The TL:DR Bible: 2 Kings 12-14


Chapter 12:

So boy king Joash is sitting on the throne of Judah and surprise, the priestly author of the book says that he did almost everything right so long as he obeys his high priest advisor.

He orders that the temple be rebuilt and tells the priests to gather money from their brothers and friends and fix any damage to the Temple. The priests, as most priests are wont to do, are happy to take the money, but they don’t quite get around to actually fixing the Temple. So the king asks for an explanation and when they don’t have one, tells them to stop taking money from the people.

But Jehoiada decides that maybe they should take money from the people anyway, so he puts a box in the temple and all the money that comes in goes into it and they pay the workers to fix the joint up out of that.

The money that was collected earlier mysteriously disappears, of course.

And the priests don’t keep any records of payments they make to the workers… because the workers ‘were faithful’. Sure, that explains it. I’m sure a few hands dipping into the collection box didn’t have anything to do with the lack of accounting.

Hazael tries to attack Jerusalem, but Joash gives him treasure to go away, and he does.

And then Joash is assassinated and his son Amaziah takes his place.

 

Chapter 13:

So Jehoahaz is king in Israel and surprise, he’s a douche. So God punishes him by letting the Arameans ravage his land and drive some of the Israelites to live a nomadic life again. But he prays and God decides to help him out and sends a deliverer to help. But they kept worshipping the cow god and also the local fertility goddess because sex orgies probably sounded a lot better than travelling to Jerusalem to kill some animals.

And then Jehoahaz dies, and his son Jehoash becomes king of Israel, but he apparently didn’t do anything noteworthy, so he dies and his son Jeroboam becomes king.

While Jehoahaz was still king, Elisha gets sick and calls the king to visit him. The king at least pretends to be upset, so Elisha tells him to go fire some arrows into the ground as a symbol of coming victory over the Arameans. So the king shoots three arrows and Elisha is upset and says he should have fired five or six arrows into the ground and he would have utterly destroyed the Arameans, and maybe it would have been nice to have told the king that BEFORE he started shooting arrows, you dick.

So Elisha dies and they put him into a hole in the ground, and as they are burying someone else, the grave diggers see some Moabite raiders on the horizon and throw the body into Elisha’s grave and the “dead” guy comes to and stands up.

So Hazael, king of Aram dies and his son Ben-hadad comes to power, and Jehoahaz fights some wars with him and wins three times.

 

Chapter 14:

Back in Judah, Amaziah reigns and he makes the cult of Yahweh happy, but he doesn’t get rid of the high places where the people (like Samuel) were sacrificing and burning incense.  And he kills the assassins of his father. And he wars against the Edomites and captures a city.

But he gets a bit prideful and decides he can take Israel back by force too, so he faces off against Jehoash and they trash talk each other a bit. And they fight and Amaziah loses the battle and is captured, so Jehoash loots Jerusalem and takes some hostages, and he made some people angry, so they assassinated him, and his son Azariah takes the throne.

And in Israel, Jeroboam the Second keeps worshipping idols, so the cult of Yahweh was not happy with him, but he did win a series of military victories that extended the borders of Israel.  This was attributed to God being merciful to Israel.

Then Jeroboam II dies and his son Zachariah takes over and I can guess that he’ll do evil in the sight of the Lord without turning the page to the next chapter.

The TL:DR Bible: 2 Kings 9-11


I confess. I like the next guy we meet. He’s hard not to like even though he’s kind of a bastard.

Jehu seems like a cynical, macho, action hero who doesn’t really believe in all of this “gods” stuff, but is more than willing to use religion to further his ambitions.

In the movie adaptation, I imagine him being played by Stephen Lang.

 

Chapter 9:

Elisha gets one of the junior prophets and tells him to go find Jehu and anoint him king over Israel.

So the kid goes to Ramoth-gilead and finds the captains of the army sitting around and he says, “I have a message from God for you.”

Jehu: Which one of us?

Kid: You, Sir.

So they head into a house and the kid anoints Jehu with oil. “God has chosen you to be the next king. You are to destroy the house of Ahab as vengeance for the blood they shed. Spare no one. The dogs will eat Jezebel and she will not be buried.”

Then the kid ran off as fast as he could from Jehu. Jehu comes back to the group, his head oilier than it was and they ask him what that was about.

“Oh, come on, you know how crazy those prophets are,” he says.

“Don’t lie to us, bro.”

“Fine, he said God wants me to be king and kill Ahab’s family.”

So everyone starts treating Jehu like the king and one of the men blows a trumpet and proclaims Jehu as king.

Jehu: Alright, guys, if this is what you want, fine. Keep everyone in the city so word doesn’t reach the current king Jehoram in Jezreel. So Jehu takes some soldiers and heads for Jezreel. Jehoram was wounded and was recovering in Jezreel with his cousin Ahaziah the king of Judah. They get the report of a band of men coming towards the city and Jehoram sends a horseman to find out what they want.

Horseman: Is it peace?

Jehu: Shut up and get behind me.

The horseman obeys and when Jehoram is told that, he and Ahaziah go out in their own chariot to meet Jehu.

Jehoram: Is it peace?

Jehu: What peace is there as long as you and your whore mother breathe?

Jehoram: It’s a trap!

Jehu puts an arrow through Jehoram’s heart and he dies. He also has his men shoot Ahaziah but he escapes and dies elsewhere.

Jehu: Throw the ‘king’ into the field of Naboth. Let him rot there as poetic justice for the crimes of his father and mother.

So Jehu enters the city and Jezebel hears of it in the citadel and puts makeup on.

Jezebel: Is it well, Betrayer?

Jehu: Anyone who wants to get on my good side? Throw her out the window.

So some men throw Jezebel out the window. And Jehu goes in and eats and drinks and then orders that they bury Jezebel, but she’s already been eaten by wild dogs and all that they find is her hands and feet and skull.

Jehu: Well, okay then. I guess that the word of Elijah came true. Come on, we’ve got more killing to do.

 

Chapter 10

Jehu is a shrewd guy. He knows that he needs to legitimize himself in the eyes of the people, so he sends messages to the leaders of Israel and says, “Hey, you’ve got 70 sons of Ahab with you. Pick up to be your king and come out and face me.”

And the elders say, “Well, you just killed two kings at once, so no, we’re good. You can be our king.”

Jehu: Kill all of Ahab’s kids and send me their heads tomorrow.

They kill all of Ahab’s kids and put their heads in baskets that they send to Jehu.

Jehu: Stack them in two piles by the city gate.

Seriously, Jehu need his own movie.

Jehu: Yeah, I killed my master, but you guys killed his kids. We’re both guilty of treason now, so we’re in this together.

So Jehu travels towards the capitol and runs into a group of royals from Judah, the kin of Ahaziah and he takes them captive and executes them.

Then he meets some guy and they’re friends and they ride together in his chariot to Samaria where he kills the rest of Ahab’s kin.

Jehu: Hey, speaking of Ahab, he really liked that god Ba’al. Well, so do I! Just can’t get enough of that Ba’al thing… Love me some Ba’al. So everyone come to my big Ba’al worshipping ceremony! Come or I’ll kill you.

So all of the Ba’al worshippers get together in the temple and pack the place out.

Jehu: Alright, hey, you’re all just Ba’al worshippers, right? There aren’t any of those Yahweh people in here, are there? No, oh good. Hey, men? Kill everyone. Spare nobody under penalty of death.

So they kill the Ba’al worshippers and destroy his temple and burn his sacred pillars. Jehu purges the cult of Ba’al from Israel, but he leaves up the statues of the cow gods that Jeroboam made way back in 1 Kings.

God: Dude, you’re the man! You did what was right in my sight, so I’ll let your family hold the throne for four generations.

So Jehu does more stuff and dies and his son Jehoahaz becomes king.

 

Chapter 11:

And we move back to Judah for some more politics of the day. Ahaziah’s mom, Athaliah sees that her son is dead, so she has the other royal offspring killed, but one escapes.

Obviously, Athaliah has never read the Evil Overlord’s list.

They hide the kid, Joash, in the temple with the priests where he lives for six years.

When Joash is seven, the priests plot their coup to put the boy on the throne and replace the usurper Athaliah. They conspire with the military, show them the boy king, and persuade them to join their side.

Then they have a coronation ceremony for the boy and shout, “Long live the king!”

Athaliah tears her clothes and cries, “Treason!”

So they drag her out of the Temple and kill her. And the priests of Yahweh renew the covenant with the people and start to purge the land of Ba’al and his followers. And everyone was happy because no one liked Athaliah, I guess. So the government was now in the hands of a seven year old and the priests of Yahweh that would be the ones really in charge.

I’m sure that won’t go horribly wrong very soon. (Flips ahead in the text)

Nope, nothing bad happens to Judah at all.

The Prophet that Cried


“Woe to those that build their fortunes without righteousness!

Woe unto those that build their wealth without justice!

Woe to those who defraud their employees, their brothers and refuse to pay them!

Who say, ‘I will fill my house with splendor and the best things.’

Did not your fathers eat and drink and do justice and righteousness?

It was well with them because they pled the cause of the afflicted and the needy.

Is that not what it means to know Me, says the Lord God?

But your eyes and your heart are only set on your own dishonest gain,

And on shedding innocent blood,

And on practicing oppression and extortion!”

No one listened to him, of course. So they lost everything they had gained and became outcasts and foreigners in a land far from their home. And the crying prophet was carried off as a prisoner into exile by his own people and died in Egypt.

And so it goes…

The TL:DR Bible: 2 Kings 6:24-33 – 8


Chapter 6:24-33

So the Arameans come back and besiege the city of Samaria. And pretty soon, the food stores are running so low that people are eating donkey heads and bird shit and paying a lot of money to do it. So the king is out walking on the wall, and a woman cries out to him.

“Help me, O king!” she cries.

“Lady, we’re screwed. God’s not going to help us, what makes you think I can do anything?” he said.

“My neighbor proposed that we kill and butcher my son and eat him yesterday and she’d kill and butcher her son and we’d eat him today. So we killed my boy and ate him, but now she’s gone and hidden her son!”

So the king is horrified and tears his clothes and puts on sackcloth which is like burlap and vows to kill Elisha that very day. Which, given that Elisha told him not to kill a large part of the Aramean army when they were at his mercy four verses ago kind of makes sense.

But Elisha is all, “That son of a murderer is going to kill me for no reason. Block the door.”

So they hold the door until the king himself arrives, and Elisha lets him in.

King: I’ve waited for the Lord to deliver us. Why should I wait any longer?”

 

Chapter 7:

Elisha: Tomorrow the siege will be lifted and food will be plentiful and cheap.

Officer: Right. How’s God going to do that? Open a door in the heavens and rain food on us?

Elisha: Oh, you’re going to see it, but because you had a doubt, God’s going to kill you.

Which… again… seems a bit harsh there, Lord.

So there were four lepers hanging around the city gate, and they realize they’re probably going to die. Their prospects for survival are slim. So they decide to give themselves up to the Arameans and whatever happens happens.

But they found the Aramean camp empty, because the Arameans had heard something in the night that spooked them and caused them to flee in panic leaving everything behind. So the lepers go into one tent, eat, drink, and loot it. Then do the same to the next tent.

But they realize they need to share this information with everyone, so they do. They tell a city guard and the information makes its way up to the king. The king suspects an ambush, but they send out a small scouting party and find out that it’s true.

So everyone still alive goes out to plunder the food and drink and money from the tents and the officer who dared to have a doubt about a miraculous delivery gets trampled by the mob and dies. And thus everyone ate and drank and God delivered the people of Samaria from the siege and everyone was happy.

Well, except those that died. And that one lady that ate her son. Probably a lot of people mourning the dead. And the children that would suffer the effects of prolonged malnutrition, but, you know… other than those people…

 

Chapter 8:

Elisha tells the Shunammite woman to leave her home and go travel because famine is coming that will last seven years. So she packs up her stuff and goes to the land of the Philistines for seven years and returns. Apparently, squatters had now taken over her house and farm, so she appeals to the king of Israel for justice. After being informed of everything Elisha had done for her, the king agrees to restore her lands and make sure she gets the profits and crops that were harvested while she was gone.

Ben-hadad gets sick and sends a trusted lieutenant Hazael to go see Elisha and inquire if he will recover. Hazael goes and meets the prophet.

Hazael: Ben-hadad would like to know if he will recover.

Elisha: Go and tell him that he will live. But he’s going to die.

Elisha stares at Hazael until the latter is uncomfortable, and then Elisha starts to sob.

Hazael: Why are you crying?

Elisha: I’ve seen you become king of Aram and war with Israel and kill men, women, children, and infants. But I’m not going to tell you not to do that or try to stop you in any way. I mean, I did summon a bear to kill some kids myself, so probably doesn’t bother me all that much, really…

So Hazael goes back to Ben-hadad and tells him that Elisha said he would recover, and then to help Elisha’s prophesy come true, Hazael smothers Ben-hadad with a wet towel and takes the throne.

Meanwhile, back in Judah, Jehoram takes the throne there and turns out to be a douchebag. The Edomites revolt and become independent. So Jehoram dies and his son Ahaziah takes his place on the throne of Judah and he’s a douchebag.

And Ahaziah becomes BFFs with Joram king of Israel and they go and fight Hazael together, but Joram is wounded and withdraws to recover and Ahaziah goes to visit him.

The First Prophet


The prophet spoke:

“What are your worship services to me?” says the Lord.

“I’ve heard enough songs. I’ve heard enough prayers. I don’t take pleasure in the sermons preached in my name. Who requires of it you to come to Me and dishonor My house? Just stop. Stop your worthless tithing. Stop the abominable worship songs. Cease the special services. I hate them. They are a burden to Me. You are trying my patience.”

“When you pray to me, I will not listen. Though you pray often, I will ignore you. Your hands are covered in blood.”

“Change. Stop doing evil. Learn to do what is right. Fight for justice. Rebuke the violent and unfeeling oppressor. Protect the forgotten and the oppressed! Plead their case.”

“Come, I am willing to listen to you. Though I see your sins clearly, they can be removed. Humble yourselves and obey and I will bless you. Refuse and your iniquity will destroy you!”

Thus said the prophet.

Until he angered the tyrant in power and he was placed in a hollow log and sawed in half.

And so it goes…

The TL:DR Bible: 2 Kings 4-6:23


Chapter 4:

We move from looking at a bunch of kings to focus for a few minutes on Elisha. As he’s hanging out, a widow of one of the prophets approaches him and says, “My husband is dead and a creditor is coming to take my two kids off to be slaves.”

(And I didst say, “Ah, so there were Republicans back in these days too!” I kid… I kid… sort of…)

And Elisha said, “That’s monstrous! A grave injustice against humanity! Slavery is wrong. I’ll go put the fear of God into this man!

Haha… no, just kidding.

Elisha comes up with a miracle to let the woman sell enough oil to pay off her debts.

Elisha goes to Shunem and one of the leading women of the city persuades him to stop and eat at her house. And he makes it a habit of stopping to eat at her house whenever he passes by, so that the woman decides to build him a little office on the roof of her house with a bed and a table, chair, and lantern. So Elisha asks her what she wants and she wants a son. So he promises that by this time next year, she’ll have a son.

But when he’s older, maybe 12 or 13 and he’s out with his dad harvesting the crops, he gets a sudden headache and dies. She goes to Elisha and asks him why. Elisha raises him from the dead by lying on top of his body and giving him mouth to mouth? Okay.

Then Elisha goes back to Gilgal and he tells his slave Gehazi to put out a pot and start a stew so everyone could eat. Everyone goes out and finds stuff to put into the stew, but one dumbass finds some poisonous plants and no one can eat. Elisha throws some flour into the stew and neutralizes the poison.

Lastly, a man brings some food for the prophets and Elijah multiplies it so everyone can eat and have left overs.

 

Chapter 5:

There’s this cat named Naaman who is an Aramean, and the king’s general and most badass warrior. But he’s got leprosy. He’s got an Israelite child slave that serves his wife and she says, “I wish my master would go to Samaria and find the prophet that can cure him.” So his wife tells him and he tells his king and the king sends him off with a letter to the king of Samaria with a large monetary gift.

King of Aram: Hey, this is Naaman, my best guy. Cure him of his leprosy, please.

King of Israel: Yeah, I don’t have magic powers. This guy is looking to start a war.

Elisha: I do have magic powers. Send him to me.

So Naaman came with his entourage to Elisha’s house. Elisha doesn’t even come out to meet him. He sends a messenger telling Naaman to go wash seven times in the Jordan River.

Naaman gets angry.

“I expected some sort of magic ritual or something, not to be told to go take a bath. There are cleaner rivers in Syria.”

Naaman’s slaves: Look, my lord, if the prophet had told you to go sail to an island and fetch a golden fleece or something, you would have done it. Why not go and try bathing in the Jordan seven times?

Naaman: Eh… okay, I guess you’re right.

So he washes seven times and is cured. He returns to Elisha.

Naaman: I know there is no other God now but Yahweh. Please, take my gifts for yourself.

Elisha: Do I look like some prosperity gospel hack? I’m not in this for the money. Keep your stuff.

Naaman: Okay, let me take two muleloads of dirt, so I can sacrifice to Yahweh on Israeli soil, and pray that God would pardon me one thing. Part of my duties is to go with my king to worship in the house of our god Rimmon, and I am required to bow. Ask Yahweh to pardon me in this matter.

Elisha: Dude, you’re good. Go in peace, man.

So Naaman leaves, but Elisha’s slave Gehazi sees all the stuff Elisha turned down and decides to get a piece of that for himself. He follows Naaman and lies to him that Elisha suddenly needs some of the stuff. Naaman gives it to him freely, and Gehazi returns.

Elisha: Look, I talk to God, son. Do you really think I don’t know where you were going or what you were doing? Naaman’s leprosy is now your leprosy… and your descendants will also be lepers forever?

Seriously? His kids and grandkids and great-grandkids that had nothing to do with his own sin?

 

Chapter 6:1-23

We’re sticking with Elisha.

Some of the prophets decide to build their own commune, and one of them is chopping wood and his axe head flies off the handle and lands in the water. It’s borrowed, so he’s on the hook for replacing it which he can’t afford, so Elisha throws a stick into the water, and the iron floats.

I didn’t write this stuff, folks, I’m just summarizing it.

Aram goes to war with Israel again. And the king of Aram tries to lay an ambush for the Israelite army, but Elisha warns the king of Israel about it. So the king of Aram tries to lay a different ambush, but Elisha warns the king of Israel again.

King of Aram: Okay, which one of you guys is the snitch?

Servant: None of us. Remember that prophet with magic powers that cured Naaman? That guy has magic powers and a palantir.

King of Aram: Well, what are you all standing around for? Go capture him!

So he sends out an army to Elisha’s town and surrounds it and Elisha’s new slave sees it.

Elisha’s new slave: Dude, we are so screwed.

Elisha: You haven’t been with me long, but seriously… magic powers. God show him your army.

So God reveals his army of angels and fiery horses to Elisha’s new slave.

Elisha uses Confuse on the Aramean army.

It’s super effective. Elisha goes out and tells the army they’re in the wrong city, but he’ll help them find the right city. He leads them all into Samaria, where they are surrounded by the Israelite army. Elisha removes their confusion and the Arameans see that they are screwed.

King of Israel: Should I kill these guys? I’d really like to kill these guys.

Elisha: They’re POWs, asshat. Give them food and drink.

So the king throws a feast for the Arameans and sends them on their way and the king of Aram realizes that he should probably leave Israel alone for now. At least until the next verse.

 

The Voice in the Wilderness


There was a man who appeared one day as the country went about its business. He came with a simple message for a people obsessed with distractions, money, trivialities, amusements, and vanities.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Now he was a simple man, dressed in homemade clothes and eating what food he could scavenge. And the people were drawn to him and they were being baptized by him as they confessed their sins.

But when he saw many of the pastors and religious leaders coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Show your true repentance with works; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Christ as our Savior’; for I say to you that from these stones Christ is able to raise up children. The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do?” And he would answer and say to them, “Share with those in need. Take care of the poor.” And some venture capitalists also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Act honestly and fairly, do not defraud your clients for your own unseemly gain.” Some police officers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do your job with integrity, show partiality to no one, do not oppress the people or take bribes. Be content with your salary.”

And so he continued to preach until the day he offended the local tyrant and found himself short of one head.

And so it goes…