Book of Exodus
| Light iron-age reading|
|Gabbin' with God|
“”The truth is that virtually every modern archaeologist who has investigated the story of the Exodus, with very few exceptions, agrees that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way it happened, if it happened at all.
|—Rabbi David Wolpe, Passover sermon|
Exodus is the second book of the Bible, which chronicles Moses' negotiations with Pharaoh to "Let my people go", the handing down of the official club rules by the man upstairs, the ten really nice plagues upon Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea and so on. Just a real dog and pony show, the whole book.
Adventures of Moses
Moses was about eighty years old when he began his quest to free the Hebrews from the pharaoh. Moses may have lost his teeth by this time since he tried to tell the Lord via the "burning bush" that he wasn't a good public speaker; the Lord was ready for this one: Appoint your brother Aaron to do the talking. Moses and Aaron then went forth to confront Pharaoh.
The Ten Commandments
- The altar to God should not have steps; otherwise, people might look up the clothes of the person ahead of them. (Exodus 20:26)
- Priests must wear special undergarments when they approach the altar. Otherwise, they die of guilt. (Exodus 28:42-43)
Based on taking a reading of Exodus at face value (fiery plumes of smoke on a mountain), God may or may not have actually been a volcano, and Moses may have just been a member of a tribe mad enough to climb it — so when he came back down spouting lunacy, it seems less surprising. This is why taking the story literally is absurd. Sadly, it still doesn't tell us how long a damn cubit is.[note 1]
Parting the Red Sea
The Red Sea crossing is described in the book of Exodus, but there's absolutely no extra-biblical support for the story of the Israelites' flight from Egypt or even their presence there under the circumstances of the Bible in the first place. Somehow the entire nation of Israel managed to amble around the area for forty years, leaving behind no evidence of their travels. The Egyptians, famed for their pedantic record keeping, failed to notice the disappearance of around two million slaves and the death by drowning of some large number of their soldiers.[note 2]
Or was it the Reed Sea?
The location in question is assumed to be the "Reed Sea", based on a slight mistranslation.
It may have been the Ballah Lake, which was part of Lake Menzaleh before the building of the Suez Canal. The name "Reed Sea" was also applied to the Gulf of Suez (Numbers 33:10-11) and the Gulf of Aqaba (Numbers 21:4, 1 Kings 9:26). The Great Bitter Lake may also be identified with the "Reed Sea", but it can also be identified with the Marah ("Bitter") of Exodus 15:23, for it is the first location with noticeably bitter waters before Elim (Ayun Musa).
The interesting fact about this is that people often cite it when trying to prove the Bible — and specifically the events described therein — as a verified fact. As parting the Red Sea is a miracle and most certainly impossible by all known science, crossing a slightly damp marsh is far more credible.
The Ten Plagues
Thousands of Jews are supposedly enslaved by the Egyptian pharaoh. I don't wanna sound like Mel Gibsons dad here, but we can't find any evidence for that. None. Really, none. Floods we find, but enslaved Jews in Egypt? Nowhere outside of the damn bible.
So Moses — we have no evidence of Moses outside of the damn bible either, none — comes to pharaoh and says "Let my people go!". No note from God, nothing. Pharaoh says "No!". Now, why wouldn't just God appear to pharaoh and say it himself? Because God works in mysterious, inefficient, and breathtakingly cruel ways.
Pharaoh says "No!" so God releases a set of ten plagues upon Egypt.
- Plague #1: All waters in Egypt turn to blood. And all of the fish die. See? So the fish that got a free pass in Noah's story get fucked in the blood water. Maybe the fish were gloating, and God hates gloaters.
- Plague #2: Frogs infest Egypt. Yuck, I've been to Egypt — this isn't good for the frogs either.
- Plague #3: Lice cover every man and beast. Normal for that period, so — not that big a deal.
- Plague #4: A cloud of insects attack the people. Yuck again — yeah God, get the insects to fight your fucking battles for you.
- Plague #5: A severe pestilence strikes the livestock. Well they're already covered in lice, and frogs, and bugs — they wanna die. God, as Kevorkian, finally shows some mercy.
- Plague #6: All Egyptians are covered in boils. Again — who can tell the fucking difference at this point?
- Plague #7: Thunder, hail and fire. Hail, and frogs… just a fucking mess.
- Plague #8: Locusts. Yeah, whatever God — bring it on. This is just food for the frogs not smushed by the hail.
- Plague #9: Darkness for three days. At least you can't see the gross-out.
- Plague #10: First born Egyptian child dies. There's a kind God.
Now free, Moses leads the Jews to the Red Sea, and he parts the water as neatly as George W. Bush parts his hair, and they dance through the sea corridor.
Literal. Story. You people crack me up.
Moses: The Anti-Adam
- Adam: Lived in paradise,
- Moses: Wandered for a generation in a desert hell.
- Adam: Created by God's own hands.
- Moses: Buried by God's own hands.
- Adam: Ejected from Eden by God.
- Moses: Led from Egypt by God.
- Adam: Made the sweet soil bitter and unyielding by eating from a tree whose real effects were hidden from Adam by God.
- Moses: Made the bitter waters of Mara sweet by throwing a tree revealed by Yahweh into it.
- Adam: Name means "red earth"
- Moses: Led people across the "Red Sea"
- Adam: First-born son committed the earliest murder, which has plagued mankind ever since.
- Moses: Last plague was the murder of all Egyptian first-born sons.
- A cubit was the distance from the elbow to the middle fingertip — in practice this varied a lot, of course. It was about forty to fifty centimetres, depending whose forearm was measured.
- The figure of two million is based on extrapolation of figures provided in Exodus and Numbers.