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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Badass Bible Verses

This is hilarious, and informative. A compilation of the nine "most badass bible verses" from, of all places, Cracked Magazine--I think I remember reading that on the school bus when I was five years old and thought that Mad Magazine had totally sold out and gone corporate, and Cracked was where the seriously subversive fart jokes were.

Here's a verse (with midrashic commentary) that didn't even get onto the list:
There was also Anath in Judges 3:31, who "struck down six hundred philistines with an oxgoad." An oxgoad is a sharp stick you used to poke oxen. That started the Israeli tradition of killing large numbers of their enemies with farmyard tools, which continued through Samson and onto modern times, where the Six Day War of 1967 was won by a crippled Israeli peasant wielding a watering can.
The post reminds us that all the best bits of the Bible are generally avoided these days, as we have all become soft ever since that whole "blessed are the meek" thing. Anath lost out to Samson, of course, who killed 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass and then exulted, in a nice bit of extemporaneous versifying:
With the jawbone of an ass,
heaps upon heaps,
with the jaw of an ass
have I slain a thousand men.
(Authorized Version, line breaks mine, but I think they're good ones.)

Can't you just imagine Milton sitting around, a bit upset with his fellow countrymen for calling them a captain back from Egypt, and saying to Thomas Ellwood, "You know, I guess Paradise Lost just wasn't quite badass enough to persuade them." And then Ellwood replies: "Thou hast said much of paradise lost. But what hast thou to say of slaying a thousand men with nothing but the jawbone of an ass?"

  • At 12/02/2007 01:51:00 PM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    If I were ever to find myself teaching the Bible as Literature (and I won't), one of my goals would be to work in all of these verses over the course of the semester. Heck, I'd want to center my entire course on such passages.

    My one quibble would be with the claim that "the best bits of the Bible are generally avoided these days," which I would change to "generally unknown these days" (though surely the Flandererses are well aware of, and do avoid, them).


  • At 12/02/2007 02:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote…

    I'm sorely, sorely tempted to forward this link to my former advisor. I'm pretty sure he'd find it amusing, but still....

    (This comment would be a lot funnier if I could actually reveal who my former advisor is--he knows a thing or two about badassery in the Bible--but alas, the need to preserve my anonymity prevails.)


  • At 12/02/2007 02:20:00 PM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    My favorite one is Number Nine on the Cracked List: Exodus 2:11-12. I didn't realize that Moses was a stealth murderer.


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