Monthly Archives: September 2013

And This is One of My Favorite Things

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I have been obsessed with Sara Bareilles since I first heard her first major- label album, Little Voice, which came out in 2007.  Her most famous song, “Love Song”, comes from this album. Her most recent album, Brave, came out July 16,2013. So, naturally, I bought it that day. I am one of those people who find a song and put it on repeat until I hate it.  Well, this song has been on repeat pretty much since July, and I don’t hate it yet. So, that must be a sign.

When we were told about the Biblical Allusions project, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to do this song. This song is actually an allegory. However, only certain lines actually allude to the story of the Garden of Eden and the Fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2-3.

I’ll bold the allusions and take it from there.

These are the lyrics.

“Eden”

Let me paint a picture for you then I’ll have to teach you to see it
Illustrate the remnants of the life I used to live here in Eden
Rolled a lucky pair of dice, ended up paradise
Landed on a snake’s eyes, took a bite and ended up bleeding

You know if I could change anything, I think I would start with the name
The truth is all those angels started acting the same
And I know there’s no going back now cause
Life in Eden
Life in Eden changed
No way to make the pain play fair
It doesn’t disappear just because you say it isn’t there
So when they ask why’d she go you can say cause
Life in Eden
Life in Eden changed
Life in Eden changed

Walking in the garden was a serpent-shaped heart and he told me
That what is broken cannot show, and less than beautiful is worse than unholy
Idolized my innocence, stole it from me in the end
Now I’m wide awakened and still paying for the poison they sold me

You know if I could change anything, I think I would start with the name
The truth is all those angels started acting the same
And I know there’s no going back now cause
Life in Eden
Life in Eden changed
No way to make the pain play fair
It doesn’t disappear just because you say it isn’t there
So when they ask why’d she go you can say cause
Life in Eden
Life in Eden changed
Life in Eden changed

There was a time when I was taking all bets
That this place was even better than as good as it gets
And now looking back from the outside in
I think I was choking on the air in Eden

You know if I could change anything, I think I would start with the name
The truth is all those angels started acting the same
And I know there’s no going back now cause
Life in Eden
Life in Eden changed
No way to make the pain play fair
It doesn’t disappear just because you say it isn’t there
So when they ask why’d she go you can say cause
Life in Eden
Life in Eden changed
When they ask why’d she go you
Cause life in Eden
Life in Eden changed
Life in Eden changed
Life in Eden changed

If you didn’t know the story of the Garden of Eden and the Fall of Adam and Eve, this song would make zero sense.

Eden is obviously referring to the Garden of Eden. It is a perfect place, or paradise.

Landed on a snake’s eyes, took a bite and ended up bleeding” is a reference to Eve being tempted by the serpent and taking a bite of the fruit. As a result of that, we now have menstruation. Thanks, Eve. 

Walking in the garden was a serpent-shaped heart” is alluding to the serpent again tempting Eve.

” less than beautiful is worse than unholy” refers to being holy is to be different or like Yahweh. We picture Yahweh to be perfect; so, less than beautiful is not Yahweh-like.

Idolized my innocence, stole it from me in the end” refers to the innocence she had before eating the fruit, and the serpent telling her she would be like Yahweh.

“Now I’m wide awakened and still paying for the poison they sold me” alludes to the instant knowledge of good and evil Adam and Eve had once they ate from the fruit. Men and women are still paying for The Fall of Adam and Eve.

looking back from the outside” alludes to Adam and Eve being kicked out of the Garden of Eden.

This girl lives in a “perfect” place. Then, something changed. She no longer believed the place was perfect because of the situation. Everyone was acting the same, and no one was being themselves. Now, she realizes that the people took advantage of her. Now, looking back, she doesn’t believe “Eden” was so perfect after all.

Knowing the story in Genesis 2-3 helped me understand the underlying storyline within the song. Without that prior knowledge, this song would be just words strung together in a nice beat.

Let’s Talk About….Sex?

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When I saw the words “Sexual relationships” in my header, it kind of caught me off guard. I honestly said, “This is the Bible. My grandmother reads this. Well, this is awkward.”

Sex is a big deal in our culture. Sex is everywhere. According to Deuteronomy 22:13-29, it was a big deal then too. It was big enough to get mentioned in the Bible.

I had questions throughout the section. So, the way I’m going to do this is give the verses and then my questions.

 “If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then hates her and accuses her of misconduct and brings a bad name upon her, saying, ‘I took this woman, and when I came near her, I did not find in her evidence of virginity,’ then the father of the young woman and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of her virginity to the elders of the city in the gate. And the father of the young woman shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man to marry, and he hates her; and behold, he has accused her of misconduct, saying, “I did not find in your daughter evidence of virginity.” And yet this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ And they shall spread the cloak before the elders of the city. Then the elders of that city shall take the man and whip him, and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought a bad name upon a virgin of Israel. And she shall be his wife. He may not divorce her all his days.” –Deuteronomy 22:13-19

My Wife is a Slut

That is intense and embarrassing. When reading this, I kind of got embarrassed for the Israelite women. If her husband didn’t like her for whatever reason, he could just say, “Oh, she’s not a virgin.” Then, her parents would have to defend not only her honor, but theirs as well. To do so, they would have to produce the bloody sheet. How would the woman’s parents get this “evidence”?

According to a Jewish website, the newly married man occupied a nook in his father’s house. Getting this bloody sheet might be difficult for the woman’s parents. One, it isn’t their house. Two, the accusatory husband could get rid of or wash the sheet.

If the woman’s parents were able to produce the evidence of her virginity, the husband was beaten for giving the woman a bad reputation and must pay the woman’s father. In addition to his beating and the money, he was forced to remain with his wife. One website offers this explanation as to why he must not divorce his wife.

“When the man slanders his wife and causes her to be humbled and brought her good name into disrepute.  He is required to spend the rest of his life with the woman who has been publicly humiliated.  He has destroyed any hope of her being a loving and supportive wife.  And He will have to eat whatever she sets before him.  Not to mention all the other aspects of a foul relationship and its repercussions that will come back upon his own head.  He has been proven publicly to be a liar and his own reputation is publicly defamed.”

“But if the thing is true, that evidence of virginity was not found in the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done an outrageous thing in Israel by whoring in her father’s house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” –Deuteronomy 22:20-21

If the woman’s parents couldn’t produce evidence of her virginity, she was stoned. That is a tad bit overdramatic. Can you imagine all of the stonings we would have today if this law was still in effect?

 

“If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel.”-Deuteronomy 22:22

This is very straightforward. Adultery = bad. But this is just for the woman right? What about a man who is married?  Is it only adultery if the woman is married? I had so many questions about this one verse.  Adultery is considered a sin in all religions. In Islam, adultery is when a married man or woman has a sexual relationship with someone other than his or her spouse. However, in the Bible, adultery is only when a man sleeps with a married woman.

Why the double standard?  The wife was the husband’s possession, and adultery constituted a violation of the husband’s exclusive right to her; the wife, as the husband’s possession, had no such right to him. 

Both people who are involved in the adultery are stoned.

Stoning legos

“If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.  

But if in the open country a man meets a young woman who is betrothed, and the man seizes her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die.  But you shall do nothing to the young woman; she has committed no offense punishable by death. For this case is like that of a man attacking and murdering his neighbor, because he met her in the open country, and though the betrothed young woman cried for help there was no one to rescue her.”  –Deuteronomy 22:23-27

 

This section is about rape. If the rape occurs in the city, the engaged woman is stoned because she didn’t scream for help loud enough thus consenting to the sex, and the man is stoned because he had sex with another man’s “wife”. But I thought they were engaged; now, they are husband and wife. What? 

This website explained this to me. At  this time, a marriage consisted of two ceremonies. One ceremony, the betrothal, was the couple being “legally” married, but she remained in her father’s house. Later, the marriage ceremony would take place and they would consummate their marriage.

If the rape occurred in the country, only the man shall be stoned. The woman could have screamed, but no one could have heard her to help her. This might be the only thing that made sense.

“If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.” – Deuteronomy 22:28-29

 

People quote this verse a lot saying this allows the rapist to marry his victim. Well, yes, it does. But take it in context. One website puts it this way, “When a man had raped an unmarried/young woman in old Israel, he had literally turned her into “damaged goods”. She would not have been able to find a “respectable” husband afterwards and therefore she would also not have been able to start a family of her own.  Another site says taking a wife was a tremendous burden and compares it to The Scarlet Letter.

What Could the Israelites Eat?

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Growing up, we had the annual “clean vs. unclean” Sunday school lesson. It wasn’t until reading it in context that I realized the Israelites had a sudden restrictive diet. Up until this point, the Israelites had been in Egypt eating whatever they wanted. Once they left Egypt, the Israelites were in the desert. Now, I’ve never been to the desert, but I have heard food and water are not in abundance. So, the Israelites were kind of restricted to what animals they had and what they could grow. Then, BAM! Yahweh says you can’t eat or touch some of the animals you have with you. So, what can the Israelites eat?

The Israelites ate a diet that consisted mainly of bread. While in the wilderness, Yahweh provided manna daily. Once in the Promise Land, bread made from wheat was expensive; so, poor people ate bread made from barley.

In addition to bread, the Israelites grew vegetables and fruits. Beans, cucumbers, garlic, leeks, onions and lentils were the main crops the Israelites grew.  They also ate fruit such as figs, grapes, and olives were also eaten.

Everybody drank wine and well water.

But what about meat?? This is where we get into the “clean” and “unclean” animals.

Domesticated Animals:

“..These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth.  Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven-footed and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat. Nevertheless, among those that chew the cud or part the hoof, you shall not eat these: The camel, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the rock badger, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the hare, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.”  – Leviticus 11:3-7

Basically, antelope, cattle, buffalo, deer, goat, lamb, and sheep are all okay to eat. Pigs, camels, rabbits, and anything in the feline or canine families were not fit to eat.

Sea Food:

 “These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat.  But anything in the seas or the rivers that does not have fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you.” – Leviticus 11: 9-10

All fish that had fins and scales were allowed to eat. However, fish without scales, shellfish, soft bodied animals (e.g. squid, jellyfish, etc.), and sea mammals were all forbidden.

Poultry:

 “And these you shall detest among the birds; they shall not be eaten; they are detestable: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, the falcon of any kind, every raven of any kind, the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind, the little owl, the cormorant, the short-eared owl, the barn owl, the tawny owl, the carrion vulture, the stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.”  –Leviticus 11:13-19

Chicken, dove, partridge, quail, and turkey were all “clean” to eat. “Unclean” animals included albatross, bat, owl, ostrich, hawk, and stork.

Insects:

“All winged insects that go on all fours are detestable to you. Yet among the winged insects that go on all fours you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, with which to hop on the ground. Of them you may eat: the locust of any kind, the bald locust of any kind, the cricket of any kind, and the grasshopper of any kind. But all other winged insects that have four feet are detestable to you.”  –Leviticus 11:20-23

 All insects are unclean except for crickets and grasshoppers.

CLEANUNCLEAN

Numerology

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mrs_moses

This is a story I have read my entire life. I could tell you the story of Exodus backwards. So, thinking of a question was really difficult. I couldn’t think of a question, but I did make an observation I had never paid much attention to, numbers. There are many numbers that a repeated in Exodus. After doing a little research, I found out there is a study of numbers.

 

 

number_40The number forty is repeated not only in Exodus, but also in Genesis.

The number forty is used 146 times in both the Old and New Testaments. Now, I have learned something from being in school my entire life; if something is repeated multiple times, it is probably important.

  • “The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a habitable land; they ate manna, until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.” (Exodus 16:35)
  • ” Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.”  (Exodus 24:18)

 

The number forty in numerology signifies reason, order, measurement, and judgment.

In Exodus, the numerology fits the situations in which the number forty is used. The Israelites were in the wilderness because Yahweh passed judgment on them for being “stiff-necked.”  Yahweh also gave Moses and the Israelites the Ten Commandments to keep order and law within the nation.

 

number_10

The number ten shows up a few times.

  • The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20)
  • The Ten Plagues ( Exodus 6-11)

The number ten in numerology signifies leadership, success, determination.

The numerology fits the situations in which the number ten is used in Exodus. The Ten Commandments is a way that Yahweh shows the Israelites that He is in control.  The plagues  shows the success of Yahweh over Pharaoh.

 

 

 

 

 

How was Time Measured?

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While reading, the concept of time stuck out to me. Were the days of Creation literal or figurative? How did people live to be so old?

In Genesis 1, God created the Heavens and the Earth and all things pertaining to in six days and rested on the seventh day. Were these days of creation meant literally or figuratively? 

There are many opinions on the time frame of Creation. Two of the most common opinions are Old-world proponents (modern science) and Young- world proponents (Biblical literalism).

According to Old- world proponents (modern science), the Earth is 4.54 billion years old. This is calculated on fossil records and carbon-dating. This view believes that the Earth was not created in six literal days but over billions of years.

According to Young-world proponents (Biblical literalism), the Earth is around 6,000 years old. This is calculated by the ages of the characters in Chapter 5 of Genesis. This view believes that God created the Earth in six literal days and rested on the seventh.

 

I have a conflicting view on Creation. I believe science has dated fossils and rock to be billions of years old. I also believe God created the Heavens and the Earth. I do not know if God created everything in six literal days, but He could have.  It is believed that Moses, the author, did not write Genesis until the Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years. Moses could have used a time frame that the Israelite people were accustomed to in his account of Creation.

 

Age after Eden

 

Adam lived to be 930 years old. Seth was 912. Methuselah died at 969. Noah lived to be 950. How did these patriarchs live to be so old?

 

There are a few different theories on why people lived well past today’s life expectancy.

  1. Perfect DNA:  God created Adam and Eve to be perfect. This would include their DNA. The human genetic code had developed few defects during the first generations. As time progressed, genes mutated causing life spans to be shorter.
  2. Canopy of Water: Genesis  mentions the water above the expanse, a canopy of water that surrounded the earth. This would have created a greenhouse effect and would have blocked much of the radiation. Ideal living conditions would have been created from this water canopy. During the account of the Flood, the water canopy was poured out on the earth, ending the ideal living conditions.
  3. Age was calculated differently: Some people argue that age was calculated differently than today. Before the Flood, humans did not use a calendar like we use today. They used the cycles of the moon. Each cycle of the moon could have been a “year”.

 

I believe all three theories work together. God created Adam and Eve to be perfect. This would include their DNA. When the Flood began, there was a vapor canopy that surrounded the Earth. We think of age as a 12 month calendar year. The people in Genesis did not.

 

 

 

 

 

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