Originally created for Everything Quest 1: Sins of the World. Not everything here is historical, so I don't know if it fits exactly in the category, but I'll submit it anyway.

Apologies for quoting different versions of the Bible -- the message is the same though.


Deuteronomy 2:32 - 35
The Israelites utterly destroy the men, women, and children of Sihon.

Deuteronomy 3:6
The Israelites utterly destroy the men, women, and children of Og.

Joshua 6:2 (Joshua 6 and Joshua 8:1 to 30)
2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, (and) the mighty men of valour.

Joshua 6:21
21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.

Joshua 8:1 - 2
1. And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:
2 And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.

Joshua 8:8
8 When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the LORD has commanded. See to it; you have my orders."

Joshua 8:24 - 26
24 When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it.
25 Twelve thousand men and women fell that day--all the people of Ai.
26 For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed all who lived in Ai.

Joshua 10:10-27
With the help of the Lord, Joshua utterly destroys the people of Gibeon.

Joshua 10:28
With the Lord's approval, Joshua utterly destroys the people of Makkedah.

Joshua 10:30
With the Lord's approval, Joshua utterly destroys the people of Libnah.

Joshua 10:32-33
With the Lord's approval, Joshua utterly destroys the people of Lachish.

Joshua 10:34-35
With the Lord's approval, Joshua utterly destroys the people of Eglon.

Joshua 10:36-37
With the Lord's approval, Joshua utterly destroys the people of Hebron.

Joshua 10:38-39
With the Lord's approval, Joshua utterly destroys the people of Debir.

Joshua 10:40
40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.

1 Samuel 15:2-3, 7-8
"This is what the Lord says: Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass ....'
And Saul ... utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword."

All that amounts to an overuse of "utterly destroy". You would have thought that after Moses brought down the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), with the explicit "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13), there would be some kind of objection to killing thousands of people, including women and children. Let's face it - if anyone here today got a vision from God telling him/her to go kill an entire race of people, it's far more likely the person would be declared insane rather than that becoming acceptable justification for utterly destroying cities and tribes.

God exercising the rod of smiting

Exodus 12:29
29 At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.

Exodus 20:5
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

Samuel 5:6-9 9 But after they had moved it, the LORD's hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors. (NIV)
9 And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, 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. (KJV)
-->conclusion? the Lord smote them with testicular cancer...

2 Samuel 24:15 15 So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men.

2 Kings 6:18
18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, "Strike these people with blindness." So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

2 Kings 19:35
35 That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning--there were all the dead bodies!

Isaiah 49:26
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."

Isaiah 3:17
Therefore the LORD will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.

The Lord decides that killing the firstborn of every Egyptian household is an acceptable way to convince the Egyptians to release the Israelites (gee why not just kill the Egyptians outright?), sins are deemed to be hereditary (would you like to be punished for your great-grandfather's wrongdoings?), death, blindness, testicular cancer (maybe), eating of flesh, an obsession with "secret parts"...

God certainly was not above meting out his harsh punishment, not on non-believers but rather on infidels from tribes and peoples opposed to his chosen one.

No Mercy

Deuteronomy 7:2
2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

Deutenomomy 20:13-14,16
13 When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it.
14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies.
16 However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.

Judges 18:27
27 Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a peaceful and unsuspecting people. They attacked them with the sword and burned down their city.


1 Corinthians 11:7 - 9
7 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.
8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man;
9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.

1 Corinthians 14:34 - 35
34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.
35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.


Joel 3:8
8 And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken (it).


Numbers 31:17
17. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
18. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
This is exactly what it sounds like - kill everyone except the virgin girls ...

Numbers 31:31-40
Note that amongst the plunder are 32,000 virgins. read line 40 to figure out that they sacrificed 32 of these to the LORD.

Judges 21:11-12
11 "This is what you are to do," they said. "Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin."
12 They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan.

Judges 21:14-23
The 400 virgins captured above prove to be insufficient, so the Benjaminites hide in the vineyards and kidnap "the daughters of Shiloh" as they come out to dance and celebrate.

uhuh. Raping of women in recent wars? It's certainly not new. Heck, if the chosen people of the Lord can do it, why not everyone else?

1 Kings 11:3
He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.
--> The wisest guy in history (King Solomon) had 700 wives and 300 concubines!

Revelation 14:1-4
Heaven is meant to be filled with 144,000 virgin men who did not "defile" themselves with women.
which means that there's probably going to be many billions of unlucky men and no women in heaven. uhuh. righty.

Just plain despicable

Judges 19:22-29
A group of sexually depraved men beat on the door of an old man's house demanding that he turn over to them a male house guest. Instead, the old man offers his virgin daughter and his guest's concubine (or wife): "Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine; let me bring them out now. Ravish them and do with them what seems good to you; but against this man do not do so vile a thing." The man's concubine is ravished and dies. The man then cuts her body into twelve pieces and sends one piece to each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

That's a whole lotta casualties

2 Chronicles 13:3,17
3 Abijah went into battle with a force of four hundred thousand able fighting men, and Jeroboam drew up a battle line against him with eight hundred thousand able troops.
17 Abijah and his men inflicted heavy losses on them, so that there were five hundred thousand casualties among Israel's able men.

This account, if true, would dwarf the number of deaths at any other recorded single battle in history. Not even the D-Day landing at Normandy or the atom bomb bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki resulted in anywhere close to this number of casualties. Occam's Razor suggests that this story is false but don't waste your time trying to explain this to a fundamentalist Christian.

Foreskin mania

When David married the daughter of King Saul, the King asked for 100 foreskins of dead Philistines; David brought him 200 as a dowry (1Samuel 18:25-27).

Joshua 5:3
3 And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.

Update (December 15th, 2000) - for mblase:
I have but one thing to say. Waging war does not make killing innocent children (genocide) nor rape nor slavery nor mutilation of corpses (foreskins) acceptable in my book. You are welcome to disagree.

Update (February 4th, 2002) - for mblase again:
You say in both your /msg to me and in your writeup and, I quote:

You say you don't think these sorts of actions are ever acceptable during wartime, for any culture? There are plenty of pacifists today who think that war of any sort, even killing a soldier in self-defense, is unacceptable. Refer back to my last point.

In this multicultural society, this sort of approach is looked down upon and considered an "atrocity" without any further consideration. Whether that should be the case or not is an issue for another node.

Whether you believe this is cultural elitism or not, I currently live in a society where the vast majority of people would agree that committing those acts of genocide, rape, sacrificing of virgins and so on in a war setting would not be considered acceptable. For your information, I happened to be in Australia when I noded this. I do also believe, that most of the other modern countries I have personally visited (including but not limited to the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Holland and several places in South East Asia) also have similar standards. If you find that, in your own personal moral standards, some of these practices are acceptable, please go ahead and find like minded inviduals such as yourself and form a new country somewhere else.

I think the last verse of Psalm 137 is the most atrocious of all:

"Blessed is he who smashes your children against a rock."

English translators tend to use milder language - even they must feel horrified! Alas, I have studied it in several other languages before moving to the US.

I'll get downvoted for this, but I'm honestly curious: how do those that believe in God and the Bible feel about this?

I hear that the Bible is ageless; does this agelessness include the above quoted passages?

How do true Christian feel about their God when he commands them to KILL EVERY CHILD in a city? I mean, do you honestly feel those children DESERVED it? Regardless of their parents?

How can you possibly worship a God that demands such terrible things?

Unless it's "metaphors", right? Then what is to say the rest of the Bible is not the same "metaphor" ? How do you decide which is Good and which is Bad? Which do you listen to and which do you ignore?

I know, parts of the Bible have been edited; that much is obvious. But how do you decide which? How can you point at one thing and say "See! The Bible commands that it is so!" when just a few pages away there's a wonderful story of God demanding the complete and total genocide of entire nations? I refuse to believe that every member of a population was guilty of whatever crime that brought on God's Wrath.

By what right can you pick and choose which to follow? And how do you know you are correct? Sure enough in your correctness that you are willing to force your belief on someone else? And KILL THEM for not converting?

Sorry folks, but the Bible is one fucked up piece of literature. More murder and mayhem has been comitted in God's name than Hilter would have been able to do had he lived 1000 years and had total control. In the history of the human race more deaths can be attributed to those who follow God than to any other single cause.

Quickly responding to the verses alex.tan cites, point by point:

Genocide: situations in Israel's history where they were engaged in war against another. "Utterly destroy"ing your enemy was not done to be vicious, but to keep members of the non-Hebrew societies from living on and polluting the religious views of the Israelites. As has been explained in The Ten Commandments node, the sixth commandment when accurately translated isn't "Thou shalt not kill", but "Thou shalt not murder" -- murder, as distinct from judicial execution or waging war.

The rod of smiting: all of these listed are punishments for crimes against Israel, or situations where God is acting on behalf of Israel's (and therefore His) war effort.

No mercy: waging war again.

Sexism: Don't even go there. You're talking about the perception of relationships between men and women in a society two millenia and half a world removed from our own. Paul was speaking to a specific church in 1 Corinthians, about specific problems and issues, and generalizing them to humanity throughout history is something that should not be attempted out of context.

Slavery: waging war again (Continue to Joel 3:9).

Morality?: waging war again, mostly. Solomon's collection of wives and concubines was never credited to him as a good thing in the Old Testament --I've always felt that one of the proofs that the Bible is historically reliable is the fact that even the greatest religious figures (Solomon, David, Moses, Abraham, the apostles Peter and Paul, pretty much everyone except Jesus) are clearly shown to be screw-ups at certain points of their life. And as for the exerpt from Revelation, very few people dispute that that is a heavily symbolic book and that verses should be taken out of context with the greatest care.

Just plain despicable: You've got that right. Lot was a screw-up, too.

That's a whole lotta casualties: if you have issues with the use of numbers in the Old Testament, keep in mind that numbers are the easiest thing to mistranslate or miscopy over time. Reading through an NIV Old Testament will reaffirm this fact; that translation was created from as many existing source documents as possible, and most of the time when they disagreed, it was over a large number. Not to say that all numbers in the Old Testament are unreliable, just that that's something you should keep in mind if you find them unlikely.

Foreskin mania: Circumcision was Israel's way of having a man symbolically give his life and heart to God. Killing one's enemies and taking their foreskins would be symbolic of killing them in God's name.

Finally, a note: Plenty of people think that killing people for any reason should be verboten by a good God. Since this would preclude the waging of war against enemies or execution for the sake of justice, I don't. The God of the Old Testament took possession of Israel, the descendants of Abraham, as his chosen people, and protected them vigorously against other people and nations whose beliefs placed them at odds with Israel's own -- and make no mistake, there were religions which practiced things like child sacrifice that were very much at odds with Israel's beliefs.

You say you don't think these sorts of actions are ever acceptable during wartime, for any culture? There are plenty of pacifists today who think that war of any sort, even killing a soldier in self-defense, is unacceptable. Refer back to my last point.

In this multicultural society, this sort of approach is looked down upon and considered an "atrocity" without any further consideration. Whether that should be the case or not is an issue for another node.

I don't think it's possible to blame the Bible's bad rap on mistranslation. The modern translations have the advantage of tremendous research and manpower and are done, by and large, by people with a vested interest in the principles of Christianity. It's not like the translations are done by people looking to give Christianity a black eye.

The Old Testament days were a different time, with completely different value systems. Life was cheap, people were expected to be sheepish followers of their rulers and women were all but property. God was supreme and by today's values God was a despotic, jealous, capricious jerk and there's not much that modern Christians can do about it.

Starting with the Enlightenment of the 1700's, the Christian church lost its stranglehold on western culture. Left more to other forces, the value system drifted away from the traditional values of the Bible (and towards things like democracy). This opened a widening gap of acceptability between the actions of God in the Bible and the actions permitted in our modern world. Just discussing these items could have gotten you burned at the stake in pre-Enlightenment times (another shame for Christianity).

Christianity is faced with a difficult, if not impossible task: to stay true to the values and teachings of a 3000 year-old heritage in the face of modern values (such as individuality, equality for women, avoidance of war, etc). Good luck to them, it's not a task I would envy. It's some help that the New Testament God is kindler and gentler, but the Old Testament is still an albatross around their necks.

Interestingly, Islam has faced the same challenge, but responded by denying modern values. It's yet to be seen if this strategy can work over the long term in an increasingly connected world. Personaly, I think they're in for a world of hurt.

Let's face it, the Bible, in whatever language from the torturously arcane - Ancient Greek or Hebrew for example - to the lyrically beautiful - Italian is a good example - is full of all kind of things.

Pretty much anyone can read into it pretty much anything. If you go looking for atrocities, you'll find them. If you go looking for genocide, pederasty, wife beating, thievery and human sacrifice, you'll find them.

The Bible - OT and NT - is a bit of a mirror. Seek and ye shall find sayeth the Lord, after all.

Anyone prepared to spend time studying a mirror is obviously just feeding their own vanity anyway. Stuff the Bible, it's a bunch of old made up myths and lies to fool the gullible, same as every so-called Holy book. If you want to believe in anything, start looking at the world around you instead of trying to learn from ancient liars in a different world.

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