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Leviticus, Numbers & Deuterotomy

Did driving over the holiday and so I pulled out my audio book of the Bible and listened to a couple more CDs, from the end of Leviticus to near the end of Deuterotomy. I'm up to CD 12 of 60. Yeah, this could take years, but we're plugging away. There just isn't much point in listening for 15 minutes on the way to work. Thinking other things. Anyway, I made some notes on my phone about my thoughts for the things I heard. Enjoy.

Are Mormons circumcized?

They mention a list of the value in sheckels of certain livestock and people, and I guess the cost to "replace" them. Adult men of fighting age are worth 5 sheckels, but women of the same age (child-bearing age) are only 3 sheckels? Doesn't that remind you a bit of the slave being 3/5ths of a person thing from the Constitution? Doesn't it make you feel... icky?

What is this Jubilee they keep talking about? They mention that in the year of the Jubilee the land would return to it's previous owner. Not very capitalist. But what if it was sold several different times? Does it only go back to the last person? Or some other previous time? When?

Moses is counting all the people old enough to go to war, and says that they are 20 and older. By this time, they could have already had children by this time. If they die, the children would be childless, but they would still leave offspring. Now, we are getting married later, and so we are sending people to war without letting them breed. Just an observation. What do you think would be the consequences of waiting to send people to war until they were 30?

They talk about these numbers of people... 50K for this family, 40K for this family, etc. And you add in all the kids and wives and older people for the 9 or 12 tribes of Isreal... you get a half a million people going to war? Where are all these people coming from?? I mean, they are talking about the population of the entire planet. Rome was considered a major city with 100,000 people and you have a million people plus livestock moving across a continent? The entire city of Cleveland and half its suburbs getting up walking to Georgia? These numbers are completely ludicrous! These were passed on an multiplied with each retelling.

And they weren't even consistent. The people able to go to war are more than all the people they later start listing. Are they doing this for taxes?

If a man is jealous, he takes his wife to the priest, and he poisons her, and if she lives, then she's innocent, and if she dies, then she must have been sleeping around? So fair.

You know, it's no wonder that the Jews had such a hard time getting out of poverty. They wasted so many cattle and manpower propitiating a false god.

You can see how people were so poorly valued in the bible. The men, worth the most, were worth five sheckels, and if they live long enough, worth maybe ten sheckels. But now they have a golden spoon worth ten sheckels, and golden bowl worth 130 sheckels. Nice priority list.

Lingustic observation: abode? past for abide? The weird verb endings are not even noticed anymore, but that stood out like a sore thumb.

Moses to god: I can't handle all these whining ingrates. Do you think Obama says this to god?

There are many everyday words in the bible that seemed to be used differently than in normal life. Like "meek". Moses was meek?

We have this weird conflation of visiting iniquity on the third and fourth generations with mercy. That's not mercy to me.

And there is another example of belittling doubt.

Ignorance of the law is an excuse.

The people have a very combative relationship with their priests. It's weird.

The whole bit of being unclean for seven days if you are even in a tent with a dead body. People die all the time in a multitude of this size from disease and all kinds of other things. If people can't be around a dead body, and then be in the community again for seven days, so who takes care of the dead? Either some parts of the community can never be clean or at the very least, most people will spend most of their time being unclean with only brief periods of cleanliness. Remember all the other things that make you unclean? Being born for instance? Are there no Jews in CSI?

The problem with controlling people by fear, is that eventually that fear fades away, and you have to keep renewing it and threatening them all over again to bring that fear back to life. That's not a great way to rule, although Dick Cheney obviously hasn't learned this lesson either.

You shall have the strength of a unicorn? How strong is that?

If a woman makes a vow, either dad or hubby can disavow her vows. So if she runs off and gets married, or testifies in court, the men can say she's a liar, or can get her out of a contract as long as he does it on the first day he hears of it, and she will be forgiven for not being able to make the vow out of no power of her own. Okay... so let's see if I got this straight. If she is unmarried, and decides to get married and daddy isn't around. And so afterwards, having vowed, she sleeps with the guy. Then dad comes around and disavows her vow and makes her unmarried again... does that make her a whore? Or is she forgiven just for making the vow, but not for acting on it, or both?? Paradox! or Catch-22!

You can't expect me to ever live like this.

It takes 3 days to be purified for genocide... seven for a dead body, but just three for genocide. Okay, you have to "purify" your captives, too.

A million livestock? Are they kidding me?

The area they are talking about for their "promised land", how close to modern Isreal is this, or can we even know?

The bible is telling us we should not take satisfaction in the death of a murderer... that's the OT people.

You have to marry inside your own tribe, and different tribes have different responsibilities... if this isn't a caste system, I don't know what is.

Oh, so the land goes all the way to the Eurphrates? No wonder the Muslims are worried.

Not knowing the difference between good and evil doesn't imply to me that the person is good... it sounds hit-and-miss to me.

Where do the giants come from? Didn't I ask this before?

You're a king, and you've got a mob of hundreds of thousands of people on your border and they just want to cross your territory, and promise not to make trouble... do you let them in? What if all the people of Montreal decided to resettle in Mexico? Do you let them march across your land, even if they promise to behave? Moscow?

Is this Moses talking in Deuterotomy? I thought everyone from Egypt was already dead, at least above a certain age. How can they remember him talking to the fire?

Isn't it a kind of psychological disorder to constantly need people to be afraid of you?

When they talk about the Children of Ammon, etc. are these places? Or gods that they follow, or people they are descended from?

What does it mean to "circumcize the foreskin of your heart"?

This whole book makes god sound like he's comparing himself to other gods... so how can he be the one true god? Why the constant comparisons?

If good things happen, it's because god was merciful, but if bad stuff happens, it's because god set up rules that were so hard to follow that you are justly being punished for your transgressions... why does this remind me of battered wife syndrome?

Are vampires particularly despised because they drink blood? Deuterotomy makes it pretty clear that this is really, really bad.

No asking foreigners about how they worship their god. Keeping the people in ignorance.

Only believe prophets who tell you to follow the god you already follow, but if another prophet can see the future but he tells you to follow another god, then he should be put to death, because he's a false prophet. But, so why then can he see the future? This is the perfect set up for modern theist thinking. If it reinforces my belief, I accept it; and if it contradicts it, I ignore it. Jesus had to pretend to speak for the god of the old testament or else, according to biblical law, he deserved what he got. And god set up these rules, not the priests.

It's okay to eat oxen, but not cattle? And no eating an awful lot of birds.

King can't have multiple wives.

Could Jesus be considered a necromancer?

There are santuary cities where people can flee to escape judgment and just say they didn't mean to kill so-and-so. But what about the other people living there?

Foreign cities either need to submit, or be run over and have all your women taken into sexual bondage. Nice choice.

If you capture a foreign woman for a wife, you can have sex with her, but if you don't like her, you can discard her but you can't sell her. So fair.

Transvestitism is an abomination. No mixed fabrics. And fringes have to be on everything... bible not the best place for fashion advice.

If a woman is raped in a city, she gets stoned because no one heard her cry out, therefore she must have wanted it and be a whore. Man: I'll slit your throat if you say anything. Vs. Woman: Daddy, I was raped. Daddy: Whore! Where are my stones!

In the field, where no one can hear her, that's different. And if your male organ is cut off, don't come around anymore. If a woman divorces, she can remarry, but can't go back to her first husband.

No more than 40 lashes. So kind.

Can you imagine marrying the brother of your husband?

God will make you all cannibals.

What would losing a million people from the slave pool of Egypt have done to the economy?

I think I left food in the microwave.

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