Friday, September 11, 2009

6: Sodomy

Genesis 19-21
Two angels go down to Sodom from Abraham's house. Lot just happens to be sitting at the gateway to the city when they arrive and invites them back to his place. Apparently these were super hot angels, because men from all around the city came to Lot's house to have sex with them (at least take them out to dinner first). Lot decides it would be a better idea to give these men his two virgin daughters to do what they want with them (no, no, not the angels that can defend themselves, take my two innocent daughters). Unsatisfied, the men essentially say "don't judge me" and try to break down the door. The angels don't appreciate the idea of being gang raped and decide to strike the men blind. The angels then tell Lot to get everyone out of the city that he knows (what is happening to his daughters as they are having this conversation?) because they are going to destroy the city. Did they look for the 10 good people in the city or are they just assuming that a few rapists means the whole city is bad? With Lot's daughters, his wife, and his son-in-laws that makes 6 good people, they only need to find 4 more.

God seems to have made up his mind, so Lot, his daughters, and wife flee to the adjacent city of Zoar as Sodom and Gomorrah are being destroyed. Lot's wife looks back to see what is happening and she is turned into a pillar of salt. Excuse me? Am I reading this correctly? What was Lot's wife's sin? And why a pillar of salt (on the bright side, Lot will never have bland food again)? Nobody really seems to care that their wife/mother just died and they leave to settle in the mountains.

This is where it gets weird (can we just have one normal chapter), as if giving up your daughters for rape isn't weird enough already. Lot's daughters are desperate for kids or maybe they are just horn dogs, but seeing no other men around they decide that their father should impregnate them. Aren't these supposed to be the good people of Sodom? Anyway, the first night they get him drunk and his older daughter sleeps with him. Apparently Lot is a blackout drunk and doesn't get the trick. So he lets his daughters get him drunk again the second night and his younger daughter sleeps with him. So they both get pregnant, the end. No explanation, no condemnation, this guy just knocked up his daughters and nobody seems to care.

Oh boy, this is going to be a long day, Abraham is back to his scamming of the innocent and inflicting God's wrath on them. It's even more clear in this story than it was in the story of Abraham (then Abram) and Pharaoh. Again he moves, and again he tells the king of the land (Abimelech) that Sarah is his sister. The scam works again and Abimelech takes Sarah as his wife. God comes to Abimelech and tells him he is good as dead. What? Abraham is the scam artist, God, you should be punishing him. Abimelech says this in a conversation to God, "Did he not say to me 'She is my sister,' and didn't she also say, 'He is my brother'?". God essentially says he doesn't care and that Abimelech should give Abraham his wife back because Abraham is a prophet. But why is he a prophet if he is such a jerk?

They call Abraham in for a council and ask why he did this to them. Abraham says that he thought God wasn't around these parts (What?) and that he thought he was going to be killed again. Who is going to kill you Abraham? In the end the scam works again; out of fear Abimelech gives him a bunch of stuff to appease God.

Sarah finally gets pregnant and has a child. Being the jerk she is she sends away Hagar and her son Ishmael to die of thirst in the desert (so we do get to find out what happens to Hagar). God is perfectly ok with sending them away, he tells Abraham to do what his wife says. Ishmael and Hagar survive when they find a well in the middle of the desert.

6 comments:

  1. That has got to be the scariest thing I've read for a long time...

    Whats the moral of this myth? If we pick up random angels then its okay to sell our daughters for sex and commit incest?

    And what, if we hear god in our head than we are allowed to scam nice rich people? Sounds like a lesson a few specific churches (and non christian religeons) took to heart...

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  2. I do believe Ishmael is the one that founded Islam.... no WONDER the Muslims have a grudge against the Jews and Christians! I gotta say, I'm going to have to side with Ishmael and Hagar on this one.

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  3. Chapter 19: Yeah. Lot's a jerk. He isn't really that great of a guy. We're in agreement on this one.
    Verse four of the chapter makes absolutely clear that this wasn't just "a few rapists" - "But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both young and old, all the people from every quarter." EVERY MALE IN THE CITY joined in.
    Even assuming that it wasn't "everyone," the fact that you have a mob of people openly attempting to gang rape someone and no one else bats an eyelash is pretty indicative of widespread corruption. So yeah, it's pretty clear they deserved what they were going to get.
    Verse 14 shows that even his sons-in-law didn't believe him and didn't "make the cut" - so you're back down to 4, not six, and if your own relatives don't believe you it seems the odds of there being anyone else who is righteous willingly living in a city where they communally gang rape visitors is pretty slim.

    With Lot's wife - she turned around, and apparently that was the result of looking back - haven't you ever seen an action movie? You never look back, or you'll get eaten by zombies!
    With Lot's daughters, consider the fact that they just saw civilization as they knew it buried under fire and ash. To them, they are literally the last people alive, and they say so right in the verse (31). We don't even know how long after the destruction of Sodom this took place - and the reason they are saved isn't necessarily that they are righteous, but that A) they were still better than the people surrounding them and b) they were related to Abraham - a bit of "divine nepotism."

    Chapter 20: Again, these aren't perfect people, they are human and flawed. Many concur with you that Abraham acted improperly with Abimelech, but he had perceived there was no FEAR of God, not that he feared God wasn't present - again, mistranslation of the original Hebrew.

    Chapter 21: Sarah wasn't being totally capricious here - this was based on seeing the interaction between the two kids. Parents can and will often be wary of the social environments their children interact in, and apparently she felt Ishmael was a really bad influence. You've never had a friend when you were young that your parents didn't like? They gave them food and water, and the area they lived in wasn't uninhabited, but Hagar screwed up and strayed into the desert anyhow. How is that Sarah's fault?

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  4. The Bible isn't purely moralistic - it's a conveyance of the methods of "divine" action, if you want to step into their ontology. But if you want a moral...
    Just because someone did something in the Bible doesn't make it "all right." The moral of the first part is the merit of showing hospitality o strangers especially when it's difficult, the second is that just because we get "saved," that doesn't make us good people.

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  5. Spare me, Isaack! Sarah was concerned about one thing and one thing only! Ishmael had been Abraham's only child. Sarah had beaten Ishmael's mother so badly that the poor woman ran away. But God, in his infinite (not!) wisdom, sends her back and tells her to submit to whatever shit Sarah dishes out. Now that Sarah has a child, she has only one thought on her mind. Ishmael is older. If you want to assume anything, assume that Abraham has been doting on Ishmael for years as he is Abraham's only child. Sarah is worried that Abraham will make Ishmael his hier and cut Isaac out of the will. She is thinking about all of those riches going bye-bye! She's a conniving bitch!

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  6. Alright, you can call her that if you want, but in the narrative, God himself backs her up.
    And God told Abraham beforehand that the ineritance wouldn't go to Ishmael, a fact which everyone seems to have known. What you're positing doesn't fit into the narrative either, as it was specifically stated that Abraham would have an heir from Sarah and not Hagar.

    Also, where in the narrative do we see Sarah physically abusing Hagar?? that's completely absent.
    Don't accuse me of 'making things up' and then freely scripting your own drama. I'm working from a detailed understanding of the underlying linguistics of the original hebrew script and culture. What's your basis?

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