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|Chapter Eight- 1 Samuel|
|In the Men's Bible, every time an "important" man is born, it begins with a "barren" woman who is miraculously impregnated after begging to Yahweh, and often promising to dedicate the offspring's life to him. It begins with Isaac and is repeated with his son, Jacob, and Jacob's son Joseph, and it is also true of Samson, whose mother wasn't even named in the report of her mystical birth. This trend of ostensible miraculous births continues throughout the Old Testament, reaching its ridiculous climax with the supposed "virgin" birth that precipitates the New Testament. This redundancy is a central clue to the human, not divine composition of the bible. Humans must justify new heroes by tying them to past heroes- a divine creator would think up something new since s/he has nothing to prove. FYI, virgin births were a Pagan custom long before the Israelites used the gimmick.|
|But let me tell you the real story behind these so-claimed miraculous births. Since girls were sold to men as wives to fuck at about the ripe old age of 13, if their repeated lifestyle of being raped didn't produce a birth by the age of 18, a woman was considered "barren". Just like today, if we don't concieve within five years of trying, we panic, take fertility drugs and end up with a litter. Then Diane Sawyer fawns all over us on national TV and treats us like heroes, rather than being scorned for the selfish, inappropriate overpopulation of an already extremely burdened planet!|
|So, Samuel the prophet was yet another such "miraculous" birth. Hannah, his mother promised him to Yahweh, after begging and supplicating to him. So, she got her gift from God. Like Samson, Samuel was supposed to be one of those creepy, unkempt, Nazirite, locust-munching holy men. Unlike Samson, the religious brainwashing took, and he became an altar boy as soon as he could walk, and had to go live at the temple to serve Eli the priest, whose sons made a good living from superstitious people by keeping a goodly portion of their sacrificial meat. Fat lot of good it did Hannah, all that begging and she had to give her child away!|
|Samson and Samuel epitomize the typical reactions to extreme religious indoctrination. Some, like Samuel, fall into line and outdo their parents in religious fervor. Others, like Samson rebel so thoroughly that they make a point of going to the polar opposite of the dogmatic spectrum to demonstrate their disdain. That's why the enlightened Midianites appreciated and taught moderation. Extremism breeds extremism, and not always the kind you were hoping for.
Since religion is so incestuously connected with politics, there was a power struggle between the priestly dynasty of Eli and his ingrate protege` Samuel, but because history is recorded by the victors, who put their own spin on it, the Men's Bible reports it as a struggle between good (Samuel, the victor) and evil (Eli, who lost).
Samuel became a judge of Israel and during this time, the Philistines ruled over Israel, who occasionally tried to overthrow them, but couldn't. During one skirmish, the Philistines captured the ark of the covenant, which was an embarrassingly ostentatious box in which the Israelites stored the clay tablets of the ten tight assed commandments.
|It was eventually ransomed by the Israelites during a time of troubles for the Philistines, who found the container to be basically rather stupid. There was an epidemic of small pox among the Philistines, apparently aggravated by mice co-mingling their feces a little too freely with the food supply, and so the Philistines sold the ark back to the Israelites for gold, food, and medicinal herbs, which they needed more than a gaudy container.
Of course the Israelites took the opportunity to make up a defamatory tale about the ark repeatedly knocking over the Philistine god Dagon, and eventually dismembering him. Added to this story was the claim that the Philistines eagerly loaded the ark with, get this, gold mice and gold boils (yes, gold boils, not bouillon, I double checked) (1 Samuel 6:5), and sent it back to the Israelites to appease mighty Yahweh. Good grief!
|But what an inconvenience, the Israelite people of Beth-shemesh, who received the ark, got the pox, too, and so an excuse had to be made to explain that. The Israelites weren't about to admit that they were the victims of a "Trojan Ark" or that the plague was just a naturally occurring phenomenon, so they came up with the flimsiest of explanations. Here is the best the Israelites could come up with: (1 Samuel 6:5) "The Lord smote the men (never mind the women and children) of Beth-shemesh because they worshipped the ark of the Lord." It goes on to give a body count, of course.
Eventually, the epidemic subsided and the Israelites lived under Philistine domination another 20 years, with the gods Baal and Ashteroth competing for Yahweh's adherents.
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