Divine wisdom about hygiene

Thank Ceiling Cat! I have finally finished the first five books of the Bible: the Pentateuch or Torah of Judaism. I have found much to puzzle me, and much that is revolting (more on this next week), but also a few things to LOL at. Here is one, from Deuteronomy 23:13-14.

And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:

For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

In other words, don’t make Yahweh step in your crap! I wonder if the Israeli army has those paddles on their guns?


  1. Posted June 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Next to come: divinely-assisted slaughter of the Canaanites! Stay tuned.

    • Goldstein
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, those old JEWS are pretty revolting.

      No one likes them when they fight back…people much prefer the World War Two Scenario where they all just get gassed.

      Chris Hitchens hated it that they fought so hard in the OT days…they could have been wiped out then and we could have “been spared the whole thing” (GING, Hitchens, page 229)

      One thing, Jerry, be careful that your Fucking Jew Hatred does not come out! They will be all over your ass on that one!

      • gbjames
        Posted June 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Someone is confusing criticism of religion with anti-semitism.

        • Posted June 25, 2012 at 3:24 am | Permalink

          I’m curious, is there any other religion that is also considered by some to not be a religion? “Jewish” is referred to as a religion, and/or a race, and/or a culture. Offhand I can’t think of another label that is treated similarly.

          • gbjames
            Posted June 25, 2012 at 5:18 am | Permalink

            Amish, maybe?

            • Posted June 25, 2012 at 6:01 am | Permalink

              Anything else ending in “ish”? 😉


      • whyevolutionistrue
        Posted June 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Goldstein, you are a disgusting specimen of human being. You’re outa here for good.

      • Grania Spingies
        Posted June 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Jerry IS a Jew you numbskull. Also: criticising ludicrous beliefs is not the same thing as hating a race of people.

        P.S. Hitch was a Jew too.

      • Sigh
        Posted June 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        You’re just angry the poop scoopers were sold out at your local mart. I wonder if Yahweh’s punishment for stepping in someone’s turd is giving that doodoodoer a toilet swirlie.

      • truthspeaker
        Posted June 25, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        You know Jerry is Jewish, right?

        • Barry
          Posted June 28, 2012 at 4:05 am | Permalink

          So what if Jerry is a Self Hating Jew?

          He is still a fucking bigot.

          • Posted June 28, 2012 at 4:19 am | Permalink

            If by “bigot” you mean prejudiced against the terminally deluded… 


          • gbjames
            Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:10 am | Permalink

            Look! A troll just crawled out from under the bridge!

            • whyevolutionistrue
              Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:13 am | Permalink

              I put him back under the bridge. I am actually a self LOVING Jew. I love the culture, dislike the delusional beliefs. Sue me.

  2. Grania Spingies
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Somehow I never noticed this particular pearl of wisdom before.

    It also show how unhesitatingly dishonest religion-makers are. There is nothing wrong with rules for more hygienic community living, there is no need at all to say “and this is because of God”.

    • PB
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Yea, I think I read the whole shebang many times, but I never recall this poop-paddling verse. Good on Jerry!

  3. Posted June 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Just wait until you discover the ‘cure’ for ‘leprosy’.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      That’s Leviticus 13-14 (yes, two whole chapters), so the longsuffering Dr. Coyne has already passed that point.

      As has been pointed out, one of the many criticisms that one can level at the bible is that the supposedly omniscient and loving creator gave minimal medical information, much of it incorrect, and somehow seemed to be ignorant of microbes (and, indeed, any living entity smaller than an ant).

      • Achrachno
        Posted June 24, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

        Or any seed smaller than mustard. Orchids disprove the Bible?

      • Posted June 25, 2012 at 1:18 am | Permalink

        Yes. Silly me. I forgot it was in Leviticus – clearly in the pentateuch. Mea culpa!

  4. Posted June 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Any sufficiently advanced, highly portable, self-cleaning litter box is indistinguishable from magic.

    • gbjames
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink


  5. JamesM
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    That’s interesting because if you read Ezekiel 4:12, among the many bizarre and uselessly unnecessary commandmends, God commands Ezekiel to eat a shit sandwich.

    • shakyisles
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Damn, I kind find my bible (usually kept in the Fiction section in my bookcase).. but, I will take your word for it. I want to believe!

      • shakyisles
        Posted June 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        *can’t find my bible

        • JonLynnHarvey
          Posted June 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

          Plenty of copies of King James on the Internet friend. Try bibleontheweb.com

          • shakyisles
            Posted June 24, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

            I’m not concerned enough to actually shell out money for one, it will turn up eventually! lol

            • Achrachno
              Posted June 24, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

              I think he means you can read it free on the web. Then you can toss that other one if you find it. Clear space for something better!

              • shakyisles
                Posted June 25, 2012 at 12:21 am | Permalink

                Gotcha! And something less embarrasing

      • DV
        Posted June 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        4:12 And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight.

        • PB
          Posted June 24, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          Good ‘un!

        • shakyisles
          Posted June 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink


        • Achrachno
          Posted June 24, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

          And the weird thing is that someone decided to sell bread based on that recipe! This is the sort of thing that happens in a country overrun with religious nutters.


        • Dominic
          Posted June 25, 2012 at 1:37 am | Permalink

          They mean to use the human ‘dung’ as fuel, which is not so dim in a dry environment. In North America bison dung was used as fuel on the prairie.

        • gbjames
          Posted June 25, 2012 at 4:34 am | Permalink

          Ungulate dung is a common and pretty good source of fuel largely due to the nature of the food… lots and lots of grass. Humans… not so much.

          • Dominic
            Posted June 25, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

            Ah… yes. What about vegan dung?! 😉

    • Posted June 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Fecal foreordination should be listed in the theological urban dictionary.

    • Posted June 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      A sandwich baked with shit as the fuel, yes.

      • JamesM
        Posted June 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        A shit sandwich.

      • billswift
        Posted June 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        According to the NIV yes; the King James version can be read either way.

        • gravelinspector
          Posted June 25, 2012 at 3:56 am | Permalink

          And a version that is a couple of languages and a couple of thousand years closer to the original?

    • David M
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      There’s a company that makes a whole, sprouted grain bread called “Ezekiel 4:9” http://www.foodforlife.com/our-products/ezekiel-49 They quote from 4:9 on their packages but in typical cherry picking fashion they only quote the nice sounding part:

      “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt…”

      One can only hope that they aren’t actually baking up their bread with human dung.

      • Achrachno
        Posted June 24, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        Beat me to it! 🙂

  6. shakyisles
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I laugh the term ‘ease thyself’

    So god created all things but he can’t deal with a bit of poop lying around?

    • kansaskitty
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink


    • Marella
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if that’s what the original Hebrew said, often they gentrified it when translating.

      • shakyisles
        Posted June 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        I think you’re right. The New World translation says ‘ease nature’

  7. Posted June 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on emmageraln.

  8. Eli Siegel
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    If the Nepalese peacekeepers in Haiti had followed that rule maybe they would not have started a cholera epidemic.

    • Schenck
      Posted June 26, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Indeed, the passage, and many like it, are clearly reasonable advice that the advice-givers wanted people to take seriously, so they added it to the holy writings as if it were a commandment of their god.

  9. Posted June 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    ALL kinds of interesting stuff there (in Deuteronomy) ..
    .. for instance, regarding ‘Jesus having died for my sins’ (the most popular one among the many reasons I should believe, according to my Christian friends) ..
    maybe next time I should point them at Deuteronomy 24:16:

    The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

    • Posted June 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Ah, yes, I forgot this one — the second law indeed!

  10. Posted June 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Usually, by the time you’ve reached Deuteronomy (the second — or repeated? — law, bye the bye), your eyes are glazed over, and you simply skim over the verses as though they’re coated in ether. How good for you to have spotted this one! LOL, indeed!

    • PB
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Agree, many times bible-reading is an exercise of social norms / acceptance rather than actually reading the bible (i.e. you want others see you that you’re a bible reader).

  11. fullyladenswallow
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    It just struck me. One can generate a lot of engaging religious greeting cards with quotes as these, published under the “WTF?” line of memorable moments.

    • PB
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Good idea, how about: “Your god wants you : “

  12. RFW
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Given that “thyself”, you must be reading the KJV or one of its close descendants. Suggestion: glom onto a more recent translation (being careful to select one with no known biases or translation quirks) and see how it handles some of the more ridiculous passages.

    I use the “New English Bible” published in the early 1960s. As far as I know, it’s unbiased, though of course it doesn’t reflect any scholarly advances in understanding the bibbbbbblical text since that time.

    Some translations suffer from biases like the JW’s “New World” which exaggerates passages underpinning various JW weirdnesses. Another more recent translation makes the profound mistake of always using the same English word to translate a given Greek or Hebrew word regardless of context and the sometimes widely varying shades of meaning. Avoid such.

  13. Mark Joseph
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    May we presume that part of the “much that is revolting” will be the first of the big “god is on our side and he wants us to commit genocide on our enemies” passages, the one in Numbers 31?

  14. RWO
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    What is learned is that failure to practice camp hygiene while serving as a soldier abroad in god’s armed forces will cause god to turn away from his soldiers.

    Therefore, hygiene is good because god says it is good, not because hygiene is an inherently intrinsic good.

    Euthyphro dilemma solved.

    • Dominic
      Posted June 25, 2012 at 1:38 am | Permalink

      Yes – it is sensible, but it is not the word of god.

  15. onkelbob
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    This verse is well known among long distance hikers. It was in Colin Fletcher’s Complete Hiker (Outdoor Ethics)and has occasionally appeared in National Park Service blurbs given out when getting back country permits. And yes, some of those back country rangers are “god;” especially the ones who rescue those unfortunate souls who get lost or hurt. So indeed, god has walked among many camps.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      I own a book (for real) called “How to Shit in the Woods” which I’m pretty sure doesn’t mention this, but that’s good to know.

      • Occam
        Posted June 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        This prescription was also familiar to early Polar explorers and is the origin of the euphemism “I am just going outside and may be some time.”

        • grasshopper
          Posted June 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps the original use of the phrase —

          With 400 miles (670 km) still to travel across the Ross Ice Shelf, the party’s prospects steadily worsened as, with deteriorating weather, frostbite, snow blindness, hunger and exhaustion, they struggled northward.[71] On 16 March, Oates, whose condition was aggravated by an old war-wound to the extent that he was barely able to walk,[72] voluntarily left the tent and walked to his death.[73] Scott wrote that Oates’ last words were “I am just going outside and may be some time”.

          • Occam
            Posted June 26, 2012 at 3:15 am | Permalink

            I have just finished reading Ronald Huntford’s recent (2010) parallel edition of Amundsen’s and Scott’s expedition diaries. Hence the quote: it was an exercise in macabre humour, camping lore at the end of the world.

            And thanks for providing a reaction, which I had hoped for but didn’t expect. I find the deaths of Scott, Evans, Wilson, Bowers, and Oates as absurd and unnecessary as anything in the OT. The current bout of souped-up Scott lionizing gives me the creeps.

            • Occam
              Posted June 26, 2012 at 3:17 am | Permalink

              …sorry, Roland Huntford…

  16. Posted June 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    And if you’re having a pee – or poopcident 1) then OUT of the camp you go!


    If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp:

    1) That’s actually a made-up word for when our cats miss the litter box.

    • Posted June 24, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      I hate to break it to you, but that’s not about peeing or poopcidents, but what were once delicately known as “nocturnal emissions”.

      • Posted June 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        That’s what I thought first .. but then realized that the whole chapter has SUCH a high poop-pee content, maybe I was over-thinking things.
        Exegesis was never my strong side.

        • Gayle
          Posted June 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          “he shall not cum within the camp”

          • Posted June 25, 2012 at 12:57 am | Permalink



    • Dominic
      Posted June 25, 2012 at 1:41 am | Permalink

      Is that not about the risk of not being recognised on return & killed by being mistaken for the enemy?

  17. Goldstein
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Those Damn Jews, picking up their own crap and all!


    • truthspeaker
      Posted June 25, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      In case you hadn’t noticed, there are a few hundred million people who think the Bible is a divinely inspired guide to living today, not a cultural artifact of people who lived a few thousand years ago.

      We know why we have to clean up our poop, and it’s to prevent disease, not because God ordered us to.

  18. Jonas
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I once read that poor poop control was the major cause of death in ancient wartime. Seriously. Looks like there actually may be a good reason to scare troops into thinking god wants you to clean up after yourself.


    wikipedia: Lack of field hygiene and sanitation were major contributors to non-combat related casualty and death in pre-modern field armies, and continued to remain as serious threats to soldier health in modern warfare during the First World War, on the Eastern Front during the Second World War, in the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

    faqs.org: Poor sanitation also leads to diarrheal diseases, such as dysentery. During the Civil War, diarrheal diseases caused more deaths than battle wounds

    • Posted June 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I was just thinking of one simple example: The battle of Waterloo (1815):

      190,000 men get together to fight each other for a few days .. and not a restroom in sight!
      And precious few soldiers had ‘paddles on their weapons’!

    • M'thew
      Posted June 26, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Question is: could anyone at the time make the connection between ‘poor poop control’ and people dying of infectious diseases? Or were the Isrealites just ordered to bury their poop because of the stench?

  19. Posted June 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Forgive me. I got excited by this post, so I had to go deuteronomy.

  20. Dave
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    This blog just got promoted from my bookmarks menu to my bookmarks bar!

    • Dominic
      Posted June 25, 2012 at 1:41 am | Permalink

      It is NOT a blog!

      • Scote
        Posted June 25, 2012 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        Yes, it is a **website**, who’s entries just happen to be organized by date, run on WordPress, uhm, “website” software 🙂

  21. Hempenstein
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    When you’re done, you could publish this as “Travels with Jerry: In Search of the Beautiful Poetry of the Bible”, or something like that.

  22. admiralmattbar
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    “I wonder if the Israeli army has those paddles on their guns?”

    I’m pretty sure Israel is a secular nation.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted June 27, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      That’s why they have military conscription for everyone except the really really religious folks who have better things to do, like stoning sabbath-breakers.

      Or maybe that’s actually a secular provision for mental health in the ranks.

  23. logicophilosophicus
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    The more ancient texts I read, the more inclined I am to believe Julian Jaynes’s hypothesis (“The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind”) which could be very crudely distilled down to the assertion that until two or three thosand years ago people attributed their ideas (all their ideas) to an interior voice – a god or muse, or a devil of course. He regarded schizophrenia as a reversion or incomplete integration. Anyway – latrine digging is a good idea.

  24. logicophilosophicus
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    When you were reading Genesis, did you notice a couple of genetically dodgy passages?

    Noah is described clearly as an albino, and yet the current population of the world fails to show an appropriate distribution of the condition.

    Jacob exposes Laban’s mating ewes to partially stripped branches to influence the colouring of the lambs (his deal with Laban was that he would receive all the particoloured lambs) and it allegedly worked. (Shylock quotes this as an example of cunning business practice in “The Merchant of Venice”.)

  25. greyhound1405
    Posted June 25, 2012 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    Jerry, wait until you get to Ahab eating his own dung and drinking his own piss (actual Bible words)…

    • Dominic
      Posted June 25, 2012 at 1:44 am | Permalink

      “he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks nor of his friends” 1 Kings 16:11

      • Dominic
        Posted June 25, 2012 at 1:47 am | Permalink

        Piss did not have the crude connotations in the 17th C it has today, so it is hardly startling that it was used. Shakespeare wrote in the Two Gentlemen of Verona
        “he had not been there—bless the mark!—a pissing while, but all the chamber smelt him.”

  26. gravelinspector
    Posted June 25, 2012 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Other, less archaic, religions also have lavatorial fixations. For example, the adherents of the iPod sect of Appleism did recently beseech their landsharks to harass and intimidate the purveyors of the iPood, a “paddle” for performing these “functional sacrifices.”
    Joyfully, I discover that local suppliers now have these, which is slightly more encouraging than the double-the-price option of getting one from Oz, just to spite the shamens of Appleism.

  27. Posted June 25, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    What? You didn’t already know about the lesson in latrine-building in Deuteronomy? Why do you think it’s called “Doo-teronomy?”

  28. eric
    Posted June 25, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Telling soldiers they must carry a shovel/entrenching tool seems like pretty good advice to me. The roman legions carried them, and I believe both the U.S. army and NATO forces have them as part of their regular kit.

    I’m guessing they put it in the Torah for the same reason fundies today demand we mention ‘God’ on money, the pledge, etc. – because they think people will take an order more seriously when you say ‘God orders it’ than when you say ‘the government orders it.’

  29. davidintoronto
    Posted June 25, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Clearly, the passage is a metaphor of the utmost profundity.

    Non-theologians are so literal. 😉

  30. krzysztof1
    Posted June 25, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Well, you see, before the Fall, elimination of bodily wastes was not an issue. Just like all the carnivores were vegetarians.

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