Monday, October 25, 2010

Exodus 21-23: Some more commandments

So, God just said the 10 commandments to the Israelites, and now he's still talking to Moses by himself. Looks like God has a lot more law to lay down. Check this out, anybody who thinks that the 10 commandments were so brilliantly simple that the Israelites just didn't need any other laws, and neither do we!

About servants: you buy a servant, they serve you 6 years, then they go free. But only if it's a man, if it's a woman you keep her forever (cause that's fair). If he already had a wife, the wife goes free too. If they marry during those 6 years, you get to keep the wife, and any kids, apparently forever. Seriously. If, after 6 years, a servant decides he doesn't want to abandon his wife and kids, he can stay on as a servant too, forever, but only after you pierce his ear with an awl. WTF. If your son marries a female servant, that servant attains the status of daughter. Friendly.

Punishment for personal injuries:
  • murder = death
  • manslaughter (accidental killing) = "flee to a place I [God] will designate." WTF.
  • kidnapping = death
  • cursing your father or mother = death (woah, seriously?)
  • injury = "he must pay the injured man for the loss of his time"
  • beating a slave to death = "punishment" (that is so specific)
  • accidentally hitting a pregnant woman so that she gives birth too early, but there is no serious injury = "the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows."
  • accidentally hitting a pregnant woman so that she gives birth too early, and there is a serious injury = "life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."
  • hitting a servant and knocking out an eye or tooth = the servant goes free
  • a bull goring someone to death = death for the bull, but nothing for the owner
  • a bull goring someone to death, and the bull had a habit of goring = death for the bull and the owner
  • a bull gores a slave = death for the bull, and the owner must pay 30 shekels of silver
  • digging a pit and not covering it properly, so an ox or donkey falls in = pay the owner of the animal, but you get to keep the dead animal!
  • a bull gores another bull = the 2 owners sell the remaining bull and split the money and the dead bull
  • a bull gores another bull and he already had a habit of goring things = the owner must pay the other guy for his loss
Holy crap that was tedious. What's with all the "if a bull gores this, do this" rules? Did that really come up that much?

OK, rules regarding theft:
  • stealing an ox = pay back 5 ox
  • stealing a sheep = pay back 4 sheep
  • killing an intruder at night = no punishment
  • killing an intruder during the day = death (Why does it matter what time it is??)
  • grazing your livestock in someone else's field = make restitution with stuff from your own field
  • starting a fire that burns down someone else's crops = make restitution
  • keeping something for someone else, and it gets stolen = if the thief is found, he must pay back double! If he is not found, you have to go before the judges, and you may be responsible.
  • keeping an animal for someone, and it is injured or died = take an oath before God that you didn't do it. If the other person accepts this, nothing happens. If not, you must make restitution.
  • keeping an animal for someone and it is ripped apart by wild animals = save the pieces as evidence, and there will be no punishment
"Social Responsibility"
  • seducing a virgin = pay the father and take her as your wife. If the father refuses to give her to you as a wife, you must pay him anyway.
  • "Do not allow a sorceress to live." Nice, simple, to the point.
  • bestiality = death
  • making sacrifices to anything other than God = death
  • "Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him." Hey, that actually is friendly. Hmm, unless he is a sorcerer, or sacrificing something to his foreign God, or any number of other things. Then kill the bastard!!
  • taking advantage of a widow or orphan = God will kill you himself. Maybe God is so touchy because he was once an orphan. That's how it would be if this were a cheesy movie, anyway.
  • If you lend a fellow Israelite money, do not charge interest.
  • "Do not blaspheme God." Shockingly, there is no punishment given for this one.
  • "Do not curse the ruler of your people." Lay off Moses already!
  • "Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats." OK then.
  • Give God your firstborn son. He's been going on about this for a while now, and I still don't know what he's on about. Does he want them all to become priests? Does he want them all as burnt offerings? No idea.
  • "Do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts."
"Justice and Mercy"
  • Don't spread rumors.
  • "Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong."
  • If you see your enemy's ox wandering off, bring it back to him. Friendly.
  • Do not deny justice to the poor.
  • Do not put an innocent or honest person to death. Hmm, that's interesting, given how many offenses are punishable by death. This is the whole problem with the death penalty. Thanks for pointing it out, Bible. Guess this invalidates all that other stuff punishable by death? Guess not.
  • No bribes.
The Sabbath
  • Plant your crops for 6 years, but leave the fields unplowed the 7th year, so poor people and wild animals can forage in them. Weird.
  • Work 6 days, rest on the 7th. You know, I've heard this a bunch of times already, and they still haven't actually said "Sunday". Just "the 7th day." Well, I declare that the sabbath is Thursday. Why the hell not?
  • Do not invoke the names of other Gods.
3 times a year celebrate a festival to God: Passover, the first harvest, and the last harvest. Also, do not offer a sacrifice with anything involving yeast. No fucking yeast! - this is clearly one of the central tenets of the Christian religion. Also, do not cook a baby goat in it's mother's milk.

God also tells Moses about how he is going to have his angel lead them to the promised land, and guard them on the way. Obey him and me, and all will go well for you (but if not...oh boy). The Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites (lol, Jebus) are already living in the promised land, but God is going to "wipe them out," so it's no problem. But you people be damned sure not to start worshiping their gods. Knock down their temples. Worship me, and you'll get food and water, no sickness, no miscarriages, no infertility, and a full life span.

Jolly good then, let's go wipe out thousands of people in the name of God, just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then in a few thousand years, let's yell incessantly at people who dare to say our God and religion is not one of love. Hmm.

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