23 December 2009

Five Golden Hemorrhoids ... and a partridge in a pear tree

Garrison Keillor says that atheists and Jews should "buzz off" at Christmas time and leave the holiday to believers.

But I like Christmas too much to leave it to Mr. Keillor and other mindless bigots.* In fact, I'd like to propose an improvement to one of their carols.

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" is a fun song, but none of the gifts have much to do with the Bible or Christianity. There are no french hens, leaping lords, or swimming swans in the Bible. And what's with the "Five Golden Rings" thing?

So let's change "Five Golden Rings" to something that has some religious significance. Something that is found in the Bible. Something God would appreciate.

Five Golden Hemorrhoids!
(If you don't know about them, you can read about them here.)

So this Christmas, in honor of Garrison Keillor, whenever you sing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" substitute "Five Golden Hemorrhoids" (or "Five Golden Rhoids") for "Five Golden Rings."

God and Garrison Keillor will love you for it!

Some believers might object by saying that the five golden hemorrhoids were from the Old Testament, so they have nothing to do with Jesus. But if so, they are forgetting that everything in the Old Testament points to Jesus. So the only question is this: How do the five golden hemorrhoids point to Jesus?

And the answer is perfectly obvious: The five golden hemorrhoids represent the five wounds of Christ in the crucifixion. They were fashioned out of gold and given to God as a present in the same way the wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus at Christmas time.

Like everything else in the Bible, it all makes perfect sense.

Merry Christmas!

*I don't really think Garrison Keillor is a mindless bigot. I think he's just pretending to be one.

22 December 2009

God forced the Philistines to kill each other

After helping Jonathan with his first slaughter (which wasn't really his first, but Oh well), God took over the killing himself. He didn't have much choice if he wanted to get the killing done, because there were only two swords in all Israel at the time, Jonathan's and Saul's. And it's hard to kill Philistines with only sticks and stones.
So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found. 1 Samuel 13:22
But God had a plan. He'd force the Philistines to kill each other (and throw in an earthquake for dramatic effect).
And there was trembling ... and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling. ...
The multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another... Every man's sword was against his fellow. 1 Samuel 14:15-20
After the Philistines killed each other, the Israelites must have gathered up their swords and spears, because by the end of the same chapter Saul is fighting everybody at once, "vexing" them all.
So Saul ... fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed them. And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them. 1 Samuel 14:47-48
(Since the Bible doesn't say that God was involved in these battles, I didn't include the victims in God's total.)

How many Philistine soldiers did God kill by forcing them to kill each other? The Bible doesn't say, so I just guessed the usual 1000.

God's next killing: The Amalekite Genocide

19 December 2009

Jonathan's very first slaughter (not counting the one before)

Well, it was a bit disappointing to me, but I guess it was OK for a very first slaughter.

Here's how it happened.

One day Jonathan and his armor bearer decided to go find some uncircumcised guys to kill. Who knows? Maybe God would help them.
Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us. 1 Samuel 14:6
Jonathan's amorous armor bearer said to him, "Do whatever is in your heart. Whatever is in your heart is in my heart, too." (They had a very close, intimate relationship.)
And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart. 1 Samuel 14:7
So Jonathan told him his plan. They will go over to the Philistines and if they say, "Wait there and we'll come over to you," then Jonathan and his armor bearer will stay put. But if the Philistines say, "Come up to us, and we will show you something," then they will attack, knowing that God will help them kill them.
Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them. If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them. But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the LORD hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us. 1 Samuel 14:8-10
So they did that. And when the Philistines saw them, they said, "Look the Hebrews have crawled out of the holes they were hiding in."
And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves. 1 Samuel 14:11
And then the Philistines said the magic words of doom, "Come on up and we'll show you a thing or two."
And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. 1 Samuel 14:12a
When Jonathan heard that, he he told his armor bearer that God would help them kill the Philistines.
And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel. 1 Samuel 14:12b
So Jonathan and his armor bearer crawled out of their hole and began to kill Philistines.
And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him. 1 Samuel 14:12
They killed about 20 of them, all in an area of half an acre or so. Which is not too bad for a very first slaughter.
And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow. 1 Samuel 14:14
I don't know about you, but the thing that bothers me about this story is the "first slaughter" part. Because if this was Jonathan's very first slaughter, then what the hell was he doing in the last chapter?
And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba. 1 Samuel 13:3
It sounds like Jonathan's second slaughter, and I'm a bit pissed off about it!

God's next killing: God forced the Philistines to kill each other

17 December 2009

Another Ammonite Massacre (and another God-inspired body-part message)

Remember the Holy Civil War a few killings back? Well this is a lot like it.

It starts with the people from Jabeshgilead making a proposition to the Ammonites.
Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabeshgilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee. 1 Samuel 11.1
Does Jabeshgilead sound sound familiar to you? Well, if you read about God’s 57th killing, it should. (In that story, the Israelites killed everyone in the city of Jabeshgilead except for the virgin women, whom they gave to the surviving Benjamites for wives.)

So everyone in Jabeshgilead was killed a few years before the events in 1 Samuel 11 supposedly took place. Yet here in verse 1 they are making a treaty with the Ammonites. Do dead people make treaties? I guess they do in the Bible.

Anyway, here's the deal that Nahash offered the (dead?) people from Jabeshgilead:
Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel. 11.2
Now you might think that this would be a 'no brainer' to the people of Jabeshgilead. But since they were already dead, maybe they didn't have any eyes to poke out. In any case, the people of Jabshgilead asked for a week to see if they could get an army together to fight the Ammonites. If they couldn't, they'd let the Ammonites poke out one of their eyes.
The elders of Jabesh said unto him, Give us seven days' respite, that we may send messengers unto all the coasts of Israel: and then, if there be no man to save us, we will come out to thee. 11.3
The Ammonites said, "Sure, go ahead and get an army together. We'll give you a week." So the leaders of Jabeshgilead sent messengers to Saul.

When Saul heard about it, "the Spirit of the Lord came upon him," and Saul did what any spirit-filled person would do: he killed some oxen, chopped their bodies up into 12 pieces, and sent the pieces to the 12 tribes of Israel.
The Spirit of God came upon Saul ... And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers. 11.6-7a
And it worked, too. Messages like that always work in the Bible.
The fear of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out with one consent. 11.7b
Within a week the ox body parts were sent around to all the tribes of Israel and all the people of Israel responded "as one," forming an army of 330,000.
When he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. 11.8
It's amazing what a 12 rotting pieces of meat can do!

Then Saul told the people of Jabeshgilead:
To morrow, by that time the sun be hot, ye shall have help. And the messengers came and shewed it to the men of Jabesh; and they were glad. 11.9
So the messengers went back and told the good news to leaders of Jabeshgilead, and they told Nahash that tomorrow they'd let them poke out their eyes.
The men of Jabesh said, To morrow we will come out unto you, and ye shall do with us all that seemeth good unto you. 11.10
The next day Saul and his army killed Ammonites until it got a bit too hot for killing. Then they stopped and took a little break. Before they were done, though, they had killed all the Ammonites.
Saul ... slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day: and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together. 11.11
After the slaughter, some of the people wanted Samuel to kill all the Israelites that didn't want Saul to be made king. But Saul said,
There shall not a man be put to death this day: for to day the LORD hath wrought salvation in Israel. 11.13
So since it was God that did all the killing, he deserves all the credit. The Bible doesn't say how many Ammonites were killed; I'll call it a standard massacre and say 1000.

God's next killing: Jonathan's very fist slaughter (not counting the one before)

16 December 2009

The Lord thundered great thunder upon the Philistines

After God killed more than 50,000 for looking into the ark, the ark was moved to Kirjathjearim and the people of Israel "lamented after the Lord" -- which means, I guess, that they wanted the damned thing back.
And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD. 1 Samuel 7.2
So Samuel told them what to do. Get rid of all their other gods and worship Yahweh alone. So the Israelites rounded up all their gods and threw them away. When the Philistines heard about all this, they prepared to attack Israel.

The Israelites asked Samuel to ask God to save them. So Samuel killed a baby lamb and burned its dead body for God. Then Samuel cried out to God and God heard him.
Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him. 7.9
While Samuel was busy roasting the lamb for God, the Philistines attacked. And God "thundered with a great thunder" and "discomfited them." Then the Israelites chased them down and killed them.
As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them. 7.10-11
After the slaughter, Samuel put up a monument that said, "So far the Lord has helped us." 
Hitherto hath the LORD helped us. 7.12
Once again the Bible doesn't say how many Philistines were killed. So I'll just call it 1000.

God's next killing: Another Ammonite Massacre (and another God-inspired body-part message)

15 December 2009

God kills Eli's sons

There was an old priest name Eli, who had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. Like Eli, his sons were priests, but they were bad priests who didn't know God, stole meat from burnt offerings, and had sex with women at the door of the tabernacle.
The sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD. 1 Samuel 2.12
If any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. 2.16
Eli … heard all that his sons did … how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 2.22
Eli talked to his sons about it and tried to get them to change their ways, but they wouldn't listen to him since God had already decided to kill them.
They hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them. 2.25
Before killing Eli's sons, though, God tormented Eli a bit. First, a "man of God" tells Eli that God will "consume his eyes" and "grieve his heart" and make sure that all of his descendants will die young.
A man of God ... said unto him, Thus saith the LORD ... I will cut off thine arm... There shall not be an old man in thine house for ever ... I shall ... consume thine eyes and ... grieve thine heart. 2.27-33
Then, just in case the first message didn't get through, God sends another one to Eli through the boy prophet, Samuel. It takes God three tries to deliver the message, but he finally does. And it's the same nasty message: God will make everyone’s ears tingle by punishing all of Eli's unborn descendants for the sins of his sons.
The LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken … I will judge his house for ever … because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. 3.11-13
Samuel delivers the message to Eli and he responds the way believers always do. (God can do whatever he wants -- however absurd, cruel, or unjust -- and they will call it good.)
It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good. 3.18
So now God had to figure out how he was going to kill Eli's sons.

And that's where the Philistines came in. God used them to kill Eli's sons, along with a 34,000 Israelite soldiers.

In the first battle, the Israelites lost 4000 men.
The Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men. 4.2
Which surprised the heck out of the Israelites, since God was supposed to be on their side.

So they went to get the ark of the covenant, figuring it would protect them from the Philistines.
When the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of … that … it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. 4.3
Along with the ark, they also got Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas.
So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD … and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. 4.4
When the ark came to the Israelites’ camp, they all shouted at once, causing an earthquake.
When the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. 4.5
The earth shook so much that the Philistines felt it at their camp, and they knew just what it meant. God was with the Israelites and he was on their side.
The Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. 4.7
The Philistines had heard what God did to the Egyptians and they were afraid that now he’d do it to them. So they all said together: “Woe is us.”
Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. 4.8
Then they snapped out of it and started to act like Philistines, and killed another 30,000 Israelites.
The Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. 4.10
And, in the process, they also killed Eli’s sons.
The ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain. 4.11
Just as God said he would do in 1 Samuel 2.25 (I gave God credit for 34,002, 34,000 Israelite soldiers and Eli’s two sons: Hophni and Phinehas.)

12 December 2009

50,070 killed for looking into the ark of the Lord

In his last killing, God was busy fashioning hemorrhoids and placing them in the Philistines' secret parts. Stuff like that gets annoying after a while.

So the Philistines asked their priests how they can get God to stop. The priests told them to make five golden hemorrhoids and five golden mice as trespass offerings, and put the ark and the offerings in a cart pulled by two cows. Then let the cows go wherever they choose. If they go toward Bethshemesh, then it was God who was striking the people with hemorrhoids in their secret parts.
The Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the LORD? And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but … return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed … What shall be the trespass offering? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice … take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart; and put the … trespass offering … and send it away … And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Bethshemesh, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us: it was a chance that happened to us. 1 Samuel 6.2-9
Since that sounded like a reasonable plan, that's what they did. And the cows headed straight for Bethshemesh "and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left."
They laid the ark of the LORD upon the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their emerods. And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh.  6.11-12
So the world now knows for sure that it was God who killed the Philistine people by putting hemorrhoids in their secret parts.

That would have been a happy ending, I suppose, except some of the Bethshemeshites looked into the ark. So God had to kill 50,070 of them.
He smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter. 6.19
Stories like this can only be found in the Bible.

God smote them with hemorrhoids in their secret parts

You may have noticed at the end of the last killing, that the Philistines stole the ark of the covenant from the Israelites. And that’s when their troubles really began.

The Philistines brought the ark to Ashdod and set it up next to their god, Dagon.
The Philistines took the ark of God ... unto Ashdod ... into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. 1 Samuel 5.1-2
The next morning Dagon had fallen on his face.
When they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face. 5.3
So they put Dagon back in his place, but the next morning he had fallen down again, and this time his head and hands had fallen off, so he was no more than a stump.
When they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. 5.4
Then God started to get nasty. He destroyed the people of Asdod and smote those that survived with hemorrhoids.
But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods (hemorrhoids). 5.6
So the people of Ashdod decided to send the ark to another Philistine city: Gath.
What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither. 5.8
And then God smote the people of Gath, the small and the great, with hemorrhoids in their secret parts.
The hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts. 5.9
After that, what do you think the Gathites decided to do with God's ark? They sent it to Ekron.
Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. 5.10
When the ark arrived at Ekron, God did the usual thing: he killed most of the people and gave the rest hemorrhoids.
There was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven. 5.11-12
The Bible doesn't say how many people God killed in Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron. So I'll just call it 3000, 1000 from each city. 

11 December 2009

God's Killings in Judges

Here's a summary of God's killings in Judges.
Killing Event Verse Estimated number killed Cumulative total
1 God delivers the Canaanites and Perizzites Judges 1:4 10,000 10,000
2 The Jerusalem Massacre Judges 1:8 1000 11,000
3 Ten Massacres, a wedding, and some God-proof iron chariots Judges 1:9-25 10,000 21,000
4 The LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim Judges 3:7-10 1000 22,000
5 Ehud delivers a message from God: a knife in the belly Judges 3:15-22 1 22,001
6 God delivers 10,000 lusty Moabites Judges 3:28-29 10,000 32,001
7 Barak and God Massacre the Canaanites Judges 4:14 1000 33,001
8 Jael pounds a tent stake through a sleeping man's head Judges 4:18-25 1 33,002
9 God forces Midianite soldiers to kill each other Judges 7:22, Judges 8:10 120,000 153,002
10 A city is massacred and 1000 burn to death because of God's evil spirit Judges 9:23-33 2001 155,003
11 The Ammonite massacre Judges 11:32-33 20,000 175,003
12 Jephthah's daughter Judges 11:32-33 1 175,004
13 The spirit of the Lord comes on Samson and he murders 30 men for their clothes Judges 14:19 30 175,034
14 The Spirit of the Lord comes upon Samson and he kills 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass Judges 15:14-15 1000 176,034
15 Samson's God-assisted act of terrorism Judges 16:27-30 3,000 179,034
16 A Holy Civil War Judges 20:35-37 65,100 244,134

There are other notable killings in Judges that involve God in one way or another. I didn't include them in God's killings since it wasn't entirely clear (to me at least) that God was directly involved. Here are a few posts about these killings.

Let me know if I missed any or if I got some of the numbers wrong.

10 December 2009

The End of Judges: Two genocides and 200 stolen virgins

My last post was about the God-inspired civil war between the tribe of Benjamin and the other Israelites, which was God's way of dealing with that messy affair involving the Levite and his concubine.
Now it's time for the rest of the story.

As you'll recall, God told the Israelites to fight the Benjamites three times. In the first two battles, the Israelites were defeated and 40,000 of their soldiers were killed. But the third time "God smote Benjamin," killing 25,100 of them. But 600 Benjamites survived.
But six hundred [Benjamite] men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon, and abode in the rock Rimmon four months. Judges 20:48
After the battle, the Israelites killed everything (human and animal) in every Benjamite village, town, and city and then burned everything to the ground.
And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city, as the beast, and all that came to hand: also they set on fire all the cities that they came to. Judges 20:48
But then they remembered the 600 surviving Benjamite soldiers.

Where the heck were these guys going to find wives, since the Israelites had killed all the other Benjamites and they all swore to God at the Mizpeh concubine body part meeting that none of them would "give" their daughters to any Benjamite?
Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife. Judges 21:1
Then they thought of a great solution. They'd check the records of the Mizpeh meeting and see who didn't show up when they got a body part in the mail.
And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the LORD? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabeshgilead to the assembly. Judges 21:8
It turned out that Jabeshgilead was absent. So they sent 12,000 soldiers to Jabeshgilead to kill everyone in town except for the virgin women. That produced 400 virgins, which they delivered to the Benjamite survivors at the rock Rimmon.
And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children. And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male ... and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabeshgilead: .Judges 21:10-14
But shit! There were 600 Benjamites, so they were still 200 virgins short. Where the fuck were they going to find 200 more virgins?

Well, someone heard about this dancing festival that they had at Shiloh. So they had the remaining 200 Benjamite men hide in the bushes and catch the Shiloh virgins when they came out to dance.
Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards ... And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh ... And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught. Judges 21:20-23
So each of the 600 surviving Benjamite soldiers got a virgin and everything worked out according to God's plan.

In the comments, busterggi asks, "So what was Yahweh's plan?"

It's a fair question. Let's see if we can figure it out from the text of Judges 19-21.

There are some things that are clear enough. God approved of the Israelite civil war between the Benjamite tribe and the rest of the Israelites. We know this since God was directly asked three times (Judges 20:18, 23, 28) by the non-Benjamites whether they should attack the Benjamites. In each case, God said yes.
Which side he was on is less clear, however. The first two times that he told the non-Benjamites to attack, they were routed by the Benjamites and lost a total of 40,000 men. But the third time, "the LORD smote Benjamin" and 25,100 Benjamites died (which was nearly all of them). What God had in mind in the first two battles is anyone's guess, but he seems to have favored the non-Benjamites in the overall war.

Which makes you wonder, why did God want the Israelites to fight against each other, and why did he want the non-Benjamites to win?

To answer that we have to go back to the Levite and his concubine. That was, after all, the only justification for the war. The men of Gibeah were Benjamites, the Benjamites refused to hand over the men of Gibeah (all of them, I guess) to the non-Benjamites to be killed, so the non-Benjamites had to go to war with the Benjamites. God must have accepted this justification for war, since no other is even hinted at in the story.
So God approved of the war, but did he approve of the way the Israelites were called to war? That is, did he approve of chopping up the concubine's body into 12 pieces and sending the pieces to the 12 tribes of Israel? (I guess even the Benjamites got a piece.) Well, he certainly never voiced any disapproval. And there is another similar message that he definitely approved. Shortly after Saul became king, "the spirit of God came upon Saul ... and he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coast of Israel." (1 Samuel 11:6-7). This was a call to war -- and Saul did it under the influence of God's spirit. So chopping up dead bodies and sending them as messages is something that God inspires people to do. So we can be pretty sure that God approved of the rotting concubine body part messages.

OK. So God approved of the war, was rooting for the non-Benjamites, and most likely approved of the call to war message. But how about the genocide after the war?

That is a harder question. But God had plenty of chances to object if he disapproved. And (as readers of this blog well know) he often performed genocide himself and commanded the Israelites to do likewise. So I think he was OK with the genocide of the Benjamites.

But what about after the genocide. Did he think the 600 surviving Benjamites needed wives? Did he approve of the vow (to him) that the non-Benjamites made to not "give" their daughters to Benjamites? Did he think it was OK to kill everyone in Jabeshgilead except the virgin women in order to get 400 wives for the Benjamites? And did he approve of the abduction of the Shiloh girls for the remaining 200 Benjamites?

I would say that the answer to each of these questions is yes. God approved of it all. It was all a part of his plan and everything worked out just the way he wanted it to.

What do you think?

God's next killing: Eli's sons and 34,000 soldiers

09 December 2009

A Holy Civil War (It had something to do with rotting, concubine body-part messages)

Remember the story about the Levite and his concubine? You know the one where the Levite and his concubine are staying at a guy's house when a mob comes and asks to have sex with the Levite, and the host says no you can't have sex with him but I'll give you my virgin daughter and his concubine instead, so the Levite gives them his concubine and they rape her all night and she crawls back to the house and dies the next morning, and then the Levite puts her body on his donkey and goes home and chops her body into 12 pieces and sends a piece to each tribe of Israel? Yeah that one.

Well, it's not over yet.

You see, when the 12 tribes got the pieces of decaying body parts, they immediately assembled before the Lord in Mizpeh, along with the entire population of Israel and 400,000 soldiers. (What else would you do if you got a hunk of rotting flesh in the mail?)
Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man ... unto the LORD in Mizpeh. And ... four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword. Judges 20:1-2
When they arrived at Mizpeh, the Israelites asked the meaning of the rotting flesh messages. So the Levite told them the nasty story that is found in Judges 19, except that he left out the part about how he gave his concubine to the mob to do with as they pleased.

When the Israelites heard this, they all said together in complete unison:
This shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up by lot against it. Judges 20:9
(God's just war theory: Since the town of Gibeah was where the incident with the concubine occurred, and the inhabitants of Gibeah were from the tribe of Benjamin, the other Israelite tribes must go to war with the Benjamites. This may not make much sense to you, but it does to God.)

But first the Israelites ask God what they should do. He tells them to go to war with the Benjamites, saying that the tribe of Judah should go first. (I'm skipping a bit here. See the Brick Testament for the details.) So they did that, but it didn't work out too well, and 22,000 Israelites died.

After their first defeat, the Israelites wept before God and asked him what they should do next. God said to go fight the Benjamites (again). So the next day they tried that, but it didn't turn out so well this time either. Another 18,000 Israelites were killed.

Once again all of the Israelites sit and weep before God, and ask him (for the third time) if they should attack the Benjamites. God give them his usual answer: Attack. This time he promised that he would deliver them into their hands.

And he did. It's not entirely clear, though, how many Benjamites were killed, 25,100, 25,000, or maybe both in two separate battles. But since there were only a total of 26,000 Benjamites soldiers, I'll just give God credit for killing another 25,100.
And the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel: and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty and five thousand and an hundred men: all these drew the sword. Judges 20:35
Still, it seems to me that God was also at least partly responsible for the 40,000 Israelites that were killed in the first two unsuccessful battles that he told the Israelites to fight. What do you think, should these be included in God's killings?

10 Dec 09: I've decided to add the 40,000 Israelite deaths to God's total. If you think I'm wrong about that, let me know in the comments.

29 November 2009

Judges 19: Gang rape, dismemberment, and body part messages

I was going to skip over this story, since it is so damned disgusting and God seemed to have nothing much to do with it (other than inspiring it, that is). And yet, it's in the Bible, so it must be important to him. Maybe a believer that can explain why God likes it so much.

It seems to be based upon Genesis 19, where the just and righteous Lot offers his virgin daughters to a crowd of angel rapers.

This time, though, the visitor that the men of the city found so attractive was a Levite, not a couple of angels. (As always, see the Brick Testament for the details.)

Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him. Judges 19:22

Can't you just picture it? All the men of a city come to a house and demand to have sex with the new guy in town.

So what do you think the host did when he answered the door? Well, he offered the mob his virgin daughter (and his guest's concubine), of course! It's the polite thing to do. Any just and righteous man would do the same.

Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. Judges 19:22

But the the men didn't want his virgin daughter, so he gave them the concubine instead.

But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning. Judges 19:25

The next morning, the concubine came back to the house and collapsed at the door.

The Levite opened the door, saw the concubine lying there, and told her to get up. But she didn't answer. So he put her on his donkey and went home.

And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel. Judges 19:29

Did you catch that? The Levite cut the concubine into twelve pieces and sent the bloody body parts to the twelve tribes of Israel. (As Brucker points out, the text doesn't even say whether the concubine was alive or dead when her body was dismembered.)

Now that is a strange way to send a message! Someone from each tribe of Israel got a rotting piece of flesh in the mail. What the fuck were they supposed to make of that? (Oh, look Martha, here's a stinking hunk of putrefied abdomen that arrived in the mail parcel post!)

The story ends with this advice:

Consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds. Judges 19:30

Those who do consider it will immediately reject the idea that the Bible was inspired by God. Hopefully, they will then speak their minds.

There is nothing in this story that indicates that God disapproves of:
  1. A man having a sex slave (concubine)
  2. A father offering his virgin daughter to a sex-crazed mob
  3. Chopping up bodies (dead or alive)
  4. Sending messages with body parts
It's just a stupid, nasty story that was put in the Bible because it is a stupid, nasty story.

21 November 2009

Psalm 109ers: The new face of the Republican Party

You've heard of the birthers, the teabaggers, the 9/12ers.

Now we have the Psalm 109ers.

It's the new face of the Republican Party. Praying for people to die, starting with Barack Obama.

The Republican Party is embracing the hatred in the Bible.

20 November 2009

Sarah Palin is praying for me

OK, not just for me, but for all of her "lonely, shallow" critics.

I wonder if she and her "prayer warriors" use Psalm 109 as a model for her prayer.

19 November 2009

The Massacre of the Peaceful, Unsuspecting People

OK, enough messing around. I've got to get back to God's killings in Judges.

What do you think about this one? Should it be included on God's list?

The story begins with the tribe of Dan (one of the 12 tribes of Israel) looking for a nice place to live. So they sent out five men to find some land.

On their way, they stopped at a Micah's house and asked his priest to ask God where they should go to find some land. The priest told them to just go looking for it, and that God would be with them wherever they went.

So they left there and came to a place called Laish, where the people lived peaceful, secure, carefree lives.

The five men ... came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, ... quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing. Judges 18:7

Then the five men returned and told the other Danites to attack Laish, saying that God had given it into their hands.

When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth. Judges 18:10

So they round up 600 soldiers and march off toward Laish.

(On the way, they stop off at Micah's place, steal his idols and priest, and then proceed toward Laish.)

When they get to Laish, they kill all of the peaceful, unsuspecting people, burn their city, and take their land.

The children of Dan ... came unto Laish, unto a people that were at quiet and secure: and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire. Judges 18:26-27

It was just another bible massacre. But was God responsible for it?

I think there's enough evidence to show that God approved of the massacre, but did he help the Danites do it or just sit back and enjoy the show?

A Prayer for Christian Terrorists: Let his days be few, his children fatherless, his wife a widow

Have you seen this bumper sticker yet?

It looks pretty harmless doesn't it? Pray for Obama, with a reference to the Psalms. What could be more harmless than the Psalms?

Unless you've read the Psalms, that is.

Here is the verse that is referred to on the bumper sticker.

Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Psalm 109:8

Like almost everything else in the Bible, it's not too clear, is it?

When applied to Barack Obama, it could just be asking God to help Sarah Palin defeat him in 2012.

Or it could be praying for his death now, natural or otherwise.

But let's look at the context.

Here is the verse immediately after the verse on the bumper sticker.

Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Psalm 109:9

Well, that clears it up, doesn't it? The prayer is either asking God to kill Obama, or asking God to inspire someone else to do it for him.

21 November 2009 Note: Cafe Press has banned all Psalm 109 merchandise.
(Don't you love it when the Bible is recognized as hate speech?)

17 November 2009

Beauty Pageants, Breast Implants, and Sex Tapes (What the Bible says about Carrie Prejean)

Here are some quotes from Carrie Prejean's interview with Christianity Today -- along with some stupid stuff I found in the Bible.

"I think you can be a Christian and compete in a pageant."

That could be. But, as usual, the Bible is far from clear about this.

On the one hand, there is Esther, who became queen by winning a raunchy beauty/sex contest (As Misty pointed out in the comments and I had completely forgotten). Here is her story.

King Ahasuerus throws a party and encourages his guests to drink to excess. Then, when they are all drunk, he orders Queen Vashti to show her stuff before him and his guests. Esther 1:7-11

Vashti refuses to entertain the king's drunken guests by dancing before them. For this she is no longer to be queen, to be replaced by someone better (prettier). 1:12-19

So "all the fair young virgins" throughout the kingdom are brought before the king, and the one that "pleaseth" the king the most will replace Vashti. 2:2-4

When it was Esther turn to "go in unto the king," she pleases him the most. So, having won the sex contest, she is made queen in Vashti's place. 2:8-17

On the other hand, here's some stuff from the New Testament that might be a problem for Christian beauty pageant contestants.
I will that ... women adorn themselves in modest apparel ... not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array. 1 Timothy 2:8-9
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. 1 Peter 3:3
(Well, at least she doesn't have braided hair!)

"I don't see anywhere in the Bible where it says you shouldn't get breast implants."

Carrie might be right about that. For example, here's a case where God brags about helping a woman enhance her "ornaments". Heck, he even personally fashioned her breasts for her! (God is a hair dresser and a breast enhancer. Who knew?)
I [God] have caused thee to ... come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown. Ezekiel 16:6
And here's a case where the Bible expresses concern for a woman's small breasts. (If breast implants were available at the time, the problem would have been solved.)
We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? Song of Solomon 8:8
And in this verse, her big sister brags about her big breasts.
My breasts like towers. Song of Solomon 8:10
So score this one for Carrie. God likes big breasts, natural or not.

"There is a video out there of me."
(According to RadarOnline.com, there are at least 8 of them, each showing her performing solo sex acts.)

God might have a beef with Carrie on this one, depending on what kind of props she used in her videos.
"Thou hast ... madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them." Ezekiel 16:17
And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. Jeremiah 3:9
They have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward. Lamentations 1:8-9

So, on the whole, I think Carrie should be careful. God does some nasty stuff to women when he thinks they've misbehaved.

Here's just one example from Ezekiel.

The nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms .... Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out ... and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 23:29-34

11 November 2009

Samson kills 3000 in a suicide terrorist attack

After Samson finished killing 1000 men with a jawbone of an ass, he had sex with a prostitute.
Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her. Judges 16:1

At midnight he left the prostitute and ripped out the doors and gate posts of the city and carried them to the top of a hill.

Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron. Judges 16:3

Then Samson saw and fell in love with Delilah.

Afterward ... he loved a woman ... whose name was Delilah. Judges 16:4

Now Delilah was paid by the Philistines to find the magical source of Samson's strength and to figure out how he could be restrained. So she asked Samson three times about it, while some Philistines hid in another room.

The first time he said that he'd become as weak as any other man if he were tied up with bowstrings. So she did that and then shouted, "Hey Samson, the Philistines are coming!" But he broke the bowstrings as though they were burnt strings.

She asked again and he told her to use ropes. So she tied him with ropes and then shouted, "Hey Samson, the Philistines are coming!" But he broke the ropes like they were threads.

She asked him a third time, and he told her to weave his seven braids into a cloth and fasten the whole mess to the wall. So she did that and then shouted, "Hey Samson (you dumb shit), the Philistines are coming!" But he broke out of that one, too.

But Delilah didn't give up. She kept pestering him until finally Samson told her the true source of his strength. It was his hair. If his hair was shaved off, he'd become as weak as any other man.

So when Samson fell asleep on her lap, she cut his hair. Then the Philistines captured Samson, gouged out his eyes, and put him in prison.

Later at one of their big parties, the Philistines brought Samson out to entertain them. Here's what happened.

Now the house was full of ... about three thousand men and women ... And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord God .. strengthen me ... that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes ... and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life. Judges 16:27-30

This was the first suicide terrorist act. It resulted in the deaths of 3000 civilian men and women. God approved of it and gave Samson the strength to do it. And although the Bible doesn't say so, there are unconfirmed reports that Samson shouted "God is great" as the walls came tumbling down.

God's next killing

09 November 2009

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson and he killed 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass

In my last post, I described how Samson's brief (week-long) marriage to a Philistine woman was prearranged by God so that Samson would murder 30 Philistines for their clothes. That was the first chapter of Samson's life (Judges 14). Here's the next.
After Samson murdered the 30 Philistines, he went his wife's house to have sex with her. He even brought a young goat along to pay her for her services.
Samson visited his wife with a kid; and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber. Judges 15:1
But then her father had to tell him the bad news: he had given Samson's wife to one of his friends because he thought that he "hated" her.
And her father said, I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion. Judges 15:2a
His father-in-law suggested that Samson just take his younger daughter. Heck, she's prettier anyway.
Is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her. Judges 15:2b
But Samson had a better idea. An idea that only one of God's special heroes could come up with. He'd catch 300 foxes, tie their tails together, light them on fire, and set them loose in the Philistine's grain fields.
And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. Judges 15:4
When the Philistines found out about it, they burned to death Samson's wife and father-in-law.
Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson, the son of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire. Judges 15:2b
In response, Samson smote the Philistines "hip and thigh" with a great slaughter. (I'm not including this killing on God's list, since the story doesn't tell us that "the Spirit of the Lord came upon him" or otherwise directly say that God was involved.)
And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease. And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter. Judges 15:7-8
Then Samson went to hang out "in the top of the rock Etam" for a while. While he was there, 3000 men of Judah came, tied him up and took him to the Philistines. When they delivered Samson "the Spirit of the Lord came upon him" and he broke the ropes and killed 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass.
The spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him ... And he found a new jawbone of an ass and slew a thousand men therewith. Judges 15:14-15
Samson was thirsty after the killing, so God made water come out of the same jawbone so that Samson could get a drink.
And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and ... God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again. Judges 15:18-19
Does anyone really believe this stuff? Well, yes they do, unfortunately. Over two billion people believe (or pretend to believe) that this story actually happened exactly as it is recorded in Judges 15. Samson tied the tails of 300 foxes together and set them on fire and then he killed 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass.
Of course most believers have never read the story and don't even know it exists, but they believe it anyway, completely and implicitly, because they believe that everything in the Bible is true.
It's easier to believe in stories like this if you don't know they exist.

God's next killing: Samson kills 3000 in a suicide terrorist attack

05 November 2009

The Spirit of the Lord comes upon Samson and he murders 30 men for their clothes

Just when you think the stories in Judges couldn't get any stupider, the next one comes along to prove you wrong.

Take the story of Samson, for example.

It starts out in the usual way, with the children of Israel doing evil in the sight of the Lord and the Lord doing what he always does in such cases: he sells them. (Except that this time the Bible says he "delivered" them to the Philistines for forty years, so maybe the Israelites were a gift and he didn't get paid for them.)

Of course, after giving, selling, or renting the Israelites to the Philistines, God needed to find someone to help kill the Israelites' new owners. And that, as you probably guessed, is where Samson comes in.
(This is the first time that the third step in God's famous four-step process was skipped. At least I can't find where the Israelites cry out to the Lord. Oh well, maybe they cried out, but God couldn't hear them or just forgot to tell us about it.)

Samson's birth was a lot like Jesus'. An angel visited his mom to announce that she was going to have a son. He even came again unto her when her husband wasn't around and got her pregnant.
So Samson's birth was a fucking miracle.
And the Lord blessed him ... and the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times. Judges 13:24-25
The first thing the Bible tells us about Samson is this:
Samson ... saw a woman ... of the daughters of the Philistines ... And Samson said unto his father ... Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well. Judges 14:1-3
Now Samson's folks were a bit troubled by this, since they knew how crazy God gets when an Israelite even thinks about marrying a non-Israelite. But then they didn't know that this was all a part of God's plan.
But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines. Judges 14:4
Samson was on his way to visit his new Philistine girlfriend when "the Spirit of the LORD came mightily" on him. Now in the Bible, there's pretty much only one thing that happens when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon somebody: the spirit-filled person kills something. That's what happened here.
Behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid. Judges 14:5-6
When he arrived his Philistine girlfriend's place "she pleased Samson well" and then he returned home. On his way he saw the lion carcass...
...and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion. Judges 14:8
Which, of course, was another miracle.

The spirit of God came upon Samson and he killed a lion. Then God sent bees to make honey from the dead lion's body.

Of course, it's also possible that the dead lion was covered with flies (not bees) and the putrefying flesh and maggots looked like honey to the dumb as shit Samson. (In which case the "honey" would have been pretty nasty stuff!)

Well whatever it was, Samson thought it tasted pretty darned sweet. He even brought some home to his folks, although he didn't tell them where it came from.
And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion. Judges 14:9
Although the Bible doesn't actually say so, I guess Samson married the Philistine woman that pleased him well. And they had a week-long party with thirty of Samson's new-found Philistine friends.

At the party Samson told a riddle.
I will now put forth a riddle unto you ... Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. Judges 14:12-13
Wasn't that a great riddle? Anyway, Samson told his guests that whoever could figure it out before the week of partying is over would get 30 sheets and 30 garments. But whoever can't will have to give Samuel 30 sheets and 30 garments.

Now the party goers took the riddle pretty seriously. So they asked Samson's new wife to tell them the answer or they'd burn her house down. She finally got the answer from Samson and then she told the guys at the party. So Samson didn't get his 30 sets of sheets and garments.

Samson was pissed. He accused his guests of ... well, I'm not sure what. Here's what he said:
If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle. Judges 14:18
So the party animals plowed with Samson's heifer and they found out his riddle.
And then God gets involved again.
And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. Judges 14:19
So Samson went to another Philistine town (Ashkelon) and killed 30 men and took their clothes to give to the guys at his party for solving the riddle.

Oh, and then in the next verse, Samson's new wife is given to the best man at his wedding.
But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend. Judges 14:20
So everything worked out according to God's plan. Samson's brief (1 week) marriage, the lion and honey episode, the clever riddle and the clothing bet -- It was all carefully planned by God so that, in the end, Samson would murder thirty men for their clothes.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Oh, did you get Samson's riddle? Me neither.

God's next killing: The spirit of the Lord comes upon Samson and he kills 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass

02 November 2009

Jephthah's Daughter

In the last killing, the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah and he promised that he would offer to God a burned sacrifice of whatever comes out to greet him if God would help him massacre the Ammonites. God came through with his end of the deal by delivering 20 cities into Jephthah's hand and "he smote them ... with a very great slaughter."

When Jephthah returned home after slaughtering the Ammonites, his daughter came out to meet him.
Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances. Judges 11.34
When Jephthah saw his daughter, he tore his clothes and told her that he had opened his mouth to God.
When he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter … for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back. 11.35
His daughter (who is unnamed in the Bible) said,
My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth. 11.36
What had proceeded out of Jephthah’s mouth was, of course, a God-inspired promise to God to kill whatever greeted him. And so by God, that's what he did. A man's got to do what a man's got to do.
And ... her father ... did with her according to his vow which he had vowed. 11.39
God inspired Jephthah to make the vow, so he expected him to abide by it. And God was so pleased when Jephthah killed his daughter for him that he decided to kill his own son for you.

But I'll save that story for later.

God's next killing: 42,000 killed for failing the "Shibboleth" test

The Ammonite massacre

This is the fifth time the same stupid story is repeated in Judges (See Judges 2:14, 3:84:2, and 6:1 for the others), so you know by now what's going to happen.
  1. The Israelites do evil in the sight of the Lord.
  2. God gets angry and sells them as slaves. (This time to the Ammonites.)
  3. The Israelites cry out to God.
  4. God slaughters the people he sold the Israelites to.
A few details change each time the story is told: the number of years that the Israelites are enslaved, the people that he sells them to, and the person that he chooses to help him with the massacre. This time God chooses Jephthah.

As usual, everything starts to go to hell when the spirit of the Lord comes upon Jephthah.
Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah ... And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. Judges 11:29-31
Did you catch that? The spirit of the Lord comes upon Jephthah and he promises to kill whatever comes out to greet him if God will help him massacre the Ammonites. God not only approved of Jephthah's vow, he inspired it.

And, of course, God comes through with his end of the deal by giving Jephthah "a very great slaughter."
So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands. And he smote them ... even twenty cities ... with a very great slaughter. Judges 11:29-39
God delivered 20 cities into Jephthah's hand and "he smote them ... with a very great slaughter." And then Jephthah came home, which leads us to God's next killing.

Note: I originally only gave God credit for 1000 in this killing, but I increased it to 20,000 to account for the 20 massacred cities.

30 October 2009

The Conservative Bible Project needs your help!

Poor Andy is having a rough time re-writing the Bible. Most of the really cool changes have been undone, and hardly anyone is contributing anymore.

And they are missing thousands of opportunities to fix stuff for God.

Take Genesis 19:8 for example. Here is how the Conservative Bible "translates" it.

Look, I have two virgin daughters, and I'll give them to you and you can do whatever you want to them if you just promise me you'll leave these men alone. They're my guests and I'm honor-bound to protect them. Genesis 19:8

And here is 2 Peter 2:4-8.

God ... delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with [their] unlawful deeds;) 2 Peter 2:4-8

As you can see, the second passage hasn't been translated yet. And that's where you can help.

Liberals and atheists love these verses because they show God to be a total jerk. Lot offered his daughters to a crowd of angel rapers, yet he is "just" and "righteous" to God. Someone needs to fix that.

There are several ways this could be done. Genesis 19:8 could be changed to say something that a decent father might say. Something like this:

Look, I have two virgin angels and I'll give them to you and you can do whatever you want to them if you will leave my family alone. For I love my family and I'm honor-bound to protect them. (The angels can probably take care of themselves.) Genesis 19:8

Now that would be just and righteous!

Or you could just remove the "just" and "righteous" stuff about Lot in 2 Peter 2:7-8 like Andy did with "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" and "Whoever is without sin cast the first stone."

Either of these (or both) would be a pretty good fix, but I'm sure you can think of others. When something is this fucked up, anything is an improvement.

Of course we would still have to deal with the rest of the (so far untranslated) story in Genesis 19.

As you may know, Andy has removed wine from the Bible. So this is how the story will have to read in the Conservative Bible.

And Lot went to a cave with his two daughters. And his older daughter said to the younger, "Our father is old and there is no other man around. Let's give him some grape juice and fuck him." So they did that. Lot fucked his older daughter on the first night, and the younger one on the next. Thus were both the daughters of Lot impregnated by their father. Genesis 19:30-36

So now Lot won't even have the excuse of being drunk! How just and righteous is that?

Of course this is just one of the thousands of problems that need fixing at the CBP. So get over there, sign up, and help them out!

One note of caution, though. The CBP is a lot like the Boy Scouts: not just any kid can join. You'll need to sound sufficiently conservative (and batshit crazy) to win Andy's blessing. So watch a bit of Fox News before you go so you'll know how to talk when you get there. And then go to work. Andy needs your help!

19 November 2009 note: Andy and friends have finished the rest of Genesis 19. Here's how they deal with Lot and his daughters.

So they decided that the "just and righteous" Lot (2 Peter 2:7-8) got drunk (with wine, not grape juice) and was "intimate" with his daughters.

Now, that's messed up. Someone ought to go fix it!

20 November 2009: Now they're stuck on Exodus 4:24: "And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him [Moses], and sought to kill him."

Here is the translator's plea for help: "I'm having a bit of trouble with Exodus, specifically, the end of chapter 4 - I've read a few different translations of this part and I'm still not quite sure I grasp what's going on."

Yeah, that's a tough one. Why would a conservative guy like God try to kill Moses?

29 October 2009

A city is massacred and 1000 burn to death because of God's evil spirit

After Gideon died, it was time for his sons to take over. And he had lots of them.
Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives. And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech. Judges 8:30-31
Which was a problem since only one son could succeed him. Luckily, Abimelech came up with a creative solution. He killed all of his 70 brothers on one stone.
Abimelech ... went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone. Judges 9:4-5
Well, all except one, anyway. Jotham, Gideon's youngest son, got away.
So the two remaining sons, Abimelech and Jotham, schemed against each other for control of Israel, with Abimelech winning out, becoming Israel's first king.
Then God decided to get involved by sending an evil spirit.
God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: That the cruelty done to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men of Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren. Judges 9:23-24
(Now you might think it strange that an evil spirit would be sent by God. But if so, you haven't been reading your Bible enough. The Bible is clear about evil spirits: they are either sent directly by God or their origin is unknown. The Bible never attributes evil spirits to Satan.)
Things get complicated after God's evil spirit arrives. But the short story is that Shechem revolts against Abimelech and Abimelech massacres everyone in Shechem, except for 1000 that escape to a tower.(See the Brick Testament story for the details.)

When Abimelech found about about the people in the tower, he set it on fire. While the tower was burning, a woman dropped a millstone and it landed on Abimelech's head, crushing his skull. Abimelech saw that it was a woman, so he told a soldier to kill him since he didn't want it said that he was killed by a woman. (In the Bible, there's nothing worse that being killed by a woman.)
So with the help of God's evil spirit, everything worked out according to God's plan.
Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren: And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham. Judges 9:56-57

Note: I missed this one up to now, so I'm going to have to revise the list. I estimated a total of 2001: 1000 in the burning tower, 1000 in the Shechem massacre, and Abimelech (who wasn't killed by a woman). I know the 2001 value is silly and arbitrary in its precision, but any attempt to put a number on God's killings will run into the same problem.

God's next killing: The Ammonite massacre

27 October 2009

Collision: Are Douglas Wilson's beliefs good for the world?

A couple years ago I mentioned the online debate between Douglas Wilson and Christopher Hitchens. Since then, they've been traveling around debating each other all across the country. And now now they're making a movie about it.

The movie is named Collision and it's set for release today, October 27.

In the online debate, Wilson evaded the topic (which was supposed to be "Is Christianity good for the world?") while forcing Hitchens to explain how an atheist determines what is good. So Hitchens was kept off balance trying to defend his own ethical system, rather than reveal the harm caused by the Bible and Christian belief. I expect Wilson to do the same in the movie version, which is why I am reposting his views here. It's only necessary to list Douglas Wilson's beliefs; once that is done, anyone with any morals will immediately conclude that such views are not good for the world.

Note: Since his views about slavery were made public several years ago in his (and my) hometown of Moscow, Idaho, Wilson has been quiet about his beliefs. I am not aware of any recent statements from him regarding the beliefs that are outlined below. All of the quoted articles are no longer available at the Credenda website. I was, however, able to restore the broken links through the marvel of the wayback machine.

Here is a list of the views of Douglas Wilson and his followers. (As found, but since removed, from the the Credenda Agenda website):

On Slavery

Wilson co-authored a pamphlet on slavery with the title, Southern Slavery as it was. (You can read it here.) Its purpose was to defend slavery as it existed in the pre-Civil War South and to defend the Biblical institution of slavery. When news of the booklet hit Moscow, Idaho in 2003, all hell broke loose. Wilson has since tried to hide his views on slavery through equivocation and denial.

Wilson brags in the article below that he has "said (out loud) that a godly man could have been a slave owner." He doesn't say that out loud anymore.

[N]othing is clearer – the New Testament opposes anything like the abolitionism of our country prior to the War Between the States. The New Testament contains many instructions for Christian slave owners, and requires a respectful submissive demeanor for Christian slaves. See, for example, Eph. 6:5-9, Col. 3:22-4:1, and 1 Tim. 6:1-5.
. . .
The reason why many Christians will be tempted to dismiss the arguments presented here is that we have said (out loud) that a godly man could have been a slave owner. But this 'inflammatory' position is the very point upon which the Bible speaks most directly, again and again. In other words, more people will struggle with what we are saying at the point where the Bible speaks most clearly. There is no exegetical vagueness here. Not only is the Bible not politically correct, it was not politically correct one hundred thirty years ago.
. . .
This entire issue of slavery is a wonderful issue upon which to practice. Our humanistic and democratic culture regards slavery in itself as a monstrous evil, and acts as though this were self-evidently true. The Bible permits Christians to own slaves, provided they are treated well. You are a Christian. Whom do you believe? (1)
On the Law, Homosexuality, and the Sin of Pity

The entire legal system would depend on one book: the Bible.

Let's pretend, just for a moment, that we could have it our way. The great revival we have been praying for has occurred, and every executive, legislator, and bureaucrat in the capital has just been saved. Knowing they ought to begin applying Scripture in their jobs, but not knowing how to go about it, they come to you and your church for advice. What will you tell them? How should they apply God's law?

Looking at the Bible with an eye toward applying it in the civil realm, several things become apparent. First, it is pretty small. … [O]n the average, a little over 1,000 pages. Think of the money governments will save on printing and shelf space!

If biblical law is to be biblically applied, then the biblical punishment must be used.
. . .

Of course, there would be laws enforced against certain crimes which are currently ignored, such as homosexuality. (2)

The list of crimes punishable by death would be a long one, and would include witchcraft, adultery, homosexuality, and cursing one's parents. Most people today would consider this cruel, but that's because they are guilty of the sin of pity. We should kill our family and friends, without pity, by stoning them to death if they believe in the wrong God. And we should cut off a woman's hand if she touches a man's private parts while defending her husband in a fight. And our eye must not pity her.

The civil magistrate is the minister of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer (Rom. 13:4). God has not left his civil minister without guidance on how to exercise his office. The Scriptures set forth clear standards of judgment for many offenses. Capital crimes, for example, include premeditated killing (murder), kidnapping, sorcery, bestiality, adultery, homosexuality, and cursing one's parents (Ex. 21:14; 21:16; 22:18; 22:19; Lev. 20:10; 20:13; Ex. 21:17).

In contemporary American jurisprudence, none of these offenses is punishable by death, with the occasional exception of murder. The magistrates have dispensed with God's standards of justice. Some Christians believe this is an improvement. They would be horrified to think that the "harsh" penalties of the law should still be applied. Sometimes this is the result of the mistaken belief that the Old Testament has no further application after the advent of Christ. This is an exegetical problem. Too often, it is the result of a sinful view of the criminal. This sin is called pity. … Why is pity a sin?

First, pity is not always a sin. But neither is it always good. … God included in the law specific prohibitions against the exercise of pity in meting out punishment.

If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and serve other gods,". . . you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him . . . (Deut. 13:6-9).

If two men fight together, and the wife of one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of the one attacking him, and puts out the hand and seizes him by the genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall not pity her. (Deut. 25:11, 12).

God commands the judge to evaluate the crime rather than the criminal. If the crime is one for which God requires death, then death must be the punishment. Your eye shall not pity. … Thus, the Bible teaches that pity is not an option where God has decided the matter. The magistrate, God's minister, is to faithfully execute justice according to God's standard, not man's. (3)

On Crime and Punishment

The magistrate is God's minister of wrath against those who do evil. There would be only three punishments: death, lashing, and restitution. There would be no jails, prisons, or hospitals for the mentally ill.

Responsibility for the civil order is placed in the hands of magistrates, who act as God's ministers of wrath against those who do evil (Rom. 13:1-7).

God's law sets forth three basic punishments for crime: death, lashing (essentially, a government-sponsored spanking), and restitution. There is a conspicuous absence of county jails, state penitentiaries, reform schools, and hospitals for the criminally insane. The goal of the sentence is to execute God's wrath. . . . (4)

On Elected Officials

We are all currently ruled by God-hating tyrants. Only male Christians (belonging to Doug Wilson's church) should be allowed to hold public office.

If we have God-hating tyrants ruling over us (and we do), then we must recognize that they rule by our invitation.

First, our rulers are to be able men. ... The responsibility of civil, ecclesiastical and family leadership is given to men. … [I]t is an embarrassment and a reproach to the men to have women ruling a nation (Is. 3:12).

The men we choose are to fear God. The unregenerate do not fear God by definition (Rom. 3:18).

We are to choose men of truth. … A man who honestly believes erroneous doctrine may be sincere, but he is also deceived.

From this list of qualifications, it is apparent that, biblically, it is only professing Christians who are qualified to hold public office. (5)

On Disobedient Children

You can't just kill your son for being disobedient. You have to bring a son that is "worthy of death" before the elders of the church (Doug Wilson's church) and have them kill him for for you.

[A] father may (and must) discipline his son, but he may not exercise capital punishment against him on his own authority. Instead, he must bring a son worthy of death to the elders of the city, who are charged with applying the civil penalty (Prov. 13:24; Deut. 21:18-21). (6)
On Church and State

If the judge can't figure out what the proper biblical punishment should be for a crime, then the judge must take the case to the church (Doug Wilson's church). The church (Doug Wilson) will then decide what the Bible says the punishment must be and the judge "wields the sword." The ultimate authority for every matter is the church (you know who's church). Everyone must be a member of and submit to Doug Wilson's church.

God has established the magistrate for the purpose of executing His wrath, but He has not made the civil ruler the exclusive authority on the question of when wrath is appropriate. If a matter is too hard for the judges to determine with the knowledge at hand, then they are commanded to take the question to the church for clarification. The church decides, based on God's Word, what judgment should be carried out, and the judges are obliged to pronounce sentence accordingly.

The state wields the sword, and must wield it in submission to God's law. But if the law is not clear on a particular point, and the state has a question about what God's law requires, it is powerless to interpret Scripture on its own authority. Instead, the state must take the question to the church, which has been charged with protecting, interpreting, and teaching the law of God. The leaders of the church are instructed to make a judgment as to what the law requires, but the church does not thereby take up the sword. Rather, the judgment is passed back to the state, and the magistrates then wield the sword in a manner consistent with the judgment of the church.

[I]t is not enough that the civil government give Christianity a place at the table, even if it is the most honored place. … Nor is it sufficient that the magistrate render "personal submission to the spiritual government" of the church. While our rulers should be members of Christ’s covenant household … a Christian who is also an executive, legislator, or judge owes a duty of submission different than that of the ordinary layman.

On Non-Christians

All citizens would be required to to take oaths of allegiance to the Lord as a prerequisite of citizenship. "Reforming the State ... is about forcing people to outwardly conform to a Christian standard and about protecting the Christian religion." We should have the courage to punish heretics, apostates, blasphemers, swearers, sabbath-breakers properly. (They should all be killed.)

[T]he political leader is the head of the civil covenant. If that head acknowledges that his authority comes from God (as he should), is it enough that he honors God personally? … Or can he also require, for example, oaths of allegiance to the Lord as a prerequisite of citizenship? (Before you balk, keep in mind that we don't have any problem saying pledges of allegiance to mere flags or the nations for which they stand.)

Again, we have no problem making school children dutifully recite the pledge of allegiance, or requiring new citizens to swear oaths of loyalty to the U.S. government. Why can't they also be required to acknowledge the sovereignty of the one true God, and to "zealously renounce all heathen practices?" … Someone who is required to renounce Buddhism as a condition of citizenship is no longer trapped by a spiritual snare, and can't be a snare to anyone else. That is a blessing. Reforming the State is not about forcing people to be Christians. But it is about forcing people to outwardly conform to a Christian standard and about protecting the Christian religion. Historically, the civil magistrate has enforced laws against blasphemy, apostasy, heresy, swearing, and working on the Sabbath. The difficulty is not in defining or punishing these crimes; the difficulty is finding the strength and wisdom to do so.

On Environmentalists

All environmentalists are anti-Christian and all true Christians are anti-environment.

An environmentalist who seeks to "manage" the environment by letting it run wild is disobeying God's command to fill, subdue, and exercise dominion over the earth.

The consequences of environmentalist philosophy are disobedience to God in the short run…. Droughts and famines do not come upon a people who are obedient, but they are promised to those who disobey. An earth left to itself will only yield thorns, thistles, disease, and decay. If Christians are to be obedient to God's dominion mandate, they must oppose the rebellion inherent in environmentalist government policy. (11)

On Pluralism

There wouldn't be any. Everyone would be forced to belong to the One True Church (Doug Wilson's Church).

[T]he Christian magistrate acknowledges there is such a thing as a true church, and that he has a responsibility to nurture that church so that it thrives and to protect it against those things that threaten to do it harm. Obviously, this excludes the idea of pluralism. (12)

Sources: (All of the quotes are taken from the Credenda Agenda, which is the official publication of the church founded by Douglas Wilson.)

1. Douglas Wilson, Thema: So Why Are We Writing About This?, Volume 4, Issue 6

2. Gregory Dickison, Magistralis: Know where to draw the line, Volume 3, Issue 11

3. Gregory Dickison, Magistralis: Your Eye Shall Not Pity, Volume 3, Issue 9

4. Gregory Dickison, Magistralis: On Crime and Punishment, Volume 4, Issue 7

5. Gregory Dickison, Magistralis: On Elected Officials, Volume 5, Issue 3

6. Gregory Dickison, Magistralis: On Disobedient Children, Volume 5, Issue 4

7. Gregory Dickison, Magistralis: The Church as Advisor, Volume 5, Issue 4

8. Gregory Dickison, Magistralis: Nursing Fathers Pt. 2, Volume 13, Issue 2

9. Gregory Dickison, Magistralis: Leading in Righteousness, Volume 9, Issue 4

10. Gregory Dickison, Magistralis: Nursing Fathers, Volume 12, Issue 3

11. Gregory Dickison, Magistralis: On Environmentalists, Volume 3, Issue 5

12. Gregory Dickison, Magistralis: On Pluralism, Volume 13, Issue 2