Sunday, April 05, 2009

Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday, when we commemorate Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, mounted on a donkey that a couple of His disciples had previously nicked from some bloke living in Bethphage, just up the road from the Mount of Olives (Matthew 21:2).

According to The New Testament version of events, when Jesus went through the city gate, the population called out, as one, "Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." And so on and so forth, as you do. Simultaneously, they threw down palm fronds on the road before Him.

What the Bible doesn't tell us, however, is if they already had the palm fronds to hand, or whether they had to cut them down especially for the occasion.

The fact of the matter is, Succot aside, palm fronds are basically fuck all use for anything else except chucking down at the feet of Messiahs. Consequently, they're not the sorts of things you're going to keep in your store cupboard just on the off-chance that one is going to turn up. Usually, therefore, they have to be cut down, fresh, as and when required. And, as it would be uneconomic to keep professional palm frond harvesters on 24-hour Messiah Watch, you'd probably need to go out and do the job yourself as soon as any sort of Lamb of God made His presence known.

I imagine that, on the day, this would have caused quite a few logistical problems. Given that His donkey was stolen, Jesus must have been travelling at a fair lick in order to put as much distance between Himself and Bethphage as possible. So, people wanting to put palm fronds down before Him wouldn't have had the time to travel very far in order to gather the things. Rather, they'd have had to go for the ones immediately to hand, most likely those right outside the Eastern gates of the city.

The thing is, though, as I recall from the time when I lived there, while Jerusalem does indeed have palm trees outside its Eastern wall, there aren't that many of them (they'd probably undermine the foundations if there were). So on the first Palm Sunday, several thousand people shinning up and plucking, at most, a dozen and a half palm trees must have done a shitload of damage. I'd think that, by the time they'd harvested sufficient fronds to cover the distance between the Golden Gate and Jesus' ultimate destination, the Temple, there'd be fuck all left of the trees except for their trunks and maybe a few withered coconuts or palm olives.

Coconuts and palm olives are inherently dangerous. I'll bet that by exposing them in this way, it encouraged Jerusalemites to chuck rocks at them in order to bring them down and then sing stupid songs about having lovely bunches of the things. Which, given the inherent sexual innuendo elements of such songs, can't have gone down too well with either the Roman or Jewish authorities. Almost as dangerous are palm olives. The oil you get from them is extremely high in saturated fats. But the Jerusalemites of the time didn't know this. Doubtless they harvested them, turned them into what they believed were healthy spreads, and then died shortly afterwards from congestive heart failure. And all because of Jesus.

It's therefore not surprising that Jesus, rather than Barabbas, got crucified, is it? What is surprising is that it took them as long as a whole fucking after Palm Sunday week to get round to doing it.



Not good for palm trees

2 comments:

K. MacEgan said...

Tonight on Crimewatch,Donkey thief claims "God told me to do it" Joshua bar Joseph (33) of Woodcutter Walk,Nazareth,told Judge Pilate that "My Father is God".On or about 33AD a Donkey (reg no RU12)was stolen from outside Mr Alamo Wankers house at Clap Avenue,Kemptown.Jersulam Constabulary said the thief was 6ft,blonde,blue eyed and looked a bit like the Mesach.A Miss Cate Bates is helping police with their enquiries.Bar Joseph is serving a life sentence after DNA evidence found him guilty.Don't have nightmares.

Joe Slavko said...

Open and shut case, then. The police never lie.