Alright, this one isn’t about Ezekiel 25:17, but I thought Sam Jackson would be a perfect herald back into my narrative of the Bible. Let’s start at the beginning of Ezekiel.
Moses drops us off, rather abruptly really, right in the wake of Joe and his entire family expiring, “but the Iraelites were fruitful and prolific. They became so numerous that the land was filled with them.” This makes the new Pharoah in Egypt more than a little jittery and he tells his subjects as much and that he wants all the midwives who help in the birth of Joe’s kin to literally throw all the male babies out with the bathwater but to let the all girls lives. But one of Levi’s granddaughters did have a son and “seeing that he was a goodly child,” didn’t kill him but instead plopped him down in some reeds and Nile river algae where Pharoah’s own daughter came along and found him and called him Moses, which everyone knows means “I drew him out of the water” in Hebrew.
Now, if Moses’ was indeed the author of Exodus, he accomplishes a feat in Ezekiel that every writer should strive to achieve. He barely talks about himself. Well, lets take a step back. He actually does talk about himself quite a bit in relation to his adventures in prophet-sitting with the Nation of Israel, but he ignores his formative years entirely. The story of Moses, in fact picks up in typical Old Testament form with Moses icing an Egyptian for roughing up one of Moses’ kin (Moses seemed to be kind of a hothouse flower in his youth.) The Pharoah got wind of Moses’ temper and wanted to ice him himself but Moses’ broke out and went and chilled by a well out in the country.
Meanwhile, the Jews had about had it with the whole kept-in-bondage situation, especially since they were continuing to be fruitful and multiplying and told God as much. The Big Guy suddenly remembered he had told Abraham and Isaac and Jacob something about always having their back, so He…
I’ll take this moment to pause because the Bible I’m using actually uses punctuation to help articulate a point the author is about to make, which also happens to be one of my favorite tools too. There are 14 puctuation marks in everyday English usage and one of my life goals is to one day construct a single sentence that uses all 14 correctly. I have been accused by a few that I use punctuation marks as an excuse to string together run-on sentences but I personally believe that if you can use brackets, parentheses, a colon and a semicolon in one sentence and use them properly, you deserve my undivided attention. In this case, Moses used good old ellipses or “ … “ to tell us about his little talk with a burning bush which may or may not have involved Moses also out of his gourd after eating the psychoactive bark of the acacia tree.
One day Moses was hiking up Mount Horeb, conveniently called Mountain of God, when he saw a bush on fire and it started talking to him. As he got closer, the bush called out “Moses! Moses!” Not at all used to seeing flaming vegetation, Moses stammered “Whoa. Okay, wait a sec –“ and God interrupted him “Shut up for a second. So last night I remembered that whole covenant thing with your great granddad and I figured it was time to make good on my promise since you and the Nation of Israel clearly need some help getting out of this pickle in Egypt.”
Moses hid his face from the bush but God didn’t have time for faux modesty.
“Look, I know y’all are bummed that I haven’t held up my end of the deal, so dig it. I’ve decided to lead you and the nation of Israel out of this mess and into the land I promised you. You need to send some elders to Pharoah and get him to let you hike out into the desert for a few days so you can kill some fatted calfs for me.”
At this Moses balked because he knew that story wasn’t going to fly and told God as much.
“If he doesn’t buy it, tell Pharoah that he and the whole land of Egpyt is in for a world of hurt if he doesn’t let you go,” God said.
“Dude, that will never work,” Moses told God. But, being persistent as supreme beings tend to be, God said, “Fine. I want you to take that stick you’re holding and throw it on the ground.”
Indignant, Moses began, “For your information, this is my staff …”
“Can it,” God shot back. “It’s a freakin’ stick. Throw it on the ground.”
When Moses did, the stick turned into a serpent. “Now grab its tail,” God instructed.
“Are you freakin’ serious?! I’m not-“
“Just grab it’s tail!” God shouted. When Moses did, the serpent turned into a stick again.
“I said it’s not a stick, it’s a staff-“
Put a cork in it, Moses.
Moses looked at the snake as it turned into a stick in his hand again, but still wasn’t sure it was going to work. God, seeing the doubt still consuming Moses face and frankly pretty well taxed by the whole affair at this point, let out a long sigh and said, “Stop scratching your armpit and let me see your hand.”
So Moses did as he was told and when he held out his hand, it was all leprous-y.
“Now scratch your armpit again,” God said.
“You just told me-“
“Scratch it!” God yelled. “Now let me see your hand again.”
When Moses took out his hand again, it was back to normal.
“Happy?” God asked. Seeing that Moses still wasn’t convinced, God said, “If that doesn’t work, I’ll make dirt bleed.”
“Whoa. You’ll do what?” Moses asked as he prepared to go see the Pharoah.
“You heard me. I’ll make dirt bleed.”
“Now this I gotta see,” Moses said under his breath and went off to meet the Pharoah.