Saturday, October 10, 2009

35: Four Legs You Say?

Leviticus 11-13
This might be my favorite section yet, because of the just plain crazy splattered all over the pages.

Leviticus 11 is about the foods that are clean and unclean. The specification for animals is that their hoof must be split, and they must chew cud. What does this have to do with anything? What does an animal's hoof have to do with it's edibility?

The next thing that we are to "detest" are any animals in the water that don't have scales. So, Christians, go out now and protest Sea World as God has commanded. Anyone who touches Shamu is unclean until the end of the day. Also, I hope there are no Christians out there trying to save the seals, because seals are detestable (says God).

This part is priceless. On the top of the list of birds we are to absolutely detest is the eagle. It's interesting that our "Christian nation" chose the bald eagle as the least detestable bird while the bible lists the eagle first on the detestable list. There are some other random birds, but there seems to be a focus on owls. What's wrong with owls? There are literally 6 different kind of owls that we have to hate. Also, storks and herons are nasty. So telling your child that the stork brought them is the same, in the bible's opinion, as telling them a vulture brought them. I'm not sure I have enough hate to spread around here.

The next section is insects we must hate. This is worth a quote, "All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you". How many insects does that leave us with? ***Answer*** None, insects by their very definition have six legs. Did God, who created insects with six legs, momentarily forget what he'd done. Ok, so let's be fair here, "walk on all fours" could be some sort of expression, or even a typo. Oh wait, it says it two more times in this paragraph. The second time it specifically lists locusts, katydids, crickets, and grasshoppers as having four legs. I invite you to go to these links and count the number of legs for yourself. The third time it says that all the other winged creatures that "have four legs" you should detest.

The next section is about lizards. They're detestable, the end. At least this one isn't crazy, it's just arbitrary.

The final paragraph in Leviticus 11 says that any animal that moves along the ground isn't to be eaten. What? Ok, maybe it means like a snake moving along the ground. No, it specifically says that any animal that walks on all fours, on the ground, is detestable and should not be eaten. Isn't that every animal we just talked about that wasn't detestable (cattle moves along the ground on all fours)? So there it is, vegetarianism for all.

This is going to be a long post today, we've got more crazy in Leviticus 12. A woman that gives birth will be unclean for 7 days. It says she is unclean "just as she is unclean during her monthly period". Really? Is God in eighth grade? Eww, yucky, it's a girl on her period. Get over it, God's supposedly the one that's making this happen anyway. If the woman has a boy she is unclean for twice as long. Once her time is up, she has to bring a sin offering to the priest to be clean, why? What did she do?

Leviticus 13 goes into extreme detail about skin diseases. If a white rash is on part of your body you are unclean, but if it covers your entire body you are clean. Huh? Why does that make sense? The priest is also somehow supposed to know whether the skin disease is merely "skin deep" or something more serious.

After listing all of the things that make you unclean, at the end of the chapter it tells you what you must do if you are declared unclean. The bible says you must wear torn clothes and have unkempt hair. This person is supposed to walk around, as long as he or she has the skin disease and yell "Unclean, Unclean!" where ever they go. And they have to live alone outside of the camp.


  1. When you get to the New Testament, Jesus negates a lot of this. Also, remember that you're reading a translation of the original text. The Hebrew meanings make a lot more sense; not the easiest language to learn, but it's worth it.

  2. Exactly what part of this "makes more sense" if you read it in Hebrew? Is four really six in Hebrew? Most of these things seem like issues of principle rather than translation.

    It doesn't matter if Jesus negates it. At some point God found certain animals detestable, so why not now? Does God change his mind about these animals? How does that make sense if this God is all knowing?

  3. "Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon [all] four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth"

    Four feet + 2 legs for jumping describes the grasshopper/locust crowd pretty well.

  4. The KJV seems ambiguous at best here.

    "There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground." - Leviticus 20:21 NIV First question is all four what? I would call "all fours" legs on an insect, not feet. So what the NIV seems to be saying is that they have four legs, which are jointed.

    Even if you can convince me that this part is accurate, you've skipped over the verse just before it. "All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you." or "All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you." If you prefer the KJV. No ambiguity there, the bible is making the claim that at least some insects have four legs (this is not the definition of an insect).

  5. That's Leviticus 11:21 by the way... I don't know where I got 20.

  6. Snails are in their too, just after lizards. So much for escargot.

  7. Sometimes I think you must be exaggerating, but then I look it up to find that it's even crazier than you make it sound.

    41 " 'Every creature that moves about on the ground is detestable; it is not to be eaten. 42 You are not to eat any creature that moves about on the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many feet; it is detestable. 43 Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them. 44 I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. 45 I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

    How in the world did I miss that when I read this book? I guess it was so boring I kind of glazed over.



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