”; or Genesis 7:15 where it says:  “And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life”.

If people are going to try to say a story is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, they shouldn’t try to rewrite that story,  ignore parts of it, and make up ‘facts’ to fit their beliefs.  They should just believe the story or not.  Just my opinion.

On a personal note, I had a toy Noah’s ark when I was a kid and I could never get all of the two dozen or so animals to fit into it, but then again I wasn’t a 600 year old Bronze Age shipwright either.  When I told my father as a child that the animals wouldn’t fit, I got disciplined.  When I told him again as an adult, he ignored me.  My how times change.

Enough fun, back to Genocide.

496px-World_Destroyed_by_Water[1]So, after seven days the flood starts. (Gen 7:10) God didn’t forget about this, after all, killing every man, woman, child, and newborn infant on the planet, except for Noah and his crew, was important to him.

We are told again (in case we forgot while reading) that Noah was 600 when the flood started, and that it was the 17th of February (Gen 7:11) and, we are told that it rained continuously for the next 40 days. (Gen 7:12)

Genesis 7:13-17 tells us that Noah and his family as well as the animals went into the Ark and that it rained for the next 40 days.  Obviously the author forgot that he just told us that.  Senility is starting to run rampant.

In 7:18-20 things get a little confusing concerning how deep the water got.  First, in 7:19 it says that “…all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.”  Since we now know about Mt. Everest, we know that this means the water had to be at least 29,036 feet deep.  But then in 7:20 it says that the water was 15 cubits deep which comes to 22.5 feet.  But, maybe it meant 15 cubits a day, although it doesn’t say that, and it would still only be 900 feet.  Of course it could have meant an hour, though it doesn’t say this, which would get us to  21,600 which is closer.  Either way, contradiction aside, 22.5 feet or 29,036 ft of water over the whole planet is a lot of water.

481px-007.The_Great_Flood[1]In 7:21 we are told that everything died.  Babies and puppies included.

In 7:22 we are told that everything died.

In 7:23 we are told, you guessed it, that everything died.  But, this time we are reminded about the boat and its passengers, and it tells us that they lived.

Why we are told three times in three different ways that everything died is unclear.  What is certain is that it couldn’t have been due to the combining of three different stories from three different authors, and, that everything died.

Chapter seven ends with the author telling us (once) that the water stuck around for 150 days. (Gen 7:24)

So, there you have it;  God’s first Genocide, if you don’t count the de-creation after chapter one.

As we continue through the rest of the Bible you will come to understand that genocide is something that God is a big fan of.

See you next time, when we learn about how the flood ended, and that Noah is something of a drunk.  Then we learn about Noah’s bloodline to Abraham, and about the Tower of Babel.

Note:  I had intended to combine this chapter with chapter 8 into one post, but it was starting to get rather long and chapter 8 has a few things to point out, so I didn’t.  I will combine two or more chapters as it is prudent, so don’t worry, not every single chapter of every book will get its own post, and we will start gliding though the Bible at a quicker pace very soon. Thanks for Reading,  Ron

Genesis Chapters 5-6

Genesis Chapters 5-6

In this post:  I discuss the begat list in chapter five and how it helps put a date on things from here out, then we get started on the story of Noah’s flood.

Chapter 5

The entirety of this chapter is devoted to giving the family line from Adam to Noah.  For the most part it is unimportant in the scheme of things and serves only to connect Adam and Noah.  The only interesting character mentioned before Noah is Methuselah, who has the title of the oldest man in the Bible with his living 969 years before dying. (Gen 5:27)

The key part of this chapter is the meticulous and detailed timeline it gives us.  By taking the number of years a person lived before begating the son named, then adding the numbers of years that the son lived before his son was born, and so on, we get a dating system of sorts which I’ll call After Creation or AC.  For example:  5:3 says that  Adam was 130 yrs old when his son Seth was born.  Then, in 5:6, we learn that Seth was 105 when his son Enos was born.  So by adding 130 to 105 we can say that Enos was born 235 years after creation was finished, or 235 AC.  This dating system gets more detailed and starts to come in really handy in Chapters 7-8.

If we revisit some creationists claims that the ‘days’ of creation could have been eras or millennia, or whatever, we find that not only is this soundly refuted by Genesis 1:14, but by Genesis 5:3-5 when it uses the word years for how long Adam lived, which by the way was a total of 930.  Not bad for someone who was supposed to die the day he ate the forbidden fruit at least 800 years earlier (he lived 800 years after Seth was born.  Seth was born after Cain killed Abel.  Cain killed Abel after his parents had been evicted from Eden.  See how useful detailed begat-lists can be).

As I mentioned before, the only discernable reason for this chapter is introducing Noah.  With a little basic math and Gen 5:28-29 we learn that Noah was born 1056 AC.  Then we learn at the end of the chapter that Noah is five hundred years old and has three sons. So the date is 1556 AC.

Chapter 6

Artist's rendeition of a woman/angel hybrid

Artist’s rendeition of a woman/angel hybrid

In chapter 6:1-4 we learn a couple of things.  We learn that the angels thought human women were hot, so they quite often had babies with them, and that these babies grew to be giants among men also described as great and mighty men. (Gen 6:4)  I have heard time and time again that this angel and woman sex party was the reason God sent the flood, however there is absolutely no indication whatsoever that this is the case.  In fact we are told in the next few verses what his reasons were and horny angels and giants aren’t mentioned.  But first, lets not forget to look at Gen 6:3 where God decides that being bothered by all of these people who are living for hundreds of years is not worth the trouble, so he puts a limit on human lifespan of 120 years. (Jeanne Calmet of France defied this limit by living for 122 years and 164 days before dying in 1997, obviously there are French women who are more powerful than God)

Genesis 6:5-6 tells us God noticed that mankind had become utterly and completely evil, and that God regretted ever creating them and was sad about it.  And, who can blame him for being sad.  He created people twice and they still had design flaws, I would be upset with myself too.

So, God decides to rectify his mistake, by destroying not only people, but every other animal on the planet. (Gen 6:7)  Well, not every animal, because fish and other aqutic life are not mentioned on the to-destroy list, which is understandable, after all, who doesn’t like dolphins.

But then God spots Noah who is described as a good, God fearing man, with a good bloodline and three sons. (Gen 6:8-10)

God looks at the Earth again and sees that nothing has changed since the last time he looked. (Gen 6:11-12)  Measure twice cut once. You would think that an all-knowing god wouldn’t have to double-check himself, but there you have it.

After double-checking himself, God tells Noah that he plans to destroy everything (Gen 6:13) and then goes into great detail about the boat he wants Noah to build.

The Ark’s specifications:

The boat is to be made of gopher wood (squared or planed wood) and covered inside and out with pitch (plant resin used for water-proofing). (Gen 6:14)

It will be 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. (Gen 6:15) A cubit is 18 inches, so the measurements come out to  450 ft long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet tall. A large boat, but by comparison the Queen Elisabeth 2 is 1,132 feet long, 135 feet wide at the waterline, and 236 feet tall, and an American pro football field is 360 ft long and 160 feet wide.

The floating managerie will have one 18 inch square window on top (not much ventilation), a door in its side and will be divided into three decks. (Gen 6:16)

God then explains to Noah that he intends to cause a flood so great that “ every thing that is in the earth shall die.” (Gen 6:17)  This possibly means that he changed his mind about killing dolphins.

After shocking Noah with that news, God goes on to say that he will strike a deal with Noah wherein he and his family will be spared in return for building the big boat, and putting two of every living land animal, insect/invertebrate, and bird on the planet along with enough food to feed them all on his boat.  (Gen 6:18-21) God also tells Noah that the animals will come to him, which is a good thing since there’s no way that Noah could have gotten to Patagonia and back in time, much less Australia, or Antarctica.Noah's_Arc[1]

Noah agrees to God’s deal and gets started building his big boat in the desert. (Gen 6:22)  Actually, I can’t say for sure that Noah was in the desert, for all we know he lived in Madagascar, but since every other time the Bible talks about the World, it is centered on the Middle East, I’m assuming that this story takes place there as well.  It’s as though the authors are completely unaware that places like North and South America, Australia, Antarctica, or the Arctic even exist.

We are never told why God, who had the power to create, and then re-create everything didn’t just blink everybody on the planet except for the Noah clan out of existence thereby taking care of the whole evil babies problem, while leaving the animals and plants unharmed.  This seems to be a better plan than destrying every single plant and tree on the planet with a flood.  I guess it’s possible that God was a little sadistic and thought it might be fun to watch babies drown.  It’s, also entirely possible that God did it out of spite, we’ve seen him be spiteful before with the whole Garden of Eden eviction.  And, it’s possible that he did it because the Sumarian gods had done the exact same thing centuries before the Bible was written.  We know how prideful God can be, so letting some Sumarian god out-destroy him would be unthinkable.  Or, Maybe God just enjoys a good Russel Crowe movie, and was thinking ahead.  I guess we’ll never know.

On the Next episode of The Bible for Atheists:  God’s first genocide.  It should be fun, so stay tuned.

Genesis Chapter 4

Genesis chapter 4

In this chapter:  Adam has sons, one son is a murderer, God’s punishment, incest, capital punishment created, and our first begat list.

It’s a boy!  The chapter starts with Eve giving birth to a son, Cain, and giving God credit for him. (Gen 4:1)  Then Eve gives birth to Cain’s brother, Abel, and we learn that Abel  took care of the sheep, and Cain was a farmer. (Gen 4:2)

Cainabel[1]Time goes by and Cain brings an offering to God from his fields, while his little brother brings lambs and fat.  God, an obvious carnivore and lover of fat, likes Abel‘s offering (Gen 4:3-4) but, doesn’t like the veggies which upsets Cain. (Gen 4:5)

My father always told me that God rejected Cain’s offering because it was somehow flawed, as if Cain kept all the good brussel sprouts and took the old nasty ones to God.  However, there is absolutely nothing to back this up except for God’s attitude, so unless my father, or any other literalist, had or has some kind of psychic connection with the author then there is no proof of this idea.

So God gets a little snooty with Cain and says:  “what’s your problem?“ Then tells him that if he does a good job he’ll be rewarded, but if he doesn’t do a good job, that sin will get him. (Gen 4:6-7)  Obviously, God doesn’t like farmers even though he created them when he cursed Cain’s father to be a farmer.  The whole, farmers-vs-ranchers thing is a common sub-plot in American western novels and movies.  I had always assumed that the farmers were the good guys or victims in these stories; this story shows just how wrong I was.

CainkillshisbrotherAbel[1]As any set of brothers will do in such a situation, Adam’s boys get into an argument.  Then Cain kills his little brother. (Gen 4:8)

God notices that Abel is missing and asks Cain where he is.  Cain, returning the snooty attitude that God had thrown at him says “I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9)  Why Adam and Eve didn’t do a better job raising their kids is unclear.

In a Poe-like moment God hears Abel’s blood crying out from the grave and knows what Cain has done. (Gen 4:10) So he curses Cain to be a bum and fugitive who can’t grow anything.  (Gen 4:11-12)

Cain, without showing remorse for what he’s done, says that the punishment is too harsh, because someone will kill him. (Gen 4:13-14)  Obviously either bum killing was a big thing then, or Cain’s sisters (the only possible people on the planet besides his parents) were really upset about Abel.

So God proclaims that anyone caught killing Cain will be killed seven times, and marks Cain so no one will kill him. (Gen 4:15)  Thus we have the start of capital punishment, but only for killing someone who has been convicted of murder.

Some of the more enlightened Christians have used Cain’s unspecified mark as an excuse for slavery, bigotry, and other seemingly Christian attributes.  Why God had to mark Cain in the first place is a little unclear since the only people on the planet were his parents, and some sisters, and God being all-powerful and such had already told everyone to leave Cain alone.

I have heard it said, many times, that Cain’s mark was meant to be a visual cue to his being evil, and that all of Cain’s descendants also had the mark so that people would know that these people were descended from evil and therefore evil themselves.   If this is true, then why, when the mark was so obviously important, didn’t the author fill us in as to what exactly this mark looks like?  It seems that such information would be rather useful.  Could it be that the Iron Age author of the story was using this story and a visual cue of some kind as a way to justify his own bigotry and hatred against a people whose name was a lot like ‘Cain’ (i.e. Caananites) and assumed that his contemporaries would know what he meant?  The answer to this is unknown, but we do have a modern-day precedent for such a thing with the way some Christians and politicians have used hyperbole, inaccurate and made up statements about teachings; as well as head scarves and other pieces of clothing as excuses to discriminate against and kill people of a certain religion that they don’t like.

Anyway, back to the story.

Feeling a little safer, Cain heads east to the land of Nod (Gen 4:16)  Nod is not on any maps but if it’s east of Eden then it would have been in modern-day Turkey or Maybe Iran.

One of Cain’s sisters (the only women on the planet other than his mom) joins him in Nod, they get married and start having babies.  Their first son/nephew was Enoch.  Cain was so happy with having a son that he built the world’s first city and called it ‘Enoch’. (Gen 4:17)  Probably not a very big city since there were only three people there, but a city none the less.

Most of the rest of the chapter is a ‘begat’ list of Cain’s family line. (Gen 4:18-24)  The only notable people are Cain’s great-great-great-great grandson Jabel who was the first nomad and rancher (Gen 4:20); Jabel’s brother Jubal who was the first musician (Gen 4:21); and Jabel and Jubal’s father Lamech who, like his ancestor Cain, was also a killer. (Gen 4:23-24)  Note that Lamech will have to be killed 77 times.

Following along with the oft’ proposed theory that all of Cain’s descendants are evil, this means that all nomads, cattle ranchers, and musicians are evil.  So, now we have another reason to hate Justin Bieber.

The chapter ends with Eve giving birth to another son, Seth, and again giving God the credit. (Gen 4:25)  Poor Adam just gets no respect from his wife.

Seth eventually has a son/nephew (remember, the only women around were Eve, and Adam and Eve’s daughters) whom he names Enos. (Gen 4:26)  Legend has it that Enos became a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia and spent his days trying to catch the Duke boys, and lusting after a woman in skimpy shorts named ‘Daisy’, but this is only a legend.

Next up in our exploration of Genesis is the start of date keeping, the family line to Noah, horny angels, and a dire forecast.  I’ll give you a hint:  It involves a lot of rain and tens of millions of animals. See you next time.