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.
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 11:13-19Wait ... 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.
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."
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").
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."