Friday, 19 October 2018

New auctions! (Dave's Weekly Update #257)

Hi, Everybody!

Heeeeeere's Dave:




Next Time: If you said, "Vark Wars", you'd be...right?

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Alberta Bound! also, VARK WARS

No pages from Dave Sim's notebook this week - for when you read this, I'll be in Edmonton, Alberta counting down the hours until the Bruins game. The night before I'll have seen the Bruins play the Flames in Calgary. So you can say I'm Alberta Bound:


Though I still think Cerebus would be a Bruins fan.



So if there are any readers of AMoC living in Alberta, and you see a redhead woman wearing Bruins gear and a hat that looks like Cerebus' helmet, yell "Habs suck!" and I'll give you a "Go Flames" or "Go Oil" depending on what city I'm in. 
______________________________________________________________________________

Have a good trip Mags!

And now for something completely Vark Wars:

Your friend and mine (and Superman's Frenemy), David Birdsong made this (how can you have them bigger if you don't click the pic?):


This is one he remade, you could suggest revisions at: thevarkwars@gmail,com


Remember, if you wanna get in on the insanity (or you think you can do better) (or you have a dynamite raisin poundcake recipe that you're just DYING to share) (or you're just feeling lonely and desire human contact) (but mostly, if you have a Vark Wars idea.) send it to thevarkwars@gmail.com, that's thevarkwars@gmail.com thevarkwars@gmail.com

Next Time: Dave's weekly update, and Vark Wars?

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Vark Wars 3: The search for Plot!

Hi, Everybody!

More Vark Wars!

More Vark Wars, I say!

I wrote these: (they're clickable. If you click them, they get BIGGER.)





And because you can't post on Wednesdays without including a picture of Jingles:
"Jingles Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon."
And if you wanna get it on this, send your submissions to thevarkwars@gmail.com

Next Time: Margaret is on vacation, so...MORE VARK WARS!!!

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

The Vark Wars 2: Electric Bugaloo!

Hi, Everybody!

More of the Vark Wars:

So, as we worked on the Vark Wars, Your Friend and Mine, (and Superman's Frenemy) David Birdsong sent me:
I've included four more strips.  First is the three part story of an actor getting way too into his role, Cerebus getting pissed and then the poor guy forgets who he's playing.

The last one today I just had to do.  I was the biggest Queen fan when I was a teenager and it broke my heart when Freddie put down Star Wars.  Years later it's easy to make fun of the whole thing.  We are such DEDICATED believers when we're young.
If you click them, they get "Yuge"...




BUT, it turns out David PRESUMED that Freddie Mercury didn't like the Star Wars, it turns out however, that Freddie Mercury LOVED the Star Wars. (I got proof.)

See?
And then, our ol' pal Ben Hobbs chimed in on Everybody's Friend Sean Robinson's "Star Wars on Ice" idea:
So a quick Google of the phrase "Star Wars on Ice" turns up results for "Disney on Ice STAR WARS lightsaber show."  Which means that doing a comic called "Star Wars on Ice" (or a story by that name)  may be less parody and more...copyright infringement. 
I'd suggest sticking with calling the book VARK WARS and opening on the VARK WARS logo. 
Also, I'm a little  unclear how the phrase "Star wars on Ice" relates to the strips I've seen. Aside from being a funny non-sequitur.

We could clarify the ON ICE idea with some IFC text that could look something like:

 VARK WARS EPISODE WHATEVER  "It is a dark time in the INFERNAL REALMS.  The only available copies of STAR WARS are on BETAMAX...and DANTE won't let anyone borrow his BETAMAX player.
"In an act of rebellion, THE INFERNAL REALMS COMMUNITY THEATER TROOP lead by CEREBUS are putting on a production of STAR WARS...on ICE!
"Little do they know that STARS WARS was bought by DISNEY seven years ago, and their license to perform STAR WARS on ICE has expired!  The LAWYERS are slowly closing in on the small band of ice-capades performers..."
Just a thought.

Next Time: Hobbs is off, 'cause I'm running more Vark Wars (specifically where "Star Wars on Ice" comes into it.)  (Oh, and Jingles, for Jeff...)

Monday, 15 October 2018

The Vark Wars

Hi, Everybody!

Your friend and mine, and Superman's Frenemy, David Birdsong sent in (back in MARCH?!? how the HELL did that happen!?!):
Attached to this email is the final version of the Vark Wars cover.  Dave just wanted one minor change and then had a suggestion that would involve some input from the AMOC readership.  Here are his exact words:

Click to see bigger
Dave Sim: 
The only problem with this one is that I know virtually nothing about Star Wars that the average grandparent of a Star Wars fan wouldn't know and am completely disinterested in doing any Star Wars 101 study at this point in my life.

Why don't you and Benjamin do some CIH? Star Wars strips and throw it open to the AMOC readership as well and we'll have a Funniest CIH? Star Wars strip contest?

You and Benjamin can decide what's in and what's out or Matt can put it to a vote and I'll send an autographed copy of the issue to anyone whose strip is included.  I don't think it needs to have a sustained 24-page narrative.  With all of the raw materials, it's probably better to jump around from Cerebus, Dante and Virgil think that they're Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca to commenting on George Lucas' revisions to riffing on Disney now owning Star Wars.
David Birdsong continued:
So Dave has thrown down the gauntlet on this one and invited a group-made comic. 
He also sent his first strip:
click to make bigger
Well, I love me some Star Wars. And, (if my running a blog devoted to Cerebus didn't drive home the point,) I also love me some Cerebus (basically, 1977 has been very good to me...). So a Star Wars/Cerebus in Hell? one-shot is a "Reese's Peanut Butter Cup" of awesome that I'd buy in a heart beat.

And inspired me to write:
Strip 1:
Panel 1: Vark Wars logo
Panel 2: Cerebus standing by Dante and Virgil. Text Cerebus: AND WHO IS CEREBUS AGAIN?
Panel 3: same as 2. Text Dante: LUKE SKYWALKER. A MOISTURE FARMER FROM TATTOINE, WHO LEAVES HOME, LEARNS THE WAYS OF THE FORCE, AND SAVES THE GALAXY. Text Cerebus: AND WHO'S MY LOVE INTEREST?
Panel 4: same as 2/3, only Cerebus has his sword raised and is on the far right of the panel exiting. Text Dante: YOUR SISTER, BUT YOU DON'T KNOW THAT YET. Text Cerebus: HARD PASS! CEREBUS ISN'T A FREAK!
Text by CIH logo on the left of the strip: For best effect, have someone hold panel 1 up to your face and then back away very quickly, then read panel 2. (Of course, then you'd need two copies of this issue...) (Hint. Hint.)
Which David made:
Click to see my works bigger, and despair...

And we were off to the races.

Everybody's friend, Sean Robinson, got involved, and suggested:
I had an idea last night for a framework that would allow for a through-line and still have room for one-off gag strips...

Batvark decides there's good money in "rebooting"/remaking Star Wars ". Dante or Virgil point out that he'll be sued into oblivion if he tries to do so. So he decides to make a "postmodern deconstruction" of it instead, named STAR WARS ON ICE, with the "ON ICE" part conveniently minimized on the posters etc.

Everyone piles on wanting to be part of this sure-fire money maker. Many gags involving people wanting to "be" various characters, including Cerebus and Jingles arguing (like little kids) about who gets to "be" Han Solo. (Cerebus sugggesting that HE already has the vest). Jingles puts on the Solo vest as well. Other gags involving the various other iconic character props (Leia Cinnabun hair, Luke moptop, Vader helmet) on top of the normal CIH? cutouts. (This is a really strong visual gag IMHO. Basically would elevate any other gag that's there if Cerebus is wearing litle Leia Cinnabuns and Jingles has a Solo vest and Batvark has the sides of his helmet colored black.)

Maybe a two or three strip sequence in "Mos Eisley, Hell's Friendliest Den of Scum and Villainy", where it's mostly just the arm-cutting scene restaged like it's a scene from CHEERS. (Laugh track and all?) Populated by all of the cut-out monsters Benjamin has made?

THE MILLENIUM FALCON as sled pulled by Jingles?? (Which I guess would make him CHewbacca?) See the "growly Jingles" Dore plate for the image you'd need.

The climax? The CIH? STAR WARS ON ICE production is put on hold because of a similar post-modern deconstructionalist production named STAR WARS IN SPACE, put on by a rival group of much, much tougher cartoon characters, the cast of CIH?s main rivals...

PEANUTS.
Which lead to:


Eventually, David sent everything we had done so far, up to Dave, and Dave responded:
SO, I'm gonna run the strips we got so far over the next couple of days, and if anybody wants to send in THEIR ideas, we'll take a look, and mock 'em up and run them in the future. OR, if you see one of our strips and think you could make it better, send in your edits, and we'll take a look.

Send your submissions to: thevarkwars@gmail.com That's thevarkwars@gmail.com

You don't HAVE to adhere to the outline Sean made, but if you do, here's the opening script we got so far (sorry we don't have visuals, they're IN PROGRESS):
Inside Cover:
three panels: 
Panel 1: Vark Wars logo
Panel 2: After-gag:  For best effect, have someone hold panel 1 up to your face and then back away very quickly, then read panel 2. (Of course, then you'd need two copies of this issue...) (Hint. Hint.)
Panel 3: Opening crawl:
Episode *insert whatever issue number of CiH? this is*
CROUCHING BANTHA, HIDDEN FORTRESS

It is a period of deep turmoil in the Infernal Realms. BATVARK needs money. (Nobody is quite sure why...) He's already strong-armed every penny he can find, but it's not enough.

The new STAR WARS film is getting released soon too. So everybody is pretty stoked for that. "Will LUKE be a Force-Ghost?" "How will they handle CARRIE FISHER'S death?" "Will FINN hook-up with REY or POE?"
It's pretty much "STAR WARS" or "NOT IN THE FACE!!!" With nothing in-between. In fact, all this talk of STAR WARS has given BATVARK an idea....


Strip #1(for real this time):
Panel 1: Batvark with the damned. It would be best if the damned are getting tortured. The gag kinda hinges on that. (I only have the Dore bits that Dave's used, and the internet keeps showing me a naked half spider-woman...) Text Batvark: THAT'S IT! BATVARK'LL REMAKE STAR WARS AND MAKE A FORTUNE!!! Text one of the damned, his name is Ted: IT'LL NEVER HAPPEN, THE MOUSE WILL SUE YOU FOR EVERTHING YOU HAVE.
Panel 2: Same image. Text Ted: BEFORE THE MASSIVE CORONARY THAT ENDED ME UP HERE, I WAS A LAWYER FOR THEM. I USED TO SUE EVERYBODY! ONE TIME I SUED A DAYCARE AND THEY HAD TO PAINT OVER UNLICENSED CHARACTERS WHILE THE KIDS WATCHED AND CRIED.
Panel 3: Same image. Text Batvark: IS THAT WHY YOUR LOWER INTESTINES ARE FILLED WITH LIVE COCKROACHES? Text Ted: YES.
Panel 4: Same image. Text Batvark: WHAT'D YOU DO TO DESERVE THE SCORPIONS LAYING EGGS IN YOUR RECTUM? Text Ted: YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW...
After-gag: No, really, don't ask Ted about the scorpions. Just know he TOTALLY deserves them...

Strip #2: Same image as strip #1
Panel 1: Text Batvark: SO, IF I DO IT AS A  "POST-MODERN DECONSTRUCTIONIST PRODUCTION" THEY CAN'T TOUCH ME? Text Ted: YUP.
Panel 2: Text Batvark: OK, "STAR WARS ON ICE"! I'll MAKE A MINT Text Ted: BEEN DONE. THE MOUSE HAS A BUNCH OF KIDS SKATE WITH LIGHTSABERS. Text Ted: IT'S MAGICAL.
Panel 3: Text Batvark: FINE. "STAR WARS IN HELL". Text Ted: IT'LL NEVER SELL IN THE SOUTH. JUST CALL IT "VARK WARS". GET THE KID IN THE BUNNY SUIT TO BE YOUR ANTAGONIST, AND BOB'S YOUR UNCLE...
Panel 4: Batvark is now turned away from Ted, and has his arms raised with the sword (Ben made that right, I'm not imagining things again?) Text Batvark: ALRIGHT PEOPLE! WE GOT A MONEY MAKING SCHEME HERE! START SEWING YOU LOSERS! SOMEBODY GET BATVARK A LATTE! Text Ted: GOOD LUCK! IF IT GOES SOUTH AND YOU NEED REPRESENTATION, I'M RIGHT HERE, BLOATED WITH LIVE VERMIN AND SUFFERING ETERNALLY...
After-gag: And Ted's rates are very reasonable, just help him pick the scorpion eggs out...

Strip #3: Batvark with Dante and Virgil. 
Panel 1: Batvark is turned away with the sword raised. Text Virgil: BATVARK! WE HEARD ABOUT YOUR "SHOW" HOW COULD YOU?!? THIS IS THE MOST DEPLORABLE THING YOU'VE EVER DONE!
Panel 2: Regular Batvark now. Text Virgil: CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS DANTE?!? Text Dante: CUT ME IN FOR 6% OF THE GROSS, AND I'LL BE YOUR PRODUCER.
Panel 3: Text Batvark: FINE, BUT YOU GOTTA WRANGLE THE KID IN THE BUNNY SUIT. Text Dante: DEAL.
Panel 4: Text Virgil: DANTE! I'M...I'M SHOCKED! HOW COULD YOU?!? Text Dante: WINE DOESN'T PAY FOR ITSELF...
After-gag: Do you know how much a renaissance poet pulls down a month? After taxes? 

Strip #4 (Formerly strip #1.) (You're gonna have to redo this one David, sorry...)
Panel 1: Cerebus standing by Dante and Virgil. Text Cerebus: AND WHO IS CEREBUS AGAIN?
Panel 2: same as 1. Text Dante: LUKE SKYWALKER. A MOISTURE FARMER FROM TATTOINE, WHO LEAVES HOME, LEARNS THE WAYS OF THE FORCE, AND SAVES THE GALAXY. Text Cerebus: AND WHO'S THE VILLAIN?
Panel 3: Text Dante: DARTH VADER, THE DARK LORD OF THE SITH, AND YOUR FATHER, BUT YOU DON'T KNOW THAT. Text Cerebus: AND WHO'S CEREBUS' LOVE INTEREST?
Panel 4: same as 2/3, only Cerebus has his sword raised and is on the far right of the panel exiting. Text Dante: YOUR SISTER, BUT YOU DON'T KNOW THAT YET EITHER. Text Cerebus: HARD PASS! CEREBUS ISN'T A FREAK!
After-gag: It's probably for the best, Cerebus isn't really space-messiah material...
Mr. Birdsong has asked that anybody submitting a script TRY to follow the script layout I've been using.

Oh, and the deadline for all this (since we're shooting to get this issue on the stands at the end of November 2019 (Just in time for Episode 9!).) is the end of November 2018.

Okay, tomorrow, some of David Birdsong's Vark Wars strips

Next Time: More Vark Wars! More Hilarity! More Freddie Mercury(?)! And Ben Hobbs weighs in!

Sunday, 14 October 2018

TL:DR: The Genesis Question part twenty-three

Hi, Everbody!



1 Ramadan 1235 AH

Hi Troy and Mia; David and Marie:

Ezekiel 17:

This chapter I read as a dialogue between the YHWH and God (mostly therapy for the YHWH).  The parable/riddle of the great eagle (verses 1 to 10) I read as being God's, essentially stating what He has done:  brought the Kings of Israel to great eminence -- the highest branch of the Cedar -- and then cropped them at this apex and removed the last one into Babylon and planted it/him there.  The question posed, ostensibly to Israel but actually to the YHWH -- "Shall it prosper?"

(verses 11 to 15) I read as the YHWH interpreting God's parable/riddle and concluding that, essentially, it/he/Israel should not prosper because of sending ambassadors into Egypt -- thereby breaking the Covenant.  But poses it as a question.  Shall he escape that doeth such things?

(verses 16 to 20) I read as God making use of the YHWH's partial understanding (which at least serves as a self-indictment as a Covenant breaker) and essentially saying that Egypt doesn't pose a problem, the Covenant breaking is what poses the problem:  "Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant (when, lo, he had given his hand) and hath done all these things, he shall not escape."  It's a critical point, as I read it:  the YHWH essentially has to declare, metaphorically, that the YHWH will not escape:  "…as I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my Covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head. And I will spread my net upon him, & he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon, and will plead with him there for his trespass that he hath trespassed against me."  Emphasis mine:  God leads the YHWH in the direction of self-indictment and self-imprisonment but ONLY with long-term view of continuing to plead His own case:  to bring the YHWH to more accurate perception.

(verse 21) The YHWH essentially walks into the metaphorical trap by asserting that Israel needs to be stripped, militarily, of his/its defences, which means that is what will happen to the YHWH as well:  "And all his fugitives, with all his bands, shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered towards all winds: and ye shall know that I the YHWH have spoken."

(verse 22 to 23) As I read it is God illustrating the next great phase in His plan:

"Thus saith the Lord GOD, I will take of the highest branch of the high Cedar and will set, I will crop off from the top of his young twigs, a tender one, and will plant upon a high mountain and eminent.  In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs and bear fruit and be a goodly Cedar, and under it shall dwell all the fowl of every wing: in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell."

Essentially, the bringing forth of Jesus in Israel's mountainous north.  In this case, the Synoptic Jesus (as distinct from the Johannine Jesus). Just as it had taken a long, long time for the Jewish Monarchy to hatch out, to produce its highest bough, that's how long it will take for the top of the highest twig of that construct to be cropped and planted and, in turn, to grow to that same height. 

It's the Synoptic Jesus' parable of the grain of mustard seed -- one of the smallest of seeds -- that brings forth a huge plant that grows large enough to shelter every kind of bird. 

The YHWH's reply (verse 24) is significant:

"And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the YHWH, have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree and have made the dry tree to flourish.  I, the YHWH, have spoken and have done."

It's an interesting inference to draw.  I don't think God intended to "bring down the high tree" by His plan, nor to "exalt the low tree".  I think His model was more of a progression:  the first tree has to reach the apex of its growth and then the apex needs to be planted and be allowed to grow to the same great height before the intrinsic nature fully hatches out.  But, considering that His intention is greater and more accurate self-awareness on the part of the YHWH, it's not hard to see why He made this a part of His plan, or at least at easily compelled inference:  the YHWH will be brought low and Jesus, of low but royal birth, will be exalted.  The YHWH's metaphorical tree (which the YHWH would see as green and flourishing) will prove to be dry and the dry tree -- an itinerant preacher from a section of Israel barely acknowledged to be a part of Israel -- will flourish.  Just as the YHWH has said.

Ezekiel 18:

Significantly, the YHWH follows the parable of chapter 17 with the proverb of chapter 18:  "The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge."   Which, I read,  as twofold:

a) essentially, on its surface, a meditation on the son suffering for the sins of the father -- which the YHWH deplores as theologically invalid. The YHWH might even have wondered WHY this suddenly came to mind

b) the YHWH at a very deep level of his/her/its consciousness, recognizing that agreement with chapter 17's premise is a "sour grape" that the YHWH has devoured and will put the children of the YHWH's "teeth set on edge" when it hatches out hundreds of years later with Jesus' ministry.

God interjects quickly:  "As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine, as the soul of the father [which I infer to mean YHWH's soul], so also the soul of the son [the soul of the Synoptic Jesus] is mine:  the soul that sinneth, it shall die." 

This is elaborated at great length with a shopping list of sins on the part of the father and on the part of the son that would lead the soul to die. 

What God is setting in motion, hundreds of years ahead of time, is (as I read it) YHWH versus Jesus. 

Who has sinned and who is worthy to die? 

At the time, through the verdict of the YHWH-observant Sanhedrin, the answer will be obvious:  in the eyes of the custodians of the Law of Moshe, Jesus sinned against those laws and was worthy to die.  But, of course, the prominence of the event itself leads to a questioning of that, on the part of the followers of YHWH and the followers of Jesus.  Was the trial a miscarriage of "But if a man be just and do that which misjudgement and justice" (Ezekiel 18:5)? How corrupt was the Sanhedrin by that point?  The YHWH is literally caught between a rock and a hard place --  his/her/its own laws and the corrupt custodians of those laws -- with a compulsive nature that always urges toward punishment.  Lashing out.

"Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the YHWH is not equal.  O house of Israel, are not my ways equal?  Are not your ways unequal?" (Ezekiel 18:29)

Plenty of punishment and lashing out to go around. God, knowing what's coming, can say with perfect equanimity -- to Israel, but also and (as I read it) more emphatically to the YHWH:

"Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD; repent and turn your selves from all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed, and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD:  wherefore turn your selves & live ye."  (Ezekiel 18:30- 32)

Ezekiel 19:

You always have to be watching for technicalities -- in-built evasiveness -- in the YHWH's pronouncements.  In this case, I think Ezekiel 19:1-9 addresses "Israel as mother/YHWH as mother" in order for God to avoid Ezekiel 18 being inferred -- at some later date when its full import becomes obvious -- as referring only to men ("The FATHERS have eaten a sour grape and children's teeth are set on edge."). You can certainly "read into" the text any number of "Israeli young lions", whelps of Mother Israel.  Joseph seems an obvious choice for verse 4 and any number of Jewish kings could be read into verses 5-8, bringing us back to Zedekiah and the -- then-present -- circumstance in Babylon in verse 9.

Although there is no narrator attributed to this chapter, I think its purpose is clear: to establish that the verdict upon the fathers in chapter 18 -- which the YHWH has endorsed -- applies to the mothers, as well:

And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bear rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, & she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches.  

Technically, all of the Jewish kings were men, but their mothers were also attributed in the Books of Kings and II Samuel, and so I think it's only fair to assert that they are among the "highest branches" in the tree of the monarchy.  And it was the YHWH who pronounced the merciless judgement in 17:24, so only the YHWH can be to blame when

But she was plucked up in fury: she was cast down to the ground, and the East wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered, the fire consumed them.  

There is the promise of Mary, the mother of the Synoptic Jesus:

And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground.

But she certainly won't be exalted in her lifetime, despite her descent from the royal house of David:

And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod a sceptre to rule:

this a lamentation and shall be for a lamentation.

Which is worth pointing out that far ahead of time:  that the YHWH will live to regret the mercilessness of his/her/its judgement in Ezekiel 17:24.

Ezekiel 20:

Ezekiel 20 has the same tone as Exodus 3:14 -- where, given the opportunity to self-identify as God, and to establish the distinction between God and YHWH, God instead identifies Himself as I AM THAT I AM: essentially compelling the inference of an interchangeable duality. 

Lord GOD -- God, I infer -- in chapter 20 essentially adopts the YHWH's intonation and adversarial posture towards Israel ("Thus saith the Lord GOD, Are ye come to inquire of me? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you.") by way of establishing a concurrence of overall assessment between God and YHWH:  the abominations in the Temple are "beyond the pale".  Israel stands indicted and convicted and must suffer the consequences.

Only God is aware that this also constitutes a self-indictment on the part of the YHWH.

 Just as the people of Israel, relative to the YHWH:

rebelled against me in the wilderness, they walked not in my statutes and they despised my judgements, which if a man do, he shall even live in them, and my sabbaths they greatly polluted, then I said that I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness

so did the YHWH relative to God.  Mindful of this, God attempts to "de-fury" the YHWH in verse 14:

But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out.

The YHWH is having none of it:

Yet I also lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given, flowing with milk and honey, is the glory of all lands
because they despised my judgements and walked not in my statutes but polluted my  sabbaths for their heart went after their idols. 

God persists, however:

Nevertheless, mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.  But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgements, nor defile yourselves with their idols.

Which is true.  The Ten Words were given in the wilderness and certainly clarified God's position.  The first act Moshe takes coming down from Mount Sinai is to destroy the golden calf (actually his FIRST act was to destroy the tablets which, in retrospect, as idolatry goes, seems to me to have been a very good idea: the word of God needs to be preserved but not worshipped in physical form). 

But God always allows of the compelled inference that God and YHWH are the same being -- which, to me, clearly they aren't.  This point in Ezekiel seems to establish the reasoning behind God's choice:  to shift the YHWH's alignment by portraying a unanimity that isn't there.  Even to the point of trying to excite some level of compassion in the YHWH, knowing that the judgement the YHWH is pronouncing upon Israel, the YHWH is also pronouncing upon the YHWH:

I the YHWH your God, walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments and do them.  And hallow my Sabbaths and they shall be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I, the YHWH your God.  Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me, they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgements to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them: they polluted my sabbaths: then I said that I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish mine anger against them in the wilderness.

The YHWH continues on in this vein and then imparts the -- surprisingly! -- self-revelatory:

Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgements whereby they should not live.  And I polluted them in their own gifts in that they caused to pass through all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I, the YHWH.

Oh, okay (I think, as I read this verse).  So you KNEW that a lot of the "laws" imparted by the Judges (after Moshe's father-in-law induced Moshe to corrupt his own judicial system) were nonsensical.  Or, at least, you're saying that in retrospect, anyway.  I'm not sure which is worse: a "deity" that doesn't know his laws are nonsensical or a "deity" who does know but imparts them anyway. 

More to the point: I really can't believe that people believe that it is God saying this:  that He intentionally gave his creations statutes that were "not good" and "judgements whereby they should not live".  Does that SOUND like something God would do?

God does appear to "cross the line" in verse 33:

As I live, sayeth the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand and with a stretched out arm and with fury poured out will I rule over you. 

but then almost immediately crosses back over, from fury to reasoning in verses 35-36:

And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.  Like as I pleaded with your father in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.

Whereupon the YHWH and God appear to intersect in verse 37:

And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the Covenant. 

One by fury and the other by reasoning.  Whereupon, the YHWH then further exacerbates the judgement he/she/it is inadvertently imposing upon his/her/its self:

And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn and they shall not enter into the land of Israel and ye shall know that I, the YHWH. 

God then reasserts the importance of free will.  That He won't be FORCING anyone "to pass under the rod" or to FORCE them "into the bond of the Covenant":

As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD, Go ye, serve ye every one his idols and hereafter, if ye will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my Holy Name no more with your gifts and with your idols. For in my holy mountain, in the mountain in the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land serve Me: there will I accept them and there will I require your offerings and the first fruits of your oblations with all your holy things. I will accept you with your savour of rest, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. 

This, it seems to me, is tactical on God's part: He is careful to separate idolatrous worship and idolatrous gifts from monotheistic worship and monotheistic gifts (even though it's pretty obvious that the latter very quickly erodes into the former).

Okay, that's enough YHWH for me here on the second day of the sacred month.

I'll pick it up again next week.

Best,

Dave  


Next Time: Have you guys NOT picked up on I made these posts weeks ago?