Esther 4: Good thing the queen is Jewish

Upon hearing the edict, Mordecai and every other Jew fell into deep mourning, on account that it just became legal to kill them and all.

When Esther heard that Mordecai was going around in sackcloth and ashes, she sent a servant to find out what was wrong. In reply, Mordecai sent her up a copy of the edict and a message about how much Haman had paid for the privilege of murdering all the Jews, begging her to ask the king to reverse it.

Esther sent back a message saying she was sorry, but she couldn’t go to the king unbidden or her life would be forfeit, and well, he hadn’t called for her in over a month.

Mordecai sent word reminding her that she too was Jewish, which was bound to be found out, and so the edict applied to her as well.

So Esther told Mordecai to tell all the Jews to fast for three days and then she would try her luck with the king.

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Esther 3

Sometime later, maybe between invasions of Greece, Ahasuerus appointed Haman the Agagite as his second in command. Of course, everyone bowed and groveled to him–that is everyone except Mordecai, who claimed it was against his Jewish principles. This pissed Haman off and he decided he would punish all of the Jews for Mordecai’s insult. So he told King Ahasuerus about this scattered and upstart people who refused to follow the king’s laws, and he offered the king 75,000 pounds of silver if the king would allow him to issue a royal edict that on a certain day in the near future, it would be open season on Jews throughout the empire.

The king took the money and issued the edict–which of course caused confusion and outrage.

II Samuel 21

At some point in David’s reign, there was a bad famine. When David had the priests inquire of God, they found out that the famine was punishment for Saul’s attempt to genocide the Gibeonites.

So David called the Gibeonites and was all, how much silver and gold will it take to erase the bloodguilt? But the Gibeonites were all, We don’t want your money. Only blood cleanses blood. We want to sacrifice seven of Saul’s male descendants. David was all, Fair enough.

Now David couldn’t bring himself to sacrifice Mephibosheth or his kids because of David’s love for Jonathan, so he tracked down some of Saul’s daughters and took their kids–three from Rizpah and four of Merab. (Merab, by the way, was married to Barzillai’s son, so the whole exchange between David and Barzillai during Absalom’s exile was of political importance). Continue reading “II Samuel 21”

I Samuel 30: Ziklag Raided

But when David and his men got back to Ziklag, it was burning and empty. Some Amalekites raided it and other towns in the Negeb. However, the Amalekites were a less blood-thirsty people than David. They hadn’t killed many people, but instead had taken the women, children and elderly as slaves, along with all the livestock.

David calmed the men down (they were muttering about stoning him) and consulted God, who told them to pursue the Amalekites. So David and his 600 set off. But on the way, around 200 were too exhausted from the previous three day march to continue. So they made camp at Besor Creek to stay with the baggage so the rest of the men could pursue more quickly.  Continue reading “I Samuel 30: Ziklag Raided”

I Samuel 27: David Flees to the Philistines

David thought to himself, There’s no way that Saul is actually going to give up trying to kill me. I will have to leave Israel if I ever want to live without constant fear of death.

So David loaded up the wives, and his men their families, and they all traveled down to Gath and swore allegiance to King Achish. Achish gave David Ziklag to rule. Using it as a base, for the next year and a half, David and his men made frequent raids against Geshurites, Girzites, Amalekites, Shurites, and other peoples all the way into Egypt. But when he would send tribute from the spoils to Achish, he always told the king that the booty came from various Hebrew towns and clans. See, he figured Achish would never find out, because David and his men made sure to kill every human being–from the oldest to the youngest–in any town they raided so there was no survivors to tell Achish the truth. And since Achish was growing richer because of David, he never inquired too closely as to where the livestock and goods came from.

I Samuel 15: Saul Blows his Second Chance

One day Samuel went to Saul and was all,  So hey, God’s going to give you a second chance. If you do what It says, exactly as It says, It will reinstate your lineage as hereditary kings of Israel. Here’s what it wants you to do. It wants you to punish Amalek for fighting the Hebrews when we invaded the Arabian peninsula hundreds of years ago. So go make war on the Amalekites and make sure to rain utter destruction upon them–kill every man, woman, child and domesticated mammal–all the donkey, sheep, camels, goats, whathaveyou. If you do this, God will forgive you and love you again.

So Saul first sent word to the Kenites to flee Amalek territories if they did not want to be slaughtered in the fray. Then he mustered an army 210,000 strong in Telain and marched on Amalek, defeating them from Havilah to Shur. Saul genocided all the Amalekites, except for their King Agag. However, he allowed his soldiers to sift through the animals, setting aside the fattest as booty.  Continue reading “I Samuel 15: Saul Blows his Second Chance”

Judges 7: Gideon and his Band

As the armies were gathering to fight, Gideon Baal-Fighter went walking along Harod Spring. There God talked to him and was all, look man, you’ve got too many fighters. I know I told you to rally the troops, Gideon, but c’mon! How will anybody attribute your victory to a miracle by me with these thousands of troops? You got to get rid of ’em.

So Gideon went back and harangued the troops and told anyone afraid to go on home. So about 20,000 men left and went back home.

But God was all, 10,000 are still too many, Gideon. I know. Bring everyone down here to the creek and watch them drink. The ones that drink by lapping like a dog are the ones to take with you. Send the ones that kneel and drink with their hands home. Continue reading “Judges 7: Gideon and his Band”

Judges 6: The Ascension of Gideon

Eventually Midianite and Amalekite bands created strongholds in the mountains from which they would raid Hebrew cities and towns, stealing crops and livestock, burning fields and houses. This went on for years, crippling Israel with hunger and loss. Around this time a new prophet arose to remind everyone that all this misery was really their own fault for straying from the God that led them out of Egypt, and if they wanted relief they better start praying and obeying.

So God heard the plaints and sent an angel down who went and sat near where a young man named Gideon was threshing grain in a wine press to hide it from the raiders. After awhile, the angel was all, hey there, big guy, God is with you. Gideon was all, what God? If there’s a God why has It forsaken us to the Midianites? Where are Its miracles? Then the angel was all, why don’t you do something about it, tough guy? Why don’t you save Israel? Gideon was all, what?! What can I do? I’m a poor kid from the poorest clan in Manasseh. The angel was all, with God, you can do anything. Gideon was all, if you’re from God, prove it. Stay right here while I go get you some food and we’ll talk some more. Continue reading “Judges 6: The Ascension of Gideon”

Judges 1

After Joshua died, no central leader arose to unite the tribes. However, Judah and Simeon did take the lead in fighting the remaining Canaanites in their territories.

Moses’s father-in-law, who is now a Kenite (and not a Midianite as he was in Exodus) and is still sojourning with the Hebrews (and alive?), helps out the Judeans.

The Benjaminites were unable to drive out or kill all the Jebusites in Jerusalem and ended up making peace and cohabiting with them, violating God’s rules. Continue reading “Judges 1”

Joshua 17

The Manassehites were also unable to fully conquer their territory and also ended up making peace/enslaving some Canaanites, furthering Joseph’s violation of God’s commands.

Ephraim and Manasseh both complained about being given crappy forested hill country instead of the rich alluvial plains that remained unconquered. Joshua told them to cut down the trees and make farmland.