Monday, 7 July 2008

Exodus 21

Exodus 21

1Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.

Now we can all agree that a civilised society needs to, in some degree ,work together for the success of the greater community. To do this successfully a societies members should have respect for other members needs and circumstances. So any fledgling society should be based on this criteria for the mutual benefit of all its members.

2If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

So straight in there with contracted servitude, in a city state maybe not such a bad idea a person can sell themselves into a contract for an agreed sum, but hang on they are still living in tents in the desert. An environment that ok would need something as a cohesive force for the mutual protection of the community but surely this would only be the start of a class structure akin to the one that they have just left.

3If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.

Ok I can see that but.....

4If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.

Umm.... No equality for women and no respect for the sanctity of marriage.

5And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:

The words Either and Or not included as that would mean being blackmailed into service to stay with your family.

And if the servant shall plainly say,EITHER I love my master, OR my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:

6Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.

So the reward for liking your employer and or your family eternal servitude and an earring.

7And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.

Some translations are more honest and do say slave

8If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.

But the master can sell her back if she does not wholly satisfy him ?

Would that not brand her as

A) Not a virgin therefore unclean

B) A lousy lay

9And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.

After the manner of daughters ? What the option to sell her off ?

Is this just an escape clause to sell on someone else's daughter as long as you go through a formal betrothal?

10If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

If he has another wife it's fine as long as he feeds clothes and slips her one occasionally

11And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.

But if he doesn't she can fuck off !
Am I mis-reading something here or is the implication that, the women at least were better off in Egypt?

12He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.

13And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee.

This apparently covers the difference between murder and manslaughter.

14But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.

No sanctury for murder, except is that not excactly why moses fled from egypt when he first met Jethro/Ruel

15And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.

16And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

Joseph didn't do that he just fucked their heads for a while.

17And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

Be honest here what child ever in the whole history of the world has ever gone through their teenage years without ever cursing their parents?

18And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed:

19If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.

So if you twat someone too hard but they recover it's ok as long as you give them some sick pay ?

20And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.

21Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

So you can beat a slave nearly to death, as long as they recover, and not expect punishment.

22If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

23And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

24Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

25Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

It's ok to have physical disagreements but if in doing so you cause a pregnant woman to miscarry you must pay compensation.

26And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye's sake.

After all who would want a one-eyed slave .

27And if he smite out his manservant's tooth, or his maidservant's tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake.

I wonder was there a blackmarket for shed teeth ..... is this where we get the idea of the tooth fairy. Freedom available get your master to strike you in front of witnesses and spit out a tooth.

28If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit.

Tell me again about these starving people ?

29But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.

Bit unfortunate, especially if someone else unwittingly let out the ox.

30If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him.


31Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him.


32If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

limited compensation not for the family of the gored but for his/her master.

33And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein;

I would have thought an open pit was less of a liability than a covered one !

34The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his.

35And if one man's ox hurt another's, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it; and the dead ox also they shall divide.

36Or if it be known that the ox hath used to push in time past, and his owner hath not kept him in; he shall surely pay ox for ox; and the dead shall be his own.

Is it me or are oxen given more resposibility for their own actions than women ?
Now I am confused.
I thought the whole point of getting out of Egypt was to raise the personal freedoms of the poor underprivileged Hebrews.
Now there maybe some ruling/judging over class that may be prospering from this legislation, but to me this is coming over as a recipe for class differences that actively encourages slavery and would in time lead to a slave culture and a caste system. Is this yet another connection with the Hindu culture ?

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