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Old Testament Law: Woman's hand to be cut off for grabbing her husbands attackers genitals? (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)
The Mosaic law prescribed that a woman's hand was to be amputated if she grabbed the private parts of a man fighting with her husband (Deuteronomy 25:11-12). What might be a logical reason for such a seemingly harsh punishment?

To help understand this particular law, it is helpful to get some understanding of the culture of that time. Having children was the means of social security in those times. When you were old your children looked after you. To risk damaging somebodies reproductive ability was to risk damaging their future income. So to rob a man of his reproductive ability was one of the worst things that could happen to him, and his wife. In old age old, childless individuals and couples were more likely to become dependant on the charity of the society they lived in.

Gods plan for mankind from the beginning was to be fruitful and multiply. The act of reproduction can be considered a sacred duty. Other laws show God's seriousness about respecting the continuation of families. Only in the previous verses (Deuteronomy 25:9-10) the laws talk about perpetuating the family line of a deceased brother. This was something a man called Onan failed to do, and died as result of it (Genesis 38).

Hurting a mans testicles is one of the worst pains that can be inflicted upon a man. There are said to be nerves connected directly to the stomach. Intense pain in the groin can lead to instant vomiting. Most guys would not want to inflict that kind of pain even upon their enemies. Women not understanding this are much more likely to inflict such pain upon men.

Testicles can be damaged easily, urological studies show that only about 50kg of force is required to rupture a testicle. Testicular trauma may also lead to testicular cancer in the future. So causing damage to a mans testicles really is a serious matter.

In the mosaic law, God also also places restrictions on men who where not "whole" in their male anatomy in religious services (Deuteronomy 23:1), this was probably symbolic of the fact that God wanted people to understand that the medium between Himself and people was to be pure and whole in all aspects. Jesus fully fulfilled that requirement, he was the perfect priest, and the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. Scripture also speaks of Jesus sacrifice making it possible for His people to be  without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27). A healthy church is naturally reproductive, and produces fruit.

In the Law of Moses, the severity of a punishment was limited by the severity of the crime committed, an eye for an eye, etc. (Exodus 21:24-30, Leviticus 24:20-21, Deuteronomy 19:21). Since woman don't have testicles, it was logical for some other punishment to be prescribed since "A testicle for a testicle" is not possible. An amputated hand was the punishment God deemed an appropriate measure to help prevent such a crimes against men's reproductivity from taking place.

The main reason for such laws was not to punish the individual committing the crime, but to prevent such crimes from happening in the future. We cannot know how many women withheld from damaging some man's testicles because of the fear of being punished according to this law.

A mans loss of reproduction would have generational repercussions. If the fear of this punishment prevented even just one mans testicles from being made unproductive in the 3000+ years since this law was given the number of people that could have come from that mans family line could be in the millions today. So there may be multitudes of people currently on the earth thanks to this seemingly bizarre and insignificant law. It is such laws that give us an insight into how much God is interested in even the smallest details of His creation, and wants the best for everybody.

Before Jesus came, the laws of the Old Testament were given to help people live at peace with God, one another, and the land. After Jesus came, God's people are no longer under the law, but under grace. Since we have now been given the Holy Spirit that gives us a heart that desires to do the will of God, instead of having written laws and punishments that try to help people do the right thing through fear of adverse consequences. So we need to remember that the rigid old testament laws do not apply to God's people today, even though the underlying principles still do apply, for example laws that instructed farmers to not harvest their fields so efficiently that there was nothing left, but to leave what had fallen behind for widows and the poor to gather. Such a law no longer applies for Christians today but the principle of helping the poor still remains.

The underlying principle of the law against women's violence against male genitalia might be: "Do not hurt a man's ability to be a fruitful and productive member of his family and society". In our day and age this principle could be applied in many different ways. An example of this principle being ignored might be the practice of many large companies paying minimal wages, while a select few directors or investors are enriched immensely. In so doing such companies are creating "wages slaves" who only earn enough to get by, but not enough to adequately provide for a growing family, thereby emasculating them via financial means.
Brought to you by Terje Ronneberg
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