The Book of Leviticus
Review by D.B. Lee
If you claim to have read Leviticus, it’s like saying you actually read the owners manual for your DVR or Microsoft Office, and nobody does that. But this is the book that seems to be a favorite of the “God hates fags” gang, so I thought it would be worth a look-see.
This early in the Bible, the LORD physically lives with Moses and his tribe, and He is one fussy house guest. Hear how he places this order for squab: “The priest shall take it to the altar, wring off its head and burn it upon the alter; its blood shall be squeezed out upon the side of the alter. He shall remove its crop and feathers and throw them on the ash-heap just east of the altar. He shall tear it by its wings without severing those and the priest shall burn it upon the altar on top of the wood that is on the alter fire; it is a burnt sacrifice, a fire offering, a pleasing fragrance to the LORD.” (Chapter 1, verse 14-17.) I mean, admittedly, there’s no accompanying diagram (this was written way before Ikea) but I don’t know how you could be much clearer.
Thumbing through, we see the LORD is as picky as Berkeley vegan, but with meat. (“All the fat of the sin offering bullock he shall remove from it, the fat that covers the intestines, the two kidneys and the fat on them at the loins and lobe of the liver”… you get the idea.) These instructions are how to prepare his menu items. He doesn’t stop there, however, He wants to tell the Israelites what they can and can’t eat (again, just like a vegan). Some of these admonishments probably could have gone unsaid, such as the rule that you shall not eat birds such as “every species of buzzard, every kind of crow, the owl….the lapwing and the bat.” (Who knew a bat was a bird?) Same with the critters that “ramble on the ground,” such as the mouse, the ferret, chameleon and the mole, as well as “everything in the waters without fins or scales.”
This is your quintessential jealous god here, who orders a stoning like it was just another round of beers. Adulterers and any man who “lies with a male as with a woman” are to be killed, as are “anyone who curses his father or mother.” Even lying with a woman during her period gets you exiled.
I don’t know exactly what happened to this LORD. As far as I can tell, a little later in the Bible, He just kind of fades out of the picture (at least as a resident of Israel), along with references to the Ark of the Covenant. Today, I’m sure some people miss Him. I mean, with Him around giving such specific orders all the time, you never had to worry about thinking for yourself. And, after all, He is the Supreme Being and so deserving of a degree of respect. But I think others are glad He’s gone.
Stoning is messy and bacon-wrapped shrimp is delicious.