Welcome to the latest part of my Bible project! This part, like the previous, is all Deuteronomy (aka: Moses’ victory lap). It’s basically more of what we’ve already seen, so expect lots of references back to the previous articles in this series and elsewhere on this site.
First, we see that God’s an insecure jackass who requires, not asks, not hopes, but requires that you love him.
’… I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and with all your soul’. – Deuteronomy 11:13
Again we see this as a fine example of an abusive relationship. I mean, what kind of being tries to force people to love him? Creepy is what that is.
Next we have proof that God is very much against freedom of religion (like more proof was needed).
”You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations you shall dispossess served their gods, and on the high mountains on the hills and under every green tree.
“And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place.” – Deutronomy 12:2 – 3
Remember back in 2001 when the Taliban blew up the Buddhas of Bamiyan? We bitched and moaned, but didn’t really care, cause it was March of 2001 and we thought we could safely ignore Afghanistan (wrong). Really, people who believe in the Bible have no reason to complain. After all, the Taliban was just following God’s words here, right?
Moving on we find some words on blood.
”Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat.” – Deuteronomy 12:23
Again, I’m wondering if this is part of where the Jehovah’s Witnesses get their particular beliefs surrounding blood. I still don’t get how eating blood is the same as blood transfusion, but ok.
Next up, God hates emos:
”You are the children of the Lord your God; you shall not cut yourselves…” – Deuteronomy 14:1
Oh, sorry, emo kids. Don’t worry. God may hate you, but I love you.
Seriously, though, I do find myself thinking about something. “the children of the Lord” is what we’re called in the Bible. Children. God views us in the book as his children. Ok, that’s fine, but real children get the chance to grow up, and according to God, we don’t. We’re his kids and his property and his playthings, and he’ll do with us as we please.
We go onto a list of clean and unclean foods. Fun fact: clean ones include certain birds, like the bat (Deut 14:18). One would think God would’ve known bats aren’t birds, but, oh, well.
I do find myself wondering why God would’ve bothered to create “unclean” animals. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? Why not just create clean ones? Or why not just make the unclean animals clean? Then people can eat whatever they like.
We come next to a bit on forgiving debts after seven years (Deut 15:1), and then some very good words about treatment of the poor.
”If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your hearth nor shut your hand from your poor brother,
“but you shall open your hand wide to him and willing lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.” – Deuteronomy 15:7 – 8
You know, if more of the Bible were like this, I might not be so hard on it. But while little homilies like this are nice, they’re diamonds in the rough field of genocide and evil, at least so far. Perhaps when I get to the New Testament, things will improve. Perhaps.
Now we come to a lovely bit on how to treat slaves. Specifically it’s a passage on how to treat a slave who, once you free him, decides he doesn’t want to leave.
”And if it happens that he says to you, ‘I will not go away from you,’ because he loves you and your home, since he prospers with you,
“then you shall take an awl and thrust it through his ear to the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also your female servant you shall do likewise.” – Deuteronomy 15:16 – 17
Well… yikes. I mean, come on! That’s just downright creepy and weird.
Up next is a little bit about bribery and how it’s bad (Deut 16:19), and then we get to something that’s proving what I’ve suspected all along.
”The priests, the Levites – all the tribe of Levi – shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and his portion.” – Deuteronomy 18:1
Throughout the Bible, every time I’ve come across a line about how people have to sacrifice certain meats, I think to myself, “And that night the priests eat well”. Turns out my sarcastic notion was exactly correct.
Finally we end this segment with one of the most unpleasant, brutal quotes so far.
”Your eye shall not pity [a condemned criminal]; life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” – Deuteronomy 19:21
How much evil and pain has this statement caused? How many innocent people have been maimed or killed because of it? Gandhi once said that an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, and he was exactly correct. It’s not justice; it’s revenge.
Coming up next time, we find out what to do when there’s an unsolved murder. I say, call Columbo!