Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Deuteronomy begins with a recap, like a new epidode of Lost. We are reminded of the curse that led to 40 years of wandering and given a summary of the various genocidal exploits of the Hebrews as they began to possess the Promised Land. Then, beginning in Chapter 5, Moses lays down the Law.

"Don't have any other gods besides God. Do not make any idols and worship them", Moses tellls the children of Israel. "Don't take the name of God in vain. Observe the Sabbath. Honor your parents. Don't murder, commit adultery or steal. Don't bear false witness. Don't covet. Obey these commandments, says Moses, and you will live and do well in the Promised Land. Moreover, keep these commandments and be ruthless and merciless, and you will possess the Promised Land and prosper.

"When you go into the Promised Land, destroy the religious buildings and cultic places of the people whom you encounter. God will set up a special place where you are to bring your sacrifices and eat before Him. Did I mention that you shouldn't eat blood? Kill anyone who even mentions serving other gods.

"Here's a list of animals you aren't allowed to eat. Be sure to tithe."

As far as I can tell, none of these commandments is directed at me but at the children of Israel. I'm not saying that some of them aren't a great idea, just that Moses wasn't talking to me. I can eat pork and shellfish without offending God, and I don't have to kill anyone.

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