Off With Their Heads

September 23, 2012


Is it Cold or Flu?The Fall of Jerusalem
Second Kings 8:1 to 24:1

8:1 The woman whose son Elisha had revived from illness was sent by that holy man to Philistinia to survive a famine. She eventually returned and the king was nice enough to give her back the land he had taken from her earlier. Things seemed pretty stable for the moment.

8:9 The king of Syria got sick and Elisha said he would recover but then the king’s good friend smothered him to death and took over the monarchy. Then the Edomites revolted from Judah’s control and the king of Israel got sick. People were sure getting sick a lot and they were truly revolting.

9:5 Elisha had oil poured on a dashing slick young rebel leader named Jehu, making him a king of Israel even though the real king was not even dead yet, only injured. That’s a guarantee for trouble. Jehu hopped in his chariot and headed towards the palace with the intent to kill all of the old royal family. Queen Jezebel saw him coming. She knew it must be his chariot coming because he always ignored speed limits. Jehu was a fast driver. She looked out the window at him and scoffed with royal indignity.

Driving like a Jehu
Jehu had Jezebel thrown from the window of her tower and she splattered on the ground getting blood all over the wall and on some nearby horses. No one bothered to bury her body and some stray dogs ate her. Next Jehu had 70 of the older leaders of Israel decapitated and piled up all of their bloody heads in a big heap by the gate. He also killed anyone remotely related to the late king and also killed his priests and the largest of his soldiers.

King Jehu pretended to like Jezebel’s god Melkart just long enough to get together a big convention of all the followers of that religion. Then he had them all killed and destroyed all of their churches. The Lord was pretty happy about the murders and the big pile of heads and all. He said “You have done well young Jehu.” In spite of the Lord’s favor, the territory controlled by the Israelites shrunk significantly under this new king as the neighboring kingdoms encroached.

Let them eat cake. For breakfast!11:1 When King Jehu died a boy who was the grandson of the previous king took over in spite of Jehu’s mother who tried her best to seize control. She was killed. This new king was only 7 years old but he negotiated a sweet deal with the Lord.

12:4 The young king grew up and arranged financing for a modest reboot of the old temple in Jerusalem. But then his servants killed him and his young son took over. You know how kids are, never a break.

13:3 The Lord let Syria open up some whoop ass and conquer Israel for about the millionth time. The Lord eventually freed them again. Israelite kings continued to come and go, mostly getting usurped by unruly kids.

13:14 Elisha was old and sick and dying and stupid. The latest king came to see him. Elisha had him shoot an arrow out the window and then told him to smack the ground with his hand. He hit the ground three times and Elisha said “YOU IDIOT! You should have hit the ground five or six times! Now you will beat the Syrians only three times!” Elisha didn’t bother to explain how the magic spell was supposed to work before hand, and anyway he then keeled over dead.

13:20 Some rambunctious Moabites raided the land. During the raid a dead man was dropped into Elisha’s tomb and when his body touched the old bones of Elisha’s corpse the man suddenly sprang back to life. So there’s that.

17:5 Kings came to power and usually with much killing. Many Israelites continued to practice religions other than Yahvism. The Lord rejected all Israelites everywhere and sent them into captivity, or had lions come kill them, and otherwise destroyed their entire cultural identities as much as possible. Other cultures sent settlers and colonists to take over the land that once had been the kingdom of Israel. These new land owners remain non-Yahvistic to this very day.

18:9 The king of Assyria came with a real world-class army and took over the old capital of Israel, a.k.a. Samaria. Then he took all of the smaller cities and then surrounded the city of Jerusalem. For a while the Assyrians exchanged insults with the Yahvists in the city, yelling over the wall. The king of Judah came and paid the Assyrians to back off. The payment included all the gold he had stripped from the temple. A local Yahvist guy named Isaiah prayed to the Lord for help so the Lord killed a lot of the Assyrians with a disease. The invading army then left Jerusalem to beat down revolts in some of the many other countries they had conquered.

If it wasn't for the LAN lag I swear...

20:1 King Hezekiah was about to die and whined about it. The Lord felt kind of sorry for him and gave him 15 extra years to live. Hezekiah had a boil on his skin so Isaiah put a fig on the boil. Hezekiah wasn’t terribly impressed with the fig therapy and he wanted to know if the Lord really intended to heal the boil or not so Isaiah said “As a sign of his intentions to heal this blemish on your skin, and rather than just requiring you to be patient and see how it goes with the fig for a day or two, the Lord will make all shadows move a wholeMars Surveyor Sundial ten degrees backwards.” Sure enough, the laws of physics complied with the unreasonable request. Shadows caused by the optical light path from solar radiation refracted around all of the solar system’s objects, and they deviated as though it were about an hour earlier. So all the sundials and such were suddenly way off. But none of the astronomers anywhere around planet Earth seem to have found this worthy of comment in their notes.

21:1 When Hezekiah died, a 12 year old kid took over as king and he was definitely not a Yahvist. He ran through a fire carrying his new baby son in front of a statue of the god Molech, a traditional good luck ritual. He enjoyed killing Yahvists. The Lord got very, very mad and declared that all of Israel and Judah and Jerusalem would be wiped out like wiping off a plate and that the people would be very easy to destroy by their enemies from now on, but by now they were pretty used to that anyway.

Time for a royal nap.22:1 An 8 year old boy became king, since those old middle schoolers had pretty much ruined the country now, and he sympathized with the Yahvists. His name was Josiah. Some werido came knocking on Josiah’s door and brought him some Yahvistic literature. The king established Yahvism as the dominant religion of Judah by forcing it on the people and destroying all the competition, as was recommended in the brochure. He even observed the old feast of hard biscuits and everything. The kid king was killed in a battle against the Egyptians who then put one of the dead 8 year-old king’s sons in prison and another one of his sons on the throne as a puppet baby dictator.

24:1 The great King Nebuchadnezzar of mighty Babylon, a real center of serious military power in the region, conquered Judah. But only three years later there was a revolt. The Babylonians quickly regained control, squashed the revolt, and the town of Jerusalem was totally sacked and burned. The famous temple was stripped and most of the people taken as slaves to Babylon, especially the prominent wealthier families of Judah. A puppet government that was left behind eventually rebelled again and King Neb returned to utterly destroy all of Judah and Jerusalem. Everything was burned or broken and just about all of the surviving people of Israel, and the people of Judah (now known as Jews) were marched off to Babylon as slaves. The handful of Jews that remained in the south killed their leader and moved over to Egypt. The entire kingdom of Israel and Judah had thus been fried, died, and laid to the side.

A real Jewish KingIn Babylon a new king came to power for a while that wasn’t too terribly rough on the Jewish slaves. He even allowed the old Jewish king out of prison. But the time of the real, actual, verifiable Jewish captivity had come at last. Historically, that much is certain.

Next:The Go-Backs and Left-Behinders
The Bible According to Brad

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