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The Bible Slam: Deuteronomy Chapter 25 (Wifely Duties, In-Laws and the Sandal/Spit Law)

Moses continues to recite a bunch of commands to the Israelites in this chapter.  Here we are instructed:

  • In the biblical legal system, judges determine guilt or innocence.  They can decree up to 40 lashes for the guilty … but the punishment is not to exceed 40 lashes.
  • If a woman's husband dies, she and her brother-in-law are supposed to sleep together.  The firstborn will be considered the deceased man's son (it doesn't say what happens if the firstborn is female).
    • If the brother-in-law won't sleep with her, then the widow can take him before the counsel of elders, take his sandal off and spit in his face. "And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed."
  • If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them tries to break up the fight by squeezing the other's privates, the wife shall have her hand cut off.

Sprinkled into these biblical rules are laws about fair weights and measures,  and letting your ox eat when they're out plowing,

Moses admonishes the people to remember Amalek.

Note: The narrator occasionally uses language that some would find offensive. See the alternate links in the narration section below.

Discussion Points.

For chapters now, we have been treated to an endless recitation of strange laws and regulations, most of which no American in "our Christian nation" would obey.

As Skeptic's Annotated points out, Deuteronomy 25 ends with God telling the Israelites to "remember what Amalek did unto thee" and to "blot out the rembrance of Amalek from under heaven." A few hundred years later God orders Saul to kill of the Amalekites "both man and woman, infant and suckling." (1 Sam.15:2-3)

The Amalekites appeared in previous books, doing battle with the Israelites.  In one such battle, if Moses raised his hands, the Israelites would slaughter the Amalekites.  If he lowered his hands, the Amalekites would slaughter the Israelites.  So Aaron and Hur set Moses down on a rock and held up his hands until sunset so that the Israelites win.

Quick Tips & Navigation.

  • About the Bible Slam – If you are new here, please read the "about" page to understand the choice of the word "slam" and to read the Important Disclaimer about swear words. In the about section, we have provided a link to biblical reading without colorful commentary on the about page, just in case swear words are offensive to you.  Briefly, the "Bible Slam" is intended to be like a poetry slam, where you can defend the literal interpretation of the Bible, add translation notes, or add any other comment.  We've just provided a starting point to get the discussion going.
  • Do we hate the Bible?  No.  But we dislike what is done in the name of the Bible.  We don't believe this book is the literal word of a deity that created the universe.
  • To fully comprehend the Bible philosophy, we suggest you start at the very beginning and work your way through, other than skipping around through it.

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