From Esquire Magazine ~ Ask the BibleEnjoy the following tidbits from the book, The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs ~ I know I got a chuckle out of them!
For my new book, The Year of Living Biblically, I attempted to follow all the rules of the Bible, from the famous (e.g., love thy neighbor) to the strangely ignored (e.g., don't wear clothes of mixed fibers).
It was a surprising and perspective-changing year. I was taken aback by how relevant many of the Bible's rules are to modern life. The laws about lying, gossiping, and coveting come to mind, since I live in New York. I was also surprised at how much practical information the Bible contains. I expected the wisdom and spirituality;
So I've decided to take a few questions.
I'm getting salt-and-pepper hair, and I'm afraid I'm going to look like some guy on The McLaughlin Group in a year or two. Can the Bible recommend a dye that men can use without embarrassment?
Give ear, brother: A wise man scorns hair dye. As it says in Proverbs 16:31, "Gray hair is a crown of glory, it is gained in a righteous life." Keep your hair free from any coloring agents. However, in terms of grooming, the Bible is not opposed to a little product: "Let not oil be lacking on your head" (Eccles. 9:8).
My fiancée's parents are coming over for the first time, and I want to impress them with a home-cooked meal. Any suggestions?
You will feed to them the best recipe in the Bible: It is the bread eaten by the prophet Ezekiel for 390 days without ceasing. So if your in-laws can't abide it for one night, they are no better than a dog's head of Moab.
¼ omer wheat (about 2 pints)
¼ omer barley
¼ omer lentils
¼ omer spelt
¼ omer millet
¼ omer kidney beans
Mix with a mortar and pestle. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. To sweeten your bread, try a little honey: "My son eat honey, for it is good" (Prov. 24:13). But not too much: "If you eat honey, eat only enough for you, lest you be sated with it and vomit it" (Prov. 25:16).
Does the Bible have any good pickup lines?
You can never fail with "I hope you know CPR, because you take my breath away" (Deut. 14:21).
Ha! I joketh. But try this, from the Song of Solomon:
Your eyes are doves,
Your hair is like a flock of goats,
Moving down the slopes of Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes,
Your lips are like a scarlet thread,
and your mouth is lovely.
Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate
Behind your veil.
Your neck is like the Tower of David.
My idiot friend forwarded me an e-mail that he knew might have a virus. It destroyed my hard drive. I think he should pay to buy me a new one. He refuses. What does the Bible say?
Your friend multiplies words without knowledge. But you too speak from ignorance. The answer lies in between. Consider: "If a man's ox injures the ox of another and it dies, they are to sell the live one and divide both the money and the dead animal equally" (Exod. 21:35). Tell your friend to sell his PC, then give half the proceeds to you.
I have a bad case of insomnia. Any tips?
I beseech you: Put down the eighth slice of Ezekiel bread. "Healthy sleep depends on moderate eating....The distress of sleeplessness and of nausea and colic are with the glutton" (Ecclus. 31:20). And easy on the honey, as we've discussed.
I'm buying some new oxford shirts this fall. I was wondering what colors the stylish men are wearing these days?
The fashions of men are vapor, all vapor. You can no more catch the wind than predict what new color will be embraced by the editors of style magazines. Which is why I tell you truly: White is the ancient black. As it says in Ecclesiastes 9:8: "Let your garments be always white." Heed these words.
(Author's note: As part of my biblical year, I wore white all the time. And I can honestly say it was one of the best things I've ever done. You feel lighter, purer, happier. You can't be in a bad mood when you feel like you're about to play in the semifinals at Wimbledon.)
I was at a dinner party the other night and there was a third fork beside the salad and entrée forks. What was that for?
Third fork? By the lights of Gideon...My guesses would be empty talk. Instead, I will tell you the proper way to act at a dinner party:
"Be the first to stop eating, for the sake of good manners" (Ecclus. 31:17).
"If you are seated among many persons, do not reach out your hand before they do" (Ecclus. 31:18).
"If you are overstuffed with food, get up in the middle of the meal, and you will have relief" (Ecclus. 31:21).
And make sure your host isn't cheap: "Do not eat the food of a stingy man...for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. 'Eat and drink,' he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the little you have eaten" (Prov. 23:6-8).
I'm in a happy marriage. But frankly, we're sort of in a rut bedroom-wise. Any tips on how to spice things up?
Your question contains the answer: spice. Cinnamon, oil of myrrh, and aloe -- all are biblical ways to entice a mate to bed. Colored spreads of Egyptian linen also multiply the sexiness. And as for food, the Song of Solomon suggests: "Sustain me with raisins, refresh me with apples; for I am sick with love" (Song of Sol. 2:5). Or else try honey. But keep it in moderation. Again, we've discussed that.
My boyfriend is the worst dancer in America. He looks like he's having a massive bilateral seizure. Do I tell him? Or just suck it up?
Sure, tell him. As long as you are prepared for your relationship to turn to dust. Let me relate to you a story: When King David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, he did a wild dance of joy. So wild, in fact, his robes flew up and exposed his privates. His wife Michal was embarrassed and scolded him. As a result, she was punished with infertility.
Esquire Editor-at-Large A.J. Jacobs is the author of
A Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible.
The book, published by Simon & Schuster, will be out this October.
You can buy it by following the link at the bottom of the original article.
©2007 Hearst Communications, Inc.
On a related note, I SO love some of
the comments following [ this blog post ]
...hope they make up for my lack of a rant this time!