“‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’ Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greats commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.'” ~Matthew 22:36-40 NLT
There are 613 “laws” in the Bible. That can feel overwhelming to a person who is trying to figure out how to be like Christ. It can actually make a person not want to follow after Him at all. I was one such person, as a teenager and young adult, who saw the “thou shalt nots” as restraining.
People desire and crave freedom. Throughout history there are examples of wars, debates, and laws that occurred all because someone wanted freedom from something and others thought it was not okay. Many rules are silly but at the time they were created they made perfect sense.
Relevancy often depends on the culture.
I did some research on both rules in the Bible and rules in the U.S. To me, all are silly, but only because of cultural context and how our society operates now. Even though they are all considered rules, they are not current to today’s climate: culture, context, or content. We need to be mindful when explaining these things to people. Please feel free to enjoy the list below, knowing that some are listed in the Old Testament and others just as valid United States rules for different cities or states.
- You cannot make faces at a dog.
- Every person should write a scroll of the Torah for himself.
- Do not cheat a person when you are buying or selling something.
- The joy of a honeymoon should last for a year and the husband should be exempt from public labor for that year.
- It is illegal to sing in your swimsuit.
- You can’t have a donkey sleeping in your bathtub after 7pm.
- Leave an unreaped corner of the field or orchard for the poor to harvest for themselves.
- A widow without children must only marry her deceased husband’s brother.
- You cannot kill an animal and its baby on the same day.
- It is illegal for a pawnshop to accept an artificial limb or wheelchair as payment.
- Do not boil meat with milk.
- A person must fulfill whatever they have uttered.
- You cannot eat fried chicken by any other means tan with your hands.
- The guilty person cannot testify in the court hearing.
- Do not remove landmarks or property boundaries.
- Do not sow different kinds of seed together in one field.
- Man shall not wear women’s clothing.
- A king shall not take an excessive number of wives.
- You cannot sell a beautiful woman.
- You cannot eat cottage cheese on a Sunday.
Yes, I know these seem ridiculous but that depends on where they are from and who they are address, at what time. Content, context, and culture matter when explaining the word of God. His laws were written for a reason. When Christ came, He fulfilled all of the laws. His only request was that we love God and love others. If you look at the Ten Commandments or even the 613 Old Testament laws, you will see they all fall under one of those two categories anyways.