It must be pretty boring being God. Imagine spending 10,000 years playing the same Sid Meier game and none of your dudes will cooperate with your orders. Amidst all the moral lessons and dubious historical accounts, the Bible is chock-full of examples of God just messing with people, apparently for shits and giggles. For example ...
The Book of Ezekiel is about a conversation between God and the priest Ezekiel, mostly about why God is going to destroy Jerusalem (spoiler: because they're a bunch of assholes). Ezekiel is supposed to go to the city and tell them about it, but God doesn't really expect them to listen (remember: assholes).
To make things fun, there's a catch: Ezekiel can't just tell them God's plan. Instead, he takes away Ezekiel's ability to speak, and then forces him to communicate the message through an elaborate game of charades. See? Fuckin' with us.
First, God gives Ezekiel a scroll and tells him to eat it.
"Can I get some ketchup?"
OK, that's not the weirdest thing God has ever told someone to do. Plus it tastes like honey. So far, so good. Then God tells Zeke to construct a little scale model of Jerusalem out of clay, and stomp the crap out of it like a bully wrecking a sand castle. This is, we guess, the less subtle part of the prophecy.
Then God just wants to see how far he will go. He tells Ezekiel to lie down on his left side and stay there for 390 days. Then he's allowed to roll over -- presumably with one hell of a cramp and a bad case of bed sores -- but he has to lie on his right side for another 40 days, pointing at the squashed remains of the Jerusalem model the whole time so that people really get the message.
Future artists would be less subtle.
God, snickering, just cannot believe he's doing all this, so he really ups the game: The entire time, Ezekiel is allowed to eat nothing but bread that he cooked on a bonfire of human poop. This is the part of the prank show where most victims would start looking around for hidden cameras, but not Ezekiel. He just stoically bargains God down to cow poop instead and mistakenly calls it a victory.
At various points, the Bible dictates that children who disobey their parents should be executed, while those who mock their parents should merely get their eyes plucked out. At one point, kids who laugh at a prophet for being bald get eaten by bears. Oh, that doesn't mean God really, really wants children to be good. He just hates kids. And you, for having kids. In fact, fuck you buddy, eat your kids.
If there are any left after the bears get through with them, obviously.
Seriously, God makes that threat a lot. In Leviticus, he warns the people of Israel that if they fail to obey his laws, he will strike them down with famine and disease until "You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters." In Deuteronomy, he does it again, but expands the threat to assure his people that they won't be allowed to eat their nephews instead: "Even the most gentle and sensitive man among you will have no compassion on his own brother or the wife he loves or his surviving children, and he will not give to one of them any of the flesh of his children that he is eating."
In the Book of Jeremiah, God warns the Israelites to cut out all the false idol worship, and if they don't, they're going to lead an unfulfilling spiritual life. Oh wait, no -- eat your kids. And after they're done, he'll make them eat their friends too.
Rembrandt van Rijn
At least Jer's got some nice fancy plates to eat them off of.
The threat even turns up in Ezekiel, as part of the prophet's rant against Jerusalem. Here, God promises that not only will fathers be forced to eat their children, but the children will also eat their fathers. We don't even know how that's supposed to work, or in what order. Like a ... a sort of Ouroboros human centipede thing? That's messed up, God.
Moses' brother Aaron had two sons, Nadab and Abihu. They appear only briefly in Leviticus, when Moses is showing the priests how to priest properly. Following the rules prescribed by God, Aaron slaughters some animals, cuts off the bits he's supposed to cut off, lays the offerings down on the altar in the correct way, lights up some incense, and waits. God approves of the ritual and makes a big light show to tell Aaron that he did well, and all the priests celebrate a job well done.
Next, Nadab and Abihu do the exact same thing. Only this time, God instantly incinerates the brothers in a furious hellstorm right in front of their horrified father.
Providence Lithograph Co.
"Hey, you think we used too much lighter fluid on that?"
Now, there's been a lot of debate among scholars about what exactly Nadab and Abihu did wrong. Some have suggested that they used the wrong incense ("Is that the pine bullshit? Nobody likes that pine bullshit!"), while others think they may have lit the fire wrong. Either way, Moses puts his arm around Aaron and basically tells him, "Yeah, your kids explode sometimes. C'est la vie!"
Aaron's surviving children and nephews then have to bury the dead brothers, but Moses warns them to be doubly careful, because if they make God any angrier by complaining or even not combing their hair properly, he'll probably kill everyone in Israel. Why? Well, you've guided all your Sims to the pool and then removed the ladder. You know why.
Exodus: Moses wants to free the Israelites from Egypt, but the Pharaoh won't let them go, so God sends ten horrible plagues against the Egyptians to show them who's boss. After each plague, the Pharaoh remains stubborn, so God has to step it up a notch, over and over again, until he's finally just straight-up killing babies.
It was a tossup between that and kicking puppies down the stairs.
The Pharaoh and the Egyptians are obviously the bad guys here and deserve everything that's coming to them -- unless you consider that, according to the Bible itself, the Pharaoh did not restrain the Israelites by his own free will. Every time God threw frogs or locusts or bees at him (bees were one of the plagues, right?) the Pharaoh considers letting the Israelites go, but God forces him to change his mind.
After each passage that describes one of the plagues, the Bible says, "The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart." God is playing both sides of this conflict. Even after Pharaoh finally releases the people and sends them out toward the Red Sea, God makes him change his mind again and send his army out to pursue them to a watery grave. Though he's always painted as the villain, the Pharaoh didn't really have any say in the matter from the beginning.
It's OK; he made himself a bunch of statues to feel better.
Biblical scholars have argued about why God would directly intervene in the Pharaoh's free will to constantly force him to defy God's own wishes, and the best response that they can give is that God just wanted to prove his power to everyone. In short, he promised ten plagues, and dammit, he was going to give them ten plagues. It would have spoiled his fun if the Pharaoh gave up after, like, three.
The Book of Leviticus is a particularly uneventful part of the Old Testament. It's mostly just a bunch of rules about rituals, instructions for priests, and obscure moral laws that God pulled out of a hat. It's marginally more interesting than reading a law school textbook, if only because of the graphic violence.
Here's a man being stoned to death, in one of the more lighthearted moments.
But if you can read Leviticus without falling into a coma, you'll notice that God has some pretty high standards for who should be allowed to worship at his altar. There are the slightly more reasonable rules -- like God doesn't want any bald or beardless guys, and nobody who isn't married to a virgin. Absolutely no divorcees or widows, and absolutely no prostitutes. It's like a bizarrely specific dating profile; he stops just short of demanding you be both cut and vegan.
But then he goes on to order that nobody with any kind of "defect" may come to his altar either. What constitutes a "defect"? God has an extensive list that he's very pleased to read out.
It includes no blind people -- in fact, nobody with bad eyesight of any kind. So if you wear glasses or contacts, you're probably out. Nobody who has a crippled foot or hand, so that old college sports injury probably rules you out. If you have a "flat nose," you're out. If you have sores or scabs, you're out. Nobody with a bad back. Nobody with "damaged testicles." And for some reason, God makes it very clear: Absolutely no dwarfs.
"And lo, did he say unto them, 'Thou must be this tall to ride this altar.'"
These people are still welcome to praise God, of course (and by "welcome," he means "required," unless fiery death is on their bucket list) but they're not allowed to approach him with offerings. Because yea, the lord, he swipeth left on thee.
While Moses is leading his 600,000-strong congregation of Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land, they begin to complain that the Arabian Desert isn't exactly a Golden Corral Buffet. The only thing they have to eat is bread made out of coriander seeds, and they start begging for meat. Moses, who has a direct telephone line to God, can tell that he's getting mad, and tries to get everyone to calm down, but they got the hangries.
"I told you it was going to be 40 years. You shouldn't have had your Snickers right when we set off."
Eventually, God speaks to Moses and tells him he's changed his mind -- he will give the Israelites some meat. In fact, and we're actually quoting God here, he's going to feed them meat "until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it."
The next day, the Israelites awaken to find their encampment two cubits (around 36 inches in non-Bible units) deep with wild quail for about a day's walk in either direction. There is an ocean of quail. They are stranded in it. The only option? Eat your way out. The Israelites spend two whole days and one night hunting quail before they sit down to the greatest quail feast in history. And afterward, they're struck down with the greatest salmonella outbreak in history.
Bizzell Bible Collection
The calm before the shit-storm.
God technically wasn't lying when he promised that the meat would later come out of their nostrils. That's the poetry of it. Try to imagine 600,000 people simultaneously power-spewing and suffering explosive diarrhea in one densely populated encampment, and you get the horrible idea.
The Bible quickly jump-cuts away from this story, mentioning only that they buried the dead in this place and named it "Kibroth Hattaavah," or "the Graves of Craving." And God? He dropped the mic.
For more bizarre shit from the Holy Book, check out 5 Shocking Scenes You Won't Believe Are in the Bible and 6 Filthy Jokes You Won't Believe Are From The Bible.
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