There’s been a lot of talk about abortion lately, with the religious right taking a fairly myopic “we own morality” approach to the argument. It makes you wonder just how many sanctimonious pro-life Christians have even bothered to read their precious Bibles? (If they did, they might find some interesting laws against women that would make even Franklin Graham a little queasy. Nah… there’s a reason you don’t see Christian “leaders” denouncing radical anti-woman politicians. In short, it’s Biblical…)
“Whether she has or not…” – Numbers 5:14
Remember, ladies – according to the Bible, women don’t actually have to sin in order to be detained and tortured. It is enough that your husband merely be jealous, suspicious, or insecure enough to give church leaders the right to apprehend you, torture you, and kill your unborn baby. In fact, you will even be forced to acknowledge and accept this Biblical test of fidelity as part of your duties as a wife. Pro-Life? No. Pro-Choice? No. No-Choice: the church is in control of everything in your life, under the inescapable authority of a loving God (who conveniently gives all of His power and authority to human priests who self appoint themselves as judge, jury, and executioner in all matter of the life of the faithful).
The Lord told Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: If a man suspects his wife has sinned and become impure by having sex with another man, he must take her to the priest! (With a grain offering.) The priest will force the woman to stand before the Lord. He will take some dirt from the floor of the Holy Tent and add it to some special water in a clay jar. He will loosen her hair and force the woman to promise to tell the truth, ‘If you have committed no sin, this potion will cause no harm. But, if you have sinned against your husband and drink this water – your baby will die inside you! You will never be able to have children ever again! And the Lord will curse you so that others will speak evil of you.’
The priest will wash these words off his scroll into he water and force the woman to drink the potion. Regardless of the outcome, the husband will not be guilty of anything. But, if the woman has sinned, she will suffer greatly and her unborn baby will die inside her. THIS IS THE LAW.”- Numbers 5:11-31
Of course, we should ask exactly how this test somehow magically 100% fool-proof? For example, I wonder how many women were immune to the concoction? Or, was this concoction so powerful that all of the accused were conveniently found guilty (possibly dying from the ritual)? Likewise, the poison would never kill a legitimate child of the accusing husband, would it? I guess that’s the real reason there would be no punishment for a husband’s false accusations. A sure-fire Catch-22 of a misogynistic culture.
The message to women is quite simple – there is no “choice” involved, and your word means nothing in the eyes of the Lord, the church, or your marriage. Conversely, the message to husbands is just as conveniently clear – if your wife gets pregnant and you don’t want to keep the baby, just accuse her of adultery and the church will take care of everything in the name of the Lord. Just as long as you BYOB. (Bring Your Own Barley).
It’s almost as if men wrote the Bible, eh?
Serious Questions: How is all of this not just considered witchcraft? Why is this law (thankfully) no longer practiced by most Jews and Christians? And before you say the Old Testament doesn’t matter, you might want to check Christ’s own words on the matter.
[NOTE FROM HORUS: If you disregard this commentary as a “pro-choice” rant, you might be missing the point that it’s actually an “anti-ignorance” post, merely highlighting one of the many Bible stories that are conveniently left out of Sunday sermons. Regardless of your views of abortion, I think we can all agree that having a priest cause a forced miscarriage (and hysterectomy) in order to prove infidelity (or simply justify a husband’s own reasons for wanting to leave a marriage) might, might just be a little extreme – even by Biblical standards.]
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Remember: Don’t blame us, it’s in the Bible!
(And our second illustrated book of awkward Bible verses.)