Deuteronomy – Chapter 21: Atonement for an Unsolved Murder

It’s the start of a new week so it’s time to dig further into the book of Deuteronomy.  So far it’s been filled with death and destruction with much bloodshed.  I expect we’ll see more of that in the coming chapters.  Let’s find out.

“If someone is found slain, lying in a field in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who the killer was, your elders and judges shall go out and measure the distance from the body to the neighboring towns. Then the elders of the town nearest the body shall take a heifer that has never been worked and has never worn a yoke and lead it down to a valley that has not been plowed or planted and where there is a flowing stream. There in the valley they are to break the heifer’s neck.” – Deuteronomy 21:1-4

What…the…fuck?!?!?  Break a heifer’s neck?  I’m not a crime detective, but I’d start with searching for evidence and interviewing the townspeople before breaking a heifer’s neck!!!

“Then all the elders of the town nearest the body shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, and they shall declare: ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it done. Accept this atonement for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, Lord, and do not hold your people guilty of the blood of an innocent person.’” – Deuteronomy 21:6-8

An all-knowing god needs the Israelites to wash their hands over a dead heifer to know they are innocent of the crime?  Are you freaking kidding me??!!

“…if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.” – Deuteronomy 21:11-14

More misogyny!  God says it’s okay to take a slave as a wife without her permission.  And then when you are done with her you are allowed to toss her out the door.  What love God has for his creations!

“If a man has two wives…” – Deuteronomy 21:15

Let’s stop right here.  To all of the conservative bible-thumping Republicans pushing “family values”, shut the fuck up.

“If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.” – Deuteronomy 21:18-21

Wow!  A son who does not obey his father is to be stoned to death.  Here’s where we know (as if we didn’t already) that the Bible is all bullshit.  If this law was ever followed, all of humanity would have ended.  EVERY son disobeys his father at times.  That is part of childhood.  If we stoned every son who disobeyed his father we’d end up stoning all sons!!!

“If someone guilty of a capital offense is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole, you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight.” – Deuteronomy 21:22-23

This is messed up, but compared to the first twenty-one verses it seems tame.

That does it for Deuteronomy 21.  It was one messed up chapter.  Stone your son to death?  Break a heifer’s neck?  Shave a slaves head and take her as a wife before tossing her out?  Yikes!!!

Coming Soon:  Deuteronomy – Chapter 22:  Marriage Violations

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