So now I’ve gotten about halfway into Alexander Scourby’s rendition of Leviticus, and I can take back what I said earlier – God has something to say about homosexuality. In particular, I think it went something like “Thou shalt not lay with a man as thou lays with a woman – that is an abomination.” Of course, women are also an abomination when during their period, female babies cause their mothers to be unclean for twice as long as male babies do, and bigamy is fine, just as long as it’s not with a mother and her daughter, so take from that what you will.

Also, Abraham was an abomination, since Sarah was his half-sister, and God thought he was good stuff.

This might make me an abomination, but the God of the patriarchs also seemed to have a pretty serious case of OCD. The amount of detail in the tabernacle, the ark, and the priest’s clothing is obsessive – There really were chapters upon chapters of description, with a heavy hand of repetition on the very important details, like making sure the pomegranates and bells on the priests’ hems alternated properly. The food laws are equally specific and detailed. I’ve heard it argued that the food laws were God’s way of keeping the Israelites from contracting diseases, and there’s something to be said for that, but the amount of repetition and rephrasing (there are at least three different ways to say you can only eat animals that chew the cud and split the hoof) plays into the OCD theme.

What is more, it seems pretty clear that God, during that period, was just one of many. He wasn’t a Jealous God because He didn’t want the Israelites to be silly and worship gods that didn’t exist – He didn’t want them to worship other gods.

I’m also getting a much clearer picture of the story of the Israelites now. I don’t know if it didn’t occur to me before, or if it did, but I forgot it, but what seemed like a bunch of dislocated stories before now really appears as the fostering of the Hebrew nation from Abraham and Isaac, through the growth spurt in Egypt and the forging and refining in the desert, into the powerful nation come back to reclaim Canaan.

Interesting stuff.