ARGH I have been bad about writing this week! Partly because it’s been a bad week where every day has ended with more alcohol consumption than I intended. Fortunately things are looking a bit up, so hopefully I can get back to my semi-regular schedule again.
11. About the Courts
Standard legal stuff about not giving false witness, rendering false judgment, or showing partiality to the poor in cases. Wait, why the poor? Not to get all Marxy, but just looking at the record, aren’t courts usually way more partial to the rich? The NCT render this as “cover up for” rather than “be partial.” Again, I wonder which is closer to the Hebrew? I wonder, but not enough to learn the language for this project.
12. Relations with People who Antagonize You
Actually, this seems to be more about your relationship to the animals of the people who antagonize you. In short, just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible for helping them. If you find their lost animal, return it. If it’s trapped under a burden, set it free. Luther would see this as tying into the commandment about coveting your neighbor’s animals. It’s the whole idea of going out of your way to help someone keep what rightfully belongs to them.
13. About Lawsuits
Don’t kill the innocent…at least 39 executed people in America have been found posthumously to have been innocent based on DNA evidence, and the Innocence Project has managed to keep 18 others from being executed at all. I might add that I am very much against the death penalty, and this is one of the reasons.
14. The Sabbath Year
I wonder how much they actually followed this. I mean, if they didn’t farm at all every seventh year, would they have really been able to eat? Or was this one of those laws that’s more about holding up an ideal (allowing the poor to have access to enough food) and there was wiggle room allowed in how to practice it?
15. The Sabbath
I’ve worked some 11-day weeks since coming to Japan. I appreciate the idea of a mandatory weekly day off.
I’ve also massively violated the whole mentioning other gods things throughout my life thanks to love of mythologies. In fact, let’s not talk a lot about doing devotion to other gods either, which I have to do before aikido practice, though it’s all for politeness’ sake (not just me, the other students don’t even know what god they’re supposedly bowing to), and I tend to take the opportunity to make personal prayers, which I am bad about doing in regular life.
16. About Festivals
Both the NRSV and NCT sort of cheat by allowing 19b to be part of this section…unless you see not boiling a kid with its mother’s milk as part of festival commandments. And maybe it was. Maybe this was something that people did in festivals back then, and God was telling them to quit it.
But now the commands come to an end, and God switches to talking about the coming conquest of Canaan. I was bracing myself for the introduction of herem, the idea that they have to kill everyone in the land, but actually, these verses promise that they won’t have to. God will make everyone in the land flee somewhere else as they move in, no conflict needed.
That’s just one of the unlikely promises they get in this chapter. In exchange for worshiping God, they will never be sick, women won’t miscarry or be infertile, and everyone will die of old age. That didn’t happen. Still, it’s interesting that even an ideal scenario assumed death, just death after a long, happy life. I have to admit that if I was given an option of absolutely never dying and getting to die peacefully after a life of a 80-90 years, I think I’d take the latter. Futureshock and all that – I already feel like an old fart some days, and I’m only 28.
The next chapter is our last bit of narrative before the 7 chapters of detailed descriptions of tabernacles, priestly robes, and sacrifices that made me give up at age 8 and skip ahead to Samuel. I’m going to relish the brief respite.
The Japanese: konkyo “basis, foundation,” katan suru “to take part in, participate” (v 1), tsuizui suru “to follow,” houtei “courtroom,” hanketsu “judgment” (v 2), soshou “litigation,” kabau “to plead for, to cover up for someone” (v 3), toboshii “poor” (v6), wairo “bribe” (v 8), shiitageru “to persecute, to tread under foot” (v 9), maku “to plant” (v 10), kyuukanchi “fallow land” (v 11), tazusaeru “to have, to carry” (v 19), obiru “to be entrusted with” (v 21), ada “disservice,” mukuiru “to reward, to repay” (v 22), funin “sterile, barren,” tenju wo mattousuru “to die of old age” (v 26), otoshiireru “to plunge, to throw,” haisou suru “to flee” (v 27), samonaito “otherwise, or else” (v 29), jojo ni “gradually” (v 30), ogamu “to pray, to worship” (v 33).