Still one of the oddest biblical commands: COVER YOUR POO! (Because God might step in it!)

Deuteronomy 23:12-14

Deuteronomy 23:12-14

One of my favorite obscure biblical commands is from Deut. 23:12-14 (v. 13-15 in the Hebrew). Right after God gives rules concerning how to deal with wet dreams (i.e., nocturnal seminal emissions – the answer, btw, is to leave the camp, wash with water, and not return until sunset), God issues commands dealing with human waste disposal.

Now, disposal of human waste is a necessary, albeit unsavory, part of urban life (or in this case, desert nomadic life in a camp). We must have rules that govern how to dispose of human excrement in order to help combat diseases that may arise from contact with human waste. Everyone acknowledges this.

Thus, the Israelites are commanded to cover their poo when they, well…poo. This makes obvious sense. It helps cover the smell, which while odious to humans, is also detected by unwanted animals and insects. Covering your poo also assists in avoiding everyone’s pedestrian nightmare: stepping in poo.

Interestingly, of the above reasons given in support of the command to the Israelites to cover their poo, it is the latter (not wanting to step in it) and not the former (hygiene) that is given as the theological reason for burying one’s foul:

Deut. 23:12 You shall have a designated area outside the camp to which you shall go.
Deut. 23:13 As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement.
Deut. 23:14 For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.

God steps in poo.

God steps in poo. This must be avoided.

You read that correctly. God WALKS IN THE MIDST OF YOUR CAMP (Hebrew: מִתְהַלֵּךְ בְקֶרֶב מַחֲנֶךָ = “paces/walks in the midst of your camp”), and you don’t want God to step in it! In fact, God doesn’t even want to see (Hebrew: ראה) anything indecent (Hebrew: עֶרְוַת דָּבָר = “any naked thing”).

This is the reason given for why Israelites must go outside of the camp to go, and then cover their poo: because God walks around the camp and they don’t want God to step in their poo, and if he even sees it, he’ll “turn away” from the camp (as it stinks and is no longer “holy”), and will stop protecting/delivering them and will stop handing their enemies over to them in battle.

Apparently, if you want God in the midst of your camp, he can’t be in the midst of your crap.

So in the end, the rationale for covering one’s poo is not hygienic, nor is it public health, but rather the Israelites are to cover their poo so that God doesn’t step in it or see it, because if he does, he’ll leave them and they’ll start losing battles.

There’s another poo-related pun I could make here, but I don’t want to bring bulls into it.

(HT for image: Tom Verenna)

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man swallows flash drive in attempt to destroy evidence

shredding is so 2009. now there’s a new way to dispose of your private, potentially incriminating information: swallow it.

that’s precisely what one man did shortly after his arrest for bank fraud. according to police reports, florin necula swallowed a kingston flash drive.

In a bold and bizarre attempt to destroy evidence seized during a federal raid, a New York City man grabbed a flash drive and swallowed the data storage device while in the custody of Secret Service agents, records show. Florin Necula ingested the Kingston flash drive shortly after his January 21 arrest outside a bank in Queens, according to U.S. District Court filings. Necula and several codefendants had been transported to a Secret Service office in Brooklyn, where they were to be questioned and processed. While there, and in the view of investigators, Necula “grabbed Subject Flash Drive 2, which had been on his person at the time of his arrest, and swallowed.”

according to the reports, the suspect later:

agreed to allow doctors at New York Downtown Hospital to remove the item

sure. he ‘agreed.’ either port 80 of his outbound server was clogged, or he was enticed to allow a doctor assist him with dropping a digital deuce. but only after 4 days. ewww. i spilled coffee on a flash drive once, but i’ve never soaked one in hydrochloric acid (the stuff in your stomach) and poo for 4 days. i wonder who at csi gets to process that evidence (if there’s any evidence left to process after the suspect’s ‘processing’ of the data)?


n.b.  i’m imagining raphael choking down hard drives and notepads with aliases and passwords on it as the nypd is searching his apartment. in hindsight, it would have probably been better than letting the ny da’s office get into his emails. then again, digestion probably wouldn’t have helped in raphael’s case. what he was writing was already crap on the way in.

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