Oh, this is gold. Chapter 21 is titled "Atonement for an Unsolved Murder". If a man is found dead and nobody knows who did it, then the town elders will go out and measure the distance between the body and the nearest towns. Whichever town is lucky enough to be nearest the body has some tasks to perform. The elders of the town are to take a heifer that has never been worked, lead her down a valley that has never been plowed and has a stream, and break her neck. Wait, do what now? So let me get this straight, you find a dead body, and the solution to this problem (I don't even know what the problem is) is to kill a non-related animal? Once they kill the heifer, they are to wash their hands over her corpse, then they are to proclaim "Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it done". I sure as hell hope their talking about the man's blood and not the heifers blood, because they just killed her with their own hands.
The last sentence of the paragraph says that this will "purge... the guilt of shedding innocent blood". What?! They just shed innocent blood. They hadn't before they started, because that was some random guy they didn't know, but they just killed a helpless animal. I don't know how much more innocent you can get. The bible says that this is "what is right in the eyes of the Lord". Why doesn't the Lord just come down and tell them who killed the guy instead of them having to jump through hoops to be forgiven?
Oh, this just keeps getting better today. The next paragraph in chapter 21 is titled "Marrying a Captive Woman". I think I'm getting less moral as I read this.
If you go to war with a nation and you take a woman as a captive that you find attractive, you can take her as a wife. You have to make her shave her head, trim her nails, and take off her clothes. Then, after you have let her mourn the wholesale slaughter of her family for a month, you can force her to be your wife. If you are, for some reason, not pleased with her, you can let her go, and she can't be treated as a slave, how nice of Israel.
If you have a rebellious son, who doesn't listen to you. Then you can take him to the town elders and have him stoned to death. Because that is the most moral thing to do. I think we've already talked about this one.
The first part of chapter 22 talks about returning your brothers lost things. If your brothers ox walks away and you see it you are supposed to take it back to him. The same is to be done for his cloak or anything he loses. In other words, don't be a douche and let your brother's ox walk away.
We seem to have some random laws peppered into the middle of chapter 22.
Don't cross dress. Because if you do that, God hates you. I seem to be missing this all loving God. Surely he's somewhere in here.
If you come across a birds nest and the mother is sitting on her eggs, you aren't allowed to kill the mother, but you can steal the eggs. Why?
The last section of chapter 22 is called "Marriage Violations".
If a man marries a woman and says she was not a virgin, but her parents bring proof that she is a virgin, then the man will be fined 100 sheckels, and he must be married to her forever. However, if the girl really isn't a virgin, then she will be stoned to death. Double standard anyone? Actually, it's not even that good. It's only if there is no proof that she is a virgin. So she might be a virgin (but lacks "evidence"), but since her husband was displeased with her, she is killed. Why is this right?
If a man rapes a woman that is pledged to marry another man, then they will both be killed. That's right, if a woman is raped, she will be killed. This is because "she did not scream". So what if she does scream and nobody comes to help her? The bible is silent on the issue. If she is outside a town, then she won't be killed because nobody is there to hear her scream. Great?
If a man rapes a woman who is not pledged to marry someone, then he has to pay her father 50 shekels, and he must marry her. No death for him? Just 50 shekels and a marriage? Not only is he not killed, he now has a wife. So if a man sees an attractive virgin, it's actually easier to rape her than to go through that whole "courtship" process. Can we get a "thou shall not rape" please?
How can any Christian say that they are getting their morals from this book? No Christians I know are out there raping women to take a wife, nor do they support the rape of women. So what's going on? Do we just ignore these chapters? Does Jesus say something about rape that I've missed (I guess I'll see when I get there)? I actually googled this because these passages in particular piss me off, and of course this just made it worse, because they (random apologists) quote mine the bible to try to make it say that God doesn't condone rape, this ISN'T true. They choose the one conditional statement that suits their goal (to convince the poor lady that the bible isn't weird), the woman isn't in a town AND she is pledged to marry. If she is in a town, she is killed, if she isn't pledged to marry, she is forced to marry her rapist. I'm going to stop this rant before I bash my computer. Please read Deuteronomy 22:23-29 if you want to see how blatantly they are taking this out of context.
The beginning of chapter 23 explains those who are excluded from the Israeli assembly. The first on the list is those who have had their penis/testicles removed by crushing or cutting. Why is genitalia so important? No one born of a forbidden marriage, nor any of his descendants to the tenth generation. Well that's probably pretty much everyone. How are you supposed to know who your great great great great great great great great grandfather (eight greats, is that right?) is, much less how valid his marriage was? No Ammonite or Moabite to the tenth generation.
The last part of chapter 23 is miscellaneous laws. The first one on the list is that if a slave comes to you to for refuge, do not hand him over to his master. You are to let him live among you. I think some southern slave traders could have learned a lesson from this one. I think we're running into one of those good things in the bible. I almost thought they didn't exist.
We quickly digress into sanctioned stealing. If you are in your neighbors vineyard you can eat all the grapes you want as long as you don't put any in a basket. And if you are in your neighbors grain field you can steal all the grain you want as long as you don't use a sickle. Why does the bible say this? What happened to thou shall not steal?
This is silly bible news today. Kelsey Grammer thinks he's going to live to be 140 because the bible said so. The article is here if you need a laugh.