Saturday, July 28, 2012
It says WHAT???
Considering the many different discussions on marriage that have been all over the internet as of late, and since I keep reading (over and over again) people writing, "according to the Bible, God's design for marriage has and always will be: one man and one woman," I decided to do a little investigation into the Old Testament to find out for myself just what is written in it concerning the history of God's rules on marriage.
To aid my search, I used the wonderful Bible-search-engine BibleGateway.com --where you can search the Bible in nearly every translation known to man-- and I searched under the words "marry" "marriage" and "wife" and wow, a heckof-alotta verses came up, and I read them all. It was a long night.
What I read, though, was not what I expected.
I came across many, many verses in the Old Testament about men having more than one wife. That's right: one man, more than one woman is in the Bible.
Then, well, then there's just some plain weird stuff, which you just have to read for yourself:
Deuteronomy 22: 23-29 (emphasis mine)
"23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.
25But if out in the country a man happens to meet a girl pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the girl; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders his neighbor, 27for the man found the girl out in the country, and though the betrothed girl screamed, there was no one to rescue her.
28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives."
Hmmm...interesting, right, if not really (really) disturbing?
In Deuteronomy it also says that if a man divorces his wife because she has become "unpleasing to him" and the ex-wife then remarries --only for her new hubby to die-- then her first husband is not allowed to re-marry her, because that would be "detestable in the eyes of the Lord."
Now this verse I came upon has got to be my favorite by far:
"If two Israelite men get into a fight and the wife of one tries to rescue her husband by grabbing the testicles of the other man, you must cut off her hand. Show her no pity."
I laughed out loud at that one. Careful now ladies on how you choose to defend your man!
According to the book of Ezekiel, if you're a priest, really nice benefits come along with your vocation:
"...priests.... shall not marry a widow or a divorced woman but shall take virgins from the offspring of the house of Israel, or a widow who is the widow of a priest."
Please note that virgins is plural. Yup, priests get to "take virgins". Wow. Am I reading that right, because I am seeing: one priest, more than one virgin? I'm guessing priests were happy men back in those good Ol' Testament days, huh?
As I continued my search, to my wonderment, I never could find anything in the Old Testament where God gives direct orders that marriage should be as what I keep hearing is "traditional marriage" as we know it, in our present time, in the United States of America.
That leaves me wondering just how many Christians out there who are busy tooting their horns, "One Man, One Woman" and "God created marriage," know about the Old Testament verses above???
Now, I know the New Testament scriptures on marriage are very different from the Old one, because that's when my man J.C. comes on the scene, and His words are not only surprising, but really wonderful too --that topic will be covered in my next blog, though.
In the meanwhile, I'll leave you with this very interesting diagram of the not-so-long-ago History of Traditional Marriage in the United States: