Monthly Archives: June 2023

The Bible repeats itself too much—Part 7: Rambling

This is the seventh in a series of posts about unnecessary repetition in the Bible. To conclude this series, I’ll be listing some passages that go on and on, only to keep saying more or less the same thing.

Like this description of Noah’s flood: The flood kept coming on the earth, the waters increased high above the earth, the waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, they rose and increased greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains were covered. After that was over, it says God told Noah and his sons to be fruitful, and increase in number, and fill the earth, and then he told them to be fruitful, and increase in number, and multiply on the earth, and increase upon it.

Then God said he was establishing his covenant with them and their descendants and all the animals. He said he was establishing his covenant with them. His covenant was a promise that all life would never again be destroyed by a flood, and that there would never again be a flood to destroy the earth.

He said the sign of the covenant he was making with them and their descendants and all the animals was a rainbow, which would be the sign of the covenant between him and the earth. Whenever the rainbow appeared, he would remember his covenant with them and all the animals. He said the waters would never again become a flood to destroy all life, because whenever the rainbow appeared, he would remember his covenant with all the creatures on earth. And he said that was the sign of the covenant he was establishing with all life on earth.

Later, God made another covenant. He told Abram that he would be the father of many nations, and that his new name would be Abraham (Father of Many), because he would be a father of many nations. He also said he would make him very fruitful and make nations of him. A few chapters later, there’s a little argument between Abraham and the Hittites where they just keep saying pretty much the same things: Abraham wants them to sell him a burial site, and they want to give it to him for free.

Abraham’s great-grandsons also had a monotonous argument: Joseph kept saying his brothers were there to spy on Egypt, and his brothers kept saying they were brothers, so they couldn’t possibly be spies. When he sent them home, they told their father that the man in charge of Egypt had said they wouldn’t see his face again unless their youngest brother was with them. They told their father that if he would send that brother with them, they would go to Egypt again to buy more food, but if he didn’t send him, they wouldn’t go, because that man had said they wouldn’t see his face again unless their brother was with them.

1 Chronicles tells the names of the sons of Jacob’s grandson Merari, which you’d think would mean all of them. Then it says someone named Beno was the son of Jaaziah, whoever that is, and it makes it sound like there are no other sons of Jaaziah. Then it once again starts to tell the sons of Merari, but it says these are “from Jaaziah“, whatever that means. And it lists some sons, one of which is Beno again. (Is Jaaziah a wife of Merari or something?)


After bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, God told Moses that he would dwell among them and be their God, and that they would then know that he was the Lord their God, who had brought them out of Egypt so he could dwell among them. And he also said he was the Lord their God. Later, he said it some more.

God dwelt among his people in the form of a cloud. Once the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. That’s how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. When the cloud moved, the people followed it, and when it stopped, they stopped. They set out at God’s command, and they encamped at God’s command.

As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they stayed where they were. When it stayed still a long time, they stayed still a long time. When it stayed still a short time, they stayed still a short time. When it stayed still a shorter time, they stayed still a shorter time. They moved with the cloud, whether it was day or night. However long it stayed, they stayed, and then when it lifted, they set out. They set out at God’s command, and they encamped at God’s command. And they obeyed the Lord’s order.

After God did a miracle that he was sure would make his people stop complaining, his people complained that they were going to die, they were lost, they were all lost, anyone who went near the tabernacle would die, and they were probably all going to die.

In Numbers 33, you can see the stages of the journey of the Israelites, because Moses recorded the stages in their journey, and what’s written there is their journey by stages.

God said his people shouldn’t think he was giving them the promised land because they were righteous, because it was really because the people who already lived there were wicked. He told them they weren’t going to take that land because of their own righteousness. Instead, God was going to get rid of the other nations on account of their wickedness. He wanted his people to understand that it wasn’t because of their righteousness that he was giving them the land.

Before Moses died, God told him that the people were going to embrace foreign gods, they would forsake God and break his covenant, and he would get angry and forsake them. He would abandon them and they would be destroyed, and many disasters and calamities would come on them. They would realize that the disasters came because God wasn’t with them, and God would hide from them because they turned to other gods. Then he told Moses that the people were going to turn to other gods and reject him and break his covenant, and many disasters and calamities would come on them.

God told Moses’s successor Joshua to be strong and courageous. Then he told him to be strong and very courageous. Then he told him to be strong and courageous, not to be afraid, and not to be discouraged. And at the end of that chapter, the people tell Joshua to be strong and courageous.

When the Israelites were luring their enemies away from the city of Ai so they could ambush it, it says all the men of Ai were called to pursue them, and they pursued Joshua and were lured away from the city. None of them stayed in Ai and didn’t go after them; they left their city vulnerable and went in pursuit of Israel.


When a Canaanite commander was fleeing from the Israelites, a woman let him take refuge in her tent. But then she murdered him in his sleep, which somehow caused him to fall to the ground. Then some people sang a song about it, containing a very repetitive verse. That verse says twice that he sank at her feet, and it says twice that he fell. It also says that he lay there, that where he sank was where he fell, and that he was dead. The song then portrays another woman as speculating in a redundant manner about what plunder the commander’s men might bring home.

A woman who was giving birth heard that the ark of the covenant had been captured and that her father-in-law and husband were dead. She named her child “no glory”, because she said the Glory had departed from Israel, because of the capture of the ark and the deaths of her father-in-law and husband. And she said the Glory had departed from Israel because the ark of God was captured.

Saul was afraid of David because God was with David. Saul gave David command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns, which were always successful, because God was with David. When Saul saw how successful David was, he was afraid of him, but the people loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.

After God made his deceptive promises to David, David informed God that God was God, and that he had promised those things to him. He said God had blessed the house of David so it would continue forever, because he, God, had blessed it, and it would be blessed forever.

King David’s dead best friend’s disabled son’s dishonest fraudulent treacherous steward Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” What a pointlessly cumbersome way to talk.

After God killed David’s innocent baby for the sins of its father, David realized the child was dead. He asked his attendants “Is the child dead?” And they replied, “Yes, he is dead.” Later, David’s commander Joab killed another of David’s sons, Absalom, who had wanted to kill David. David was a lot more upset about this son’s death, saying “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! …O Absalom, my son, my son!

1 Chronicles says David’s army had 12 divisions that took turns, with one division being on duty each month. Each division consisted of 24,000 men. Then it says the guy in charge of the first division, for the first month, had 24,000 men in his division, and that he was in charge of all the army officers for the first month. And then it goes on to tell who was in charge of each of the other divisions, each time saying there were 24,000 men in his division.

David gave his son Solomon plans for building the temple, specifying the weight of gold for all the gold articles to be used in various kinds of service, and the weight of silver for all the silver articles to be used in various kinds of service. That included the weight of the gold for the gold lampstands and their lamps (with the weight specified for each lampstand and its lamps), and the weight of silver for each silver lampstand and its lamps (according to the use of each lampstand), etc.

Solomon made two cherub sculptures for the temple, and their total wingspan was 20 cubits. One wing of the first cherub was five cubits and touched the wall, and its other wing was five cubits and touched the other cherub’s wing. That other cherub also had one wing that was five cubits and touched the wall, and another wing that was five cubits and touched the first cherub’s wing. The wings of those cherubim extended 20 cubits.

After Jeroboam took over most of Israel from Solomon’s son, he instituted a festival on the 15th day of the 8th month, and offered sacrifices on the altar. He made those sacrifices in Bethel to the calves he had made, and in Bethel he installed priests at the high places he had made. On the 15th day of the 8th month, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had made at Bethel. And he instituted that festival, and went to the altar to make offerings.

In Asa’s days, the country was at peace for ten years. Asa did what was right in the eyes of God. He removed the foreign altars and high places. He told the people to obey God. He removed the high places and altars, and the kingdom was at peace. He build up the cities, because the land was at peace, and no one was at war with him, because God gave him rest. And he told the people to build up the towns, because they could, because they had pleased God, and he had given them rest. So they built them.

The ramblings of Jesus

Jesus made three statements in a row about what he thinks makes you not worthy of him, and then he rambled a bit about the consequences of welcoming different people.

He said soon the world wouldn’t see him, but his disciples would see him. He said they would live, because he lived. He said they would realize that he was in his Father and they were in him and he was in them, whatever that means. He said whoever keeps his commands loves him, and his Father will love whoever loves him, and he’ll love them, too.

In Jesus’s description of the last judgment, he goes on for 12 verses just quoting his future self listing the things that he claims people did or didn’t do to him, and then having those confused people repeat the list of things that they don’t remember doing or not doing to him.

Jesus stated that the one who comes from above is still above, and the one from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks like he’s from earth, and also the one who comes from heaven above is above. He said the Son was glorified, and God was glorified in him, and if God was glorified in him, then God would glorify the Son in himself, and he would glorify him at once.

Jesus corrected people regarding who bread from heaven comes from. He said his Father gives you the “true” bread from heaven, because the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. And he declared himself to be the bread of life. He said he had come from heaven to do God’s will, not his own will, and God’s will was that he wouldn’t lose any of the people God gave him, and that he would raise them up at the last day. God’s will was also that everyone who believed in Jesus would have eternal life, and that Jesus would raise them up at the last day.

The Jews didn’t like him claiming to be bread from heaven, so they grumbled and questioned his claim that he had come from heaven. Jesus didn’t like them grumbling about that, so he told them to stop grumbling. He stated again that he would raise his people up at the last day, and also that believers would have eternal life, and that he was the bread of life, again.

He mentioned that people who had eaten actual bread from heaven had died, but he claimed that anyone who ate this “bread from heaven” wouldn’t die. He clarified that he was the bread that had come from heaven, and stated again that whoever ate that bread would live forever. And he said the bread he was talking about was his flesh, which he was going to give for the life of the world.

When the Jews started arguing about whether he could really give them his flesh to eat, Jesus declared that anyone who didn’t eat his flesh and drink his blood had no life in them, while whoever did eat his flesh and drink his blood would have eternal life, and he would raise them up at the last day. He insisted that his flesh and blood were real food and drink. He said that he and whoever ate his flesh and drank his blood would be in each other, whatever that means.

He said anyone who fed on him would live because of him, just like he lives because the living Father sent him. And he said again that this was the bread that came from heaven, and that the people who actually ate bread from heaven had died, but that whoever fed on this bread from heaven would live forever.

Continue reading The Bible repeats itself too much—Part 7: Rambling
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When will the world end?

It will happen soon.

The prophets warned that the destructive and disastrous day of the Lord is near. Zephaniah says it’s near and coming quickly. God told Ezekiel that the fulfillment of every vision was now near. And in particular, that the day of the Lord is near, when the nations will be doomed. When God told Habakkuk about the end, he said it will come and will not delay.

Paul told his followers that the day was almost here, even nearer than he’d thought. He told them to stop acting like they were going to go on living in this world, because the time is short, and the present world is passing away.

Letters from other early Christian leaders have the same message: This is the last hour. The end of all things is near, because the Lord’s coming is near. Jesus will come in just a little while, and will not delay.

The book of Revelation claims to be about what will take place soon. It repeatedly says the time is near, and it repeatedly has Jesus say he’s coming soon.

It will be delayed.

When God told Habakkuk that the end would not delay, he also contradicted himself. He suggested that if you’re looking forward to the end of the world, you’re going to have to wait for it.

Jesus told multiple parables in which the events corresponding to the second coming were described as a long time in coming, or only happening after a long time. He did this to correct the misconception that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. He said if you hear about wars, it’s not the end of the world. And even if someone says he’s Jesus and that the time is near,1 Jesus says that’s a deception and you should ignore him.

And according to a passage in Revelation, the last judgment apparently isn’t going to happen until all Christians are dead.

It already happened thousands of years ago.

The answer the Bible most commonly gives to the question of when the world will end is the most absurd one: It has actually happened already, way back in biblical times.

God told Noah that he was about to put an end to all people, destroying both them and the earth. If God said it, it must be true. The earth doesn’t exist anymore, and there haven’t been any people in over 4000 years.

Daniel predicted that God’s everlasting kingdom would come once Babylon had been taken over four times after Nebuchadnezzar. In reality, Babylon has already been taken over more times than that. Yet it has been “left to another people” rather than to God, contrary to Daniel’s claim.

Daniel also had a vision about the time of the end, where an angel said it would only take 2300 days (less than seven years) before the vision would be fulfilled. He had another vision later, about the last judgment, which also had an angel telling how long it would be before it was fulfilled. And the angel’s answer in that one is generally taken to mean just three and a half years. These predictions would put the end of the world way back in the 6th century BC.

The angel then stated that those words would be sealed up until the time of the end. Since they’re not sealed up, since we have had access to those words all this time, the time of the end must have already come a long time ago.

Jesus said the end would come as soon as the gospel had been preached throughout the whole world. In fact, he said his twelve disciples would not even finish going through the towns of Israel before Jesus came. Since Jesus had obviously already come by that time, he must have been referring to his second coming. Well, the Bible says the disciples did preach everywhere, so that means Jesus must have already returned.

Plus it says Paul preached in all Judea. And he said the message had gone out into all the earth, to the ends of the world, and the gospel had been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. If that’s all true, the world definitely should have ended a long time ago.

Jesus said his generation would not pass away until all the events of the end of the age happened and the whole world passed away. And more specifically, he said some of his disciples he was talking to would not die before they saw him coming in his kingdom. So Jesus must have already returned almost 2000 years ago, when not all of the twelve had died yet.2

Jesus said when Jerusalem is conquered, you’ll know the kingdom of God is near. Jerusalem was conquered just a few decades later. Since Jesus specified a future event when the kingdom would be near, rather than just saying the coming of the kingdom was near, he must have meant that the kingdom of God wasn’t near yet. So if the coming of the kingdom is near the destruction of Jerusalem, but it’s not near the time a few decades earlier when Jesus was talking about it, that clearly means that the kingdom is coming just a few years after the fall of Jerusalem, not thousands of years after. Jesus was saying the world would end just a few years after that event that happened in the 1st century AD.

When the apostles received the Spirit and started speaking in tongues, Peter explained what was happening, claiming that this was a fulfillment of a prophecy about the last days. So the end can’t have been too much later than that.

The culmination of the ages was back in Paul’s time. Paul wrote about what was true if anyone was in Christ. I’m not sure what exactly “in Christ” is supposed to mean, but it didn’t sound like he thought it wasn’t the case that anyone was. So we can assume he was saying that what follows from someone being in Christ was already true… which was that the old creation had gone, and the new creation had come. Paul also said he was among the people who would still be alive when Jesus came back. So that means the second coming must have happened back before Paul died.

Other letters from early Christian leaders at that time also claim that they were living in the last times, the last days, or the culmination of the ages.

It didn’t already happen.

Of course, the Bible also says the second coming and the day of the Lord have not already come. Paul says you can ignore anyone who tries to deceive you by telling you things like that, even if it’s in a message that appears to be from him. Looks like a lot of what we call the Bible is fake, according to the Bible.

Continue reading When will the world end?
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The Story of David and Bathsheba
The Only Thing David Ever Did That God Didn't Approve of

King David heard that Nahash, the Ammonite king who had wanted to gouge out the eyes of all the Israelites, had died. So David sent diplomats to tell Nahash’s successor how sorry David was that such a kind man had died. But the Ammonites assumed that David’s men must be spies plotting to overthrow them. So they sent the diplomats away half naked, and started a war with Israel. David stayed home while he had his commander Joab go out and lead Israel in fighting the Ammonites (which God had commanded them not to do).

David was walking around on the roof of his palace one night, when he saw a beautiful woman taking a bath. He learned that her name was Bathsheba, and that she was the wife of Uriah, one of David’s chief warriors, who was away fighting in the war. David had Bathsheba brought to the palace, had sex with her, and sent her back home.

Continue reading The Story of David and Bathsheba
The Only Thing David Ever Did That God Didn't Approve of
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Does the desolate woman have a husband?

In the book of Isaiah, God gives a comforting message to a desolate, barren woman. She has never been able to have children, but God says now she will have children. You can tell she still doesn’t have a husband, though. After this woman has children, God contrasts her with a woman who does have a husband, making it clear that the first woman does not.

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Non sequiturs in the Bible

The Bible is a very badly written book. Among many other flaws, it’s full of unintentional non sequiturs. It says things that have no logical connection to what came before, or that don’t make sense given what was just said.

Old Testament stories

After God promises not to kill everyone and everything again, his next statement starts out sounding like he’s going to be expanding on that. Or maybe making another promise, or at least saying something important. He ends up just saying that seasonal cycles and stuff aren’t going to stop as long as the world exists. Who said they would? That wasn’t ever in question, was it? Why bring it up?

Job is trying to convince his friends of how severe his hardship is. Then he decides to start talking about food he doesn’t like, that he refuses to eat. That doesn’t seem relevant, and it doesn’t help his case. Later, after he’s been trying to convince his friends that God is unjust, Job randomly starts arguing against his own position.

After that, Elihu insists that God is perfectly good and just… and then for some reason he brings up the possibility that God could easily kill everyone. Then God sarcastically asks Job if he knows where light and darkness live. He implies that to know that, Job would have to have been “already born“. He doesn’t explain when he thinks Job would have to have been born. Or what Job’s age has to do with whether he can know about something that’s happening right now.

When Jacob is in the middle of giving blessings (and curses) to his sons, he randomly tells God he’s looking for his deliverance.

1 Chronicles begins with some genealogies. It seems like these are supposed to consist of lists of the sons of someone who it already mentioned in a previous list of sons. But a lot of times, it will list the sons of people who it never mentioned before. It never explains who these people are, or how they fit into the genealogy.

It does this with Seir, Jahdai, Etam, Kenaz, Caleb son of Jephunneh, Jehallelel, Ezrah, Hodiah’s wife, Shimon, Shelah son of Judah,1 Abihail son of Huri son of Jaroah son of Gilead son of Michael son of Jeshishai son of Jahdo son of Buz,2 Shemida, Helem,3 Jether, Ulla, Shimei, and Jeroham. It does the same thing again later in the book, too. It says Beno and others are the sons of Jaaziah, whoever that is.

God appears in a burning bush and tells Moses that he has “indeed” seen the misery of his people in Egypt… even though no one had brought that up before he said that.

God says he normally speaks to prophets in dreams. Then he says that’s not how it is with Moses, and as part of the same sentence, he mentions how faithful Moses is. As if that was part of the contrast with all God’s other prophets.

When Joshua is in the middle of announcing a miraculous sign that’s about to happen, just before he gets to the part about the actual miracle, he tells the people to choose twelve men. As far as I can tell, that doesn’t have anything to do with the miracle.

Later, the two tribes descended from Joseph point out that Joshua has only given them enough land for one tribe. Joshua tells them what they can do if the hill country isn’t enough for them. The descendants of Joseph then ignore what Joshua just said, and inform him that the hill country isn’t enough for them.

When Abishai offers to kill Saul for David, instead of telling him why Abishai shouldn’t do it, David gives reasons why David shouldn’t do it himself, when nobody had said he should.

There’s a Bible verse that tells the backstory of Mephibosheth son of Jonathan son of Saul… inserted in the middle of a story about a different son of Saul, that has nothing to do with any of those people.

Solomon reports that God has said he would live in a dark cloud. Then as part of the same sentence, and without a “but”, Solomon says he has provided a new place for God to live. He says this as if he was affirming what God had just said he would do, rather than disregarding and contradicting it.

After Elisha tells his servant to go to the Shunammite’s home, the Shunammite says she refuses to go. But she’s not the one he told to leave. Then it says Elisha gets up and follows the Shunammite. How can he follow her if she’s not going anywhere?

The queen of Sheba story is interrupted for two verses to inform you that somebody had brought Solomon some stones and wood at some point.

Jeremiah 52 tells the story of the fall of Jerusalem, but interrupts it to tell us the details of what was in the temple (which we already heard about a long time ago).

The book of Daniel says the four smart Jews who were taken to serve the king of Babylon were given new names, “but” Daniel didn’t want the royal food. It had mentioned the food before, but that was way back four sentences before the “but”.

New Testament stories

Part of Mary’s response to the announcement that God is going to impregnate her is to declare something irrelevant about secretly proud people getting scattered.

Just a few verses after John baptizes Jesus, it mentions that John is in prison, with no explanation.

The gospel of Matthew says Jesus told his disciples not to tell anyone who he really was. And it says the reason for that was to fulfill a prophecy from Isaiah… which says nothing about keeping secrets.

Jesus is constantly making non sequiturs. He expresses his amazement at how much faith someone has. Then suddenly he’s talking about many people getting into (and other people getting thrown out of) the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus describes the things he’s doing for various people. He says he’s taking away the problem each particular disadvantaged category of person has… until he gets to the poor. Instead of actually doing anything about their situation, all he does is “proclaim good news” to them. And then right after listing the good things he’s doing for people, he says something different that suggests that something bad could happen to people because of him.

Jesus starts to answer a question about when everything will end. But he ends up just stating whether certain things will end. When people ask Jesus where his father is, instead of answering, he just tells them that they don’t know his father.

When Peter asks him who he’s talking to, it says “Jesus answered” …but he doesn’t actually answer the question. Jesus instead asks something about the story he was telling. That’s not an answer. And when Peter asks him where he’s going, he doesn’t answer that either. He just says his disciples can’t follow him there. This guy is not good at answering questions.

When asked for a sign, Jesus gets annoyed and declares that he’s not going to give anyone a sign… right after doing a miracle in front of thousands of people.

Do you see this woman? Jesus came into Simon’s house.

Jesus warns his disciples in a confusing way about the Pharisees. Then instead of explaining himself, the next thing he says is a repeat of what he said four chapters ago, that in the future there will be no secrets. And it was a non sequitur that time, too.

Jesus acts like he’s just done a miracle and healed a man, and he claims that people are angry at him because of that. Even though he hasn’t done any healing miracles since two chapters ago. And that wasn’t in the presence of the people he’s talking to now. And these people aren’t angry with him about anything yet.

Jesus gets a “dead” girl to stand up and walk around and she’s twelve years old. Yes, it says that last part as part of the same sentence in the Bible. If they needed to mention her age, they should have done that at the beginning of the story, not at the end.

Jesus’s response to a man begging him to restore his son’s sanity is to get angry at his whole generation. He wishes he didn’t have to live among them anymore, that he didn’t have to put up with them wanting help with their health problems. Oh, and he thinks this has something to do with all those people being “unbelieving”? Then that man declares that he believes… so he asks Jesus to help him overcome the unbelief that he doesn’t have.

When Jesus tells his disciples that the least of them is the greatest, they have no response to that (which is understandable I suppose). Instead, the next thing they say is that they tried to stop someone from driving out demons.

Jesus explains that by driving a demon out of a man, he has actually made that man much worse off… and someone thinks that’s a good reason to bless his mother for giving birth to him.

Jesus knows that he was sent by God, and that everything is under his power. So he gets up from the table and takes his clothes off.

Caiaphas acts like he’s disagreeing with the other chief priests, when he’s actually agreeing with what they just said (that Jesus must be stopped in order to save the Jewish nation). When Pilate asks the Jewish leaders what their charge against Jesus is, they just say they wouldn’t have handed him over if he wasn’t a criminal. Nobody had said he wasn’t a criminal.

The high priest asks Stephen if the charges against him are true. They’re not, but instead of answering, Stephen decides to recite the history of Israel. As if the priests didn’t already know about that. After Stephen gets himself killed with all his stupid answers, the remaining disciples are persecuted and expelled from the region… and then they’re filled with joy, for some reason?

Continue reading Non sequiturs in the Bible
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