Malachi 1: The last OT prophet (unless, of course, you use a different bible than the ESV)

The people of Judah kept complaining that God didn’t love them enough–after all It had sent them into exile and life was fucking hard.  Malachi had these words from God for the people of Judah:

You think I don’t love you?! Nah, man. Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated. You think you  have it bad. Have y’all looked at what’s been going down in Edom lately? Yet you don’t hear those survivors complaining. No! They just go about trying to rebuild. But I don’t even like those fuckers! So I’ll just keep smiting them! But y’all in Judah, now. Your star could be ascending again, if only you’d stop fucking up so bad. Like with your shitty priests and their shitty food offerings. I mean, I have clearly stated in my various laws, that I will only accept the finest of first-fruits and the finest of animals for offerings. But is that what y’all are offering up? Sheol, no! You keep sacrificing bruised fruits and vegetables and sickly, scrawny goats and sheep. And you wonder why shit’s bad for you! If you want shit to get better, you better start offering up that good shit you keep for yourself! I am God, after all!

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Obadiah 1: A prophet of few prophecies

Obadiah had a vision. He had a vision for Edom In his vision, Edom would be destroyed. He told everyone, God has sent me a message for Edom. It says, that even though It loved you because you descended from Esau, who was Jacob’s twin, It will destroy you because you  plotted against Israel and Judah, the descendants of Jacob, and therefore your spiritual…cousins? yeah, cousins. God wants you to know you shouldn’t have done that. Nor should you have mocked and gloated over their misfortunes. God doesn’t approve of schadenfreude. But It does like irony, so know that after you are destroyed, the exiles from Israel will settle the land that was once Edom!

 

(and that’s it. Next time Jonah and the whale!)

Psalm 105

Rejoice, oh chosen of God

because It promised to love us always.

It made a deal with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

It led them into Egypt’s blaze

and, through Moses, back out again!

Upon the Egyptians It smote

plague upon plague

until the Nile itself did bloat

with carcasses and cadavers.

It permitted the Israelites to take

all the riches found in Pharaoh’s land.

Fed them with manna and from the rock their thirst did slake.

Psalm 78

Listen to the story of our people.

We are mighty and not feeble.

God chose us to be Its nation.

Jacob’s sons were Its foundation.

It led us out of Egypt.

Wouldn’t let Pharaoh reach us.

Fed us manna in the desert

and water from the rocks spurted out.

But our people sinned and angered God.

Learned what it was like to feel Its rod.

Plagues and famines, floods and danger.

Wars, rape, murder and exile.

Joshua 24: Joshua Dies

Joshua reminded the Hebrews of their history, that their ancestor Abraham had been chosen  by God to abandon his ancestral gods to worship God and that God had promised him and his descendants Isaac and Jacob the Promised Land. And also the whole Egypt adventure, and the wandering through the desert, and the recent wars of empire and genocide. And because of all that, everyone needed to swear to always be true to God and to follow Its rules.

So everyone swore to always be faithful to God.

Then Joshua had new copies of all the rules made and a large stone set up as a monument to this most recent oath, near Shechem. Continue reading “Joshua 24: Joshua Dies”

Numbers 23: The Further Adventures of Balaam

So Balaam said to Balak, build seven altars and sacrifice seven bulls and seven rams, and I’ll climb that mountain over there and talk to God. God told Balaam to go back and recite the following poem:

From Aram Balak has brought me
To curse the Hebrew tribes
But how can I curse what God loves?
Such a thing just doesn’t jibe.

The Hebrews are a mighty people
They spread out far beneath
I cannot curse such greatness, no
Lest God should gnash Its teeth. Continue reading “Numbers 23: The Further Adventures of Balaam”

Genesis 48

A short time later, Joseph was told his father was on his death bed, so he took his two sons to be blessed. Jacob blessed them and then symbolically adopted them as his own sons. Joseph got a little irritated with is father, however, because Jacob blessed the second born more than the firstborn (which, if you haven’t noticed, is a real trend in the Bible). Jacob told Joseph that he was leaving Joseph a particular mountain slope rather than his brothers. This particular legacy seems a bit moot, since they were all living in Egypt and there was no centralized government or keeper of deeds under which to support a title claim, but whatever.

Genesis 47

Next day, Joseph took the five brothers he deemed most polite and polished before Pharaoh, and they genuflected and explained how the famine had destroyed all the pastureland in Canaan, and begged Pharaoh to let them stay until things got better. Pharaoh gave them a hearty welcome and told them Joseph’s family was always welcome. He instructed Joseph to settle them in Goshen and to hire those who needed work to tend Pharaoh’s ever-growing herds of livestock. Then Joseph brought his father before Pharaoh. Pharaoh was like, Ra be praised, just how old are you? And Jacob answered that he was 130 years young and then blessed Pharaoh.

So Joseph settled everyone comfortably in Goshen and made sure everyone was well-provided for and employed. Continue reading “Genesis 47”

Genesis 46

So the whole gang–Jacob, his 11 sons, their wives and kids (around 66 people), plus everyone’s slaves–set out for Egypt. They stopped at Beersheba to camp for the night and for Jacob to make ritual sacrifices. That night God told Jacob that going to Egypt was the right decision.

After everyone got settled into Goshen, Joseph went in his best chariot to see his father. They hugged and cried for a long time, and then Jacob was all, I’m ready to die now that I’ve seen you again. Then Joseph coached his brothers on how to greet Pharaoh and how to interact with Egyptians, because Egyptians really disdained shepherds.