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The "holy Ten Commandments,"
in large measure,
protect the property rights of
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Preview and Summary: In the "holy" Ten Commandments we see a spirit of diminution of woman, relegated to serf and pack-mule - as she's been viewed since ancient times.
For thousands of years, this world's version of the marriage institution, created by men, for men, has viewed women as so much chattel. Will Durant instructs us that marriage began as a form of slavery; some would argue that not much has changed. Consult the OED and you will find that the English word "marriage" has etymological roots in "that which belongs to the male."
And our modern custom of carrying the bride across a threshold portrays, in semblance, a sex-plaything taken captive as spoils of war! Well, how meaningful that we should preserve such charming icon from our sacred past... kinda gets ya right here...
The undeveloped human spirit, as we learn from Jung, despite ostensible displays to the contrary, well survives today – the Small Ego has made no collective progress in six thousand years, but merely takes on new forms and guises, going as far as the law allows, in its insatiable grasping for "more."
Look at this ancient "holy" rubric, this "infallible" doctrine, part of the Ten Commandments, virtually worshipped in the Christian world. Look at it now, with new eyes:
Exodus 20:17: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Is it not odd? There is no mention of “your neighbor’s husband.” The writer took the time to differentiate between "male or female" servants, but no word here about husbands. Apparently, coveting him is just fine.
But, coveting husbands was not the issue at hand; because, we must understand, "your neighbor" here is a male. And this male is interested in protecting his property, be it servant, livestock, or little woman - all assets listed on his balance sheet.
And this law, known to us as one of the "Ten Commandments," was written by males, for males, with specific reference to protecting male property rights.
Coming into view now are male property rights in a patriarch-dominated society.
And did you notice the handy little "omnibus clause" slipped into the contract? - "or anything"! The tribal-chieftain is taking no chances and wants it all protected. That's what's important here.
and the wife, sweet little thing - she wasn't even mentioned first
Let's protect the real estate first - they're not making any more of it, you know - so that's why we mention the "house" right at the start; but wives come relatively cheap in the marketplace. And when she is mentioned, she's just thrown in there with all the other chattel, just another capital good.
- Editor's note: Check a Hebrew etymological dictionary (such as Ernest Klein's online edition), and you will find linguistic basis of several Hebrew words for "wife" denoting, in essence, "he took," "buying," "concubine," "to rule over" - and, one that sums it all up, "to own." This is the terminology of cost accounting! - what every tribal-chieftain needs to know in order to read his financial statements.
Tribal-patriarchs are allowed to corral as many pleasure-principle females as they can afford to stable - just ask Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, and a host of others. So there's really no point in serving up a lot of encumbering laws to address this second-class species - that would be the little woman. For one thing, they don't have rights; slaves, cattle, and pack-mules do not have rights.
In Jesus' day, too, we find the spirit of male domination in full flight. One of the prayers of the Pharisees went something like, "I thank thee Lord that I was not born a woman."
And when Jesus addressed a hostile crowd in Matthew, touching on spiritual aspects of the true marriage, even his men were very bothered by his talk implying an equal status for women, which was viewed as an infringement of male rights.
- Editor's note: The fingerprints of male subjugation abound in the history of language. The Greek word for excellent character was arete, that is, "pertaining to Ares," the god of war. And the Romans continued the tradition with their Latinized version "virtue," which literally means "of a man" (vir = man, as in virile). Do we see? Excellent character, the finest spirit, as viewed in the ancient world, was crafted as "manliness," exhibited by macho-men on the battlefield. Among dark-spirited egos, Woman became symbol of weakness and inferiority, the lowest of the low, merely tolerated, not revered; and this is why, in not a few ancient societies, if the tribe found itself with too many useless infant girls, they'd just leave them on the hillside for the wolves to eat; sort of like drowning unwanted puppies in a gunnysack. (sighing)
And when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, his men were more than shocked at this scandalous impropriety, to the effect, "Why are you talking to a (gulp) ... woman!!" - they could hardly spew the word without choking! Early instruction of children included the carefully inculcated venom that the Gentile Samaritans were dogs - but, "a Samaritan woman!? well now, that's really low!" - and, in this sentiment, the disciples loosened their collars and berated the Teacher.
- Editor’s note: Similar views will be found all over the ancient world, even among the most cultured and civilized of the time - the Greeks. Solon decreed that any business transacted under the influence of a woman would have no standing in court. And Euripides, with grave tone, writes that a woman is disadvantaged by poor intellect; of what use, then, would education be to her as it would only encourage individualistic thoughts, an unpatriotic distraction from motherly duties. Demosthenes unabashedly expatiates on the good life for all red-blooded Greek men with a view of women as servants to the male: “We have courtesans … and concubines for the daily health of our bodies, and wives to bear us lawful offspring" – as opposed, by inference, to the many un-lawful by-products of such arrangement. But, near the beginning of the Iliad, we find, in its heartlessly casual and cavalier reference, what may be the most barbaric allusion to female exploitation: “On the way up the coast, the Greeks had stopped here and there to replenish their supplies of food and concubines" - cheap and disposable; easy to come by, but wasting assets; good for three days provision on the road, and then time to replenish the now-totally consumed food and concubines.
These "infallible" words of the Ten Commandments were written by men, for men, to protect the male status quo – with nothing more going on here than a tribal male-lord safeguarding his property rights. And yet fundamentalists, driven at all costs to safeguard the infallibility of the Bible, will proclaim with solemn straight-face that the Ten Commandments represent eternal cosmic law, in this world and the next. Well, my answer to them is, yes, the Ten Commandments will be honored in the next world - but not in the better neighborhoods of heaven.
In every primordial society - including so-called "God's own people" - warrior-subjugators with swords-and-shields, seized as combat largesse, women and children to be devoured as single-use sex-objects. We have referenced the following disgusting image elsewhere, but must do so again as it reaches for the heights of barbarity among any peoples of the ancient world.
Like William of Normandy enfiefing his men after success at the Battle of Hastings, we find in the Book of Numbers a special gift from "God" to the pillaging Israeli troops; a little bonus prize for a job well done on the battlefield, in the form of license to rape and devour middle-school-aged girls.
- "Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately. But keep alive for yourself all the young girls who have not known a man intimately." (Numbers 31: 17,18)
See them now... those fresh and immature, but terrorized and weeping, faces; the fragile slender forms with their piercing screams for a slain mother - a spoil of war, soon to be a spent cartridge, and summarily disposed of, by men of arete and virtue. It's God's will, you know; funny thing, though, how "God's will" always ends up fattening the purse of the local patriarch.
"Coveting," as we discern from the Ten Commandments, is not a general prohibition. "Coveting" applies only to the property rights of male-chieftains.
It is quite permissible to "covet," all you want, the tender bodies of expendable young girls as spoils of war, whom God surely could not love. These Gentile children are under the "curse of the Law," don't you know. They stand apart from the covenant blessings promised to Abraham. They deserve to be sexually tortured. It's God's will as punishment for their fathers' national sins. And, in any case, the Ten Commandments do not address the issue of female civil rights at all - that's why she's listed there with the other pack-animals.
Patriarchal-chieftains would tell you:
"We do what we have to do to take 'the Promised Land' from the dog-heathen in order to create God's utopia. And, to that end, maybe some things we do aren't so nice and we compromise. But there's one thing at the top of our list that we’re damn strict on around here, and that's protecting the property rights of male-chieftains, your local friendly neighbor."
Have a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
- Editor's note: It is matter of history that the attempted systematic genocide of Native American Indians, and the brutal subjugation of Blacks, was justified, in the US and Europe, from many church pulpits as "God's will" by appealing to "holy infallible" scripture, referencing, as supporting evidence, Israel's ethnic-cleansing atrocities: "It's manifest destiny! It's our promised land! We are the children of divine right! We are the chosen, the elect! These others are descendants of Cain, a despised seed and under wrath, outside the grace of God - and not even human!"
“If the Pentateuch is inspired, the civilization of our day is a mistake and crime [as much of our civilazation does not reflect the condoned atrocities of the Bible]. There should be no political liberty. Heresy should be trodden out beneath the bigot's brutal feet. Husbands should divorce their wives at will, and make the mothers of their children houseless and weeping wanderers. Polygamy ought to be practiced; women should become slaves; we should buy the sons and daughters of the heathen and make them bondmen and bondwomen forever. We should sell our own flesh and blood, and have the right to kill our slaves. Men and women should be stoned to death for laboring on the seventh day. 'Mediums,' such as have familiar spirits, should be burned with fire. Every vestige of mental liberty should be destroyed, and reason's holy torch extinguished in the martyr's blood.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses