The following verses were definitely not covered in any Scripture Union Bible Study course I ever covered as a Christian. Its one of those obscure laws of God that rarely gets a mention but just out of interest sake deserves closer inspection.
Deuteronomy 25:11 When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteteth him and putteth forth her hand and taketh him by the secrets:
12 then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.
Got to love the quaint use of “secrets” in place of “testicles” but this is a serious issue.
Consider the following scenario:
Two men circle each other with malice and revenge in their hearts. They manouevre around the other exchanging messy glancing blows but eventually they grapple and attempt to bring the other to the ground and over they go. The wife’s husband is pinned and getting the worst of it. His pragmatic wife rushes in grabs the attackers nuts and gives them a pummelling. The result is foregone. He writhes on the ground in agony. The husband staggers to his feet and when he regains his senses asks, “What the hell just happened?”
“Your missus just mangled my nuts,” the victim groans.
“She what?!” Stupefied he turns to his wife, “Is this true, you grabbed his nuts?!”
The wife is a little surprised, probably expecting a little gratitude for saving him from a savage beating. “Well…yeah I did. He was beating the snot out of you.” The husband is embarrassed, “No he wasn’t, I…I… I was tactically wearing him down before throttling the shit out of him.” He looks around at the gathered crowd to see if any one believes him. Others shift their feet and look away. The husband recovers, “Which hand did you use?” he demands. “Well both,” she says awkwardly, “his secrets are much bigger than yours.” The husband chokes but continues. “Both? What? The hands you use to knead the unleavened bread? The hands you use to milk the goats? The hands you use to prepare all our food?”
“Well, yeah, they are the only two I got,” she pleads.
The husband beats his head calling for deliverance from his god. He turns to his fallen attacker, and helping him to his feet says, “I am really very very sorry about all this. Are you ok?”
“It really hurts, she has big strong hands, but its ok, no matter, takes more than a nut battering to stop any member of my tribe.”
“No, no, no, its written and I am so embarrassed…etc etc” and the wife loses either one or both hands, because no-one in the Bronze Age understands the effectiveness of hand washing and hygiene.
One wonders if she had just kicked him in the nuts if she would need to have her foot removed or if she had used a club would she have escaped any mutilation at all, despite the club being so more effective at delivering damage to the secrets that it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.
And if all this mysogynistic marriage legal mumbo jumbo weren’t bizarre and cruel enough, Deuteronomy 25 briskly moves forward from the amputation of hands of defiantly protective nut busting females without missing a beat, to the important issue of Standard Weights and Measures in the home.
Deuteronomy 25:13 Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.
14 Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.
15. But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee and your handless wives." - no I added that last part. But the inherent savagery of the Mosaic laws in relation to the status of women and wives are evident in those four verses alone.
I can understand why Scripture Union gave these verses a wide berth because of the potential mess having to justify the inhuman and cruel treatment of brawling women, but I also think they might have been challenged at having to openly discuss the subject of “secrets”.