Why God Hates Farmers

The little boy huddled close to his father under the night sky.  The fire crackled and the smell of burning dung and warm sheep let the little boy know that everything should be right in the world.

“Dad, why do we hate the farmers?”

“Because they are farmers, my boy, and we are herders.” The man chuckled.

“No, why?”

“Obvious, child.  The farmers try and fence off our land.  They steal it from us and keep us from walking through the best parts.  They try and steal the water holes too.   Never trust a farmer.”

The boy thought for a while.  It made sense the way his dad put it.

“But, dad, if we were farmers, it would seem like the herders were stealing their water.  And ruining our food when they took their herds over.”

The man was surprised.  He had never thought about it that way, or at least, not since having a herd of his own.

“Oh, son.  The real reason that we hate the farmers is that God hates them.”

The boy’s eyes grew big.  God was responsible for the terrible thunder and the swarms of locusts that came every few years and eat the goats’ food.

“Oh yes,” the man continued.  “Back many seasons ago there were two brothers.  One farmed and grew crops and fruit trees while the other herded animals.  When it came time for sacrifice, the farmer sacrificed grains and fruits.  The herder sacrificed new lambs.

“And, we all know that God loves the smell of burning animals the best.  Nothing else makes him so happy, so he loved the gift of the herder and hated the gift of the farmer.  This made the farmer so angry that he killed his own brother.  So God sent the farmer away.

“That is why we hate the farmers.”  The man was silent once more, thinking.

He thought of his own cousin who had also killed his brother when they had fought over a watering hole.   God hadn’t done anything to the cousin except give him his former brother’s herds and wife.  The farmers must be much worse.

“It must be awful to have God mad at you,” the boy whispered.

16 thoughts on “Why God Hates Farmers

  1. Ahab says:

    I can totally imagine this exchange taking place in Middle Eastern pastures millenia ago. Come to think of it, I can imagine modified forms of this talk taking place in modern times.

  2. Ahab says:

    I can totally imagine this exchange taking place in Middle Eastern pastures millenia ago. Come to think of it, I can imagine modified forms of this talk taking place today.

  3. Well done. 🙂 It never made sense to me that God would reject Cain’s offering, especially because they were supposedly vegetarians at the time. (God didn’t grant them the right to eat meat until after the Flood.

    I think Ahab is right, too.

  4. A perfect illustration of how an irrational argument justifies irrational prejudice and trumps empathy. Beautiful. Love the image too.

  5. Wonderful retelling of that story! I, like The Wise Fool, often questioned why God rejected Cain’s offering. (Though I never questioned the fact that everyone was supposedly vegetarian at the time, I don’t remember hearing that bit until quite a few years later.) I was never really satisfied with the Baptist Preacher explanation that, “Able brought the best he had while Cain just brought the left-overs.” If you’re trying to be a biblical Christan then you really shouldn’t be adding things that aren’t in the text.

    Of course, it was this and the myriad other contradictions in scripture that eventually led to my deconversion. 🙂

  6. D'Ma says:

    Beautiful story. Along with Ahab I can totally imagine this taking place in various forms throughout history. Leave it to children to cause an adult to really think about their positions on things.

  7. Retief says:

    Why are we assuming a hatred of farmers?

    • prairienymph says:

      Hatred is merely a reflection and justification for the age long conflict between settled agrarians and nomadic herdsmen. Interestingly, the nomads are often highly violent. Not unlike their god.

    • That farmers are bad and herdsmen are good is a recurring theme in the old testament. The Cain and Able story is the first instance in the scripture, but the conflict can be seen elsewhere as well.

      • Ahab says:

        Since city-dwelling and agriculture went hand in hand in ancient times, the story of Cain building the first city (Enoch) may have been an extension of this.

  8. I had an old testament professor in undergrad who pointed out that the “bad” gods most often encountered in the old testament are Ba’al and Asherah, which are usually seen as having to do with fertility and agrarian life (Ba’al especially, I’m not so sure on Asherah, it’s been over 12 years now since I took this calls, the only information I found on Asherah with a quick search was that she is supposedly El’s mother, which is funny since El is the god who eventually became THE God.).

    • prairienymph says:

      There tends to be a morphing of myths of that region along a similar vein. A powerful goddess creates a son. Then the son becomes her concubine. For a while they seem equal as he rises to spouse status. Then eventually the son becomes more powerful and the mother goddess is reduced to concubine or killed. I tend to think that the serpent (often a symbol of feminine power and wisdom) in the garden of eden was propaganda trying to reduce the power of a previous ruling goddess.
      There seems to be a lot of archealogical evidence that Asherah was worshipped alongside El for much of Hebrew history. I think that is why the bible tried so hard to vilify her.

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