Donald Trump loves the Bible. He knows the Bible, that he can tell you, frankly.
Except that all the things Trump knows about the Bible can conveniently fit into a thimble. Trump isn’t just ignorant about the Bible. He is apocalyptically ignorant.
WHAM 1180 AM host Bob Lonsberry asked Trump to name his “favorite Bible verse or Bible story that has informed your thinking or your character through life.”
Here is Trump’s incredible answer:
Well, I think many. I mean, when we get into the Bible, I think many, so many. And some people, look, an eye for an eye, you can almost say that. That’s not a particularly nice thing. But you know, if you look at what’s happening to our country, I mean, when you see what’s going on with our country, how people are taking advantage of us, and how they scoff at us and laugh at us. And they laugh at our face, and they’re taking our jobs, they’re taking our money, they’re taking the health of our country. And we have to be firm and have to be very strong. And we can learn a lot from the Bible, that I can tell you.
He also loves the portion about “hand for tiny, malformed hand.”
The Bible refers to “an eye for an eye” twice. First, there’s Exodus 21:23-25:
But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
Then there’s Leviticus 24:19-20:
If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him. Fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him.
Trump takes this literally.
Which no religious, Bible-believing person ever has. Ever.
In Jewish tradition – hey, it’s our book, guys – this has always been interpreted as a call for equivalent monetary damages in return for physical damages. Never at any time in Jewish history is there evidence of physical reciprocation for injury. The Talmud explicitly states repeatedly that such punishment was never intended by the verse.
Christianity explicitly rejects the verse itself in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38-42):
You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
But for Trump, pagan revenge is all the rage. For a man who scorns radical Islam, he seems more in tune with Koranic law; some countries that apply shariah law take the “eye for an eye” language literally.
There you have it: Donald Trump, Biblical scholar. For morons.