Welcome to the newest part of my Bible Project and the first part of Deuteronomy! This book is basically just a rehash of the Exodus and essentially seems to be Moses’ farewell address/victory lap. As such, it covers a lot of ground we’ve already seen, and includes plenty of the evil we’ve come to expect of the Bible. Let’s get to it!
We start with what’s actually a good line about laws. This is Moses repeating what God said to him.
’You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me and I will hear it.’ – Deuteronomy 1:17
A promising start, actually, as it’s basically a call to treat people fairly in legal situations. I can’t find anything there to complain about, aside from the notion of leaving it up to God if you find the case too hard to deal with. God has shown himself to be anything but impartial in this story so far.
Speaking of which, we next come to some bragging about genocide.
”And we utterly destroyed them, as we did to Shion king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women and children of every city.
“But all the livestock and the spoil of the cities we took as booty for ourselves. – Deuteronomy 3:6 – 7
“Booty”? What is this, The Pirates of Palestine? Do we get Aaron singing, “I am the very model of a Bronze Age prophet’s brother”?
And, again, I fail to see how this is any different from what the Nazis did to the Jews. In fact, it’s exactly the same, since after killing the Jews, the Nazis stole from them, even to the point of taking gold from fillings. What goes around comes around, perhaps?
Next we go past some mention of giants (Deut 3:11), and a warning against idolatry and wind up at the Ten Commandments. Now you may have thought you already read about those in a previous entry and you did, but here they are again, in a slightly different form. The first commandment is the usual, “I am the lord your God,” crap, but the second one is interesting.
’You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the lord your God, am a jealous god [no shit], visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me. – Deuteronomy 5:8 – 9
Well, that’s fair and just, yeah? Punishing the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for a crime their ancestor committed. Gotta love that sense of peace, fairness and justice, eh? Remember: he’s your god, people, not mine.
Also, I can’t help but think of things like Michelangelo’s David, the Last Supper, and any number of other religiously based artworks. Surely those all violate this commandment, yes? I know one of the Ecumenical Synods (the fifth, I think), dealt with this issue and wormed their way around it, but I don’t see how, since it seems quite explicit to me. Possibly there’s a footnote my Bible is missing. *
Anyhow, eventually after rehashing the other commandments, we get to what God apparently considers the most vital, most important commandment of them all. What do you think it is? Something about love and forgiveness? Something about learning how to think logically? Something about placing the outhouse away from the well?
Ha. Think again. It’s a commandment that proves that you need to be God to have a God-like ego.
”You shall love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. – Deuteronomy 6:5
*sigh* What kind of ego does this display, really? How can anyone follow a god like this?
Now we move onto something called “The Blessings of Obedience”. Sounds like something one would urge ones slaves to read. It’s also where we reveal that God might actually be a dalek.
”and when the lord your god delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them.
“Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son.
“For they will turn your sons away from following me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.
“But thus shall you deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire.
“For you are a holy people to the lord your god; the lord your god has chosen you to be a people for himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the Earth. – Deuteronomy 7:2 – 6
You know, to me this one passage tells you just about everything you need to know about the Bible. Here we show God being capricious, evil, genocidal and a massive egoist. He owns the Jews, as much as a master owns his slaves. He tells them they are special and urges them to go out and make war against what I shall, for the sake of comedy, refer to as untermenschen. He screams about how other beings are basically inferior and should be “utterly destroyed”.
I really hate having to bring this up yet again, but how is God different from Hitler? He’s against the homosexuals (Lev 18-22), and certainly seems to favor genocide against “inferior peoples”. The only difference is that he puts the Jews above everyone instead of the Aryans.
In case I haven’t spelled this out before: God is evil. There is no other sane, rational, intelligent way of viewing him given his behavior just in the Pentateuch. He’s a horrible monster who is bent on destroying anyone who doesn’t worship him night and day, and sometimes destroys even them for fun (see: Job). It is sickening that anyone in modern times would want to follow this horrible creature.
Anyhow, moving on from this nasty bit of nastiness, we come to a bit of levity, at least from a certain point of view, where the topic of circumcision comes up.
”Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. – Deuteronomy 10:16
* But probably not.