9 ¶ When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn the abominations of those nations.
10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer
12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord.
ONE would think that Moses with his rod taking the children of Israel through the Red Sea, bringing water out of a rock and manna from heaven, going up into a mountain and there surrounding himself with a cloud of smoke, sending out all manner of pyrotechnics, thunder and lightning, and deluding the people into the idea that there he met and talked with Jehovah, should have been more merciful in his judgments of all witches, necromancers and soothsayers. One would think witches, charmers and necromancers possessing the same power and manifesting many of the same wonders that he did, should not have been so severely punished for their delusions. Moses had taught them to believe in miracles. When the human mind is led to believe things outside the realm of known law, it is prepared to accept all manner of absurdities. And yet the same people that ridicule Spiritualism, Theosophy and Psychology, believe in the ten plagues of Egypt and the passage of the children of Israel through the Red Sea. If they did go through, it was when the tide was low at that point, which Moses understood and Pharaoh did not. Perhaps the difficulty is to be gotten over in much the same way as that employed by the negro preacher who, when his statement, that the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea on the ice, was questioned on the ground that geography showed that the climate there was too warm for the formation of ice, replied: "Why, this happened before there was any geography!" The Jews, as well as the surrounding nations, were dominated by all manner of supernatural ideas. All these uncanny tricks and delusions being forbidden
shows that they were extensively practised by the chosen people, as well as by other nations.
Deuteronomy xx, xxi.
14 But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.
15 ¶ When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,
11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;
12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;
13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that she shall be thy wife.
14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will: but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.
15 ¶ If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:
16 Then it shall be, when he maketh his son to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:
17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.
All this is done if the woman will renounce her religion and accept the new faith. The shaving of the head was a rite in accepting the new faith, the paring of the nails a token of submission. In all these transactions the woman had no fixed rights whatever. In that word "humbled" is included the whole of our false morality in regard to the equal relations of the sexes. Why in this responsible act of creation, on which depends life and immortality, woman is said to be humbled, when she is the prime factor in the relation, is a question difficult to answer, except in her general degradation, carried off without her consent as spoils of war, subject to the fancy of any man, to be taken or cast off at his pleasure, no matter what is done with her. Her sons must be carefully guarded and the rights of the first-born fully recognized. The man is of more value than the mother in the scale of being whatever her graces and virtues may be. If these Jewish ideas were obsolete they might not be worth our attention, but our creeds and codes are still tinged with the Mosaic laws and customs. The English law of primogeniture has its foundation in the above text. The position of the wife under the old common law has the same origin.
When Bishop Colenso went as a missionary to Zululand, the horror with which the most devout and intelligent of the
natives questioned the truth of the Pentateuch confirmed his own doubts of the records. Translating with the help of a Zulu scholar he was deeply impressed with his revulsion of feeling at the following passage: "If a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand, he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money." Exodus xxi: 20, 2 1. "I shall never forget," says the Bishop, "the revulsion of feeling, with which a very intelligent Christian native, with whose help I was translating these last words into the Zulu tongue, first heard them as words said to be uttered by the same great and gracious Being, whom I was teaching him to trust in and adore. His whole soul revolted against the notion, that the Great and Blessed God, the Merciful Father of all mankind, would speak of a servant or maid as mere 'money,' and allow a horrible crime to go unpunished, because the victim of the brutal usage had survived a few hours!"
Though they had no Pentateuch nor knowledge of our religion, their respect for the mother of the race and their recognition of the feminine element in the Godhead, as shown in the following beautiful prayer, might teach our Bishops, Priests and Levites a lesson they have all yet to learn.
O God, Thou hast let me pass the day in peace: let me pass the night in peace, O Lord, who hast no Lord! There is no strength but in Thee: Thou alone hast no obligation. Under Thy hand I pass the day! under Thy hand I pass the night! Thou art my Mother, Thou my Father!"
Placing the mother first shows they were taught by Nature that she was the prime factor in their existence. In the whole Bible and the Christian religion man is made the alpha and omega everywhere in the state, the church and the home. And we see the result in the general contempt for the sex expressed freely in our literature, in the halls of legislation, in church convocations and by leading Bishops wherever they have opportunities for speech and whenever they are welcomed in the popular magazines of the day.
E. C. S.