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Shady Land Deal in the Bible

I came across an interesting Bible passage today. Matthew 13:44 states, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the whech when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.”

This, to me, seems to be very un-Christian behavior. Finding treasure on someone else’s land, concealing it, withholding knowledge of such from the rightful owner, and then buying the property to gain ownership. This reeks of dirty dealing, secrecy, and back stabbing; things I was always led to believe were not becoming of good Christians. Moreover, the man that said the above quote is Jesus himself. So God (via his son) condones this sort of behavior.

Say the above happened, and this asshole bought the land with the treasure. I would like to know if any kind of mineral rights existed in ancient Palestine. Would simply purchasing the parcel of land entitle one to any treasures that were contained below the surface? If petroleum, gold, silver, uranium, etc. are to be considered precious commodities, then certainly a treasure comparable to heaven would be included in such rights.

Yes, I know that is an absurd comparison, but, to me, it illustrates that people, including Jesus Christ himself, will say anything to make the prospect of an afterlife as appealing as possible. By appealing to mankind’s lust for treasure and conquest, Jesus lays out a situation in which an underhanded transaction takes place with clearly concealed ulterior motives with the goal of enjoying a treasure while excluding others from said enjoyment. If this passage is to mean anything else, then it could have been written so many different ways.

Of course, no matter how much Jesus was trying to wow his starry-eyed observers, he certainly resorted to an appeal to force mere passages later with, “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:49-50)

When push comes to shove, if the promise of treasure can’t convince someone to do something, threatening to burn them eternally should prove a useful tool of persuasion.

3 thoughts on “Shady Land Deal in the Bible

  1. Sounds like fraud to me. Also, interesting that it’s portrayed as something to be jealously guarded rather than charitably shared. It’s not exactly like there’s a finite amount of faith to go around…

  2. ** Xianity is no love-fest, it’s a vipers’ tangle **

    Xian intolerance and self-righteousness were traits noted with distaste by Romans, two thousand years ago. (See R. Wilken. The christians as the romans saw them. Yale Pr. 1984)

    The new religion appealed to poor, uneducated, displaced people pushed into slums of great cities in the eastern Roman Empire. With Jerusalem destroyed and the province of Palestine subjugated in 70 CE, thousands of anti-Roman Jews escaped into Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Alexandria, and Rome where there were already Jewish enclaves.

    Cults of Jesus appealed to marginalized Jews and pagan malcontents who wanted a world cleansed of Roman occupation, who hoped for a religious military leader, who wanted revenge. (And impotent desires for revenge, as Nietzsche said, give rise to xian “morality” and hopes for the “end of days.”)

    The xian is concerned only about his own skin [soul] — what would you do to save yourself — would you steal? Of course, for the world is about to be destroyed.

    The text of Mat13:40-50 provides contrasting parables — get faith before the end times
    For readers who find early 17th century English unintelligible, here are Mat13:44, 49-50 NIV (New International Version):

    44The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

    [Verses 45-48 present two more parables: the pearl of great value, the net of good and bad fish. Verses 49-50 gives the apocalyptic vision that puts zest into the parable of the net.]

    49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Don’t you just burn with true xian ardor? — the fiery furnace / weeping and gnashing of teeth. The ‘New Testament’ should come stamped with a skull-and-crossbones.


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