21 August 2014

Moses on Honor Killings

 The expansion of Muslim terrorism against the West and the increased immigration of Muslims to the West had led to an explosion of another sort--that of interest in the teachings of Islam and the cultural practices of Muslims. One of the more barbaric practices of the Islamic faith or Muslim culture is honor killings: the murder of a wife or daughter over alleged shaming of the family. It has even attracted the attention of scholarly journals.

Westerners, especially Western Christian should note that so-called "honor killing" endure as a long standing practice of Middle Eastern cultures. Even the ancient Hebrews, the Semitic cousins of today's Arab Muslims, provides directions on how to carry one out.

If a superstitions Hebrew man who believes that every woman bleeds on the first occasion of sexual intercourse suspects that his bride has made false claims about her chastity, he can bring an accusation against her to the village elders. We older men know everything. If the brides parents product the bloody bed coverings, however, the husband must pay the equivalent of the bride price to the bride's parents because he has shamed them.

"If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,  And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:  Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:  And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;  And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.  And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;  And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days." Deuteronomy 22:13-19 (KJV)

If, on the other hand, the parents cannot produce the bloody bed coverings, the bride stands guilty. Because she has shamed her parents, the elder must bring her to her parents' house and, along the with other men of the village, stone her to death.

"But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:  Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you." Deuteronomy 22:20-21 (KJV)

Of course, the Arabs expand the scope of honor killings to include a woman loving the "wrong" man, resisting an arranged marriage to the "right" man, or enduring rape a the hands of someone who merely calls himself a man.

20 August 2014


Moses forbids various sorts of of mixing:

"Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.  Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.  Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.  Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself. " Deuteronomy 22:9-12 (KJV)

I bet some minister used this verse at sometime in the past to forbid mixing races.

Or maybe even in the present.

19 August 2014

Mosaic Building Codes

Moses establishes some building codes, or a building code, for the Hebrews once they establish themselves in their promised land.

Hebrew homes probably had exterior stairs or ladders for access to the roof. Why someone would climb on another persons roof is not explained. Anyway, Moses requires that the Hebrews build parapets to prevent someone from falling from the roof. If that happens, the homeowner has blood guilt.

 "When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence." Deuteronomy 22:8 (KJV)

That will prevent something like this from happening:

18 August 2014

Fair and Fowl

Moses conveys Yahweh's promise of a long life by eating the baby birds instead of mom:

"If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young:  But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days." Deuteronomy 22:6-7 (KJV)

Of course, the Serpent always ignores Yahweh.

17 August 2014


Moses addresses a topic far from the minds of most Iron Age Hebrews: transvestism. Among  virtually endless contingencies of ethical behaviors, transvestism emerges as an important one in the eyes of Yahweh.

 "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God." Deuteronomy 22:5 (KJV)

Abomination means disgusting or abhorrent. Although another common sense notion, Yahweh commands the Hebrews to discern between garments for men and those for women

These verses have posed some challenges even for believers who do not engage in cross-dressing.

Some more fundamentalist Christians try to apply these verses in circumstances far removed from their ancient background. What to do about sports uniforms in girls athletic programs at Christian schools? Athletes cannot perform in skirts.

The answer?

The culotte.

Like these

                                                                         NOT like these

15 August 2014

Wandering Asses

Moses continues his disorganized discourse that allegedly will prepare the Hebrews for live in their promised land. One might think it common sense to return someone's property to them or assist and animal in trouble rather than shrug the shoulders and walk away. Apparently, the ancient Hebrews needed divine revelation to guide them under such circumstances.

 "Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.  And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.  In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself.  Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again." Deuteronomy 22:1-4 (KJV)  

Keeping the brother's animal until he comes looking for it may get oneself accused of theft.

And what if the animal or other property is not that of a brother? Does that mean one can keep it?

Or if the animal of a foreigner has fallen, can it be ignored?

14 August 2014

Displaying the Dead

Moses provides guidelines for protecting the land from defilement after an execution.

"And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:  His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance." Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (KJV)

Moses does not explain why leaving the body up for more than one day ceremonially defiles the land. According to Exodus 35, the blood of a murder victim defiles the land. It can only be cleansed by the execution of the murderer.

"So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.  Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel." Numbers 35:33-34 (KJV)

If the Hebrews hang the body of the criminal from a tree as an example but then leave him hanging overnight, he defiles the land.