Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 13, Part Two!


How to Buy Slaves (and Other Tips for Godly Living)

(Exodus 21)

(In our last edition, God gave the rules for owning slaves. In the conclusion of this chapter, we will learn how to beat them – among other things.)

But first, God would like to discuss penalties for violence.

  1. Murder always earns the death penalty – unless the poor murderer was minding his own business when, one fine day, God just up and foisted some random victim on him and was all like, “Oh, here, kill this schmuck.” In cases where God instigated the crime, the poor bastard is just to be exiled to a sanctuary city, where he can live the rest of his days away from his friends and family and familiar places, all because God was feeling like causing a little manslaughter.
  2. Hey, kids! If you hit your mommy or your daddy, you’re gonna be put to death! Now, there’s no age limit on how old you are – the way this is written, even dear little infant babbies could be executed. No, there’s no, “But it was an accident!” defense. No, there’s no “self-defense!” defense either. If you hit Mom or Dad at any time, for any reason, it’s death for you, little tyke.
  3. Kidnapping earns you the death penalty, whether or not you sold the person you snatched.
  4. Oh, and kids? Forgot to mention: if you curse Mommy or Daddy, you’re a dead little brat.
  5. You’re totally allowed to cripple somebody, as long as they can walk with a crutch afterward. All you gotta do is pay their lost wages and arrange for their full recovery. In the Broze Age. Before effective medical treatment. Good luck with that. (Ex. 21:12-19)

And now we’re on about slaves again! Here’s the law about beating them:

  1. If you beat your slave to death, you’ve been a very naughty slave owner, and you’ll have to undergo some unspecified punishment. But it’s totes okay if you beat ’em and they linger on for a day or two before dying in agony from their wounds. I mean, they’re your property. Of course you’re allowed to damage it. Go ahead, throw your money away if you want. God doesn’t care. (Ex. 21:20-21)
Black and white image shows a kneeling man protecting his head as an Egyptian prepares to hit him with a stick. In the background, slaves carry various stuff for building pyramids.
Public domain image courtesy Providence Lithograph Company.

Going back to other violence, God has some oddly specific rules to share with you:

  1. If you’re fighting with some woman’s husband and hit her, and she was pregnant, and she’s okay but you’ve caused her to miscarry the precious, precious pre-born babby… meh, whatever, the judges will fine you and you just need to pay her husband for the damage to his property.
  2. But if you’ve actually hurt the woman herself, then what you’ve done unto her shall be done unto you, whatever it was. She loses an eye, you lose an eye, and so forth. Whatever you did unto her is to be done unto you. (Ex. 21:22-25)

People who believe abortion is murder: go back and read items 7 and 8, please. Read them very, very carefully. Note that while God takes damage to women rather seriously, he doesn’t give much of a shit about what was in her womb. He certainly doesn’t treat it as a person. Remember the penalty for murder? It wasn’t a fine, it was death. And yet, here we have the murderer of an honest-to-goodness-pre-born-baby being punished with a fine of a few shekels. Don’t you think the protestors at the local Planned Parenthood would be keen to know that? Turns out that the doctor should be paying the baby daddy for aborting the fetus, rather than taking payment from the person getting the abortion! That’s God’s only problem with abortion clinics. God does not believe that abortion = murder.

But I suppose you’ll be too busy executing your terrible-twos toddlers and your defiant teens to pay much attention. I mean, it’s God’s Law you put those rebellious little shits in the ground.

Anyway. Getting back to slaves for a second:

  1. If you hit your slave and they lose their eye, you’ve gotta let them go free as payment. What a nice thing to do! Because surely a one-eyed man or woman can make a great living alone and unsupported in a barbaric culture.
  2. Same thing if you knock out their tooth, by the way. I suppose we can extrapolate to any other bits you might maim. So be careful with the humans you own, cuz if you break ’em, you’ve bought their freedom. (Ex. 21:26-27)

So, to sum up: we’ve learned it’s God’s will to stone toddlers for calling their parents big poopyheads, or for babies to accidentally hit them with their chubby wee flailing fists. You can totes murder a slave as long as you don’t kill them instantly, and don’t have to provide for them after you’ve maimed them for life. We’ve also learned that God doesn’t mind you causing a miscarriage as long as you pay Daddy some compensation. Good to know.

Now God’s on about non-human property crimes:

  1. If some mean old ox gores somebody, even a lowly woman, to death, you gotta stone it – but don’t eat it. Because letting all that nutritious meat go to waste will surely be an example to the other animals! The owner of the ornery ox is not liable for its misbehavior.
  2. Unless, of course, the ox happens to be a known fan of goring people, and the owner knew but didn’t make any effort to control it. In that case, whee! You get to stone the owner and the ox! (You presumably still can’t eat either one.)
  3. If the survivors want cash money, the owner had better pay up.
  4. Same thing if the ox gores any children, who in this case, since they’re already out of the womb, will be treated as actual people.
  5. If the ox kills a slave, no matter their worth, the owner owes the slave’s owner a flat thirty shekels of silver. The ox still gets stoned.
  6. If you dig a pit, but didn’t cover it, and some poor ass or ox falls in it, yay! It’s yours. But you’ve gotta pay its owner for his loss.
  7. If your ox kills another dude’s ox, you’ve gotta sell the live ox, then share both the cash and the dead ox’s parts. Huzzah! Finally a killer ox you can eat!
  8. If your ox is a known fan of goring stuff, though, you’ve gotta replace the dead ox with a live one. The dead ox is yours to keep. (Ex. 21:28-36)

So that’s the law. And God didn’t put an expiration date on it, so it seems we’ve got a lot of gore-happy ox owners who are in need of executing. Don’t tell me it’s ridiculous to put a man to death for a minor property crime. God’s the one who came up with that rule, so it must be perfectly sensible. QED.

And according to these laws, you can stock up on all the sex slaves you like. You’re even free to beat them to death, so long as you make their death a lingering one. And don’t forget to execute your children when they get smart with you. That’ll larn ’em.

No? Whatsa matter – you think you’re more moral than God?


Image is the cover for Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus. The painting is Charles Sprague Pearce's Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt, showing an Egyptian man and woman weeping over the coffin of their infant.

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Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 13, Part Two!

One thought on “Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 13, Part Two!

  1. 1

    If your ox kills another dude’s ox, you’ve gotta sell the live ox, then share both the cash and the dead ox’s parts. Huzzah! Finally a killer ox you can eat!

    That’s almost reasonable!

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