Chapter 21- Instructions for what to do when someone is killed, but the killer is unknown. Instructions for taking a captive wife, giving inheritances to the son of your unloved wife, stoning your disobedient son, and hanging people as capital punishment.
This chapter is…it’s…I don’t even know. It’s crazy. I’m just going to quote some bits for you, so you can share in the crazy.
10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hand, and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and would take her for your wife, 12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. 13 She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14 And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall set her free, but you certainly shall not sell her for money; you shall not treat her brutally, because you have humbled her.
You’re kidding me right? I’ve clearly picked up a gag Bible. That is the only reasonable explanation for how these instructions for taking a woman captive, having sex with her without her consent, then sending her away ended up in a holy book.
Verse 15 says the phrase “If a man has two wives” and then proceeds to explain how he should treat the children of those wives– without condemning his polygamy. Stuff that in your pipe and smoke it, “traditional” marriage proponents. One man, one woman my ass.
18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. 20 And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.
Spare the rod, spoil the child? More like “Spare the brutal death by stoning, spoil the child,” ammirite? Also, that phrase “stone him to death with stones” gets me every time. What else are you going to stone someone with?
Chapter 22- Instructions on returning lost items to their rightful owner. A smattering of random rules. Instructions for what to do with adulterers and rapists.
This chapter started out well enough. I can get behind rules that say to return things that are lost to their rightful owners. But things quickly go downhill:
6 “If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young
Oh, how nice! The Bible is going to tell us to be nice to baby birds! Oh..wait…what?
7 you shall surely let the mother go, and take the young for yourself, that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days.
Well that was a disappointing turn of events.
5 “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God. 9 “You shall not sow your vineyard with different kinds of seed, lest the yield of the seed which you have sown and the fruit of your vineyard be defiled. 10 “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. 11 “You shall not wear a garment of different sorts, such as wool and linen mixed together.
Clearly, women who wear polyester pants while raising multiple types of grapes are the most detestable thing possible!
And then we get to the stuff about virginity, and adultery, and rape. My jaw literally dropped when I read this stuff. Not figuratively dropped- my mouth was literally wide open while I read this next bit.
13 “If any man takes a wife, and goes in to her, and detests her, 14 and charges her with shameful conduct, and brings a bad name on her, and says, ‘I took this woman, and when I came to her I found she was not a virgin,’ 15 then the father and mother of the young woman shall take and bring out the evidence of the young woman’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. 16 And the young woman’s father shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man as wife, and he detests her. 17 Now he has charged her with shameful conduct, saying, “I found your daughter was not a virgin,” and yet these are the evidences of my daughter’s virginity.’ And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18 Then the elders of that city shall take that man and punish him; 19 and they shall fine him one hundred shekels of silver and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought a bad name on a virgin of Israel. And she shall be his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days.
How humiliating! Because her husband doesn’t trust her, now her parents are involved in her sex life, and her dirty sheets are spread out for the whole town to see. And she’s stuck with him! The “moral” thing to do is to force a woman to stay in what is clearly not a healthy marriage?!?!
And heaven forbid she not bleed the first time she has sex:
20 “But if the thing is true, and evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, 21 then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to play the harlot in her father’s house. So you shall put away the evil from among you.
Just in case you don’t happen to know this already, not all women bleed the first time they have penis-in-vagina intercourse. There are women who are born without a hymen. There are women who break their hymen by playing sports or doing other vigorous activities long before they ever have sex for the first time. There are women whose hymens move aside instead of tearing. There are women who only bleed a little bit, and so it’s not a noticeable thing. God wants us to stone all these women for being dirty whores!
And, oh mercy, the slut shaming! I promise you, a women who has had sex with more than one partner is no less of a human being. “Innocent” or not, a woman who doesn’t bleed during sex is not deserving of being stoned (with stones).
But wait! It gets worse!
23 “If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you. 25 “But if a man finds a betrothed young woman in the countryside, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. 26 But you shall do nothing to the young woman; there is in the young woman no sin deserving of death, for just as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him, even so is this matter. 27 For he found her in the countryside, and the betrothed young woman cried out, but there was no one to save her. 28 “If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin, who is not betrothed, and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are found out, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the young woman’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife because he has humbled her; he shall not be permitted to divorce her all his days.
Just in case that was tl;dr, allow me to recap it for you. A women who is raped and doesn’t scream deserves to be stoned. A woman who is raped and does scream has to marry her rapist. The rapist need only pay restitution to her father (read: her owner).
Before you say, “But Jessica, this is the Old Testament. We don’t follow these rules anymore!” I invite you to go read the comments on an online article that discusses rape. You’d better believe that people still blame women for their rapes. This egregious crap is so ingrained in our society, that if a woman had a couple drinks, or wore a short dress, or walked outside at night, or had the audacity to flirt with a man at any point in her life, or didn’t fight back, etc, etc, etc, people will trip all over themselves to blame her. It’s disgusting. A victim is never to blame for the crimes committed against them, and the Bible is morally corrupt for reinforcing that idea.
Chapter 23- Certain people are not allowed in the temple. More random rules.
1 He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation shall not enter the assembly of the Lord.
I dislike the word “emasculated.” To say that a person is less of a man because something has happened to his genitalia really demeans a person’s value as a human; we are far more than our genitals. Also, it implies that a man who is un-masculine has become like a woman (heaven forbid!), which is demeaning to women. A woman is not a bad thing to be!
Illegitimate children are not allowed in the assembly, as if they had any say in whether or not their parents were married. Descendants of an illegitimate child aren’t allowed either, up to the 10th generation later. As if they had any say whether or not their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents were married.
I did find verses 15 and 16 genuinely interesting:
15 “You shall not give back to his master the slave who has escaped from his master to you. 16 He may dwell with you in your midst, in the place which he chooses within one of your gates, where it seems best to him; you shall not oppress him.
Considering that we just had rules back in chapter 22 for returning property to the rightful owner, and the Bible is not shy about the fact that slaves are property, this is an intriguing turn of events. And I have to wonder how many people back in ye olde days used the Bible to justify slavery, while also demanding that their runaway slaves be returned to them. More than a few, I’d wager.
Ugh, finally done! I should be more careful when I wish for the Bible to get more interesting. I got more than I bargained for today. Sorry for the excessive block-quoting, but I just didn’t feel I could do the bat-shit-insane-ness of these chapters justice without having you read it for yourself.
I’m going to look at pictures of cute cats for a while now, to recover from what I just read.