Sunday, November 22, 2009

78: God's Tests are Rigged

Judges 3-5
The beginning of chapter 3 tells us that God has left certain civilizations alive to test the Israelites. Why would an all loving God do this? Why would an all knowing God need to test his servants?

The Israelites fail the test as usual, just as God knew they would. God then sells his people into the hands of their enemies. When the Israelites cry out, God decides to send a judge to help them. God is blatantly setting the Israelites up to fail. After God's judge saves them there is peace for 40 years.

Again, the Israelites worship other Gods, just as God knew they would. God sends another judge. This judge goes to the king of Moab (the people that are oppressing the Israelites at the time) and assassinates him. He then brings back and army and destroys Moab.

The last line of chapter 3 mentions some random person (Shamgar) killing 600 Philistines with an oxgoad (aka cattle prod). This single verse is the subject of much speculation and artwork.

Shamgar kills the Philistines

Again, the Israelites cannot stop doing bad things. Largely because God gives them so many opportunities to do bad things. Again, God sends a judge and again the Israelites are saved. The king of the opposing city is again killed but his death is a little interesting. He flees from the battle with the Israelites and hides in the tent of who he thinks is a friend. The woman he flees to gives him something to drink and says that she will hide him. As soon as he falls asleep, she gets a tent stake and drives it through his temple. No explanation is given as to why she would do this, maybe so she would be saved from the Israelites?

All of chapter 5 is a song. These songs are largely lost on English readers; they don't rhyme and they don't make a whole lot of sense.

I found an article in the "American Thinker" today, about how Islam is a violent religion. The article skirts very close to suggesting that Islam should be outlawed. Here is pretty much the premise of the article:
Any honest evaluation of the history of Islam will indicate that it cannot be pigeonholed as if it were merely a different sect that utilizes a crescent rather than a cross as a symbol. Islam is fundamentally incompatible with Western attitudes toward religion and society.
Right, and any honest evaluation of the history of Judaism (and in turn, Christianity) would find that the Israelites, and the Christians that came after them, killed and maimed with the best of them. Under the guise of combating ignorance on Islam, the author spouts ignorance about his own religion. The assertion that Christianity, and Judaism have always been a peaceful religions is laughable. He/she must not read the bible.


  1. Bible365, you missed a great point in chapters 4-5! Which gender was the hero in chapter 4-5? The women, Deborah and Jael. These are two strong women. Where are the men? Plot spoiler is coming Adrian. Starting in chapter 6 Gideon is a very passive, fearful, and weak male leader. After Gideon, Jephthah will basically be a leader of a criminal gang hired to do Israel’s work. Then, Samson will be so self-absorbed that he misses his purpose and is a womanizer in the midst of the enemy. Which gender is portrayed as “strong?”

    Yes, Bible365, the people “fail the test” as usual. What is this saying about the nature of humanity? If God had rescued, redeemed, and prospered His people, yet they abandoned Him, is He "just" in disciplining them? But then He raises up a deliverer to once again deliver them over and over again. What is this saying about God?

  2. I recently found this blog, and I'd just like to say I'm really fascinated by all the things that go on in the bible that your average Christian doesn't know (or blatantly ignores). I was a Christian for ages, and I only heard snippets of these stories---only the parts they want you to know, I imagine.

    I can actually remember reading some of the more gruesome punishments and laws of the Old Testament and bringing these up in church. Why don't we follow these laws today if they're in the bible? I'd ask.

    Hilariously enough, every Christian I've ever encountered will dismiss the Old Testament's ruthless God as being "pre-Jesus." Apparently, that is how God had to deal with man before Jesus forgave us for our sins, so we should abide by the New Testament, and thank Jesus for dying for us so we don't have to live like the Old Testament followers.

    Interestingly, countless preachers will still quote Hebrews 13:8 ("Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.") So if he's the same (and he IS the same entity as God, right??), then he must be the same God/Jesus conglomerate who was so blood-thirsty in the Old Testament, right? He must've changed his mind about how to deal with man, then. But wouldn't that mean he changed his mind? He couldn't have done that, though---he's the same throughout time!

    It's amazing how Christians can talk their way out of these issues. In the end it comes down to them picking and choosing which parts of the bible they decide are relevant. Hence why we there are so many denominations of Christianity, I imagine.

    Sorry for the huge comment. I've been reading these blogs about the bible for about 2 hours now, and I've accumulated a lot of frustration.

    I look forward to more entries! Keep it up!

  3. @Brent
    Why is discipline necessary? Why can't God come down and politely ask them to continue to follow him? The problem seems to be that the Israelites don't believe the God of their fathers exists. So if God would only show himself, and as I said, ask them to follow him, I don't think he would have such a hard time. Why is brutality the only answer? Especially for an all knowing God.



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