Chapter: Deuteronomic Parenting
Current studies of biblical laws dealing with family matters display much interest in sexual matters and rightly denounce their patriarchal bias. Focusing on parenting provides a more balanced appreciation of the role of mothers and the place of women within a male-dominated society. An analysis of the levirate law, the rebuttal of a slanderous husband, and primogeniture show that the aim of the law-givers was to maximize the chances to produce offspring and fulfill the mandate in Genesis to multiply. Procreation, however, is but the first stage of the life-long process of parenting that involves both parents, even after the death of the father, if necessary. Thus, women and mothers are shielded from abusive repudiation by the production of a bloodied sheet, while any disrespect toward parents or disobedience to their commands is liable to the death penalty, except in certain cases for daughters, who are given a chance to overturn parental opposition.