STORY 1. WHY YOU MUST OBEY GOD WITHOUT DEMUR
Moses, as commanded by God, brought Jews out of a life with a job at the mills in Egypt, good food and clothing. He then led them though forty years of misery, uncertainty and death. When they complained, God never let up reminding them that it was He who released them from slavery in Egypt and that by His miracle, their sandals never wore out; their clothes never tore. God’s constant refrain convinced the few surviving Jews that they were indeed slaves in Egypt – something they handn’t realized while they were there. The younger Jews must have been pretty confused – for they had never seen Egypt. Those who had, mostly died of starvation, thirst or exhaustion, or just dreaming of the bygone days in Egypt, which they called the land flowing with milk and honey.
God made Moses the leader of his favored Jewish race and his brother Aaron the priest – thereby separating government and the church. Yet all was not well. The constant bickering by his half-starved followers and the slow reaction by God frustrated Moses. In this process, while the tribe was crying hoarse for water, Moses did something terrible. Instead of speaking to a rock for water, as commanded by God, Moses struck it angrily with his staff. Water gushed out, but God did not forget the slighting. This is a moral for every reader of this story. If God tells you something to your face, do it just as you are told. Snakes, elephants and God never forget.
A man named Korah and two hundred-fifty men rebelled against Moses and Aaron. They demanded a democratic setup: all of us Jews are favorites of God, we’re all holy; why on earth was Moses assuming the leadership and Aaron taking up the priesthood for himself and his descendants? Moses secretly instructed God: ““Do not respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, nor have I hurt one of them.” Next morning, when Korah and the two-hundred-fifty men went to offer incense to God along with the rest of the Jews, God separated all other than Korah and his men. Then the earth swallowed up all the rebels along with – God never forgets – their households. That settled the matter of leadership and priesthood.
For no particular reason, except that God commanded what he pleased, Aaron the priest was disrobed and his priestly apparel was put on his son Eleazar by Moses as commanded by God. Soon enough Aaron died and was buried in a mountain; now it was time for Moses to die at the age of a hundred and twenty. At the instance of God, Moses, without being disrobed, assigned his inheritance of leadership on Joshua, the son of Nun, son of an unknown.
God was in the mood to give a huge sprawling land to his favorite tribe of the surviving Jews after all the ordeal He had put them through. However, since He never lets pass a grudge, He made Moses die before he could see the land which God was to gift to his people. Once he was dead, God forgot the grudge and buried Moses with his own hands in a grave on a secret mountainside.
God hated Jericho, the city where dark-skinned Canaanites whom, several centuries later, Jesus described as dogs dwelled – partly because he hated Canaanites for being suspiciously black (which is seed for another story), and partly because they had killed some Jews in a battle before retreating to Jericho around which, like a certain Donald Trump did in his fantasy, they built a huge impregnable wall. God was omnipotent, no doubt, but he was too impotent to look into this Jericho’s gated community to ascertain how strong the black army was. So he asked Joshua to have the place spied. Joshua sent two men into the city for the noble job of intelligence gathering. The men, like James Bond of a later era and of a different fantasy, went straight and found cozy lodging with a prostitute named Rahab.
What report these two men brought home after their pleasurable sojourn is, expectedly, a secret. After they had collected all the intelligence, Rahab the holy prostitute secretly let them out. Anticipating a favorable spy report, Joshua had all the men circumcised as per a sacred covenant God had signed with his great ancestor named Abraham. The penile heads, God bless them, were soon healed, and Joshua was ready to attack and destroy the entire population of Jericho as per the standard prescription of the merciful God – kill men, women and children, smash little babies on the ground, tear open pregnant wombs, then destroy cattle and everything else with the edge of the sword. In this case, however, the prescription was slightly different. The whole lot of people of the above description in Jericho were to be incinerated. God loved variety in his sacred plans for genocide of those who worshipped other Gods.
Joshua was willing and ready, but faced an obstacle – how to cross Trump’s Mexican wall that blocked unwelcome immigrants? Those many thousand years ago. God knew what you did not know. The principle of destruction by Sound Wave resonance. PODBSWR . This is the same principle that the US (or was it British?) army was to learn eons later when they marched in step on a bridge. The bridge collapsed, and the synchronous marchers were drowned.
Atheists say God and science never meet. As always, atheists are wrong and will burn in hell. It was God who devised the said PODBSWR principle and He decided to put it to good use in Jericho. He instructed Joshua to conduct a route march, blowing trumpets while marching, followed by priests in step, around the walls of Jericho once every day for a week. The ground and the wall were to shudder to the trumpet sound. Men were not to shout lest their non-rhythmic noise thwarted the steady rise in amplitude of the resonant wave. Bewildered because of ignorance, but knowledgeable of the consequence of God’s wrath, the men marched and blew their trumpets to the beat. Apparently the men on the other side of the wall cared a hoot or were too deaf to realize what was happening and why. At the end of seven days, God asked for seven continuous route marches on the same day without letting up the trumpets. With one final burst of thunder from the trumpets, the walls collapsed faster than the twin towers were to fall when a couple of airplanes hit them forty centuries later.
At God’s orders, Joshua mounted a fierce attack with torches, but before that he had Rehab the prostitute, her parents and the rest of her family as well as her slaves (since Rehab must have been a rich prostitute) honorably removed from the city and put up near the Israeli camp. God is considerate and rewards those who spy for Him – particularly fifth-columnist prostitutes – who were otherwise to be stoned. Then the city was set on fire, just as Jews who were to be barricaded in their synagogues and burnt to death in the crusades that were to come much later. God, as you should know, loved tit-for-tat and an eye-for-an eye. That, anyway, is a much later story where God’s begotten son set his own people against his father’s favored race.
As for Jericho, Joshua followed the formula set by God to a T. Men, women children, babes in the womb, cattle and everything else were destroyed in the inferno. God and Joshua, you can bet, loved the screams that rent the air. The fire also annihilated every material except gold and silver – which, being a genius, God had anticipated and had instructed that they be carried for safe keep in God’s treasury which exists in heaven and is guarded by neutered cherubs.
Having laid Jericho to waste, Joshua issued a solemn warning that anyone who rebuilt the city would be severely punished. The punishment, as is God’s law, would go to the children of the culprit. This law, which states that the iniquity of a man will visit his children to the third and fourth generation in Commandment No.2 (of ten) and in Exodus 34:7, exists peacefully with the Deuteronomy (24:16) law that Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children nor shall children by put to death because of their fathers. In the sacred horror stories that crowd the Holy Bible, you’d learn that God preferred the kill-the-children law of Exodus at all times and that the Deut law was for the guidance of apologetics who were to be born three or four millennia later.
Before the embers of Jericho cooled, Joshua, goaded by God, just as Eisenhower and four other Presidents were goaded by God’s man Billy Graham to carpet-bomb Vietnam, attacked the next city named Al, determined to kill the king and the population, but this time to keep all the booty for himself and his men as promised by the merciful God. However, despite God’s assurance of victory, Joshua and his men were routed. Dozens of his soldiers were put to the sword.
Like the brave man he was, Joshua fell on the ground, ate dust like the accursed snake and cried like the even more accursed woman (Read Genesis 1 and 2, if you do not know). God ruled that the defeat was not due to any flaw in the divine promise, but due to a sin committed by the Jews. He threatened to abandon the Jews for this cardinal sin of disobedience. Some of your men had stolen things that were condemned to destruction, he explained, his voice quivering in anger while Joshua and his men shivered in utter fear.
When the pandemonium created by the quiver and the shivers subsided, God’s anger cooled a little. “Arrange a roll call tomorrow morning,” He ordered, retreating for the day. Ever since the seventh day of Creation, God needed rest at the end of the day.
When the roll was called and men – a tribe in each platoon – stood in formation and attention, God called out the tribe of Judah to step forward. From that tribe, the clan of Zera was ordered to step out. Then the family of Zabdi from the clan of Zera got the chilling command. Finally, Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi of the clan of Zera was picked out.
No doubt piddling in his pants, Achan confessed to stealing a Babylonian cloak for its beauty and five pounds of silver and a pound of gold for their value. The illegal booty, he admitted, was buried behind his tent. This part of the story proves that God is all knowing; like a good detective in any thriller, He just wanted the culprit to confess in public before awarding the sentence. The stolen things were presented to God who in his omniscience would have known if anything was missing.
Just as God would have wished, and as he watched in amusement like a Mullah from Afghanistan, Joshua and his men stoned Achan to death. Justice not fully done in God’s eyes, they stoned his entire family – wife, children, parents and slaves. God heaved a sigh of pleasure when the thud of the stones were followed by shrill screeches, which were music to God’s ears.