Deuteronomy 25: My Favorite Old Testament Laws

Deuteronomy 25 has two of my favorite laws in it.

One of them I just discovered. The other I have known for a while and actually read aloud at a wedding when I was a best man. Let’s start with the first.

I really would be doing this law a disservice if I didn’t write out the entire law for you. And I’m not doing it because I’m a lazy blogger. It really is THAT good.

 When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her, taking her in marriage, and performing the duty of a husband’s brother to her, and the firstborn whom she bears shall succeed to the name of the deceased brother, so that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. But if the man has no desire to marry his brother’s widow, then his brother’s widow shall go up to the elders at the gate and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to perpetuate his brother’s name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.’ Then the elders of his town shall summon him and speak to him. If he persists, saying, ‘I have no desire to marry her’, then his brother’s wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, pull his sandal off his foot, spit in his face, and declare, ‘This is what is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ Throughout Israel his family shall be known as ‘the house of him whose sandal was pulled off.’

Fool! You better marry that woman!

First of all, I love a law that allows a woman, in public, in front of the elders of a town, to take a man’s shoes off, spit in his face, and then insult him.

How is that not progressive?! We don’t even have anything like that! Maybe someday . . .

But seriously, what does that last part even mean? Does anyone have any ideas about that?

The Next Time You Are Asked to Give a Toast

I kid you not, I said this at a wedding once. I have changed the names of the bride and groom to protect the innocent.

“Hi everyone. My name is Ben and I am honored to be the best man for Chameron and Shmarie. I’ve known Chameron for a long time and it is really exciting to see him getting married to such a great girl. You really are great, Shmarie.

“Now, a lot of people like to give blessings over new couples and when they do, they often like to use things out of the New Testament. But honestly, I think the Old Testament gets overlooked and there is some really great stuff to be found there. So I’d like to read an excerpt from Deuteronomy chapter 25:11-12. So please open your Bibles.

 If men get into a fight with one another, and the wife of one intervenes to rescue her husband from the grip of his opponent by reaching out and seizing his genitals, you shall cut off her hand; show no pity.

And I think that is a really great thing to remember on the day of your wedding . . .”

Got any good stories about wedding toasts? Let’s hear’em! That word looks a lot like “harem,” which I do not support.

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7 responses

  1. Ben, what I keep “feeling” out of this is what Paul says when he writes that in Christ there is neither male nor female, Jew or Greek, etc. In Christ, we’re all equal. If we could all come together and discuss this without defending our positions and getting defensive, then maybe we would come close to being what God intense for us to be and how to behave.

  2. I am loving this blog! Just found it. I’m getting an MA in Old Testament, so the Deuteronomy stuff is cool. Keep being awesome.

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