Tuesday, November 24, 2009

80: I Worship Green Idols

Judges 8-9
"Draw your sword and kill me so they can't say, 'A woman killed him.' " - Judges 9:54

As you can see, I've added a quote of the day. I'll find some quote that I find weird/interesting(/inspiring?) from that days reading and put it at the top.

Gideon pretty much goes off the deep end in chapter 8. He is pursuing the Midianite kings Zebah and Zalmunna. In his pursuit, he stops in a city for rest. He asks the residents of the city to give him food and drink. They ask why they should do this. Keep in mind, they don't say no, they just ask "Why should we?". Gideon responds by saying he is going to tear their flesh with desert thorns and briers. What? Why?

Gideon moves on to another city, he must be hungry. He asks this city for bread also. The bible says that these people respond the exact same as the people in the previous city. This time Gideon says he is going to tear down their tower. Nice guy.

Gideon eventually captures Zebah and Zalmunna. Before killing them, he comes back to the towns that wouldn't feed him. He tortures the people of the first town with thorns and briers, and he kills the people of the second town. He makes sure not to forget to tear down their tower. I'm pretty sure they don't care about their tower if they're dead.

Gideon moves on to killing Zebah and Zalmunna. He questions them, and finds out that they killed his brothers. Gideon is so angry at this that he... Doesn't kill them. What? Instead he tells his young son to kill them. Zebah and Zalmunna (apparently the voice of reason in this situation) tell him that he should kill them himself. Gideon agrees and kills them. God doesn't say it's bad to have your son kill people, in fact, this is another one of those chapters where God forgets to show up.

The people of Israel beg for Gideon to rule them. He wont, and his quote to them is priceless:
But Gideon told them, "I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you." And he said, "I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder." - Judges 8:23-24
God is wonderful, now give me some money. I guess we know where this concept originated.

Gideon goes on to have seventy sons with many wives and at least one concubine. At the end of chapter 8 Gideon dies, and again the Israelites begin worshiping Baal. This is starting to bother me, there has to be something compelling about this Baal God for the Israelites to continually worship him. I looked up a picture of this God to see what was so interesting.

Ba'al 14th-12th Century BCE

All praise to Baal, the one true God! I mean... Whoa. His giant, green, bulbous head is just so irresistible.

Gideon's son Abimelech (not the same as the other two Abimelechs in the bible, I'm getting pretty good at spelling it now) is also a nut job. This is the son he had with his concubine. Abimelech decides to kill the rest of his brothers (all 70 of them). Only one of Gideon's sons, the youngest, escapes.

Abimelech reigns over Shechem for several years. When the people of Shechem decide to revolt he starts slaughtering them. He chases the people revolting against him to another town with a strong tower. All of the people of the town hide in this tower. As Abimelech tries to storm the tower a woman throws a millstone at his head, cracking his skull. This is where our quote of the day comes in. Instead of trying to recover, Abimelech tells one of his soldiers to kill him so that people wont say a woman killed him.

Of course, the credit for killing Abimelech is given to God. The bible says that God has repaid Abimelech's wickedness. How exactly did he do that? The woman threw the rock, and the soldier killed him. Did God take away their free will momentarily to repay Abimelech's wickedness? You can't say that God takes away free will to repay some wickedness, but not to prevent any bad things from happening.

“You must defend those who are helpless and have no hope. Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless.”

Where do you think that quote came from? I'll give you a hint, it's a message of hope... It might make for a good change... It makes you want to say "Yes we can" a little...

Did you guess Barak Obama? Sorry, you're wrong, but you're in good company (ok, I may have led you on a little). Sixteen percent of Americans attributed that quote to Obama, while only thirteen percent guessed that it was from bible, it's actual origin. Some of the other contenders were Oprah, Bono, and Angelina Jolie (yay America).

This is making the Christian news circuit because it's just further proof of the horrible condition Christianity is in, in America. Right, Christians go through such terrible oppression here.

There have been a few passages that say to help the poor, but these are far outnumbered by the times that the bible says to go kill people, so I can't say that I would immediately attribute that passage to the bible. I am disappointed in the Christians that are already supposed to have read this all the way through, yet still can't attribute passages to their holy book. I'll tell you what I think when I get to Proverbs (the origin of the quote) in a few months.

(via The Christian Post)

1 comment:

  1. Gideon does go off the deep end. In one statement he says, “I will not rule over you.” Yet he has seventy children. Why? There is only one reason to spread his seed so much—to perpetuate his dynastic rule. Furthermore, he names one of his sons, “Abimelech.” “Abi” – “My Father.” “Melech” – King. So he proclaims, “I don’t want to rule” but he names his son, “My father is king.” Ha ha! Gideon begins to function as a corrupt and ruthless king. His son, Abimelech, brings the corruption to a head.

    Gideon is the “transition” point of the book of judges. He becomes “schizophrenic”—wavering between God and idolatry (violation of the very first commandment). His family members for all practical purposes were Baal worshippers. His lack of knowledge of Yahweh and His covenant is astounding. He is unaware of why the Israelites were in this condition (i.e. the covenant). He is unaware that the theophany that called him is echoing the words spoken to Moses (the covenant mediator). The narrative picture being painted is that Israel has departing from the knowledge of God and His covenant and thus they are weak and scared and captive. Ironically, the angel of the Lord called the man Gideon who was HIDING and FEARFUL, “MIGHTY warrior.” Gideon’s “evidential” request was an indication of the gradual loss of knowledge of God occurring in Israel because of their idolatry. Yet God meets Gideon where he is at and sets him “hacking” (Gideon’s name means “hacker”) at idols—yet in the dark of night. Contrast Gideon with Joshua or Moses or Abraham

    Gideon’s new found role of deliverer results in Gideon exalting himself (notice he proclaims, “For the Lord and FOR GIDEON”). He is unaware of the kind of servant ruler that God required in his covenant for Kings (Deut 17:16-20). Thus, he ends up as a fairly despotic type ruler like the rulers of all the other nations in the Ancient Near East. But God was still working in and through His corrupt people to deliver them! Why?

    Finally,the connection between Gideon and the contemporary Christian scene is insightful. You bring up the news regarding how Christians do not know God's Word. There is an analogy that will become more and more clear as you continue to read the Scriptures. The reason for God's people's ignorance? Modern day idolatry of the heart which begins to render people blind, deaf, and dumb just as the idols they worship. Many modern day Christians and Gideon are two peas in a pod.



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