Male genital depilation and the End of the World

Better a vineyard than a field of weeds on Judgement Day.

Stuff you wish people wouldn’t tell you: I am reliably informed that all the 14-25-year-old Spanish gents I know have gone American, just long of the Brazilian oven-ready chicken look. But I have chosen not to pass this crucial information on to the Lord, who on the Last Day, which must be quite soon, may absentmindedly assume (Isaiah 7) that He has marked them in this way, and come to the corresponding conclusion – shaggy sheep right, calvous cabras left:

God spoke again to Ahaz. This time he said, “Ask for a sign from your God. Ask anything. Be extravagant. Ask for the moon!”

But Ahaz said, “I’d never do that. I’d never make demands like that on God!”

So Isaiah told him, “Then listen to this, government of David! It’s bad enough that you make people tired with your pious, timid hypocrisies, but now you’re making God tired. So the Master is going to give you a sign anyway. Watch for this: A girl who is presently a virgin will get pregnant. She’ll bear a son and name him Immanuel (God-With-Us). By the time the child is twelve years old, able to make moral decisions, the threat of war will be over. Relax, those two kings that have you so worried will be out of the picture. But also be warned: God will bring on you and your people and your government a judgment worse than anything since the time the kingdom split, when Ephraim left Judah. The king of Assyria is coming!”

That’s when God will whistle for the flies at the headwaters of Egypt’s Nile, and whistle for the bees in the land of Assyria. They’ll come and infest every nook and cranny of this country. There’ll be no getting away from them.

And that’s when the Master will take the razor rented from across the Euphrates—the king of Assyria no less!—and shave the hair off your heads and genitals, leaving you shamed, exposed, and denuded. He’ll shave off your beards while he’s at it.

It will be a time when survivors will count themselves lucky to have a cow and a couple of sheep. At least they’ll have plenty of milk! Whoever’s left in the land will learn to make do with the simplest foods—curds, whey, and honey.

But that’s not the end of it. This country that used to be covered with fine vineyards—thousands of them, worth millions!—will revert to a weed patch. Weeds and thornbushes everywhere! Good for nothing except, perhaps, hunting rabbits. Cattle and sheep will forage as best they can in the fields of weeds—but there won’t be a trace of all those fertile and well-tended gardens and fields.

Curiously this is mistranslated in many early vernacular versions (eg Luther, King James, Reina Valera) as head and foot hair, which must have fazed some early modern travellers to the Middle East. I rather like The Message, whatever it is.

My secondary school maths teacher had hair on the palms of his hands and would probably have been happier and more successful as a Tarzan extra.

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  1. Curiously, the most blatant mistranslation is “‘almah” to “virgin”. “‘Almah” means “young woman”. In some English Bibles this has been already corrected.

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