Saturday, March 05, 2005

Biblical Raw Deals

Because the Bible is one of the founding documents of our civilization, we often forget just how much weird stuff it contains. One of the more perplexing things is the raw deal many characters get from the Almighty. Here are my Top Wronged Four:

4. Esau - The poor guy was just hungry. Frankly he was uncharitably defrauded of his inheritance by a scheming, jealous younger brother. The hirsute have often faced discrimination; Esau was just the first. The fact that Isaac was fooled by the goat-skin just adds insult to injury.

3. Uzzah - Let's review: the Ark of the Covenant contains the tablets received by Moses from God and was placed in the Holy of Holies in the temple. It was also the location of the mercy seat and had the power to melt faces, if Raiders of the Lost Ark is to be believed. You might think that trying to protect this most holy of holy objects would be rewarded by something other than instant death. Welcome to the Old Testament! Uzzah tries to keep the Ark from falling and is immediately struck dead for his efforts. Can't we get a warning shot or something?

2. Moses - I mean come on. He leads the Israelites from bondage, receives the Ten Commandments from God, wanders around the desert for forty years, and he doesn't get to enter the promised land because of a rock tap? One little extra rock tap? What if he was tired? What if he slipped? No promised land for one rock tap seems excessively punitive in my view.

1. Onan - First of all, let's not forget that a lot was asked of Onan. He was forced into a relationship with his brother's wife, of whom we know nothing, including looks and temperment. What if his brother had terrible taste in nomadic women? Onan seems to have had a change of mind, but who wouldn't get skeeved out in such a bizarre situation? All he gets for his crisis of conscience is being struck dead by God and a name that lives on forever as a dirty joke.

Let's give these guys the respect the deserve. Next week I will post the most over-rated characters of the Bible.

2 comments:

Pris said...

I think you should also throw Pilate and Satan in there...

I mean, other than Revelation, there's little basis to think that Satan is the ROOT OF ALL EVIL! And Pilate: the man was just trying to make the best out of a bad situation.

Anyway, it's a fairly solid four already.

NFlanders said...

I don't know, Pris; I think Satan might get disqualified for tempting Jesus. That and the fact that he's Satan.
Pilate is certainly presented sympathetically in the gospels, but I remember reading something about how this doesn't really square with historical accounts we have of him. There was an implication that his reputation was white-washed in order to curry favor with the Romans. I am not sure where I read this though.
Even though Pilate may not have wanted to crucify Jesus, he still crucified people on a regular basis.