Now before we get started. Let me say that my friend would tell me ‘you don’t know crap about the bible. And you should write something about something you know about’. This of course would be the case if she read my blog, which she doesn’t. Also, I tend to play fast and loose with some of the narrative, but the facts come close. I’m pretty irreverent here, so if you’re thin skinned about your religious icons, you’d best stay away. Next week I’ll have my top 10 favorite candies revisited.
I have in fact read the bible or the genesis a couple of times. Not my favorite reading mind you, but I did it. It seems to me that there are several stories that really strike a chord not only as religious reference, but just as stories. To many people, the Bible is the word of God. The truth is, it’s the word of God as written by men. And as we know only too well, some men write better stories than others. So this top ten stories list is based on the excitement and wow factor of the stories, and just if I like them.
Cain and Abel
The timeless tale of the first Murder Mystery in recorded history. What’s not so clear are the motives. Back in the day, God required sacrifices from his faithful. Cain offered some of the produce of the land, and Able offered the firstling of his flock. God was however not a vegetarian and as such rejected Cains offering. Cain being the good far left environmentalist he was, killed Abel. Of course the problem with this mystery was you had Mom and Dad (Adam and Eve) and then your brother.
Mom and Dad had an alibi what with the whole populating the earth etc they simply didn’t have time to kill their firstborn son and that leaves the brother as the killer. Not a huge shock, but it was the first incidence of intrigue. God, not being a fan of the death penalty at the time, cursed Cain to wander all of his days. Some people believe until the end of days.
Precious few women get billing in the Bible. I’m not certain why this is, but I have a theory. There are all kinds of figures in the Bible that give women ammunition in ‘improving’ their men. The Bible is silly with men better than you and me. If you start putting in the women that are better than you and me (men). Well that list is longer than should be written. Rahab is one of the few women in the Bible after Eve and aside from her profession, she’s a pretty good gal. As such, she deserves reference. She was a prostitute in a city that the armies of Israel were taking over.
The bad king told her to make sure and tell him when the armies came to her house for some pre battle comfort. God tells her that the invading armies are the Good guys and she should give them a pass.
So instead of narking to the kin, she hid the men of the army on her roof and said ‘Look, I’m showing you a good time by not getting you killed among other things, hows about you take it easy on me and my family’ As a result of this, the armies take over, but spare her and her family. Lesson learned? In the Apocrypha ( a bunch of books that make the Bible look like a quick read) it seems to indicate that she was not a prostitute, but in fact an innkeeper…stupid translations messing with a girls reputation.
This is God’s own wacky dude. It’s one thing to say your city will be destroyed, it’s something else to say that the EARTH is gonna be re-booted. I should say a big Thanks to Joseph my very distant cousin for some of his insights, Noah is his favorite biblical prophet. What’s not to like? he warns the people by building a boat out in his front yard and starts collecting animals and then he convinces Congress to stop legislation…wait a minute that’s a semi-funny movie…Oh yeah. So watch the movie, except where it’s just a part of washington that gets flooded, it’s the whole earth, and where everyone that’s bad gets put in jail, they all just drown and God says “That will teach you all”.
After this God says “Ok, that’s the last reset, from here on out, no more total destruction, I’ll just let you guys destroy each other” Noah agrees and lets all the animals off the boat, except he puts all the wierd animals in Australia. One interesting note, After Noah, people start dying off around 100 years old or so. Before Noah, folks were living to be 500 or 600 years. One dude Methuselah lived to be around 998 years old, I hear he was still a playa at 700. Young at heart I always say.
This is the first My God is better than your God story from a prophet that could have had his own show in Vegas. Elijah brings his buddies on the other side of the aisle together (round abouts 450 of them or so, the equivalent of the 700 club of the day) and says ‘look, lets decide this once and for all since worshiping one of our Gods is a complete waste of time. I bet that your God (who is fake) can’t shine a candle to my God (Who is real)’. So he puts up 2 altars. One to Baal and one to Jehova and says ‘Whoever’s God will light these altars without our help will be the winner’.
The 450 priests of Baal get to it and are roundly mocked by Elijah. They did all their lame magic tricks and nothing, nada, bubkis. Elijah then says in true David Copperfield form ‘Drench my altar with water, and check my sleeves (the part about the sleeves is still under some translational debate)’ He then asks God to accept his offering and Boom! God consumes not only his alter, but the alter of the losers of Baal with white hot flames.
The people seeing this decide immediately that Elijah’s God is likely the guy they should be worshiping. Seeing that he’s got public opinion on his side, Elijah figures that it’s time to get rid of the priests of Baal thereby eliminating any competition from the priests that have no followers anymore anyway.
Elijah’s life ends with him being picked up in a chariot made of fire after splitting a body of water in half just so he could cross, leaving his padawan learner Elisha to become a master (Prophet).
Most people didn’t know this guy was actually a prophet. Story wise, he kind of had an inferiority complex trying to follow Elijah’s act. Which is why he is behind Elijah in the prophecy business, but ahead in rankings. It is because of Elisha that we have the phrase ‘picks up the mantle’ to indicate someone that has ascended to leadership. Elisha picks up the mantle of Elijah after Elijah’s one of a kind spectacular departure and becomes the next prophet to lukewarm reviews.
The most unique story from Elisha’s life has to be when a bunch of kids were mocking him for being bald as well as being a prophet of a competing God (apparently they hadn’t seen Elijah’s floor show). He turned and cursed them at which point 2 bears came down and tore them all apart. Suffer the little children indeed.
Wow, the first professional wrestler in the Bible has to get a nod on the list.
God was not particularly happy with the Israelites and so he brought in the Philistines to humble them a little. Sampson was the method through which God was going to re-liberate Israel. Sampson has super human strength from the day he was born. And the only thing God required for this super strength was that he doesn’t cut his hair…ever. This is not super human like ‘wow is he strong’, more like super human as in ‘Holy Crap how many buses can this guy lift?!’. This guy had a serious temper problem.