Sunday, 4 September 2016
The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale - Chapter 36: God's Curtains
Now these next 5 chapters are fantastically boring so we are not going to spend too much time on them. Seriously, they are dull: even by biblical standards. They're not as boring as the long lists of people who never existed, but they're close.
So you may recall that back in chapters 25-31 there were long sets of instructions about how to build things like the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, various altars and so on. Well now we get all of this repeated, except this time they are actually building it. So they've described to us how it was all to be made and of what materials. Now they tell us how it was all made and of what materials. Talk about making your point the hard way.
Note, by the way that they spend more time describing how God's nasty palace of bad taste was to be made and furnished than they spent in Genesis describing how the whole universe was created. That tells us a great deal. That's because this is all about creating a religion and the power over people that went with it.
At the start of Chapter 36 we're told that the people, these desert dwellers, brought all of the materials to make this great tent of worship. Indeed so keen were they to do some serious worshipping that they brought too much gold and other fine materials. These are the same people who not so long ago were worshipping a golden calf which was ground up into dust by Moses and force fed to the Israelites. Now they had plenty of spare materials to make all of the decorations that their other god required. So much, in fact, that they had to be turned away.
All of the decorations were to be made by the wise hearted men of Israel. If they were that wise they might have realised what a fantastic waste of time and energy this was. They hadn't even reached their lands yet. Wouldn't it have been more sensible to wait?
So we now get long descriptions about curtains and the ties for the curtains, of boards, of gold and silver decorations. This was all in the desert remember. And once they built all of this they had to then transport it to their promised land. God had some peculiar priorities.