A Talking Donkey
May 13, 2012
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May 13, 2012
Numbers 15:1 to 22:1
15:1 Yahweh told Moses he needed revenue and he said to raise taxes on the people again. He also detailed how much in fees and penalties people would have to pay this time to be forgiven for an array of new sins. He said that any strangers in the area should be taxed and penalized under the same basic fee structure which included tax breaks for the poor.
15:32 While the children of Israel were wandering around the desert they came across a stranger who was busy gathering a bit of firewood for his family on a Saturday. He was immediately seized and brought before Moses and Aaron who had him thrown in jail pending judgment for the horrible crime of exerting himself on a Saturday. Yahweh reviewed the case personally and said to Moses “Kill him! Kill him! Everyone take him outside the camp right now and stone him!” So the Israelites did as Yahweh had commanded and pummeled the poor guy to death with rocks.
15:37 Yahweh instructed the people to make fringes on their garments to remind them of his many rules. He said “I am God, I am God. I am God. I brought you from Egypt to be your God. I am God, I am God.” And then he added “I am God.”
Some people formed an opposition party against Moses, a seemingly perennial event, but it was not much of a problem as it turned out. Yahweh simply made the Earth open up and swallow them. He sent them down into a pit called Sheol, where all people go when they die regardless of their morality or belief system.
One day about two hundred and fifty liberals were standing outside the temple, burning incense and asking Yahweh to please recognize them and their more modern ways of thinking. Yahweh didn’t bother coming out. He sent a fireball flying out of the temple killing them all. Yahweh told Moses to dig through the charred remains of the victims and take all the metal incense burners that lay among the ashes. He said to pound the metal into a new decorative covering for his alter. To further make his disdain for the progressive thinkers perfectly clear, Yahweh killed another 14,700 random people with a new disease. Then he calmly gave a lecture on personal hygiene.
20:2 Water was scarce out there on the desert and a lot of people were dying lately of dehydration and heat exhaustion. There was talk of revolt again so Yahweh told Moses and Aaron to get everyone together and he said “Talk to that big rock which will gush forth water. And remember to take your famous stick.” When the people had all assembled Moses said “You big babies! Must we fetch you water from a rock?” Then he smacked the rock a couple of times with his magic stick and water came gushing out of it. The people were happy about it, ecstatic even, but Yahweh was very upset with Moses for hitting the rock instead just talking to it like he instructed. Moses had made it look like it was all in the wrist or maybe the power of the stick that did the trick. As punishment Yahweh declared that neither Moses or Aaron would get to go to Canaan as he had promised them earlier.
20:14 The tribes came to the border of Edom. Moses asked the king of Edom for permission to cross his country, promising to totally stay on the highway, just the highway, and not venture off killing and raping and taking land and such. But the king refused to grant permission and backed it up with a show of force.
20:23 The Israelites were hanging out wondering what to do next, and thinking about how to get across Edom when Yahweh suddenly told Moses to take Aaron up on the mountain and take his clothes off. He said to give the clothes to Aaron’s son. Moses did this and then Aaron keeled over dead. The people mourned for 30 days.
21:1 King Arad got word that the Israelites were out there wandering around looking for land so he came with his army and captured some of them but Yahweh helped the tribes retaliate and wipe out king Arad’s cities. But they still had to go the long way around Edom. Those Edomites are tough cookies.
21:6 On the trek around Edom the people became hungry and thirsty again and began complaining about it as usual. You would think they would know better by now but no, so Yahweh sent some poisonous snakes to bite them and kill them for being such a bunch of thirsty whiners. In this way he killed much of the Israelite people again. The surviving people were still being attacked by snakes so they came running to Moses for help. On Yahweh’s instructions Moses constructed a magic statue of a snake made out of brass that would neutralize the poison just by looking at it. So everyone stared at the brass statue that Moses had made until all the poisonous snakes that Yahweh had sent eventually slithered away. The people thanked Yahweh for rescuing them from his self.
21:17 The tribes pitched camp here and there and sang their favorite songs around the campfire while Sihon, king of the Amorites, refused to let them cross his land. He was a wimpier king as kings go so the tribes attacked and killed him and took his land for themselves. Next they killed a couple of other nearby kings and took some more land from a tribe of people who worshiped the god Chemosh. Thus the Israelites finally established a bit of a military foothold just to the east of the area that Yahweh ultimately wanted them to conquer, which was Canaan.
22:1 The rate at which the Israelites were suddenly starting to gobble up real estate alarmed the Moabites. The Moabite king, Balak, decided to hire a great and powerful wizard named Baalam to put a curse on the Israelite tribes. So the king’s people met with the wizard’s people to work out the terms of the contract. At first Yahweh told the wizard Baalam to turn down king Balak’s offer but when the king upped the offer to a serious amount, real money as they say, Yahweh was impressed and told the wizard he better go ahead and meet with the king, but stay tuned for further orders.
The wizard Baalam saddled up his donkey and set out to meet personally with king Balak as ordered by Yahweh. Strangely, this angered Yahweh and he sent an angel to interfere. The angel knew a magic spell which made him invisible to everyone except donkeys. He stood on the road and waited for the wizard and his humble steed to approach. As they came close the angel frightened the donkey by flapping his wings or waving his sword or something, who knows. The poor animal was definitely kind of freaked out. Baalam brutally whipped the beast, punishing it for its seemingly odd behavior. Baalam saddled up again but the angel frightened the donkey again, and it freaked out again, and Baalam beat it again. After the third round of riding, freaking, and beating, the donkey got so upset that it started talking like a human. Baalam and the donkey began arguing about the fairness of the beatings. It turns out the donkey was fairly articulate and adept at the art of debate. “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!” the donkey brayed. “Can’t you see there is a big ass angel with a big ass sword?”
The angel’s invisibility spell started to wear off and at last Baalam could see the angel standing there with a big sword in his hand. The angel said “Why beat the donkey? He saved your life. I was considering stabbing you with this big sword although, I probably wouldn’t have stabbed the talking donkey, he’s pretty awesome.
Baalam said “But you were invisible! That’s it, this is messed up. I’m going home.” The angel said “hold up” and made it clear that Yahweh had sent him just to prank Baalam and the donkey. Then he told Baalam not to go home, but instead proceed to his meeting with the king and to await further orders, which was precisely the same information Yahweh had given Baalam earlier.
King Balak took the wizard to several different high places, one after another, where the wizard attempted to cast some curses on the Israelite tribes down below. The cursing process was rather complicated with the slaughter of lots of farm animals and the building of lots of altars and so forth, but somehow Yahweh would always turn the curse around into a blessing, like a genie twisting the wording of wishes. This frustrated both king Balak and the wizard Baalam so they finally gave up and parted ways.
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