02 April 2010

Apr 2

Reference links:
Old Testament

Back to our regularly scheduled skepticism! Somebody commented on my Google Buzz for yesterday's entry and seemed to take it seriously. Ooops!

Today we get a laundry list of regulations. Hurrah! Or something like that. We get off to an exciting start.
When you are in the land the Lord your God is giving you, someone may be found murdered in a field, and you don’t know who committed the murder.
The rest is not nearly exciting. The elders of the nearest town have to break the neck of a young cow to cleanse the guilt of murder from the community. I suppose it is symbolic cleansing, because I do not see how killing a cow actually makes anything better.

Quick commentary on the interesting regulations.

And suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you are attracted to her and want to marry her. If this happens, you may take her to your home, where she must shave her head, cut her nails, and change the clothes she was wearing when she was captured. She will stay in your home, but let her mourn for her father and mother for a full month. Then you may marry her, and you will be her husband and she will be your wife.
The woman, as far as I can tell, gets no say in the matter.

Suppose a man has two wives, but he loves one and not the other, and both have given him sons. And suppose the firstborn son is the son of the wife he does not love. When the man divides his inheritance, he may not give the larger inheritance to his younger son, the son of the wife he loves, as if he were the firstborn son.
Fair enough.

Suppose a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or mother, even though they discipline him. ... Then all the men of his town must stone him to death. In this way, you will purge this evil from among you, and all Israel will hear about it and be afraid.
Okay, stoning is totally not an acceptable form of punishment for rebellious children.

A woman must not put on men’s clothing, and a man must not wear women’s clothing. Anyone who does this is detestable in the sight of the Lord your God.
Do jeans and a button down shirt count  as men's clothing? And I do sometimes steal my husband's jeans. Hmmm, God must hate me.

Also,

  • Be socially responsible and help your neighbors when they are in trouble or have lost something
  • Do not eat a mother bird with chicks or eggs (the chicks and eggs can be eaten though)
  • Put railings around flat roofs
  • Don't plant anything with your grapes
  • Do not harness oxen with donkeys
  • Do not wear clothing made of wool and linen
  • Put tassels on your clothing
  • If a man accuses a woman of not being a virgin when they marry, he is fined and punished if he is wrong. She is stoned if he is right (or rather, she is stoned if her parents cannot prove he is wrong)
  • Adulterers must be killed
  • If a man has sex with an engaged woman they must be stoned
  • But if a man rapes an engaged woman out in the country, it is assumed that she screamed for help so only he is stoned
  • If a man has sex with a woman who is not engaged, he must marry her. There is no comment on whether or not it makes a difference if the the sex was forced.
  • A man must not marry his father's former wife

New Testament

Today we get a random story that I do not remember being in Matthew or Mark:
As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village.
What a weird story! What did the villagers have against Jesus going to Jerusalem? Did James and John really think they could call fire down from heaven? Were they really willing to do so over something like this? What's the point of this story?

Jesus tells people that the cost of following him is that they must turn their backs on their friends and family, without saying goodbye. If this is meant purely as a metaphor, then we can understand it as making a new beginning, breaking from the past, etc. If Jesus was actually telling people they could not bury their parents or say goodbye to their families, he was a jerk,

We also read today about how Jesus sent out his disciples. You may be wondering, "Didn't we just read about that a couple days ago?" You are right! Kind of. In Luke 10:1-6 we read about how Jesus sent out the 12, telling them to carry nothing with them. This is also similar to Matthew and Mark's versions. However, today's version is different because Jesus sent out 72 disciples in pairs to preach.

Psalms and Proverbs

Today's psalm is all about how the psalmist feels that the Israelites have been rejected by God. Maybe, Mr. Psalmist, the real problem is that this God you have heard about never did exist and all of those accounts of past miraculous signs are stories and rationalization of past events.