In last week’s reading of the Hebrew scriptures…

week3-largeI opened my Bible early one morning last week and read:

No one whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off shall bet admitted to the assembly of the Lord.

That’s an unusual way to start the day, even for me. I did not reflect long on that, because I have a vague memory as a child learning that many of the rules and regulations found in the book of Deuteronomy had roots in common sense. The dietary restriction against pork, for example, made sense because this was a nomadic tribe, and pork does not keep well.

But the rule about crushed testicles? I choose not to dwell on that.

(As a reminder, I, the fundamentalist with Mad Bible Skills, have started re-reading the Bible, from Gen. 1, using a guide I loaded onto my phone. Obviously, people read the Bible and find different things. Here’s something else I found last week:)

I’d forgotten the story of Rahab, the prostitute in the early part of Joshua, who hides some Israelite spies as they look over Jericho in advance of taking it (by killing everything in it, including the donkeys). They are greeted by Rahab, who lives in the wall of the city. She hides them from the king, who hears that two spies from this awe-inspiring group have invaded. She then sends trackers off in the wrong direction, and tells the spies how to run and hide from them.

They follow her instructions, but before she lets them down outside the city wall by rope, they agree not to kill her family, so long as her family hides in her home during the siege, and she ties a crimson cord to her window.

This she does and her family is spared, and she lives among the Israelites. In fact, t he verse says “Her family has lived in Israel ever since.” So me, the literalists, wonders if the children of Rahab, who later on in the book of Hebrews, is considered  a hero, are still around.

 

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9 responses to “In last week’s reading of the Hebrew scriptures…

  1. Rahab, the harlot, (a term commonly used for women successful in the hospitality business at that time), marries Salmon, son of Nashon the Israelite leader who parted The Red Sea. They beget Boaz, who marries Ruth, (the Ruth), and begets Obed, who begets Jesse, the eventual father of King David, a direct ancestor of Jesus, (or so it is told), a rather well known working class hero.

    (This never quite makes it into the movies. Or even to many pulpits, I’ll wager.)

    Meanwhile…no love for the emasculated? Ouch!

    • And it wasn’t until my recent reading that I knew she was Ruth’s mother-in-law. Kewl! (It really bothers me that you knew this off the top of your head.)

      • Why? She’s a rather important symbol in the Old Testament. How anyone, regardless of ethnicity, social class or status, can benefit from accepting The One God. (Which, if memory serves, Rahab had done even prior to aiding and abetting the Israelite spies.) It’s Redemption 101.

        • She took a huge chance hiding those spies. I admire her greatly. Even in one of my older Bibles, when I was still a fundamentalist, I marked her name.

          • A significant hero in that story who really never gets enough notice…like most of the women in Scripture. Her redemption in the Faith and her reward from God gave rise to a sacred lineage. THE sacred lineage. Chosen by God.

            A woman. A business woman. A direct ancestor to Jesus. A Canaanite. Which would make Jesus?????

            • Son of a whore? A man of mixed ancestry?

              • Mixed ancestry definitely. (Whore’s a little rough for Rahab. It’s not like she was a streetwalker or anything.)

                A lack of ethnic purity can be a thing for some folks. Apparently not so much for God, though. Even God The Cranky, as it turns out.

  2. There should be a Joshua ch 4.5, dedicated to Rahab, to be read every Feb 29th. First it should be mentioned she was not a harlot, but a kind woman willing to shelter homeless travelers. What may have happened, I wonder, had she not assisted?

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