Live Blogging the Bible: Numbers 11:19-33
by Noah Lugeons
I’m only four books in and already I’m amazed at how many crazy stories that I’ve never heard are hidden in the bible. Why does nobody ever talk about Simeon and Levi? Or Gershom’s magical foreskin? Or the naked Noah story? Or, as I recently discovered, the retributive quail tsunami?
The first ten chapters of numbers deal with the Israelites getting ready to move to the promised land. After a considerable time putzing around Sinai with nobody to keep them company but the occasional golden calf, they get ready to move camp, Tabernacle and all, and march against all those assholes that are currently living in the land god clearly intended for them to inherit.
For the first quarter of the book the Jews are very well behaved. They camp where Moses tells them to camp, they enlist when Moses tells them to enlist and they sacrifice bulls and goats when Moses tells them he’s hungry. But once they start the march, Moses’ underlings get really bitchy, really fast. Every time he turns around their moaning about how they might as well have just died in Egypt as slaves where at least they didn’t have to spend years wandering through the wilderness with nothing to eat but manna.
So god hears their cries and he decides to be merciful and send them plenty of food. So much so, in fact, that he promises that all 600,000 of them can eat meat for a month. So he sends a month long tsunami or quails all around them. And just when you’re starting to think that maybe god has turned another leaf and stopped being a complete douche bag, you find out that the quail were a backhanded gift. It comes at the cost of a plague that kills thousands of the assholes. Oh yeah, and they lose their claim to the promised land. So no, god’s still an asshole.
But god being a dick isn’t anything new. He’s been consistent since Genesis so god pulling a dick move is hardly worth blogging about. I just thought I’d hop on to point out what a counterintuitive dick he was being. After all, if he’d just lighten up on the demands for bulls and goats and lambs and turtle doves and donkeys, there would be plenty of meat to go around. You know, the old “stop burning the food for an omnipotent god and start eating it” gambit.
I suppose god is all-knowing (or at least that’s what the people who didn’t write the bible seem to think) so he probably already thought of my solution and rejected it for one of his mysterious reasons. But I thought it was worth pointing out anyway.