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Atrocities of the Bible

The Midianites

By Doug Kelley


Ever since I was old enough to look at pictures, the Bible has brought me great consternation.  When I was but a toddler, every time my mom would show me the picture of Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac (in the orange "Paradise Lost" book), I would get so visibly upset that mom would have to pass by that story.  Ever since then, I have found it very disturbing to read of accounts in the Bible that I could not reconcile to a loving and merciful Creator. 

It is my intention to expound on thinking that was originally penned by Thomas Paine, an 18th century freethinker, who wrote "The Age of Reason."  Paine advocated Deism as a better alternative than the Bible.  Deism teaches that there is one God, who created the universe, but does not intervene in man's affairs.  Deism does not support the Bible as the Word of God, but rather, creation as the universal Truth that all can see.  It also teaches that one be kind to their fellow human being. (I do not profess Deism, although I do believe in the indomitable power of the human spirit. I am an Agnostic Secular Humanist).

It will become apparent that the people who lived as described by the Bible were nothing more than brutal, savage barbarians, who had little, if any, regard for human life.  It can also be said that the God of the Hebrew scriptures, Jehovah, was also a barbarian, in addition to being inconsistent, jealous, vicious, unloving, tyrannical and grossly unmerciful—indeed, human traits.

Please note: all scriptural citations are taken from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

The Midianites Vs. The Israelites

It was during the 40-year trek through the wilderness that the Israelites encountered the Midianites.  The Bible tells us that the Midianites had been harassing the Israelites.  The King of Moab, who was in league with the Midianites, hired Balaam to pronounce curses on Israel.  As the story goes, Balaam, while en route to Moab, was stopped by Jehovah's angel.  His donkey "miraculously" spoke to him asking why Balaam was beating him since the angel was blocking the way.  At any rate, Balaam was allowed to continue, but when it came to cursing Israel, God forced him to bless Israel three times.  The King was angry.  Therefore, Balaam comes up with a "Plan B."  He suggests that the women of Midian go and try to seduce the "sons of Israel" and get them to fall down and worship Baal of Peor.  This is successful to the point that Jehovah exterminates 24,000 Israelite men.  (Numbers 25:9) 

God then commands the Israelites to avenge themselves (God tells them to avenge themselves against the Midianites when it was God who killed 24,000 of the Israelites!).  The Bible states, "Later Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying: “Let there be a harassing of the Midianites, and YOU men must strike them, because they are harassing YOU with their deeds of cunning that they committed against YOU cunningly in the affair of Peor and in the affair of Cozbi the daughter of a chieftain of Midian, their sister who was fatally struck [by Phinehas through the genitals] in the day of the scourge over the affair of Peor.”  (Numbers 25:16-18)  "Jehovah then spoke to Moses, saying: “Take vengeance for the sons of Israel upon the Midianites. Afterward you will be gathered to your people.”  (Numbers 31:1-2) Whatever happened to the idea that you should not pay back evil for evil? Even though it is mentioned later in the Greek scriptures, God is supposed to be "unchangeable," therefore, if He admonished humans later in this regard, it follows that it should have always been His mindset.

At any rate, the Israelites started out to do just as they were commanded.  "And they went waging war against Midian, just as Jehovah had commanded Moses, and they proceeded to kill every male. 8 And they killed the kings of Midian along with the others slain, namely, E'vi and Re'kem and Zur and Hur and Re'ba, the five kings of Midian; and they killed Ba'laam the son of Be'or with the sword."  (Numbers 31:7-8) They were commanded to kill off every living thing, human or beast, except for virgins."

So here we have a situation in which the Israelites "killed every male" and returned a "wrong" with a "wrong" at God's command, which did not result in a "right."  But the story gets worse, and this is the atrocity.

"But the sons of Israel carried off the women of Midian and their little ones captive; and all their domestic animals and all their livestock and all their means of maintenance they plundered.  And all their cities in which they had settled and all their walled camps they burned with fire.  And they went taking all the spoil and all the booty in the way of humans and domestic animals.  And they came bringing to Moses and El·e·a'zar the priest and to the assembly of the sons of Israel the captives and the booty and the spoil, to the camp, to the desert plains of Mo'ab, which are by the Jordan at Jer'i·cho."  (Numbers 31:9-12)

Notice here that the Israelites "carried off the women…and their little ones captive," as well as everything else they owned, including livestock, gold and "all their means of maintenance."

It is interesting to note that the Israelites who actually did the fighting, mere humans, showed more mercy than did God.  "And Moses grew indignant at the appointed men of the combat forces, the chiefs of the thousands and the chiefs of the hundreds who were coming in from the military expedition.  So Moses said to them: “Have YOU preserved alive every female?  (Numbers 31:14-15)  Here Moses, who is allegedly the "meekest of all the men who were upon the surface of the ground" (Numbers 12:3), gets a little perturbed because these "appointed men" showed human compassion.  Notice the instructions the evil man Moses passes on from the evil god Jehovah:

"And now kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has had intercourse with man by lying with a male.  And preserve alive for yourselves all the little ones among the women who have not known the act of lying with a male."  (Numbers 31:17-19)

I guess it is a sin for a woman to have a family and follow her "God-given" desire to procreate.

How many virgins were left after the slaughter?  Numbers 31:35 tells us, "As for human souls from the women who had not known the act of lying with a male, all the souls were thirty-two thousand." Of these, 32 young women where given to Jehovah as a "tax."  (Numbers 31:40)

Can you imagine such a thing?  It is quite plain that God's command was to kill every little boy, every woman or young woman who was not a virgin, and to keep for themselves all the remaining little girls and young virgins as wives.  Thomas Paine comments on this in "The Age of Reason,

"Let any mother put herself in the situation of those mothers, one child murdered, another destined to violation [rape], and herself in the hands of an executioner; let any daughter put herself in the situation of those daughters, destined as a prey [victim] to the murderers of a mother and a brother, and what will be their feelings?


"Among the detestable villains that in any period of the world have disgraced the name of man, it is impossible to find a greater than Moses, if this account be true.  Here is an order to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers, and debauch the daughters."

Paine makes an excellent point: How would you feel if this happened to you?  How would you feel as a mother knowing that your son(s) would be murdered and your daughter(s) forced into wifely servitude to the perpetrators?  Would it deepen your faith in a loving and merciful Creator?  Or a brutal and spiteful supernatural being?  How many young boys and mothers do you suppose were slaughtered?  If there were 32,000 virgins kept alive, it would be a reasonable and conservative estimate to conclude that approximately 32,000 mothers in addition to any brothers were killed.  This takes into account that each mother would have no doubt had several children.  So each young girl could have lost several brothers, and any non-virgin sisters, in addition to her mother (not to mention her father).

Can you just see the mass grave with tens of thousands of bodies in it?  Can you picture the horror of the sight?  We read of mass graves in different countries around the world today which gives us a sick feeling inside.

And what of the "little ones?"  Who would now become their guardians?  It would be the very ones who murdered their parents.  Does this not sound a little dysfunctional to you?

How in heaven or earth, could a God of love do such a thing or allow such a thing to happen?  It flies in the face of all that is decent and holy, not to mention that of reason.  And I am but a man; a mere human.  Should not the "Almighty" demonstrate patience and tolerance to a super-human degree? 

Even in compiling this information, it greatly offends every thread and fiber of the moral values and virtues that I have ever cherished.  It greatly offends my conscience and sense of reason.  I find it utterly and completely contemptible. It disgusts me.

But some might object, stating that the ”Law" provided for captives to be taken as wives.  This is true.  Notice Deuteronomy 21:10-14: “In case you go out to the battle against your enemies and Jehovah your God has given them into your hand and you have carried them away captive; and you have seen among the captives a woman beautiful in form, and you have got attached to her and taken her for your wife, you must then bring her into the midst of your house. She must now shave her head and attend to her nails, and remove the mantle of her captivity from off her and dwell in your house and weep for her father and her mother a whole lunar month; and after that you should have relations with her, and you must take possession of her as your bride, and she must become your wife.  And it must occur that if you have found no delight in her, you must then send her away, agreeably to her own soul; but you must by no means sell her for money. You must not deal tyrannically with her after you have humiliated her.

So, take her for your wife, rape her, but if you decide that you don't want her anymore, Hey! That's okay!  Just send her away.  It doesn't matter that you raped her and murdered her brother(s), sister(s), mother and father.  She probably doesn't want anything to do with you anyway, since it is inconceivable that she really wanted to have sexual relations with one who was responsible for the death of her family.  But isn't it interesting that divorce is now okay, but later God states that He "hates a divorcing?"  (Malachi 2:16)  How inconsistent!  How evil!  What wickedness!  How criminal!  How immoral!  It is okay to "humiliate" her by raping her and killing her family, but not okay to "deal tyrannically" with her!  What a sham!

And then to boot, after God commands the Israelites to do this heinous massacre, He then in effect blames them for sinning by requiring them to cleanse themselves from the sin.  (Numbers 31:19, 20)  What makes this even worse is the fact that this war was really between God and the Midianites, not the Israelites.

If the God of the Bible is so loving, then why did He not simply appeal to the Midianites in an effort to gain them, like He did with the Ninevites, rather than put them to a brutal and savage death? If Jehovah is the Almighty, then why does he not have the power to appeal to his creation?  (Seems like a good thing to do even in our time!)  But the fact is, that Jehovah only knows carnage.  IF Jehovah truly was a good and loving god, and IF the Midianites truly deserved extermination by godly standards, then Jehovah could have certainly put them to death in a far more "humane" way than was done. Even Sennacherib's soldiers were killed, as they no doubt slept, by "God's Angel."

Think, we humans don't even euthanize little dogs and cats by hacking them to death with a sword.  If that is done by anyone, there is public uproar and they face "cruelty to animal" charges and are prosecuted.  In fact, it doesn't even take the foregoing degree of cruelty to animals to be charged.  I have read many accounts of where people simply had too many pets in one home to properly care for them and were charged.  But now, what of the "cruelty to humans" that the false god Jehovah is guilty of?  We more accurately call this, "crimes against humanity."  In our day, there have been several humans who have been guilty of "crimes against humanity."  Hitler and many of his subordinates, as well as Slobadan Milosevic the Yugoslavian tyrant, just to name a few.

Now how will the god of the Hebrew scriptures be made accountable?  What will be his sentence?  Why on earth are people oblivious to this and continue to proclaim that Jehovah is a "loving God" when his own alleged word clearly portrays him quite differently?

This is just one of many examples in which the "God' of the Hebrew scriptures is nothing but a vile and wicked myth.  If He exists at all, He is guilty of crimes against humanity; indeed, against all creation.


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