hand washing cow
Deuteronomy 21:1-9 (JDV)
Deuteronomy 21:1 “If a murder victim is found lying in a field in the land Yahveh your God is giving you to take possession of, and it is not known who killed him,
Deuteronomy 21:2 your elders and judges are to come out and measure the distance from the victim to the nearby cities.
Deuteronomy 21:3 The elders of the city nearest to the victim are to get a young cow that has not been yoked or used for work.
Deuteronomy 21:4 The elders of that city will bring the cow down to a continually flowing stream, to a place not tilled or planted, and they will break its neck there by the stream.
Deuteronomy 21:5 Then the priests, the sons of Levi, will come forward, because Yahveh your God has chosen them to assist him and pronounce empowerments in his name, and they are to give a ruling in every dispute and case of assault.
Deuteronomy 21:6 All the elders of the city nearest to the victim will wash their hands by the stream over the young cow whose neck has been broken.
Deuteronomy 21:7 They will answer, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood; our eyes did not see it.
Deuteronomy 21:8 Yahveh, provide reconciliation for the guilt of your people Israel whom you redeemed, and do not hold the shedding of innocent blood against them.’ Then the responsibility for bloodshed will be wiped away from them.
Deuteronomy 21:9 You must purge from yourselves the guilt of shedding innocent blood, because you will be doing what is right in Yahveh’s sight.
hand washing cow
Ironically, this very ritual became the basis for the washing of one’s hands as a way of distancing oneself. The ritual was part of a process of discovering the perpetrator of a crime. But when no suspects have been revealed, the community could ask God to spare them from judgment because due process had been followed.
You should not wash your hands of a matter just to avoid complications. If you are aware of wrong that is happening, you need expose that wrong and get justice for those being wronged.
Lord, show us how to extend our love for each other by seeking justice.