Saturday Sermon: The End Times

One of things I love most about life is being alive. I much prefer it to the alternative, and I quite enjoy having a world to live in while I am currently breathing. There seems to be some people out there who would rather there not be a world to live in and play a game of predicting its end.

I was born at the very end of 1973 and since that day, the world had been predicted to end SEVENTY-ONE TIMES! Six of those predictions were from Harold Camping alone. Three were in 1994, one in 1995, and two in 2011. He was wrong on all six counts, but he left this world in 2013. It should come as no surprise that all of the end time predictions made since the very first one have been wrong.

The biggest end times prediction of all was the failed Mayan apocalypse that was supposed to happen on December 21, 2012. That was also my thirty-ninth birthday. I remember for years tuning into the “History” channel only to see people in black capes all talking with great certainty about what the significance of the Mayan calendar ending meant. It turns out it meant that the Mayans would have to go to the book store to get a new calendar. The world went on and I eventually would hit the big 4-0 (and not two years away from the big 5-0).

End times predictions are amusing in a lot of cases, but there’s a sad side and a tragic side to it. The aforementioned Harold Camping’s 2011 prediction resulted in a lot of people who trusted him blowing their life’s savings to promote the end of the world, all the while, the Family Radio (Camping’s company) calendar had events that stretched into the holiday season that year. Apparently, a woman in California who was a follower of Camping’s attempted to kill her daughters and then commit suicide, but she was arrested and all three survived.

There are several more predictions of the end time that I can discuss here, and maybe I will when I am in need of a topic for a Saturday Sermon. I don’t know why anyone tries to make predictions of the end times. Enjoy the time you have on the planet and help to save it for future generations since it will be here long after we’re gone.

There are no announcements this week.

Genesis Chapters 31, 32, & 33

Chapter 31

Jacob isn’t exactly winning friends and influencing people in this chapter. Laban is a bit peeved that he was breeding the strongest livestock for himself and leaving Laban the weak. So God tells Jacob to go back to his homeland, so he loaded up the truck and he moved to Beverly…sorry, he loaded up his camels with his wives and children and set out on the road, but not before Rachel snuck into her father’s house and stole his household gods.

According to the Oxford Bible Commentary, household gods were usually clay or plaster figures that were used as a source of divination. They would later be outlawed, and their use here is unknown as the story never explains.

So Laban finds out that Jacob left after three days and he goes after him. During a dream, God tells him not say anything to Jacob good or bad. Laban finally catches up with Jacob a week later, and confronts him about leaving so suddenly and about the stolen gods. Jacob assures him that he left the way he did because he thought Laban would try to take his daughters back by force, but he didn’t take the gods (he didn’t know that Rachel had taken them).

Laban checks everywhere he can except in the saddle under Rachel because she is “in the way of women”, which is old language for “on her period”. She already had Joseph, so she’s not pregnant. Laban would not search the saddle that she had been sitting on. Jacob finally gets angry and goes off on a monologue about trust and how long he served Laban.

Finally, they make a covenant. I’m not going through the details of it, but basically they draw a line in the sand and agree not cross it. They used heaps of stones and named them.

51 Then Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap and see the pillar, which I have set between you and me. 52 This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass beyond this heap to you, and you will not pass beyond this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. 53 May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor”—the God of their father—“judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac, 54 and Jacob offered a sacrifice on the height and called his kinsfolk to eat bread; and they ate bread and tarried all night in the hill country.

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (pp. 85-86). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Basically, this verse is the Bible version of the tape down the middle of the shared bedroom. Laban awoke the following morning, kissed his daughters and grandchildren goodbye and went home.

Chapter 32

The first part of this chapter is pretty boring. Jacob sends a messenger to ask Esau if they could bury the hatchet…after bragging about his riches. I’m sure Esau has forgotten all about Jacob buying his birthright for stew and then stealing their father’s blessing. It should be fine.

The messenger returned to tell Jacob that Esau is coming to meet him…with four hundred men. Maybe Esau wasn’t over it after all. So Jacob splits the men up into two companies so that if Esau drops by, at least half of Jacob’s men will survive. The other half will get red shirts. After whining to God, Jacob sends livestock as a gift to appease his brother.

I never understood the reason for the next part of this chapter which involves a wresting match of sorts between Jacob and apparently God. According to the Oxford Bible Commentary, this was likely an adapted story.

“The original version strongly resembles pagan, even animistic, tales of spirits or demons guarding particular places such as streams, who attack travellers who are endeavouring to pass on their way, but who are powerful only at night; here we are told that the sun rose only when the incident was over.”

Oxford Bible Commentary, (p. 59) Barton and Muddiman

This is actually interesting, but the Bible writers turned it into, “God cheats at wrestling because he has to greet the day,” or something like that. This story is kind of key in this whole saga, but it feels shoehorned in in a very awkward place. I suppose it’s a good way to pass the time between sending the gift to Esau and his response, but in other chapters in this book, the only thing that signals the passage of years is a change of sentence.

Anyway, after God hit Jacob with a low blow (to the hip), he does that whole renaming thing. This time he tells Jacob that his name is now Israel, so now his wives, maids, and kids all have to remember that from here on out. Also, Jacob names the land Peniel (better spell that right) which means “face of the Lord.”

My question with all of these place name changes: Do they put signs up to inform others what the new name is? Did Jacob post a sign to the residents of Luz that the place is now named Bethel and their mail will no longer be delivered? Just asking.

Chapter 33

Long, boring story (with plenty of bowing and formality) short, Esau and Jacob make amends and Jacob introduces the wives and kids and makes his brother take the gift. The only thing I will add is from the beginning of this chapter.

1NOW Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. 2He put the maids with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all.

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 88). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

I assume that this is the order of importance to Jacob if Esau came with less than friendly intentions. The maids and their kids would get killed first, followed by Leah and her kids, and Rachel and Joseph could run for the hills.

Jacob buys a plot of land in Shechem in Canaan for one hundred pieces of money. He pitches a tent and builds an altar and named it El-Elohe-Israel which is God of Israel.

Genesis Chapters 29 & 30

Chapter 29

Keep reading, you’ll get it

Things start getting a bit soap opera-y in this chapter and the next. Jacob has set out toward the land of his Uncle Laban and runs across a group of shepherds who happen to be from the Haran (where his uncle lives). While he was talking to them, Laban’s daughter, Rachel, came along with her father’s sheep (cue “Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright, kids ask your parents). Jacob proves his manliness by moving the stone from the well, and then kisses Rachel followed by him weeping aloud. He introduces himself which I think he should have done before the kissing and weeping, and she runs to tell her father.

Reading this section tells me again that this is a poem. There’s a lot of repetition, like the use of “his mother’s brother’s…” rather than just saying Laban. This is either poetry or the writers were getting paid by the word.

Jacob works for Laban for seven years so that when his time is up he can marry Rachel, who is Laban’s younger daughter. Leah is the older of the two (this will come up very shortly). Fast forward seven years and Jacob asks for his wife so that he may “go in to her”. So Laban throws a feast and in the evening sends Leah into Jacob’s room and he has relations with her. Also, the writer found it important at this point to give the reader a parenthetical that Laban gave Leah a maid, Zilpah. Jacob awoke the next morning to find not Rachel in his bed and went to confront Laban.

It is explained that in this land the younger daughter is not given away before the elder one. So he is made the offer that all he has to do is complete the week with Leah and he gets Rachel…after he works another seven years. So fast forward another seven years and Jacob finally gets to marry Rachel. Another parenthetical about Rachel’s maid, Bilhah). He has relations with her and loved her more than Leah. He then served Laban another seven years.

Let me work this out here, Jacob wanted to marry Rachel and served her father for seven years, and at no time in that seven years did it ever come up in conversation that the older daughter has to be married before the younger daughter? This seems unlikely. Then, on top of that, after dad pulled the old switcheroo, Jacob had to wait an addition seven years to marry Rachel? Fourteen years from meeting to marriage, plus an additional wife thrown in there. But wait, there’s more.

Because God took pity on Leah because Jacob loved Rachel more, he allowed her to bear children while Rachel could not. So Leah four sons, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Then she was done.

Chapter 30

OK, things are about to go a bit Young And The Restless over here, so try to keep up, won’t you? Rachel is mad that she can’t have children, so she gives him her maid, Bilhah, to have sex with so that Rachel can have children, and so she did. She bore Jacob Dan and Naphtali. And everyone was happy…or not.

Leah would not stand for Rachel’s maid having kids with Jacob, so she gave him her maid, Zilpah. She bore him Gad and Asher. And this made Leah happy and they lived happily ever after…or not.

Rachel wanted some of Reuben’s (Leah’s firstborn son) mandrakes, but Leah was having none of it. So Rachel offers the services of Jacob for some mandrakes. So Leah and Jacob do it again and she bears Isaachar and then one more time to produce Zebulun. Finally, they do it one final time and she bears a daughter named Dinah. Finally, after all of this, the barrenness, the maids, the wives, Rachel can finally conceive and she gives Jacob a son, Joseph.

Jacob asks Laban to allow him to take his wives and children and move back home. Laban replies saying that God blessed him because of Jacob. Jacob offers to tend Laban’s sheep and goats and remove all of the speckled, striped, and black lambs as his wages, but Laban goes through the flock himself and pulls them out and puts them in the charge of his sons instead. So Jacob tends the flock and makes striped sticks out of poplar and places them in view of the stronger mating goats and sheep and they give birth to striped, speckled, and spotted offspring.

Is the Bible truly the inspired word of God? Then he would know, to quote a GEICO commercial, “That’s not how this works, that not how any of this works.” Surely the creator of the universe would know that showing a striped stick to a goat will not result in striped offspring. I can tell that science is not the strong suit here. Anyway, Jacob grows rich with flocks, herds, and slaves.

Changes Are Afoot

Excuse the added post if you ran across it before I actually made the changes that I will be discussing here.

I’ve come to the decision that I would like a section of this blog for personal thoughts and site updates and a little peek behind the curtain. The first big change that you may notice is a home page rather than jumping right into the blog. Also, this post is part of a secondary blog that is not about the Bible Study project. I was going to just make a static page that I would edit as changes are made, but then I can’t send out a tweet and people couldn’t comment if they wanted to, so here we are. Excuse the proverbial dust while I fix things up a bit. I make a mess, but if you click a Twitter link, you will get to that post.

Saturday Sermon: Biblical Marriage

This week starts what I am sure will be a multiple part series on “Biblical Marriage”. Please note, I am a middle-aged, single guy who has never been married, so take that as you will. Every time marriage comes up in the news media, some over-zealous religious nut will remind us that God defined marriage in the Bible as between one man and one woman. Well, he defined marriage alright, but he defines it in a lot of different ways.

This past week on the blog, we see the word “marries” for the first time in Genesis 24. This definition of marriage states that a father will send his servant out to his homeland (the father’s, not the servant’s) and pick out a woman that offers him and his camels water, put a ring on her nose and bracelets on her arms, and then pay off her family and take her with him where she may or may not ever see her family again. When he gets home, she will meet her husband-to-be for the first time ever and they will enter his dead mother’s tent and he will “know” her. They are now married. To quote my girlfriend, “Ah, rooooooomaaaaaance.” There is no priest, no reception, no open bar, no wedding band, no wedding at all. Just sex in a tent, that’s it.

A son can also be sent out to find a wife of his own at the urging his mother, provided the bride-to-be is also his cousin. There are also no limits on how many wives a man can take. He can two sisters, then take his cousin as a third (although, in the story I’m referencing, she was a half-cousin if that’s a thing).

So, to review, the “Biblical” definition of marriage:

  1. Father’s servant finds a wife for his son using camels.
  2. Man marries cousin.
  3. Man marries a pair of sisters and his own cousin.

I will keep a running list on the blog as I continue reading.


Same as the past few weeks, not much to report here. I am seeing an uptick in visitors which is what I was hoping for. I see some accounts liking posts that I’m not sure are actually reading them. Based on their subject matter, I’m pretty sure that they would object.

Genesis Chapters 26, 27, & 28

Chapter 26

What a way to start the second half of Genesis, with a story we’ve heard twice before. OK, stop me if you’ve heard this one, a married couple settle in a town as aliens, but the man is afraid that the townspeople will kill him so he says that his wife is his sister. Yeah.

Once again, it’s Abimelech who was on the receiving end of this deception, but this time it’s Isaac and Rebekah pulling it.

8 When Isaac had been there a long time, King Abimelech of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw him fondling his wife Rebekah. 9 So Abimelech called for Isaac, and said, “So she is your wife! Why then did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought I might die because of her.”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Gen. 26, 8-9, p. 72). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

You would think that Abimelech would be wise to these shenanigans, but he’s not.

Isaac planted crops and reaped a lot more than he planted. He got rich with plants and flocks and herds and the Philistines hated him, so they cut off his water supply by filling in all of the wells that Abraham dug (or rather, Abraham’s servants). So Isaac moved and dug new wells (or rather his servants), but the shepherds told him that the water was theirs. This is pretty much the same story as it was in chapters 12 and 20. I hope we’re done with it now. One note  up to this point, according to the Oxford Bible Commentary, the Philistines that King Abimelech led are not the same as the tribe of Goliath.

Finally in this chapter, Esau ended up adding more fuel to my upcoming marriage sermon by marrying two Hittite women. Apparently, Rebekah didn’t like them, but we really get no elaboration on that.

Chapter 27

We come to the chapter where Isaac is old and wants to give his blessing to Esau, but he can’t do it yet because he wants to have a feast. Rebekah overhears the exchange and hatches a plan that involves more repetition about savory food such as his father loved. We all know the story, food, brother’s clothes, goat skins because Jacob isn’t hairy. Isaac, God’s chosen one whom he has blessed, is fooled by a kid in kid’s clothing.

Referring back to AJ Jacob’s book, The Year Of Living Biblically, the author talked with one of his rabbi consultants about this story. In Hebrew tradition, Jacob was the wise choice to inherit his father’s fortune. Esau was wild and erratic, and remember, he sold his birthright for stew. I hope that was the greatest stew that he ever ate in his entire life, because that’s all he ever got.

Anyway, Jacob was smart enough to hightail it before Esau came home. The good news is that Isaac eats twice. The bad news is that Esau was pissed. I do wonder how legal this story is. I mean, Jacob deceived his blind father into blessing him. Couldn’t Isaac rescind his blessing if he wanted to and call the sale of Esau’s birthright to Jacob for stew invalid? I might have to discuss this with a legal expert. Rebekah sends Jacob away to stay with Uncle Laban (her brother) in Haran until Esau gets over it…gets over losing his birthright for stew and losing his father’s blessing due to some strategically placed goat skins.

Chapter 28

There’s a ladder in this image.

Isaac officially blesses Jacob and forbids him from marrying a Canaanite woman and instead directs him to marry one of his cousins. I mean, I guess he has to keep it in the family. Also, hey, what’s wrong with Canaanite women?

Meanwhile, Esau married one of Ishmael’s daughters, which would make her his half-cousin, I guess. This means that he now has three wives.

Jacob sleeps at a “certain place” and has the ladder dream which is just more “I will give you this land” because of course he will. Also, Jacob uses a rock for a pillow (which is softer than many pillows I’ve slept on in hotel rooms) which he them poured oil on. He called the place Bethel even though this “certain place” was already called Luz. This chapter ends with another reference to tithing.

Genesis Chapters 23, 24, & 25

Chapter 23

Sarah’s death and burial could have been summed up in a few sentences and maybe a eulogy for her, but it’s all about Abraham trying to buy a field from the Hittites, where he lived as an alien. They offer him any land that he wants, so he asks for Ephron son of Zohar so he could get the sweet spot with a cave. Ephron gives it to him, but it sounds like an argument because Abraham insists on paying for it. They strike a deal and Abraham has himself a cave.

Judging by the translation, this story was a poem or a song in the original Hebrew. That explains the peculiar structure and the refrain of many of the lines. I still stand by my assertion that something should have been said about Sarah.

Chapter 24

Abraham is old. He makes his servant swear an oath that he will find Isaac a wife, but he can’t find the bride-to-be in the land of Canaan. Instead, he must venture back to Abraham’s homeland. The servant traveled there, came up with the contrived criteria that would determine the correct woman, Rebekah fit said criteria, he put a (nose) ring on it, paid off her family and she went with him. She met Isaac for the first time, they went into his mother’s tent, yada yada yada, they’re married.

I glossed over the story because it’s a lot of filler and repetition. The servant states his plan, then the plan work out perfectly, and then he recounts the plan and the outcome to her family. This is either bad writing or another poem/song.

The details leading up to this include the servant swearing an oath to Abraham which ends with the servant putting his hand “under Abraham’s thigh” which means “touched his junk” which is the way oaths were sworn. According to the Oxford Bible Commentary, this would be the equivalent of swearing one’s life. I just hope that biblical literalists don’t want to bring this tradition back.

This is the longest chapter in Genesis and is also the influence for the start of a new series of Saturday Sermons about “biblical marriage”. I won’t talk much about it here except to comment that the Bible will never be accused of being a romance novel.

Chapter 25

Abraham marries [takes] another wife and has six more boys and probably an untold number of girls which, naturally, is not talked about. He gave everything he had to Isaac and gave the other kids gifts and sent them to the east away from Isaac.

Abraham dies at the age of one hundred seventy-five and Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave that he bought at the beginning of this post. God blessed Isaac and then we get a genealogy of Ishmael, because those are thrilling to read.

Apparently, God can’t point in the general direction of a woman who isn’t barren and requires divine intervention. Anyway, Rebekah gets pregnant with twins and is told that she has two nations in her womb (that can’t be pleasant) and that the older one will serve the younger. Esau was born first and came out all hairy while Jacob followed on his heel (he was gripping Esau’s heel when he was born). Esau, who Isaac loved, was a hunter while Jacob, who Rebekah loved, was the quiet type. I really hope that the parents loved the other boy as well, because that would be poor parenting.

So one day, Esau was out hunting and came home to find Jacob cooking and sold his birthright for a bowl of stew in one of the most anticlimactic scenes so far:

Esau: I’m hungry, give me some stew.

Jacob: Sell me your birthright.

Esau: I’m really hungry…okay.

…and scene. We are now halfway through the book of Genesis.

Saturday Sermon: Apologetics

I am of the mind that if the Bible is supposed to be the word of the one true God, then shouldn’t this book be universally understood from the words, “In the beginning…”? Instead, we get a completely unhinged, contradictory mélange of stories that drift between the absurd and the insane. God’s first words to the newly created man is a bald-faced lie when he tells him that if he eats of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil he will die in that same day. It turns out that serpent (that so many people wrongly refer to as Satan) was the only one who told the truth and he was punished for it. Yet, there will be some smooth-talking defender of the faith who justify it. This person is an apologist.

Christian Apologetics is the defense of the faith, doctrines, and even the Bible. In this case, apologists seek to use the Bible to defend the Bible. Earlier this week, I talked about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and also the Binding of Isaac (or rather, the attempted murder of Isaac) and how I could not reason out how Lot or Abraham could be considered righteous. Lot offered his virgin daughters to the angry mob to protect the angels, which anybody with a conscience would have seen as repugnant. However, a cursory search of apologetics for this story states that Lot asked for forgiveness from God and received it. Where was this? Apparently in Psalms, and also in 1 Peter. But I haven’t read that far yet, so I guess the story is a cliffhanger? If this book was truly written by a superior being then it would explain itself in the context of the current reading and send the reader on a wild goose chase all over the book for random verse that may or may not explain the context of a story.

In the case of Abraham and Isaac, I have read some Olympic-class mental gymnastics justifying this story. “Abraham knew that God would not let harm come to his son.” How? Did he ask him? This was a test from God, but if God is all-knowing, wouldn’t he know that Abraham would willingly do what he was told? Instead, God allows him to travel for three full days to the place where he was pointed. That right there shows intent in and of itself, but it’s not good enough. Abraham and Isaac build the altar and prepare it, which is still not good enough. It’s not until Abraham ties up his son and pulls the knife that God finally says, “Haha, LOL. JK. Yeah, you don’t really have to do that.” Apologists will say that Abraham was obedient to God and that made him righteous. So being unquestioningly obedient is a sign of righteousness? No, that’s the sign that you might be in a cult.


Next week, I will finally hit the halfway point of Genesis. Tuesday’s post will spark a new Saturday Sermons periodic series about…nah, you’ll have to wait until next Saturday.

Genesis Chapters 20, 21, & 22

Chapter 20

We come back to Abraham and Sarah as they enter Gerar. Once again, he says that Sarah is his sister and the king takes her as one of his wives. Is this a kink? More likely, this is a retelling of the earlier story that took place in Egypt. This idea comes from the Oxford Bible Commentary.

This version of the story has a different twist since God appears to King Abimelech in a dream and threatens him. Abimelech points out that Abraham told him that Sarah was his sister, but because Abraham is God’s special little guy, he won’t be punished.

But wait, it turns out that Abraham did not tell a lie…

It turns out that Sarah is his sister from another mother. So Abimelech gave Abraham livestock and male and female slaves and told him to settle anywhere on his land. He also gave him a thousand piece of silver. God healed Abimelech and the womenfolk so that they would bear children because he caused them not to be able to bear children in the first place. Once again, God, the great judge of character.

Chapter 21

And God allowed Sarah to conceive and give birth to Isaac. Abraham cut off his naughty bits at eight days old because…reasons, and we are reminded that these two are old.

Of course, there’s the tiny matter of the other woman and Abraham’s other son, Hagar and Ishmael. Sarah didn’t want the son of a slave to inherit anything along with her precious angel. So God allowed it and Abraham sent them on their way because, of course.

Once again, because Hagar is either a woman, a slave, or Egyptian, or all of the above, God does not talk to her directly, but only through an angel. The angel tells her that Ishmael will be a great nation. He would learn to use a bow and marry an Egyptian woman of his mother’s choosing.

In a bit of a weird scene, Abraham and Abimelech agree to be besties, but Abraham complains about a well seized by Abimelech’s men, but he knew nothing about it. Abraham gave him sheep and oxen, but held seven ewes back so Abimelech would hang out while Abraham digs a well. They call the place Beer-Sheba (mmm, beer) because it means Well of the Oath. Abraham planted a tree and hung out in the land of the Philistines.

The last two sections apparently overlap since Hagar went into Beer-Sheba, but that land isn’t named until the following scene. It’s a bit confusing to read and I needed to refer to the Oxford Bible Commentary.

Chapter 22

This is the worst story in Genesis. God sends Abraham to Moriah to offer up his son Isaac as a burnt sacrifice and all Abraham can do is gather up the supplies and his servants and set out on the road. God gives no reason for his request and God forbid he question God (oh, right). I don’t know who said it originally, but I am reminded of a quote, “Any god who demands to be worshiped is unworthy of it. Any god worthy of worship would not demand it.”

Anyway, Abraham and Isaac make their way to the site, most likely with the kid doing most of the heavy lifting, and they build the altar. Isaac asks where the lamb for the sacrifice is and dear ol’ dad tells him that the Lord will provide one. Abraham tied Isaac up, placed him on the altar, and pulled out the knife and prepared to cut the kid’s throat. An angel of God came down and stopped him, telling him that he passed God’s test.

Passed? PASSED?! No, he failed miserably. He was “just following orders” I guess. I would certainly hope that if I was tested in this way by the voices in my head, I would have sense enough to question them. Even if I was convinced that it was a real god, even the God of the Bible, I still hope that I would question his motives. Once again, God proves that he is a horrible judge of character and misses another psycho.

The rest of this chapter is God praising this sicko and then we get another genealogy. Oh, and spare me the apologetics about this story. I can read it and understand it with my own brain.

Genesis Chapters 18 & 19

Chapter 18

God appears again as a corporeal being, or rather, three beings. Or is he one of the three beings? It’s quite possible that these are three gods since we’re still in the polytheistic tradition at this point. Anyway, Abraham greets them (or him) and recognizes God immediately. Abraham offers to wash their feet, give them water, a little bread, curds and milk, and a calf, and hell, why not just have an all-out feast? Naturally, Abraham ran into the tent to Sarah to make the bread because her place is in the kitchen (that was sarcasm). Then he served the three men (gods) and they ate. They informed Abraham that Sarah will have a son of her own and Sarah overheard and laughed because they’re old, but then said that she didn’t laugh because she was afraid.

The men (gods) left with Abraham tagging along and after virtually no deliberation God decides to tell Abraham that he is planning on destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. So Abraham, knowing full well that his nephew lives there, decides to bargain with God. Abraham asks God if he would spare the city if he could find fifty righteous men and God agrees. Oh wait, sorry, make that forty-five, no, forty. Wait! Thirty. My mistake, twenty. Oh, for the love of…ten. Sold for ten righteous men.

Chapter 19

Huh? Oh…Gomorrah.

Forgive my language, but the God of Genesis is a prick. He can, according to the religious folk today, do anything, but he can’t simply pluck the bad guys from the world. No, he seems to enjoy the idea of laying waste to everything. On top of that, he is a horrible judge of character. Take for instance Lot, who welcomed the angels into his home and washed their feet and probably brought snacks and stuff, but when the lustful mob came to his door wanting to “know” the angels, he instead offered up his two virgin daughters. What. The. Frack.

8 Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Gen 19: 8, p. 57). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

So these men are under the shelter of Lot’s roof, but his daughters are not? I suppose if Lot was the most righteous man in Sodom and Gomorrah then the cities should have been destroyed, preferably with Lot still in his house. Yet, for some reason God decides that he and his family are the only ones who deserve to be saved?

Also, remember that whole flood thing because the world became corrupted? How did that work out again? Apparently, God can wipe evil (and everything else) off the face of the earth, but he is impotent when it comes to preventing it from coming back.

So anyway, Lot and his wife and daughters (who have no names because…women) are allowed to leave town because, as a superb judge of character, God had found favor with him. And God, wanting to show off, rained fire and brimstone down on the cities, turning them to cinders. Lot’s unnamed wife, out of a completely natural human reaction, looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt, because that’s a reasonable punishment.

Back when we were still recording the In Search Of… Series over on the Illuminati Social Club, we did the episode on Sodom and Gomorrah and one observation that I had made there was that the area by the Dead Sea was near a volcano, which would explain the story of fire and brimstone and sulfur and burning. Also, there are pillar-like salt formations all over the area since the Dead Sea is the saltiest body of water on earth. Most likely, the story was invented by somebody trying to explain the geography.

Then we get to the aftermath. Apparently, the sons-in-law of Lot didn’t come along and they were now charcoal, so the daughters didn’t have men to “preserve offspring” so they decided to “keep it in the family” by getting dear ol’ dad drunk and lying with him. The older daughter the first night, the younger the second night. Maybe they all should have stayed in Sodom. Anyway, the older daughter had a son named Moab, the ancestor of the Moabites, and the younger a son named Benammi, the ancestor of the Ammonites.