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, 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 25:11-12Wait ... 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").
Women Suspected of Adultery Have to Drink Dirty Water
"If any man's wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him ... and a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband ... the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water ... this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot." Numbers 5:11-31Wait ... what?: This one is complicated. Some people think the dirty water was supposed to cause an abortion; others think it would to pressure the woman into a confession. Regardless, there's no denying the idea was for the alleged adulteress to drink a mix of holy water and tabernacle floor dust.
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 21:5-6Wait ... 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 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 23:19Wait ... 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."