A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible
Hunc tu caveto.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Above: Woman with leprosy in Nepal


"Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and everyone that has an issue, and whoever has been defiled by the dead." In other words, abandon the sick to suffer and die alone. Shouldn't the Creator have just introduced rifampicin and dapsone, the drugs used today to effectively treat leprosy?

I probably hyped up God's crusade against lepers. That's actually the extent of it. But Numbers does continue on in true Leviticus fashion.

There's very little transitional material in the Bible, and in this chapter we jump from lepers to adultery - which is one of the accepted reasons to have an abortion. Yahweh, who is undoubtedly male, gives the Israelites a special magical ritual to discern who is an adulterer and who is not.

If a man suspects his wife is cheating, he approaches a priest. The priest gives her "bitter water" (Numbers 5:18). If she cheated on her husband, this bitter water will make her "thighs rot" and her "belly swell." If this happens, the woman is then excommunicated from the community. If nothing happens, well - I guess the man just has to throw his hands up in the air and say, "Oh, my bad!"

More than likely, this is actually a reference to abortion - a morning after pill.

The message to take from this is, obviously, if a woman becomes pregnant by cheating on her husband - by all means, abort it! And you know what? I have no problem with abortion (within the first trimester), but I do have a problem with this scenario. This is basically a priest conducting an abortion on the husband's whim, with the woman having no choice in the matter.

The whole procedure is called the "Law of Jealousies".

What about men? In this particular chapter, Yahweh is silent.

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