SO-CALLED CONTRADICTIONS OF THE BIBLE #10
3. Duty of Man—To His Fellowmen
All the women children . . . keep alive
The Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord.
MISUNDERSTOOD….. ADULTERY WAS ALWAYS SIN - Keith Hunt
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
Of the case in Numbers Keil says all the females were put to death who might possibly have been engaged in the licentious worship of Peor,70 so that the
70 See Numbers 25:1-3.
Israelites might be preserved from contamination by that abominable idolatry. The young maidens were reserved to be employed as servants, or, in case they became proselytes, to be married.
With reference to Hosea, Delitzsch takes the prophet's marriages simply as "internal events, i.e. as merely carried out in that inward and spiritual intuition in which the word of God was addressed to him." In this view concur Bleek,71 Davidson,72 Hengstenberg, Kimchi, and Knobel; the first of whom dwells upon the unsuitableness of the outward acts to make the desired moral impression, while the last pronounces these acts peculiarly inconsistent with a character so severely moral as that of Hosea. Moreover, the word "whoredom," in the first part of the verse may mean, as it certainly does in the last part, simply spiritual whoredom, or idolatry.73
IN TAKING A WIFE AND HAVING CHILDREN, THEY WOULD BE FROM THE WHOREDOM AND IDOLATROUS ISRAEL, SO IN THAT SENCE HE WAS TAKING A WIFE AND CHILDREN OF WHOREDOMS - Keith Hunt
Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat. And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger, . . . and thrust it into his belly. . . . And Ehud escaped.
Judges 3:20-21, 26
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.
Thou shalt not kill.
If a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.
The cases of Ehud and Jael are recorded without comment, simply as matters of history. It does not appear that God sanctioned their acts, although he overruled them for the welfare of his people. Keil admonishes us against supposing that Ehud acted under the impulse of the Spirit of God; also that, though he actually delivered Israel, there is no warrant for assuming that the means he selected were either commanded or approved by Jehovah.
The cases of Joab and Shimei 74 are sometimes adduced as examples of the sanction of assassination. The former was a "man of blood," a deliberate murderer. When the reasons of state, on account of which his punishment had been deferred, ceased to exist, that punishment was justly inflicted. Shimei was guilty
71Introd. to Old Testament, ii. 124.
72Introd. to Old Testament, iii. 237.
73Compare p. 79
741 Kings 2:5-9.
of aggravated treason and rebellion. Being reprieved upon a certain condition, he wilfully violated that condition, and met the consequences of his temerity. Assassination is nowhere sanctioned in the Bible.
Avenging of blood
The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him.
Thou shalt not kill.
The practice of blood revenge, being one of long standing, and founded upon "an imaginary sense of honor," 75 was tolerated by Moses; but he took measures to prevent its abuse.
According to the original custom, as Burckhardt 76 says, "the right of blood-revenge is never lost; it descends, on both sides, to the latest generation." Moses restricted the avenging of blood to the nearest male relative of the deceased, and to the actual offender. These two, and no more, were concerned in the affair.
Then, strange as it may seem, such competent witnesses as Burckhardt, Mr. Layard, 77 and Prof. Palmer 78 bear unequivocal testimony to the salutary influence of the custom upon the tribes among whom it obtains. The latter traveller says: "Thanks to the terrible rigor of the 'Vendetta,' or blood feud, homicide is far rarer in the desert than in civilized lands." The "killing" forbidden in Deuteronomy is the crime of murder; the "blood revenge" of Numbers is the recognized punishment of that crime.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius
. . . . For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.
1 Corinthians 1:14,17
Obviously, "Christ sent me not so much to baptize, as to preach the gospel." Paul did not neglect or undervalue baptism, but gave himself to the work of teaching, leaving his associates to administer baptism.
75Michaelis, Com. on Mosaic Laws, i. 15-16.
76Quoted by Macdonald, Introd. to Pent. ii. 323-324.
77Nineveh and Babylon, p. 260 (New York edition).
78Desert of the Exodus, p. 75 (Harpers' edition).
Must bear others burdens.
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so
fulfil the law of Christ.
Bear our own burdens.
For every man shall bear his own burden.
The original word for "burden" is not the same in the two cases. The different sense is indicated in accurate versions.
The first text means, "Be sympathetic and helpful to each other in the midst of infirmities and sorrows"; the second, "Every man must bear his own responsibility, under the Divine government."
Calling men "Father"
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ.
And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My
father, my father.
2 Kings 2:12
Yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
1 Corinthians 4:15
The first texts simply forbid us to take any man as an infallible guide. We are to pay to no human being the homage and obedience which rightfully belong to Christ.
Alford: "The prohibition is against loving, and, in any religious matter, using such titles, signifying dominion over the faith of others."
YES IT IS IN A "RELIGIOUS" MATTER: WE ARE NOT TO GIVE "FATHER" TO A MAN IN THE WAY OF A RELIGIOUS TITLE. AND SO THE LARGEST "CHRISTIAN" CHURCH ON EARTH DOES JUST THAT - Keith Hunt
Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man
shall his blood be shed.
A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
By some unaccountable freak of exegesis, a well-known critic makes the first text the prohibition of capital punishment. Instead, it is a most explicit command, sanctioning it.
The case of Cain occurred some fifteen hundred years before this command was given to Noah.
THE FIRST VERSE IS A "GENERAL STATEMENT" - GOD HAD CAPITAL PUNISHMENT ON "THE BOOKS" FOR CERTAIN LAWS BROKEN. BUT TRUE REPENTANCE COULD ABOLISH THAT SPECIFIC DEATH SENTENCE, AS THE EXAMPLE OF DAVID IN THE SETTING OF THE WHOLE SITUATION WITH BATHSHEBA; GOD SPARED HIM FROM DEATH [HE WAS GIVEN OTHER PUNISHMENT] UPON HIS DEEP TRUE REPENTANCE - Keith Hunt
To be spared.
All the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.. . . Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.
Put to death.
But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: . . . That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the Lord your God.
The general rule was to make captives; the exception was in the case of the "seven nations" of Canaan, to whom, on account of their "abominations," no quarter was to be given.79
By one method.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, ... If any man's wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, etc.
A different method.
If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, and give occasions of speech against her, . . . and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid, etc.
A late writer says that, in one case, "great latitude is afforded to the suspicious husband, while the woman's protection against him is only a superstitious appeal to Jehovah; in the other, a judicial investigation is instituted, giving the wife a more reasonable chance of justice."
But the two cases are quite different. The first text refers to unchastity of which the woman was supposed to have been guilty after marriage; the other, to similar misconduct of her's before the event. Hence different modes of investigation were adopted. In the first case the way prescribed—the only way to arrive at the truth in the matter—was, as Keil says, "to let the thing be decided by the verdict of God himself." In the other case, this would not be true.
Christians bearing weapons
But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword.
79 See further under "Enemies—treatment."
Some critics take the Greek word "machaira" as denoting, in the first text, not a "sword," but a "knife." Unquestionably, the word occasionally has this meaning in classical Greek and in the Septuagint.80 This is a possible, but not probable, interpretation.
The first text may be only another way of saying, "You must henceforth use such precautions, and make such provision for your needs, as men generally do." Wordsworth: "A proverbial expression, intimating that they would now be reduced to a condition in which the men of this world resort to such means of defence1. Alford: "The saying is both a description to them of their altered situation with reference to the world without, and a declaration that self-defence and self-provision would henceforward be necessary." Similarly Oosterzee, and many others.
The second quotation may have been a warning to Peter against a seditious or rebellious use of the sword against rulers. Or it may have been a dissuasive against his attempting to avenge the wrongs inflicted upon Jesus, coupled with the assurance that the latter's persecutors should speedily perish—as they did, in the destruction of their city. That is, rebellion against regularly constituted authorities, together with private, extra-judicial revenge, may be all that is contemplated and prohibited here.
BAD INTERPRETATIONS HERE; CONTEXT READING NOT DONE. THE FIRST IN LUKE 22, GOES ON TO SAY WHY JESUS SAID THIS; JESUS WAS FORETOLD TO BE RECKONED AMONG THE TRANSGRESSORS….. MEN OF VIOLENCE WHO HAVE SWORDS. IT WAS ALL FOR THE CONTEXT THAT NOW MUST BE THE CONTEXT IN WHICH JESUS WAS VIEWED, AS LEADER OF A BAND OF WICKED REBELLS. THE LAST VERSE WAS AFTER PETER HAD STUCK OFF AN EAR OF ONE MAN COMING TO ARREST JESUS. AN EMOTIONAL ACT OF THOSE WHO OFTEN LIVE THEIR LIVES HAVING KILLING WEAPONS. OR EVEN JOINING A NATION'S WAR MACHINE, THE SAYING WOULD STILL APPLY…. IF YOU LIVE A LIFE OF VIOLENCE WITH THE SWORD, THE CHANCES ARE YOU'LL DIE BY THE SWORD - Keith Hunt
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: . . . No uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
Exodus 12:43, 48
Is any called in uncircumcision? let him
not be circumcised.
1 Corinthians 7:18
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
The rites and ceremonies of the Mosaic law, among which was circumcision, were intended to serve a temporary purpose. When Christ came the Mosaic ritual ceased to have any binding force. It had fulfilled the designed end.
80 Liddell and Scott give, as one definition, a knife for surgical, sacrificial, and other purposes. In Genesis 22:6, 10; Judges 19:29, such a knife is clearly intended. In the last instance, however, Tischendorf adopts a different reading.
The first passages were addressed to Abraham and his seed. The second series was written after the rite of circumcision had been set aside by Divine authority.
Not to be omitted.
And the uncircumcised man child, ... that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
Neglected for forty years.
All the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, . . . them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way.
Joshua 5:5, 7
Mr. Perowne, in Smith's Bible Dictionary, maintains that "the nation, while bearing the punishment of disobedience in its forty years' wandering, was regarded as under a temporary rejection by God, and was therefore prohibited from using the sign of the covenant."
This explanation is adopted by Calvin, Keil, and Hengstenberg, 81 and is probably the true one. On the same principle the parallel omission of the passover is to be explained.
A certain disciple was there, named Timotheus. . . . Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters.
Acts 16:1, 3
Neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: and that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.
Conybeare: The two cases were entirely different. In the latter, there was an attempt to enforce circumcision as necessary to salvation; in the former, it was performed as a voluntary act, and simply on prudential grounds.
Similarly Hackett and Alford. The principle involved is that we may sometimes make concessions to expediency which it would be wrong to make to arbitrary authority seeking to tyrannize over the conscience.
IN THE FIRST CASE IT WAS "BECAUSE IF THE JEWS" - EXPEDIENT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES TO NOT OFFEND THE JEWS; BUT IN REALITY QUITE UNNECESSARY AS PHYSICAL CIRCUMCISION UNDER THE NEW TESTAMENT HAD BEEN ABROGATED - Keith Hunt
Commutation for murder
Ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.
If the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death. If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him.
81 On Genuineness of Pentateuch, ii. 13-15.
In the case of willful murder, as Abarbanel and Aben Ezra say, absolutely no commutation of the death penalty was allowed. But the second quotation does not refer to a case of "murder," properly so called. The element of malice was wanting. Gross and criminal carelessness, although resulting in the death of a human being, was yet less heinous than deliberate murder. Hence the judges might, if they saw fit, punish the offender by a heavy fine, instead of death.
This is, substantially, Keifs opinion.
SOME COMMENTS BY SOME ARE WRONG. THE EXAMPLE OF DAVID IN THE CONTEXT OF BATHSHEBA AND HER HUSBAND, PROVES NUMBERS 35:31 TO BE A "GENERAL" STATEMENT LAW, AS DAVID DID NOT FACE THE DEATH PENALTY IN PLANNING BATHSHEBA'S HUSBAND'S DEATH; UPON TRUE REPENTANCE GRACE COULD BE SHOWN, AND OTHER PUNISHMENT GIVEN - Keith Hunt
Contention and strife
Strive to enter in at the strait gate.
Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel. . . . Now I beseech you, brethren, . . . that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.
Romans 15:20, 30
It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith.
A fool's lips enter into contention.
Charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit. . . . The servant of the Lord
must not strive.
2 Timothy 2:14, 24
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
These are interesting examples of the use of the same word in widely different senses. In the first series the words in question imply merely earnest effort; in the second, quarrelsome collision. We have elsewhere seen that the citation from Luke would be properly rendered, "Agonize to enter in at the strait gate."
Conversion of men
Man converts his fellow.
In doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
1 Timothy 4:16
If any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death.
Lest they see with their eyes, and
hear with their ears, and understand
with their heart, and convert, and be
The first text brings to view the influence of another in causing a man to turn; the second, the man's own act in turning from the error of his way. Here is no contradiction.
UNDERSTANDING THERE IS A BLINDNESS FROM GOD THAT KEEPS PEOPLE SPIRITUALLY BLINDED; HENCE THE REASON JESUS SAID HE SPOKE IN PARABLES - MOST OF HIS DAY AND OUR DAY SINCE, HAVE NOT BEEN CALLED AND CHOSEN TO SALVATION - SEE MY STUDY CALLED "CALLED AND CHOSEN - WHEN?" - AND "THE GREAT WHITE JUDGMENT DAY" - Keith Hunt
Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye
not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant.
Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and
whose heart departeth from the Lord.
Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide.
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth.
1 Corinthians 13:7-8
The first and last texts [Jer. 9:4; Micah 7:5] imply a state of the "most wretched perfidiousness, anarchy, and confusion, in which the most intimate could have no confidence in each other, and the closest ties of relationship were violated and condemned." These two texts are not commands, but advice—equivalent to saying, "Such is the state of public morals that if you trust any man you will be deceived and betrayed."
Jeremiah 17:5 simply denounces that undue "trust in man" which causes one to depart from the Lord." None of these passages countenance uncharitable suspicion and distrust.
The first three texts graphically depict the workings and results of human depravity; the last citation sets forth the workings of Christian love. The demoralizing effects of sin are contrasted with the loving, trusting purity arising from the gospel.
And seest among the captives a beautiful woman,
and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest
have her to thy wife; Then thou shalt bring her
home to thy house... And after that thou shalt
go in unto her, and be her husband, and she
shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have
no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go
whither she will.
When, a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife.
Let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away.
Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause
of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery:
and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced
Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery.
Between these two series of announcements a period of some fifteen hundred years intervened.
God, in the early ages of the Jewish nation, and with a view to prevent greater evils, allowed a limited freedom of divorce. Yet this "putting away," being opposed to the original, divine idea of marriage, was suffered solely on account of the hardness of men's hearts, and in comparatively rude and unenlightened times. We see here the wisdom of God in adapting his statutes and requirements to man's knowledge and position in the scale of civilization.
Besides, as Dr. Ginsburg 82 has observed, "the Mosaic law does not institute divorce, but, as in other matters, recognizes and most humanely regulates the prevailing patriarchal practice." The law, moreover, is shaped with a view to mitigate the evils of the practice, and ultimately to restrict it within the proper limits. At our Savior's coming, he, addressing himself to a more enlightened age, set the matter in the normal light, allowing divorce but for one cause.83
OVERALL CORRECT, BUT LIKE MANY GINSBURG WAS NOT CORRECT AS "BUT FOR ONE CAUSE." SEE MY IN-DEPTH STUDY CALLED "DIVORCE AND RE-MARRIAGE" - Keith Hunt
And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon.
2 Samuel 12:31
And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes.
1 Chronicles 20:3
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
82Kitto's Cyclopaedia, iii. 82.
83See, further, Professor Hovey, "Scriptural Doctrine of Divorce" (Boston, 1866). President Woolsey, "New Englander" (January, April, and July 1867).
If our version of the text from Chronicles is correct, David merely punished the Ammonites for the terrible cruelties which at a previous period his fellow-countrymen had suffered at their hands.84 Henderson, referring to these cruelties, says: "The object of the Ammonites was to effect an utter extermination of the Israelites inhabiting the mountainous regions of Gilead, in order that they might extend their own territory in that direction."
According to a Jewish tradition, David slew the Moabites,85 because they had treacherously murdered his parents, who had been confided to their care.86 Wahner, however, gives three explanations "according to which none of the vanquished Moabites were put to death."87
The probability is that our version of both texts of the first series, as well as the original of the second of those texts, is incorrect. Dr. Davidson says: "According to the present reading of Samuel, the meaning could not be he put them to. Nor could it be he put them under, but only he put them among or between?
Chandler,88 Dantz, and others, take the meaning to be that David enslaved the Ammonites, putting them to servile labor, in the midst of suitable implements—saws, harrows, axes, and the like. The word "vayyasar," "he sawed," in Chronicles, may be a mere copyists blunder for "vayyasem," "he put," as in Samuel. The latter word is found in seven of the mss. collated by Dr. Kennicott. The close resemblance of the two words, especially if the final letter, Mem, were imperfectly formed, accounts for the error of the transcriber.
We, therefore, submit that there is no evidence that David put the Ammonites to the torture. The meaning may be that, he put them to menial service, of the lowest and most laborious kind. If he killed any, it may have been, as Keil suggests, simply the "fighting men that were taken prisoners."
Finally, these passages are mere history, and the sacred writer makes himself responsible for nothing more in the case than the simple accuracy of the narrative.
Baal's prophets slain.
And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
1 Kings 18:40
Conciliatory measures enjoined.
In meekness instructing those that
2 Timothy 2:25
84Comp. 1 Samuel 11:2; Amos 1:13.
852 Samuel 8:2.
861 Samuel 22:3-4.
87See Michaelis, Mos. Laws, i. 334-335.
88Life of David, ii. 227-238 (Oxford, 1853).
These "prophets" were engaged in promoting treason and rebellion against the theocracy. Leniency shown to them, under these circumstances, would be nothing less than cruelty and treachery toward the highest welfare of the nation.
Keil: "To infer from this act of Elijah the right to institute a bloody persecution of heretics, would not only indicate a complete oversight of the difference between heathen idolaters and Christian heretics, but the same reprehensible confounding of the evangelical standpoint of the New Testament with the legal standpoint of the Old, which Christ condemned in his own disciples, in Luke 9:55-56."
Rawlinson: "Elijah's act is to be justified by the express command of the law, that idolatrous Israelites were to be put to death; and by the right of a prophet under the theocracy to step in and execute the law when the king failed in his duty."
But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breathed; but thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and thejebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee: that they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the Lord your God.
Thou shalt not kill.
The precept in Deuteronomy 5 does not prohibit the punishment of crime. It is to be noted that extraordinary severity was enjoined only in the cases above specified. To other nations the Israelites might propose conditions of peace, and enter into leagues with them. The reasons for this unexampled severity are the following:
1. The excessive wickedness of these seven tribes, the horrible "abominations" of which they were guilty. They burned their children in honor of their gods;89 they practised sodomy, bestiality, and all loathsome vices.90 Such was their unmitigated depravity, that the land is represented as "vomiting out her
89 Leviticus 18:21.
90 Leviticus 18:22-24; 20:23.
inhabitants," and "spewing them forth," as the stomach disgorges a deadly poison.91 On account of their loathsome vileness God cut them off by the sword of the Israelites.
2. Their contaminating example. This is the reason assigned in the text above quoted. For the same reason, "covenants" and "marriages" between the Israelites and these seven tribes were strictly prohibited.92 The disastrous consequences of the intercourse of the Israelites with Moab evince the wisdom of this prohibition.93 It was utterly impossible to live near these degraded idolaters without being defiled by the association.
This fact indicates to us the reason why the Israelites were instructed to "save alive nothing that breatheth."Absolute extermination of the idolaters was the only safeguard of the Hebrews. Any of the former who should be spared, would, owing to their perverse proclivities, prove a most undesirable and intractable element in the Hebrew theocracy.94 It was better for all concerned, that these idolatrous tribes should be laid under the ban; that is, altogether exterminated, that they might not teach the Israelites their abominations and sins.
As to the reflex influence, upon the Hebrews themselves, of their extermination of the Canaanites, Prof. Norton 95 bluntly observes: "There is no good moral discipline in the butchery of women and infants. It is not thus that men are to be formed to the service of God." To this, we may reply:
The positive and explicit command of Jehovah entirely changed the aspect of the case, and invested the Israelites, while executing this command with a solemn official responsibility as the instruments of divine justice.
The execution of this command may have been, in that comparatively rude and unenlightened age, the most effectual means of impressing upon the Hebrews the "exceeding sinfulness" of sin, together with Gods abhorrence 96 of the same, especially, in the form of "idolatry." As the Hebrews looked forth upon the devastated habitations, the slain animals, the dead bodies of the Canaanites, they could not but hear the solemn warning, "These are the consequences of sin. Behold how Jehovah hates iniquity."
WE MAY NOT KNOW THE FULL REASON WHY GOD INSTRUCTED THE ISREALITES TO UTTERLY DESTROY THEM…. WE MAY HAVE TO WAIT TILL THE COMING OF OUR LORD FOR THIS ANSWER. BE ASSURED GOD KNEW WHY HE INSTRUCTED THIS WAY - Keith Hunt
This view of the case is vigorously presented by Dr. Fairbairn,97 in words like the following: "What could be conceived so thoroughly fitted to implant in
91Leviticus 18:25, 28.
94Judges 2:1-3; 3:1-7.
95Genuineness of Gospels, ii. p. cxxx.
97Typology, ii. 465-471.
their hearts an abiding conviction of the evil of idolatry and its foul abominations—to convert their abhorrence of these into a national, permanent characteristic, as their being obliged to enter on their settled inheritance by a terrible infliction of judgment upon its former occupants for polluting it with such enormities? Thus the very foundations of their national existence raised a solemn warning against defection from the pure worship of God; and the visitation of divine wrath against the ungodliness of men accomplished by their own hands, and interwoven with the records of their history at its most eventful period, stood as a perpetual witness against them, if they should ever turn aside to folly. Happy had it been for them, if they had been as careful to remember the lesson, as God was to have it suitably impressed upon their minds."
The language in which Mr. Carlyle 98 characterizes the severe and bloody measures employed by Cromwell against the Irish insurgents, may be applied to the Israelites in their executing the divine commission against the Canaanites—"An armed soldier, solemnly conscious to himself that he is the soldier of God, the Just—a consciousness which it well beseems all soldiers and all men to have always—armed soldier, terrible as death, relentless as doom; doing God's judgments on the enemies of God! It is a phenomenon not of joyful nature; no, but of awful; to be looked at with pious terror and awe."
Viewing the Israelites in this aspect, as the consciously commissioned ministers of heavens vengeance upon an utterly corrupt and imbruted race, their case is lifted completely out of the common range of warfare, and becomes entirely unique—no longer to be judged of by the ordinary ethical standards.
A late author, who could not be charged with fanaticism—Dr. Thomas Arnold—has the following emphatic defence of the Israelites, and of their warfare of extermination: "And if we are inclined to think that God dealt hardly with the people of Canaan in commanding them to be so utterly destroyed, let us but think what might have been our fate, and the fate of every other nation under heaven, at this hour, had the sword of the Israelites done its work more sparingly. Even as it was, the small portions of the Canaanites who were left and the nations around them so tempted the Israelites by their idolatrous practices that we read continually of the whole people of God turning away from his service. But had the heathen lived in the land in equal numbers, and still more, had they intermarried largely with the Israelites, how was it possible, humanly speaking, that any sparks of the light of God's truth should have survived to the
98Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, ii. 53 (second edition).
99Sermon iv. "Wars of the Israelites." See, also, Stanley's Jewish Church. Part i. Lect. xi.
coming of Christ. . . . The whole earth would have been sunk in darkness; and if Messiah had come he would not have found one single ear prepared to listen to his doctrine nor one single heart that longed in secret for the kingdom of God. But this was not to be, and therefore the nations of Canaan were to be cut off utterly. The Israelites' sword, in its bloodiest executions, wrought a work of mercy for all the countries of the earth to the very end of the world.... In these contests on the fate of one of these nations of Palestine the happiness of the human race depended. The Israelites fought not for themselves only, but for us. Whatever were the faults of Jephthah or of Samson, never yet were any men engaged in a cause more important to the whole worlds welfare. . . . Still they did Gods work; still they preserved unhurt the seed of eternal life, and were the ministers of blessing to all other nations, even though they themselves failed to enjoy it."
That these words of an eminent scholar and profound thinker are based upon sound philosophical principles no penetrating mind can fail to perceive. Nor is Dr. Arnold alone in his opinion. Others, of a different creed, and looking from a different point of view, have reached substantially the same conclusions. That great German critic, Ewald,100 treating upon this topic, has impressively said: "It is an eternal necessity that a nation such as the great majority of the Canaanites then were, sinking deeper and deeper into a slough of discord and moral perversity, must fall before a people roused to a higher life by the newly-wakened energy of unanimous trust in Divine power." And Dr. David-101 "In a certain sense, the Spirit of God is a spirit of revenge, casting down and destroying everything opposed to the progress of man's education in the knowledge and fear of the Lord."
ALL OF WHAT IS SAID, REALLY DOES NOT ANSWER FULLY THE QUESTION; WHY WOMEN AND CHILDREN? MODERN GENETICS MAY YET GIVE THE FULL ANSWER. HUMAN DNA IS MOVEABLE; CAN A PEOPLE SO DEEP IN SINS AND PERVERSENESS, OVER SOME GENERATIONS, ALTER THE DNA SO IT EFFECTS NEW BEGOTTEN CHILDREN IMMEDIATELY AFTER CONCEPTION? MAYBE MODERN SCIENCE WILL GIVE THE FULL ANSWER, OR WE SHALL WAIT FOR THE SAVIOR TO RETURN, THEN WE SHALL KNOW THESE THINGS EVEN AS WE ARE KNOW - Keith Hunt
And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
2 Kings 2:23-24
And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. . . . And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
100Hist. of Israel, ii. 237. 101Introd. to Old Testament,i. 444.
1. In the person of Elisha, God himself, whose servant the prophet was, was most wantonly and wickedly insulted.
2. The word "nearim," rendered "children" in Kings, may, as a late rationalistic commentator admits, denote a "youth nearly twenty years old." Gesenius says precisely the same; adding that it is also applied to "common soldiers," just as we in English style them, the "boys," the "boys in blue," etc.
Fuerst gives, among other definitions, a person who is twenty years of age, a youth, a young prophet; generally a servant of any kind, a shepherd, a young warrior. The same combination of words as above, "naar qaton," is applied to Solomon102 after he began to reign at some twenty years of age. Krummacher and Cassel translate the expression in the text, "young people." Hence the theory that these young scoffers were really "little children" at their play is untenable. They were old enough, and depraved enough, to merit the terrible fate which overtook them.
3. Elisha did not slay the young reprobates, nor did he cause the bears to come forth. God sent them. The same Being who sometimes cuts off wild, wicked youth by disease or accident, in the present instance punished sinful parents by the violent death of their reprobate children. Prof. Rawlinson suggests that a signal example may have been greatly needed at this time to check the growth of irreligion; and that, as above intimated, the wicked parents were punished by deprivation of offspring.
He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand. . . . And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father.
2 Kings 14:7, 3
Not to be hated.
Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for
he is thy brother.
As to this characteristically "profound" discrepancy, alleged by an infidel pamphleteer, it may be observed: 1. Not every act of Amaziah's life is commended above. He did, in the main, that which was right, but less uniformly or zealously than David. 2. It does not follow that because Amaziah chastised and reconquered the rebellious Edomites he necessarily "abhorred" them.
1021 Kings 3:7. See also the word "1573 applied to Isaac, Genesis 22:5; to Joseph, compare Genesis 29:4-6 and 41:12; to Absalom, 2 Samuel 18:5, and to the prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah 1:5.
Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the Lord persecute them. . . . Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.
Psalm 35:6, 8
Let death seize them, and let upon them go down quick into hell.
Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. . . . Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.
Let them be confounded and troubled for ever: yea, let them be put to shame, and perish.
Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg.
Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.
As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones. Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually.
O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.
1 Corinthians 16:22
Should be loved.
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite-fully use you, and persecute you.
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.
Some critics take these imprecatory texts as mere predictions: "Let his days be few" being equivalent to "His days shall be few." These predictions would also imply the speakers acquiescence in the foreseen will of Jehovah: "It is the Divine will, therefore let it be so."
Others take these passages as historical, rather than didactic. It is said that, as the Bible relates impartially the bad as well as the good deeds of the patriarchs, so it does not suppress their wrong thoughts and sayings, but "gives a Shakespearian picture of all the moral workings of the heart." It is precisely this, its fidelity to nature, keeping back nothing, extenuating nothing, which gives the sacred volume its hold upon the confidence of mankind. Mr. Barnes admits an element of truth in this explanation, and Dr. Tholuck distinctly holds that a "personal feeling has occasionally mixed itself with David's denunciations of the wicked."
Still others think that the duty of forgiveness was not taught nor understood clearly in David's time, as it was in the latter dispensation. This hypothesis, as we have seen elsewhere, is supported by the analogous cases of some other important doctrines and duties, which were revealed progressively, by degrees, as the world was prepared to receive them. In a word, the Psalmist may not have understood, in all its length and breadth, the Christian duty of forgiveness. This explanation is adopted by several eminent authors. Richard Baxter103 speaks very strongly on this point. So does Mr. Cooper,104 who says of the Israelite worthies, "these great and good men were not yet acquainted with the perfect rule of charity, or love to enemies, to be taught by a suffering Saviour."
Mr. Warington,105 with reference to the scripture, asserts that Christ himself lays down the principle, in the plainest manner, that it may contain precepts which, regarded in the abstract, are opposed to God's will, but which were rendered necessary by the imperfect spiritual state of those to whom they were given. In which case this temporary adaptation is to be regarded as a sufficient explanation for the precept given.
Dr. Thomas Arnold106 deems it a most important exegetical principle "that the revelations made to the patriarchs were only partial, or limited to some particular points, and that their conduct must be judged of not according to our knowledge, but to theirs." Hence, he says, we may "recognize the divinity of the Old Testament, and the holiness of its characters, without lying against our consciences and our more perfect revelation by justifying the actions of those
103 Quoted by Davidson, Introd. to Old Testament, ii. 306.
104"Four Hundred Texts of Holy Scripture," p. 30.
105 On Inspiration, p. 253.
106Miscel. Works, pp. 151, 288 (Appleton's edition).
characters as right, essentially and abstractedly, although they were excusable, or in some cases actually virtuous, according to the standard of right and wrong which prevailed under the law."
Chrysostom,107 long before, referring to the Israelites, had said, "Now, a higher philosophy is required of us than of them. . . . For thus they are ordered to hate not only impiety, but the very persons of the impious, lest their friendship should be an occasion of going astray. Therefore he cut off all intercourse and freed them on every side."
Prof. Moses Stuart:108 "The Old Testament morality, in respect to some points of relative duty, is behind that of the Gospel. Why then should we regard the Old Testament as exhibiting an absolute model of perfection, in its precepts and its doctrines? In some respects, most plainly this is not true."
Elsewhere, he says, "The Psalms that breathe forth imprecations are appealed to by some as justifying the spirit of vengeance under the gospel, instead of being regarded as the expression of a peculiar state of mind in the writer, and of his imperfect knowledge with regard to the full spirit of forgiveness" These last are very pregnant words.
It remains to be observed that the imprecatory texts are explicable on the hypothesis of their full inspiration. The following points must be taken into account.
1. Great allowance must be made for the strong hyperboles and intense vehemence of Oriental poetry. Where we should ask that the Divine honor and justice might be vindicated, the Eastern poet would pray, "That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, And the tongue of thy dogs in the same."
The petitions quoted above would, if stated in unimpassioned occidental style, be greatly modified, and seem far less objectionable.
2. The Psalmist merges his own private griefs in the wrongs inflicted upon the people of God—counts the Lord's enemies as enemies to himself. He cries out, "Do not I hate them, O Lord, which hate thee? I count them mine enemies." He identified his own interests with those of his heavenly King. "He was situated like the English statesman, who in an attack upon himself sees the crown and government to be actually aimed at." From this representative character of the Psalmist arises the terrible intensity of his language.
107On 1 Corinthians 13, and alluding to Psalm 139:22.
108 On History of Old Testament Canon, pp. 416,409 (Revised edition, 389,382). Compare his remarks, pp. 404-405 (Revised edition, 377-378).
3. There is a normal indignation against sin. There are times when "forbearance ceases to be a virtue," when the sense of outraged justice must find expression. Not infrequently a righteous indignation against evildoers unsheathes the patriot's sword, and kindles the poet's lyre. In the recent history of our own country the imprecatory Psalms seemed none too strong nor stern to serve as a vehicle for the loyalty of our citizens, in giving voice to their indignation, horror, and detestation at the crimes perpetrated by traitors and rebels.
Prof. B. B. Edwards109 says in substance, that resentment against evildoers is so far from being sinful, that we find it exemplified in the meek and spotless Redeemer himself (Mark 3:5). If the emotion and its utterance were essentially sinful, how could Paul wish the enemy of Christ to be accursed ("anathema," 1 Corinthians 16:22); or say of his own enemy, Alexander the coppersmith, "The Lord reward him according to his works" (2 Timothy 4:14); and especially how could the spirits of the just in heaven call on God for vengeance (Revelation 6:10)?
4. It is right to pray for the overthrow of the wicked; as a means, and not as an end, when we are satisfied that less evil will result from that overthrow than would be occasioned by their triumph. David felt that the destruction of those wicked persons, while not to be desired per se, would nevertheless result in the prevention of incalculable injury to the race. Of two evils he chose the infinitely less. Prayer for the overthrow of the wicked was prayer for the triumph of righteousness.110
YES THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW COVENANTS. THE OLD WAS BUILT UPON THE CARNALITY OF THE ISRAELITES; ONLY A FEW HAD THE SPIRIT OF GOD [NUMBER 11]. MANY THINGS WERE "ALLOWED" UNDER THE OLD COVENANT WHICH ARE NOT ALLOWED UNDER THE NEW COVENANT [I.E. EASY DIVORCE WAS ALLOWED UNDER THE OLD, NOT SO UNDER THE NEW]. WE ALSO HAVE UNDER THE OLD, A "NATION" UNDER GOD; SO-CALLED CHURCH AND STATE WERE ONE. THERE WERE ENEMY NATIONS ALL AROUND ISRAEL, WANTING HER DEATH, HER DESTRUCTION, AND MAKING WAR WITH HER. UNDER ALL THIS CONTEXT, IT SHOULD THEN NOT BE SURPRISING DAVID [AND OTHER] HAD AT TIMES THIS MIND-SET OF HATING SINFUL NATIONS WHO WERE OPPOSED TO THE GOD OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL, AND DESIRING THEM TO REAP WHAT THEY HAVE SOWN AGAINST ISRAEL AND THE TRUE GOD. THE NEW COVENANT HAS NONE OF THIS CONTEXT BUT IS INDIVIDUALS SCATTERED HERE AND THERE AS THE BODY OF CHRIST. THE NEW CARRIES A HIGHER STANDARD THAN THE OLD. THE NEW IS NOT A LITERAL NATION SURROUNDED BY NATIONS WANTING TO MAKE WAR THEM. YET AS SHOWN PAUL AND OTHERS DID AT TIMES PULL NO PUNCHES IN PUTTING PEOPLE UNDER THE DISCIPLINE OF GOD FOR CORRECTION AND REPROOF, ALWAYS WITH THE LOVING MIND OF WANTING THEM TO REPENT OF THE WICKEDNESS THEY WERE IN - Keith Hunt
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed
him; if he thirst, give him drink.
Put to pain.
For in so doing thou shalt heap coals of
fire on his head.
Baur asserts that in the latter clause Paul's former persecuting spirit crops out, that he cannot repress here the desire to inflict pain upon an enemy. We give Baur credit for too much acuteness to suppose that he was not perfectly aware of the utter disingenuousness of this objection.
The figurative language of the apostle means simply, "By showing kindness to thine enemy thou shalt excite in him such pain of conscience as shall lead him to repentance and reformation." The expression is a proverbial one. The Arabs say, conveying similar ideas, "He roasted my heart," or, "He kindled a
109See Bib. Sacra (February, 1844).
110 See Professor Park in Bib. Sacra, Vol. xix. pp. 165-210. Also, Smith's Bible Diet., iii. 2625-
fire in my heart."111 The pain was viewed by Paul as a means, not as an end; the ultimate object being the conversion of the "enemy."
Addressed with ridicule and irony.
And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.
1 Kings 18:27
And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
1 Kings 22:15
And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.
2 Kings 6:19
With mild words.
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite-fully use you, and persecute you
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not.
1 Peter 2:23
Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise, blessing.
1 Peter 3:9
In the case of Elijah ridicule was a fit weapon for exposing the folly and absurdity of idol worship. The prophet employed it with terrible effect.
As to the case of Micaiah; Richter, Keil, Bertheau, and A. Fuller 112 suppose that the words were uttered with ironical gestures and a sarcastic tone. He delivers the words, says Rawlinson, "in so mocking and ironical a tone that the king cannot mistake his meaning, or regard his answer as serious." The succeeding verse shows that Ahab instantly detected the irony.
Bahr, however, takes the language as a reproof for the kings hypocritical question, thus: "How camest thou to the idea of consulting me, whom thou dost not trust? Thy prophets have answered thee as thou desirest. Do, then, what they have approved. Try it. March out. Their oracles have far more weight with thee than mine."
Elishas statement is regarded by Keil and Rawlinson, apparently, simply in the light of a "stratagem of war," by which the enemy are deceived.
It is to be remembered, also, that Elishas motive was a benevolent one, for he saved the lives of those whom he had taken captive in this wonderful manner;
111 See Stuart on Romans12:20
112Works, i. 619.
thus putting a stop to the marauding forays of the Syrians. Thenius: "There is no untruth in the words of Elisha; for his home was not in Dothan, where he was only residing temporarily, but in Samaria; and the words 'to the man may well mean, to his house." As Bahr has observed, Elisha took the blinded Syrians under his protection, repaid evil with good, and by this very means showed them the man whom they were seeking.
Some regard the prophet's language as mere irony.
Epithets of opprobrium
Whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Their use sanctioned.
Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.
Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die.
1 Corinthians 15:36
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?
The term "moros," in the texts from Matthew is much more severe than the corresponding terms in the other places. He who "knew what was in man," saw that this word was exactly descriptive of the moral condition of the scribes and Pharisees.
As in many other cases, the spirit rather than the words is aimed at in the prohibition. That is, we are not prohibited calling men "fools" considerately and appropriately; we are forbidden to do so in the spirit of malevolent contempt. This obvious principle relieves the whole difficulty.
Fear of persecutors
And I say unto you my friends, Be not
afraid of them that kill the body, and
after that have no more that they can do.
After these things Jesus walked in Galilee:
for he would not walk in Jewry, because
the Jews sought to kill him.
Jesus did not shun death, but avoided dying prematurely. When his "hour had come," when his earthly mission was accomplished, he met death with fortitude and composure. To die before the time would have measurably defeated his great purpose.
TO BE CONTINUED