Release that bated breath, because we’re back at it.
Before we get started there is something you should know, Deuteronomy is told from Moses’ perspective. It is pretty much an ungodly-long retelling of all the rules and how the Israelites must act once they get to the promised land. First, he tells the Israelites that they need to pick leaders, who will judge over their squabbles. All cases are to be heard fairly, big and small. No taking bribes. And if the issue is too large to be resolved by the leaders themselves, they can go to the priests and God Himself to judge over them.
And then Moses recounts this little gem of a story: the death of pretty much anyone who gets in the way of the Israelites. The people left the desert, because God wanted the Israelites to go into the land He had promised them and fuck some shit up. I thought we had done that already; I guess only kind of but not really. There’s more shit to be fucked. But before they could leave, Moses started preaching about how God had tried to give the Israelites their land before, but they were whiney little babies, so God made them wonder around until that “evil” generation had died out. If they had just minded their manners and not been completely irritating, they could have had their land by now.
Remember back when the Israelites were sending out letters, trying to get a king to ok their passage through the king’s land, but the king was like fuck you? (They did so, because God hardened their hearts, obvi. So God makes you do something, and then punishes you for it. We’ve been over this before.) One of those kings became the Israelite’s first target. And the Israelites crushed them. Destroyed all the cities; killed every man, woman, and child; and took the spoils for themselves. And then they chose another king and did the same to his kingdom. No survivors. Even the newborn babies, un-born babies and pregnant women were offed.
Afterward, Moses starts getting really pissy and begins talking about how the Israelites were jerks and ruined his chances for crossing the River Jordan and seeing the promised land with them. He then warns the Israelites that they better not turn evil again and worship idols. Otherwise, God will destroy them and scatter them from the land. Which in the end, will make the Israelites come back and worship God. Supposedly. Because punishing them has worked so well in the past. Then we go over the Ten Commandments again. And we talk about how important it is to completely wipe out the non-Israelite tribes living in the promised land. And don’t take gold or silver from them as spoils, it has cooties. You might notice some inconsistencies between how the Israelites have acted in the past compared to the new rules we’re about to go over. Like not taking spoils of war. Because they’ve already claimed spoils of war, but now it’s a no no. Don’t ask questions or expect for this to make sense; you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Moses makes it very clear that the Israelites are being given the promised land, not because they are super righteous or anything, but because the people currently living on those lands are way wicked. They do naughty things like worship other gods. Have I not mentioned that God is a bit jealous? In fact, Moses points out that the Israelites are a “stiff necked” people. I interpret that as complete pain in the damn ass. Because they are.
A lot of Moses preaching the same things over and over again, blah, blah, blah. Then Moses tells the Israelites that once they are in the promised land, they have to bring their sacrifices, tithes, and other gifts for God to one place that God will pick. No worshipping about wherever you want all willy nilly. Also, God is gonna test the fuck out of you. By say, sending a loved one to you to try and tempt you into worshipping other Gods. If someone does that, even if you love them dearly, you have to stone them to death. Never mind the fact that God Himself put them up to it just to make sure that you really love Him. This is also supposed to scare everyone shitless, so that they won’t try and convince each other to worship other Gods. If an entire town goes to the dark side and starts worshipping other gods, you have to kill everyone in it. Everyone. Also, kill all of the livestock and burn all of the goods. Burn that bitch to the ground, leave it ruins, and never build over it ever again. Shit probably haunted anyway.
Then Moses goes back over what you can and cannot eat. And tithing. He also throws in that every three years the tithe that you give should go to aliens, widows, and the fatherless. You know, the poor. And don’t forget to always give to the Levites, because they get zero inheritance. In fact, just give generously to the poor at all times. Do so without a “grudging heart.” There will always be poor people, care for them no matter who they are. And all debts are to be wiped clean after 7 years. Including student loan debt. Ok, maybe Moses didn’t mention student loan debt specifically, but I’m gonna go with it counts.
More stuff we’ve already been over…. And a king. Once the Israelites are in the promised land, says Moses, you are to pick a king. It has to be the king God chooses though, so really you don’t get to pick. JK. That king should not amass great wealth for himself or take multiple wives. He is study the laws and scripture of the Lord. He is to see himself as an equal with the rest of his brothers. God will also pick a new prophet after Moses dies. But there will also be people pretending to be prophets, and those people must be killed. Hope you choose wisely.
When going to war, never fear even if it looks like you’re about to be walloped. God will be with you, and you will win. When you come to a city, offer them peace. If they say yes, make them slaves and take over their city. If they say no, kill everybody and still take over their city. Not the best choice for them either way. Are you starting to see what I meant by things won’t make sense? Now we’re leaving survivors and taking slaves.
Marrying a captive is also now ok. But she better be beautiful. Bring her home, make her shave her head and trim her nails, take her clothes away, and let her mourn her dead family for a month. By then, surely, she will be over it. Then you can “have” her as your wife. If it turns out that she isn’t that great in the sack, let her go. Do not sell her, because you have dishonored her. If you have multiple wives, and you love one but not the other, you have to will your inheritance to your firstborn, even if he is the son of the wife you don’t love. If you have a rebellious son, take him to the elders to be stoned to death. If this were still a thing, no one would make it out of their teenage years. No one.
“A woman must not wear men’s clothing nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests this.” Couple of things. First of all, if you use this line to prove to yourself that men dressed in women’s clothing are detestable, let me ask you something. Have you ever judged a woman for wearing her boyfriend’s t-shirt? How about a woman wearing pants? No? Shut the fuck up. Secondly, never, anywhere in the Bible thus far, have we discussed what the wardrobes of the two sexes should be. The Scots may have it right, and dudes should be letting their junk fly in the wind, we don’t know.
Help your fellow Israelites find their lost stuff, blah, blah, stuff we already know. If you marry a woman and find she sucks in bed, you may feel the need to try and get rid of her by claiming that she was not, in fact, a virgin when you married her. If this happens, the burden of proof lies upon the girl’s father to prove that she was, in fact, a virgin. If no proof can be found, stone the girl to death for being promiscuous. Even if proof is found, she still has to be married to a lying jerk who hates her for the rest of her life.
Let’s talk about rape. If a guy rapes a girl in a city, stone them both. She is just as guilty as the man, because she did not scream out in order to be saved. Talk about victim shaming. But if a guy rapes a woman in the countryside, the woman gets to live since no one was around to hear her cries and save her. Both of those instances are only if the raped woman is betrothed to be married. If she is not promised to another man, and she is raped, the rapist has to pay a fee to her father and marry her. Lucky girl. If you have followed along thus far, and you don’t find the Old Testament to be a bit (ok, a lot) misogynistic, come at me. Because holy shit. If you do not find the treatment of women in this book hard to swallow, I don’t know how to begin explaining it to you. Women married to their rapists? Stoned for being raped in the city? Are you shitting me? Granted, nobody gets an easy road in this book, but women seem to be little more than property.
So next time, we’ll wrap up Deuty. Get excited, because the next laws listed are headed as “Miscellaneous Laws,” which means there’s probably some crazy shit in there. Should be fun. But first, I want to point out a sentence that is repeated in Deuteronomy ad nauseam. “You must purge the evil from among you.” Meaning kill those who break the rules. There are no second chances to the laws listed above. No jail, no giving back to society to make up for your sins. You die. The end.