Interesting stuff about the apostles and Jesus that I didn’t know as well as thoughts/questions I’ve had about religion and Christianity in general.
Not going to convert to it but definitely a good insight into the heart of the religion, particularly under Romans.
Whew these are very different from the OT! Yes they are repetitive in ways but expand on the story of Jesus from different perspectives (a la Rashomon). I do enjoy the miracles and how Jesus talks in metaphor and parable, though I imagine it must have been frustrating to hold a regular conversation with him.
Whew, went through Ezekiel with its Pulp Fiction famous 25:17 (which was slightly altered or they had a different Bible version) through Malechai. Daniel was unique with the visions and dreams, as well as Jonah being in the whale’s belly, though again most of these were warnings against the people of Israel not to sin and worship other gods – just said in different ways.
This is a major milestone as I’m well over 3/4 finished with the Bible! On to the New Testament!
In terms of reading this, I had to ‘eat the frog’. Man what a downer!
The whole thing is pretty much warnings & prophesy against people of Israel not to sin. Do I really need to read 100 pages of this and then read Lamentations (which I also finished) which is about their suffering?
Frankly the ‘chosen people’ in these books seem really stupid for continuously ignoring warnings and sinning by building altars to Baal, then God smites them, they or a representative beg for forgiveness and God relents then the next generation repeats this. If God knows all and knows this will happen, why bother? Why not try to help a smarter or better tribe of Israelites? What does he gain by their devotion or success? I get his frustration but clearly killing doesn’t work here since they’re too dumb…
Oh well at least Old Testament is nearly done as it is DRY!
psalms was ok though a bit long, proverbs was great and had a lot of clever saying., i really enjoyed ecclesiates and its questions on the meaning(lessness) of life and the conclusion that while living suffer at least we can make a difference – at least thats what i took from it, song of songs was very poetic and unique compared to previous books, but man isaiah is dullsville and goes on FOREVER with prophesies and warnings…hard to read this one. at least now i am over 50% done with the bible!
Now I know why they call it a job – sucks being in one!
Seriously, this poor guy is the most devout and faithful man in all of Israel so for some reason God & Satan decide to have a contest over the soul of this man. Satan challenges that Job will curse God when things are difficult since it’s easy to love him when all is well. So, God agrees and destroys his flock, house, kills his kids and servants as well, leaving Job homeless and penniless and family-less… but he doesn’t curse God for this misfortune (though it is CLEARLY God who has done so).
Losing the bet and wanting to up the stakes, Satan says OK fine, make him feel pain and THEN he’ll curse you. So God gives Job festering boils and makes him bald with continuous pain. His 3 friends tell him he should curse God and logically explain why, but essentially he tells them that they have no right to question God, while a young person standing by criticizes Job saying he’s at fault.
Eventually God interjects and punishes the 3 friends saying they have no right to presume his judgement or what his duties are and that they need to make sacrifices to him ASAP. He removes all of Job’s afflictions and makes him the richest most fertile man in Israel (even though his servants and kids are still dead).
As you can tell, I wasn’t a huge fan of this one as it was a very cruel game between God & Satan to test out a man’s faith. Why does God need to test man’s faith? Is he that insecure in himself that needs to be liked? Seems like a bully. Either way it’s lose-lose: either you doubt and are a sinner cursed to burn in hell, or you believe but go through traumatic suffering which you have to remain fearful of God who can choose to arbitrarily punish you at any given time to make sure you’re not stepping out of line. This bothers me in the same way that the Koran does in which we have to continuously prove ourselves and earn God’s trust vs. a loving God in the New Testament (per my understanding of it…though that’s why I’m reading this in the first place).
These are all quick books and fairly enjoyable.
Ezra and Nehemiah are by the same author Ezra and flow into each other. In Ezra, the Jews are rebuilding the temples destroyed by Nebuchannexar due to their wickedness and God permitting this to happen as punishment due to breaking his commandments. When King Xerxes (of 300 fame!) and Ataxerxes asks them to stop since they sense it could lead to rebellion, it is learned that king Cyrus of Babylon had ordered that they rebuild it a while back and put to death anyone who stops them, in addition to accomodating their wishes and needs during building. So it continues without further interruption. Only later does King Ezra learn about the Israelites intermarrying outside their race which taints the holy line (!) and prays to God for forgiveness and sends away the Israelite women and kids to prevent further interbreeding, while forcing the men who have fornicated to pay a fine via livestock offerings and precious metals.
Then in Nehemiah, he explains how as they rebuilt, there is a group of opposers (presumably Persian) who mock their efforts and try to scare them off or trick them. These efforts fail and the resolution of the Jews to finish is made stronger. Also Nehemiah learns that there are Jews who are profiteering from the famine in the land by charging usury (exorbitantly high interest) to the poor Jews who have mortaged their land, vineyards and have their children working… effectively this is indentured servitude and against the commandments of God as Jews are not to enslave each other. Nehemiah confronts the profiteers and makes them stop the usury and forces them to return the land since it is wrong in the eyes of the Lord. Upon completion of the temple, he and the priests pray to God and exalt His virtues, and make promises to never disobey again as well as make offers. Finally, the book ends with a warning of stepping out of line and what must be done to remain holy.
Finally, the Book of Esther (my favorite one so far), has a tale where King Xerxes who banishes Queen Vashti when she refuses to come out and see him as this is an act of defiance which may cause other women in the kingdom to do the same. So he looks for a new wife and there’s a search – eventually Esther is found as she is a beautiful and pure virgin. She’s a Jew of course, as this needs some drama. Anyway, her father Mordecai is concerned for her naturally and walks around the palace, one night overhearing about 2 of the guards plotting to kill Xerxes. He tells Esther this who tells Xerxes, crediting Mordecai. The two are hung and she is trusted. Meanwhile, Hamas hates the Jews and orders that they are to be destroyed if found practicing etc. Mordecai is dismayed and tells Esther this when she wonders why he’s dressed in rags (as this permits him to mourn safely as he’s not allowed to be in the king’s land while dressed as such, thus is relatively safe). She is concerned but thinks they’ll be OK since Xerxes loves her, though Mordecai says they won’t be spared just because they’re Jews and if she does nothing then she is guilty of murdering her people as she sits by. She organizes a dinner for Mordecai at the palace though once he’s there Mordecai finds him and has him arrested for trespassing as a Jew, with the intent to kill him in the morning. Meanwhile, Xerxes feels troubled and cannot sleep. He decides to read the records of his kingdom (presumably to help him sleep or see if there’s something unaccounted for) and finds that Mordecai was never rewarded for his work in thwarting the assassination attempt on Xerxes. He then has Hamas come up, and says he has an award for someone special – Hamas figures it’s for himself and tells his friends and wife – only to hear that he must give Mordecai a robe and badge as well as parade him through town as a token of celebration. Humiliated he runs home. Only after does Xerxes learn of the attempt to kill Mordecai from Hamas and of the decree to kill Jews, which Esther requests he overturn. She then tells him she’s a Jew and at this point the Jews celebrate Purim in honor of the work she did to spare them their lives and protect them in the Persian kingdom.
I should note that it’s no surprise that Esther has been turned into a movie several times as it translates easily to such an adaptation.
Pretty dry version of genealogy and retelling of the stories of Solomon, David, etc. It goes a little more into detail of God’s words with them and the battle history, but is basically a retelling all in one place. Onto the next smaller sections as I know that it’s pretty flat until I get to Job.
Not the most exciting, but some classic tales in here such as King Solomon’s decision to cut the baby in 1/2 to find out whom the true mother is. Not as compelling but noticing that a major theme in the old testament is that God makes the new generation pay for the sins of their forefathers. Interesting and kind of unfair when you think about it.
Wow, I knew about David & Goliath, but had no idea David became such a jerk afterward once he became king… Killing husband of a wife he sleeps with, executing people willy nilly. No wonder the old testament god loves him! But the stories are entertaining, albeit brutal. Will keep plugging away at this.