Don’t Feed the Seagulls (Deuteronomy 15-18)

Surprise, surprise. More rules from chapters 15-18 of the Book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 15 puts forth the ridiculous rule of – get this – giving to the poor. Not only that, God commands that “you shall open your hand to him, and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be” (Deu 15:8). That’s pretty wide open. What if his need is a bottle of Sailor Jerry Rum, a cell phone or a sad (and strangely simultaneously vicious-looking) dog that he can’t care for? That’s what I feel I’m being asked for everytime the bottom strata asks me to metaphorically open my hand. Little do they know, I live off of free samples that I garner from those 20-somethings standing at major intersections in matching smocks.

The number seven figures prominently in the Bible. It’s probably been carried over from paganism. If you own a slave, you’re supposed to release him on the seventh year of his servitude. This is slippery because it’s likely that slaves back in biblical times couldn’t count. “Has it been seven years already? No, no, no, my good man. I think it’s been only five. Now back to your goat-milking (or whatever)”. If, in a lapse of sanity, the slave doesn’t want to be set free and instead wants to stay on with the family, God commands you to nail his ear to the door in some weird, symbolic gesture of bondedness: “…you shall take an awl, and thrust it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your bondman forever” (Deu 15:17). Sure, that makes sense, I guess.

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Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 1:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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