Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Foundational Guide to the Books of the Hebrew Scriptures

Old TestamentThe previous agreement with God’s people. Stories and laws and sermons about and to the people of Israel before 400BC. 39 books.
A sh**ton of screwed up people listening to God

Beginnings—Latin. Beginnings of humanity and the people of God— Adam through Joseph.
When you ask people if they've read the Bible, this is actually the part they read.  Well, at least a few chapters.

Going out—Greek. The deliverance of God’s people from slavery in Egypt, the first commands and the building of the Tabernacle.
Great story... until you get past the ten commandments.  The second half of the book is all laws and a detailed description of the tabernacle.  Really?  Really?

Book of the Levites—Latin. Commands of the temple cult: sacrifices, priests, basic laws for all ethnic groups in God’s people.
It begins with butchering animals. It's only downhill from there.  Wait till you get to chapter 18.

 Census—English. Stories of the wanderings of the children of Israel in the wilderness for 40 years and sundry laws.
Look, just skip the counting of the tribes, unless you like reading lists of names that mean nothing to you. The good stuff begins at chapter 11.  Start there.

 Second law—Greek. The lectures of Moses to the children of Israel before they entered the promised land.
Moses whines like a old guy at McDonalds.  

Moses in the book of Deuteronomy

 Yahweh is salvation—Hebrew. Stories of the conquering of the promised land.
Gotta just love that genocide.

 God’s chosen leaders—English. Stories of the rebellion of God’s people and God’s salvation of his people through heroes.
I can't wait until someone does a movie on this book. NC-17 for sure.

 Friend—Hebrew. A story woman’s obstinate choice of Israel and Yahweh, an ancestor of David.
You really want to win your man?  Sleep with him.  He'll get the hint.

I Samuel
 Listen to God—Hebrew. Stories of God’s choices of Samuel, Saul and David to lead his people, to the death of Saul.
This book wants to be treated like it's own thing.  But it's really just the first half of the book of Samuel-- who dies a quarter through this book! Who is naming these books, anyway?

II Samuel
 Listen to God—Hebrew. Stories of the reign of David over God’s people.
David was awesome in the first half of the story-- you know, I Samuel.  Now he screws up.  Don't you love happy endings?

I Kings
 English. Stories of God’s call to his kings over his people, from Solomon to Elijah and the death of Ahab.
It's a bunch of sucky leaders until Elijah. Elijah is the best, though.  He even gets suicidal.  Elijah rocks.

II Kings
 English. Stories of God’s call to his kings over his people, from the death of Elijah to the exile of Judah.
Elisha, the sequel to Elijah.  You know he won't be as good.

I Chronicles
 English. A summary of God’s history, from Adam and focusing on the rule of David.
Wait.... Eleven chapters of names and then a story we already read?  What is this book even doing here?

II Chronicles
 English. A summary of God’s history, from the death of David to the end of Judah’s exile.
This book seems really familiar... oh yeah!  We already read it in Kings.
"Have you heard of  this before?"
"Seems familiar"

 Helper—Hebrew. Stories of the return from exile: rebuilding of the temple and the re-establishment of the Law.
Nothing like a Bible scholar to break up marriages.

 Sorrow of Yahweh—Hebrew. Stories of the Emperor’s cup-bearer building the walls of Jerusalem through turmoil.
The emperor's right hand man goes to his hometown to take over.

 Star—Persian. The story of the salvation of the Jews in exile.
She sleeps to the top and then topples a corrupt government.  Gotta love Jewish heroines.

 Enemy—Hebrew. An epic poem of a man in severe trial learning to trust in God’s justice.
The most depressed man in the Bible arguing with his stupid friends in Shakespearian. 

 Songs of praise—Greek. Songs to God.
Wow, that's long.  I mean, really long.  Do we have to read it all? Like reading the lyrics of Dylan.

I've only got thirty years to go...

 English. Wise epigrams, mostly by Solomon.
I think Solomon would be wiser with a few guitar riffs thrown in there.

 Sermons—Latin. Essays of wisdom, on the worthlessness of the world and of confidence in God.
Whenever I start feeling hopeful or happy about the state of the world, I go here.  Straightens me out immediately.  Like, by the first word.

Song of Solomon
 or, Song of Songs—English. A love poem.
The Bible to watch porn by.

 Yahweh will deliver—Hebrew. Prophecies, sermons and stories about the salvation of God, in two parts: a. God’s salvation during the time of Hezekiah (ch 1-39). B. God’s salvation after the time of exile (ch. 40-66)
Hey, I think I know a few of these!  I really got a Handel on Isaiah!

 Yahweh is on high—Hebrew. Prophecies and sermons and stories about God’s judgement of God’s people during the war and fall of Jerusalem and the restoration of God’s people.
Gotta appreciate a guy who stands face to face with God and says, "You're just wrong."

 Statements of lament—English. Jeremiah’s poems of sorrow at the fall of Jerusalem.
Okay, so you lost your hometown.  Saw it burn in front of you.  Watched women eat babies.  First world problems.

 God is strong—Hebrew. Visions of a wild prophet among the captives of Babylon during the siege of Jerusalem.
Whatever this guy is on, give me some so I can throw it in the toilet.

 God is my judge—Hebrew. Stories and visions of faith and the judgment of the nations by Daniel, a man in exile.
Chapters 1-6:Whoa, some really excellent stories.
Chapters 7-12: WTF?????

 Deliverance—Hebrew. Prophecies about God’s betrayal by his wife, Israel, and his plans to restore her.
And I thought Ezekiel had it bad.  God is never naming my kids.

 Yahweh is his God—Hebrew. Prophecies about the events of the Day of the Lord.
General gloom and doom.  Just another day for a prophet.

 A burden—Hebrew. Prophecies about injustice in the land of Judah.
Gotta appreciate a guy who stands before a king, talks about how all the enemy nations suck-- "But you know what?  You suck worse and let me tell you how."

 Servant of Yahweh—Hebrew. A prophecy about God’s judgment of Edom.
I love this book.  It's shorter than Danny DeVito. 

 Dove—Hebrew. A story about a prophet rebelling against the mercy of God against evil nations.
The only minor prophet anyone really reads.

 Who is like Yahweh?—Hebrew. Prophecies about the salvation of God.
The cliff notes of Isaiah.

 Consolation—Hebrew. A prophecy about the judgment of Nineveh.
Another book about Nineveh? I'm never visiting that town.  All punishment and repentance.

Embrace—Hebrew. Prophecies and a poem about the judgment of Israel and the judgment of Babylon and the faith of the prophet.
"God, your people suck!"  "Yeah, well, I'm going to punish them with Babylon."  "God, wait!  Babylon sucks worse!"

 Yahweh of darkness—Hebrew. Prophecies about the judgment of God on Judah for idolatry.
I know I read this book, like, five times, but I can't remember a thing about it.
I'm afflicted with CRS:
Can't Remember Sh**

 Festive—Hebrew. Prophecies about the rebuilding the temple after exile.
Haggai, you're boring.  Just dull.  Please, talk to your friend Zechariah.  He'll give you a few tips.

 Yahweh is remembered—Hebrew. Prophecies and visions of the present and future after the return from exile.
Zechariah, you are effed up in the head. You need to chill. Take a few tips from Haggai. 

 Messenger—Hebrew. Prophecies about the restoration of God’s justice through the Law.
A prophet who actually makes sense and says it like it is!  No poetry, no mysticism, just "I hate divorce! Where's my money!"  I get it. 

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