Shit Jealous Gods Say
March 20, 2012 Leave a comment
Okay dudes and dudettes!
Thank you for bearing with me through all the thesis and then all the midterms and then all the barren internetlessness of spring break. We are now on double-time as we catch up from all of that nonsense. So I’m pretty sure that means I’m twice as likely to be saved now.
…Then again, if memory serves, zero times two is still zero.
OT: Exodus 21-24
More rules from God!
Hebrew men can be slaves, but only for six years – which makes them more like indentured servants, really. But if the time comes and they say they don’t want to be set free, their masters should pierce their ears and then keep them forever. Also, if a slave’s master provides him with a spouse, he doesn’t get to take her with him when he is set free; his wife and any children they have together belong to the master. Hebrew women can also become slaves if their fathers sell them into slavery, but unlike men, they can’t be set free unless their masters stop feeding them.
Anybody who hits someone, kills someone, kidnaps someone, or curses their parents should be put to death – presumably by their community, since God is talking to the Israelites as a group here. However, “if the killing wasn’t on purpose but an accident allowed by God” (13) the killer should run away to a safe haven designated by God. What exactly is “an accident allowed by God?” Again, if God chooses what to “allow” and what not to allow, why allow anybody to be killed? Is it really an accident if God “allowed” it, or is it part of this mysterious “plan” I always hear so much and yet so little about? (As Saint Eddie Izzard said, “If there is a God, his plan is very similar to someone not having a plan.”)
If two people are fighting with each other and one is crippled but not killed, the other won’t be punished as long as they pay disability benefits and medical costs, basically. If a slave owner beats one of his slaves (of either gender) to death, “the owner should be punished” (20), but the punishment is not specified. “But if the slave gets up after a day or two, the slave owner shouldn’t be punished because the slave is the owner’s property” (21). Um…so, I’m going to continue to ignore the horrifying fact that most of the political power in my country belongs to people who sincerely believe that God wrote a book explicitly and unequivocally endorsing slavery. Besides that minor issue, though, isn’t this just plain inconsistent? If the slave is the owner’s property and therefore can be beaten, why doesn’t that ownership extend to killing? Also, it says a few lines later that if a slave owner knocks out his slave’s eye or tooth, he has to let them go free; but how does that jive with the owner’s right to beat the slave senseless?
This might be my favorite part so far: “When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that she has a miscarriage but no other injury occurs, then the guilty party will be fined what the woman’s husband demands, as negotiated with the judges” (22). Yes, the correct response to miscarriage is for the husband and the (presumably also male) judges to quantify the worth of the unborn child. Is this also why abortion is wrong? Because children are valuable financial assets to their fathers? It’s destruction of property? Yes, yes, I know the usual argument against abortion is based on the child’s rights, but this verse really makes the fetus sound more like its father’s property than an end in itself. Oh, well, at least between the fetus, the father, and the judges, we’ve covered all the people who could possibly be affected by this case. Because, as Saint Colbert famously wrote in his fourteenth century treatise on health justice, “a woman’s health decisions are a private matter between her priest and her husband.”
If an ox skewers somebody lethally, the ox will be killed, but not the owner. But if the ox is a repeat offender and the owner didn’t put the kibosh on his bullshit before, the ox AND the owner will be executed (but the owner can ransom himself if he’s rich enough). If the ox just kills a slave, the owner has to compensate the slave’s owner with thirty shekels. It’s good to know how much a human life is worth, although I wish I had some kind of shekels-to-dollars exchange rate that accounted for inflation.
Also, if somebody digs a hole and some other dude’s animal falls into it and dies, the hole-digger has to compensate the animal-owner, “but he may keep the dead animal” (34). Also, if my ox kills your ox, I have to sell my ox and we split the earnings and the dead ox, unless your ox was a douchebag, I still have to repay you, but I get to keep your whole dead ox.
Okay, I’m tired and jet lagged and I honestly don’t give a shit how many shekels a dead ox is worth. But God cares very much and metes out a bunch of rules accordingly.
If a thief is killed by the owner of some stuff he’s trying to steal, the owner is okay, unless it’s daytime, in which case the owner is guilty. Also if a thief is caught and can’t pay for what he stole, he will be sold into slavery to cover the cost. There are also a lot of rules about damage caused by escaped and/or dismembered animals and accidental fires and such. Also, in any cases of ambiguity, “both parties should come before God,” and “the one whom God finds at fault” will be punished (9). Oh, right. I’ll just pop on over to his house and knock on the door, shall I? Or should I email his secretary for an appointment first?
Then we get some really great stuff in rapid fire.
- If a dude fucks a single lady, he has to put a ring on it. Also, pay her father.
- “Don’t allow a female sorcerer to live” (18).
- Sex with animals –> death.
- Worshiping other gods –> death.
- Don’t douche out on immigrants because you were all immigrants once.
- Don’t douche out on orphans because that’s supreme assholery and I will fuck you up.
- Don’t charge interest on loans. [Wait a minute. This is in the Torah. So why did Jews give loans with interest for so long while Christians were revolted by usury?]
- Don’t steal people’s clothes when they lend them to you. [Chelsey Faloona, I'm looking at you and my striped polo. On an unrelated note, I still have your pink Converse. Sorry.]
- Don’t hoard your wine. “Give me your oldest son” (29). [FYI, those are in the same verse.]
- Don’t eat dead shit you find in the forest.
Picking up where we left off…
- Don’t be a lying asshole.
- Don’t scheme like a scheming schemer.
- Don’t be a puppet of the 1%.
- If you find a lost donkey, bring it home.
- Yes, even if the donkey is own by somebody you don’t like.
- Seriously, don’t be a lying asshole.
- Don’t take bribes.
- Remember, don’t fuck with immigrants, because you were immigrants.
- Share your shit with poor people and animals.
- Remember to chill out on the seventh day.
- Do what I say.
- “Don’t call on the names of other gods. Don’t even mention them” (13). And don’t try to text them under the table when I’m not looking. And unfriend them, and unfollow them on twitter, and remove them from your gchat friends list. What was that sound? No, don’t try to talk over it. I see what you’re doing. Your phone beeped. Is that her? Did Juno text you again? She texted you, didn’t she? Delete it. No, right now. No, where I can see it. You texted her back, didn’t you? Are you trying to make a fool of me? Are you taking me for granted? Don’t you dare take me for granted! I am beautiful! You don’t deserve me! You disgust me! I hate you! Why would you lie to me? Don’t you love me anymore? Do you think I’m pretty? Why don’t you ever look in my eyes when we make love? #shitjealousgodssay
- You should fête me constantly. At least three times a year, in fact. Especially for Passover.
- Sacrifice shit to me. And do it right.
- “Don’t boil a young goat in its mother’s milk” (19). [I'm guessing this is where the no-dairy-with-meat thing comes from?]
Then God’s like, “I’m going to send a messenger to lead everyone to the promised land. Do what he says. If you fuck with him, I will fuck with you. I am going to genocide the shit out of all the other peoples around here; you should destroy their temples and definitely not cheat on me with their gods. If you worship me,” God promises (and this is the real text), “I’ll take sickness away from you, and no woman will miscarry or be infertile” (25-26). Oh right, I almost forgot – Jews never get sick or have miscarriages! But seriously, is the catch that nobody worships him correctly and so nobody gets these benefits? If so, God is kind of like the sleaziest of sleazy insurance salesmen. Anyway, God keeps repeating that he will destroy everyone else and that the Israelites had better not cheat on him.
Then God’s like, “Moses, I want you to come worship me up close, and I want 73 other dudes to worship me a little farther away, and everybody else should just hang back.” Moses tells everyone all the laws and they’re like “ok sounds like a plan.” Moses wrote down all the laws, which he memorized as they were told to him, apparently. Then he built an altar and twelve pillars (one for each tribe of Israel). People threw some blood around and burned some shit and called it a covenant. Then Moses and the 73 dudes go see God, who’s standing on some shiny blue tiles, and they all eat together. God calls Moses up to the mountain so he can give him the commandments on stone tablets. Moses and his sidekick Joshua go up to the mountain, leaving Aaron and Hur to deal with whatever shenanigans go down in their absence. Moses goes up the mountain and God comes down to the mountain and they hang out there for forty days and forty nights.
A lot of the rules are pretty legit, but the good parts could basically be summed up by the Golden Rule. I guess the Sermon on the Mount is like the SparkNotes version?
Slavery and misogyny and brutality, oh my! Also, the general rule of punishment is “a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot, a burn for a burn, a bruise for a bruise, a wound for a wound” (21:23-25). Which is a really unstable “justice” system. That’s how Romeo and Juliet happens. Not cool.