From the book "Journey from Eden" by Kevin Aaron, chapter 7,
"Rape, Mutilation, and Perversion" - quote:
"In the battle against the Midianites, Moses instructions
were to kill everyone except 'the women children, that have not
known a man by lying with him.'
It must have been quite a scene as the soldiers 'examined'
these girls to see if they were virgins or not. Imagine the
horror they must have felt being stripped and inspected by men
who had just killed their mothers, fathers, and brothers! If a
woman was not a virgin, she was killed on the spot. those who
were virgins, Moses told the soldiers to 'keep alive for
yourselves' (Num. 31:18)."
End of quote.
Yes, it was God who told Moses to "avenge the children of
Israel of the Midianites" verse 1. I have covered before that
God, seeing Israel wanted to fight like other nations around
them, wanted to be partakers in the spilling of blood, God gave
them blood, allowed them to battle it out, to the loss many times
of their own. They wanted this life style within their nations
God allowed it, even to using them at times to punish other
nations for their sins against Him and Israel. This was one of
As was the general custom of war fighting nations, Israel
took the women as captives and their little ones, with the spoil
of the cattle and flocks and other goods. They took the prey and
the spoil and the captives to meet Moses and the Eleazer the
priest (verses 7-13).
Moses was angry on seeing that they had saved alive the
women. The women of the Midianites had sinned against Israel in
causing Israel to commit whoredoms and to bow down to their idols
(see Num. 25:1-3).
While God had told Moses that Israel could avenge themselves
against the Midianites, and against those in Midian who had
caused Israel to sin, we are not told that God ordered the little
children to die.
We are told what Moses ordered to be done in verses 15-18.
We are not told that this was how God desired it. Every male
among the little ones was killed, and every woman that had laid
with a man, known a man, was not a virgin in other words, was to
be killed. Only the women virgins, obviously as given in the KJV,
"women children" were kept alive and they were given to the
soldiers (verses 17,18).
As Kevin Aaron states, this whole scene as it was carried
out is too horrible to contemplate.
Looking through a glass darkly, I see this as God allowing
the heart of man its will and way. I see this as can only be
explained as Moses "doing his own thing" within the context of
carnal man. I see no word here where the Lord ordered Moses to do
what Moses told the soldiers to do. The whole thing is rather
bizarre and sickening to contemplate, as you read verses 15-18. I
can only see this as the dark side of Moses and of course the way
warfare and carnal soldiers act at times.
Moses was not perfect. He was a product in some ways of the
times he lived in. He was not among the three listed for
righteousness (Noah, Daniel, Job) by God in an example to Israel
(see Ezekiel 14:12-20). Moses sinned finally in a way that
prevented him from entering the promised land (Deut. 32:48-52).
Well what Moses did here, as well as the soldiers, is not
pleasant reading for sure. But because it is recorded in the
context of war, does not sanction such ways and doings.
God obviously allowed it all to happen, as He allowed MANY other
things to happen and to be practiced as part of the life style
that carnal (the huge vast majority in Israel were very carnal
minded) Israelites desired to have.
Many things in many contexts were allowed by God to function
and be part of the overall life style of Israelites under the Old
Covenant. But because they were ALLOWED did not of themselves
make it holy, righteous, or what the Eternal God would have
really wanted ancient Israel to have practiced as a way of life.
This included, Israel having a war machine as I have stated
Israel never needed to be like other nations around them.
God wanted them to be so different from other nations, and hence
so protected and blessed of God, that other nations would marvel
at them, and then desire to look into the God that Israel had as
God. Israel was to be the Lord's light to the world, His tool of
bringing all the world the truths and peaceful ways of God (Deut.
God had shown Israel how HE could defeat their enemies and
give protection from their enemies, when He, through ONLY His
might and power, brought Israel from out of bondage and slavery
in Egypt. True, God is not a pacifist. He gives life and He takes
life, but He knows HOW and WHEN and WHY. He takes life PERFECTLY,
when He knows the life He gave must be taken back. From the
beginning, when God brought Israel out of Egypt, they were
clearly shown that He alone could be enough to deliver them and
protect them from their enemies. He clearly showed them He knew
HOW and WHEN to destroy in this life, those He deemed were fit
for destruction and death.
God indeed is not a pacifist. He is indeed a war machine
towards humans that need to be destroyed for the reasons God
knows full well. Israel never needed to have a man-made war
machine of people, that with it would bring some early death upon
those involved within it, much pain and hardship upon loved ones
left living of those soldiers now dead, and many other sins and
evil that often come within the whole context of people warfare.
Some of that context we have just seen in Number 31.
Many things ALLOWED by God under the Old Covenant, are not
to be part of the New Covenant Christian's life. It is just that
SLAVERY AND A MARRIAGE LAW
From the book "Journey from Eden" by Kevin Aaron, pages 110-111,
"If an Israelite soldier wanted to MARRY a woman from among
war captives, the law of Moses made provision for this:
'When you go forth to war....and you have taken them
captive, and SEEST among the captives a BEAUTIFUL WOMAN, and hast
a DESIRE unto her, that you would have her to your wife; then you
shall bring her home to your house; and she shall....bewail her
father and her mother a full month: and after that you shall GO
IN unto her, and be her husband' (Deut. 21:10-13).
Though this law seems quite primitive, it was a step up from
the indiscriminate rape that commonly occurred. And though the
wisdom of choosing a wife simply on the basis of her physical
appearance or sex appeal is questionable, yet with this law the
soldier was to actually MARRY the girl. Also, the waiting period
(for mourning) would have removed SOME of the harshness of the
She was to 'shave her head' and thirty days later - with her
hair looking like a butch haircut - the man was to 'go in unto
her.' If she did not 'delight' him sexually, he could let her go:
'And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall
let her go wither she will; but you shall not sell her at all for
money, you shall not make merchandise of her' (Deut. 21:14).
The purpose of this law was to prohibit men from selling
these captive wives to the slave traders that followed victorious
Now, just reading this whole law of what Israel men would do
with captive women, just reading it as it is, one would get the
idea that this was God's idea, a way of life as devised by God as
from Him, in which He thought this was the righteous and holy way
to live, an ideal way of life. Of course knowing God,
understanding God from the whole
Bible, while remembering Jesus' key words to the Pharisees "but
from the beginning it was not so" - ah, then we can come to know
the truth of the context of this law God established within the
military context of the nation of Israel.
The Lord was dealing with a bunch of mighty carnal people,
and a lot of men that were not much if any, better that the men
of other nations. First, the Almighty knew that most of those
soldiers of Israel would act towards "good looking, beautiful,
sexy, captive women" in the same manner other soldiers of other
nations did towards "beautiful sexy captive women" - they would
DESIRE them. God was going to ALLOW this base desire, build upon
mere outward sex appeal, but He would enact certain laws to give
this at least some "respectability." It was as Kevin Aaron has
said "a step up from the indiscriminate rape that commonly
God would ALLOW the soldiers to take, based upon mere sex
appeal, a beautiful captive woman to be a wife. There was to be a
time factor for at least the human decency for the woman to mourn
the loss of family and nation. Then after "going in to her" if
the soldier had no more delight in her (however long that took to
come about), he could divorce her and she was to be free to go
anywhere she wanted. The soldier could not sell her for money to
slave traders (we'll talk about "slavery" shortly).
Understand this, get the picture, this was a WAY OF LIFE in
Israel within the context of the military. It was a way of life
that lasted for CENTURIES in Israel. Now, Just because God
ALLOWED this practice, even enacted certain laws within that
practice, to give it some respectability, which meant God was
directing this law, telling them how it should be done, as He at
times directed and told them when and how to fight battles.
God doing such DID NOT MEAN it was in God's eyes a holy,
righteous, ideal, sanctioned as the CORRECT way to live, THEN and
for the NOW future Christians of the New Covenant age.
It WAS NOT the correct way to live! But God ALLOWED it
because as Jesus said, "for the hardness of the heart God
There is NO detailed explanations given as, what shall we
say, "as an introduction" to why God said the things He said
concerning this matter. The reader is expected to get to
understand God from the whole Bible, and come to realize God
would never teach that such a life style was His "ideal" or
"perfect" or "holy" way to live, back in the Old Covenant days or
the New Covenant days of today. The spiritual, led by the Spirit,
reader, is expected by God, to understand that this kind of life
practice was ALLOWED to be lived by Israelites, because there was
no circumcision of the heart in the vast majority of Israelites,
especially the men (Deut. 5:29; 29:4; with Deut. 10:16; and Num.
11), with their higher sex drive (science today has proven in the
lab that men have on the average 10 TIMES the hormone sex drive
than women have. One woman was given a drug by mistake that
increased her sex drive to that of men, and she said she could
think of nothing but sex all day. She told the interviewer she
just did not know how men could function, for all that kept
coming to her mind was sex, sex, and sex, as she worked around
the office with men present).
Should we then go to this allowed practice of life in Old
Covenant Israel, and quote it to uphold the same practice in life
for the New Covenant Christian today? Why, most in the Christian
world of today would be SHOCKED if anyone among them tried to use
such a way of life practice in ancient Israel, to justify doing
and living the same way of life in New Testament times.
Yet, many of these same Christian folk and leaders will go
to the practice of warfare by ancient Israel, see that it was
also a way of life, something God allowed Israel to do, just kind
of "there" as "normal life" in Israel (though we saw that very
early on after God bringing them out of Egypt, He told them they
could inherit the land of promise with HIM doing the fighting and
driving the nations out from before them as they entered),
enacted certain laws within its context (like the one we have
just talked about), and try to use that argument of "well it was
just there, and God was within the context" (God was within the
context of the law of captive women also, as we have just seen),
and they then say, "So, it must be good and right and proper for
Christians today to take up arms and be part of a nation's or
church's war machine."
They just fail to see the simple truth, the plain truth if
you will, that MANY things God ALLOWED and was within the context
of that allowed, are in the Old Covenant, but because they were
there did not automatically mean it was God's wish, desire,
ideal, holy, perfect and right way to practice and live. In most
cases it just meant God was making the best He could make
(without turning people into robots) of a way of life that most
in Israel wanted and would do anyway, as led by their heart that
was without God's Spirit (see again Num. 11).
This is once more fully taught to us under the word that is
today for most people, one of the dirtiest words in the English
language - "SLAVERY"!
From the book by Kevin Aaron, page 111. Quote:
"Slavery! The very word is repugnant. The practice of
slavery has a horrid history of people being abused in many ways,
including SEXUAL abuse. American slavery was no exception, as the
book and movie ROOTS pointed out. Some slave masters forced
negro women into having children, fathered by a large, strong
negro slave, only to ultimately take them away to be sold as
Under the law of Moses, a male was required to serve for
seven years. If during that time a slave owner provided him with
a wife, and children were born to that union, at the end of the
seven years the man was given a choice: he could either agree to
serve as a slave 'forever,' or he could leave. But in leaving, he
must LEAVE BEHIND HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN: 'the wife and her
children shall be HER MASTER'S, and he shall go out BY HIMSELF'
According to SEX LAWS AND CUSTOMS IN JUDAISM,
'A good deal of immorality among Jews, as among other racial
groups of antiquity, had its roots in slavery....The female slave
was a sex tool beneath the level of moral considerations. She was
an economic good, useful, in addition to her menial labor, for
breeding more slaves....The master himself and his sons....took
turns with her for the increase of the family wealth as well as
for satisfaction of their extra-marital sex desires. Guests and
neighbors too were invited to that luxury. In the place of
lending and exchanging wives, practiced by other oriental
peoples, the Hebrews complied with those standards of hospitality
by the use of their female slaves....such is the nature of
slavery' (Louis Epstein, Sex laws and Customs in Judaism, pp.
End of quote from "Journey from Eden" by Kevin Aaron.
Again, I, nay we, can only look through a glass darkly at
this law enacted by God through Moses for Israel. It just does
not seem as perfect or as reasonable as it could have been.
Today, in the Western world, where slavery is a dirty word, it is
just hard to even imagine such a law being part of our society.
But if we try to put ourselves back in the days of carnal,
stiffnecked, "want to be like other nations" mindset of ancient
Israel, and God having to try to deal with and manage such a
hard-hearted, rebellious, faithless most of the time, people,
then maybe we can understand to a point (still looking through
a dark glass though) the law such as marriage/children slave law
Then this strange law was WITHIN the whole context of
SLAVERY in Israel!! Yes, as you read the books of Moses and the
other books such as Judges, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, the way of
slavery is just simply THERE, no explanations, no introductions,
no specific reasons as to why, no telling us the right or wrong
of it, the holiness or un-holiness of it etc. etc. We just simply
find SLAVERY as part of the text and LIFE context and practice in
Israel. In many ways just THERE in Israel, as much as the soldier
war machine is just THERE in Israel.
Yes, God instituted (hence was directing the practice of
slavery) some laws to govern the life practice of slavery in
Israel, to make it and give it at least SOME respectability, some
fair play (though we may still have questions about the law of
But, the bottom line is unescapable - SLAVERY was a WAY OF
LIFE, a common year after year, CENTURY after CENTURY, practice
in ancient Israel!
If we want to look to the Old Testament and see how warfare,
yes under God at times, was "there" in Israel, and say we under
the New Testament as Christians can practice it also, then we
should be doing the same with slavery, seeing it was "there" in
Israel and directed in its application by God also. Should we not
then as Christians be teaching that slavery is approved of by God
under the New Covenant age? Well, many did do just that in the
history of North America. I'm sure many back in the civil war
days of the USA, justified their slavery practice by pointing to
the Old Testament, Israel under God, practicing slavery for
centuries. Is not that what people tried to do with "segregation"
in the USA not so long back....pointing to Old Testament passages
of Israel under God having to be segregated from the nations
around them. Well they misunderstood, perverted, and twisted
passages to say this segregation bit was righteous and holiness
from God. Then of course they would not read passages that showed
Israel always took in "none-Israelites" and "strangers" from
other nations, and that God had decreed there was to be ONE law
for the home born and the stranger among them.
Such are the ways of the wrong reading of the Scriptures to
justify wrong practices or practices that were ONLY ALLOWED by
God, for the hardness of the heart of man, allowed only under the
Old Covenant age, and certainly should not be the life style and
practice of Christians under the New Covenant age.
In the next study on this matter, we shall see the NOT SO
NICE side of King David, we shall see just HOW BLOODY a man he
was, and why God would not let such a bloody man as David build
the Temple for God to dwell in among Israel. And I will answer
still more arguments used by Christian religious teachers
promoting the theology that it is just fine and dandy for
Christians to take up arms and be military soldiers for a
nation (and hence for a church organization if they deem it
"holy" and "righteous" for God).
Written may 2003