Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale: Leviticus: Chapter 23 - We're All Going on a Mandatory Holiday



God does like to talk about himself. Or have other people talk about him and praise him and tell him how great he is. He's like Donald Trump but with better hair. Probably. And if there's anything better than having people talk about him in lavish terms, its having them talk in lavish terms whilst having a feast in his honour. There's an idea eh Donald?

So God called on the ever solicitous Moses for yet more instructions about how he was to be revered and praised. This, of course, is just more repeats. There are more repeats in the Bible than there are on BBC2 over Christmas. We have been told all about these feast days and holidays in tedious detail before. But now we get it all over again.

God wanted to reiterate about his feasts.

First of them was not strictly speaking a feast day or a holiday. It was the Sabbath though, the whole work six days and then have one day off nonsense that some people take to ridiculous lengths.

Then we get to the holidays proper. First one of the year, on the 14th day of the first month is The Passover in which the children of Israel celebrated the entirely fictional occasion in which God committed mass infanticide but spared them.

Following the Passover there was the feast of the unleavened bread. For 7 days after this they were to eat unleavened bread. Nobody really knows why. But yeast was banned. God likes his bread flat. Maybe he likes doner kebabs.

At this point, remember, Moses and the Hebrews were still living in tents in the desert. But, said God, he would lead them to the promised land. In thanks for this still to happen event, there would be the harvest festival. At this point they would take to the priests some of the first fruits of that harvest and wave it around before the altar. There would then also be a lamb offered to God and then eaten for him by his priests.

The children of Israel were not to consume any of their own produce until they had made their offerings to God and fed his ever hungry priests. This was to be true in perpetuity. It would have been easier just to buy some land than have some by God. He's like the worst kind of loan shark isn't he. You must pay this for the rest of your life and so must your children and their children and so on in perpetuity. Oh plus endless animal sacrifices too.

There are some fantastically elaborate instructions about harvests, important of course in an agrarian society but this agrarian society apparently had endless supplies of young animals to sacrifice to this very hungry god and his rapacious priests. The only good part of this was that God commanded that they leave some small amount of their harvest for the poor, although perhaps it was people made poor by the privations of appeasing this greedy bastard of a god.

Then we get to the great festival of the blowing of the trumpets. I kid you not. On the 1st day of the month there was to be a great blowing of trumpets. No work was to be done but there was to be.....yes, you guessed it, another sacrifice to God, presumably for his having invented the trumpet.

Three days later there was to be a great celebration of drums. No, not really. This was the day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur. Once again no work was to be done on this day and they were to show due deference to their idiot and needy God. I bet this is all sounding great isn't it Donald?

And God still wasn't done with the seventh month. No heading off to Spain for the chosen people. They had to stay behind and appease their god. It's no wonder they only had one God, they wouldn't have had enough time or small animals to burn for any others.

This next festival is Sukkot, or the festival of booths, in which people went to live in tents away from their normal homes, which seems odd for a race of people who lived in tents already. It just sounds like an excuse for a holiday doesn't it. But it was actually supposed to celebrate the tent that covered the reputed Ark of the Covenant. On this day they all got together in a small tent and watched Raiders of the Lost Ark and lusted after Karen Allen.

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