When Moses Tried to Quit the Game

This post is part of a year-long project wherein, week-by-week, we will summarize the Bible story being shared at synagogue so that you can skip the synagogue


Deuteronomy 29:9 – 31:30

The Hebrews were wandering through the desert.

Moses: Hey guys? I’m getting too old for this. I’m 120, I can’t keep wandering through life, you know? I want to try something else. Maybe go into real estate, give someone else a chance to do this shit. Joshua seems pretty into it.

God, transforms into a cloud, floats over.

God: Moses!
Moses: … You’re a cloud now?
God: Moses, your time is running out.
Moses: What exactly does that mean? And why are you a cloud?
God: I’m gonna kill you soon.
Moses: What? Why?

God: Standard procedure. No one is allowed to live that long anymore since I made a rule about it for some reason.
Moses: But if you made the rule —
God: Hush, my child.

God leads Moses to his tent. God has trouble getting inside, being a giant cloud, so he just kinda hovers by the entrance.

God: Moses, the Hebrews are totally gonna break my commandments. They’ll hang out with other gods.
Moses: Now why would they do that?
God: Cause they’re jerks.
The Ghost Of Miriam: (sticking her head through the tent) God, if you want people to like you, maybe you should try being nicer to them.

God strikes her with lightning.

Moses: If you can see the future, and you don’t like how it looks, why don’t you just change it?
God: Free will?
Moses: But if it were free will, then you wouldn’t know they were gonna break them.
God: They make their own decisions, I can just see them ahead of time.
Moses: But if the universe is that deterministic, and you set it up, then you essentially set them up to fail.
God: Nu uh.

The Ghost Of Miriam, still sparking a little from the lightning, apparates into the tent.

The Ghost Of Miriam: Why are you being such an asshole?
Moses: Sh!
The Ghost Of Miriam: No, you know what? This guy has been making us walk through a desert for decades —  he even killed me out here — and he won’t even let us ask other gods for directions. I’m saying something. You’re being a real asshole, God.
God: Wha—Wait. Wait, I’m not an asshole.
The Ghost Of Miriam: You are a total asshole. You are the biggest asshole in the world. Other assholes hear of you, and they’re like, “Wow, he probably has a giant for a proctologist, because you’d need a massive arm to conduct that prostate exam.”
God: Wait, okay, how about, if you guys repent, I’ll bring you all back together, and give you your land, and we’ll have a barbecue or something. Fair?
The Ghost Of Miriam: What about the dead babies?
God: Huh?
The Ghost Of Miriam: The babies you’ll have made us eat. What about them? Will you bring them back too?
God: I mentioned the barbecue.

Moses and The Ghost Of Miriam get totally grossed out.

God: Kidding! Kidding. For real though, how about I make your enemies eat their babies?
The Ghost Of Miriam: What is it with you and making people eat their babies?
God: I saw a PBS special about spiders doing it. Amazing the stuff you miss when you create the world and then go on vacation for a few billion years.
Moses: Billion?
God: Thousand! I meant thousand.


Illustration by Dana Lo

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About The Author

Ilana Strauss

Ilana E. Strauss is a human-shaped collection of atoms that have written for The Atlantic, Reader's Digest, the Washington Post, Tablet, and the Toast.

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