religion The Weirdest Rules in the Bible  

Kellen Perry
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List Rules Vote up the weirdest rules from the bible.

Some people take the Bible literally: they believe Adam and Eve existed, Noah made the ark, and Jesus rose from the dead. But even biblical literalists typically ignore rules in the Old Testament (especially in Leviticus) about, say, menstruating women (don't sit in the same chair they sat in), not mixing fabrics, chopping off hands, making women accused of adultery drink dirty holy water, and so on. Let's face it: some things in the Bible sound pretty extreme at worst, and impractical at best, to modern people.

Many Christians argue that these rules no longer apply following the New Testament and the New Covenant (Jews have different feelings about that). Regardless of your belief system, it's fascinating to look back on holy laws and rules from thousands of years ago, whether it's to enrich your own faith or better understand the early stages of a major world religion. Enjoy this look at some of the weirdest rules in the Bible.
When Fighting Another Man, Cho... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Weirdest Rules in the Bible
Photo:  Farmgirlmiriam/Pixabay/CC0 1.0
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When Fighting Another Man, Chop Off His Wife's Hand If She Grabs Your Genitals


"When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her." Deuteronomy 25:11-12

Wait ... what?: Yes, the "secrets" here are genitals, but "cut off her hand" means just that. This sentence was later interpreted as metaphorical (i.e., "a fine of the value of the hand").
If Your Slave Refuses Freedom,... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Weirdest Rules in the Bible
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If Your Slave Refuses Freedom, Pierce Their Ear


"And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then 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." Exodus 21:5-6

Wait ... what?: A.J. Jacobs puts it best: "A man, it’s argued, should embrace freedom. An ear hole is a mark of humiliation, another reason why he should leave his master."
Never Boil a Baby Goat in Its ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Weirdest Rules in the Bible
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Never Boil a Baby Goat in Its Mother's Milk


"The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk." Exodus 23:19

Wait ... what?: This rule - mentioned three times in the Bible - could have been intended to prevent the superstitious practice of using the boiled milk as a "charm" for making fields and orchards "more productive." Another theory is that this was simply a reminder to be "civilized" and not make the mother "an accomplice in the death of her child."
Don't Eat Owls is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Weirdest Rules in the Bible
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Don't Eat Owls


"And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;  Every raven after his kind;  And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat." Leviticus 11:13-19

Wait ... what?: The Bible says we shouldn't eat a lot of things, but it definitely doesn't want us to eat owls. It's very specific: don't eat owls, little owls, or great owls. But why? Scholars say it's because they're considered to be "gross feeders, devourers of flesh or offal, and therefore offensive to the taste." They are also "ravenous and cruel, or such as delight in the night and darkness, or such as feed upon impure things." The flesh of fowls that eat "vegetable substances," the scholars infer, is okay for us to devour.
You Can't Kill a Burglar Durin... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Weirdest Rules in the Bible
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You Can't Kill a Burglar During the Day


"If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft." Exodus 22:2-3

Wait ... what?: The idea here is that killing a burglar at night is most likely an act of self-defense, but killing them during the day is a missed opportunity to identify and catch the thief. There was also the belief that nighttime break-ins implied a "murderous intent" and thus to "shed the blood of the burglar" was justified.
Make Sure No One Falls Off You... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Weirdest Rules in the Bible
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Make Sure No One Falls Off Your Roof


"When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence." Deuteronomy 22:8

Wait ... what?: This means everyone should have a safe roof, basically. This was especially important when most roofs were flat, and therefore needed a small railing to make sure that no one could fall off. It was serious business, too: "Neglect of this law would be punished under the laws on manslaughter and maiming." It's kind of like building codes in modern times.
You Can't Leave Open Pits Arou... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Weirdest Rules in the Bible
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You Can't Leave Open Pits Around for Animals to Fall Into


"And 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; The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his." Exodus 21:33-34

Wait ... what?: This sounds strange to modern folks, but it's basically just saying to cover your wells (or any other big hole). Animals tend to fall into deep holes in the ground, and if there's water at the bottom of those deep holes, they'll likely drown.
Don't Sit Where a Menstruating... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Weirdest Rules in the Bible
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Don't Sit Where a Menstruating Woman Has Sat


"And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even." Leviticus 15:19-21

Wait ... what?: This literally means that people shouldn't sit in the same spot a woman sat when she was on her period, because a woman on her period was thought to be unclean.