And now back to the Old Testament for this week’s round of vocabulary building. Starting with some ladies…
Q: Queen Jezebel
I wouldn’t be surprised if Shakespeare got his inspiration for Lady Macbeth from this woman. She is definitely in contention for being The Bible’s numero uno bad girl.
She was another one of those blood thirsty monarchs found in The Bible and she particularly didn’t like the prophet Elijah. This is probably because he was telling the Jewish people to listen to Jehovah (God). Jezebel and her husband, Ahab on the other hand were telling people to worship a god called Baal.
Jezebel wasn’t a Jew and she brought her local religion to the Jews. Her husband basically got manipulated and swept along with it and built a temple for Baal, along with other architecture that was not in the design brief for the Jewish religion.
Then one day Elijah is told by God to go and meet Ahab who is in the Vineyard of Naboth (whoever he was). So Elijah, who clearly has some guts, goes and meets Ahab and tells him that his family is going to be cut off from the house of Israel and that Jezebel is evidently not going to die in a pretty way because dogs are doing to lick up her remains.
And this is exactly what happens. Not nice.
If Jezebel is the bad girl of The Bible then Ruth is the good girl. She’s pretty much the yang of Jezebel’s yin, because Ruth wasn’t Jewish either, but a Moabite.
Ruth’s people were descended from a guy called Moab (makes sense) and were enemies of the Jews. So it’s a little strange that at one point there was a family of Jews who were living in Moab. However, this allowed Ruth to marry one of the sons in the family.
But then he died along with his brother and father. So the Jewish mother-in-law, Naomi is left with only her two Moabite daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah (who apparently Oprah was named after, but they messed up the letter order on the birth certificate…according to a magazine I read once).
Naomi tells Ruth and Orpah that they should go and marry some other men and not hang around with her, because Naomi’s decided to head back to Canaan now that she has nothing in Moab.
Ruth would be a total outsider and has absolutely no reason to go with Naomi, but makes a vow to stay with her and to align herself with the Jewish people and take their religion as her own now too.
To cut a long story short, Ruth returns with Naomi and basically marries her boss, who takes a shine to her almost instantly as she gathers out in the harvest fields. Although, Naomi does take on the role of matchmaker a bit (what else’s a widow to do, eh?) and is very specific about whose field Ruth turns up in for harvest time.
So Ruth marries Boaz and they have a boy called Obed. Obed has a son called Jesse, and Jesse has a son called David. As in King David. So Ruth is King David’s great grandmother.
This is the mountain that Moses climbs up to get the Ten Commandments from God, which are put on two stone tablets. This is the mountain Moses climbs down with those stone tablets only to find that while he’s been up there, the Jewish nation have decided to have build themselves a golden cow, sacrifice to it, then have a feast and engage in a drunken orgy with one another.
At this point, Moses smashes the stone tablets in anger at the bottom of Mount Sinai. Fair enough too. Moses has effectively been signing a marriage deal with God on behalf of the nation. Meanwhile they’ve been committing spiritual adultery (and probably physical adultery too).
This means that what came down must go back up, namely Moses. So he re-climbs up Mount Sinai and has to do the whole stone-tablet-ten-commandment thing all over again. In actual fact, if you pay attention while reading Exodus, you notice that Moses goes up and down that mountain quite a bit and he is not a young guy by that point in time.
So in summary, Sinai is the place where the Jews got the Ten Commandments, otherwise known as ‘The Law’. This is why Sinai is often symbolism for ‘law’.
Yours in a vineyard,