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What I've Learned
My wife and I have been reading the Old Testament aloud this year. We started in Genesis way back in January and have been plowing our way through a few pages at a time. On odd days, because I was born on an odd year, I start. On even days, because she was born on an even year, she starts. Our Bibles are set up, as most are, with two columns per page. Whichever of us starts, we take turns reading columns until we've knocked off the scheduled pages for the day.
Early in our marriage, we used to read to each other a lot. One of the books we read was A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute. We were unfamiliar with it — having picked it up for a dime at a yard sale because we liked the title — and I remember how part way through we were stunned by the implications of a plot point in the story. Whichever of us was reading stopped, we looked at each other, and both made the same comment at the same time.
Reading the Old Testament has not been easy or particularly fun, but we've enjoyed the experience. And we feel like champs having stuck with it. When a day's reading was missed, it was made up for with a double session. Once we got four days behind and couldn't face reading 12 pages, so we added one page to each day's reading until we were back on schedule.
There is not a lot of humor in the Old Testament, but we've managed, as is our wont, to generate a bit of our own. For example, early in 1st Kings a place named Gath was mentioned. Dredging my memory banks from childhood summers in Vacation Bible School in Oklahoma, I said, "I think there were giants in Gath."
A few verses later, Gath was mentioned again, and I, having a senior moment, said, "I think there were giants in Gath." My wife gave me the "you just said that" look. A few verses later Gath appeared again. She paused and looked at me expectantly. What could I do but say, "I think there were giants in Gath."
And so it went throughout our readings, any time Gath appeared.
Imagine my joy when we came upon this verse: "And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span."
And later, this verse, "And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant."
My Vacation Bible School teachers, no doubt, are smiling in their graves.
Gath appears 20 times in the Old Testament and I got (or will get) to say, "I think there were giants in Gath" for every one of them.
We have been amused by the number of Star Wars' references--or near references--there are.
Those who know that Darth Vader is Anakin Skywalker, can imagine our delight at reading in Deuteronomy 2:10: "The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims."
And recently we came across the word sith. The Sith are a group of evil characters in the Star Wars fictional universe. In the Old Testament, however, sith means since, as in Ezekiel 35:6 ". . . sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee."
Because we've had grandchildren in the house much of the year, we've avoided in our reading saying certain words. Asses, for example, became donkeys. And a whore, a bad woman. Damn became darn, and hell, the bad place. We made such substitutions automatically when young ears were around.
One day as my wife was reading and our two grandsons were playing with Legos on the living room floor, there was a verse with a particularly vivid phrase. The verse, 1 Samuel 25:22, said this: "So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall."
When my wife got to the last part, she stopped--shocked--and looked pointedly at me. "Men," she said.
After we finish the Old Testament, I think we should choose something more tame, such as Catcher in the Rye.