Throughout the duration of this foolish column (more than 10 years now), my editors have always let me explore any damned topic I chose, which is certainly appreciated. I’ve even written about subjects that are generally reserved for other specialized columnists; for instance, comments on gardening may have crowded Marianne Binetti’s expertise.
Today, I’m going to stray into a subject you might ordinarily expect in the “Church Corner” with the week’s guest pastor. Though I consider myself a rather spiritually-oriented fellow, I’m not a student of the Bible. Not by any stretch. I haven’t even read the whole thing. That’s something I’ve intended to do for 30 years, but good intentions don’t mean much.
Still, during those 30 years, I’ve managed to fool around with the first five books of the Old Testament (King James version) and I’ve run across some unexpected verses that order and condone some very vicious acts and immoral ideas. At least I found them so and you might also find them surprising. It’s not my intention to analyze any of these scriptures; I’ll leave that for the religious scholars and official clergy. I simply wish to call them to your attention.
By doing so, I have no desire to degrade or in any way disparage the Christian or Jewish faiths – or, for that matter, any other religion. Bearing this in mind, make out of these rather startling verses whatever you will.
It’s often claimed that Adam and Eve were the first man and woman, but apparently there were, in fact, other people around. In Genesis, Chapter 4, verses 16 and 17: “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived.” If there had not been other people, the only female Cain could have had sex with was Eve, his mother. However, incest wasn’t unknown during these early times, as Chapter 19, verses 32 through 35, reveals in some detail a sexual union between Lot and his two daughters and verse 36 clearly indicates, “Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.”
Chapter 7 of Genesis related the well-known story of Noah and the flood. Verse 23 declares, in no uncertain terms, that “every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven …… and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.”
Chapter 11, verse 1, in the Book of Exodus: “The Lord said unto Moses, yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt.” And in verse 5, “All the firstborn in the Land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitte upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maid-servant.”
Chapter 13 of Deuteronomy, verses 6 through 9, tells us not to follow a false prophet who would have us serve other gods. Instead, we’re instructed to kill him. “Thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be the first upon him and put him to death.”
And finally, there’s this fascinating passage from the Book of Numbers, Chapter 31. After the Jewish army defeated the Midianites, the Israelis took the Midianite women and children captive and brought them to Moses. Whereupon, in verse 17, Moses declares: “Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by laying with him.” Then, in verse 18, “But all the women children that have not known a man by laying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”
So, there you have it. Again, I have no desire to belittle or decry the Christian or Jewish faiths. You can make of these scriptures anything you want.