The Old Testament earns street cred by sexing it up for the masses, in some pretty tawdry and depraved ways.
Years later, after Isaac turned 30, his sex slave bore him twins: Jacob, who was a pretty baby, and Esau, who was a big, hairy brute. As they matured, Esau became a big wheeler-dealer, but Jacob remained a sweet, simple doofus. Father Isaac favored Esau, who bought his love with yummy food bribes. Mother Rebekah preferred Jacob, because he didn’t think of himself as a big hotshot. Unfortunately, Jacob was too simple to create a livelihood, so he grew near the point of starvation. Seeing his brother tending a delicious-smelling stew, Jacob begged his hoity-toity brother to feed him. But Esau was an entrepreneur before he was a brother, and like most men, he wasted no time in blackmailing his weaker sibling. “Oh sure- I’ll feed you, loser. But you must first agree to surrender your birthright as firstborn. When dad kicks the bucket, I get all the spoils- you get squat.” Jacob didn’t see what good an inheritance was if he starved to death first, so he reluctantly agreed.
When Isaac grew old his eyesight failed and he soon grew tired of the world, so he decided to die. But he also decided, that like a condemned man, he wanted to eat one last feast. So he called Esau, the successful hunter to his side and asked him to provide one final meal of a savory murdered deer. In exchange, Isaac would offer his younger son his much sought-after blessing. Unbeknownst to father and son, wife and mother Rebecca was eavesdropping because she was such a busybody that she just had to meddle in everybody’s shit. And she played favorites. Esau was too much of a brute for her. She preferred the more pliable Jacob who was much more easily manipulated. So the minute Esau took off to hunt for father’s supper, she sought-out her milquetoast son Jacob, proposing they commit a fraud on old man Isaac. Preparing the venison feast her husband desired, she instructed Jacob to bring it to the blind old fart, while impersonating his blue collar brother, to steal the blessing that was rightfully Esau’s. “Good plan!” enthused Jacob. “But Esau is so much harrier than I. What if dad tries to feel my hand or face? Surely the smoothness will give me away.” Not to worry! Mama has a plan.
Dressing her namby-pamby son in his butch brother’s workclothes, she used discarded goat’s skin to fashion hairy gloves and a fake beard. That oughtta do the trick! So tricky Jacob approached is easily fooled old man, pretending to be Esau. Giving dad the edible bribe he requested, Jacob asked, feigning his brother’s gruff voice, for the promised blessing. Bud pa was a little taken aback. “How did you find a deer, kill it and cook it for me so fast?” he asked. How to respond? When in doubt, do what men always do- blame God. “Your bright, shiny God brought it to me.” he lied. But blind Isaac was still confused. The voice he heard sure sound a whole lot more like the runt than the celebrated son. So he reached out to feel Jacob’s hands and face… Yup. Hairy as a dog. So Isaac dug into the feast and lavished his praise on the undeserving son. Having gotten what he wanted, Jacob departed at once, to gloat with his scheming mother.
Just then, Esau arrived with the feast he had just butchered and prepared for his father. “Whoa!” said dad. “I just ate the meal you prepared, and offered you my blessing. Now you’re back already?” At this moment, both men realized that they had been punked. But dad only had one blessing to confer- and that was a done deal. Can’t take back a blessing! So Isaac offered Esau a second, markedly different blessing: “For this, you will suffer all your life as your brother’s toady! But eventually, after years of torment, you and your usurping bro will trade fates. Naturally, this killed any remnants of familial love Esau may still have harbored for his plotting brother. Esau vowed to himself, that as soon as their dad keeled over and dropped dead (should be any day now…) his brother was toast! But when two-faced mom Rebekah got this news, she sent for Jacob to warn him. When he answered the summons, she sent Jacob a way to live with his uncle Laban, until Esau’s considerable wrath subsided.
On his way out he door, Isaac called Jacob to him with some last-minute instructions, saying: “Whatever you do out there, don’t you dare marry outside the family, boy! Choose among your uncle’s daughters or you will destroy centuries of inbreeding and muddy our pure, puritanical blood!” And with this, Jacob hit the road, Jack.
Our prodigal son travelled all day towards his uncle’s crib, but when night fell, he felt compelled to stop and rest. Taking a hard stone for a pillow to prove he was tough, Jacob fell fitfully asleep and began to dream vividly.
In his vision, he saw a great staircase to Heaven, as any simpleton might. Angels were scurrying up to Heaven and down to Earth. The Prime Dude sat on his gaudy throne on high- judging, as He was wont to do, thinking Himself greater than any other being. God lifted His peering eyes and declared: “Dude! I’m with you! And to prove it, I have a present. The land you now lie sleeping in, I give to you and your gadzillions of descendants. You’ll have to leave come morning, but I’ll drag you back here eventually as surely as death follows condemnation. So chill, Jake. Don’t worry, be happy!” Jacob awoke, creeped-out to his core. He had his doubts, but just in case, he took the stone that had been his punishing pillow, and vowed that if his vision was more than a cruel nocturnal hallucination, and if indeed God did favor him and his future progeny with clothes and food and prosperity, and did indeed bring him back to this spot to be landlord- he would build a spectacular earthly guesthouse for Massive Mr. God.
To seal the deal, Jacob offered to bribe the greedy deity with 10% of his profits. Frankly, God thought His cut awfully stingy, but went along with it anyway, knowing He could just reach His big fat hand down from Heaven at any time, and steal anything He coveted from helpless Jacob, or any other lowly humanoid.
Yep, God is nothing, if not a gangster…
In the final chapter of CHILDREN’S BIBLE FOR ADULTS… Well, you’ll just have to check in and see. Wouldn’t want to spoil the ending!
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A few years ago, I came across a copy of a children’s illustrated Bible in a free pile at a yard sale, and perusing the garish and lurid drawings I decided it might be an interesting read. No kidding! What a strange, twisted, perverted bunch of elaborate hooey it is. Intended to brainwash and indoctrinate impressionable young minds, I found it both alarming and as fascinating to watch as a train wreck. Part way through, I found myself reinterpreting each passage in my mind as I read it, in a most amusing and sacrilegious way, and thought it might be fun to transcribe these reimaginings as I went, with a bent toward illuminating the hidden or inferred meanings buried in the text. As I neared the end of the Old Testament, I became aware that as a piece of literature, it is crap, providing no ending whatsoever, but just kind of petering out in a couple half-hearted parables that seemed all but devoid of meaning. So I scrapped the project and forgot all about it. But when the first draft reemerged from the jetsam of my life, I gave it a read, and found myself laughing out loud throughout. As far as I’m concerned, this is an appropriate reaction to the Bible…
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