Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Private Parts (Dt 25:11-12)

"If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity." (Deuteronomy 25:11-12 NIV)
I've chosen a more gentle translation for some of the younger members of our audience. Sometimes it is hard to know what we can take away from some of the more bizarre scriptures such as this one. Beyond stating the obvious, I think there are three things we can learn from this scripture.

First, we need to understand that we are not brute beasts, we are humans, created in the image of God. When it comes to the animal kingdom there are no such injunctions or biblical laws pertaining to their sexual behavior, but for mankind there are plenty. God is not concerned with animals' sexual practices but he is concerned with ours. The reason is because we are special; we are not mere animals given over to our base impulses and passions, rather we have been created with the power of self control and the ability to rule over our passions and desires. God created us for sex and He created sex as something very powerful, beautify, and intimate; something to be shared by only two when united by the bonds of marriage. Every now and then you will hear some "expert" using the animal world as an example to try and convince us that our sexual morays are outdated. For example, since animals are not monogamous then nether should we expect ourselves to be. However, we are not animals but humans, and our sexual behavior is not to be governed by what animals do but rather by what God has said.

Secondly, God has created our sexuality as something very private. The Hebrew word here literally means, "his secrets". God provided for strict punishment for those who would violate someones "secrets". Even in the case of a wife defending her husband, it is no just cause for sexually violating someone else. We need to see that, not just sexual sin, but sexual harassment is an abomination before God. We must never excuse or placate such behavior. It must be exposed and dealt with for the protection of all.

lastly, we see that God often uses various forms of punishment for different crimes. In my country, most often our only form of punishment is incarceration. By limiting the forms of punishment we limit the effectiveness of our judicial system. While I am not condoning or advocating for the cutting off of people's hand as a form of punishment, I do think that sometimes there is a form of punishment that can be more appropriate to the crime than simple incarceration.

David Robison

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