The TL:DR Bible: 1 Samuel 7-9

Yea, Monday, Bible Fun day…

Chapter 7:

Okay, so the men of Kiriath-jearim come up and take the ark and leave it at Abinadab’s house on the hill. Presumably, he drew the short straw. Well, his son also draws the short straw, because he’s tasked with taking care of it, so they do their magic consecration ritual on him and hope that God doesn’t kill them all too.

It stays there for 20 years because, again, it’s a magic death dealing box. Who wants that in their backyard?

Then Sam gets up and says, “Hey, it’s your fault you’re suffering and the Philistines are killing and oppressing you. If you would just quit worshipping other gods, then God would do something to help you.”

So they get rid of all their idols and gather together for a communal fast and Sam busts out a baby sheep for some good ol’ animal killing. Because you can’t really come home to God and just say you’re sorry, you need to bring Him a dead animal. The cuter, the better.

So the Philistines hear that a large group of Israelites are gathered together and they take it as a sign for war, so they march their army out and the Israelites freak, but Sam tells them that God has got this and God uses Thundershock. And because the Philistines are a water type, it’s super effective.


Not God, yet revered and worshiped by a similar number of people.

So Israel wins the war and takes back all their land and there would be no more land disputes between Israel and her neighbors forever. The end.

So Sam because the tribal leader.


Chapter 8:

Sam is getting up there in the years, so he makes his two boys the next tribal leaders. But they’re corrupt jerks, so the people of Israel call for a meeting.

Israel: Hey, Sam, you’re kids as corrupt jerks. Frankly, this whole system of not having a leader until someone gets up and says, “I speak for God and He wants me in charge!” just isn’t working out. We’d like to change to a system of government where God picks someone and then his kids get to be in charge in perpetuity. Also, logic has not been invented yet, so this makes perfect sense to us.

Sam: I don’t think I’m okay with this.

God: It’s okay, give them a king. They’re not rejecting you, they’re rejecting me. Like they’ve always done.

Israel: No, no, we’re not rejecting you at all. We’re rejecting not having a leader or any semblance of a continuity of government to keep our military organized and provide infrastructure and law enforcement. I mean, hell, if you want to actually show up and step into the job, we’d love to have the God of the Universe actually here, physically present leading us. You could just tell us what to do every day and we’d do it.

God: You’ve rejected me!

Israel: But-

God: REJECTED! Sam, tell them that a king will draft their sons into his army, organize them, build infrastructure, hire their daughters in a jobs program, and impose taxes on them

Israel: We’re right here.

God: I’m not talking to you.

Israel: Well, obviously, that’s sort of the problem.

God: Tell them, Sam.

Sam: Sigh… okay, look if you choose a king-

Israel: We got the gist. I mean, it’s not a constitutionally appointed government of the people, but it’ll do.

God: Fine. Give them a king.

Sam: Everyone just… leave… just go… I need a drink.


Chapter 9:

So we’re introduced to Saul. His dad loses some donkeys, so he sends Saul out to go get them.


But there are no donkeys around, so Saul decides to head home. But his slave suggests they go ask Sam because God can tell them where the donkeys are. Which, I gotta say, if you get to ask God one question that He has to answer, I’d aim higher.

And Saul says, “What have we got to pay the man with? We’re out of food.”

Slave: I’ve got some money.

So they approach the city and ask where Sam is and a girl tells them that Sam is up at a high place because the people are sacrificing to God, which didn’t God say you’re not supposed to sacrifice all willy nilly and definitely not up in the high places, you had to come to his tent and the high priest and his kids had to do the sacrificing? It seems like the guy who’s talking to God didn’t get that memo.

But God had told Sam that He was going to send Saul to him and Sam should make him king of Israel and he would free Israel from the Philistines. Which… I guess the Philistines were back? Okay. The Philistines are back now.

So when Saul shows up, God tells Sam, “That’s the guy!”

Sam invites Saul to lunch and to spend the night and then go home the following day because the donkeys were found. Sam gives Saul the best cut of the animal they killed and they eat and the following day, he sees Saul and his slave to the edge of town and tells the slave to go on ahead, Sam has some private words for Saul, which really sounds like the opening to a bad porn movie, but no, there will be no prophet on handsome young king action in the next chapter, just some oil, some asses, a bit of dancing.

The TL:DR Bible: 1 Samuel 4-6

Chapter 4:

Israel goes to war with the Philistines. We met these guys back during the days of Samuel when they were in control of the Israelite territory and were exacting tribute from them. Israel is fighting again that control.

So they fight a battle and lose and 4,000 men die. So they get the great idea to bring the Ark of the Covenant along. One of the guys had seen Raiders of the Lost Ark and thought God would shoot face melting beams at the Philistines or something.

So everyone’s happy and celebrating and the Philistines are afraid, but their commanders ask them if they want to be Israel’s slaves, and they say, “no…” and look awkward and go fight again.

And the Philistines win. No face melting beams from the Ark happened and Israel ran and 30,000 men die. The sons of Eli are killed and the Ark is taken by the Philistines.

Eli gets the news, falls off his chair, breaks his neck because he’s so fat, and dies. I guess God preferred a comedic fat guy falls death for him.

His daughter-in-law dies during child birth, but gives birth to a son whom she names Ichabod who would go on to die at the hands of a headless horseman thousands of years later.


Chapter 5:

The Philistines take the Ark to Ashdod and put it in the temple of their fish god, Dagon. Now, God, could appear to them in a fiery column and say, “Nope.” He could incinerate the temple and everything in it except for the Ark. He could even fire a few face melting beams.

But God opts for the passive-aggressive response and tips over the idol of Dagon.

“I said no other gods before me. Get in line.”

So the Philistines set him up again, and God knocks him over and cuts off the statues head and hands. God of the Universe resorts to petty vandalism to show that He exists and He’s better than Dagon.

Okay, but he does smite them with… rats and a wicked case of killer hemorrhoids or tumors? Maybe it was the Bubonic Plague which would make sense with the rats, but… yeah, let’s go with the Plague instead of swollen butt parts.

The Philistines play hot potato with the Ark, and finally decide to give it back to Israel.


Chapter 6:

So they come up with a plan. They’ll make an offering to God of five gold mice and five gold tumors. They’ll put those on a cart with the ark, hitch up two cows that had recently given birth. Take their calves away from them and send the cows on their way. If the cows go back to their calves as is their instinct, then they just got the Plague. But if the cows take the Ark to Israel, then God’s the one who is killing them.

So the cows go to Israel.

And the people of the town of Beth-shemesh saw the Ark and were happy and killed an animal for God. And then God kills over 50,000 of them because a handful of the men of the city looked in the Ark.

And the people learned the lessons the Philistines just learned. The best outcome that you can hope for from Old Testament God is that He leaves you alone. So they call up their neighbors and say, “Hey. Good news! The Ark is here! Please come and get it… now, please… why are you still talking to me? Come get the Ark… before God kills us all. What do you mean the call is coming from inside the house? He’s here? NOOOOOOOOOO!”

The TL:DR Bible: 1 Samuel 1-3

Chapter 1:

There is a man named Elkanah who had two wives: Peninnah and Hannah. Biblical marriage.

Peninnah had kids and Hannah didn’t, which in those days meant that Hannah was pretty much worthless socially, because your primary value lay in how many boys you could pop out of your downstairs, ladies, even though in many fertility cases it’s the guy’s equipment that’s malfunctioning. And Peninnah mocked her and made her cry.

So despite her husband’s best efforts to show that he loved her, she felt like a sack of crap.

So one year, she went to God’s tent and prayed that if God gave her a son, she’d dedicate him to God’s service. And Eli, the high priest, saw her and thought she was drunk because she was moving her lips, but not speaking.

Eli: Get out of here, ya stinking drunk!

Hannah: I’m praying silently, sir.

Eli: Oh, okay, well, uh… I hope God gives you whatever you want… go with God and all that stuff… yeah… sorry…

So God answers her prayer, she gets knocked up and has a boy that she calls Samuel. She nurses him for a few years, then returns to the temple and offers Samuel to Eli the high priest so Samuel can serve God in God’s tent.


Chapter 2:

Hannah sings a song. It’s the usual stuff: God is great. God is in control. God’s going to seriously mess up the proud and arrogant. God’s going to bless the hungry. Nothing in this song about making someone’s mom cry, so that’s nice.

So Eli had two sons who served as priests, but didn’t respect the rules of the cult of Yahweh and would steal the best portions of the meat offerings and wouldn’t follow the rules about burning the fat of the animals they killed before taking the meat, so that really hacked off the Lord.

And they also liked to have sex with the women who served at the door of God’s tent.

So Eli rebukes them: “What are you doing? Who is going to save you from God? Knock that stuff off.”

But they blow him off because God wants to kill them. Well, what’s stopping Him? We just finished a song about how God is in control and makes life and inflicts death as He chooses, where’s the asps? Or the earth splitting in two? Or heavenly fire? Or a stroke or heart attack? If God wants them dead, why aren’t they dead? Is He busy working in His shed and He’ll get around to it?

Instead God sends a messenger that says, “I’m mad at you. You’re not following the priest rules, so remember how I said you and your sons would serve before me forever? Yeah, I changed my mind. You’re all going to die now.”

Which, again, I don’t really want to harp on, but if God is omniscient, wouldn’t He know about how awful Eli’s kids would be before He made the promise that they could serve as his priests forever? He really should have seen this coming and just not made the promise to begin with.

God: I have a lot of things on my plate, you know?


Chapter 3:

So Sam’s staying in one of God’s tents or lesser tents that God won’t kill you for sleeping in, and God comes down for a chat:

God: Knock knock.

Samuel: You called, Eli?

Eli: No, go to bed.

God: Knock knock

Samuel: Eli?

Eli: NO! Go to sleep!

God: Knock knock…

Samuel: Eli?

Eli: No, it’s not me. Probably God. Go bug him.

God: Knock knock…

Samuel: Okay, I know it’s you, God

God: You’re supposed to say, “Who’s there?” Has that not been invented yet? GABRIEL? Yeah… have they invented “knock knock” jokes yet? No? Aw crap…I had a whole routine… I say, “Knock knock” and you say, “Who’s there?” Then I say, “Tell Eli…” Then you say, “Tell Eli who?” and I say, “Tell Eli I’m coming to kill him!” and then we laugh and laugh… you’re not laughing… That was funny… GABRIEL? You thought that was funny, right?

Gabriel: Yes, oh all powerful maker of the universe who could throw me into eternal torture on a whim…it was hilarious…

God: I thought so, sigh… what am I going to do with these humans? Look, kid, just tell Eli that everything that other messenger I sent him is going to happen soon. I’m coming to kill him and his family. Now, why don’t you go back to bed and get a good night’s sleep and try not to think of how I’m totally going to kill the man who’s like a father to you. Nighty-night.

Eli: So what did God have to say? Good news?

Sam: Uh…

Eli: If you don’t tell me, He’s going to get you too.

Sam: God’s going to kill you.

Eli: Oh, okay… well, I guess you kind of expect that message when you work with God long enough. Not sure why he needed to tell you that in the middle of the night instead of just telling me… I guess say what you want, the Lord has a good sense of the dramatic.

The TL:DR Bible: Ruth

Alright we get to wash a bit of the stench of that last section of Judges off of us and dive into Ruth today. It’s a story about a Gentile girl named Ruth who marries into a Jewish family. Unlike other parts of the Old Testament, it’s has the message that maybe those foreign devils really aren’t all bad after all.


Chapter 1:

Elimelech lived in Bethlehem with his wife and two sons, but is forced to move due to a localized famine. He takes his family over to the lands belonging to Moab, and he dies. His sons take two Moabite wives for themselves, but they die too.

So Naomi, Elimelech’s widow is in mourning, and probably sick of the place that reminds her of her loss, she returns home, hearing that the famine is over. Her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, go with her.

On the way, she tells them to go back home and marry again and have lots of kids, but they’re unwilling to leave her side, but she tries to convince them to leave again, and Orpah kisses her and returns home, but Ruth stays by her side and refuses to leave, so they return to Bethlehem. Naomi calls herself Mara, which means bitter, because she’s angry with what God has done to her.


Chapter 2:

Being two widows, they don’t have a lot of money, so Ruth persuades Naomi to let her go and glean in the fields. If you didn’t fall asleep during that whole law section we went through, gleaning was basically the welfare program of the day for the poor. Land owners had to leave the corners of their fields unharvested and couldn’t pick up any produce that they dropped on the ground while harvesting, it was to be left for the poor.

So Ruth is out picking crops, and the land owner, Boaz notices her.

Boaz: “Who’s the hot chick?”

Reaper: “That’s Ruth, she came back from Moab with Naomi.”

Boaz: “Hey, Ruth, uh, why don’t you just stick around here. Me casa su casa.”

Ruth: “What have I done to deserve your favor?”

Boaz: “Have you looked in a mirror lately, er, I mean… uh, you were very kind to your mother-in-law… yeah… Why don’t you have lunch with us?”

So they eat, and Boaz commands his servants to purposely drop bundles of grain in front of Ruth, so they comes back to Naomi with a huge bag of barley and Naomi, perhaps, not as naïve as Ruth, asks whose field she was working in that day, and she tells her. Boaz, is a relative of Elimelech, and Naomi tells her to stay and work Boaz’s fields.


Chapter 3:

Naomi realizes that Boaz is attracted to Ruth and that he has the power to marry her and buy back Elimelech’s lands, so she tells Ruth, to take a bath, put on perfume, put on her best clothes. Then she’s to wait and watch to see where Boaz lies down, and when he lies down and goes to sleep, Ruth is to, ahem, “uncover his feet.” That is, she is to uncover him basically from the hips down, and then lie next to him.

So she follows Naomi’s advice, and Boaz wakes up, finds himself naked, with a hot girl lying at his feet..

Boaz: “I’m not complaining, but what’s up?”

Ruth: “You’re my kinsman, will you marry me?”

Boaz: “Score! I mean, uh, yes, I will, but there’s a closer relative than I, so I need to go talk to him. If he won’t marry you, I will.”

So they sleep together (we’ll assume nothing untoward happened) until morning and he sends her home with another bag of barley and tells Naomi about what happened.


Chapter 4:

Boaz goes out the next morning and accosts this relative at the gate. He tells him about Naomi and Ruth and the other relative declines to buy their land and marry Ruth, so he takes off his shoe and gives it to Boaz and Boaz buys Naomi’s lands and marries Ruth.

And Ruth has a baby named Obed, and we’re given a little genealogy that links Ruth to King David, which may or may not be true, but is probably just trying to get the message across that Gentiles really aren’t horrible after all, look, our famous King David was part Moabite.

It’s a nice short story with a happily ever after ending.

The TL:DR Bible: Judges 19-21

I’m going to slap a big trigger warning on today’s post which involves a grisly sexual assault.

The bible, everyone.


Chapter 19:

We’re getting a story today that is nearly identical to Genesis 19. A few details are changed, but I have to wonder if maybe the two tales were originally one story, a rural legend, perhaps, about the dangers and wickedness of the big city.

To start, there was a Levite who owned a sex slave. She left him and returned home. He goes to her father’s house and talks her into coming back to live with him. They stay with her father for a few days before leaving for their home.

As they pass by Jerusalem, the man’s slave suggests they stay for the night, but the Levite is unwilling to spend the night with Gentiles, so they continue on until nightfall and come to the town of Gibeah, a town of the tribe of Benjamin.

Unable to find anyone to offer them hospitality, they prepare to sleep in the town square, when an elderly man finds them and brings them to his house. He feeds them and their animals and washes their feet.

And then a gay rape mob shows up demanding that the old man turn over the Levite to them. The old man says, “No, don’t be so evil. Here’s my pre-teen virgin daughter and the man’s sex slave. Rape them instead!” But the rape mob isn’t happy. So the Levite shoves his sex slave out of the door and closes it behind her. And the rape mob rapes and tortures the poor girl all night long. Finally, when they were finished, the woman crawls back and collapses at the door of the old man’s house.

Her “husband” comes out in the morning and says, “Get up.” Charming guy.

She is dead, however, so he brings her body home, desecrates her body by cutting it into twelve pieces and mails the pieces to the other tribes.

I wonder why they don’t tell this story in Sunday School.


Chapter 20:

Everyone in Israel is angry as the pieces of the dead girl arrive at the post. So they gather together and say, “What the hell, man?”

The Levite says, “The men of Gibeah wanted to rape and kill me, so I gave them my concubine instead, and they raped and killed her, and I cut her up in pieces to show you what a lewd and vile act they committed.” Which, yeah, but who was the one who threw her to the angry rape mob again?

So the Israelites form an army and demand the tribe of Benjamin give up the guilty parties, but the Benjamites were unwilling, I don’t know why… maybe the rape mob was in their bowling league. So they go to war.

Then the Israelites ask God if they should go fight, and the Lord, having a sick sense of humor, says, “Sure!”

And the Israelites go fight and lose 22,000 men and the battle. Oh, God, you scamp!

So they mourn the dead and their defeat and they ask God again if they should go fight, and God, trying not to laugh says, “Sure! You guys have fun!”

So they go out to battle again and lose, and another 18,000 men died. I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumors, but I think that God has a sick sense of humor…

So this time they all fast and then they go to God, and I guess they’ve groveled sufficiently this time because God promises them that they’ll win the battle. Or it could be that they change their tactics this time and set up an ambush hitting Benjamin from two sides, but this time they win and slaughter most of the army that Benjamin had sent and they go from town to town burning them down.


Chapter 21:

Oh, but now here comes the really fun part. When the bloodlust has died down, the other tribes are sad because they killed so many people of Benjamin and swore that they would never marry off their daughters to that tribe again, so they fear that the end of the tribe of Benjamin is at hand.

Oh, but they have a plan now. They find that one city didn’t send any soldiers to fight against Benjamin, so they send an army to the town, kill all of the men, women, and boys, and kidnap any girls who haven’t had sex with a man. So they kidnap about 400 pre-teen girls after ruthlessly slaughtering their families and burning their homes to the ground.

So they sent envoys to the surviving tribesman of Benjamin and deliver the 400 pre-teen (or young teens) to them so they can rape them and make little rape babies so the tribe can survive. But there just weren’t enough pre-teen girls so every man could rape his own, so they had to come up with another idea.

And they did.

One of the men said, “Hey, I know. Every year the town of Shiloh has a harvest festival and the young teen girls come out into the fields to celebrate. Let’s just tell the Benjamites to go kidnap any of the girls they want to rape and carry them off to their territory to rape them and make little rape babies with them, and if the men of Shiloh object to having their young teenage or pre-teen daughters kidnapped and raped, well, we have swords, so we’ll tell them to shut up.

And so they did. And they all lived happily ever after, except for all the girls who were raped, but it’s not like they were people, so their opinions on the subject didn’t matter.

The end.

Okay, to be fair, other than the dickishness of God yanking the chains of the Israeli army and getting 40,000 people killed, there’s nothing to say that God ordered or condoned any of this, but all the same, I need to go vomit and take a shower now.

The TL:DR Bible: Judges 17-18

I’m still in a pit, but you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, right?


Chapter 17:

We’re at the end of the book of Judges, and so, we’re no longer going to talk about actual Judges. Instead, we get some stories about various characters doing bad things. So we’re introduced to a man named Micah.

Micah: Hey, mom, that money you’re missing that you put a curse on the thief? Yeah, I took it. I was going to go to town and see a movie with Tim and really wanted to buy some popcorn. Here you go.

Mom: Blessed are you, son! I dedicate this money to God. Here, take it to the silversmith and have him make an idol.

God: Okay, maybe I can understand that you didn’t make it through my first five books. Some of them were pretty boring, but I condensed it to TEN things. TEN THINGS! Right at the top, what does that say?

So Micah makes the idol and some priestly garments and starts his own household cult of Yahweh. And he meets and hires a Levite to be his personal priest.

Micah: Surely God must bless me now that I have a real, live Levite for a priest!



Chapter 18:

The tribe of Dan is wandering about looking for a place to settle. I thought they had a place to settle back in Joshua… Yep, Joshua 19:40-48. Maybe they didn’t like it. Or maybe the author of Judges skipped that part of the book of Joshua.

In any case, some scouts from Dan show up at Micah’s house, they recognize the priest’s voice and catch up on what happened to him and they ask him to magic up to Yahweh and see if they’re venture is going to be successful. The cleric tells them to go and have success.

So the scouts come to the area of Laish and see a happy people, living quietly without a ruler oppressing them and they think, “Well, can’t have that.”

So they march back to the tribe of Dan and say, “Let’s go kill some peaceful hippies who aren’t bothering anyone and are just living quietly on their own land for God.”

So the Danites send 600 men to do the murderin’.

But they stop at Micah’s house first and they take the idols and convince the priest to come join them and be their tribe’s priest. Micah gathers a posse and pursues them and the men of Dan “persuade” him to go home and be silent about it, you know… or they’ll kill him and his friends. So Micah goes home without his gods.

Then the Danites go and slaughter every last peaceful hippie who wasn’t bothering anyone, but was living secure in their own land without a ruler, and there was no one to stop them because those hippies didn’t live under a king. And they burned their city/commune to the ground and rebuilt it and called it Dan. And they set up the cult of Yahweh there with the idols and priest they took from Micah.

And I really like it that what’s presented as the bad thing here is the idolatry instead of the wanton murder of people who weren’t hostile or bothering anyone.

Yeah… I can’t even…

Not today.

All I feel like doing today is going back to bed, pulling up the covers, and pretending that the world does not exist.

I’ll hopefully be back on Monday.