B1 Intermediate 8 Folder Collection
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The Bible- one of the world's oldest books and the best selling book in all of human
history.
It's served as the inspiration for some of humanity's greatest moments, and plenty of
its darkest.
Often misunderstood, and continuously judged and misquoted by people who've never even
cracked open its pages, the Bible is both a source of inspiration and consternation
for billions, and its legacy stretches back nearly two thousand years.
But no matter on which side of the presumption that the Bible is the word of God himself
you stand, either way you have to admit that it contains some outright weird stories.
-Half-human, half-angels-
The Nephilim have been one of the oldest mysteries of the Bible, with them first being mentioned
in the Book of Genesis.
Typically entire segments of the Bible which seem to make no sense to a modern reader make
a lot more sense when read in the ancient greek, hebrew, or aramaic- the three languages
the various books of the bible were written in.
In the case of the nephilim though, the ancient languages that first mention these beings
of great power offers no clues, as to this day nobody is quite sure what the word used
to describe the nephilim really meant other than 'to fall'.
The nephilim are first described in Genesis 6:1-6, which takes place after Adam and Eve
get an eviction notice from the Garden of Eve for unlawful fruit eating, and after Cain
kills Abel out of a fit of jealousy.
By now the earth has been populated by humans, and a mysterious group called the “sons
of God”, took notice of the beauty of human women, taking them as wives and interbreeding
with them.
Their offspring would result in the nephilim, who were described as mighty men of renown,
indicating that whatever they were, a significant number of them must have risen to prominence
as great leaders.
Shortly after though God judges the world evil, and decides to hit the reset button
with the aid of Noah, who would ensure not all mankind was wiped out.
One great big flood and Russel Crowe film later, and humanity would start again.
Eventually the ancient jews would be enslaved by the egyptians and earn their freedom from
a very hard-headed pharaoh with the aid of God, fleeing for a promised land that god
had set aside for them.
As they neared the border though Moses dispatched some spies to scope out the land, and these
spies returned telling of the great people who inhabited the land- once more mentioning
the nephilim.
Biblical scholars continue to argue about what exactly the nephilim were, with many
believing they were simply the descendants of one of Cain's children.
However, if one is to take the bible literally then all of these descendants were wiped out
in a flood- and yet the nephilim once more appear in the promised land.
If all humans save Noah's family were wiped out in the flood, then perhaps Noah- or one
of his family members- was a nephilim themselves, or these were truly the children of fallen
angels and mortal women, the angels having avoided the destruction of the flood.
As most christians don't take the bible literally, many consider the nephilim to simply be prominent
and powerful figures in history, given nearly mystical attributes of greatness by their
contemporaries.
-Make fun of a prophet, get eaten by bears-
Elisha was one of the most important prophets of the Old Testament, succeeding his mentor,
Elijah whom he got to watch get spirited away to heaven right before his eyes.
That was probably a rather encouraging sight for the young prophet, because at the time
Israel was a land of paganism and debauchery.
God's people had turned their back on the god of their ancestors and taken up the worship
of the pagan gods of the people who lived around them, and to make matters worse Israel's
ancient political leaders often took a dim view on Elisha, or Elijah's, prophetic activity.
Shortly after Elisha took on his mentor's job, he headed for the city of Bethel.
As he approached the city, a bunch of youths came out of the city and made fun of Elisha
and his apparently bald head.
Elisha turned around and cursed them, and immediately God sent two female bears to eat
the impudent children.
As people who have often been around misbehaving, obnoxious children, we gotta say that it's
hard for us to be mad about this particular bible story.
Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came
from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead!
Go up, you baldhead!”
So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of
the LORD.
And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.
But what really happened here?
Did God really murder a bunch of kids via bear?
Not quite.
In ancient hebrew the word for youths, as used in the scripture, was translated as young
men in a pretty broad sense.
It was used for Joseph in Genesis when he was a whopping 39 years old, and for Absalom
as an adult of unknown age, as well as Solomon at age 20.
From 39 to 20 years old, that's quite a broad range for this particular adjective.
Now Elisha had just recently returned from watching his mentor, Elijah, get beamed up
to heaven Star Trek style, and though Elisha was the only witness to it happening, Elijah
was a well known prophet and had told many people that he was soon to be beamed up.
Thus when Elisha approached Bethel, a city extremely hostile to his religious views,
it wouldn't have been uncommon knowledge that Elijah had been claiming he would be hoovered
up to heaven.
Lastly, we get to Elisha's bald head.
As Elisha lived fifty years after beginning his ministry, he was clearly not an old man
at the time.
His baldness was likely a result of bad genetics.
With some proper perspective, we get an entirely different interpretation of what actually
happened in this weird biblical tale.
Elisha, who was suffering from male pattern baldness at a young age, was on his way to
preach in a city that was a stronghold for pagan worship.
When men who could have been as old as 39 years old saw him coming, they rushed out
to intercept him, jeering and taunting him and his faith.
They made fun of both his mentor and close friend, Elijah, telling him to “go up!”,
“go up!”, as in go up into the sky and to heaven as Elijah had claimed he would do
and Elisha himself had told people he had seen happen.
Lastly, they called him a baldhead because, well, people are kind of dicks no matter the
century they live in.
God then sends bears to maul the group surrounding Elisha, but did God really kill a bunch of
iron age hecklers?
Well again, not quite.
The scripture states that forty two of them were attacked by bears, indicating that this
was a rather large crowd- and if only 42 were actually mauled then the real crowd was likely
much bigger.
Now we get a very different, and very scary picture for Elisha- traveling alone and suddenly
mobbed by a crowd taunting him.
What is also important is that the verse doesn't actually state that the bears killed anyone,
simply that they were mauled, and the ancient hebrew word indicates far less serious injuries
than we might associate with the term today.
So with some perspective we see a different story: Elisha, traveling alone, was mobbed
by villagers and God rescued him by sending bears to scare and threaten them.
Still a bit of a weird story though.
-God's chosen assassin-
It's a tale as old as.. well, the Bible.
Israel receives the blessings of god, and inevitably as the years go by and the people
enjoy the good life, they forget about god and start acting up.
Then a foreign invader occupies the land until the ancient jews turn back to god, only for
them to forget about god and get invaded again.
Modern biblical scholars point to the ancient jew's constant rebellion as the natural state
of man, and God's equally constant willingness to forgive them and restore their freedom
as his natural state of love and forgiveness.
Think what you will of the bible, this is an eerily accurate representation of life
for anyone who has kids.
During one of these occupations brought on by Israel turning away from God, the Jews
are occupied by the king of Moab, a neighboring country.
Rather than completely conquering the land though, Eglon, king of Moab, instead forced
Israel to pay annual tribute in the form of money and other valuables.
This was a popular tactic of ancient powers, as it was far simpler, and less expensive,
to simply bully your neighbors into becoming vassals than to militarily conquer them completely.
After 18 years of oppression by the Moabites, God chose Ehud to once more set his people
free.
Thus Ehud decided to kick off his rebellion by cutting the head directly off the snake.
Now Ehud made himself a dagger and fastened it under his clothes on his right thigh.
So he brought the tribute to Eglon king of Moab.
(Now Eglon was a very fat man.)
And when he had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who had carried the
tribute.
But he himself turned back from the stone images that were at Gilgal, and said, “I
have a secret message for you, O king.”
He said, “Keep silence!”
And all who attended him went out from him.
And Ehud came to him.
Then Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.”
So he arose from his seat.
Then Ehud reached with his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust
it into his belly.
Even the hilt went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did
not draw the dagger out of his belly; and his entrails came out.
Now in this episode we've talked about how important it is to frame weird bible stories
in the original language used, but this story is pretty much exactly what it sounds like,
and just as bad-ass.
Ehud snuck a dagger about a foot long under his tunic like some ancient assassin, and
then told the Moabite king that he had a secret message for him.
King Eglon, who was extremely obese, sent away his attendants, and in a move that was
likely meant to humiliate Ehud, he gave the Jewish assassin a private audience- right
outside of his toilet.
Yep, you heard that right, Eglon took an audience with Ehud to hear his message in what the
bible very politely describes as his “cool private chamber”.
Ehud, undeterred- or un-de-turd, get it?- then delivered the most bad-ass line in literature
until Liam Neeson's speech to his daughter's kidnappers in Taken's film script.
The assassin whips out his secret dagger and says, “I have a message from God for you.”,
then stabs the startled king so deep in his fat gut he can't pull the blade free.
As far as messages go, that one was definitely... to the point.
Ok, we'll stop now.
After delivering God's stab-a-gram, Ehud flees from the palace, and King Eglon's servants
who still believe he is on the toilet are so ashamed to interrupt him, that they let
him sit there for a few hours.
Finally, one of them figures that something weird is up, and risks royal embarrassment
to find his dear king stabbed to death on the john, sort of like a more violent version
of an ancient Elvis.
After assassinating the oppressive king, Ehud goes on to lead Israel to victory against
an army of 10,000 Moabites, securing peace for another 80 years.
After that eighty year peace though, you guessed it, the people fell away from God and once
more got invaded.
Some people believe the Bible is a literal account of history, and those people really
shouldn't because the earth is definitely older than 7,000 years and no, dinosaur bones
aren't a trick by Satan to confuse you.
Most Christians simply believe that the Bible is instead divinely inspired, and some elements
are historically accurate, while others are oral tradition of the ancient believers who
crafted the various books of this holy text.
Non Believers might look at the Bible as more of the latter, a sort of Christian book of
fables meant to inspire good behavior.
Whatever stance you take, what is undeniable is that the Bible is definitely full of some
weird stories.
Want to learn about some more weirdness?
Then check out our weird video: Weird Japanese School Rules.
Or perhaps you'd rather check out this other video instead.
Either way, go ahead and click one now and keep the watch party going!
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Most Weird Stories in the Bible

8 Folder Collection
Summer published on August 1, 2020
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