Ruth was a Moabite woman who married an Israelite man named Mahlon, whose parents, Elimelek and Naomi, had moved to Moab from Judah because of a famine. Naomi’s and Ruth’s husbands both died. When the famine was over, Naomi moved back to Judah, and Ruth chose to go with her, rather than looking for a new husband in Moab. In Judah, Ruth met a man named Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s dead husband. Boaz had heard that Ruth was good to Naomi, so he was good to Ruth.
Naomi wanted Ruth to remarry, so she told Ruth to go sneak up on Boaz and lie down with him while he was sleeping. That night, Boaz woke up and found Ruth lying there with him. This was a pleasant surprise, because he was so old. But he said there was another man Ruth should marry rather than him, because that man was more closely related to her first husband. Boaz told Ruth to stay with him for the rest of the night, and then hurry home before anyone saw them together.
Continue reading The Story of Ruth and Boaz—
How I Met Your Great-Grandmother
Gideon was another judge of Israel. He destroyed a pagan object of worship that his father had made, and then he made his people a new one. He also tortured or killed anyone who wouldn’t give his men free food. The Israelites liked Gideon so much, they wanted him to become their king. But he refused. After Gideon died, his son Abimelek murdered his 70 brothers, and then he was made the first king of Israel.
Continue reading The Story of King Abimelek—
The King Who Wasn't Killed by a Woman
In ancient Israel, it was customary for a remarried widow to name the first son she had with her new husband after her dead husband. In fact, God’s law required it. In order to maintain Mahlon’s name in his family, his widow (Ruth) and her new husband (Boaz) should have named their son after Mahlon.
And that’s what Boaz said he was going to do. He even said that was the reason he was marrying Ruth, so the dead man’s name would be maintained and wouldn’t disappear.
But apparently that’s not what they actually did. Boaz and Ruth named their first son Obed, not Mahlon.
Continue reading Was Mahlon’s name maintained?
A Levite man’s girlfriend broke up with him and went back to live with her parents. But then he followed her to her parents’ house and took her back. On the way back to the man’s home, they stopped for the night in Gibeah, a city of the tribe of Benjamin, and stayed in an old man’s house.
Some of the Benjamite men from that city came and surrounded the house. They told the old man to send the Levite man out so they could have sex with him. The old man said he couldn’t let them have sex with his guest, because that would be outrageous and vile. So he offered to let them rape his daughter and his guest’s girlfriend instead.
The Levite man thought that was a good idea, so he sent his girlfriend outside. The men of Gibeah spent the whole night gang-raping her to death. Then the man went home, and he chopped up his girlfriend into a dozen pieces and had them distributed all over the country.
Continue reading The Story of the Levite’s Concubine—
The Most Pointlessly Evil Story in the Bible
Of all God’s children, who is the firstborn? Paul says Jesus is God’s firstborn, having been there before he made anything else. But the gospel of John suggests that Jesus wasn’t created in the beginning, much less born. He was just always there. So the only way Jesus could be God’s firstborn would be if God had no other children before Jesus was actually born, 2000 years ago.
Is that really the case? The Bible says it’s not. Instead, it calls David God’s firstborn.
God also says Ephraim is his firstborn son, and Ephraim was born long before David. But wait, that same verse also says God is Israel’s father. And Israel was Ephraim’s grandfather. So Israel must be a son of God who was born before Ephraim, right?
Continue reading Who is God’s firstborn?
The people of Israel angered their God again by serving other gods. So God let the Ammonites take over Israel, and he said he would never save his people again. But his people insisted on being saved, so the never-changing God, who never listens to sinners, changed his mind and appointed a new judge to save Israel: Jephthah, the leader of a gang of scoundrels.
Jephthah asked the Ammonite king why he was attacking Israel. The king explained that the Israelites had stolen the Ammonites’ land, and the Ammonites wanted it back. Jephthah was like, that never happened, what would you know about that? The king ignored him.
So Jephthah went to attack the Ammonites, which God had forbidden the Israelites to do. He promised that if God helped him disobey God in this way, he would give God whatever met him at the door when he came home, as a burnt offering. The all-knowing God knew what would happen if he did this, but he wanted that burnt offering. So he helped Jephthah destroy twenty Ammonite towns, and he didn’t warn Jephthah’s family to stay indoors.
Continue reading The Story of Jephthah’s Sacrifice—
The Stupidest Story in the Bible
After the Israelites destroyed Jericho, killed almost everyone living there, and stole all their valuables, God got angry and decided to abandon his people and stop protecting them. Not because he didn’t approve of the massacre or anything, but just because one guy, Achan, had stolen some of the stolen goods, which God had intended to keep for himself for some reason. Shortly after that, God decided he didn’t mind his people keeping the plunder for themselves after all. But not before having Achan and his innocent children stoned and burned.
So that’s who Achan is, but who’s his father?
Continue reading Who was Achan’s father?
How God got Joseph into Egypt
Jacob made a fancy robe for his favorite son, Joseph. This made Joseph’s brothers jealous. Then Joseph started having dreams about his family bowing down to him. This made his brothers hate him. So Joseph’s brothers stole his robe and dipped it in goat blood, so their father would think Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. They sold Joseph to some merchants, who took him away to Egypt and sold him as a slave to Potiphar, the captain of the guard.
Inmate interprets increasingly insane imaginings
Potiphar’s wife kept trying to get Joseph to sleep with her, but he refused. Then she accused him of trying to rape her, so Potiphar put him in prison. Two other prisoners, who had been Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker, got Joseph to interpret their dreams for them. Pharaoh’s cupbearer had dreamed about bearing Pharaoh’s cup, which Joseph said meant he would become Pharaoh’s cupbearer again. And it was so. Pharaoh’s baker had dreamed about birds eating Pharaoh’s bread out of a basket on the baker’s head, which Joseph said meant the baker would be executed. And it was so.
Later, Pharaoh had a dream about seven skinny cows eating seven fat cows, and a dream about seven thin heads of grain eating seven full heads of grain. None of his magicians and wise men could tell him what his dreams meant, so his cupbearer suggested asking Joseph. Joseph said both dreams meant that there would be seven years of abundance, and then seven years of famine. Pharaoh was so impressed by this claim that he put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt, without even bothering to wait and see if Joseph’s prediction was accurate.
Do not worry about tomorrow
During the seven years of abundance, Joseph took away all the grain that was grown in Egypt and stored it up, so the people could starve sooner rather than later. Then during the seven years of famine, he sold grain to everyone who needed it in Egypt and Canaan. Joseph gave the Egyptians food (that he had stolen from them) in exchange for all their money, all their livestock, all their land, and their slave labor. He also made them give a fifth of the food they were able to grow to Pharaoh, so that they could have food.
Continue reading The Story of Joseph and his Brothers—
The Interpreter of Dreams
Jacob’s son Judah had three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah. God killed Er because he thought he was wicked, so Judah told Onan to have children with Er’s widow, Tamar. But if Onan had children with Tamar, they wouldn’t be considered Onan’s children for some reason. So he refused to do it. God thought it was wicked to not impregnate your brother’s wife, so he killed Onan too. Tamar wanted to have children, but Judah wouldn’t let her marry his last son, Shelah.
Continue reading The Story of Judah and Tamar—
Somebody Get Me Pregnant Already
Jacob ran away from his angry brother, and married his cousins Rachel and Leah and their servants Bilhah and Zilpah. They had twelve sons and a daughter named Dinah.
Shechem, the son of a ruler in the nearby city of Shechem, raped Dinah. When Dinah’s brothers heard about that, they were furious, because Shechem had sex with Jacob’s daughter. Nobody should have sex with Jacob’s daughter!
Continue reading The Story of Dinah and Shechem—
Somebody's in Canaan with Dinah