Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Question: Is God into Witchcraft?

I was under the distinct impression that, historically, Christians have not been too fond of witches and sorcerers. During the Middle Ages and beyond, it was the church that led the crusade against supposed witches. More often than not, all it took was a mere accusation and the alleged witch was immediately put to death.

Knowing this, I was a bit shocked at God's directive to Moses in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 5. According to God, if a husband suspects his wife has been cheating on him, he is to bring her before the high priest. It is the duty of the priest to determine if the husband's suspicions are well founded or not.

How is he to make this determination? God says he is to take some holy water and to mix it with the dirt from the floor of the tabernacle. This is really mucky dirt as lots of people have trampled on it and there's a better than even chance that some of the remnants of sacrificed animals are mixed in. Yuk!

The priest will then forced the accused wife to drink this concoction.
And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. (Numbers 5:27-28)
If the woman becomes ill from drinking the brackish water, then she is deemed to be guilty. If she somehow does not suffer from the obvious ill effects, then she is to be deemed not guilty.

I don't know about you, but the examination would seem to bring about a lot more guilty verdicts than not guilty ones. It would also seem to use the very kinds of methodologies that the medieval church charged witches with.

To see what other questions I've asked about the Christian Bible, go here.

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