Obeying YHWH can make you sick

by fulltimestudent 8 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • fulltimestudent

    We were once told and re-told that obedience to YHWH and his side-kick would save our lives.

    So how about this bit of real-life research that's currently emerging in academic circles?

    There were strict rules in the law code about how and where you could sh*t.

    Now one of those commandments is inscribed at Deuteronomy 23:14-15

    Just why is explained in the associated verses, and discussed by Dr Robert Cargill on his blog.

    ( http://robertcargill.com/2013/05/02/still-one-of-the-oddest-biblical-commands-cover-your-poo-because-god-might-step-in-it/ )

    Interestingly, of the above reasons given in support of the command to the Israelites to cover their poo, it is the latter (not wanting to step in it) and not the former (hygiene) that is given as the theological reason for burying one’s foul:

    Deut. 23:12 You shall have a designated area outside the camp to which you shall go.
    Deut. 23:13 As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement.
    Deut. 23:14 For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.

    God steps in poo. This must be avoided.

    You read that correctly. God WALKS IN THE MIDST OF YOUR CAMP (Hebrew: מִתְהַלֵּךְ בְקֶרֶב מַחֲנֶךָ = “paces/walks in the midst of your camp”), and you don’t want God to step in it! In fact, God doesn’t even want to see (Hebrew: ראה) anything indecent (Hebrew: עֶרְוַת דָּבָר = “any naked thing”).

    God stepping in your poo. This must be prevented

    This is the reason given for why Israelites must go outside of the camp to go, and then cover their poo: because God walks around the camp and they don’t want God to step in their poo, and if he even sees it, he’ll “turn away” from the camp (as it stinks and is no longer “holy”), and will stop protecting/delivering them and will stop handing their enemies over to them in battle.

    Apparently, if you want God in the midst of your camp, he can’t be in the midst of your crap.

    So in the end, the rationale for covering one’s poo is not hygienic, nor is it public health, but rather the Israelites are to cover their poo so that God doesn’t step in it or see it,because if he does, he’ll leave them and they’ll start losing battles.


    Now it so happens (and maybe you never thought that we could find some ancient Jewish crap) that we can still find a place where faithful and obedient Jews did precisely what the Law code commanded.

    The Jews who lived at Qmran (quite possibly they belonged to the Essenes sect) were noted for their strict adherence to the Mosaic law. These are the people associated with the dead sea scrolls, and their Qumran ‘camp’ has been the focus of a huge archaeological search for more information.

    In the next post, we can find out what happened when these faithful Jews obeyed the law, 'shat' outside the camp, and made it possible for YHWH to walk around their camp without getting poo on his sandals.

  • cofty
    Looking forward to part 2
  • Pete Zahut
    Pete Zahut
    Looking forward to part 2
    Post number #2 should be quite moving.
  • Scully

    If god created man, then surely he is aware of the manner by which he created man to create poop. It is part of man's god-given functionality. How is anything made by god "indecent".

    Your logic is not valid.

  • Scully
  • prologos

    fts: " see--any naked thing”).--"of course, when you are looking for naked things, not paying attention to your path, you are bound to step in it.

    BSW: 2 million people constantly on the trek with with their stick/shovels to the designated area. hygiene: how about the paper, les bidet, washing?

  • fulltimestudent

    Oh! dear... scatology (the study of excrement) always attracts attention.

    But back to the point of the thread.

    Can it be demonstrated that obedience to a law made the believers sick?

    Yes it can!

    The first post defined the rule that Jews were expected to obey, that is to excrete waste material from their bodies 'outside the camp.' I could not resist repeating, Dr Robert Cargill's point in his blog, that the reason the Israelites had to do that, was to avoid offending YHWH in case he saw their sh*t. But that was not the point I wanted to make.

    As witnesses, it was drummed into us that, the hygiene sections of the law were there to protect the health of YHWH's worshippers. But, as you will see, his laws as demonstrated at Qumran actually made them sick.

    Because of the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls in understanding both early Judaism and early Christianity, all kinds of academic disciplines have taken an interest in the site. This report from the academic journal Nature, covers the research into the sects toilet habits.

    Toilet excavation could link site to Dead Sea Scrolls.
    Katharine Sanderson

    The ancient site was riddled with roundworm eggs - a sign that it was used as a toilet.J. Zias
    An ancient Jewish sect showed such devotion to their definition of purity that they pursued bizarre toilet habits that left them riddled with parasites, say researchers who have discovered and dug up their toilet.
    The discovery, made at Qumran, near Jerusalem, could provide more proof linking the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Essene people who lived in the area, the researchers claim.
    The scrolls — the oldest biblical documents ever found — were thought to have been made by the Essenes around 100 years BC. Joe Zias, a palaeopathologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem dug around Qumran where he thought their toilet should be, and took soil samples to try and prove the connection once and for all.
    The scrolls describe strict rules for where the Essenes were allowed to defecate: far enough away from the camp not to be visible, sometimes as much as 3,000 cubits (1.4 kilometres) away in a northwesterly direction. They had to bury their faeces and perform a ritual all-over wash in the local waters afterwards.
    At Qumran, following such instructions would take the Essene men to a nicely secluded spot behind a mound. And as Zias and his colleagues report in the current edition of Revue de Qumran1, the soil there bears the hallmarks of a latrine — and one not used by the healthiest of people.
    Dirty bath water
    Dead eggs from intestinal parasites, including roundworm (Ascaris), whipworm (Trichuris), tapeworm (Taenia) and pinworm (Enterobius vermicularis), were preserved in the soil. "If you look at a latrine from the past you will always find these parasites," comments Piers Mitchell, a medical practitioner and archaeologist at Imperial College London, UK.
    It seems a pretty ordinary picture of ancient ill health, says Mike Turner, a parasitologist at the University of Glasgow, UK. He describes the pinworm rather aptly as "common as muck", adding that to use its presence to argue that the Essenes wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls is "an interesting bit of lateral thinking", he says.
    The Qumran site was home to the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls, claim researchers.J. Zias
    But Zias is certain that the toilet was used by the scrolls' authors. He was already convinced that the Essenes lived at Qumran from previous studies of the local graveyard, which contains remains of almost exclusively men, which fits with the fact that the Essenes were a monastic sect.
    What's more, the men buried there had an average age at death of 34, making them a sickly bunch. But it wasn't the toilet parasites that finished them off, Zias suggests, but their ritual of post-poo bathing in a stagnant pool.
    Geography worked against the Essenes because the pool in which they cleansed themselves was filled with run-off collected during the winter months. "Had they been living in Jericho 14 kilometres to the north, where one finds fresh spring water, or in other sites whereby one has an oasis, they would have lived quite well," Zias says.
    The location of the latrine at Qumran conforms with the directions laid down in the Dead Sea Scrolls, proving that the Essene lived there, Zias claims. Sanitation around the time of the Essenes was good, and ordinary people were unlikely to go so far out of the city to defecate.
    If his theory is correct, it might therefore carry a lesson about religious fundamentalism, Zias adds. "It shows what happens when people take biblical things too fundamentally or literally, as they do in many parts of the world, and what the ultimate consequences are."

    “It shows what happens when people take biblical things too literally.”

    Reference: http://www.nature.com/news/2006/061113/full/news061113-5.html

    So, briefly, because of their toilet habits, the soil in the selected area became grossly infected with round worm eggs and walking barefoot or touching the soil with bare hands (how else do you dig but with a hand held implement) led to more and more infections. Piling sh*t on sh*t as it were, the water in which they washed was not running water, and it also became contaminated with worm eggs etc.

    You likely noted from the above article that the skeletal remains at the site all seem to be of a younger age, indicating that the continual infections made them sicker and sicker.

    That's the price of blind obedience.

  • brandnew
    Ummm yeah...
  • Vidiot
    It's quite the paradigm shift when you finally start to realize that the WT lifestyle and worldview might not be the healthiest in the world...

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