The Sorceress and The Third Worst Bible Verse

The infamous dirty ten as listed on various sites and blogs contends that “Do not allow a sorceress to live.” (Exodus 22:18) should be the third worst Bible verse. Well, come on folks, I can think of a hundred better deserving verses than this in the Book of Leviticus alone.  What were you thinking?  I’m assuming that perhaps they thought it was amusing or funny. But if so, isn’t that kind of callous in itself?  We’re talking about killing someone here. I’m going to assume that those that mock the Bible aren’t so callous about life and death and instead list this verse as one of the worst because it does indeed call for the death penalty. Or perhaps they are mocking the fact that the Bible believes in sorcerers.  Again, that would be downright silly because there are plenty of historical accounts both in secular literature and religious that state the existence of self proclaimed witches, warlocks, and the like.  Even today, we have an organization called Wicca with thousands of members.

You can find many commentaries on this verse but my approach will hopefully be unique and offer another perspective.  Let’s look at who the laws were laid down for.  God was talking specifically to the Israelites.  This “law” did not apply to anyone else.  The Jewish people were not to mix with other nations who worshiped idols.  Thus, this was a self governing law that the people of Israel were not to deal with sorcery.  If you, a nonbeliever, want to worship the devil or whatever it is witches and warlocks do, help yourself with no penalty but whatever may or may not happen in the afterlife or your societies own self governing rules.  You, as a non-Jew or nonbeliever aren’t under any of these laws so what do you care?  The Jews of this time proclaimed God as their moral, spiritual, and ultimate authority in all things.  Period.  Agree or get out.  God did not force anyone to stay, but what he did was demand allegiance if you chose to stay under the authority and protection of  the God Almighty.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Those burning witches during the inquisition were not acting under the authority of God but of ignorance.  First of all, Christians were supposed to be under the grace of Jesus Christ, not the law of the Jewish traditions.  Although it is true that one could hardly be considered a Christian if following pagan rituals but again, everyone will be judged by either the one true God, if he is real, or whatever else may or may not exist in the afterlife.  Secondly, even if the law still existed (which it did not), it was to be conducted under the strictest court magistrate of the Jewish tradition.

There are many directions to go in debating Exodus 22:18 but suffice to say that the only real group of people that have any right to lament or protest its existence were the Jews of the Old Testament.  They obviously chose to live under the guidance and wisdom of the God called Jehovah, for better or worse.  They’re still around today.  They survived all the plagues, holocaust, wars, and they are still here.  I think they made the correct choice.

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6 Responses to The Sorceress and The Third Worst Bible Verse

  1. Maria says:

    Congratulations for pursuing your passion and stating your thoughts in a comprehensive manner.

  2. Pamalogist says:

    Excellent series of posts! God bless you! Before I became protestant (now Catholic), I looked at many of these same verses and used them to support my belief that God was evil. I did not know that all of the bible had to be read in context of the history and culture that they were written in. As Christians, we have a duty to speak louder and more often then the nonbelievers around us on these matters, or else others in positions like I was will never come to realize the truth. Thank you for your enlightening posts!

    • Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Iron sharpens Iron so they say. I’m really striving to conduct this blog and my posts with gentleness and kindness while also recognizing that the Bible is often an offense to those who do not believe. I really appreciate my fellow believers helping me along the way. I read and enjoyed one of your posts as well…Keep up the good work!

  3. Peggy Angeline says:

    I really appreciate the way you are distinguishing the differences between the then and now concept of how the statements of the Bible applied in Biblical History and should be revisited as they would have applied at this present time in History.

    • Thanks. Yes, everything must be read in historic context. While Jesus still insists that we refrain from witchcraft today (as in the Old Testament) he would also perhaps suggest we inform, witnessed to, love, and pray for those doing wrong – rather than burn them at the stake.

  4. So the God of the Old Testament only cared about the Jews. That makes sense, since they were his Chosen People. But when did he stop caring just about the Jews and get interested in saving everyone’s soul? Also, if he was always interested in saving the souls of non-Jews, why did the Jews have different laws than everyone else? I don’t understand why parts of the Bible only apply to Jews and other parts apply to everyone. The 10 Commandments are in the Old Testament, are they only for Jews as well? Thanks for your help!

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