Moses Gets Shafted

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 32:1 – 32:52


The Hebrews are wandering through the desert.

God: Moses, I wrote a poem.

Moses: Good job.

God: Can you read it to everybody? It goes like this:

God is so awesome. Children
don’t deserve him. Children
suck. Plus, adults suck too. They’re
dumb. God was really nice to them.
But then they went and sacrificed
stuff to demons. You forgot about
me, so I forgot about you. And
by forgot about you, I mean,
I sent you famines and plagues
and diseases and monsters.
I am so awesome.

God: What do you think?

Moses: I’m not sure the shift from third person to first person was particularly effective, and the line breaks seemed a bit random—

God strikes Moses with lightning.

Moses: Nice pacing, love the imagery.

God: Moses, I’m gonna show you something.

God leads Moses up a mountain. They can see everything for miles.

God: You know how I’m taking you to the Promised Land?

Moses: Yeah?

God: You can see it over there, in the distance. Look, Moses. Everything the light touches is our kingdom.

Moses: I’m pretty excited about it.

God: Sucks for you, ‘cause I’m gonna kill you before you get there.

Moses: What?

God: Yeah. This is as close as you’re ever gonna get to it.

Moses: But you promised!

God: That’s what makes it funny! Get it? It’s literally called the PROMISED Land. That’s the only thing about it!

Moses: Forty YEARS. In a DESERT. I don’t remember what it feels like to not be sunburnt! And you …

God: I’m still pissed at you for hitting that rock.

God shoves Moses to the ground.

God: Goodnight, sweet prince. May angels fly thee to thy rest.

God slits Moses’s throat with a shiv. A bunch of angels fly over.

Angels: Yes, sir? Shall we carry the corpse of that prince to the heavens?

God: No, that’d be super weird. I was just being poetic.

Angels: Want us to bring him to his family?

God: Nah, just kick some dirt on him.

Angels: Very good, sir.

The angels kick dirt over Moses’s body.

God: You know, that Moses wasn’t all bad. Sure, he was sarcastic and whiny, but I always had someone to talk to. Fuck, maybe I overreacted. Whatever. I can always just start the world over. 


Illustration by Dana Lo

What do you think?

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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