Sunday, 18 June 2017
The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale: Numbers: Chapter 11 - God Punishes the Whingers
So all has been going really well now for a while hasn't it. God has been making a series of rules and regulations and lots of highly unreasonable demands of his chosen people and thus far, since the unfortunate incident with the golden calf in Exodus, things have been going very well. Unfortunately things are about to go pear-shaped as God has a temper tantrum.
So the long journey was underway as God led, by means of a big cloud, his people to the promised land. But immediately they started to complain about everything, the conditions, the food, the having to carry his big silly tent and commandments around with them. God thus lost his temper and set fire to them. Yep, God is a pyromaniac.
Fortunately there was quite a lot of them and perhaps God ran out of matches, but anyway some of them went to Moses and implored him to help and he beseeched God to put out the fire. So he did. Anything for his pal Moses.
But even after this warning the people kept on complaining. You have to say don't you that these Israelites either weren't very bright or God wasn't very bright for choosing them. Because they kept on complaining about their plight. Why had they left nice cosy Egypt for this life of misery, they said. Actually you have to say they had a point.
They complained about the lack of food. I say again the lack of food. We have just had chapter after tedious chapter of Leviticus telling us in great detail about all of the animal sacrifices that God demanded and yet now they complain about lack of food. Had God and his priests eaten all of the animals, although you have to wonder what the animals were being fed on out there in the desert.
Moses heard them complaining and then he himself went to God to complain about them. No, really. Why did you send me to free this bunch of ingrates he asked. Just kill me now, I've had enough. I can't lead them anymore.
So God decided to give Moses some help. Note that, for now, Moses brother is completely forgotten about. It's almost as if he was inserted later when the story demanded a priestly ancestor.
God told Moses to gather up all of the elders so that he could delegate to them his duties and so that they could deal with the whinging and the complaining. They were to be the world's first middle managers.
God was really angry by now. He would give them meat, he said. They would have so much meat that they would be sick of meat. Moses asked how God would accomplish this out in the desert. God told him that he was God. He can do anything, although not choose a better chosen people apparently, or indeed get them to their promised land quicker to stop them complaining, which would surely have been the better and more expedient option.
And so God told Moses and through Moses the elders what would happen. They prophesied a great meat mountain heading their way. And it came true. Millions of quails descended upon them, tons of them. So many of them that they were piled up on the ground. It was a bit like a Friday night at KFC.
So the people gratefully scooped up the quails and began eating them. But God, being the nasty vengeful, toddler God we all know, got nasty. He visited a plague upon them all and many of them died. That's one hell of a food allergy.