Creation: Part One
In the beginning of everything that ever was, God created the heavens and the Earth. A boring, formless mass of liquid cloaked in darkness, the Earth had relatively low property value but tons of potential. The Spirit of God, hovering above it like a comic book villain, said “Let there be light” and the whole place lit up magically without any point of origin. To ensure this bright new creation would forever be different from the black void, the Creator named one of them ‘light’ and the other ‘darkness.’ God saw what he had done, and needless to say, was extremely impressed with himself.*
* I mean, wouldn’t you be?
The following day, determined to best his brilliant invention of light, God separated the water in two and he called the upper part ‘sky;’ leaving the bottom half unnamed before taking the rest of the evening off.
On the third day, he commanded the waters move aside to give some space for something more solid, and chose this moment to give both the land and the seas their familiar names and locations. ”Let the land burst forth with all kinds of grass and seed-bearing plants!” he exclaimed. Brilliantly anticipating the need for each seed to produce the same kind of plant that bore it in the first place, he set the laws of heredity in motion before the day was through. Although it was difficult for even God to be certain if he had surpassed himself, he could see it was all good.
Deciding his new creation required adequate lighting, God set about creating an astonishing variety of distinct light sources that pockmarked the sky. Most were tiny and insignificant, but two of them were special: the first - and most glorious - was the sun. Having spent most of his talents making this shining beauty, God gave it the top spot during the day, leaving the dimmer moon stuck with the night-shift. Taking a look at this new illuminated cosmos, his humble-fabulous congratulated himself yet again on a job amazingly well done, and took it easy for a while.
After a tumultuous fourth day of building an entire universe of stars to properly orient a future creation he had yet to build, God slowed things down a little and put his focus on filling his new world with hoards of birds and fish, commanding them to breed until the entire Earth was overrun with scaly and feathered creatures. With these two species well on their way towards world domination, God put his feet up and rested.
Saving the best for last, on his final day of creation God decided to design something a little more in his own image, and after continuing to improve on his animal menagerie, he finally built the first humans, both male and female simultaneously. After giving them a nice blessing, he informed this new species that all of the other creatures in his magnificent garden were theirs to do with as they saw fit, and this world was their new playground.
And so with an entire universe now functioning with clockwork efficiency, God decided to take Saturday off to wind down and relax a little.
Creating paradise was no easy task, and God had no desire to spend his free time doing the hard work of tilling the soil or making sure the place didn’t fall apart. To rectify this situation, he grabbed a handful of wet dirt and fashioned a clay Pinocchio out of it. After giving it magical CPR, the creation burst to life like a shitty Disney movie. God named him Adam (meaning man), and to lodge this special new creation, he built a garden on the east side of the globe and filled it with delicious fruit trees. At the center of the garden, God planted two with magical properties: the first was a tree whose fruit could grant the knowledge of good and evil, while the second offered the gift of eternal life.
Putting man in charge of running the place despite his inexperience,* God told Adam he could enjoy the flesh of any fruit in the garden, save one: the enticingly mysterious tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “If you eat its fruit,” he explained, “you’ll fucking die.”
*This, as God would later learn, is called ‘setting someone up for failure’.
Deciding man was best not left alone to his own devices, God formed an endless array of different creatures, both large and small, and showcased them to his new bipedal creation. Adam gave them all names, but none seemed to suit his sexual proclivities. In a stroke of genius, God placed Adam in a deep sleep to stealthily remove one of his ribs, and used it to form a sexier, sleeker version of his finicky creation. When he finally awoke, Adam instantly fell madly in love with this mutated part of himself, and named it ‘woman’ in his own honor.
Now, of all the creatures God created to service man, the most devious was by far the snake. One day he approached Adam’s wife - who was eating quietly by herself and minding her own business - to ask: “Didn’t God tell you that you weren’t allowed to eat any of the fruits here in the garden?”
“Of course we can eat what we want,” she replied. “It’s only from the tree in the middle of the garden that we aren’t supposed to touch. God says we’ll die if we do!”
“You won’t die, you stupid idiot!” hissed the serpent. “The only reason God doesn’t want you to eat is because he’s afraid you’ll become just like him, and be able to tell the difference between right and wrong, that’s all.”
Possessing no innate wisdom and enticed by the forbidden fruit, Adam’s wife couldn’t resist and took a large bite. She hurriedly shared the prize with Adam, and in an instant, both saw their extreme nudity and suddenly understood the principle of body shame. Gathering the most delicate fabric available at the time, - coarse fig leaves - the couple fashioned the world’s first, and undoubtedly the worst pair of underwear.
In the evening, as God was strolling through the garden, Adam and his wife hid themselves among the trees to avoid being seen. “Where are you?” shouted the omniscient creator of the Universe.
“We heard you God, so we hid because we were afraid you’d see us naked,” replied Adam.
“Who told you about the shame of being nude?” God asked. “Did you eat from that tree I specifically told you not to?”
“Yes, but to be fair, she made me do it,” Adam replied courageously as he pointed to his wife.
God turned to her angrily, and bellowed “How could you do such a thing, you twat?”
“It was the snake,” she said. “He tricked me; that’s why I ate it!”
“Because you did this,” Yahweh thundered at his slithery creation, “I’m going to punish you, snake! First, I’ll amputate your limbs so you’re forced to crawl around on your stomach your whole fucking life. Then, of all the animals on this planet, I’ve chosen your species to be cursed with the most twisted and violent sex.* Finally, to top it all off, I’ll make it so your own offspring will be constantly trying to kill you.”
* I believe the giant squid wins in that department, as the males typically stab their giant, tentacle sized penis into anything that moves, occasionally striking in the right place often enough to keep this twisted species alive.
God then turned to the woman and said, “From now on it’s going to hurt like a bitch anytime you give birth. And while you might feel a burning desire for your husband, he’ll be your master from now on, so shut your mouth and do whatever he tells you to do, no questions asked.”*
*And this charming story, ladies and gentlemen, explains why women get the raw deal when it comes to marital arrangements and are essentially considered property in the Bible.
“As for you, Adam; for the crime of having listened to your wife and done something wrong without possessing the ability to distinguish it from right, I will now curse the ground and make it a pain in the ass for things to grow. You’ll toil endlessly and have almost nothing to show for it at the end of the day. I’m even going to invent something called ‘thorns’ on some plants so your hand gets all cut up and shit just to annoy you. I made you out of dust, and that’s what you’ll eventually turn back into...jackass.”
It was then a chastised and defeated Adam gave his wife a name:* Eve, the mother of all people. After killing a few of his creatures and fashioning some clothing from their hollowed-out skins, God presented his children with these final parting gifts. Deadly afraid they might disobey him again and eat from the Tree of Life and become gods themselves, Yahweh, like any inexperienced parent trying to discipline their kids, chose the only reasonable course of action: he kicked them out of the house for good. As a positive sign of future relations, God stationed uber-powerful angelic security guards at the east gate, and set up a friendly, flaming sword to forever guard the path to the Tree of Life.
* It figures the first man ever created would only know a girl’s name after seeing her naked.
Life was harsh in a new land cursed by a loving God, but Adam and Eve trudged on, and like any young couple in love who barely knew one another, they quickly had a child. Despite the pain of labor, Eve was grateful for her new son Cain, and thanked God for her baby. The couple soon had a second son whom they called Abel. Abel became a shepherd, while Cain labored the land.
When it was time to make the first sacrifices to God, the sweet smell of sinew and burnt blood pleased God more than that of roasted vegetables.* This greatly angered Cain, who had worked harder for his sacrifice.
* Sorry vegetarians, but I’m with God on this one.
“Why are you so angry?” asked God. “If you act cool, then there won’t be a problem, but if you don’t fall in line, you better watch out: sin is out there to destroy you, pal. I should know: I invented it!”
Enraged by jealousy and refusing to listen to God’s advice, Cain invited his brother Abel for a nice walk in the field. When no one was looking -- a simple feat given the size of the population -- he grabbed a nearby rock and cracked Abel’s head open like a walnut. Shortly after burying his brother in a shallow grave, Cain was visited by God, who inquired on the whereabouts of Abel.
“I don’t know!” he said, overreacting. “Am I my brother’s keeper, man?”
“Do you think I’m an idiot?” replied God. “I can hear your dead brother’s blood crying out from the ground, you fool! And now, because you’ve committed the first homicide in the short history of mankind, I will banish you from here. From this moment on, you’ll be a vagabond, forever roaming the earth like a bum.”
“Hey man, that’s a bit harsh for a little old fratricide, don’t you think?” Cain said defiantly. “Not only are you banishing me away from your highly localized presence, but you’ve decided to turn me into a hobo. Anyone who sees me is going to try to kill me!”
Pausing for a moment to salvage his poorly thought-out punishment, God finally replied, “I’ll make sure no one tries to kill you. If they do, I’ll give them seven times your arbitrary punishment. Your Lord and master, has spoken!” Then, to make sure everyone would know not to fuck with him, God gave Cain a bad-ass scar and sent him on his way.
And so Cain left the Lord’s designated area, and rather than wander around aimlessly forever, he settled with his wife* in the land of Nod. There, he built a city and named it after his first son, Enoch. His family would go on to have a long line of descendants, some of whom became successful inventors and smiths, while others went on to become the world’s first musicians. As for his great-great-great grandson Lamech, not only was he the world’s first polygamist, but he also continued the family tradition of taking a life and promising the Lord’s revenge on anyone who would dare punish him for it.
* Who was Cain’s wife? The answer to this question differs depending on which religious tradition you belong to. Some Jewish scholars believe the real reason Cain killed Abel was jealousy over who would get to marry their twin sisters, not over offerings. Mormons on the other hand believe Cain made a secret pact with the devil to commit the world’s first murder. Generally speaking, all agree she was an extremely close relative.
At the tender age of 130 years old, Adam had another son, whom he called Seth. Though unremarkable in life, Seth would live vicariously through the achievements of his own son, Enosh, who set the precedent of worshiping God.
Time marched on,* and some of God’s angels began to take notice of all the hot, available females down on Earth. Copulating with them furiously, they soon fill the earth with a race of super giants, much to God’s great displeasure. While it was true people were sinning less, this was mainly due to the fact the Mighty One had reset the maximum human lifespan at a century rather than a millennium or so; although this had done little to fix the basic problem of everyone being a little shit.
* Well, there were a bunch of other antediluvian patriarchs who are briefly mentioned, if only to register their existence and age. They are: Seth (912), Enosh (905), Cainan (910), Mahalaleel (895), Jared (962), Enoch* (who doesn’t technically die, as God teleports him straight to Heaven), Methuselah (969) and finally Lamech (777), not to be confused with the previous murderer with the same name.
Disappointed with how his first attempt at creation had turned out, God regretted crafting them in the first place. “I’m going to completely wipe them off the face of the Earth,” he said to himself, heartbroken. “And I’ll destroy all the animals and birds who walk on land as well for good measure. I’m sorry I ever bothered making these assholes.”
Noah and the Flood
Of all the people on the Earth, the only one God didn’t murderously hate was Noah, son of Lamech. Dismayed by the corruption and violence that had sprung up in his absence, God appeared before Noah to tell him the ‘bad news.’
“I’ve decided to destroy every living creature on the Earth,” he began casually, “because it’s filled with depravity everywhere, and I refuse to try to salvage this situation. So, I thought the solution would be to wipe them out and start over with a clean slate. Here’s what I want you to do: make a boat out of gopher wood and seal it with pitch, inside and out. Then, construct some decks with a bunch of stalls in the interior. Make it exactly 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high.* Once that’s completed, construct a door on one of the sides.”
* To put the size of the boat into perspective, That’s roughly ¾ of the size of the Wyoming, the largest wooden schooner ever built. It had a tendency to buckle in heavy seas (taking in water and requiring a pump), and finally sank in 1924. No one survived.
“If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m about to flood the planet and destroy every living creature I worked so hard to make. However, I promise to keep you and your family safe in the boat I want you to build. I went to a lot of trouble crafting some of these animals, so I’m commissioning you to bring a pair of every kind in existence, both male and female, and keep them alive for the duration of the deluge; however long that takes.”
“And remember,” concluded God, “take a great deal of food for your family and all the animals, because I won’t tell you precisely how long this whole thing will take, and you wouldn’t want to starve, would you?”
And so Noah set to work building a boat in the middle of nowhere just as God had ordered him. Finally, when Noah had finished doing the impossible, God appeared again. “Alright, it’s time for you to get in the boat. Be sure to take along seven pairs of animals which have been officially sanctioned for sacrifice, and only one pair of the others. Then, be sure to bring seven pairs of every kind of bird, and make sure there are both males and females in the mix. One week from today, I’m going to bring rain for 40 days and 40 nights, and wipe out everything on Earth that ever existed, so get ready, bitches!”
Two by two the menagerie of animals came, domestic and wild, small and large, and all climbed aboard in a realistic, orderly fashion. Not long after Noah finished celebrating his 600th birthday, the water level began to rise, bursting forth from inside the earth and falling from the sky. The rain continued for 40 days and nights, while everything that breathed air and lived on dry land died horribly. Only Noah with his boat full of goods survived.
For 150 days, water covered the entire Earth, but God had not entirely forgotten about Noah and his brood, so he sent winds to blow across the water to recede the flood. The geysers stopped gushing and the rain clouds finally dissipated.
Two and a half months later, the peaks of mountains finally began to appear. After another 40 days, Noah opened up the only window on the boat, and sent out a raven to see if it could locate dry land.* When it failed to find any, he replaced it with a dove instead, but it too returned shortly after. Waiting another week, he sent the dove out again, which returned with an iconic olive branch in its beak; final proof dry land was returning. When he released it again a week later, it never returned, and Noah knew the time had finally come for him to land.
* Only 250 days straight stuck in a cramped space with a bunch of animals eating and defecating on a constant basis; how bad could it be?
Over a year had gone by when Noah and his family were contacted by God, and when he finally appeared, they were ordered out of the boat. Pair by pair, the animals marched calmly out of the ark, and when it was empty, Noah built an altar and slew the extra birds and other beasts he had squirreled away for this very purpose.
Pleased with the burnt and mutilated corpses offered to him, God made a solemn promise to himself to celebrate the occasion. “I won’t be doing that ever again, even if people's’ thoughts are all fucked up and evil starting as early as childhood. As long as the Earth remains the way it is, there will be seasons, days, and nights, and probably fewer mass drownings.”
“Go out there and shag like bunnies* to repopulate the Earth my child!” said God, blessing Noah. “Also, be aware that animals are going to be scared shitless of you now, since I’ve given you complete power over them. You can use them as food too if you like; just don’t eat anything that still has blood in it. It sickens me. As for cold-blooded murder, it’s totally forbidden now, and this goes for both man and animal. Any creature that murders another must be killed, no questions asked.”†
* This is one of the passages that’s used to justify the Catholic Church’s campaign to prevent people from using life saving contraception in Africa. Seems pretty stupid now, doesn’t it?
† Did anyone ever ask the terrifying simple question that if you kill someone for killing someone else, aren’t you starting a vicious cycle of murder?
Then God said to Noah and his sons, “I’m making a special contract with you and your descendants - hell, even with the livestock you brought along on your trip. I promise never to try and wipe you out or attempt to destroy the Earth again. As a sign of this eternal ‘I’m not going to arbitrarily drown you all’ bargain, I’ve invented something called a ‘rainbow,’ and every time you see it, it’ll remind you of this terrifying covenant I just made with you.”
And so it was that Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth had all survived the flood with their wives, and they began to repopulate the barren world. Their seed would one day account for all of the scattered people of Earth, who descend from them.*
* Not really.
Noah went on to become a farmer, and planted the world’s very first vineyard. One day, after getting drunk off his harvest, the old man decided to take a nap, naked as a jaybird. His son Ham noticed his denuded father and alerted his brothers. Shem and Japheth, grabbing a nearby robe, carefully covered him up while making sure not to directly look at his man-meat. When he finally awoke from his drunken coma, Noah learned of what Ham had done, and was furious. He cursed Ham and all of his descendants, so that one day, his Canaanite children would be slaves.*
* Countless racist theories have sprung up from this story of paternal abuse, most notably that all dark skinned people are descendants of the ‘Curse of Ham,’ and thus fit to be slaves.
Noah lived on for another 350 years after the flood, finally perishing at the ripe old age of 950.
The Tower of Babel
Back in those old, half-remembered times, all the people of the world spoke the same language. As individuals migrated eastward, many settled in Babylonia. There, they began talking about a construction project of epic proportions; a tower which would be a monument to human greatness. They believed by working together toward a common goal, lasting peace could be achieved. With the premise of mankind no longer scattered all over the world and cooperating together to accomplish amazing wonders, work on the tower began in earnest.
Watching from above, God was unhappy with their progress. “If they can accomplish a feat like this in a relatively short period of time,” he told himself, “then there’s nothing they won’t be able to accomplish in short order. This whole business of speaking the same language is making things too easy for them. I’ll give them all different ones; that way, they won’t be able to understand one another and they’ll stop getting along so well!”
And so humanity was scattered once again, unable to cooperate and afraid of one another; just the way God wanted it.
Time marched on, and Shem did as God commanded; multiplying with vigor. He had many children, all of whom were forced to marry terrifyingly close kin. Over time, one of his distant descendants, Terah, sired a son named Abram whom God took an immediate interest in. Married to his infertile half-sister Sarai, Abram and his family left the city of Ur to settle in the land of Canaan, but gave up halfway and settled instead in the village of Haran. Abram’s father Terah died there shortly after at the age of 205, and it was then God chose to appear before Abram for the first time.
“Abram,” he began, rather nonchalantly. “I want you to move out of your father’s house. I’m going to relocate you in a new land, and there I’ll make you the father of a great nation. You’ll be a superstar, and everyone will know your name. Anyone who dares to talk shit about you will become cursed themselves. Only your direct descendants are going to matter at all to me.”
Still in the prime of his life at 75 years young, Abram did as God ordered, bringing his nephew Lot and his brood along too. They packed their belongings and set off for an uneventful journey to the land of Canaan. After setting up camp near Shechem, Abram was again visited by the Lord.
“OK, so this is the land I’m going to be giving to you and all your offspring that currently belongs to someone else,” he said, pointing all around, “but you won’t need to worry about that.” To commemorate this ambitious promise, Abram built an altar there, slaughtering some of the local wildlife mercilessly before continuing his journey southward. In the hills between Bethel and Ai, he constructed another altar and eviscerated a living creature on it once again for God’s glory.
Unfortunately, the land God had claimed for Abram was experiencing a long drought, so Abram journeyed further south to the land of Egypt to wait it out. Before arriving at the border, the old patriarch turned to his wife with a concerned look on his face.
“You’re pretty hot,” he observed, “and when the Egyptians see you, they might try to kill me in order to marry you. However, if we tell them you’re my sister - which isn’t technically a lie - then they’ll treat me nice to try and sleep with you. This is a totally foolproof plan.”
Sure enough, when they arrived in Egypt, all the locals could do was talk about how beautiful Sarai was. Word soon spread to the palace officials, who convinced the Pharaoh to take her into his harem.* To compensate Abram for taking his property, the Pharaoh gave him many gifts, including cattle, sheep, slaves of both sexes, and a few precious camels to boot. But soon after the marriage, God sent a plague on Pharaoh’s household to punish him for marrying Sarai. Enraged, he summoned Abram for an explanation.
* Which is a nice euphemism for ‘rape-den’ when you think about it.
“What the hell did you do to me?” he fumed. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your fucking wife? Why even let me marry her in the first place by telling everyone she was your sister, man? That’s just messed up! Here, take your wife/sister or whatever back and get the fuck out of here!”
To ensure their departure, the Pharaoh sent an armed escort to see them out of the country, and Abram and his family continued north into the Negev region. Wealthy with livestock from their Egyptian hosts, the land could not support both his wealth and that of his nephew Lot, and the two fought about it constantly.
“This arguing has got to stop,” Abram said after a particularly heated exchange. “We’re family for God’s sake! Tell you what: choose any section of the land you want, and we’ll separate. If you want that area over there, then stay there. If you want to stay here, then I’ll be the one who moves. Deal?”
So Lot chose the land east of the Jordan valley and settled near a bustling new metropolis called Sodom. The people there, however, were evil in the eyes of God; they committed outrageous sins against a deity they were completely oblivious to, often with impunity.
With Lot gone, God appeared once more to Abram. “Take a look around,” he said. “All of this land - as far as the eye can see in every direction - will be my gift to you. Take a walk around; explore this new possession I’m giving you, and enjoy.”
Not long after Lot settled near Sodom, a war broke out between two massive armies. The kings of Babylonia, Ellasar, Elam, and Goiim formed a Coalition of the Willing against the Alliance of the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Shemeber, and Zoar. Mobilizing their forces in the valley of the Dead Sea, the Alliance prepared for battle against the Coalition, but were no match for them. The valley itself was infested with tar pits, and as the armies of Sodom and Gomorrah fled from battle, some of the men slipped and fell in to their deaths. Those who survived escaped into the mountains. It was a complete gong-show.
After their victory, the Coalition ‘liberated’ the cities of their burdensome wares, taking what wasn’t nailed to the ground; including Lot and his entire family. As luck would have it, a slave managed to escape and track Abram down. Working quickly, Abram mobilized his allies - numbering 318 in total - and together they pursued the Coalition of the Willing until finally catching up with them in the city of Dan. Dividing his men in two groups, Abram’s troops attacked in complete darkness from several different directions. Confused, and convinced this was a counter-attack from the Alliance, the massive army fled all the way past Damascus, never to return.
With a surprise victory over the Coalition, Abram was celebrated by the various kings of the Alliance. First the king of Sodom went to meet him, followed by Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of Yahweh. “Blessed be Abram by Yahweh,” he said, “the creator of everything we know about. Now let us talk more of Yahweh, and how he helped you defeat your enemies!”
“You can keep all of the spoils,” the king of Sodom assured Abram, “I just want my people back.”
“I promised the Highest One in the sky that I wouldn’t profit from this, otherwise you might one day tell people I became rich off of you. All I want is for you to feed my men and give my allies a share of the wealth; that’s it. After that, we’re done here,” replied Abram.
One night, while Abram was sleeping, God came to visit him in a dream. “Don’t be afraid, insignificant one,” he said, “I’m going to protect you, and give you many gifts.”
“O’ Lord,” replied a morose Abram, “what’s the point of all these rewards if I have no son? When I die, all of my wealth is probably going to go to one of my useless slaves because you haven’t given me any children.”
“Look, don’t worry about it. I got this shit covered. No slave is going to get rich off of you, man! You’re going to have a son soon enough, and he’ll be the one inheriting everything I give you,” God said reassuringly as he brought him under a canopy of stars. “Look up at the night sky and see if you can guess how many there are. That’s how many descendants you’ll have; way too many to count!”*
* Actually, the human eye can see roughly 5600 stars given the correct conditions.
Abram believed him despite any concrete evidence, and this greatly pleased Yahweh, who blessed him for his mindless trust. “I am your Lord and Master who brought you out of Ur to give you this land,” he said confidently.
“How can I be sure you’ll give me land that clearly belongs to someone else?” asked a suddenly skeptical Abram.
“Get me a three year old heifer, a three year old female goat, a three year old ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon, and slaughter them for me,” replied God mysteriously. “Then you’ll know.”
Abram fulfilled God’s extremely specific request, and he split them all in half, with the exception of the birds. When vultures inevitably became attracted to his festering pile of meat and bones, he dutifully shooed them away for hours. It was all hugely productive.
That night, Abram had a terrifying nightmare filled with darkness and horror, and became upset by it. “Don’t worry,” God said in an effort to calm him down, “you’re going to live to a ripe old age and die in relative peace. It’s your descendants who will suffer and be strangers in a foreign land, only to be oppressed by slavery for hundreds of years. Luckily, I’ll rescue them from bondage and eventually punish the nation that enslaved them in the first place. I’ll even give them great wealth just to square things off, so it’s all good.”
“When your descendants return, and the Amorite sins have all run their course, they’ll come back to reclaim this entire land; specifically the area bordering Egypt and the Euphrates River. That includes the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites. Not bad, right?”
The New Deal
Time continued to march on, but Abram and Sarai had yet to have children. Worried they would die without an heir, Sarai presented her slave Hagar to Abram. “Look, I’m tired of waiting for a child, so I want you to fuck her so she can bear me one,” she said. Abram agreed, and had totally consensual sex with his property. But not long after becoming pregnant, Hagar began to treat her old mistress with contempt.*
* They get raped a few times and then they think they own the place. What nerve!
“This is all your fault,” Sarai said, scolding Abram. “Now that she’s pregnant, she totally hates me! God is going to punish you for doing such an awful thing to me!”
“Look, she’s your servant, Sarai. Do whatever the hell you want with her, I don’t care.” rebuked Abram.
Seizing the opportunity for revenge, Sarai began abusing Hagar; so severely that the poor girl was forced to run away. But the desert was no place for a pregnant slave, and so an angel of God searched for her as she wandered the desert, and when he found her, he said: “Return home and submit to your master, young one. If you do, your descendants will be more numerous than you - an illiterate slave - could count. When you give birth to your son, you shall call him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your suffering, and that’s a lot as far as he’s concerned.”
“One final word of warning,” he concluded. “Your son is going to be wild and unpredictable. He won’t make friends easily, and odds are he’s going to pick fights with those around him, including his own brothers.”
In due time, Hagar gave birth to a son, and he was called Ishmael. At 86 years of age, the old patriarch was finally a father.
Four years later, God returned to pay Abram a visit. “In order to fulfill your end of the bargain in this covenant I’m making with you, I’m going to lay down a few ground rules,” he began. “First, I want you to cut the foreskin off your penises. Don’t argue with me on this. I want it to be a painful sign of my everlasting covenant with you. I also want this done, if possible, exactly eight days after the child is born. This doesn’t just apply to you, by the way; it also applies to the foreign born slaves you own. This will be a way of knowing who is part of the gang and who isn't. Who knows; this might even become a trend in the future.”
“Secondly, I want both you and your wife to change your names. Nothing drastic, really. I want you to be called Abraham from now on, and Sarai will be known as Sarah. I’m going to make her the mother of a great nation; even kings will trace their ancestry through her!”
Abraham prostrated himself to the ground dutifully, but despite his god-fearing, could not help but laugh in disbelief. “Look, I don’t want to sound like a dick or something Lord, but Sarai... I mean Sarah, is ninety years old. How the hell is she going to have a kid? Surely you mean my son Ishmael will enjoy your special blessing, no?”
“Are you deaf? No, I said Sarah would bear you a son. I demand that you call him Isaac, a name which will confirm my deal with him and his offspring. I’ll bless Ishmael too, and he’ll have a ton of descendants as well, -- like twelve princes, at least -- but I want to be clear my deal is with Isaac, who is going to be born by this time next year. You know what to do.” And with that, God left.
Abraham called all of his male slaves as well as his thirteen year old son Ishmael to him, and without the advent of modern anesthesia or antibiotics, cut their foreskin off just as the voice in his head had instructed him. With everyone finally mutilated, he turned the blade on himself and fulfilled his end of God’s excruciating covenant. He was ninety-nine years old.
Not long after, as Abraham was camping near some oak groves owned by a friend, he noticed a group of men standing nearby. Recognizing one of the men as the creator of the Universe, he bowed deeply to greet them. “My Lord,” he said, “why don’t you stop here and rest for a while? My slaves will get you some water and wash your feet. I’ll even prepare food for you, so please stay!”
Running out to fetch a plump calf from the herd, he summoned one of his slaves and instructed him to butcher it. When the food was finally prepared, an arrangement of cheese curds and milk was brought along to accompany it, and they feasted under the shade of an oak tree.*
* God had not declared this an abomination quite yet, although perhaps this crappy meal explains why he would do so later.
“Where is your wife?” they asked him.
“In the tent.”
“In a year’s time,” one of them said, “Sarah is going to give birth to a son.”
Having overheard their conversation, Sarah couldn’t help but burst into laughter. “How could a worn out old hag like me have a child?” she whispered quietly.
“Did your wife just laugh at me?” asked God, furious. “Why did she say ‘how could an old hag like me have a child?’ Doesn’t she know that nothing is impossible for a god like me? I just told you that in a year’s time, she’s going to have a son and that’s exactly what’s going to happen, dammit!”
“I didn’t laugh, I swear!” lied a terrified Sarah.
“Don’t fucking lie to me. You did laugh.”
After an awkward silence, the men then got up and began making their way towards the city of Sodom. Abraham politely escorted them part way there, but on the way, God couldn’t help but wonder if he should tell Abraham the true purpose of his visit. “I did single him out to be blessed,” he told himself, “so I probably should.”
“Listen Abraham, I’ve heard some reports that the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah are morally depraved to the extreme, and I’m on my way not to investigate this myself,” said the All-knowing Lord of the Cosmos. The two other men went ahead, but God stayed behind to talk with Abraham some more.
“Are you going to kill innocent people along with the guilty?” Abraham asked. “What if you find 50 innocent people there. Would you still destroy it?”
“No, I’d spare it if I could find 50 innocent people.” replied God.
“Would you spare them if you found 45 innocent people?” Abraham retorted.
“I’d spare Sodom if I could find 45 innocent people, sure.”
This went on for some time, until finally Abraham said “OK, don’t get mad, but I want to speak one more time! Suppose you found ten of them?”
Finally, the Lord acquiesced. “If I can find ten innocent people in the whole of Sodom,” he said, “then I’ll spare it, I promise.”
Sodom and Gomorrah
That evening, both angels arrived at the town of Sodom. Sitting by the entrance, Lot approached them, greeting them respectfully. “My lords,” he said, “come on over to my home and wash the only part of your body that counts: your feet. You’ll be my guests for the night, and you can wake at whatever time you like tomorrow before leaving!”
“That’s OK,” the angels replied, resisting his invitation, “we were planning on spending the night in the city square.” Refusing to accept no for an answer, Lot was soon able to win them over, and they gave up arguing with him.
As the household prepared for bed, a large group of the locals suddenly surrounded the dwelling. “Where are those two hot guys who came to spend the night at your place, old man? Bring them out so we can give them a proper town greeting,” they demanded.
Stepping outside and shutting the door behind him, Lot tried valiantly to talk sense into them. “Please, my brothers,” he pleaded, “I can’t let you rape these men. Why don’t you take my two unspoiled daughters* and do whatever the hell you want with them. I beg you, leave these men alone: they’re under my protection!”
* You know, the married ones.
“Get the fuck out of our way!” the crowd shouted back. “Who the hell do you think you are? We let you live in our city, and now you’re trying to tell us how to have a good time? Wait until we get our hands on you!”
Just when the tension couldn’t get any higher, the door suddenly burst open, and the two angels pulled Lot back inside; quickly locking the door. Then, using their angel magic, they blinded the men outside so no one could find the doorway. Eventually, those who hadn’t been freaked out by their new handicap gave up their effort and returned home.
“Do you have any relatives in the city?” the angels asked. “Get them the fuck out of here. Now.”
“Hurry, we have to leave this city before God destroys it!” said Lot as he rushed to warn his sons-in-law. They both paused, looked at each other, and laughed hysterically.
By morning, the angels were not messing around, and became insistent Lot and his brood leave immediately. “Take your wife and two daughters and get the fuck out of here this second, or you’ll be destroyed as well.” With Lot staring at them like a deer caught in the headlights, the angels saw no other alternative than to grab his hand and those of his daughters and rushed them physically out of the city.
“Run for your lives, you morons,” they said, returning to the city. “But whatever you do, don’t look back, or you’ll die.”
“My Lords, you’ve been so kind to me,” said Lot, “but I cannot go to the mountains at my age. I’m older than dirt and I’ll surely die up there! There’s a small village nearby. Why don’t you let me go there instead so I don’t have to live in a cave?”
“Fine. There’s a small town not far away called Zoar. We promise to spare it. Now hurry and get the fuck out of here already!”
As Lot and his family began to flee, they could hear the terrifying sounds of brimstone raining down and shattering the cities to pieces. Unable to contain her curiosity, Lot’s wife looked back to take a peek at the carnage, and was instantly turned into a pillar of salt.*
* This story is similar to the Greek tale of Orpheus, who travels down to the underworld in order to rescue his wife Eurydice. As part of the bargain with Hades, he is forbidden from looking behind him to to see if she is still following him. When his curiosity gets the better of him near the exit, she vanishes forever. I guess the moral of both stories is: gods are assholes.
Not long after settling in Zoar, Lot and his remaining family became convinced the villagers there were going to kill them, so they settled in the cave Lot had wanted to avoid in the first place to figure out their next move. One day, the eldest daughter - concerned about the family line - said to her younger sister: “There aren’t any men in this entire area suitable for us to marry, and Dad is starting to get a bit too old for children. I think we should get him drunk and then sleep with him; that way, we can keep the family line going.”
That night, serving him an excessive amount of wine, the younger sister raped her father without his knowledge. The scheme worked so well in fact, that the oldest daughter did the exact same the following evening. Both became pregnant shortly after; much to Lot’s surprise. When the eldest daughter finally gave birth to a son, she called him Moab, and he would become the ancestor of all Moabites. The younger daughter also had a son, and called him Ben-ammi, who would become the ancestor of all the Ammonites.*
* Well, not if you’re into things like historical facts.
The Gerar Job
Abraham continued to roam the land, and he eventually settled in the Negev desert near the town of Gerar. Having learned in Egypt how advantageous it was to subtly lie to outsiders, Abraham lied once more and told the locals Sarah was his sister, not his wife. The king of Gerar - Abimelech - was struck by her beauty and summoned her to his palace to marry her. But one night, as he slept, Abimelech was visited by God in a dream.
“You’re a fucking dead man!” the Lord thundered. “That woman is already married!”
Having yet to sleep with her, a confused Abimelech replied “You’re not going to kill an innocent man are you? Abraham told me she was his sister, so how the hell was I supposed to know?”
“That’s why I didn’t let you touch her,” bellowed God. “Now, hand her back to her rightful owner, and ask Abraham if he’ll pray for you on my behalf. Seriously though, if you don’t return her by tomorrow, I’ll kill you and your whole fucking family.”
The next morning when he awoke, Abimelech summoned his slaves and explained to them what had transpired that night. When they were told of the prediction, everyone was scared shitless, so Abimelech had Abraham brought before him.
“What did you do to us?” he moaned. “What have I done to deserve such shabby treatment? You shouldn’t do this kind of thing to people; it’s totally fucked up!”
“Look”, replied Abraham, “I figured since you’re a bunch of godless heathens without any morals you wouldn’t hesitate to kill me to marry my hot wife, so I told you she was my sister. Besides, it’s technically not a lie; we have the same dad.”
Abimelech turned to Sarah, disgusted. “Look, I’ve given your husband/brother a bunch of sheep, oxen, slaves, and a thousand pieces of silver to compensate for any embarrassment on your part. This should settle any divorce disputes, don’t you think?”
Abraham prayed to God, and the curse was lifted. With the prayer complete and everyone happy to be fertile again, Abraham and his wife left the city with even more loot than before, determined to settle elsewhere.
Test of Faith
Just as God had promised, Sarah became pregnant, and gave birth to a son, whom they called Isaac. Elated, Sarah exclaimed with joy, “Anyone who hears about this is going to laugh their asses off! I mean, imagine that: an old lady like me giving birth! It’s pretty unbelievable when you think about it. ”Eight days later, Abraham - always a stickler for God’s rules - chopped the foreskin off his infant’s penis; just as God had ordered him to.
As time passed and Isaac grew old enough to eat solid food, Abraham held a big celebration to commemorate the late birth of his son. At the party, Sarah noticed Ishmael teasing Isaac, and this enraged her. “I demand you get rid of that bitch Hagar and her son. No way in hell he’s getting any of Isaac’s inheritance. I won’t stand for it!”
Abraham was upset at the thought of abandoning his firstborn, but God appeared in a vision to alleviate his fears. “Don’t worry about it,” he said. “Just do what Sarah says and give Ishmael the boot. It’s Isaac I care about anyway. He’s the one who is going to have countless descendants, remember? Besides, I’ll make sure Ishmael fathers his own nation, too. Abandon him in the desert and I’ll take care of everything else.”
The next morning, Abraham packed some food and water, which he strapped on Hagar’s shoulders, and sent the two packing. Inexperienced and alone, they wandered aimlessly in the desert until they ran out of water. Leaving Ishmael under the cover of a tree, Hagar sat down by herself a distance away so as not to be overheard praying. “Please God,” she begged, bursting into tears. “I don’t want to watch my boy slowly die.”
God overheard their crying, and called out to them. “What’s wrong? Don’t be afraid, Hagar, I’ve heard your boy crying like a little bitch, and I’ll won’t let you die.”
Suddenly, with her eyes opened thanks to a little Yahweh magic, she noticed a well nearby and gave her thirsty son a little water. The two would survive being obediently abandoned by Abraham, and Ishmael would go on to become a great archer. Hagar married him to a beautiful young woman from Egypt, and as time went on, he had countless offspring and fathered many nations.*
* Not really, in case you were wondering.
Not long after banishing his son into the harsh wilderness, Abraham received a visit from the Philistine king, Abimelech. “It’s pretty obvious God favors you,” he said flatteringly. “Now I want you to swear on the same God that you won’t try to fuck me over or trick me anymore, and you’ll be loyal to this country and its people. Deal?”
“Alright, I promise,” said Abraham.
And so, with the contract negotiated and all parties satisfied, they parted ways.
One day, God decided to test just how faithful and obedient Abraham was. “Abraham!” he thundered.
“Yes, Lord, here I am. What can I do for you?”
“I want you to take your only son,* Isaac - whom you love so much - and go to the land of Moriah. There, I want you to construct an altar and sacrifice him to me on one of the mountains I will point out to you. No questions asked.”
* That God gives a shit about.
Abraham said nothing, and the next morning he awoke early to prepare for the trip. Taking two slaves with him as well as his clueless offering, they chopped wood for the altar and took off for the long journey. By the third day of travel, they could see the mountain in the distance, and Abraham instantly knew which one God wanted him to murder his son on.
“Stay here with the donkey,” he told his slaves, not wanting them to witness what would transpire. “The boy and I will travel the rest of the way. We’ll go make the sacrifice there, and be right back.”
As Abraham stacked the firewood neatly to form an altar, his son Isaac asked him, “Dad, we have the fire and the wood, but where’s the lamb for the sacrifice?”
“God will provide the lamb, son,” he replied creepily.
With the construction of the altar complete and his constitution up, Abraham tied a confused Isaac up, set him on the altar, and rose his knife in the air, ready to strike. At the last moment, as the resolve to murder his son had finally set in, a booming voice suddenly interrupted him.
“Abraham!” an angel shouted.
“Yeah,” Abraham answered, “I’m kind of in the middle of something.”
“You can put down the knife,” he said. “I can see that you’re scared of God enough to do whatever the hell he wants you to. You were ready to slaughter your own flesh and blood for the voices in your head, and this greatly pleases the Lord.”
Looking around, Abraham noticed a young ram with its horns trapped in the thorns of a bush, and so he grabbed and slaughtered it in gratitude. When it was finished burning, the angel returned to him. “I’m going to bless the shit out of you, Abraham. You’re going to have millions of descendants: more than all the stars in the sky or the grains of sand on the seashore. They will destroy and enslave their enemies, all because you were obedient when I called on you.”
And with that, Abraham, his son Isaac and their two slaves headed back home to rest. An awkward silence hung in the air.
Isaac Finds a Wife
Not long after the ‘incident’ no one was in a hurry to talk about, Sarah became ill and died at the tender age of 127. After properly mourning his wife, a still grieving Abraham left his home to meet with the local Hittite leaders hoping to buy a burial plot to entomb his sister’s bones. Meeting with a man named Ephron, Abraham agreed on the friendly price of 400 pieces of silver for a local cave where he laid her corpse to rest.
Fearing his own imminent death, Abraham became increasingly concerned with the possibility of Isaac marrying a filthy foreigner. He summoned his head slave with precise instructions for him to follow. “Promise me you won’t allow my son to marry some wretched local Canaanite women. Instead, I want you to travel to my homeland and find Isaac someone to marry among my relatives.”
“What if I can’t find a woman who is willing to travel back here to be with him? Should I relocate your son if that’s the case?” the slave asked.
“Absolutely not!” replied Abraham. “You’re never to take Isaac from here. God, the master of heaven, has promised to give this land to my offspring, so you have to stay here. Don’t worry; God will send one of his angels ahead of you and take care of everything. And if you still don't succeed, just come back home and you’ll be released from your obligation.”
After swearing an oath to follow Abraham’s instructions to the letter, his slave set out for the long journey. He packed ten camels with some of Abraham’s best swag, and traveled north to a village not far from the Aram-Naharaim region* where Abraham’s brother Nahor lived.
* Present day Syria.
It was late in the evening when Abraham’s slave arrived at the nearby well, and as his camels knelt down to rest, he spotted some ladies drawing water from it. ”God,” he whispered to himself, “Can you help me out here? I need to succeed for my Master, who you’re apparently a big fan of. See the women drawing water at the well nearby? I’ll go ask them to alleviate my thirst. If one of them offers to give water to my camel as well, then I’ll know I’ve chosen the right girl for sure!”
As Abraham’s slave was busy talking to himself, a young woman named Rebekah* arrived carrying a jug of water. Beautiful and unspoiled by the repeated thrusting of a man’s erection, Abraham’s property ran to her to ask for help soothing his thirst.
*a name that basically means ‘hook-up’.
“No problem,” she said cheerfully, lowering her jug to fill his cup. “I’ll draw some water for your camels too. I will bet they’re thirsty!”
The enslaved man watched her silently as she carried jug after jug from the well, stopping only when the camels would drink no more. When she had finished, he gave her a nose ring and some shiny crap she doubtlessly appreciated.
“Whose daughter are you?” he asked. “Do you think your father would be able to put us up for the night?”
“My father’s name is Bethuel - the son of Nahor and Milcah - and sure, we have plenty of room for guests,” she replied.
Unable to contain himself any longer, the slave fell to the ground. “Praise the God of my master, Abraham,” he exclaimed. “He’s led me straight to his relatives!”
A little weirded out, Rebekah rushed home to tell her family what had transpired. When her brother Laban overheard her story and saw her jewelry, he rushed out of the house to go greet Abraham’s slave. “Don’t just stand out in the middle of nowhere! Come with us, we have a room ready for you and a place for your livestock,” he said invitingly.
That night, as everyone sat down to eat, Abraham’s slave stood up and said “I can’t eat this until I’ve told you why I’m here.”
“Go ahead,” they said.
“I’m Abraham’s servant; one of many for a man who has become rich thanks to the blessing of his god, Yahweh. When his wife Sarah gave birth to a son, she was already quite old, and has recently died. Fearing the same fate, my master is concerned that his son Isaac might marry a filthy foreigner; so to prevent this tragedy, he’s sent me here among his family to find him someone a little more familiar. When I asked him what I should do if I couldn’t find anyone, he simply replied God would solve my problem for me, and if he didn’t, then I would be free from my obligation. But this afternoon, when I came to the spring for water, I made a pact with Yahweh with specific instructions on his selection process, and your daughter Rebekah fulfilled them to the letter! I’m now convinced she’s the one I was sent here for.”
Laban and his father Bethuel looked at each other. “Well, you’re obviously on a mission from God,” they replied. “Go ahead and take her with you and marry her off to a man she’s never met. You have our consent.”*
* Which is all that really matters, right ladies?
Abraham’s slave knelt down to the floor and thanked God once again for good measure. When he was finished, he presented Rebekah with fancy clothing and some more sparkly metallic crap; making sure to give some to the other women as well to avoid any jealousy among them.
The next morning, he asked for permission to be on his way.
“We’d like Rebekah to stay with us for at least ten more days,” her loving family asked. “Then she can go.”
“Look, don’t make this any harder than it has to be, OK? God’s already said yes, and I’ve got to report to my master, pronto.”
“Why don’t we ask Rebekah what she thinks,” they novelly suggested.
“Sure, I’ll go now,” she replied obediently.
And so they said their tearful goodbyes, and sent Rebekah away to marry a man with a terrifyingly similar genetic sequence whom she had never met in a faraway land. Her wet nurse - the woman who had cared for her since childhood - tagged along.
As Isaac walked surveying his fields, he noticed a caravan and went to greet them. From afar, Rebekah could vaguely make out his form.
“Who is that?” she asked.
“That’s my master!” replied the slave excitedly, as he ran ahead to tell Isaac all that had transpired. Rebekah, veiling her face to enhance the anonymity of it all, was brought into his mother’s tent to fulfill her new marital duties. With the help of her supple body, Isaac felt a little respite from his grief, if only for a short time.
Still virile and having yet to shoot blanks, Abraham remarried and had many more sons, none of whom would inherit a shekel of his wealth. Before his death, Abraham gifted Isaac his enslaved whores, and sent them all packing east to claim the promised land. With this final bit of business in order, Abraham passed away at the age of 175, and was buried in Sarah’s tomb.