I HAD to post this passage next because I just think it is hilarious. It’s a little long, but stick it out- the best part is at the end.
5 “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. 6 And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. 7 But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’ 8 Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her,’ 9 then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house.’ 10 And his name shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal removed.’ Deuteronomy 25:5-10
“The house of him who had his sandal removed”?? Who comes up with this stuff?! I’m guessing, based on context alone, that this is a name you should be offended by. Call me crazy, but I just don’t see it! Ok, all hilarity aside, I have some huge issues with this passage.
The first one is with the overall basic premise (weird, huh?). It solidifies (for the umpteenth time) what the Bible so lovingly thinks of women- that we are objects. To say that a “woman shall not be married to a stranger outside the family” does not seem protective and endearing to me, it sounds more like this family has invested time and money into this woman and they aren’t going to let her go just because her husband is now dead. I say this taking into consideration the entire context of the book (something Atheists are commonly, and almost always mistakenly, accused of not doing.) On top of that, it assumes that the woman would want nothing more than to remain in the family to now sleep with her brother-in-law and hold him accountable if he does not wish to be with her. It seems to be a very distorted view of women, if you ask me.
My second issue is with the verse that says, “[…] her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her”. What exactly is that duty? Ask anyone around and they would most likely offer suggestions like, “check in on her every once in a while”, “offer to help with any house or automobile repairs as needed”, or “invite her over for Thanksgiving dinner.” I bet you won’t get a single one that says, “Sleep with her and name your first child after your dead brother. Everyone knows that.” But that is exactly what this passage is telling you to do. I would like to point out that perhaps whoever holds the copyrights to the Bible should consider suing the writers of the movie Pearl Harbor for using their idea (though maybe a little tweaked) without permission.
It seems to me that standing up for yourself and declaring that you will not sleep and bear children with your dead brother’s wife should be commended, not condemned. Any good man should be proud to live in a house called, “The house of him who had his sandal removed”. I wonder where I can get a door mat that says that….