Here are the first few paragraphs of the book and below are some random excerpts:
First Paragraphs of Chapter 1
Esau: Losing a Birthright and Blessing (first paragraph on Esau)
Esau was an odd infant, perhaps appearing to resemble a furry animal as much as a human baby. He was covered in a blanket of hair, not just his head but his whole body. Whether his mother Rebekah rejected him from infancy or whether that came later is not recorded, but it is clear that as he was growing up she loved his twin Jacob far more than she loved him. To grow up rejected by a mother can have serious psychological consequences. Esau’s grand- mother Sarah had loved Isaac and spurned Ishmael, but Ishmael had his own doting mother Hagar. In this case there is only one mother to cling to, and she is turning away to gush over his brother.
She is a harlot working in the world’s oldest profession, a career considered shameful not just among the Israelites but even in the ancient pagan world. Although prostitutes sometimes gained prestige by being associated with cults, they nevertheless often found themselves on the lowest rung of society and were regarded as morally deficient. Such a stigma was attached to Rahab. She lives in a condo on the massive wall of Jericho, referred to as the “city of palms.” She is not married herself but has family—parents and siblings (no mention of children)—in town. She makes a living by of- fering sexual services and overnight accom- modations. Life is anything but boring.
Gideon’s last hurrah is most strange. He asks his soldiers for gold earrings they have taken from the Midianite enemies they have killed. They eagerly comply, donating more than forty pounds. He melts them down and makes the gold into a sacred object—an ephod—and sets it up in his hometown. Here Israelites come and kneel before it—even Gideon and his family. “All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it be- came a snare to Gideon and his family.” Do the Israelites return to the actual worship of God? All that is revealed is that there follow forty years of peace.
Samuel: Judge and Prophet
Elijah and Elisha (Introductory paragraphs of Chapter 13)
Elijah and Elisha, twin prophets from Sunday-school days—one easily confused with the other. No other prophets are so tightly paired together. And for good reason. Elisha took up the mantle that Elijah left behind as the chariot and fiery horses swung low in the midst of a whirlwind comin’ for to carry him home. What an ending. What a way to go. But for Elisha, this spectacular event was alarming. He did not even have a chance to say goodbye. He cried out in anguish, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.” Then he tore his clothes in grief.
The Major Prophets
If they were active in ministry today, the Major Prophets, with the possible exception of Daniel, would be regarded as seriously demented. They were not merely those who appear at outdoor festivals with placards declaring The End is Near! Such activity would have been far too tame. Isaiah walked around naked for three years. The weeping Jeremiah wore a yoke around his neck and broke clay jars and was mocked and ridiculed day and night. Ezekiel lay on his side for more than a year (and that is the least of his apparent antics). Indeed, were they making their rounds today, the prophets would be deemed certifiable.
Hosea: A Cuckolded Prophet