Cruelty and Violence
Science and History
Dwindling in Unbelief
-God's killings in Numbers
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Numbers: Cruelty and Violence
- God shows his hospitality with the admonition: "The stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death."
1:51, 3:10, 3:38
- Two of Aaron's sons are killed by God for "offering strange fire before the Lord." 3:4
- Don't touch or "go in to see when the holy things are covered." God kills people who touch or look
at covered holy things. 4:15, 20
- God tells the people to expel from camp "every leper, every one that hath an issue, and whoever is defiled by the dead."
So by God's instructions, the sick are abandoned and left to suffer and die alone. 5:1-4
- "He shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest ... and the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering,
and the other for a burnt offering." 6:10-11
- "He ... shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering." 6:12
- "He shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb
of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings." 6:14
- "The priest shall bring them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering." 616:
- "The priest shall offer also his meat offering." 6:17
- "And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram." 619:
- "And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest,
with the wave breast and heave shoulder." 6:20
- When Moses set up the tabernacle, each of the twelve tribes kills a bullock, lamb, ram, and a kid, two oxen, and five rams, goats,
and lambs for God, for a grand total of 240 animal sacrifices. 7:15-88
- "The Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and
thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt
- All firstborn Israelites, "both man and beast", belong to God. He got them the day that he killed every Egyptian firstborn
child and animal. 8:17
- "And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it (He had his hearing aid on.) .... and his
anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them."
God burned the complainers alive. That'll teach them! 11:1-2
- "And while the flesh [of the quails] was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled
against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague. "The Bible isn't too clear about what these poor
folks did to upset God so much; all it says is that they had "lusted." 11:33
- Miriam and Aaron (Moses' brother and sister) criticize Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman and thus breaking
the law of God. But God makes it clear that his rules
don't apply to his favorites, and he strikes Miriam with leprosy. Notice that
only Miriam is punished, though both she and Aaron complained.
- God tells Moses that he is going to kill all of the Israelites -- every last whining one of the them, and then
make a whole bunch of brand new Israelites. 14:12
- God punishes the children for the failings of their great-great grandfathers.
- So Moses talked God out of killing everyone. He'll just see to it that no one over 20 years old survives the trip to Israel.
Their "carcases shall fall in the wilderness." 14:20-35
- God killed the ten spies that gave a discouraging report with a plague.
- To further punish the Israelites for whining and plotting against Moses, God will send the Amelekites and
Canaanites to smite them. 14:43-45
- God gives more instructions for the ritualistic killing of animals. The smell of burning
flesh is "a sweet savour unto the Lord." 15:3, 13-14, 24
- The Israelites find a man picking up sticks on the sabbath. God commands them to kill him by throwing
rocks at him. 15:32-36
- Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, the first freethought/democracy martyrs, refused to follow Moses blindly, saying
that everyone is holy and should be free to think for him or herself. God killed them and their
families for daring to challenge Moses. 16:1-35
- Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment."
God warns everyone to get away; he's going to kill some more people. 16:20-21
- "Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me ... if the LORD make ... the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all
that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit..."
Moses tells the people that if the ground opens up and swallows the rebels and their families, then you'll know that God's on his side.
- "The earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto
Korah ... They ... went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them." 16:31-33
- "And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that
offered incense." 16:35
- After God killed Korah, his family, and 250 innocent bystanders, the people complained saying, "ye have killed the
people of the Lord." So God, who doesn't take kindly to criticism, sends a plague on the people. And "they that died in the
plague were 14,700." 16:41-50
- "Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment."
God threatens (again) to kill everyone (but his special friends, Moses and Aaron). 16:44-45
- "For there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun ... they that died
in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred." 16:46-49
- "Thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not."
God threatens to kill those who murmur. 17:10
- God threatens to kill those who murmur. To which the people reply, "Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish ....
Shall we be consumed with dying?" 17:12-13
- "They shall not come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar, that neither they, nor ye also, die."
Stay away from holy things and places -- like churches. God might have to kill you if you get too close.
- God shows us how to make new friends by saying : "The stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death."
- God describes once again the procedure for ritualistic animal sacrifices. such rituals must be extremely important to
God, since he makes their performance a "statute" and "covenant" forever. Why, then don't Bible-believers perform these
sacrifices anymore? Don't they realize how God must miss the "sweet savour" of burning flesh? Don't they believe God when
he says "forever"? 18:17-19
- "Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die."
- "Neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die." 18:32
- "This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded."
These absurd rituals, cruel sacrifices, and unjust punishments are vitally
important to God. They are to be "a perpetual statute" for everyone on earth. 19:1-22
- "Take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle ... seven times."
God's instructions for putting blood on fingers, sprinkling it around, and then burning the dung of sacrificial animals.
This is something that everyone needs to know about. (That's why it's in the Bible!). 19:4-5
- "And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and
their cities." This verse demonstrates the power of prayer: If you ask God, he will destroy entire cities for you.
- God sends "fiery serpents" to bite his chosen people, and many of them die. 21:6
- God delivers the Amorites into Moses' hands. (You're in God hands with Moses.) So Moses does the usual thing,
killing everyone "until their was none left alive." 21:34-35
- God's people will kill like a lion and then "drink the blood of the slain." 23:24
- God, who is as strong as a unicorn, will eat up the nations, break their bones, and then pierce them through with his
arrows. What a guy! 24:8
- After the people "commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab," Moses has them all killed. Then God tells Moses to
hang their dead bodies up in front of him; God says that this will satisfy him. 25:1-5
- When one of the Israelite men brings home a foreign woman, "Phinehas (Aaron's grandson) sees them and throws a spear "through the man .. and the woman through her belly."
This act pleases God so much that "the plague was stayed from the children of Israel." But not before
24,000 had died. 25:6-9
- For impaling the interracial couple, God rewards Phinehas and his sons with the everlasting
- God tells Moses how to care for his neighbors by saying: "Vex the Midianites, and smite them."
- The ground swallow Korah and his companions and a fire consumes 250 men. 26:10
- "And Nadab and Abihu died when they offered strange fire before the Lord." When you go camping avoid making any
unusual fires. 26:61
- In these chapters (28, 29), God provides ridiculously detailed instructions for the ritualistic sacrifice of animals. The burning of
their dead bodies smells great to God. Eleven times in these two chapters God says that they are to him a "sweet savour."
- Under God's direction, Moses' army defeats the Midianites. They kill all the adult males, but take the women and
children captive. When Moses learns that they left some live, he angrily says: "Have you saved all the women alive? Kill
every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children,
that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." So they went back and did as Moses (and
presumably God) instructed, killing everyone except for the virgins. In this way they got 32,000 virgins -- Wow!
gets some of the booty -- including the virgins.) 31:1-54
- "The prey that was taken, both of man and of beast" was
offered as a "heave offering of the LORD." 31:26-29
- "Every man armed for war, before the LORD to battle" 32:27
- God killed all the Egyptian firstborn. 33:4
- God tells Moses to exterminate the residents of Canaan and destroy all of their religious symbols and possessions.
- But if the Israelites don't kill them all, then God will make them pricks in their eyes and
thorns in their sides. And he will do unto the Israelites as he planned to do to the inhabitants of
- "The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him."
The "revenger of blood" (the victim's closest relative) must murder the murderer just as soon as he sees him. 35:19, 21
- "But if the slayer shall at any time come without the border of the city of his refuge ... and the revenger of blood kill the slayer; he shall not be guilty of blood. Because he should have remained in the city of his refuge until the death of the high priest"
If the accidental killer leaves the city of refuge and is caught by the revenger of blood, then the revenger can legally kill the accidental killer.
- "Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death." 35:30
- "The land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it." 35:33