God: Just kidding, killing is AOK with me. And here's a list of people to whack!

Any Christians out there care to explain Deuteronomy 20?

How can you resolve this with the ten commandments and the idea of a loving God?

Moved from General Questions to Great Debates

The OT God is a vengeful God, on the whole. The NT God seems to be a lot more mellow.

The usual responses I’ve heard from Christians to challenges like this:

  1. The more general response is that the Old Testament in general is not ‘binding’ in entirety upon Christians. It was superseded by Jesus and the New Testament. There’s still a lot of worthy insights in the Old Testament, so the argument goes, but there’s no need to, say, stone someone to death for eating pork. Even Jesus defied the common Old Testament wisdom of his time by picking crops on the Sabbath.

  2. The more specific response to killing is that the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” only applies to spilling innocent blood, or causing so-called bloodguilt. The Old Testament makes a number of distinctions about when it’s acceptable to kill, one of them being in situations of warfare. Other ones include the death penalty and killing intruders. The New Testament and arguably even Jesus himself seem to condone killing in certain warfare or self-defense situations as well; examples are further on in that Wikipedia article.

If God had told the Children of Israel to be nice to everybody, they wouldn’t have lasted a week.

On the 4,000,000,000,008th day, God invented weed?

Clearly HaShem read Machiavelli.

Yeah, we need a ‘Like’ button up in this bitch.

I assume that God told that to some guy right when that guy and a bunch of Israelites were approaching a city to fight against it. So maybe in all the rush they didn’t get it all down right. Besides, why do Christians have to explain it? God wasn’t a dad yet. You know how guys change and get all paternal after they have kids.

Untrue. Note that, in the Exodus narrative, the Hebrews lift not a finger to rescue themselves from captivity. And I don’t mean that as a criticism of them; Yahweh clearly intends to do all the fighting himself, because he’s making a point about his role in the world. Note that this is the first time he acts as a warrior (though he is certainly a judge and executioner in the Sodom story, that is not quite the same thing). Earlier in the mythic history he does not; note that Abram/Abraham rescues his nephew Lot (before the Sodom incident) without intervention or even advice from Yahweh. If Yahweh had wanted Israel to be a nation of pacifists, he could have easily arranged such by doing all their war-making.

And in fact he’d not have to do it all that often. A sufficiently spectacular display every generation or so would have kept the Canaanites in line.

But that would be coddling them. If God was always there to hold their hand, they’d never mature as a nation. The Tanach is a the story of God’s decreasing intervention in Israel’s affairs.

The Exocdus was a one-time affair. God obviously wants the Israelites to take care of themselves.

Isn’t it Tanakh? I don’t mean to nitpick; I want to know if I’ve been misspelling it.

I’ll agree that, overall, Yahweh moves from a policy of direct rulership to one of advisorship toward Israel (and by extension humanity).

But the problem here is not that we attacked the city, but that the commandment was to kill all men, soldiers or no. I assume this extended to old men also.

In any case, this is small change when compared to the Flood, where God directly killed all but a few, including women, children and babies. The justification I heard was that the babies were going to grow up evil anyway, so good riddance.

Another is that the perfect unchanging god changed and got more perfect.

What do you mean we didn’t lift a finger? We ran like hell! :smiley:

Deuteronomic law in question is about how to wage war. (And it should be thought of as “bare minimum”, not necessarily standard operating procedure - e.g. nothing stops the conquering army from making a deal with the enemy about ransoming or exchanging all the captives later on). The prohibition of “murder” is about unlawful killing. This question keeps getting asked and answered endlessly and does not reflect well on the knowledge of the asker.

Anyway, if anybody thought that God wanted Jews to live in perpetual peace, here would be a scriptural reference to disprove that:

So one of the officially declared reasons for existence of these hostile neighbors was getting Jews learn what it means to be at war. And sure enough, while let’s say Christian Europeans mostly experienced war by fighting other Christian Europeans, the biblical Jews experienced it mostly by fighting neighboring non-Jews. Or at least that’s the impression given by the biblical account where armed conflicts between northern and southern kingdoms are given scant attention while wars with foreigners are emphasized.

Out of curiosity – you do know the OT famously prescribes eye-for-an-eye punishments, including execution for murderers, right? That, like the man said, it’s not “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” but rather “Thou Shalt Not Murder”…?

I don’t.

Good day.

No need to assume anything; it’s perfectly explicit that all men, women, children, and babies were to be killed: “16 Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes.”

Note that the only reason that this was not “innocent blood” is that these people had the temerity to be living on land (for centuries) that the Israelites wanted for themselves. Look how far we’ve come in 3500 years.

I don’t know whom I have less respect for: people who say they believe in the Bible, but never bothered to read it, so they don’t know crap like that is in it; or people who DO know it’s there, and find some way to rationalize it.

I remember a few years ago, Falwell or Robertson or one of those idiots was braying about how Islam was such an inferior religion, because Muhammad was a man of war, while Moses was a man of peace. Ordering people to kill everything that breathes is not how I picture a man of peace.

RE: Noah, Abraham, Lot, et all: God’s hand is supposed to be in everything, and if I recall, someone did a little first-born slayin’ in Egypt. And it was God who destroyed Sodom and Gommorah, and it was God who made Lot’s wife a pillar of salt.

As noted in another thread, God ‘hardened’ the heart of Pharaoh, so that Pharaoh would not know mercy. And the nation of Israel has been compared to a worm, for even a worm can ruin a cedar.

I do think that the story of the Exodus is a good example of the saying, “Hashem helps those who help themselves.”

Finally, if the Israelites were going to rise up against the Egyptians, they would have quite a problem re: lack of a standing army against the greatest army on earth.

Wasn’t it a man who was of the tribe of Judah (Nachum, maybe?) who took the first step into the Red Sea? And it wasn’t until he did, the waters finally finished ‘parting’? The Israelites crossed the Red Sea on faith, not a matter of dry ground.

It’s just transliteration. (: You’re not misspelling it.

Because if the Israelites were pacifists, they’d get no where. Where did it ever come about that religion = pacifism?

Babies are the responsibilities of their parents.

As far as ‘eye for an eye’ goes, that means, ‘the actual punishment shall not be worse than the crime’.

Corporal punishment was rarely practiced. The Talmud says that a court who sentences a man to death once even only every seven years has failed.

You forget Deut. 1:

That is the first and truest commandment imo, to remember that God brought the Israelites out of Egypt. It is a statement of faith.

But this Deuteronomy business is not all that complicated: When people refuse to negotiate, annihilate them. If you don’t, you risk yourself.

That is what I meant by saying that someone was reading Machiavelli. Many people read and study the Bible and take it into context, because, well, that’s what real readers to. This chapter was taken out of context and ignores the commentaries and other provisions in Jewish law and waging war. Jewish law requires that one try to make peace first.

As far as the Torah goes, let’s remember Hillel:

“That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it.”

I Samuel 15:3 is even better:

Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

That was God speaking. The excuse for telling the Israelites to do this was that supposedly, a few hundred years earlier, The Amelekites had attacked the Israelites and fought a battle with them.
I don’t know what the fuck the livestock did wrong, but much of the Bible reflects a brutal, vicious, psychopathic mentality which was by no means unique to the Israelites, but they were no better than anyone else. This was a tribalistic world where members of other tribes were not really human beings.

There are also passages in which the Israelites are ordered to capture and rape virgins. The Hebrew Bible contains passages as depraved as you will find anywhere in ancient literature, and of course it’s not reconcilable with a loving God. These particular books of the Boble were not written by people who believed in a loving God (though other books of the Bible are).