Thoughts on the 1st Commandment

I’ve always thought it curious that in the first of the Ten Commandments the Hebrew God confesses to a sin. Don’t remember that? “Thou shalt have no other gods before me, for the Lord, your God is a JEALOUS God. Since several of the other commandments say you can’t covet other’s things or family, it’s really odd that jealousy on the part of God is allowed and it’s the one that’s been causing all the trouble ever since.

So why is the Hebrew God jealous? Do the other deities have something he doesn’t have? Like a Goddess? Is this all because the Hebrew God couldn’t get the girl?

Is it over territories? He led them to a fairly desolate area and called it the land of milk and honey. Looks like a desert to me, bait and switch? Was he coveting more fertile lands with water?

Did he want more people besides a few tribes in a desert? Was he already setting his sights on the rest of the world to conquer? It still hasn’t worked so he still must be jealous and I bet his mother, Asherah wasn’t happy to be locked out. Wonder if she still gives him and earful.

Is Tiamat, the dragon or serpent, who he’s trying to exclude? She did move into the Garden of Eden and have a chat with Eve that the Hebrew God was pretty pissed about. Since his henchmen wrote the book she doesn’t even get her name mentioned. Dragons in sci-fi fantasy books even now are the repositories of knowledge. So she is still around even if they don’t know her name.

At the very least, if he’s a jealous God then it means he is aware there are other choices besides him and he would have been a kinder, nicer God if he had learned how to make friends and get along with the other deities. And there would be fewer wars and shootings.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on the 1st Commandment

  1. You bring up a really good point, and I actually have some information for you…

    Yahweh, as first conceived, was not an only god. Originally, there was a Mother/Father duo in the area called El and Asherah. They gave birth to “70 Sons and Daughters.” That is, at one time, there was one big region there and everyone more or less worshiped the same local gods, El & Asherah. But when the region became more populous, they broke it up into 70 regions. This is probably because there was already strife over resources. As it turns out, one of the biggest rivalries was between the region that worshiped Yahweh and the one the worshiped Ba’al. They were not monotheists, they were henotheists.

    Second interesting thing is, many scholars now agree that even though Exodus was traditionally written by Moses, it was actually written during the Babylonian Exile. This is significant because, it is now believed, the Hebrews were living and working among the Babylonians who had Hammurabi’s Code. The laws in Exodus were devised to make a “Hebrew answer” to that. The problem that the Hebrews were facing was they did not want to lose their cultural identity while living with the Babylonians. The First Commandment, then, was to impart the great importance of not becoming absorbed into the surrounding culture. However, the Decalogue (the first ten commandments) drew heavily upon Hammurabi’s code for the rest of it.

    Many scholars also do not believe that the Exodus out of Egypt really happened in a factual sense. The thinking now is that the Exodus story is a story to help keep the conquered Hebrews from losing hope during the exile.

    Tiamat was the ancient mother goddess of the Babylonians deposed by the patriarchal god, Marduk. Somehow or another, Tiamat became associated with Chaos by Jesus’s time… as in, scary, destructive chaos. This is probably because the Marduk Babylonians depicted Her as such to every culture they subsumed. However, Jesus, as a Jew of his time, was also not a monotheist. Jesus was a henotheist .He worshiped Yahweh, the god of his ancestors. However, the concept of monotheism really developed slowly over a period of time after the crucifixion. You can watch it develop in the extra-Biblical texts of the period.

    These fights over religion are not now, nor have they ever been, about religion. They are always about resources and who controls them.

    There is still a LOT of debate over who the Serpent is. I have not yet heard an answer that I agree with. But it is not Tiamat, and it is CERTAINLY not Satan.

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    • 1. I knew those theories and there are others that disagree.
      2. Folklore of the period does equate Tiamat with all dragons and serpents and with being the source of knowledge. I saw several sources for it just for that and none of them were Wikipedia.
      My theoties are just as valid as the Christocentircs at your school who do mot stidy from our side to make their theories up.

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  2. In what way do your theories disagree? Other than the serpent being Tiamat, that is.

    Ok. Let me ask a couple of questions. “Folklore of the period…” Whose folklore? There were a lot of different cultures. Babylonian folklore would be different than, say Egyptian.

    The serpent is tricky, because the actual translation is weird. It doesn’t really say what it has been translated to mean. There are other places where Tiamat is mentioned, but not with the same language as in Genesis. The language there is just really, really strange. I, personally, think that it DOES represent Goddess culture, but I don’t think Tiamat is the goddess. I think it was another one, (I can’t think of Her name right now). But I think She was Canaanite, and I think She had a women’s mystery cult that the Hebrews wanted to supplant. But I have not done enough research to really boldly state that in public, but the language there is like nowhere else, which leads me to believe that She is mentioned nowhere else.

    I took Hebrew Bible with one of the least christocentric scholars imaginable. You would not believe the feminist reading that she does of Judges, for example.

    At any rate, even though many of us will go on to preach these stories in Christian churches, when we study the text, we try not to do it from any “side”. Yes, I know, it is hard, but I come from a Goddess culture and I am constantly standing up for it. However, when I do, I have to show evidence to support it. The stuff I mentioned is stuff that has extra-biblical support, and is also not very popular among practicing Christians… like the whole part about Moses didn’t really write the Pentateuch, but it was really redacted from several authors, much of it in order to create a mythology during the Babylonian exile. There are a lot of people not on board with that, let me tell you.

    But I would be interested in what your theories are and how you arrived at them, because I am actively trying to uncover the truth, which I think will sound a lot more paganocentric in the end.

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