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The Weirdest Rules in the Bible

Updated July 22, 2020 13.3k votes 2.8k voters 295.3k views15 items

List RulesVote 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.
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  • 1

    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").
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  • 2

    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 5:11-31

    Wait ... 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.
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  • 3

    Don't Wear Clothes Made of Both Linen and Wool

    "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." Leviticus 19:19

    Wait ... what?: 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."
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  • 4

    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.
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