God's killings in Judges

Judges is a violent book, even by biblical standards. It begins with a six God-assisted genocides and then repeats the following story, with slight variation, five times:

1. The Israelites do evil in the site of the Lord.

2. God gets angry and sells them into slavery.

3. The children of Israel cry unto the Lord.

4. God slaughters the people he sold the Israelites to.

Some of the variants are more interesting than others. There's Ehud's message from God (a knife blade in a fat man's belly); Jael's tent stake pounded through a sleeping man's skull; and Gideon story's -- one of the most bizarre in the entire Bible.

There are other killings in Judges, though. Shamgar kills sixty Philistines with an ox goad; a city is massacred and 1000 burn to death because of God's evil spirit; Jephthah sacrifices his daughter to God; and 42,000 are killed for failing the "shibboleth" test.

And then there's the whole series of Samson killings. The spirit of the Lord comes on Samson and he kills 30 men for their clothes. The spirit of the Lord comes on him again and he kills 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. And in his final act, Samson kills 3000 in the first suicide terrorist attack.

The book ends with a holy civil war and two genocides following the rape, dismemberment, and mail-message dispersal of a concubines body.

Judges has no message or moral. It is just bizarre, grotesque God-inspired carnage from beginning to end.


41. The Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites

42. The Jerusalem massacre

43. Five massacres, a wedding, and some God-proof iron chariots

44. The Lord delivered Chushanrishathaim

45. Ehud delivers a message from God

46. God delivers 10,000 lusty Moabites

47. Shamgar killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad

48. Barak and God massacre the Canaanites

49. Jael pounds a tent stake through a sleeping man's skull

50. Gideon's Story: The Lord set every man's sword against his fellow

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

52. The Ammonite massacre

53. Jephthah's daughter

54. 42,000 killed for failing the "shibboleth" test

55. Samson murders thirty men for their clothes

56. Samson kills 1000 with the jawbone of an ass

57. Samson kills 3000 in a suicide terrorist attack

58. A holy civil war

59. Two genocides and 200 stolen virgins

41. The Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites

After Joshua died, the Israelites wondered who was going to do their killing for them. So they asked God.

After the death of Joshua ... the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? Judges 1:1

Well, at least they asked the right guy.

God told them not to worry; he had selected the tribe of Judah to kill the Canaanites and steal their land.

The LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand. 1:2

The first killing was easy, since God delivered them into their hand, killing 10,000 Canaanites and Perizzites.

Judah went up; and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men. 1:4

After the Bezek massacre, they captured king Adonibezek and cut off his thumbs and big toes.

But Adonibezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes. 1:6

Which I guess was to pay him back for doing the same to seventy other kings. (Adonibezek fed his table scraps to seventy thumbless and big toe-less kings who lived under his dinner table.)

Adonibezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. 1:7a

Then they brought Adonibezek to Jerusalem, where he died.

And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died. 1:7b

42. The Jerusalem massacre

This is one of the Bible's shorter stories, so it's easy to miss. All the action is packed into one verse.

Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire. Judges 1.8

This verse doesn't say that God had anything to do with the massacre, but the context makes it clear that he did. God chose the tribe of Judah to kill the Canaanites and "delivered them into their hand."

Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand ... And Judah went up; and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand. 1:1-4

So God deserves the credit (or the blame) for the Jerusalem massacre, along with the other killings in Judges 1.

Since this was just an ordinary massacre, I gave 1000 for the number of victims.

43. Five massacres, a wedding, and some God-proof iron chariots

This is a hodgepodge of killings from the rest of Judges 1.

After the Jerusalem Massacre (42), the "children of Judah" go on a God-assisted smiting spree, wiping out a bunch of kingdoms "with the edge of the sword."

It's hard to say how many cities were massacred. But there were at least five: three in Hebron, one in Zephath and Bethel.

Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron ... and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai. Judges Judges 1:10
Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. 1:17
They also went up against Bethel: and the LORD was with them ... And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said unto him, Shew us, we pray thee, the entrance into the city, and we will shew thee mercy. And when he shewed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family. 1:22-25

And there would have been a lot more if it weren't for those damned iron chariots. Some things are just too hard, even for God.

The LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron. 1:19

(Since five cities were massacred, I gave it the usual 1000 per city for a total of 5000.)

44. The Lord delivered Chushanrishathaim

God was angry at the Israelites for ignoring him in favor of other gods.

The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves. Judges 3:7

So he did what any good god would do and sold the Israelites into slavery.

Chushanrishathaim was the happy buyer.

Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia. 3:8a

The Israelites were Chushanrishathaim's slaves for eight years. But then the Israelites cried out together in unison to the Lord and he "raised up" Othniel, who was Caleb's nephew and the first "judge" of Israel.

The children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years. And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. 3:8b-9

And then "the spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel ... and he went out to war."

The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war. 3:10a

Whom did Othniel go to war with? Chushanrishathaim -- the guy that God sold the Israelites to.

The LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim. 3:10b

The Bible doesn't say how many of King Chushy's soldiers were killed in this holy war. I'll just guess the usual 1000.

45. Ehud delivers a message from God

Remember how in his last killing (44), God was so angry at the Israelites for worshiping other gods that he sold them as slaves to King Chushy?

Yeah, well, pretty much the same thing happens here, except the names, places, and times change.

The Israelites do evil in the sight of the Lord.

The children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD. Judges 3:12a

God gives or sells them to somebody else (Eglon, the king of Moab, this time around).

The LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel ... So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years. 3:12b-14

The Israelites cried out to God again ("Yahweh!, Yahweh!").

But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD 3:15a

God raised up a hero for them, a left-handed guy named Ehud.

The LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud ... a man lefthanded. 3:15b

Whom God sent to deliver a present to Eglon.

And by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon. 3:15c

Ehud's present was a message from God: a knife blade in his belly pushed in so far that "the dirt came out."

Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh. And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man ... And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. ... And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out. 3:16-22

God has a funny way of communicating, doesn't he?

46. God delivers 10,000 lusty Moabites

After Ehud delivered God's message to Eglon (a knife blade in the belly), he blew a trumpet to summon all the Israelites.

Ehud ... blew a trumpet ... and the children of Israel went down with him. Judges Judges 3:26-27

Then he told the people:

Follow after me: for the LORD hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. 3:28

So they followed Ehud and God helped them kill 10,000 lusty Moabites.

And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man. 3:29

Kind of boring, I know. But sometimes God runs out of imaginative ways of killing people.

47. Shamgar killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad

The entire story takes place in just one verse.

Shamgar killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad. "And he also delivered Israel."

Shamgar ... slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel. Judges 3:31

The inspired storyteller obviously viewed this mass killing as a glorious, noble, and wonderful thing. To him it is every bit as cool as Ehud's message from God.

But I suspect that God not only approved of this killing, he assisted with it. How else could one man kill 600 Philistines with a pointy stick?

48. Barak and God massacre the Canaanites

This is just another variation of the same old story. So if you've been following along, you can predict what's going to happen.

The Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord.

The children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. Judges 4:1

So God sells them into slavery.

The LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin ... the captain of whose host was Sisera. 4:2

The Israelites cry out to the Lord.

The children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron. 4:3

God slaughtered the people that he sold the Israelites to.

The LORD discomfited Sisera [the captain of King Jabin's army], and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword ... and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left. 4:15-16

Here are the details about Barak.

After Ehud dies, a woman becomes the leader of the Israelites. Her name is Deborah and she is called a prophetess and judge. She sat under a palm tree and everyone "came up to her for judgment."

Deborah, a prophetess ... judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah ... and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. 4:4-5

One day she summoned Barak and told him to take 10,000 soldiers to fight Sisera.

She sent and called Barak ... and said unto him ... the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying ... take with thee ten thousand men ... to ... Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. 4:6-7

Barak, who was a bit of a chicken shit, said:

If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. 4:8

Deborah said that she would go with him and that God would deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.

She said, I will surely go with thee ... for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak. 4:9

So Deborah and Barak go off to fight in God's holy war. Guess what happens.

The LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword ... and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left. 4:15-16

That's right. God "discomfited" Sisera's army, forcing them to either kill each other or kill themselves. No one survived.

Except Sisera, that is. Somehow he got away. Don't worry, though. God will take care of him in his next killing.

(Since the Bible doesn't say how many were killed, I gave it the usual 1000.)

49. Jael pounds a tent stake through a sleeping man's skull

In the last killing, God "discomfited" the Canaanite army, causing them all to be killed. (It's not clear how God did this, but he probably forced them to kill each other. He likes doing stuff like that.)

But Sisera, the captain of the Canaanite army, somehow managed to escape. And that night he passed by Heber's tent (Heber was an ally of the Canaanites), which is where Jael enters the story.

Jael was Heber's wife and she came out to greet Sisera, inviting him to stay the night in their tent. She prepared a bed for him, gave him a bottle of milk, and tucked him in for the night.

Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. Judges 4:18-19

Then, after he was asleep, she drove a tent stake through his head.

Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. 4:21

OK, so what, you say. Why blame this killing on God?

Because God blamed it on himself. Deborah, who was a prophetess, said the killing would take place, and that God would take an active part.

The LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. 4:9

After the killing Deborah even wrote a little song about Jael and her blessed hammer.

Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be,
blessed shall she be above women.

He asked water, and she gave him milk;
she brought forth butter in a lordly dish.

She put her hand to the nail,
and her right hand to the workmen's hammer;

and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head,
when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. 5:24-26

So there you have it. Jael is the most blessed of all women. I think there's even a well-known prayer about it.

It goes like this:

Hail Jael, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women....

Or maybe I'm confusing it with another prayer.

50. Gideon's Story: The Lord set every man's sword against his fellow

Here's a story about Gideon. You know, they guy they named the hotel room Bible after.

It starts out in the usual way:

The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. Judges 6:1a

The LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian. 6:1b

The children of Israel cried unto the LORD. 6:7

And God kills all the guys that he sold them to. (Midianites this time around.)

Here's the long version.

An angel of the Lord was sitting under an oak tree when he saw Gideon threshing some wheat. So he started up a conversation with him.

The angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. 6:12

And then God joined in.

The LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? ... And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. 6:14-16

So Gideon has a three-way conversation with the angel and God, but he doesn't believe either of them. He demands a sign.

Shew me a sign. 6:17

But first, he runs off to slaughter a goat. And then, guess what happened.

Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff ... and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. 6:21

Yep. The angel touched the bloody, dead goat and it burst into flames.

A neat trick, but it still didn't convince Gideon. He needed another sign to prove that God wasn't lying to him. So he put some wool on the ground and asked God to make it wet, while keeping the surrounding ground dry.

Gideon said unto God ... Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. 6:36-37

And God passed that test, no sweat.

And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. 6:38

Now you might think that would be enough proof for Gideon. But no. He's still not sure he can trust God, so he asks God to reverse the trick, and make the ground wet and the wool dry.

Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. 6:39

And God did that trick, too!

And God did so. 6:40

So God passed all of Gideon's tests and Gideon and God got down to business. But first, they had to find some accomplices.

I'm not sure how this could happen, but in Judges it always happens this way. The Israelites were enslaved, but somehow they managed to keep a huge, well-equipped army. I guess they did this so they'd be ready when they cry out to God and he decides to kill the guys that he sold them to.

Well, this time is no different. The Israelite slaves had a big army, too big, in fact, for God's liking. He worried that if they killed all the Midianites with a big army, no one would believe that it was God that did the killing. And God wants all the credit for his killings.

The LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. 7:2

So God tells Gideon to get rid of some of the men. Start with the chicken shits.

Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand. 7:3

That got rid of 22,000. But 10,000 were still there, which was still too many. But God had a plan.

God told Gideon to have the soldiers go down to the water to get a drink. Those that lap the water "as a dog lappeth" are the natural-born killers that he's looking for, while those that get down on their knees to use a cup or their hands should be sent home.

So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. 7:5

So Gideon had them all go down to the water to get a drink. Out of the 10,000 non-chicken shits, only 300 lapped water like a dog. Those were the few good men that God was looking for.

The number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men ... And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you. 7:6-7

You see, God knows that real men pee standing up and lap water like dogs.

Now the Bible tells us that there were gazillions of Midianites. They were like grasshoppers. Like the sands of the seashore. Like that.

The Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude. 7:12

Which is strange since God killed every male Midianite during the time of Moses (28), and yet here, 250 years later, they flourish like grasshoppers "without number."

Was Gideon worried about attacking a gazillion Midianites with 300 water lappers?

No. Because some guy had a dream about barley cakes and tents, and that guy told some other guy about the dream that he had, and then later Gideon heard about it.

Behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon ... for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host. And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshiped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian. 7:13-15

But enough with the dreams. It's time to get down to killing. Gideon gives each dog-lapper a trumpet and a pitcher with a lamp in it.

He put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. 7:16

And tells them:

When I blow with a trumpet ... then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. 7:18

And that's what they did.

And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. 7:20

Great idea, eh? But it didn't really do anything. It was God that did all the dirty work by forcing the gazillions of Midianites to kill each other.

The LORD set every man's sword against his fellow. 7:22

The story gets a bit confused after that. Two princes are caught, decapitated, and their heads are brought to Gideon.

They took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb ... and Zeeb ... and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon. 7:25

Then the princes of Succoth question Gideon's leadership.

The princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army? 8:6

And he promises to come back and torture them later.

Gideon said,Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers. 8:7

Then Gideon defeats Zebah and Zalmunna (the Midianite kings).

When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited all the host. 8:12

And then comes back to Succoth to torture the elders (like he promised he would) and kill the men in their city.

He took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. And he ... slew the men of the city. 8:16-17

Gideon then tells his oldest son to kill Zebah and Zalmunna.

He said unto Jether his firstborn, Up, and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword: for he feared. 8:20

But he ends up having to do it himself, since his son was a chicken-shit, cup-drinking, sit-down pee-er.

Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna. 8:21

But at least we are told that 120,000 Midianites were killed in the whole wet-fleece, water-lapping, trumpet-blowing, pitcher-smashing, the-Sword-of-the-Lord-and-of-Gideon episode.

There fell an hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword. 8:10

Sorry that was so long. But at least now you know why the Gideons chose Gideon as their namesake.

They're fucking crazy.

(There were probably more than 120,000 killed in this one, if the people of Succoth are included. But I can't tell for sure that God was involved in that torture/massacre atrocity, so I'll leave them out of it.)

51. 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. 9:4-5a

Well, all except one, anyway. Jotham got away.

Yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. 9:5b

So the two remaining sons, Abimelech and Jotham, schemed against each other for control, with Abimelech winning out, becoming king.

All the men of Shechem gathered together ... and made Abimelech king. 9:6

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. 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. In the Bible, evil spirits 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.

Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt. 9:45

Except for 1000 that escape to a tower.

All the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 9:47

When Abimelech found out about the people in the tower, he set it on fire, burning 1000 people to death.

Abimelech ... set the hold on fire upon them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women. 9:49

Then he went to a neighboring city, Thebez, and when the people escaped to a tower there, too, he tried to light it on fire.

Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women ... And Abimelech came unto the tower ... to burn it with fire. 9:50-52

But while he was busy with that, a woman dropped a millstone and it landed on Abimelech's head, crushing his skull.

A certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head ... to brake his skull. 9:53

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 than being killed by a woman.)

Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died. 9:54

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. 9:56-57

Note: It's hard to keep score on this one, but I think God deserves credit for killing Abimelech, the 1000 that burned alive in the tower of Shechem, and an unknown number of people in Abimelech's massacre of Schechem. I'll guess 2000 for the lot of them.

52. The Ammonite massacre

This is the sixth time that the same stupid story is repeated in Judges (See Jg 2:11, 3:7, 3:12, 4:1, 6:1 for the others), so you know by now what's going to happen.

The Israelites do evil in the sight of the Lord.

The children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him. Judges 10:6

God gets angry and sells them as slaves.

The anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon. 10:7

The Israelites cry out to God.

The children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim. 10:10

God slaughters the people he sold the Israelites to (which is what this killing is about).

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.

The spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he ... 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. 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. 11:32-33

God delivered 20 cities into Jephthah's hand and "he smote them ... with a very great slaughter." And then Jephthah came home.

(I gave each city the usual 1000 slaughter amount, for a total of 20,000.)

53. 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 came 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 ... 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 Jephthah should do whatever the hell he said he'd do when he opened his big mouth to the Lord.

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.

54. 42,000 killed for failing the "shibboleth" test

After Jephthah finished killing and burning his daughter for God (53) to pay God back for helping him slaughter twenty Ammonite cities (52), he ran into some Ephraimites who were angry about being left out of the Ammonite slaughter.

The men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? Judges 12:1a

They were so pissed off about the whole thing that they threatened to burn down Jephthah's house.

We will burn thine house upon thee with fire. 12:1b

Jephthah claimed that he invited them to join him in the God-assisted slaughter, but they didn't come.

Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not ... and the LORD delivered them into my hand. 12:2-3

Clearly, there was only one thing for Jephthah to do: call for a holy civil war.

Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim. 12:4a

So that's what he did, and the men from Gilead defeated the Ephraimites.

And the men of Gilead smote Ephraim. 12:4b

After the battle, Jephthah posted guards at the Jordan River where the fleeing Ephraimites would have to cross.

The Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites. 12:5a

When an escaping Ephraimite would come to the crossing, the Gileadites would ask him if he was an Ephraimite. If he said, "No", they'd ask him to say "Shibboleth". (Ephraimites couldn't pronounce it correctly. It was like asking President Trump to pronounce "anonymous".)

When those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay; Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. 12:5b-6a

Then when the Ephraimite mispronounced Shibboleth by saying Sibboleth, they'd kill him.

Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan. 12:6b

And the Shibboleth test worked like a charm. 42,000 Ephraimites failed the test and were killed trying to cross the Jordan.

And there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand. 12:6c

And they deserved it, too, for not participating in the slaughter of the Ammonites, threatening to burn down Jephthah's house, failing to pronounce "Shibboleth" correctly, or whatever.

(Note: Jephthah is one of the heroes of God in Hebrews 11, so we can be pretty sure that God approved of the whole "Shibboleth" test / holy civil war massacre.)

55. The spirit of the Lord came upon Samson and he murdered thirty 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.)

The children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. Judges 13:1

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.)

Now Samson's birth was a lot like Jesus's. An angel visited his mom to announce that she was going to have a son.

The angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now ... thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. 13:3

He even came again unto her when her husband wasn't around and got her pregnant.

The angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. 13:9
And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson. 13:24a

So Samson's birth was a fucking miracle.

Samson was one of God's special heroes. He was blessed by God and moved by the Spirit of the Lord. (Samson might have been a decent person if he could have kept the Spirit of the Lord off of him.)

The Lord blessed him ... and the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times. 13:24b-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. 14:1-3

Now Samson's parents 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 to kill Philistines.

But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines. 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. 14:5-6

When he arrived at his Philistine girlfriend's place "she pleased Samson well" and then he returned home. On his way he saw the lion carcass.

Behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion. 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!)

But 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.

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. 14:9

The Bible doesn't actually say so, but 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. 14:12-14

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 thirty sheets and thirty garments. But whoever couldn't, would have to give Samson 30 sheets and thirty garments.

If ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments: But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. 14:12-13

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.

On the seventh day ... they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire. 14:15

She finally got the answer from Samson and then she told the guys at the party.

She wept before him the seven days ... and ... on the seventh day ... he told her ... and she told the riddle to the children of her people. 14:17

So Samson didn't get his thirty 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. 14:18

So the party animals plowed with Samson's heifer and they found out his riddle.

And then God gets involved again.

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. 14:19

So Samson went to another Philistine town (Ashkelon) and, when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, killed thirty 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. 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.

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

In the last killing, we saw that 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 to 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 Philistine friends because he thought that Samson "hated" her.

Her father said, I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion. 15:2a

His father-in-law suggested that Samson just take his younger daughter. Heck, she's prettier anyway, isn't she?

Is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her. 15:2b

But Samson didn't want his wife's little sister. He wanted his wife back, because as you'll recall from the last killing, "She pleased Samson well."

So Samson had an 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 Philistines' grain fields. Maybe then the Philistines would give him his wife back.

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. And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go. 15:4-5

But it didn't work out as planned. After the burning foxes destroyed their fields, the Philistines didn't give Samson his wife back; they burned her and her father to death.

Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson ... 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. 15:6

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 Bible doesn't tell us that "the Spirit of the Lord came upon him" or otherwise directly say that God was involved.)

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. 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. 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.

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. 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.

57. Samson killed 3000 in a suicide terrorist attack

After Samson finished killing 1000 men with a jawbone of an ass (56), 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. 16:3

Then Samson saw and fell in love with Delilah.

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

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

The first time that she asked, 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. (16:6-9)

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. (16:10-12)

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. (16:13-14)

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.

If I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. 16:17

So when Samson fell asleep on her lap, she cut his hair. And both the Lord and his strength departed from him.

She made him sleep upon her knees ... to shave off the seven locks of his head ... and his strength went from him ... the LORD was departed from him. 16:19-20

Then the Philistines captured Samson, gouged out his eyes, and put him in prison.

The Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. 16:21

Later at one of their big parties, the Philistines brought Samson out to entertain them. Heres 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. 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 (Allahu Akbar)" as the walls came tumbling down.

58. A holy civil war (It had something to do with rotting, concubine body-part messages)

Do you know the story about the Levite and his concubine? You know the one in Judges 19 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 twelve pieces and sends a piece to each tribe of Israel? Yeah that one.

Well, this is the rest of the story.

You see, when the twelve tribes got the pieces of decaying concubine 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?)

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.

When the Israelites heard this, all 400,000 said in complete unison:

All the people arose as one man, saying ... This shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up by lot against it. 20:8-9

Then they asked God what they should do about it. God told them to go to war with the Benjamites, saying that the tribe of Judah should go first.

The children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah shall go up first. 20:18

(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.)

So they did that, but it didn't work out too well, and 22,000 Israelites died.

The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin ... And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty and two thousand men. 20:20-21

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).

The children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until even, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the LORD said, Go up against him. 20:23

So the next day they tried that, but it didn't turn out so well this time either. Another 18,000 Israelites were killed.

The children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day. And Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men. 20:24-25

Once again all of the Israelites sit and weep before God, and ask him (for the third time) if they should attack the Benjamites.

Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD ... And the children of Israel enquired of the LORD. 20:26-27

God gave them his usual answer: Attack. This time he promised that he would deliver them into their hands.

The LORD said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand. 20:28

And he did. It's not entirely clear, though, how many Benjamites were killed, 25,100 (as it says in 20.35), 25,000 (as in 20.46), or maybe both in two separate battles. But since there were only a total of 26,000 Benjamites soldiers (20.15), I'll just give God credit for killing another 25,100.

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. 20.35

So that all which fell that day of Benjamin were twenty and five thousand men. 20:46

The Israelites killed all but 600 Benjamite soldiers and then killed every one else in the tribe of Benjamin -- old men, women, children, and babies, even all their animals.

But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon, and abode in the rock Rimmon four months. 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. 20:47-48

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, along with the 25,100 Benjamite soldiers. So I'll add 65,100 to God's total.

59. The end of Judges: Two genocides and 200 stolen virgins

God's 58th killing was a God-inspired civil war between the tribe of Benjamin and the other Israelites. It was God's way of dealing with that messy affair involving the Levite and his concubine.

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 20:47

After the battle, the Israelites killed everything (human and animal) in every Benjamite village, town, and city and then burned everything to the ground.

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. 20:48

Then they remembered the 600 surviving Benjamite soldiers.

Where the heck were these guys going to find wives? The non-Benjamites killed all the Benjamite women (58) and swore to God 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. 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.

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. 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.

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. 21:10-14

But darn! There were 600 Benjamites, so they were still 200 virgins short. Where were they going to find 200 more virgins?

Well, someone heard about this dancing festival that they had at Shiloh each year. So they told the remaining 200 Benjamite men without virgins to hide in the bushes and catch the Shiloh girls when they came out to dance.

Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards ... And ... 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. 21:20-23

So each of the 600 surviving Benjamite soldiers got a virgin and everything worked out according to God's plan.