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Cruelty and Violence
Science and History
Dwindling in Unbelief
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1 Kings: Cruelty and Violence
- In David's last words, he commands his son Solomon to murder Joab and Shimei. 2:1-9
- Solomon has his brother (Adonijah) murdered. 2:24-25
- Solomon carries out the deathbed instructions of his father David by having Joab murdered.
- Solomon justifies the murder of Joab by saying that Joab also was a murderer, and that the blood of Joab's victims
"shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon the head of his seed for ever."
- But Solomon is not done murdering yet. He has Shimei murdered -- or as Solomon put it, "The Lord shall return
thy wickedness upon thine own head." 2:44, 46
- Solomon killed and sacrificed 1000 animals to God at Gibeon. 3:4
- When the ark of the covenant was brought into the temple, Solomon killed
more animals than could be numbered. 8:5
- When dedicating the temple, Solomon killed 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. 8:63
- "Joab ... had smitten every male in Edom."
Joab (David's captain) spent six months killing every male in Edom. Yet a few years later Edom revolted. (2 Kings 8:22) 11:15-16
- "Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam." 11:40
- King Josiah is prophesied to sacrifice the priests of the "high places" on their altars. And he does so in
2 Kings 23:20. Note that this is a guy who "did what was right in the eyes of the Lord"
(2 Kings 22:2). 13:2
- "And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up ... And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king's
hand was restored him again."
Ever the playful spirit, God withers, and then restores, the hand of king Jeroboam. 13:4-6
- "A lion met him by the way, and slew him."
So there were these two prophets. The first prophet lied to the second. To the punish the second for believing the first's lie,
God sent a lion to kill him. Get it? 13:11-24
- "When the prophet ... heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD:
therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD."
- God promises to "bring evil upon the
house of Jerobaom," saying he will "cut off" anyone "that
pisseth against the wall." Then, after he is done with them, their dead bodies will be eaten by dogs (if they are
city dwellers) or fowls (if they are country folk). 14:10-11
- "Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat:
for the LORD hath spoken it." 14:11
- "When thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die." 14:12
- "For the LORD shall smite Israel ... because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger."
- "When she came to the threshold of the door, the child died."
To punish Jeroboam for making gold calves, God killed his son. 14:17
- Baasha kills "all of the house of Jeroboam" leaving none "to breath." This slaughter was done "according to the
word of the Lord." 15:29
- "I will ... make thy house like the house of Jeroboam. Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat;
and him that dieth of his in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat."
God says he's going to kill Baasha's family (like he did Jeroboam's). 16:3-4
- "He slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks,
nor of his friends. Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the LORD."
Zimri kills everyone "that pisseth against a wall ... according to the word of the Lord." 16:11-12
- "When Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over him
with fire, and died. For his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of Jeroboam,
and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin."
Did God force Zimri to burn himself to death? 16:18-19
- "Zimri ... died ... doing evil in the sight of the LORD." 16:18-19
- "He laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his
youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD."
When Hiel rebuilds Jericho, he lays the foundation with the body of his oldest son and sets up the gates with his
youngest son's body "according to the word of the Lord."
Did God want Hiel to sacrifice his sons in this way? Did he make him do it? What does "according to the word of the Lord" mean here?
- Elijah kills 450 prophets of Baal. 18:22, 40
- "There came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold,
I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD." 20:13
- "They slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled; and Israel pursued them ... And the king of Israel ...
slew the Syrians with a great slaughter."
The first God assisted "great slaugher" of the Syrians. 20:21
- God delivers the Syrians into the Israelites' hands, and 100,000 were killed in one day. Of those that escaped,
27,000 were crushed by a falling wall. (It was a really big wall.) 20:28-30
- "A man of God ... said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills,
but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall
know that I am the LORD."
God kills 127,000 Syrians because they said he was God of the hills but not God of the valleys. 20:28
- "The children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day." 20:29
- "There a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left." 20:30
- "Ben-hadad said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy
father, I will restore ... Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this
covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away."
King Ahab is merciful to king Beh-hada. God will later kill him for it. (See 1 Kings 20:42 and
- There was this son of a prophet that said to his neighbor, "Smite me." But the neighbor refused.
So God sent a lion to devour him. 20:35-36
- Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction,
therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people."
The prophet tells king Ahab that he will be killed and his people punished for not killing Ben-hadad:
"Your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people." 20:42
- "Thou didst blaspheme God and the king."
Although Naboth was set up here by Jezebel to steal his land, the text assumes that the proper punishment for
"blaspheming God and the king" is death by stoning. 21:10-13
- "Thus saith the Lord, in the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine."
God says that dogs with lick Ahab's blood. But Jezebel, not Ahab, was repsonsible for Naboth's death.
- "Behold, I will bring evil upon thee,
and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall."
God will "bring evil upon" Ahab and kill everyone in his family "that pisseth against the wall." 21:21
- The dogs shall eat Jezebel."
Jezebel (Ahab's "strange" wife) "stirred up" Ahab to "work wickedness in the sight of the Lord." To punish her,
God will feed her dead body to the dogs. He also plans to feed Ahab's family to the dogs (if they live in the city)
and to the birds (if they are country folks). 21:23-25
- "Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days:
but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house."
Since Ahab humbles himself before the Lord, God decides not to bring evil on him; he'll
he'll bring it on Ahab's son instead. 21:29
- "And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab?"
God asks for volunteer among the guys hanging out with him. He wants one of them to lie for him so that he can get Ahab kiiled.
- Jehoshaphat "did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord" and "took" the homosexuals (sodomites) "out
of the land," or as the RSV says, "he exterminated" them. 22:43, 46