God and Hemorrhoids

This post isn’t about you might think it’s about.

Anyone who claims the Bible lacks humor ought to read 1 Sam 5-6.

The Philistines have just routed the Israelites, and adding insult to injury, they absconded with the Ark of the Covenant, and placed it in the temple dedicated to their god Dagon. Starting at 1 Sam 5:6

6 Now the LORD dealt severely with the people of Ashdod. He ravaged and afflicted the city and its vicinity with hemorrhoids; he brought upon the city a great and deadly plague of mice that swarmed in their ships and overran their fields. 7 On seeing how matters stood, the men of Ashdod decided, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for he is handling us and our god Dagon severely.” 8 So they summoned all the Philistine lords and inquired of them, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” The men of Gath replied, “Let them move the ark of the God of Israel on to us.” 9 So they moved the ark of the God of Israel to Gath! But after it had been brought there, the LORD threw the city into utter turmoil: he afflicted its inhabitants, young and old, and hemorrhoids broke out on them. 10 The ark of God was next sent to Ekron; but as it entered that city, the people there cried out, “Why have they brought the ark of the God of Israel here to kill us and our kindred?” 11 Then they, too, sent a summons to all the Philistine lords and pleaded: “Send away the ark of the God of Israel. Let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our kindred.” A deadly panic had seized the whole city, since the hand of God had been very heavy upon it. 12 Those who escaped death were afflicted with hemorrhoids, and the outcry from the city went up to the heavens.

*snort* Of all the curses and plagues God could choose, He chose hemorrhoids. That’s funny.

Hang on – it gets better in chapter 6.

1The ark of the LORD had been in the land of the Philistines seven months 2when they summoned priests and fortune-tellers to ask, “What shall we do with the ark of the LORD? Tell us what we should send back with it.”

Seven MONTHS?!?! That’s a lotta itchin’, burnin’, twitchin’ and squirmin’. And with no Tucks wipes, either. Just saying.

But wait – there’s more!

3They replied: “If you intend to send away the ark of the God of Israel, you must not send it alone, but must, by all means, make amends to him through a guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and will learn why he continues to afflict you.”4When asked further, “What guilt offering should be our amends to him?”, they replied: “Five golden hemorrhoids and five golden mice to correspond to the number of Philistine lords, since the same plague has struck all of you and your lords.5Therefore, make images of the hemorrhoids and of the mice that are infesting your land and give them as a tribute to the God of Israel. Perhaps then he will cease to afflict you, your gods, and your land.

Okay, now God is totally messing with them. Five golden hemorrhoids? “Make images of the hemorrhoids”? How humiliating that must have been, right? ‘Um, excuse me, my lord, but would you please drop trou and bend over so we can make an impression of your hemorrhoid?’ Talk about getting one’s ass handed to him, huh?

I can imagine how it went down for the artisans. The Philistine priests went to them and said “Okay, we’ll be randomly selecting some of you to make five golden mice, and others to make five golden hemorrhoids.” They each muttered to themselves “Pickmeformice pickmeformice pickmeformice…”

End of the story – the Philistines return the Ark with their tribute to the Israelites, then hightail it back to their kingdom.

No one but God can make His enemies the butt of His jokes with such wit.

If you were looking for a theological discourse on the meaning and significance of hemorrhoids and why God chose that particular curse over any other…come on, this is AoftheA. I just thought it was a funny story.

Image in the Public Domain via Wikimedia

About Larry D

LarryD has been blogging since March 2008, making observations on trends within the culture and the Church. His goal? Poking hornets nests with a stick and injecting humor into the New Evangelization, with the gentle reminder that everyone’s taking themselves way too seriously. He currently resides in Michigan.

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2 Responses to God and Hemorrhoids

  1. Viterbo Fangirl says:

    WELP I have a new favorite bible reading now! (Stiff competition between Elisha siccing bears on some punk kids who called him bald, and the hilariously sitcom-y scenario of a horrified Paul and Barnabas being worshiped by the people of Lystra…) (Also that time Paul, like, almost literally bored Eutychus to death…)

    • Larry Northon says:

      Although some Bible translations (including the one on the Vatican website) have God afflicting the people of Ashdod with “hemorrhoids,” (which the author mirthfully quotes), the Latin Vulgate of I Samuel 5:6 says “et percussit eos tumoribus,” that is, “he struck them with tumors.” Indeed, most translations render the word as “tumors.” A footnote commentary in the New American Bible indicates the tumors were probably bubonic plague, especially since I Samuel 5 also mentions rats and the fact that the tumors were in the private parts (groin, apparently.) There’s nothing funny about it. Bubonic plague is an agonizing way to die, and a terrifying threat to any community.

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