It seems like for every person who has sat down and studied the Christian Bible cover to cover, there are several hundred who know only what they picked up from half-remembered Sunday school lessons and that Mel Gibson movie. So, as we've covered previously, many of the things we think came straight out of the Bible actually aren't mentioned in there at all.
But if many of the most iconic features of Christianity aren't taking up space in the holy book, it makes one wonder just what, in fact, is in there. Well, for starters, there's ...
#5. God Getting into a Wrestling Match With a Man (and Tapping Out)
What You Know
If the Old Testament taught us anything, it's that God is one bad dude -- badder than Leroy Brown by a factor immeasurable, because He's freaking God. Seriously, we remember the whole "Superman could beat up Batman" playground argument as kids being brought to an untimely end by that one killjoy religious kid who said, "Well, God could beat them both up!" And there's no arguing with that because, as the creator of the universe, God created ass-kicking.
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And the Japanese were all like "We have mods for everything."
What You Didn't Know
If you're not a total novice, you know that one of the key figures early in the Bible is Jacob, aka the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. We're not going to recount his whole story here, but at one point he's running for his life and finds himself all alone in the desert. Just a man and his thoughts.
Oh, and God, who, out of nowhere, grabs Jacob from behind. Now, you might think that being grabbed from behind by the Big Guy himself pretty much means your ass is ash, but not so with Jacob -- nope, Jacob wrestles Him (not knowing that it's Him, with a capital "H") all night long.
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And God said, let there be ass-kicking. And there was ass-kicking.
When dawn arrives and the two are still going at it, God realizes that he has accidentally solved the ancient thought experiment, "Could God create a wrestler so badass that not even He could pin him?" and figures out He's not going to win. So instead he touches Jacob's hip and causes it to go out of the socket. This is probably an illegal move, but who are you going to complain to?
But Jacob still won't relent, so something unexpected happens: God asks Jacob to let Him go, and Jacob -- still not knowing who he has in a headlock -- demands that his attacker bless him first. It's only then that he finds out what's really happening -- that he's essentially beaten up God.
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"Oh, hey, dude, I was just kidding. We're cool, right?"
And you might not have guessed it (what with His penchant for plagues and smiting and stuff), but God is apparently not a sore loser. He did indeed bless Jacob, with a new name:
"And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed."
We should note here that there are different versions of the text, and some translations say that it was merely an angel sent by God that Jacob wrestled into submission, which honestly only makes the story about 10 percent less weird.
#4. Jesus' Many Brothers and Sisters
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What You Know
The virgin birth of Jesus is one of the very cornerstones of Christianity. You know the drill: God sent the Holy Spirit down from heaven to plant His son directly into Mary's womb, skipping right over what is arguably the one and only fun part of the human pregnancy. Some denominations (like the biggest of them all, Roman Catholicism) take it one step further, teaching that not only was Mary a virgin until giving birth to Jesus, but that she led her entire life dong-free.
"What? Oh, no, I'm fine. Just daydreaming. Not about dicks, though."
What You Didn't Know
In a revelation that just gave us an idea for the bitchingest family sitcom ever, it turns out Jesus wasn't the only brat tinkering around in Joseph's wood shop, because according to the Bible, he had brothers and sisters. This isn't some obscure trivia: Jesus' siblings are referenced right here in Mark 6:3:
"Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him."
Well, they were after they saw some of the drunken texts he was sending out.
And the holy siblings pop up again in Matthew 13:55-56:
"Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Juda? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?"
So there were not only at least four brothers, but multiple sisters. All growing up in the same house as the Messiah. This doesn't change anything in terms of what the various sects believe (the "Mary was always a virgin" theory figures the kids were Joseph's from a previous marriage), but it does mean the Bible left out some of the most interesting stories. Did the other kids get along with Jesus? At what point did they know he wasn't just another kid (he started schooling church elders as early as age 12)? If nothing else, it had to have made things weird around Christmas.
#3. David the Giant Slayer/Power Rapist
What You Know
David, second king of the United Kingdom of Israel, is without question one of the Old Testament's most recognizable characters. The wimp-to-badass story of young David going up against the giant Goliath armed with nothing but a slingshot is easily one of the most memorable passages in the Bible.
So, what happened next? Well, David won, obviously. At least, that's the only part of the story most Renaissance artists seemed to care about.
"And lo, then did David unscrew Goliath's head and shit down his neck."
What You Didn't Know
There's a reason your Sunday school's VHS copy of David and Goliath ran out of tape before getting into King David's reign: If it were any longer, it would have touched upon how one of the first things David did as king was subject the wife of one of his soldiers to what Old Testament scholar Richard M. Davidson described as "power rape."
David was walking around on the rooftop of his palace one night -- you know, being king -- when he spied a hot woman bathing (it's only creepy if you're not the fucking king). Rather than doing the decent thing and rubbing one out right there on the rooftop, David instead had the woman fetched to the palace so he could perform some kingly insemination on her. This put David in a bit of a pickle: The woman, Bathsheba, was not only married, but her husband, Uriah the Hittite, was a soldier in King David's army.
"Doh, is my face red. Just goes to show it pays to check beforehand, huh?"
In an attempt to cover up what he'd done, David ordered Uriah to immediately go home and bang Bathsheba so that if she got pregnant, nobody would get suspicious. But when Uriah refused to go home out of respect for his fellow soldiers who were still on the field, David arranged for him to be sent to the frontlines of a battle (aka "the place where all the arrows land") to make sure he'd never come back. It worked out just as he wanted: The guy was killed.
Probably in slow motion.
Now, we're not suggesting that David's douchebaggery went unpunished. Bathsheba's baby died, and David's kingdom was subsequently subjected to some good ol' Old Testament smiting. However, it's hard to argue that David used his newfound king status for anything other than being a colossal dickbag, especially when you consider the fact that before his devoted soldier's corpse was even cold, he married Bathsheba and knocked her up again forthwith.