Sunday, 28 October 2018

TL:DR: The Genesis Question part twenty-five

Hi, Everybody!

Sunday: FUNday!

16 Ramadan 1235 AH

Hi Troy & Mia; David & Marie:

Ezekiel 24

As I read it, this continues the motif of the Lord GOD -- God -- introducing a subject as a prompt and then the YHWH responding to that prompt by elaborating on the subject. Very much like the psychiatric gambit of "word association".  So, in verse 3 God says

Utter a parable unto the rebellious house, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD, Set on a pot, set on and also pour water into it.

The concept is "shared judgement" on Israel and Judah, but also judgement upon the YHWH -- the rebellious house, rebellious against God and seeking to usurp God's stature and position.  As with word association you can see that it could go any number of ways.  It could be cooking pot (which is what the YHWH infers) or it could be a wash pot, the water could be being heated for a bath, for cleansing, for purification.  The YHWH elaborates:

Gather the pieces thereof into it, every good piece, the thigh and the shoulder; fill it with the choice bones.  Take the choice of the flock and burn also the bones under it, make it boil well, and let him seethe the bones of it therein. 

So the YHWH is inferring that this is the YHWH's own Levitical instructions for animal sacrifice.  Which is accurate but, for the YHWH, inopportune.  So, Lord GOD -- God -- says, basically, "Okay, here's where we are with that":

Wherefore thus saith the Lord  GOD, Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum therein, and whose scum is not gone out of it; bring it out piece by piece, let no lot fall upon it.

That is, again invoking the "issue of horses" -- "Thou shalt drink of thy sister's cup deep and large" -- the point of which is, indeed, scum.  That scum isn't a byproduct in the mess the YHWH has created, scum is the point.  Scummy behaviour, scummy thinking.  Horse ejaculate.  Which is why the observation has struck such a deep chord with the YHWH. It's ON everything and IN everything. "Let no lot fall upon it":  that is, you can't roll the dice or consult the Urim and the Thummim or any other kind of "casting of lots" and give it a "get out of jail free" card. 

So the YHWH elaborates:

For her blood is in the midst of her: she set it upon the top of a rock, she poured it upon the ground to cover it with dust

This is again self-indictment (PARTIAL self-indictment, the YHWH has specifically switched genders to the female). This is the YHWH's Levitical instructions for our (quite literally) bloodthirsty earth: the idea behind kosher food, that you're not supposed to consume the blood with the meat.  "For the blood is the life thereof".  You are "to pour it out like water on the ground" and then cover it with dust. It was an elaborate ruse by which the YHWH, the earth, could consume blood in vast quantities so long as the ritual sacrifice lasted.

that it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance: I have set her blood upon the top of a rock, that it should not be covered

That is, the YHWH is not concealing the ruse anymore and sees it AS a ruse.  It's still only PARTIAL self-indictment.  The YHWH is attempting to make it external: according to the YHWH this is Israel and Judah's doing (conveniently ignoring that it was done on the YHWH's instructions).  God provides another word association prompt:

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD Woe to the bloody city, I will even make the pile for fire great

Again, a lot of different  directions you could take that.  The YHWH goes this way with it:

Heap on wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh and spice it well and let the bones be burnt

If you are burning the bones, you have the original Hebrew definition of holocaust, a completely burnt sacrifice:

Then set it empty upon the coals thereof, that the brass of it may be hot and may burn and that the filthiness of it may be molten in it, that the scum of it may be consumed. 

This, as I read it, definitely causes -- not unexpectedly -- a schismatic reaction within the YHWH:

She hath wearied with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her: her scum in the fire. 

Pretty definitive as judgements go, it would seem, which then turns into a "mixed bag":

In thy filthiness, lewdness, because I have purged thee and thou wast not purged thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee. 

Is "she" purged or isn't "she"?  The YHWH's full vengeance seems to have been inflicted…and then is suddenly being held in abeyance.  Perhaps the YHWH suddenly saw that self-indictment aspect and shied away from it.  Or attempted to.  And then…just as suddenly…seems to have developed the necessary resolve:

I the YHWH have spoken, it shall come to pass and I will do.  I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent,

"neither will I repent" of what?  It can be read two ways:  the YHWH will not repent of the judgement pronounced on "she" or the "she" aspect of the YHWH will not repent of her scummy behaviours.  Which, as I read it, leads Lord GOD -- God -- to pronounce

according to thy ways and according to thy doings shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.

Which is a very neat bit of phraseology in addressing he/she/it.  They.  The "thy ways" and "thy doings" apply in two directions:  what the "she" chooses to do -- her ways and her doings -- and what the YHWH chooses to do -- the YHWH's ways and the YHWH's doings.  It closes off the option of dissociation for the YHWH.  He has to judge the ways and doings of  "she" as "she" and "it" will judge he, the YHWH.  It eliminates the ability to shift back and forth on the question of WHO judgement is being pronounced upon and makes it a situation of the YHWH and the YHWH's mirror image.  Which are both, of course, the YHWH.

Which then leads to a very unhappy episode for Ezekiel:

Also, the word of the YHWH came unto me, saying: Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn, nor weep, neither shall thy tears go.  Be silent, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thine upper lip and eat not the bread of men.  So I spake unto the people in the morning, and at even my wife died, and I did in the morning as I was commanded.

So, as I read it, the YHWH POSSIBLY evades part of the judgement by killing Ezekiel's wife.  I suspect not as much of an evasion as the YHWH had hoped for: a vital part of the YHWH…or a female aspect or entity connected to the YHWH…has been sacrificed at the YHWH's behest.  It's definitely "tough love", made all the tougher by the command not to mourn or weep or shed tears.  It takes place at least at twin levels:  the YHWH has suffered what Ezekiel is made to suffer.  It's traumatic but, presumably, therapeutic.  All the more because of how unusual it seemed to the people ministered to by Ezekiel (there's some question as to whether that was the captives or the soon-to-be captives:  I would suspect that latter). Ezekiel answers them:

Then I answered them, The word of the YHWH came unto me saying, Speak unto the house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold I will profane my sanctuary, the excellency of your strength, the desire of your eyes and the pity of your soul and your sons and your daughters whom you have left shall fall by the sword.  And ye shall do as I have done: ye shall not cover your upper lip nor eat the bread of men.  And your tires upon your heads and your shoes upon your feet, ye shall not mourn nor weep but ye shall pine away for your iniquities and mourn one toward an other. 

Which is fine, except for the attribution -- "Thus saith the Lord GOD" -- which is evasive of the fact that this is the YHWH's judgement, making it sound as if God is victimizing the YHWH, the YHWH's "she" aspect, Ezekiel, Ezekiel's wife, the Hebrew people and their sons and their daughters when, in fact, it's the YHWH who has done so.  Which God then corrects:

Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign, according to all that he hath done, shall ye do: and when this cometh ye shall know that I, the Lord GOD.

That is, the attribution hasn't escaped God's attention and God is aware that the YHWH is perceiving of it as an escape hatch out of self-judgement:

Also, thou son of man, not in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes and the lifting up of the soul, their sons and their daughters: that he that escapeth in that day shall come unto thee to cause to hear it with ears?  In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped and thou shalt speak & be no more dumb and thou shalt be a sign unto them and they shall know that I, the YHWH.

That is, "she" YHWH has been sacrificed:  the "she" that was as close to the YHWH as Ezekiel's wife is to Ezekiel -- which is to say close but not the person themselves.  Ezekiel's wife isn't Ezekiel.  The sons and daughters of the Jerusalemites are not the Jerusalemites themselves. 

The YHWH vows a resurrection "that he that escapeth in that day…"  -- that is the day when the verdict upon the "she" YHWH has come to pass and the deaths of the sons and daughters of the Jerusalemites, presumably the YHWH -- "…shall come unto thee to cause to hear it with ears".

Which anticipates the coming of the Synoptic Jesus -- the YHWH's "Christ" -- and his recurring phrase "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Ezekiel 25-29

This chapter I read as God "batting clean-up":  having obviously gotten under the YHWH's skin in a big way, He can be pretty confident that the YHWH will now have to vent somewhere, which the YHWH does -- with timely prompts from God -- pronouncing doom upon the Ammonites, Rabbah, Moab, Seir, Beth-ieshimoth, Baal-meon, Kiriathaim, Edom, Teman, the Palestinians (excuse me -- the Philistines  :)) the Cherethims,   Since YHWH is pretty much the apex of "Not God" this is all to the good.

The culmination of this indictment of "Not God" -- that is, the various permutations of the YHWH -- comes in Ezekiel 28, as I read it, where God pronounces doom, specifically, upon "the prince of Tyrus" but more generally upon "Not God", again as a prompt for the YHWH: 

Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD: Because thine heart is lifted up and thou hast said I a god, I sit in the seat of God in heart of the seas, yet thou a man not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God. 

Behold thou wiser than Daniel: there is no secret that they can hide from thee.

This strikes me as being tongue-in-cheek on God's part:  directed at the YHWH's own overweening vanity.  If the YHWH WAS "wiser than Daniel", the YHWH wouldn't leap so readily at self-indictment through the prince of Tyrus as his proxy, having just escaped from self-indictment in chapter 24:

With thy wisdom and thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures.  By the greatness of thy wisdom, by thy traffic hast thou increased thy riches and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches.  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; behold therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom & they shall defile thy brightness.  They shall bring thee down to the pit and thou shalt die the death of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.  Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I, God?  but thou a man, and no God in the hand of him that slayeth thee.  Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken, saith the Lord GOD.

The YHWH -- his/her/its own vanity offended that someone BESIDES the YHWH would claim "I, God" -- goes right along with it, reiterating God's doom pronounced upon Tyrus, a central trading capitol in the "Not God" context.  And then gets really carried away and pronounces doom against Zidon without any prompting from God. 

Which allows Lord GOD -- God -- to say

And there shall be no more a pricking briar unto the house of Israel nor grieving thorn [a sly reference to the YHWH's doom pronounced upon A Dam in Genesis 3:18] of all that round about them that despised them and they shall know that I, the Lord GOD.  Thus saith the Lord GOD, When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land, that I have given to my servant Jacob.  And they shall dwell safely therein and shall build houses and plant vineyards, yea they shall dwell with confidence when I have executed judgement upon all those that despise them round about them and they shall know that I, the Lord their GOD.

Ezekiel 29

And then the YHWH gets really carried away and pronounces a comparable doom against Egypt in verses 1-12 -- a doom which is so severe Lord GOD -- God -- needs to interrupt and scale it back a little in verses 13-21.  Egypt will be needed long-term, I think, as evidenced by the fact that Egypt is still with us today.

Okay, as I said before, that's as far as I got in Ezekiel before Ramadan began, so I'm going to take a break and get back to the Koran with the rest of my Sabbath today and over the next couple of Sundays and then get back to commenting on Ezekiel 30 -- God willing -- August 3rd.

Thanks for your letter, David, which I'll answer separately.  Enclosed please find a disk with all of my "Dear Pastor John" commentaries on SOUL REVOLUTION.  I agree the cover image is kind of disturbing, but, then looking at the future always tends to be.  There are days I feel like the last non-tattooed person in Kitchener.



Next Time: Free stuff! (Or not, "past" Matt.)


Tony Dunlop said...

You know, skimming these *is* actually helping me understand some of the more bizarre parts of "Latter Days." So there's that.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Dave thinks that after he's dead, he'll be rediscovered as a great thinker, does he?

-- Damian

Tony again said...

He's been saying that for years, Damian. Where've you been? And what else could happen to the reputation of The Only Person Who Has Ever Really Understood the Bible?