Someone asked me what I thought about how well the ancient Jews followed their biblical laws.
That is an interesting question. Most of the records which have survived were those they considered most important, religious records mostly, which is why the books of the Bible survived but more common records didn't.
2 Kings 22 gives us an interesting look into how well the religious laws were protected. One of the priests suddenly finds a copy of the law in the Temple. This suggests that priests were not actually studying the law that often. What probably happened was that people followed an idea of "common" law and it is anyone's guess how important gender laws were, but, from Josiah's reaction, "Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” I would imagine that most of Judah was breaking laws of the scripture.
People forget the law all the time. Who knows what happened several thousand years ago. I imagine the law and public opinion "ebbed and flowed" much like it does today. Even those we expect should be most aware of the law and the Constitution totally ignore it.
I can remember watching Senate hearings of Supreme Court Nominees where Senators actually questioned nominees about their religious beliefs, something that is specifically forbidden in the Constitution. Hard to imagine Senators and SCOTUS nominees ignoring the Constitution, but, it happened during our lifetime.
United States Constitution, Article 6: "...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
Therefore, no civil servant can ever be questioned about their religious beliefs. What I think is interesting is that reporters constantly violate this law, the Senate often twists religious belief questions into questions regarding the first amendment, making religious beliefs an important political issue in the selection of those serving in public office.
This creates a "hierarchy" where Freedom of the Press is prioritized over the prohibition of religious testing for public office.
"Senator DURBIN. Let me ask you a few starting points. The question was asked of John Roberts about his personal religious and moral belief. And I would ask you in the most open-ended fashion. We all come to our roles in life with life experience and with values. When you are calculating and making a decision, if you were on the Supreme Court, tell me what role your personal religious or moral beliefs will play in that decision process.
Judge ALITO. Well, my personal religious beliefs are important to me in my private life. They are an important part of the way I was raised and they have been important to Martha and me in raising our children. But my obligation as a judge is to interpret and apply the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and not my personal religious beliefs or any personal moral beliefs that I have, and there is nothing about my religious beliefs that interferes with my doing that."
Not everyone can or should trust my statements to be facts unless I am willing to provide the resources to back them up.