0 Rewards, punishments, and the value of human life (Lev 26-27)

Episode 54: Rewards, punishments, and the dollar value of human life

(Leviticus 26-27)

Rewards for obeying God

26 1 God continues his speech to Moses, saying:

If you obey my commandments:

4 I'll send rain when you need it, your crops will yield well, and your trees will provide fruit.

5 You'll have plenty to eat, you'll always be perfectly safe.

6 And you'll live in peace. I'll even remove all the evil beasts from your land.

7 You'll chase your enemies and kill them with the sword.

8 Five of you will be able to kill a hundred of your enemies, and a hundred will be able to scare off ten thousand. You'll kill all your enemies with the sword.

9 And I will respect you.

Punishments for disobeying God

14 But if you don't obey my commandments:

16 I'll send you terror, consumption, the burning ague, that will consume your eyes. And your enemies will eat your children.

17 You'll be killed by your enemies, who will reign over you, and you'll flee when no one pursues you.

18 Then, if you still won't obey me, I'll punish you seven times more for your sins.

19 I'll make your sky like iron, and your earth like brass.

20 Your crops will fail, and your trees will have no fruit.

21 If you still won't obey me, I'll punish you seven times more for your sins.

22 I'll send wild beasts to kill your children and cattle.

23 If you still aren't reformed by these things, I'll punish youseven times more for your sins.

25 I'll bring the sword upon you, send diseases among you, and deliver you to your enemies.

26 Ten women will bake bread in one oven, and you will not be satisfied.

27-28 If you still won't obey me, I'll punish you seven times more for you sins.

29 You'll eat the flesh of your sons and daughters.

30 I'll destroy your high places, cut down your images. and cast your dead bodies on the dead bodies of your idols. And my soul will abhor you.

31 I'll destroy you cities, and I won't smell your sweet odors.

32 I'll astonish your enemies by destroying your land.

33 I'll scatter you among the heathen, kill you with a sword, and destroy your cities.

36 I'll weaken and sadden any of you who survive, and you'll run away when no one pursues you.

37 You'll kill each other with the sword and be unable to fight against your enemies.

38 You'll die among the heathen and your enemies will eat you.

39 Whoever survives these things will pine away in their enemies' lands.

How to avoid God's punishments

40 But if you confess your sins (and the sins of your fathers) and humble your uncircumcised heart, I'll remember my covenant with Jacob and won't do all these nasty things to you and your children.

The value of human life

27 1 God said to Moses,

2 If a man makes a vow involving the value of human life, use these estimations:

3-4 Twenty to sixty years old: male - 50 shekels of silver, female - 30 shekels

5 Five to twenty years old: male - 20 shekels, female - 10 shekels

6 One month - five years old: male - 5 shekels, female - 3 shekels

7 More than sixty years old: male - 15 shekels, female - 10 shekels

8 If it's obvious that the person isn't worth as much as my estimated value, the priest will determine the person's worth.

The value of animals (9-13)

The value of houses (14-25)

Devoted things (26-29)

Tithes (30-34)

A few more words about this episode

50 shekels of silver (27:3)

Correction: When we were discussing God's value for human life, the values I calculated were off by a factor of 8 - since I forgot to multiply the number of grams per shekel times the number of shekels. So it turns out that we are worth more to God than I thought. I, for example, am worth $88.80 - not the $10.95 that mentioned in the podcast. (Thanks to @janko_js for the correction.)

A shekel was about 8 grams, and a gram of silver is worth $0.74 USD today (27 Mar 23).

So here is the (corrected) dollar value of human life, according to God.

20 - 60 years old
Male - 50 shekels silver ($296.00)
Female - 30 shekels silver ($177.60)
5 - 20 years old
Male: 20 shekels silver ($118.40)
Female: 10 shekels silver ($59.20)
One month - 5 years old
Male: 5 shekels silver ($29.60)
Female: 3 shekels silver ($17.76)
More than 60 years old
Male - 15 shekels silver ($88.80)
Female - 10 shekels silver ($59.20)
Less than one month old
Male: 0
Female: 0
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