February 28, 2008

Breadcrumb: Fingers and toes

When the tribes of Judah and Simeon conquer Bezek, they cut off the thumbs and big toes of her king, Adonibezek. Oddly enough, Adonibezek seems remarkably well-adjusted to this development. He says: "seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up scraps under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them." (Judg. 1:7, NIV) On the one hand, this punishment seems more humane than the alternative, which was to kill the king in a variety of unpleasant ways (so far, we've had -- among other things -- hangings, stonings, and burnings). On the other hand, living with your thumbs and big toes cut off seems to be a particularly demeaning way of life. At least Adonibezek didn't need to deal with it for too long: the Israelites brought him to Jerusalem, where he died.

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