At the end of this post, I'll tell you what got me looking at it again. But there's a more important reason why we all might want to look at this old canonized text:
It suggests that a husband, who suspects the chocolate his wife is eating might have come from another man, may send his allegedly disrespecting wife off to the priest for waterboarding.Okay, that's a stretch. We don't know if the Jews still had any chocolate left in the desert after breaking free from the Egyptians. And the kind of torture jealous husbands sent their wives off to in the wild-er-ness wasn't exactly waterboarding (if it did involve water and torture). What isn't a stretch is that this is the bible, the word of God giving the words of God to men about what to do with their women who terrorized them and their camp with their dalliances. Writers of the new covenant (or the New Testament) write similar things; and religious bible-believing people like Emerson Eggerichs write books today to get at how married men even today need and deserve and by implication should expect respect from their wives. (Suzanne McCarthy is blogging an entire series on that "love and respect" interpretation after John Hobbins mentioned Eggerichs a couple of times).
So, I invite you to go back to read Numbers 5, or to read it for the first time. I'm drawn back into it because of the Jews' own Greek translation of the text when back in Egypt. The Hebrew language of the masoret text already has enough wordplay, but the Greek of the Septuagint text has even more rhetoric. Look, see for yourself. You tell me whether "male and fe-male" are created equal in Numbers 5, whether in Hebrew or in Hellene. And next post, I'll look at some of the wild liberal translator choices such as the words παρεμβολῆς (par-em-bolEs) and ἐμβαλεῖ (em-balei), like a deadly priest-imposed amniotic fluid embolism for a disrepecting wife, like water torture for a suspicious box of chocolates.