Sunday, March 28, 2010

204: The Mystery of Three and Four & Proverbs: In Review

Proverbs 30-31
"The eye that mocks a father, that scorns obedience to a mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures." - Proverbs 30:17

Psalm 30 is written by Agur, who is some random oracle.

Agur asks two things of God. He asks God to keep falsehood away, and he asks that he not have poverty or riches. Agur is convinced that if he's given riches that he will forget all about God, and that if he has poverty he will have to steal and dishonor God.

This is a phrase I don't understand "There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, 'Enough!' ". He then goes on to list four things:
1. The grave.
2. The barren womb.
3. The land.
4. Fire.
Are these the four things that never say "enough", or the three things that are never satisfied (obviously there's an extra one if this is the case)?

There are several more instances of the 3/4 strangeness, but before we get to that we have another wonderful feel-good bible quote:
The eye that mocks a father,
that scorns obedience to a mother,
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley,
will be eaten by the vultures.
Moral: Don't mock your father or scorn your mother, or your eyes will be pecked out by ravens, then eaten by vultures.

Now on to this 3/4 discrepancy, "There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand."
1. The way of an eagle in the sky.
2. The way of a snake on a rock.
3. The way of a ship on the high seas.
4. The way of a man with a maiden.
First of all, what's to not understand here? Second, this is again four things. So what happened to the three things that he mentioned?

Again, "Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up."
1. A servant who becomes king.
2. A fool who is full of food.
3. An unloved woman who is married.
4. A maidservant who displaces her mistress.
These things make the earth tremble?

If anyone can explain this (or if you have any speculations), I'd love to hear it.

The final chapter of Proverbs is written by King Lemuel. It starts out with his mom telling him not to spend his strength on women, or get drunk. Ok, mom.

The rest of the chapter is spent with Lemuel describing his perfect woman. This generally consists of her doing everything, making food, tending to the fields, and having babies. In fact, Lemuel doesn't mention that he ever helps her, with anything.

Proverbs: In Review
As always, the sayings in the bible are a mix of common sense and crazy. There are passages that tell you to help the poor and embrace wisdom. But in the same breath it tells you to beat your children, and that you are a pervert if you wink at people.

In general, the quotes don't seem very extraordinary. Most of them have obvious bias for royalty, based on who wrote them (Solomon). This contradicts the assertion that it was "God breathed". In the end, I'm not leaving Proverbs with anything to live by.

We have another crazy letter to the editor today. He is responding to someone that said the bible can be used to support slavery, just as it can be used to condemn homosexuality.

He responds:
Miller's suggestion that you can make the Bible say anything is erroneous. You cannot make the Bible say that, using a base of 10, 1 plus 1 equals 5.
Obviously you can't make the bible say things that are incredibly specific, but in general, the bible promotes both side of every argument. However, for the sake of argument "One ... added ... to ... one ... is ... five" Genesis 1-18. It's actually the hidden message of the first 18 chapters of Genesis! Take that, math people.

He goes on to take an argument out of the fundie handbook:
The moral teachings of the Bible are absolute and not ambiguous. The Bible teaches that it is a sin to murder; this is not relative to time or situation. If not, one could not claim that it was evil for Hitler to massacre millions of Jews.
First of all, people can claim whatever they want. But I think I know what he's trying to say. Basically the logical conclusion of this argument is that if the bible didn't exist these people wouldn't feel anything if they went out and murdered people. This is clearly ridiculous (I hope).
Of course, someone may say that the Bible teaches that a triangle has four sides, and there would be some who would agree.
This completely contradicts the point he tried to refute in his first paragraph. If someone can say there is something ridiculous in the bible and have people believe them, that's proof that you can make the bible say whatever you want.

(via Dallas News)


  1. I should note, for clarity, that
    "1+1=?5" is the same question in all bases greater than 5, and is meaningless for all bases less than or equal to five (i.e., the symbol "5" means nothing if the base doesn't support it).

    As such, explicitly stating the base of "10" is pointless.

  2. The bible DOES say that pi is exactly three.

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