Some people take the Bible literally: they believe Adam and Eve existed, Noah made the ark, and Jesus rose from the grave. But even biblical literalists find a certain amount of relativity in the rules of the Old Testament.
There may be some things in the Bible that seem pretty extreme and impractical from a modern perspective, but many Christians argue that several of these rules no longer apply following the New Testament and the New Covenant.
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.
- 12,424 VOTES
When Fighting Another Man, Chop Off His Wife's Hand If She Grabs Your Genitals
Deuteronomy 25:11-12 states, "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."
What it means: The "secrets" here are genitals, but "cut off her hand" is literal. This sentence, on the whole, was later interpreted as metaphorical (i.e., "a fine of the value of the hand").
- 21,987 VOTES
Don't Sit Where A Menstruating Woman Has Sat
In the book of Leviticus, it says, "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." (15:19-21)
What it means: 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.
- 31,395 VOTES
If Your Slave Refuses Freedom, Pierce Their Ear
Exodus, the second book in the Old Testament, makes the following provision about how to treat an enslaved person: "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." (21:5-6)
What it means: Commentaries explore the implications from these verses, asserting the mark was intended to attest to permanent servitude and the forfeiture of any rights afforded to a freeman. There are mixed assessments about whether this was a choice made by the enslaved person or it was a form of punishment for not choosing to be free.
- 41,487 VOTES
Don't Wear Clothes Made of Both Linen And Wool
Leviticus 19:19 provides rules about clothing, ones unfamiliar to modern readers. It states, "Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee."
What it means: There is some disagreement on this one. It could be because “wool and linen were appointed for the priests alone.” Another thought is that mixing wool and linen "brings on malignant fevers and exhausts the strength."