Why Buy the Cow? (Deuteronomy 21)

Deuteronomy 21 packs a punch.

Let’s say you’re on a power walk one day and you stumble across a dead body. Commonplace in biblical times, I’m sure. What you’re supposed to do, according to Deuteronomy 21, is gather the elders from the city that is the closest (old people have nothing better to do – well, maybe show up somewhere fifteen minutes early). They’re supposed to get a heifer that hasn’t worked much (so, a lazy one) and take it down to a valley and break its neck. Isn’t that hard to do? All I know of breaking necks I’ve gleaned from action movies. From what I understand you have to grab the head on either side and twist really fast like chiropractic gone wrong. I imagine this would be difficult if your target was a large bovine.

Let’s say you’re pillaging a city and you see a beautiful lady and you want to have sex with her. You’re not made of stone. What you’re supposed to do, says the Bible, is take her home with you, make her shave her head and give herself a mani/pedi. Literally, it says “you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and pare her nails” (Deu 21:12). This helps break her spirit. You’re supposed to give her a month of “space” during which she can cry about stupid things like missing her family and not wanting to get raped. When the month’s up you can have sex with her (says the Bible but likely not the lucky lady). If, for whatever reason, you’re left unsatisfied (maybe she just wasn’t into it) you can set her free and let her find her own way. But you can’t sell her. Oh, no. That would be immoral.

Let’s say you’re having difficulties with your son. He’s a problem child. Talks back to you, eats too much junk and drinks. Well, you can just round up all the men in town and stone him. They’re your buddies and should be happy to help resolve this familial problem. It’s probably wise that this applies only to your own children and not other people’s. I’d get a little stone-happy.

Published in: on March 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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