Judges is one Bible book where it has been common to recognise humour. Ehud killing the fat and oppressive king Eglon in the toilet has been a popular example, thoughย  I’ll pretty much leave the scatology to David and others who appreciate it ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’d rather focus on gender. In Judges relationships between men and women are either funny or horrible. The story of Deborah (Judges 4) may provide examples, but the humour in the poem (Judges 5) is much clearer. It shows all nine of my diagnostic signs of humour. And develops some powerful (and this being Judges disturbing) gender bending humour. Though afterRead More →

This podcast may benefit from a set of notes, either as an alternative to the audio/screencast or as a reminder (since has a high information content). It is also longer and less fun than most, so if you like miss it out unless later in the series you need to come back to it for the framework… The system suggested here is not intended to be completely scholarly and precise, far less exhaustive, rather it is meant to be simple and convenient, necessitating some approximations and simplifications. Two main genres It can be helpful to distinguish poems and songs. Not so much because songs implyRead More →

It’s certainly hard to find a superhero in the Bible! Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and even Moses โ€“ all fail โ€“ though some of them look good the way we try to… by comparison with their neighbours, family or friends think of how Moses shines when compared to Aaron. But Samson! He’s super strong, has a fatal weakness, and a secret identity (as a Nazirite ๐Ÿ™‚ However in this podcast we’ll look closer, and in noticing some details of how the story is told uncover what is really going on ๐Ÿ˜‰Read More →

This story is often used to support testing whether God really wants us to do something we are reluctant to do, just like Gideon. In this podcast, as well as drawing attention to some other thoroughly human characteristics of our hero, I’ll point to the censored Bible story (one we do not read in church) in 1 Kings 22, and suggest we should heed its warning before we hurry to copy Gideon.Read More →

The story of Deborah, the prophetess and judge, is one of those biblical stories told to us twice, first in a prose narrative and then in a poetic celebration (the Exodus crossing of the sea in Ex 14 & 15 provides another example). In this case the details, what Western minds call “facts” and worship above all other sorts of information, are strikingly different between the two tellings: In chapter 4: there is a focus on Canaanite oppression of the people of Israel, the battle concerns particularly the tribes of Naphtali & Zebulon, the victory is assured when Yahweh “confused” the Canaanites, in telling Jael’sRead More →

There’s a nasty cycle that repeats time and again in Judges, and that forms a theme of the history in the books of Samuel and Kings too: Israel forgets that Yhwh is the ONE who has given them everything they start to worship/serve other Gods God allows an enemy to oppress them they call to God โ€“ who raises up a strong leader who by God’s power rescues them This pattern was described in Deuteronomy so these books (with Joshua) get called the “Deuteronomistic History” by scholars. Incidentally since I have used Richard Martin’s fine diagram of this vicious cycle I will include also hereRead More →