Fun with the Bible: The Exodus from Egypt and the Seven Plagues – Wait, I Thought There Were Ten

Yes, you read that right: there were 7 plagues. Now, I’m not going to spell out how that works in just one blog post. It would be long and complicated and then I wouldn’t know what to write about for the next couple Fun with the Bible posts, but I will get you started. I think that we should do a little of the requisite leg-work together because a. it’s fun, b. it’s challenging and c. it makes you really understand what’s going on when you can see it for yourself.

Now, sometimes you’ll have to trust me because we’re going to need the Hebrew text in order to really get an accurate picture of what’s going on, but I’ll tell you what it says and you can see what you think.

But where to start when discovering that there weren’t actually 10 plagues during the Exodus in Egypt but only 7? How about we start out of Exodus entirely, hmm? Let’s turn to….Psalms! Yes, that’s right. Please take out your Bibles – or open the Bible in another tab – and flip to Psalm 78, verses 42-51. Read these verses. Curious, no? It’s a recounting of the plagues in Egypt, called in verse 43 “signs.”

How many do you see? Count them. I’ll give you a second.

….

Alright, how many? Seven! That’s right: seven.

1. Blood

2. Flies

3. Frogs

4. Pestilence

5. Locusts

6. Hail

7. Slaying of the first born

That’s right – we’re missing lice, boils and darkness. Where are they?

Let’s turn to Psalm 105, verses 26-36. Read them. We’ve got the plagues going on here, too, don’t we? And how many are there. That’s right, 7!

1. Darkness

2. Blood

3. Frogs

4. Flies/Gnats

5. Hail

6. Locusts

7. Slaying of the first born

Here they’re called signs and miracles (verse 27), and we picked up Darkness.

But before we depart for the moment, what kinds of questions should we be asking ourselves about these psalms, the Exodus and the plagues.

First, why do two separate Psalms both give us plague stories with only 7 plagues? What’s significant about 7 that 10 doesn’t have? Where are the missing plagues? Which stories are older: the Psalm traditions or the Exodus narrative? Is the Exodus narrative all it appears to be when taken at face value?

Read the Psalms again and then check out Exodus 7-12 to start thinking about next week.

What do you think about these questions so far? Thoughts about the plagues?

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Signs Homeless People Have that Make Me Give Them Money

There are a couple of homeless person signs I’ve seen in my day (only one in San Francisco) that have made me turn my head twice and give somebody money. No, these aren’t the only times that I give homeless people money (impressive signs), but it certainly does help. Most of the time, it’s hard to tell who’s really homeless and who just has a good schtick going (my car broke down with my baby and my baby’s mama in it and a sandworm is about to swallow it if I don’t go back with 5 dollars – please missa can’t ya help me) so, per some sage advice, I’ve chosen a few charities to which I regularly donate and forgo giving money to people on the street.

But like I said, a few signs are great.

Yesterday, in front of Circuit City in San Francisco I saw a girl with a sign that said, “I have no excuse – I just need some help.” Good work on that one, but it doesn’t top my favorite homeless person sign, which I saw in Philadelphia a few years ago was a group of punk looking kids whose sign said, “I bet you a dollar you read this sign.” I gave them a dollar.

Honestly, though, if I was homeless I would never stay in Philadelphia or even San Francisco where it can be chilly and windy. I’d go south, probably to Florida. No, not to Miami – too big of a city. Probably to the middle of Florida where the weather never makes you suffer (well, freeze-to-death suffer because that humidity can be brutal) and there are always big suburban grocery stores with free samples. I’d also try to offer a service, like continually opening the door for everyone at a supermarket (this works better in a big city) and hoping that people appreciated the service enough to toss me their change. Just asking doesn’t work as well as earning it like that – at least in my book.

Somehow I doubt any homeless people have access to my blog, but just in case they are spending their change in an overpriced internet cafe reading, I would like to ask, What’s the best sign you ever made?

What’s the best sign you ever saw? What’s your policy on distributing money to the homeless? Do you ever feel like they’re not really homeless? Have you ever been homeless?

Shyamalan’s The Happening Sucks Donkey Balls

My apologies if the title of this post is not becoming to your sense of propriety, but allow it to be my largest and most thorough warning about the importance of not seeing this movie. Holy crap, Shyamalan – were you even trying?

Sign one that there are problems: the movie is only 91 minutes long. Don’t get me wrong. I respect short films and not putting unnecessary stuffing and crap into a movie, but this was ridiculous. It was like it should have been 120 minutes and they took out the 30 minutes that actually made it a movie. Instead, I had 90 minutes of Mark Wahlberg in fields. Yee-f-ing-haw. For serious – why was this film made? Who greenlit this? Who in Hollywood said, yeah, that’s a good idea?

I am very movie tolerant. I only want to be entertained, and as a previous posting will indicate, I had very low expectations for this movie. That means it shouldn’t have been too hard to impress me. Talking with my friends afterwards, though, taught me something: M. Night Shyamalan films are hit and miss person to person. Some people like them and some people hate them. Not collectively, mind you, but on an individual basis. For instance, I liked The Village, a friend hated it and a third was fine with it. I hated Signs, a friend liked it and another loved it. Hit and miss person to person. But one thing is for sure: we all hated this. So did the guy three rows back who said, “That sucked,” the moment the credits started rolling.

Was it about scary wind? Was it a poor attempt at a global warming warning? Was it about love? Who knows? Maybe it wasn’t about anything. It had a few opportunities to get cool and scary at the end but Shyamalan decided to take a dump on those opportunities as though they were harlots with herpes trying to steal his 25 Euro. Nothing was happening in The Happening, read another review, and I echo that sentiment. Such a disappointment.

I award this movie 1.5 Chocolate Salty Balls because Zooey Deschanel had a nice rack. Unfortunately, her acting and Wahlberg’s totally sucked, but I hold Shyamalan accountable for that. Bad directing. Never mind – I’m taking back that half.

1 Chocolate Salty Ball.

What did you think? Feel free to disagree? What are your thoughts on Shyamalan and his other movies? Do you want to read about something truly scary? This crap movie was supposed to be frightening but if you check out the post with ex-cult member, Grace Lyerly, she can share experiences with you that are truly terrifying in real life.

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If you have no self respect and you want a copy of this movie – or maybe you just want it to burn – then enjoy your copy of The Happening.