Why was this considered a fair punishment?
LS1910 - 12 Tu lui couperas la main, tu ne jetteras sur elle aucun regard de pitié.
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While God doesn't go into great detail on all the laws He gave, flipping the scenario around can help show the severity of her crime. Imagine two women are wrestling. One of the husbands comes upon the scene: he doesn't particularly know why they are fighting, but it looks like his wife might be in danger. He responds by launching a deliberate punch to the other woman's most sensitive area - rather than just grabbing the woman by the arm, shouting at her to stop, or some other solution. Would that be the best response he could possibly give? Is hurting someone in the crotch, especially when it might damage the ability to reproduce, or in rare cases even cause neurological damage or cardiac arrest, the most effective way to defend someone else? The OT law often contained various 'case studies' like these, which were then interpreted by human judges to apply to the exact specifics of a given scenario. For this law, Jewish law interpreted it as unjustifiable force being prohibited in a confrontation. If the specifics of a scenario showed the action justified (her husband was on the brink of being murdered and it was the only spot she could reach, for example), the law would not apply and there would be no punishment given to her. The Talmud softens this penalty even further, regarding 'cut off her hand' as a mere euphemism for the payment of a fine. This isn't just a wishful change to obscure a violent punishment, but is based on there being two different terms for 'hand' used in the text. The second term is 'kaph' - which has a broader variety of meanings both physical and metaphorical. There is another possible rendering of the text as well, due to kaph, as it can also mean hip or pelvic area (Gen 32:35); and due to the context of the section, which is about levirate marriage. In this reading, which is possible, what is 'cut off' is the woman's right to levirate marriage if her husband dies. Just as she potentially 'cut off' the man's chances for a future child, so her chances are 'cut off' if her husband dies.
Dear Sister in Christ, I realize in today's society this passage of scripture seems so harsh. However, when we look at it in the Bible times it becomes a bit clearer. The Promised Seed, the Messiah, (Jesus) was promised in the Garden of Eden to Adam Female Gen 3:15. God renewed this promise with Abraham Gen 12:3 However, no one knew who the Seed of Promise was going to come through. This is why God slew a man for spilling his seed on the ground. Gen 38:9-10 Now to the question, if two men are fighting, and a woman steps in and grabs the procreating power of one of the men, she will injure that man's ability to procreate again, stopping the possibility of the Seed of Promise. (Jesus) If God will kill a man for spilling his seed, to injure a man's procreating power... Just the loss of a hand was a considerable lighter sentence. Another train of thought, unlike today, gender roles were well defined in the Bible days. Men were soldiers and laborers, women were child bearers and homemakers. What business did a woman have stepping into a man's fight? Especially to grab the other man so dishonorably! Modesty alone would have condemn her no matter the reasoning. Just another thinking train.. of course I'd ride this train today if I saw two men fighting and even thought about jumping in to grab one of their private parts.... I'd ride it all the way until the police arrived and allowed them to break it up. If it was a female officer, I'd pray the uniform was respected enough she would not have to jump in the middle of it! Pray this answers your question. Be Blessed Lena
Deut 25:11-12 (KJV) 11) 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: 12) Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her. Its a matter of holiness. Men strive. Its not a good thing that men fight. Nevertheless, there are some things that speak to God's holiness, that are greater than the strife of man. What God has declared as holy in marriage, there is to be nothing occuring outside of the marriage, that would point to unholiness. The point here, is even in the heat of a battle, even to save her husband during a fight, the wife is not to do that which is unholy and defiling to their marriage. This goes against our logic, that she is justified to help her husband. Nevertheless, it is always right to practice holiness before God. She may have acted on the spur of the moment. Perhaps, there was no time for weighing the pros and cons of such a deed. She chose to commit this act. In this case, it was not the death penalty for her. It was, however, to be forever commemorated by cutting of the hand that so offended. She did not have to die, but there was a penalty to be paid. An example of this type of scenario is in 2 Samuel.Even though the moment seems to indicate and justify a certain action, to disobey God and treat His command as unholy is a grievous sin: 2Sam 6:6-7 (KJV) 6) And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. 7) And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. Without going into too much detail, the ark of God is holy, and these men were not transporting the ark according to God's commandment. See Numbers 4:15. In this instance, the breech, the sin, was not against man, but against God Himself. Uzzah was not to touch the ark. Whatever was happening when the oxen shook the ark, it was a sin for Uzzah to put his hand on it. Uzzah did not only lose his hand, but also, his life. Immediately. Severe? Yes. Did this negate the love of God, or his righteousness? No. Deuteronomy 25:11-12 is an actual command, that was to be obeyed literally. Its good to remember that this very easily crosses into the territory that Jesus spoke of: Matt 5:27-32 (KJV) 27) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29) And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30) And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 31) It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32) But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. Jesus takes the evil that many (all) of us commit daily. He puts a real life, literal spin on matters of the heart. Its our heart that causes us to sin. We may not be plucking our eyes out, or chopping our own hands off in order to remain pure before God, but it does point back to that Deut 25 passage: God takes sin very seriously. He expects us to take sin very seriously. The eye does not sin, neither the hand, without the heart going first. In that case, we are all guilty, and already deserving of death. Thank God, Jesus Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6) Thank God, salvation is dependent upon Him, and not upon us!
Despite the woman's intention to help her husband, I would say that the severity of the punishment described here would have arisen from the specific nature of the act involved, including the disproportionate potential effect that it might have upon the man who was attacked (even if he was in the wrong in the dispute) from the standpoint of possible impairment of his ability to procreate, as well as his required expulsion from worship or religious functions (Deuteronomy 23:1). (Other ways in which the woman might help her husband in the fight are not mentioned or prohibited. It is only this particular action that is forbidden and punished.) Also, it appears from commentaries on these verses that the requirement to cut off the woman's hand may have been implemented in actual practice by the paying of a fine that "ransomed" her hand from the prescribed punishment, similar to the provision in Exodus 21:22-25 concerning the imposing of a fine for a miscarriage suffered by a pregnant woman as a result of being injured as an unintended consequence of a fight between two men.
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