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God's Law; Your wife

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posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 05:05 PM
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The social laws of the Pentateuch were not designed for the modern world,
They were clearly designed for a different kind of world, a mainly agricultural society.
But since they were published in the name of the Biblical God, they can still throw light on his nature and intentions.
Which gives us a new reason for reading this collection even if the laws themselves have been superseded.

Let’s take, for example, what his law says about the relation between husband and wife.
The fundamental principle is declared in the ten commandments- “You shall not commit adultery”.
So the main priority is that the couple should be faithful to one another.
In practice, in these laws, that means the fidelity of a man’s wife, which gives him a sense of assurance that the heirs of his family are genuinely his own children.

Adultery, therefore, is heavily penalised;
“If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall purge the evil from Israel”- Deuteronomy ch22 v22

A man may think he has reason to suspect that his wife is unfaithful, though he has no positive proof.
The law recognises two possibilities; his suspicions may be justified, or he may be infected by an unjust “spirit of jealousy”.
So the law provides an “ordeal” as a way of testing the difference between them.
“The priest shall bring her near and set her before the Lord; and the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel, and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water”.
Since the dust has been “in the presence of God”, the assumption must be that he’s acting through it.
The woman is then instructed to drink this “water of bitterness”, after taking an oath.
Under the the terms of the oath, the water will cause her body to swell and her thigh to fall away, if she has been unfaithful. That, in itself, will be her punishment, and she will also “become an execration among her people” because of her infidelity.
If the water has no ill-effect, this will show that “the woman has not defiled herself and is clean; then she shall be free and shall conceive children”.

This is obviously a very rough-and-ready way of telling the difference between guilt and innocence.
Except for the possibility that a sense of guilt might affect the body’s reactions, it amounts to little more than a lottery with even chances.
But at least it’s an advance on leaving the woman with no rights of defence whatever, and letting the case be decided by the man’s unchallenged jealousy.
The one advantage of the ordeal, from the woman’s viewpoint, is that if she passes the test the man will presumably be obliged to accept the decision and let the matter rest.
He will be “free from his iniquity” (on account of his jealousy) only if the test finds her guilty- Numbers ch5 vv11-31

If a man continues to be unsatisfied with his wife, there remains the possibility of divorce- “If she finds no favour in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her”.
He simply gives her a written bill of divorce and sends her out of her house.
The law does not prevent her from becoming another man’s wife.
However, if the second husband also gives her a bill of divorce, the first husband must not take her back.
She would then have been “defiled”, from his viewpoint; it would be like continuing to live with a wife after she had been adulterous.
If women were swapping back and forth between partners, such thinly-disguised promiscuity would be “an abomination before the Lord” and “bring guilt upon the land”- Deuteronomy ch24 vv1-4

What can these laws tell us about the God who endorses them?

He’s clearly anxious to maintain the continuity of marriage.
So adultery is not just the husband’s concern.
The different ways of taking sex outside the marriage relationship (including the use of harlots, Leviticus ch19 v29) have the effect of “defiling” the land, the community at large.
This behaviour is called an “abomination”, and therefore identified with idolatry, an act of unfaithfulness to the God of Israel.
In fact the husband-and-wife relationship is used as a metaphor, in the prophets, for the relation
between God and his people.
That shows the importance of the marriage bond in God’s eyes.

At the same time, he’s also anxious, as usual, to protect the innocent against false accusations.
So he provides means of defence.

The society which generated these laws is clearly male-dominated, and in that respect it resembles other societies of the time.
So this shows us a God who deals with people as he finds them, starting with the customs they’ve got already and allowing time to improve them.

We may think these laws are imperfect, and don’t match up to other principles found in the Bible.
Jesus draws our attention to one of these discrepancies.
He affirms God’s objection to the practice of divorce, based on the statement in Genesis that man and wife “shall become one flesh”.
This shows a clear intention that the commitment should be permanent.
Why then, do the laws allow a man to give a bill of divorce?
Because of “the hardness of your hearts”- Matthew ch19 vv3-9
In other words, God compromised, for the moment, allowing them to apply a law which did not meet his final intentions, because they were not yet ready to accept anything better.

This gives us a clue to the origin of other discrepancies.
For example, “They shall become one flesh” also implies that the commitment should be mutual, demanding fidelity on both sides.
Yet other laws in this collection accept the existence of multiple wives and slave-concubines.
There are no positive instructions that a man should be faithful to his wife.
(Although he is not encouraged to use harlots, and he cannot be adulterous either with an unmarried girl or with another man’s wife without breaking one of the other laws.)
Surely this bias in the law would be another effect of the “hardness of men’s hearts”, distorting and departing from God’s original purpose, as laid out in Genesis.

And what about the death-penalty for adultery?
It reflects a zeal for thoroughness in “purging this evil from the midst of you”, removing threats to the all-important marriage relationship.
At the same time, though, it suggests a very human impatience with more “gradual” ways of dealing with bad practices.
Jesus himself was reluctant to enforce it (John ch8 vv1-11), which shows that here again he had doubts about whether it really expressed God’s will.
In other laws, we find the principle that life is forfeit only in exchange for another life; that’s the value of human life in God’s eyes.
So the use of the death-penalty for a lesser offence may not match God’s final intentions, and may be as much a compromise with human “hardness of heart” as was the permission to divorce.

God’s willingness to compromise with his people in the laws he allows them is in keeping with what I’ve already observed.
Instead of making a completely fresh start, he takes the customs that they’ve got already and allows time to change them in a gradual way.
He is prepared to deal with people in ways they can understand, before trying to lead them further.




posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 05:08 PM
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Instead of making a completely fresh start, he takes the customs that they’ve got already and allows time to change them in a gradual way.
He is prepared to deal with people in ways they can understand, before trying to lead them further.


I am the son of two schoolteachers and the grandson of a third.
I may have mentioned this before.
This provides me with a very accessible analogy for the way God approaches the question of giving laws to the people of Israel.
He behaves like a teacher.

A good teacher is always conscious of the capabilities and limitations of his pupils, and he tries to give them teaching at the appropriate level.
He talks to them in terms which they will be able to understand, and sets out to improve their understanding in gradual ways.
If their reading abilities have taken them to the end of the first of the “Janet and John” books, then he offers them the second book.
If their mathematical skills have taken them as far as adding up and “taking away”, then he might begin showing them how to multiply and divide.
What he’s not going to do is start scribbling Einstein’s equations on the blackboard.
Teaching is not about “zapping” people with instantaneous advanced knowledge (except in science fiction stories).
It is the slow and patient work of gradual training.

We find a similar patience in the way the God of Israel deals with his people.
Thus his intention for marriage was that “a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh” (Genesis ch2 v23).
Yet in the Old Testament laws he accepts, for the time being, the practice of divorce, which Jesus blames on “the hardness of their hearts” (Matthew ch19 v8).
And why does God allow them to fall short of the intended standard?
Because their minds are not yet ready for the intended standard.
They are still in training.

He finds this people living in a very patriarchal society, like all the other societies of the time.
Whatever he thinks about this, he does not try to change it at a stroke.
He modifies their behaviour gradually, beginning with mild restraints on the husband’s power.
He finds them loving their brothers and other kinsmen and encourages them to treat the rest of the nation in the same way.
However, they are not yet ready to extend the concept of “brothers” to the world at large, so that part of the training is postponed for a later stage.

In short, what we see in the laws of the Old Testament, and in the overall history of the Old Testament, is the slow and patient work of gradual training.
God does not “zap”. He teaches.

When modern critics are assailing the laws and the culture of the Old Testament, this is precisely what they are complaining about.
They don’t think God should have been giving his people this patient teaching.
They think he should have “zapped” them , instantly, to a state of spiritual maturity comparable to their own.
If they had been in God’s place (and they would certainly have done the job better) they would have “zapped”.

The God of the Old Testament is much more patient than they are.
He finds his people at the “cuh-ah-tuh-CAT” level of spiritual education, and he lifts them gradually.
A lot of work will be required before they can reach the kind of spiritual heights from which these critics can look down haughtily at the junior versions of themselves.
The fact that God is willing to undertake this slow and patient work is very revealing.
It shows us that God is a teacher.

This has a bearing on the question of whether these laws can be changed.
We find in the classroom that lessons vary according to the age and circumstances of the pupils.
The books used in the infants’ class are not the books used in the university lecture hall.
I’ve heard a physics graduate complaining that he had to re-learn the laws of physics at every stage in his education.
In the same way, the guidance which God gives to his people might be expected to change according to the level of their understanding as well as the condition of their society.
And the fact that these laws are so closely bound up with the needs of a particular kind of society is another reason for regarding them as temporary.
They can only be “God’s laws”, if at all, for a period in Israel’s history, rather than for all time.
The details of the laws might be variable, as long as the principles which lay behind them were respected.
In other words, as Paul might put it, the letter of the Law would be less binding than the spirit of the Law.



posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 05:18 PM
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I don't recall of any "Gods" ever writing any laws...

I have heard of "men" writing laws and claiming it was under
God's instruction, but that's something less than an
actual God taking pen to paper.



posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 05:20 PM
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reply to post by rival
 

Nothing in my comments suggests that God put pen to paper.
Many letters have been sent by people who did not do the actual writing or typing.



posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 05:42 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


gods version of divorce sounds much cheaper
edit on 21-2-2014 by cosmicexplorer because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 05:45 PM
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reply to post by cosmicexplorer
 

I think that was the objection Jesus had to it.
It was a procedure being used by cheap men.



posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 07:35 PM
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rival
I don't recall of any "Gods" ever writing any laws...

I have heard of "men" writing laws and claiming it was under
God's instruction, but that's something less than an
actual God taking pen to paper.




This! Also even though the scriptures are metaphoric and always pertaining to inner things, our inner Michael defeats our inner dragons. Nonetheless there may be places where astronomy, astrology, past cycles and occult information, (there are a few dark things in there as well) and there may be twists of words, that don't express things clearly, on purpose by Rome along with some twists on morality, again by Rome, or the Jewish Scholars, but all going back to Sumar/Annanuki stuff.


So, this could be a set of rules from the slavers/ptb, but I can also see some inner meanings and metaphors as well.

For Mother, is the right hemisphere of the brain, the subconscious, and the pineal. Father is the left hemisphere, the conscious and more ego based part of us, and the pituatary. The offspring is The Son, or the flowering forth of the thalamus region, with the veil rending, and the son of man becomes the Son of God.

So, here could very well be a series of warnings about allowing your inner work and diretion to be polluted or nade unwhole, by other ideas, contamination akin to adultery. And so we are to go within. The wedding of the male and female is to be inner seeking and doing the work one came to do, overcoming the body suit , ie beast and gaining understanding, compassion, temperance, and love/wisdom. And overcoming ego. Shrugging off the temptress, temptations and the outer programs.

So I can see both some twists from PTB AND inner meanings here.

However, aside from being faithful, caring about making others happy more than self, and never harming another, abandoning family, causing such pain and suffering amongst spouse or children, and all that it means to grow up, which is a true integrity virtue, the harsh punishments never ever came from God. God is Love, only SATURN/SATAN, harms or smites.

And the freedom to leave dysnfunctional relationships is also God given. Inner wisdom reveals that.



posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 10:39 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


What can these laws tell us about the God who endorses them?

That he believes violence is always the answer?

Deuteronomy 22:23-24 (KJV)
If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.


Surely a being of infinite knowledge that is all-loving could have devised a more compassionate solution than brutally killing them.


We may think these laws are imperfect, and don’t match up to other principles found in the Bible.

…Or our sense of morality and justice today.
edit on 21-2-2014 by Lucid Lunacy because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 10:48 PM
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reply to post by Lucid Lunacy
 





What can these laws tell us about the God who endorses them?

That he believes violence is always the answer?



And, that he has no regard for romantic love.



posted on Feb, 22 2014 @ 11:29 AM
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Lucid Lunacy
"What can these laws tell us about the God who endorses them?"
That he believes violence is always the answer?

First point; The laws quoted in the OP included one law involving the death penalty, and I suggested reasons for thinking that this might have come from the human element in the equation.

Second point; You then go on to quote one of the laws outside the range of this thread.
This study has been divided into different topics, and the laws being covered in this thread (and covered by that question) are the laws listed in the OP.
Please stay focussed and don't wander away off-topic into other areas of the law.
The one you mentioned is going to be covered in a different thread.


…Or our sense of morality and justice today

Third point; This modern sense of morality and justice that you're so proud of- where do you think it came from in the first place?
If you track it back through the history of our culture, it is Christian teaching stripped of the more obvious Christian identifiers.
Without that Christian background to our society, the idea that the death penalty was a bad thing would never have entered into your head.


edit on 22-2-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 22 2014 @ 01:28 PM
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windword
And, that he has no regard for romantic love.

Obviously that depends on your definition of "romantic love".
Nothing suggests an objection to "romantic love" as part of a marriage relationship.
Since you bring up the question in the context of these laws, I take it that you identify "romantic love" with adulterous relationships.
Yes, he would disagree with the modern sentiment that the egocentric mutual attachment which we call romantic love is important enough to be placed on a pedestal and override all other considerations.
He might think that our attitude towards "love" in that sense comes close to idolatry.



posted on Feb, 22 2014 @ 03:02 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 





Obviously that depends on your definition of "romantic love".
Nothing suggests an objection to "romantic love" as part of a marriage relationship.
Since you bring up the question in the context of these laws, I take it that you identify "romantic love" with adulterous relationships.


No, not necessarily. But when a society has no room for natural, physical love, between and young man and a young women, and romantic love is denied, is not allowed, and even a glimpse of such blossoming love could lead to death, then that society is just asking for clandestine relationships, resulting in fornication and adultery.

Old Testament marriage was a business arrangement that had nothing to do with love. Love of one's spouse was a duty and fondness was expected to come from familiarity to one's spouse later.



posted on Feb, 22 2014 @ 03:13 PM
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reply to post by windword
 

Sorry, then, I misunderstood where you were going with that comment.
But could it not have been both? With the young man taking a fancy to a young girl and accepting that paying the bride-price was part of what he had to do to get consent?
I'll tell you what, if you want to see a kind of marriage which really is nothing more than a business transaction, I've copied a fascinating chunk of law from the Code of Hammurabi which I was going to post at some stage. Not even their gods come into that, just "how much dowry the woman gets back if they divorce before she has children", etc.



posted on Feb, 22 2014 @ 03:40 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 





But could it not have been both? With the young man taking a fancy to a young girl and accepting that paying the bride-price was part of what he had to do to get consent?


I would hope that there were some parents that had their children's heart felt desires in mind. But look at the story of Jacob, who was in love with Rachael, but was tricked into marrying Leah, after serving 7 years labor for Rachael's hand. Jacob made a second deal, and served Laban for another 7 years to get his "love".

Leah, on the other hand was hated and unloved.


Genesis 29
31 When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben,[c] for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” 33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.[d] 34 Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.[e] 35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah.[f] Then she ceased bearing.


This is a sad, sad story of a loveless marriage for Leah.



posted on Feb, 22 2014 @ 03:59 PM
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reply to post by windword
 

But that story works both ways, because the Jacob-and-Rachel portion supports the suggestion that I put forward, that the business transaction element might not always exclude love but might follow on from it.

In any case, coming back to my previous point- might it not be the case that our modern culture has elevated the importance of "romantic love" to a level above the importance it would be given in previous cultures?
And if so, does it follow that our culture is right and the older cultures were wrong, or might it not be the other way round?
Given that the absence of Hollywood-style "falling in love" does not necessarily mean the absence of affection.



posted on Feb, 22 2014 @ 04:14 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 





Given that the absence of Hollywood-style "falling in love" does not necessarily mean the absence of affection.


I think there has always been audience for "Hollywood style" romantic love in Judeo/Christian lore. It was popular enough in the Songs of Songs, Song of Solomon.

I came across this in a 1st century Mandeaen scroll text.


"MIRYAI am I, of the Kings of Babel a daughter, a daughter of Jerusalem's mighty rulers. They have given me birth; the priests brought me up. In the fold of their robe they carried me up into the dark house, into the temple. Adonai laid a charge on my hands and on my two arms: I must scour and cleanse the house [that is] without firmness. There is naught therein for supporting the poor, naught to revive the tormented souls."—Ancient Scroll of Miryai

"She ran away from the priests, fell in love with a man, and they took hold of each other’s hands. Hold of each other’s hands they took, went forth and settled at the mouth of Frash. (Euphrates)"—Ancient Scroll of Miryai

"We will slay them and make Miryai scorned in Jerusalem. A stake (Cross) will we set up for the man who has ruined Miryai and led her away. There shall be no day in the world when a stranger enters Jerusalem."—Sidra d’Yahya, Book of John the Baptist from Mandaic Doctrines of Kings
www.nazoreans.com...


Sounds pretty scandalous! And of course, we can't forget how popular "Romeo and Juliet" was from the first time it was read/performed!

Realistically, I doubt things actually worked out as strictly as the Bible would have you believe. I imagine there were a lot of kids that looked like someone else, a lot of abortions, and a lot of divorces throughout biblical history.



posted on Feb, 22 2014 @ 05:21 PM
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As usual, I’ve been looking for parallels in the Babylonian law and in what I can discover of old Roman law.

The death penalty for adultery applies to the other cultures as well;
As in Babylon;

129. If a man's wife be surprised (in flagrante delicto) with another man, both shall be tied and thrown into the water, but the husband may pardon his wife and the king his slave.

And in Rome;

– The cognates sitting in judgment with the husband ... were given power to pass sentence in cases of adultery and ... if any wife was found drinking wine Romulus allowed the death penalty for both crimes.

The main difference appears to be that in those cultures adultery is an offence against the husband alone (which gives him the option of pardoning the offence), whereas in Israel the state of marriage is also God’s business.

Babylon similarly allows suspected unfaithfulness to be tested by oath or ordeal;

131. If a man bring a charge against one's wife, but she is not surprised with another man, she must take an oath and then may return to her house.
132. If the "finger is pointed" at a man's wife about another man, but she is not caught sleeping with the other man, she shall jump into the river for her husband.

Babylon’s laws on divorce are very elaborate, because of the need to sort out the financial arrangements. But once again this is purely a matter between husband and wife and the need to support the children. There is no sense of any religious significance of the existence of marriage;
However, Babylonian women need to be wary of the last law in the following list.

137. If a man wish to separate from a woman who has borne him children, or from his wife who has borne him children: then he shall give that wife her dowry, and a part of the usufruct of field, garden, and property, so that she can rear her children. When she has brought up her children, a portion of all that is given to the children, equal as that of one son, shall be given to her. She may then marry the man of her heart.
138. If a man wishes to separate from his wife who has borne him no children, he shall give her the amount of her purchase money and the dowry which she brought from her father's house, and let her go.
139. If there was no purchase price he shall give her one mina of gold as a gift of release.
140. If he be a freed man he shall give her one-third of a mina of gold.
141. If a man's wife, who lives in his house, wishes to leave it, plunges into debt, tries to ruin her house, neglects her husband, and is judicially convicted: if her husband offer her release, she may go on her way, and he gives her nothing as a gift of release. If her husband does not wish to release her, and if he take another wife, she shall remain as servant in her husband's house.
142. If a woman quarrel with her husband, and say: "You are not congenial to me," the reasons for her prejudice must be presented. If she is guiltless, and there is no fault on her part, but he leaves and neglects her, then no guilt attaches to this woman, she shall take her dowry and go back to her father's house.
143. If she is not innocent, but leaves her husband, and ruins her house, neglecting her husband, this woman shall be cast into the water

Code of Hammurabi
Roman laws



posted on Feb, 22 2014 @ 05:27 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Third point; This modern sense of morality and justice that you're so proud of- where do you think it came from in the first place?

Countless social interactions and reflections. We learn, pass it on, and learn some more.

Are you not proud of our moral progress? Or do you think we should still stone cheaters to death?


If you track it back through the history of our culture, it is Christian teaching stripped of the more obvious Christian identifiers. Without that Christian background to our society, the idea that the death penalty was a bad thing would never have entered into your head.

When I trace it back in history I see a more sophisticated sense of morality in Greek philosophy, or even from the Jains of India.

Here is some ideas from Jain's Mahāvira:

All breathing, existing, living, sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away.

Non-violence and kindness to living beings is kindness to oneself.

Kill not, cause no pain. Nonviolence is the greatest religion.

That philosophy existed when your religion said to stone cheaters to death. Think about it.

If you wanted me to stay on topic you probably shouldn't ask me off topic questions



posted on Feb, 23 2014 @ 04:31 PM
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The law does not prevent her from becoming another man’s wife.
However, if the second husband also gives her a bill of divorce, the first husband must not take her back.

This was a provision which David disregarded, at least in spirit, in connection with his wife Michal.
After he escaped from her father Saul, she was apparently given to another man, Paltiel the son of Laish.
Once he became king in Judah, he sent messengers to the son of Saul demanding her back, and she was sent back to him.
This does not go against the letter of the law, strictly speaking, if he did not originally divorce her.
However, this did set up the situation which the law was designed to avoid, in that the woman had spent time alternately with David and another man. 2 Samuel ch3 vv12-16



posted on Feb, 24 2014 @ 05:03 PM
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My next post on this thread will be an extract from the OP which may be quotable when the issue of "stoning adulterers" is being brought up.
That's how I'm planning to use it, anyway.



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