Bob Dylan And Ezra

by Larry Fyffe

Apparently, notwithstanding the fog of history, and what is fact and what is fiction,

Jonah is reluctant to preach to nonHebrews even if a number of them do change their wicked ways; that is, they stop worshipping Baal and all; initially, Jonah doesn’t care whether or not  Nineveh, the capital of ancient Assyria, is destroyed by God Yahweh.

Then, when the Persians conquered Babylon, prophet Ezra is allowed to lead some more Hebrews back home to Judah from their Babylonian Captivity; Ezra insists they follow Ezekiel’s determination to be loyal to the God of the Hebrews.

Ezra acknowledges the scepticism of Jonah; demands that the Hebrews already back in Judah become more Jewish; focus on their own beliefs; stop intermingling with ‘strangers’ from other lands:

[S]o that the holy seed have mingled themselves
With the people of those lands
Yea, the hand of the princes and rulers
Hath been chief in this trespass
(Ezra 9: 2)

In the song lyrics below, the narrator, in America, the New Babylon, struggles with Ezra’s edict.

After all, who among us can seriously fault biblical Bathsheba for sleeping with sling-shot-flinging hero David, now a very powerfu king, who happens to play the lyre, writes and sings psalms.

When the King arranges the demise of Bathsheba’s sun-goddess-worshipping husband, Yahweh’s pretty well forced to put His foot down; pleased He’s not; righteous the lust-filled King no longer.

To wit:

Been so long since a strange woman has slept in my bed
Look how sweet she sleeps, how free she must be in her dreams
In another lifetime she must have owned the world, or been faithfully wed
To some righteous king who wrote psalms beside moonlight streams
(Bob Dylan: I And I)

David gets his comeuppance. Bathsheba becomes a power behind the throne;

Absalom, a much-beloved son of the King by another of his wives, rebels against his father; ends up getting killed when his long hair becomes entangled in the branches of an oak tree.

In the song lyrics below, Bathsheba be compared to Deliah; King David to Samson:

Your faith was strong, but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
(Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah)

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