Chapter 24- Some rules for divorce, making pledges, lending money, treating servants kindly, and leaving some harvest behind for the poor.
If a man divorces a woman, another man marries her, then that second man dies or divorces her, the first husband is forbidden to take her back because she is now defiled. The Bible actually uses the word “defiled.” Women just can’t win. Even within the confines of marriage, a woman who has sex is a dirty thing. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes, so why aren’t the men defiled too? Also, why is it only men who can divorce their wives? Women should have some recourse for getting out of a bad marriage as well!
Verse 5, “When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken.” That’s sweet. I totally approve of an extended, war-free honeymoon.
There is a lot of information here about treating servants kindly, and paying them their due wages in a timely manner. God’s explanation for why they should do that is: “You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you from there.” The implication being “Remember how much slavery sucked and have empathy towards your employees.” Why couldn’t the message have been, “Remember how much slavery sucked, so have some empathy and don’t keep slaves”? That seems like a much more moral thing to do. If God was in the business of freeing some slaves, why couldn’t he have commanded the release of all slaves?
Chapter 25- Rules for resolving disputes. A man must marry his dead brother’s widow and have children with her to carry on his brother’s name. More random rules.
The maximum punishment a judge may hand out: “Forty blows he may give him and no more, lest he should exceed this and beat him with many blows above these, and your brother humiliated in your sight.” Yes, because 40 blows is okay, but 41? That’s just humiliating.
With this business about a man doing his duty with his brother’s wife, there are instructions given for situations where the man may not want to marry/have sex with her. But no consideration is given for a woman who might not want to participate. This is clearly a transfer of property from one man to another, and we shouldn’t bother getting the woman’s consent. *sigh*
11 “If two men fight together, and the wife of one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of the one attacking him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the genitals, 12 then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall not pity her.
Accidentally touching a man’s junk is a crime? Really?
13 “You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light. 14 You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small.
Hope you don’t carry multiple kinds of dumbbells in your gym bag, or own one of those sets of measuring cups.
Yeah, nothing really interesting here we haven’t talked about before.
Chapter 27- When the people enter the promised land, they are to build an altar and set up whitewashed stones that the laws are written on. They are also to go up on the mountain and issue curses.
It seems a little…unsavory that one of the very first things the people are to do upon entering the land of milk and honey is issue curses, even if it is to curse people who don’t uphold the law. Especially considering that I don’t agree with some (most) of the reasons for being cursed.
“Cursed is the man who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed.” Again, women are just property, and committing a sexual sin with a woman is really just committing a crime against her owner.
“Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law by observing them. And all the people shall say ‘Amen'” Ugh, way to squelch dissent.