Sunday, 7 October 2018

TL:DR: The Genesis Question part twenty-two

Hi, Everybody!


22 June 14

Hi Troy & Mia, David & Marie:

The "unreadable chapter" of Ezekiel -- number 16 -- continues:

And in all thine abominations and thy whoredoms, thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare, wast polluted in thy blood.

And it came to pass after all thy wickedness (woe, woe unto thee, saith the Lord GOD)

thou hast also built unto thee an [eminent place/brothel house] and hast made thee a high place in every street.

Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms

Thou hast also committed fornications with the Egyptians thy neighbours great of flesh, & hast increased thy whoredoms to provoke me to anger.

Behold therefore I have stretched out my hand over thee, and have diminished thine ordinary, and delivered thee unto the will of them that hate thee, the daughters of the Philistines, which are ashamed of thy lewd way.

This is primarily concerned with idolatrous worship, but I think it worth pointing out that idolatry was always strongly linked to prostitution (and prostitution to whoredom, obviously) through temple prostitutes in the time period being documented.  I'm sure there was a certain amount of pure "cash for sex" as well, but the really potent form was in the worship of pagan goddesses where the female devotee was expected to serve as a temple prostitute -- on a single occasion or handful of occasions in her life -- as part of her devotion.  There seems to have been a number of variations on this in the Biblical context, including the "high places" -- groves where prostitutes, harlots and whores lurked and had sex with strangers as a fertility rite.  

This, clearly, posed a temptation for the Hebrew people of both genders:  the urge toward illicit sex on the part of men and women for its own sake and also to participate for the sake of having a good crop year.  That is, belief that fornication was good fertilizer, a foundational pagan belief and, as I say, a temptation at a time when a good crop year and a bad crop year were far more important than they are today. 

"Fornication as fertilizer" was illicit and hidden for the Jews in our "physical context" plane of existence -- if no one sees you do it, you got away with it -- but transparently known to God (and to YHWH/Baal/Ashtaroth etc.).  And, I gather, by the time of Nebuchadrezzar's conquest of Israel and Judah, "fornication as fertilizer" was the rule rather than the exception: that viewpoint was prevailing over monotheism.  Which is why the conquest took place:  Israel and Judah were more pagan in practice (however hidden) than they were monotheistic.  No great loss for YHWH/Baal/Ashtaroth.  If YHWH worship was severely weakened, it just moved further down the slippery slope into Baal worship.  The price is paid exclusively by monotheism. 

Which, in my reading, is why YHWH God and Lord GOD are on the same page here at the bitter end of the Law and the Prophets.

And I think that goes back before the Big Bang.  This is just an "earth-bound" enactment of what (it seems to me) is the core problem at every level of Reality: maintaining faithfulness.  Faithfulness to God and faithfulness in marriage. 

This (it seems to me) is what God is lamenting:  the YHWH choice, the choice of His first creation, to be disloyal to Him. Our reality (the nearly unimaginable complexity of the composition of the earth, all life forms, the physical planet itself, the structural relationship between human beings and God and between human beings and YHWH), it seems to me, has been engineered BY God to demonstrate this TO the YHWH, for (at the very least -- and I think God accepts that "the very least" is all that is possible) the YHWH to be forced to experience what God experienced: profound unfaithfulness and disloyalty. 

PERHAPS to account for it. 

Doesn't anyone recognize that this unfaithfulness, the conscious choice of unfaithfulness, is the SOURCE of virtually all human misery?  Which proves to be a rhetorical question, as we are seeing all around us.  Which is why 1800 years later we've arrived back at the point where Ezekiel 16 is deemed unreadable.  Today, even the most devout want a religious devotion that doesn't include moral unpleasantness as subject matter or passing unfavourable judgement on any woman for any reason. 

If you want to talk about the suffering of God, that is where I see the suffering of God.  All of this has been engineered in excruciating detail and complexity for the very reason of arriving AT Ezekiel 16, and people just want to amputate it. 

And even amputated -- even in our society which is very far from devout (VERY far from devout), even in our Feminist Theocracy -- it still reiterates itself.  But, this time, not as a theological question -- disloyalty to God and/or disloyalty to the YHWH -- but as a gender question, completely divorced (in theory, anyway) from religion itself:

Is there such a thing as whorish behaviour? Is there such a thing as a harlot?

We see it in the outrage at honour killings in Western society -- or "honour" killings as it is now framed -- as committed exclusively by Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.  Which can really be described as extreme responses to extreme provocation on the part of daughters.  You don't want your daughter to be a whore or a harlot or be seen that way because it reflects badly on your family.  She won't stop.  Something has to give.

Leaving aside that "culture specific" aspect of it, I think the Larger Construct (which our Feminist Theocracy refuses to face) is that as soon as you begin expanding the boundaries of what previously constituted whorish behaviour and normalize it and normalize being a harlot, you initiate a process that you have no control over as a society and which can only end very badly, as it did with Israel and Judah in Ezekiel's day. 

The flappers of the 1920s look pretty harmless in retrospect but they certainly didn't look harmless at the time and the choices that they made initiated all of the "free love" corruptions that followed.  And here we are.  Again. Ezekiel 16, I think, just defines the structure of the model.  Beauty is fine.  Beauty is to be celebrated.  Beauty is enamoured of self-adornment.  Self-adornment is fine: clothe beauty in beautiful trappings. 

But somewhere on that slippery slope, corruption creeps in.  Beauty and adornment become weapons to seduce Beauty away from God and then for Beauty (once seduced from the way of God) to seduce the faithful away from God:

Thou hast played the whore also with the Assyrians, because thou wast insatiable; yea thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet couldest not be satisfied.

Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Caldea, and yet thou wast not satisfied herewith.

How weak is thy heart, saith the Lord GOD, seeing thou does all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman?

It's not something that would register with the Feminist Theocracy, but I think it's the pertinent question:  how weak is thy heart?  And the answer is, I think, "VERY weak".  Whorishness lacks compassion and it lacks love.  It's concerned primarily with power and control.

[which is, I think, understandable.  Women's hearts BEGIN strong and are the dominant part of their lives and the source of their decision-making.  They are looking for Mr. Right even before they're remotely of marriageable age. "Someday My Prince Will Come".  And, until puberty, this urge is frustrated by the fact that they are looked down upon by boys.  Boys really don't want to associate with girls or to be seen as remotely girlish, which is a blow to the young female heart, no question.  The worm turns, however, after puberty as girls and boys develop physically and the hormones (whore moans) take over.  This is where the "adornment thing" runs amuck in women if it isn't controlled societally.  "If I'm getting THIS much attention just wearing jeans and a t-shirt, what can I do about my physical appearance, through adornment, to expand that level of attention?"  Well, you know, let me count the ways, starting with every page of every fashion magazine ever published.]

It requires a Question from God, to frame it in the right way:  How weak is thy heart?

That is, in order for you to become "insatiable" physically, in order for you to make of yourself an "imperious, whorish woman" you have to weaken your heart.  It's an "either/or".  An imperious, whorish woman is going to be less capable of experiencing love.  Lust? Yes.  Power? Yes. Control? Yes.  But each of those diminishes love. 

You can expand the question, personally:  How strong did your heart used to be?  How weak is your heart now compared to how it was then?  How much weaker can you stand to make your heart?  Has your heart become stronger or weaker as you've multiplied the number of your lovers? 

You can expand the question, societally:  how much is the weakening of your heart a regressive, societal thing?  You arrived into a female society -- a Feminist Theocracy -- that was already innately whorish when compared to the society in which your grandmother arrived and your great grandmother and your great-great-grandmother arrived.  So, arguably, you arrived into a society where your heart was only going to be allow to be "so" strong.  It was already bounded by whorish adornment as a given even when you were in the cradle.  Of COURSE you would use make-up.  Of COURSE you would wear tight-fitting clothes.  Of COURSE you would use your appearance to attract Mr. Right.  Of COURSE you had to compete with all other women, women with bigger boobs, lower cut tops, higher cut hemlines.  Of COURSE you would have lovers, MANY lovers, to stay competitive. 

"My Heart Will Go On". 

Well, yes, but that avoids the question, doesn't it?   The personal question and the societal question:  to what extent do you normalize whorish behaviour before you end up with a completely non-judgemental strict Feminist Theocracy society that, essentially, stacks all odds against the female heart from birth?  Your heart must be weakened in favour of lust, adornment, power and control.  If you want to just grow up, meet Mr. Right, marry and have children and then grand-children and then great grandchildren, you're going to have to do so swimming against Feminist Theocracy Rip Tides -- which were already formidable when you were born and how long ago was that?  How much stronger against the female heart are those Rip Tides today?

In Ezekiel's time, it was a matter of "delivering thee unto the will of them that hate thee, the [daughters/cities] of the Philistines which are ashamed of thy lewdness".

As I say, we seem to have come full circle.  The only formidable opposition to the Feminist Theocracy in our world is Islamists, like Hamas and Boko Haram (Western Culture Is Sinful), which are, indeed, "ashamed of thy lewdness". 

It's impossible to establish a "lewdness beachhead" and say, "This far and no further".  Whatever age a girl is born into, she is always going to be attempting to adorn her personal physical advantages in ways that push the borderline.  So the borderline is always going to move.  However lewd the Feminist Theocracy deems to be allowable today, that's how quaint that lewd behaviour and dress of today will be seen to be inside of a generation. 

The analogy is drawn between pagan worship and marital infidelity and making it distinct from prostitution, and, in fact comparing whoredom unfavourably to prostitution:

In thy daughters is thine eminent place in the head of every way and makest thy high place in every street and hast not been as a harlot in that thou scornest hire:

a wife that commiteth adultery, taketh strangers instead of her husband.

They give gifts to all whores, but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers and [hirest/bribest] them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom.

It seems to me that this is the end point you arrive at and which we are, again, today pointing at and arriving at.  When women choose, willfully, to weaken their own hearts and so, over successive generations, escalating and expanding the limits of newly normalized whorish behaviours, there is only so much skin that you can expose, only so many piercings and tattoos you can get, only so many behaviours you can indulge in before the competition is going to arrive at bribery.  "You not only get all this, but I'll buy you an expensive gift".  Clearly, in Ezekiel's time, they had arrived at that point.  It certainly has to be a hidden but inevitable element at this point -- it's right up ahead! -- given that the Feminist Theocracy is founded largely on materialism -- which it, structurally, strengthens -- and not the female heart -- which it, structurally, weakens.

And the contrary is in thee from women in thy whoredoms, whereas none followeth thee to commit whoredoms: and in that thou givest a reward, and no reward is given unto thee: therefore thou art contrary.

It's the Outer Limits of whorishness.  It's only the women of Israel and Judah that are experiencing this.  It is not a meme, it's not an idea that's spreading like wildfire into other cultures -- become a whore, but don't take money, bribe your "customers" -- it's appalling to the female heart except where it has become the foundation of female competitiveness.  I'm sure even the whores of other cultures were appalled.

It's what Lord GOD -- who I infer is God -- has been leading up to.  Identifying this.

And then stops and leaves it for YHWH, God's enactment of His first creation. 

So, YHWH, what do YOU have to say about this? Quite a lot as it turns out:

Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the YHWH.

Thus saith the Lord GOD…

[I need to interject and say that I don't think this is God speaking.  I think this is the YHWH attempting to evade what God had just enunciated by, in effect, saying "Hear the word of the YHWH: this is what God just told you…"]

[Which is interesting in its own way -- a continuation of the YHWH's therapy -- since it involves the YHWH basically passing judgement on his/her/its own choices enacted by human being.  "When I, God, said all that, what did you hear?"  is at least as interesting as "What, YHWH, do YOU believe?" although evasiveness is going to be pretty much a given:]

Because thy filthiness was poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms with thy lovers, and with all the idols of thine abominations, and by the blood of thy children, which thou didst give unto them…

That last bit raises my eyebrows since it appears to be an attempt to gloss over the fact of causing one's own children to pass through the fire -- human sacrifice -- by making it sound as if the children were just handed over as a gift to the lovers of Israel and Judah's women.

Behold therefore, I will gather all thy lovers with whom thou hast taken pleasure and all them that thou hast loved with all them that thou hast hated: I will even gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them that they may see all thy nakedness.

And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged, and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy. 

It's worth noting that, as in our own society, women who break wedlock and shed blood are judged with greater leniency than are men, a lot of that originating with Jewish Law framed by the YHWH.  An artful bit of evasiveness in asserting what the YHWH believes that Lord GOD is saying. 

And I will also give thee into their hand, and they shall throw down thine eminent place, and shall break down thy high places: they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy instruments of thine ornament and leave thee naked and bare. 

They shall bring up a company against thee and they shall stone thee with stones and thrust thee through with their swords. 

And they shall burn thy houses with fire, and execute judgements upon thee in the sight of many women:

That's about the least evasive passage, the most matter of fact assertion on the part of the YHWH as to what God has just said.  What it lacks in accurate self-awareness it is, at least, aware of inevitable consequence.

But that's, of course -- this being the YHWH -- temporary:

and I will cause thee to cease from playing the harlot, and thou also shalt give no hire any more.

Which is nonsense.  God doesn't cause anyone to cease from playing anything.  That's what free will is all about.  What the YHWH is attempting to do is to evade consequence by implying that it is God's job to make the women of Israel and Judah to cease from playing harlots and to keep them from bribing their lovers materially.  Which is artful.  It means if the women of Israel and Judah don't cease from playing the harlot and don't stop paying hire to their lovers, well, then whose fault will that be?  God's, of course! It's God's job to stop them as (compelled inference) it is God's job to stop the YHWH.

So will I make my fury towards thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will be quiet and will be no more angry.

There.  That was easy, wasn't it?  God just has to get it over with, stop being jealous of the YHWH and be quiet and stop being angry.

Because thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, but hast fretted me in all these things, behold therefore, I also will recompense thy way upon head, saith the Lord GOD: and thou shalt not commit this lewdness above all thine abominations.

Behold every one that useth proverbs shall use proverb against thee saying As the mother, so her daughter. 

I don't think this is God, I think, again, this is the YHWH trying to reiterate what God has said and trying at the same time to evade what God has said. 

The problem really isn't "As the mother, so her daughter" which seems to me inaccurate in two directions: 1) it implies that the situation isn't worsening which I think we can see in our own time period is built in.  If there is a flaw in the mother, that flaw is going to be worsened in the daughter and 2) it implies that there is no recourse, whereas recourse is always built in.  The mother has free will and the daughter has free will, so each is fully capable to improving rather than worsening themselves and their situations.  The problem is bad choices and a failure to see that negative consequences are a result of bad choices and that bad choices, once embarked upon, tend to build upon each other. 

But that's a tendency, not an inevitability.

In Ezekiel's time or today, all mothers and daughters could unanimously decide ten minutes from now to dress, behave, speak and act modestly.  That's the whole point of free will. 

Thou thy mothers daughter, that loatheth her husband and her children, and thou the sister of thy sisters which loathed their husbands and their children, your mother a Hittite and your father an Amorite.  And thine elder sister Samaria, she and her daughters, that dwell at thy left hand: and thy [younger, lower than thou] sister that dwelleth at thy right hand, Sodom and her daughters.

This is weirdly associative, attempting to convey the idea that "the daughter is as the mother" and that this is the fault of bad family --  an attempt to expand upon "your mother a Hittite and your father an Amorite" -- and that Israel and Judah are the way they are because of proximity to Samaria (and her daughters) and Sodom (and her daughters).  It's buck-passing:  she can't help it, look who she had for family and for neighbours. 

This is all a bit much for God to take, so He replies:

Yet hast thou not walked after their ways nor done after their abominations: but as a very little, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways. 

As I live saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.

Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: Pride, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me, therefore I took them away, as I saw. 

Neither hath Samaria committed half thy sins, but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast justified thy sisters in all thine abominations, which thou has done.

Thou also which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins, that thou hast committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters. 

When I shall bring again their captivity -- the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters -- then the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them:

That thou mayest bear thine own shame and mayst be confounded in all that thou hast done, in that thou art a comfort unto them.

When thy sisters -- Sodom and her daughters -- shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate.

For thy sister Sodom was not for a report by thy mouth in the day of thy prides; before thy wickedness was discovered -- as at the time of thy reproach of the daughters of Aram and all round about her -- the daughters of the Philistines which despise thee round about…

The YHWH can see where this is leading -- it's all pretty irrefutable stuff. 

The abominations which have taken place in Israel and Judah aren't the fault of Sodom and Samaria.  They have their faults, no question, and will bear the consequences of them in due course but (a critical point) this is the first time that the YHWH has so much as referred to Sodom as having any kind of link to the YHWH.  And, you know-- if you want to talk about Israel and Judah and how that relates to the "daughters of the neighbours" -- getting back to what the daughters of the Philistines think of the lewdness of the mothers and daughters of Israel and Judah…

As I say, the YHWH can see where this is leading and interrupts:

Thou hast born thy lewdness and thine abominations, saith the YHWH. 

It's an attempt to invert the situation -- to YHWH, YHWH is God, so this is leading to an indictment of Lord GOD by the YHWH.  The lewdness and abominations are God's. 

God, the very soul of patience, replies:

For thus saith the Lord GOD, I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the oath in breaking the covenant.

Then thou shalt remember thy ways and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters -- thine elder and thy younger -- and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant…

The YHWH sees where THIS is going and interjects:

And I will establish my covenant with thee, and thou shalt know that I, the YHWH.

Which God allows as an interjection but continues to refute as if He hadn't been interrupted:

that thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more: because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee, for all that thou hast done, sayeth the Lord GOD.

That is:  this is how this is going to go.  First YHWH has to remember and when YHWH remembers, YHWH will be confounded by the remembrance of how things actually are, who the YHWH actually is and what the YHWH has chosen to be and to say.  And it is the YHWH who will then be quiet because of the YHWH's shame. 

And it is THAT that will pacify God.

Okay.  That does it for Chapter 16.  Ramadan starts next week so I'll be writing commentaries but I won't be reading Ezekiel past chapter 29 for a month or so.

But that will give me a chance to address Ezekiel 17-29. 



Next Time: I don't know. That's "future" Matt's problem. I'm "past" Matt, and everything here is rosy. Row-Z!


whc03grady said...

Dave sure had/has an idiosyncratic definition of "feminist", or of "theocracy", or of both. Even in 2014 it would've be risible to assert that we live in a feminist theocracy by any reasonable definition of those terms.


Jack said...

Dave Sim is not a misogynist; he's just a guy who thinks it's okay to kill your daughter for being "whorish." What an asshole.

Jeff said...

In the past, Jack, I would have risen to the lure, but I have decided not to read these Sunday commentaries until they are finished. I think we have a few years to go.

Apparently, $10,000 US gets you a lot of verbiage. If Dave ever can draw again, $10,000 might get me the commission I suggested a long time ago. Dave demurred back then, saying that it might only fuel the fire for his detractors.

Nevertheless, can't we all just get along? Without epithets?

Wait and see.

P.S.: I do find it interesting and somewhat amusing that, while Dave eschews reciting commentaries of the Torah, the Bible, and the Quran, on Sundays, he went to great lengths to do these commentaries.

Jack said...

Jeff, I didn't read the whole thing either, but here's what I came across when I skimmed it:

"We see it in the outrage at honour killings in Western society -- or 'honour' killings as it is now framed -- as committed exclusively by Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims. Which can really be described as extreme responses to extreme provocation on the part of daughters. You don't want your daughter to be a whore or a harlot or be seen that way because it reflects badly on your family. She won't stop. Something has to give."

No, I can't get along with someone who says this shit or refrain from calling him an asshole. (Of course, I should just ignore him, which is what virtually everyone else on the planet seems to be doing, as only three people even bothered to comment here.) And at this point, I don't know how anyone can possibly justify signing a petition that says they don't think he's a misogynist.

By the way, another thing I came across while skimming his post was, "Whorishness lacks compassion and it lacks love." If your daughter is one of those fucking whores who lacks compassion and love, you're just gonna have to murder the bitch.

Tony Dunlop said...

I'm hesitant to jump in here, but it's pretty clear from the context that dave isn't condoning "honor killings" as widely practiced in parts of South and West Asia (and from time to time by immigrants from those parts of the world in the West), but just describing one actually-existing (albeit extreme) reaction to a recurring pattern of cultural norms which Dave (and the Old Testament prophets, among others) find abhorrent.

He's not saying that is an appropriate response to those norms. I can't bring myself to thoroughly read these things either, but a skim of the rest of the post, I think, bears my reading out.

As they say on the Interwebs, YMMV.