You’ve probably seen them: memes going around Facebook and other social networking sites highlighting silly laws that are still on the books but – let’s face it – laws that no one is ever going to uphold. I think this one’s my favorite: In Alaska, it’s illegal to give a moose a beer. Which makes me wonder – how many people had to try that to make a law necessary?
Ezra’s unpopular law
Scholars suggest that something similar is happening in Ezra, when he and other Israelites returning from exile resurrect a law that had likely fallen into disrepair. This law, though, isn’t silly or entertaining and it ends with dozens of women and children put out of their homes. Ironically, the exiles now become the exilers.
It’s easy to read scripture and interpret what God’s people do as directive and flawless. But it’s important to remember these are human portrayals of how they understood their history. And they are people! They are making decisions about what they think is best.
So what do we do when we come up against passages like these that just don't sit well with us? I explain the importance of looking at the long arc of scripture, in my latest Women in Theology guest post.