Monday, February 28, 2011

Deuteronomy 22-24 Cross Dressing, Stoned Wives and Sharing

I was posting a lot this weekend but completely spaced out on posting todays reading!

Deuteronomy 22-24

Deuteronomy 22-24

We get some good advice on helping out thy neighbor and building safe roofs.
We then get the do's and don'ts on raping women.

More rules for husbands and wives.
God encourages the harboring of slaves and won't allow the penis-less into church.
Don't hire a hooker or charge your neighbor interest.

Share the fruits of your field with the less fortunate.
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  1. Does anyone know whether the appropriate causes for a Jewish divorce (when the husband gives the wife a get) are listed in the Pentateuch? The get is referenced here, but I'm wondering if the causes were generally know or if they were elaborated on in the Midrash.

  2. 22:11 is a more detailed take on Lev. 19:19.

    22:22, kill adulterers, similar to Lev. 20:10

    The prohibition against men sleeping with their father's wife is repeated from Leviticus 18:8 and 20:11. (We'll see it again, too!)

    23:3-6 is VERY interesting because it's quoting Numbers, and it's quoting the weird J/P amalgamation texts (adventures in the transjordan, leading up to the Baalim story) which were referenced in the early chapters of Deuteronomy and are later referenced in Judges. I think there's something unique about that strand.

    23:15-16 (don't have to narc on escaped slaves) is actually pretty cool. I mean, relatively. I'll take what I can get here.

    24:6 says you can't take a millstone in pledge, not even HALF a millstone, because that was basically murder by starvation. At the time this law was written, almost all Israelites lived in agrarian family plots.

    24:16 is a verse I wish more xians would remember:

    "Fathers should not be put to death for their children, nor children for their fathers; a man shall be put to death only for his own sin."

    Yet we are all cursed for the sin of Adam? Pff.

    Chapter ends on "leave scraps for the poor" laws, which again are relatively positive.

  3. When you said God doesn't allow the penis-less in church, I thought you meant women. Now I see you actually meant penis-less! Interesting. Also, what is it to discover one's father's skirt? Is that another uncovering his nakedness euphemism?

  4. 22:5 Annie Hall = abomination.

    And hearkening back to Leviticus, there is a prohibition against men lying with men, but it doesn't say anything about women with women. Are lesbians okay, then? I mean, as long as they dress like women?

  5. 24:16 is a verse I wish more xians would remember:

    "Fathers should not be put to death for their children, nor children for their fathers; a man shall be put to death only for his own sin."

    Yet we are all cursed for the sin of Adam? Pff.

    I wondered about that too when I read it, especially since there is so much about sin being visited on the 3rd and 4th generations. Apparently "cursed" and being "put to death" are two different things.

  6. The penis-less/stones-less being banned from the congregation seems to fit well with the "everything to its proper category" view of holiness. Yahweh is holy because he puts everything in order, separating this from that, think Gen. chapter 1. Things that violate this order are unholy and must not come in contact with designated holy spaces/items. A person who is a male but doesn't have complete male parts definitely doesn't fit properly into a category.

    I think the category-confusion interpretation is supported by the fact that the "gotta have your junk" rule follows soon after other category laws: cross-dressing (22:5), mixed crops in a field (22:9), plowing with an ox and an ass (22:10), mixed fabrics (22:11).

    A man lying with a man as with a woman is another obvious example of category confusion. If the vitriolic anti-gay rhetoric we hear in the US were actually Biblically-motivated rather that bigotry masquerading as piety, wouldn't we see the same religious people who fight so hard to deny gay couples the status of marriage expending equal effort to deny shrimp and pork the status of food and cotton blends the status of clothing?

    I love 23:13-14: "If you want me to be able to walk around the camp so I can help you win your battles, don't leave piles of shit around on the ground for me to step in, that's nasty! Otherwise, I'm out of here and you're on your own!" This is clearly still a very physical god as opposed to the more abstract deity Yahweh evolves into.