Thursday, 5 September 2013

God's Haemorrhoids or The Grapes of Wrath

God's Haemorrhoids
Here's a strange thing.

It seems the Old Testament god was not only paranoid about his little design error with foreskins, but he also had a fascination with haemorrhoids.

We discover this in a rather silly story which the priest obviously made up to deal with the fact that the 'sacred' Ark of the Covenant was actually empty. They had claimed it contained the stone tablets on which Moses had supposedly written one or other version of the Ten Commandments, and the staff of Aaron. In other words, some magic stones and a stick.

The problem was that it was just an empty box, as we shall see by the fantastic tales they made up to stop people looking in it.

It starts in 1 Samuel 4 where we are told of a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines which was going badly for the Israelites (maybe Yahweh was distracted that day), so they went to get their box of magic stones and a stick and took it to the battle, thinking it would turn the tide. If Yahweh had been indifferent to the battle, what on Earth they thought a magic box would do remains a mystery, but the Bible is rarely strong on logic and is set in a magical fantasy world where things like that work.

And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men.

And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the Lord was come into the camp.

And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.

And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.

1 Samuel 4:1-11


Well that explains how some nasties got hold of the ark, anyway.

So now we need to concoct a tale about how they fared with their prize. As you might imagine, as with all these dire tales, it turned out badly for the baddies.

They got haemorrhoids. No, honestly!

And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod... But the hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods [haemorrhoids], even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.

... They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither.

And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.

Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people. So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.

And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

1 Samuel 5

So, having concocted a tale of how the ark came to be with the baddies, and the terrible afflictions it brought on them, we now have to concoct a tale of how the Israelites got it back. Now it gets really weird.

Apparently, the baddies think it would be a great idea to make some golden haemorrhoids and some golden mice as an offering.

And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.

Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords. Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.

1 Samuel 6:3-5

Yep, that's golden haemorrhoids! That should do the trick!

But just one last trick. Remember, all this is to concoct a story to prevent people looking in the (empty) box of magic sticks and stones.

And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter. And the men of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? and to whom shall he go up from us?

1 Samuel 6:19-20

So the gold haemorrhoids didn't do the trick after all. Or maybe it was just the gold mice.

But it all ended happily. The Israelites sacrificed a lamb to Yahweh, and that did the trick. They then smote the Philistines and got their box back, so all was well.

Who on earth decided this implausible and transparently concocted tale, obviously made up by an insecure priesthood to stop people looking into their empty box of magic things, should be included in a book they were going to claim was written by a god!

Golden haemorrhoids!

No wonder they managed to lose the box altogether later on.

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  1. The hemorrhoid story even made it onto WND, and still the believers cling to their belief in a god obsessed with hemorrhoids. I am not judging, but I would not be praising.

    1. 'scuse my ignorance but what is WND?

    2. I think WND refers to: which appears to be an evangelical-type news site.


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