Saturday, August 13, 2016

Deuteronomy 25-30

Chapter 25:

Plot is still a far off dream for this book but at least we get to read about more rules passed down from God through his meat puppet Moses to God’s hostages people.

My favorite rule so far involves duties I was unaware a brother-in-law had. If there are two brothers and one of them gets married but dies before his wife produces a son, the brother-in-law must step in. He must marry and impregnate that widow, then morbidly, the son must be named after the dead brother to carry on his name. If the brother-in-law refuses to fulfill his duty, the widow gets to spit in his uncooperative face, steal one of his sandals and the brother-in-law’s family line will from then on be called “The Family of the Unsandaled.” You guys, I know you think this is one of my silly exaggerations, but it’s totally in there.

However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, 'My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.' Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, 'This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.' That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.

And that brother in law must hobble on one sandal FOREVER like an a-symmetrical fool.

My next favorite rule:

If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

Show her no pity. 
Ladies, find a way to subdue a man without using his gendered physical weaknesses against him. It’s not like men would ever take advantage of your womanly weaknesses right? Right?

Chapter 26:

When the Israelites make it to the Promised Land, they have to make some offerings. 1/10th of their produce must be given to Levites, widows, orphans, and foreigners. It’s almost like taxes going to the needy or something. It’s almost like this fictional character of God, while random, moody, and terrifying, really values people in need and refugees and immigrants and really insists that his own people treat them kindly, or else. I guess we could learn something from this book as a society. But it’s just a work of fiction after all amiright? Anyhoo.  

Chapter 27:

The Lord will bless you if you’re obedient and curse you terribly if you aren’t. They write down 12 of the rules on rocks and chant them.

Chapter 28:

Moses reiterates that obedience to all of God’s super simple and not at all contradictory rules will get everyone blessings. However, disobedience will result in the Israelites living through a Game of Thrones winter. While the curses are terrifying I do have to admire God’s speech writing skills. The threats are eerily beautiful to read.

The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.”

“Your carcasses will be food for all the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away. The Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured. The Lord will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind. At midday you will grope about like a blind person in the dark. You will be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will be oppressed and robbed, with no one to rescue you.”
“You will be pledged to be married to a woman, but another will take her and rape her. You will build a house, but you will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not even begin to enjoy its fruit. Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will eat none of it. Your donkey will be forcibly taken from you and will not be returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and no one will rescue them. Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will wear out your eyes watching for them day after day, powerless to lift a hand.”


The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand, a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young.” . . . “They will lay siege to all the cities throughout your land until the high fortified walls in which you trust fall down. They will besiege all the cities throughout the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

“Because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you. Even the most gentle and sensitive man among you will have no compassion on his own brother or the wife he loves or his surviving children, and he will not give to one of them any of the flesh of his children that he is eating. It will be all he has left because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of all your cities. The most gentle and sensitive woman among you—so sensitive and gentle that she would not venture to touch the ground with the sole of her foot—will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or daughter the afterbirth from her womb and the children she bears. For in her dire need she intends to eat them secretly because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of your cities.”


Chapter 29:

Moses reviews their history AGAIN clearly stalling for time before he dies. He reminds them of all the suffering God put the Egyptians through and what God could put them through. Kind of seems like God was just making an example out of the Egyptians to continually threaten the people he’s “saving.”

Chapter 30:

If the Israelites are disobedient, God will scatter them across nations but there is a loophole. If you and your children really really love God and show your obedience, God will bring you back to the promise land, make you more prosperous than your ancestors and . . . some other stuff.

The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”

Sounds like God’s about to drop his new single.

Moses goes on about the two choices the Israelites have which are pretty simple: life and prosperity or death and destruction. He even throws in a “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Yeah, definitely not a hostage situation.

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