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

Judges for Skeptics

Judges is a violent book even by biblical standards. It begins by cutting off the thumbs and big toes of a captured king and ends with a genocide following the dismemberment of a concubine's body. Along the way it describes, with apparent relish and approval, a gruesome "message from God" (a knife blade stuck deeply into a fat man's belly); a tent stake driven through a sleeping man's skull; a couple of severed heads delivered to Gideon; the killing of 69 brothers upon a single stone; a daughter killed by her father as a sacrifice to God; 300 foxes tied together by their tails and lit on fire; 1000 men killed with a jawbone of an ass; and, in what is probably the most disgusting story in all literature, the rape and mutilation of the Levite's concubine. And I've left a lot out. Read it yourself, if you have a strong enough stomach. And be sure to check out:

  • God's 39th Killing:
    "The LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men." 1:4

  • Cutting off the thumbs and big toes of a captured king. 1:6-7

  • God's 40th Killing:
    The Israelites killed everyone in Jerusalem and set the city on fire. 1:8

  • God's 41st Killing:
    Five massacres, a wedding, and some God-proof iron chariots 1:9-19

  • God couldn't drive out the valley people because they had chariots of iron. 1:19

  • God sells the Israelites into slavery. (Five or six times) 2:14, 3:8, 4:2, 6:1, 10:7, 13:1

  • God's 42nd Killing:
    The spirit of the Lord comes upon Othniel and causes him to go to war. 3:10

  • God's 43rd Killing:
    Ehud's message from God. 3:20-22

  • God's 44th Killing:
    "And they slew of Moab ... about 10,000 men ... and their escaped not a man." 3:28-29

  • Shamgar kills 600 Philistines with an ox goad. 3:31

  • God's 45th Killing:
    "The Lord discomfited Sisera ... with the edge of the sword ... and there was not a man left." 4:15-16

  • God's 46th Killing:
    Jael drives a tent stake through her guest's head. For this she is "blessed above women." 4:17-23, 5:24-26

  • God takes Gideon's fleece/dew test. 6:36-40

  • God finds a few good men with a dog-lapping test. 7:4-7

  • God's 47th Killing:
    "The Lord set every man's sword against his fellow." 7:21

  • Two princes killed and their heads delivered to Gideon 7:25

  • Gideon tears the flesh of the elders of Succoth and kills the men of the city. 8:7, 16-17

  • Abimelech kills 69 brothers "upon one stone." 9:5

  • God sends an evil spirit. 9:23

  • God's 48th Killing:
    A city is massacred and 1000 people burn to death because of God's evil spirit. 9:49

  • God's 49th Killing:
    The Ammonite massacre 11:33

  • God's 50th Killing:
    Jephthah sacrifices his daughter to God. 11:39

  • 42,000 die for failing the “Shibboleth” test. 12.6

  • The spirit of God comes mightily upon Samson (and he kills things). 14:6, 14-16, 19

  • God's 51st Killing:
    The spirit of the Lord comes upon Samson and he murders 30 men for their clothes. 14:19

  • Samson catches 300 foxes, ties their tails together, and sets them on fire. 15:4-5

  • God's 52nd Killing:
    Samson kills 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass. 15:14-16

  • Samson goes in unto a harlot. 16:1

  • God's 53rd Killing:
    Samson kills 3000 in a suicide terrorist attack. 16:27-30

  • The massacre of the peaceful, unsuspecting people 18:26-27

  • Gang rape and dismemberment of the Levite’s concubine 19:22-30

  • God's 54th Killing:
    A holy civil war (It had something to do with rotting body part messages) 20:35

  • A God-approved genocide to provide wives for 400 of the 600 surviving Benjamites of God’s holy civil war. 21.11-14

  • 200 virgins of Shiloh are stolen to provide wives for remaining Benjamite holy civil war survivors. 21.19-23

Dwindling in Unbelief
God's Killings in Judges

Christian Response
Annotated Skeptic's Annotated Bible
Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? (Judges, introduction)