Bible Study

Old Testament Cruelty, Hatred and Violence

Christian fundamentalists are fond of claiming that the God of the Bible is a God of boundless, perfect love. However, they appear to have a vastly different definition of "love" than most modern people. For most people, including most Christians, a classic description of "love" is that which Paul laid out in 1 Corinthians 13 (NIV):

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

It is for this reason that most Christians are careful to point out that they do not support or defend the violence of the Old Testament. The Old Testament God is neither patient or kind. He is jealous, he boasts, and he is proud. He is rude, self-seeking, easily angered, and remembers wrongs for all eternity. Generally speaking, Christians are quick to point out that modern Christianity has outgrown the Old Testament.

However, Christian fundamentalists are a different breed. They believe that every single word of the Bible is literally true and absolutely admirable, including the Old Testament. They say this as if it's a good thing, although in reality, they pick and choose the parts which they want you to hear, and they count on you not reading the Bible for yourself, to see the horrors that lie within.

While this reference page is not as awe-inspiringly comprehensive as the Skeptic's Annotated Bible, it is designed to repudiate the fundamentalists' claim that a literal interpretation of the Bible describes a "God of love". Instead, it describes a God of violence and cruelty, whose "love" for his subjects is entirely conditional and whose rules are so strict, so harsh, and so cruel that to describe them as love is to sully the very idea of love beyond recognition.

Note: the following Bible quotes are taken from the NIV (New International Version), since it is easier to read than the King James version. It is also less bloodthirsty than the King James version, and the differences make me wonder how both versions can be described as "inerrant". This list is restricted to acts of violence against humans which are committed, instructed, or condoned by God, excluding "normal" wartime killing of enemy soldiers. If we were to include all of the passages describing Israelite violence or demanding acts of wanton cruelty against animals, this document would become enormous.

The Book of Genesis

The Book of Genesis describes the origins of mankind, as well as the basic doctrines of inherited original sin, eternal unworthiness, fear of God, staggeringly harsh rule through violence, mindless obedience to arbitrary rules, and the definition of numerous victimless crimes.

Genesis 2:16-17 (God defines the first of many, many victimless "crimes" punishable by death)

And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.

Genesis 6:1-7 (What is the "evil" for which God punishes Man with the Flood? The "sons of God" are marrying the "daughters of men", and the Nephilim, "heroes of old, men of renown", walked the Earth! This is "evil"? This is yet another example of mankind being punished for victimless crimes; our "crime" in this case was simply living for our own happiness instead of worshipping God. There is no mention of acts we would consider "evil" today, such as murder or rape on a large scale. In fact, the first mass murderer of the Bible is God himself, right here with the Flood! Note that the supposedly omnipotent God can't kill humans without also killing the animals even though he obviously wanted them to survive, or he wouldn't have given Noah explicit instructions to save them)

When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years." The Nephilim were on the earth in those days--and also afterward--when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them."

Genesis 19:24-26 (God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah. A rape gang in Sodom is customarily used to justify this act, but while a rape gang is obviously evil, it's absolutely insane to respond by killing all of the women and even the little children and babies of two entire cities! Was everyone in both cities a rapist, including the small children and babies? And what about Lot's wife, who was killed for the victimless crime of disobeying instructions by looking back?)

Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah--from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities--and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

Genesis 22:2 (God orders Abraham to commit the crime of murdering his own son, just to see if he'll do it. If a character in an action movie held a gun to a man's head and told him to slit his own son's throat, we would consider him evil. Even if he changed his mind just before forcing him to go through with it, we would still consider it a horrible, cruel joke)

Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."

Genesis 38:6-10 (God murders Er without bothering to say why. Judah tells Er's brother to impregnate Er's widow, but Onan commits the victimless crime of pulling out early (something I'm sure we've all done on occasion), so God murders him too).

Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the LORD's sight; so the LORD put him to death. Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother." But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the LORD's sight; so he put him to death also.

Thus endeth our examination of God's hatred in the Book of Genesis. He sentences all of mankind in perpetuity for a victimless crime, he murders every living thing on Earth save Noah and his Ark for another victimless crime, he murders everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah including women and children because of the attempted rape of his envoys, he murders Lot's wife and Judah's sons for yet more victimless crimes, and he forces Abraham to choose between divine punishment and murdering his only son.

The Book of Exodus

The Book of Exodus describes the Israelites' plight as a slave race in Egypt, and tells the story of how God broke their bonds, visited stunning cruelties upon the Egyptians in retribution, and made his covenant of cruelty with the Israelites in the desert. This is the book where the Ten Commandments are laid out, as well as a host of ridiculously harsh rules such as "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death". It is also the book where religious hatred is first demonstrated. Not only is it acceptable to murder defenseless children if they are sons of the enemy, but Moses, with God's blessing, murders 3000 people for worshipping other gods.

Exodus 2:11-12 (Moses murders an Egyptian slave owner for beating a Hebrew, even though God would later tell the Israelites that it's OK to keep and beat slaves of their own, as long as they don't die on the same day as the beating. This is technically Moses' violence instead of God's violence, but it is nevertheless revealing because God would pick him to be his chosen envoy after this happened).

One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

Exodus 4:24-26 (After God picks Moses as his chosen envoy despite being a murderer, he suddenly decides to kill him. But Moses' wife seizes her son, mutilates the innocent boy's penis with a flint knife, and puts the bloody piece of shorn-away flesh on Moses' feet, presumably while the child is still screaming in agony. This pleases God for some incomprehensible reason, so he lets Moses live)

At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son's foreskin and touched Moses' feet with it. "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me," she said. So the LORD let him alone.

Exodus 11:9-10 (God "hardened Pharoah's heart", so that his "wonders may be multiplied in Egypt". In other words, he deliberately made Pharoah refuse to release the Israelites, so that he would have an excuse to show off! The murder of all the first-born sons in Egypt was a cruel, premeditated act, in which God controlled both sides of the equation just so he could demonstrate his power).

The LORD had said to Moses, "Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you -- so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt." Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.

Exodus 2:29-30 (God carries through with his terrible promise, murdering innocent babies for the crimes of Pharoah; crimes of slavery which he would later permit the Israelites themselves to commit without penalty).

At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

Exodus 14:2-4,15-18 (God sets a trap for Pharoah and then hardens his heart twice more so that he will fall into it)

"Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think, `The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.' And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD." So the Israelites did this.

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen."

Exodus 14:24-28 (God springs the trap he laid out for Pharoah, and which he made Pharoah walk into so that he would "gain glory". He sows confusion in the Egyptians' ranks, and then after they decide to retreat despite his repeated manipulations of Pharoah's intentions, he kills them all)

During the last watch of the night the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, "Let's get away from the Israelites! The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt." Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen." Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the LORD swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen--the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.

Exodus 15:3-7 (Militaristic hero worship; and we wonder why Christian theocratic nations have been so militaristic throughout history)

The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name. Pharaoh's chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh's officers are drowned in the Red Sea. The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone. Your right hand, O LORD, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O LORD, shattered the enemy. In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble.

Exodus 17:14-16 (God continues his tradition of making war against Israel's enemies (the Amalekites, who supposedly attacked them), and then carrying this war to insane levels of vindictiveness and cruelty by also promising to make war against their children and their children's children. And we wonder why ethnic and religious hatreds can persist for centuries between religious theocracies in Europe)

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven." Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. He said, "For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD. The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation."

Exodus 19:12 (Whoever commits the victimless crime of touching Mt. Sinai must die)

Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, "Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death."

Exodus 21:15-17 (Hit your parents, kidnap someone, or even swear at your parents, and you must die)

Anyone who attacks his father or his mother must be put to death. Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death. Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.

Exodus 21:23-25 (Basic revenge mentality outlined)

But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

Exodus 22:2 (It's OK to kill a thief. Note that Americans still feel this way. In many states, it is perfectly legal to shoot a thief in your house without warning, because apparently, property rights are more important than the right to life. This is rationalized by claiming that an intruder in your house is automatically a self-defense situation, even if he is unarmed)

If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.

Exodus 22:18-20 (The death penalty for bestiality (which should be treated through counselling rather than death), and the victimless crimes of sorcery and worshipping other gods)

Do not allow a sorceress to live. Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death. Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.

Exodus 22:22-24 (Conmen who "take advantage" of widows and orphans must die)

Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.

Exodus 31:15 (Commit the victimless crime of working on Sunday and you must die)

For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death.

Exodus 32:27-28,35 (God has 3000 people killed for the vicimtless crime of worshipping a golden calf, and then he throws in a plague for good measure. Note that he initially wanted to kill them all, but Moses talked him out of it)

Then he said to them, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: `Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.' The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died ... And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.

Thus endeth our examination of God's hatred in the Book of Exodus. He chooses a murderer as his anointed envoy, he is pleased by acts of genital mutilation committed against children, he commits wanton acts of murder and terrorism against innocent children and babies in Egypt and "hardens Pharoah's heart" to make sure he will have an excuse to do so (because he wants to show off), he causes Pharoah's army to pursue the Israelites so that he may destroy it (so he can show off again), he makes war against the innocent children of Israel's enemies, and he outlines a large number of crimes for which death is the prescribed penalty. Some of these crimes are victimless (eg. touching Mt. Sinai, sorcery, worshipping other gods, working on Sunday). Others are not, but death is too severe a punishment (eg. striking or swearing at your parents, kidnapping, bestiality, conning widows and orphans). And finally, we have the infamous "a life for a life" instruction, which leads naturally to the death penalty for murder. This last one is a source of some controversy, and while I don't want to get embroiled in a death penalty debate, I would merely like to point out that while I completely understand why we might want to kill a murderer, no one can seriously claim that revenge is a noble motive.

In any case, notwithstanding the controversy over that last example, the Book of Exodus is certainly a prime example of Biblical violence and evil. In a nutshell, it contains all of God's evil attitudes, not to mention the motivation for countless atrocities committed throughout Christian history. Future books merely repeat the themes outlined here. God's acts of violence and cruelty are often directed against blameless children and distant descendants of those found guilty, and he defines numerous victimless crimes for which perpetrators must be put to death. Victimless crimes such as prostitution and "public indecency" are still on the books of many supposedly civilized nations (indeed, they are still punishable by death in some places), and we have the Bible to thank for the longevity of this idiocy.

The Book of Leviticus

This is the mother of all the Biblical rulebooks. The entire Book of Leviticus is filled with rules, most of which cannot be quoted here because of their sheer bulk. The first nine chapters are full of rules governing the bloody animal sacrifices required by God, in which animals are to be cut to pieces, their bloody guts are to be waved around in the air, and their blood is to be sprinkled upon the people. Leviticus 13-15 contain instructions regarding leprosy, house mildew, and personal hygiene (you would think that an omniscient being would have better remedies for such problems than animal sacrifice, but I digress). In any case, apart from all this weirdness and animal cruelty, Leviticus contains many ridiculously harsh rules for humans.

Leviticus 10:1-2 (God kills Aaron's sons for making the victimless crime of making "unauthorized fire").

Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

Leviticus 10:6 (If the priests commit the victimless crime of tearing their clothes or letting their hair become "unkempt", God will kill them. Note that this is Moses speaking rather than God, but if you read it in context, you will see that Moses and God are speaking in turns, laying out the covenant that God has already given to Moses. Obviously, if Moses contradicted God's covenant at some point, it seems likely that something bad would have happened. Therefore, Moses' statements in the Book of Leviticus are presumably an accurate testimony of God's instructions to him on the mountain)

Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, "Do not let your hair become unkempt, and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the LORD will be angry with the whole community.

Leviticus 20:9 (And people wonder why parents were such harsh disciplinarians back in the puritan "Good Old Days" of strong religion).

If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death.

Leviticus 20:10 (Kill all adulterers. It's bad to cheat on your spouse, but is it really so bad that it deserves the death penalty?)

If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

Leviticus 20:11 (Note that the Bible differentiates "mother" from "father's wife", because polygamy was acceptable in those days)

If a man sleeps with his father's wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman must be put to death.

Leviticus 20:12 (A particular form of adultery is specifically mentioned as a death penalty offense, even though all forms of adultery were already marked for death in Leviticus 20:10. Maybe this type of adultery is supposed to be punished with a particularly nasty death)

If a man sleeps with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be put to death.

Leviticus 20:13 (Kill all homosexuals; that's Biblical tolerance for you)

If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death.

Leviticus 20:14 (Polygamy is acceptable, but not if you marry both a woman and her mother. If you commit that strange but victimless act, then you must die)

If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire.

Leviticus 20:15-16 (Repetition of Exodus 22:19. Kill those who commit bestiality rather than counselling them, and then kill the poor animal too)

If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he must be put to death, and you must kill the animal. If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal.

Leviticus 20:21 (Forced sterilization if you marry your brother's wife. Note that God killed Onan for not fathering a child with his brother's wife, back in Exodus 38:10)

If a man marries his brother's wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonored his brother. They will be childless.

Leviticus 20:27 (I'm not a big fan of those tarot-card readers and psychic hot-lines myself, but the death penalty is a bit severe, don't you think?)

A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death.

Leviticus 21:9 (if a priest's daughter commits the victimless crime of prostitution, she must be burned to death).

If a priest's daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.

Leviticus 23:27 (If you commit the victimless crime of working on the Day of Atonement, you must die)

The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day.

Leviticus 24:13-14 (Those who commit the victimless crime of blasphemy are to be stoned to death)

Then the LORD said to Moses: "Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him."

Leviticus 26:7 (God instructs the Israelites to destroy their enemies, which they did with gusto in subsequent books)

You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you.

Leviticus 26:14-16,22,25,29-33 (God describes the horrible punishment, which includes forcing his victims to eat their own children, for breaking the rules laid out in the Book of Leviticus. Note that I did not quote most of these rules for the sake of brevity. If you read the entire Book of Leviticus, you will see how bizarre and arbitrary some of these rules are. For example, in Leviticus 19:19 he makes it a sin to cross-breed animals, plant two kinds of seed in one field, or wear a cotton-polyester shirt. Obviously, these three are victimless "crimes", and in the modern era, we would not consider them crimes at all)

But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.

I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted.

And I will bring the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands.

You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters. I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you. I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings. I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins.

Leviticus 27:29 (note that "devoted to destruction" in this context means someone who has been set aside for sacrifice to God. The passage is basically saying that once someone has devoted you as a human sacrifice to God, you can't buy your way out of it).

No person devoted to destruction may be ransomed; he must be put to death.

Thus endeth our long journey through the horrors of the Book of Leviticus. I strongly recommend that you read through Leviticus someday if you wish to discover how bizarre the laws of the Old Testament truly are. All of the weird stuff is here: the bits about not eating pork, crab, or lobster, the bits about not cutting your hair around the temples, etc. And best of all, a nation which does not punish offenses with sufficient severity shall bring horrible punishment upon itself, as outlined in Leviticus 26! God's love is obviously a conditional love, and quite a conditional love at that: a seemingly endless litany of rules which we must follow on pain of death.

The Book of Numbers

The Book of Numbers is the beginning of the Israelite military buildup. The 12 tribes are laid out, and the pecking order is established. This book also contains some of the bickering between the Sons of Aaron and the Sons of Levi, who represented two power groups within the Israelite priesthood and who both attempted to use the text of the Old Testament in order to cast doubt upon the other, when the priests wrote it around 600 BC.

Numbers 1:48-51 (Levites are exempted from the census, and from military service. If anyone but a Levite encroaches upon their holy altars, he must die for his victimless crime)

The LORD had said to Moses: "You must not count the tribe of Levi or include them in the census of the other Israelites. Instead, appoint the Levites to be in charge of the tabernacle of the Testimony--over all its furnishings and everything belonging to it. They are to carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they are to take care of it and encamp around it. Whenever the tabernacle is to move, the Levites are to take it down, and whenever the tabernacle is to be set up, the Levites shall do it. Anyone else who goes near it shall be put to death."

Numbers 3:4-10 (repetition of Leviticus 10:1-2. I will attempt to cut down on such repetitions in future, as virtually every story in the Bible is told several times in order to ensure that readers of limited intelligence, (ie- fundamentalists) can eventually absorb it)

Nadab and Abihu, however, fell dead before the LORD when they made an offering with unauthorized fire before him in the Desert of Sinai.

Numbers 3:9-10 (The Levites and the sons of Aaron are priests; anyone else who commits the victimless crime of approaching the sanctuary must die)

Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him. Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary must be put to death."

Numbers 11:1,33 (The people committed the victimless crime of complaining, so God burned some of them. That'll shut 'em up, eh? Later, after giving them a huge amount of food, he punished them by sending them a plague)

Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

"Tell the people: `Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, "If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!" Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month--until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it--because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, "Why did we ever leave Egypt?"

But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.

Numbers 14:29-33 (God condemns the people to die in the desert because of the victimless crime of complaining about their situation. Notice how he specifically mentions only those who were counted in the census, thus excluding the Levites from his harsh judgement because they were never counted. In every religious society, it has always been the priests who exalted themselves and used religion to guarantee their status, because when you take a cold, hard look at the situation, it is the priests who are, objectively, the most expendable. They produce nothing and they accomplish nothing. Without their ability to write religious rules designed to fill their coffers, they would starve)

In this desert your bodies will fall--every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. But you--your bodies will fall in this desert. Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert.

Numbers 14:36 (You don't want to be the bearer of bad news when God's in charge. Yet another victimless crime for which death is the punishment)

So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it-- these men responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the LORD.

Numbers 15:32-36 (God commands Moses to have a man killed for the victimless crime of gathering wood on Sunday)

While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day.Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, "The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp." So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses.

Numbers 16:8-11, 23-27, 31-33, 46-49 (Evidence of the power struggle between the Sons of Aaron and the Sons of Levi. Some of the Levites try to boot out the Sons of Aaron from the priesthood, so God punishes them by murdering them along with their "wives, children, and little ones". He then escalates his wrath until it encompasses 14,700 people. This is presumably the justification for the uneasy sharing of priestly power between the Sons of Aaron and the Sons of Levi. The victimless crime of trying to start a splinter faction is apparently cause for mass murder in the eyes of God)

Moses also said to Korah, "Now listen, you Levites! Isn't it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the LORD's tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. It is against the LORD that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?"

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Say to the assembly, `Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.'" Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. He warned the assembly, "Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins." So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents.

As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah's men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community.

Then Moses said to Aaron, "Take your censer and put incense in it, along with fire from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the LORD; the plague has started." So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah.

Numbers 18:2-3 (Yet again, we hear about the death penalty for the victimless crime of approaching an altar or sanctuary).

Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister before the Tent of the Testimony. They are to be responsible to you and are to perform all the duties of the Tent, but they must not go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar, or both they and you will die.

Numbers 18:22 (Yet another victimless crime punishable by death)

From now on the Israelites must not go near the Tent of Meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and will die.

Numbers 21:3 (With God's blessing and assistance, the Israelites murder the Canaanites "completely", presumably meaning the usual slaughter of "young and old, women and children".)

The LORD listened to Israel's plea and gave the Canaanites over to them. They completely destroyed them and their towns; so the place was named Hormah.

Numbers 21:5-6 (The Israelites complain, so God sends poisonous snakes to punish them. Yet another victimless "crime" punished by death)

they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!" Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.

Numbers 25:1-9 (The Israelites engage in "sexual immorality" and worship Baal, so God sends them a plague and instructs them to start killing one another. For some reason, he is pleased when Phinehas murders an Israelite and a Midianite woman who were bold enough to come before the others, so he stops the plague. Again, victimless crimes are punishable by death).

While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate and bowed down before these gods. So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the LORD's anger burned against them.

The LORD said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the LORD, so that the LORD's fierce anger may turn away from Israel." So Moses said to Israel's judges, "Each of you must put to death those of your men who have joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor." Then an Israelite man brought to his family a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.

When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear through both of them--through the Israelite and into the woman's body. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.

Numbers 25:16-18 (The Midianites are now to be killed, for the victimless "crime" of befriending the Israelites and inviting them to join them in worshipping Baal of Peor. Moral of the story: don't befriend an Israelite, because he's liable to kill you and call you an enemy for exposing him to your culture)

The LORD said to Moses, "Treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them, because they treated you as enemies when they deceived you in the affair of Peor and their sister Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, the woman who was killed when the plague came as a result of Peor."

Numbers 31:14-18 (After vanquishing the Midianites as per God's instructions for the crime of offering friendship, Moses instructs the Israelites in the proper way to treat Midianite prisoners of war. Kill all of the boys, kill all of the women, and keep all the virgin girls for yourselves).

Moses was angry with the officers of the army--the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds--who returned from the battle. "Have you allowed all the women to live?" he asked them. "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD's people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

Thus endeth the list of atrocities in the Book of Numbers. If you encroach on priests' territory, complain about your situation, report bad news, gather wood on Sunday, or attempt to start a religious splinter faction (thus taking power from the establishment), you must die. And woe to any foreign nation which befriends the Israelites and invites them to join them in their religious festivals! God declares war on them, and they are ground into the dust. Their armies will be destroyed, their women will be murdered in cold blood, and their children will be either murdered or raped.

The Book of Deuteronomy

The Book of Deuteronomy continues the trend set by the Book of Numbers. It is a combination of glorious Israelite war stories and reiteration of insane rules.

Deuteronomy 2:30-34 (As with Pharoah, Sihon's heart is hardened by God so that he can use him as an excuse to show off. Naturally, he makes no distinction between soldiers and civilians. As usual, blameless women and children must perish for the glory of God)

But Sihon king of Heshbon refused to let us pass through. For the LORD your God had made his spirit stubborn and his heart obstinate in order to give him into your hands, as he has now done. The LORD said to me, "See, I have begun to deliver Sihon and his country over to you. Now begin to conquer and possess his land." When Sihon and all his army came out to meet us in battle at Jahaz, the LORD our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army. At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them--men, women and children. We left no survivors.

Deuteronomy 3:2-6 (More of the same)

The LORD said to me, "Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon." So the LORD our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors. At that time we took all his cities. There was not one of the sixty cities that we did not take from them--the whole region of Argob, Og's kingdom in Bashan. All these cities were fortified with high walls and with gates and bars, and there were also a great many unwalled villages. We completely destroyed them, as we had done with Sihon king of Heshbon, destroying every city--men, women and children.

Deuteronomy 7:1-5 (This passage has it all. Instructions to "totally" destroy those who live in the land coveted by the Israelite conquerors, prohibitions against intermarrying with them, showing them mercy, or making peace treaties, and of course, explicit instructions for religious intolerance. The writers didn't even bother to invent a victimless crime for which this is the punishment; the fact that these people currently occupy the lands promised to Israel is apparently crime enough)

When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations--the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you-- and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD's anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (Prophets for other religions must be killed. Yet another victimless crime punishable by death)

If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer ... That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 13:6-9 (Your brother, your children, your wife, or your closest friend must be killed if they commit the victimless crime of suggesting religious exploration)

If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people.

Deuteronomy 13:12-15 (Entire towns must be murdered if their inhabitants have committed the victimless crime of adopting another religion)

If you hear it said about one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you to live in that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods you have not known), then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock.

Deuteronomy 17:2-5 (Anyone found guilty of the victimless crime of worshipping other gods or celestial objects must be stoned to death)

If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky, and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death.

Deuteronomy 17:12 (Kill anyone who doesn't respect the priesthood. Yet another victimless crime punishable by death. Good things the priests got to write the Old Testament, eh? Anyone else might have abused it for their own gain!)

The man who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the LORD your God must be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel.

Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (False prophets must die. More amusingly, God states the simple way to determine if someone is a false prophet: any single prophecy that fails to come true proves that someone is a false prophet. Since Jesus prophesied in Matthew 16:28 that he would return before his Disciples died nearly two thousand years ago, this would mean that Jesus is a false prophet).

But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death." You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?" If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.

Deuteronomy 20:10-18 (If the inhabitants of a distant city refuse to surrender into forced labour, then lay siege to the city. After they are defeated, kill all prisoners of war and take the women and children as plunder. As for the inhabitants of a chosen city, they must all die. Women, children, animals, everything, for the victimless crime of simply living in the wrong place)

When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.

However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them--the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites--as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (A "stubborn and rebellious son" must die).

If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death.

Deuteronomy 22:20-21 (If a girl commits the victimless crime of premarital sex, she must die).

If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father's house. You must purge the evil from among you.

Deuteronomy 22:22 (Kill adulterers)

If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die.

Deuteronomy 22:23-29 (Sexual assault laws in the Old Testament. A rape victim who does not scream for help must die. A rapist must be put to death, but only if the rape victim is engaged to be married, thus meaning that another man already owns her. If she is not engaged, then the rapist must marry his victim, who will be forced to live with this man for the rest of her life!)

If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death -- the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man's wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

But if out in the country a man happens to meet a girl pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. Do nothing to the girl; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders his neighbor, for the man found the girl out in the country, and though the betrothed girl screamed, there was no one to rescue her.

If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

Deuteronomy 25:11 (If your wife touches your private parts during a public dispute, you must cut off her hand. Talk about a victimless crime; I like it when my wife touches my private parts)

If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

Deuteronomy 28:58-61 (Follow every little bit of the laws of the Old Testament and revere God, or he will destroy every last one of you)

If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name -- the LORD your God -- the LORD will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. He will bring upon you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you. The LORD will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed.

Deuteronomy 32:21-25 (Worship idols, and God will murder your children. He will start with arrows, then he will follow up with famine, pestilence, and plague. He will continue by adding wild beasts and venomous snakes. When he's bored with that, he will use the sword to murder your children. Everyone will die)

They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding. For a fire has been kindled by my wrath, one that burns to the realm of death below. It will devour the earth and its harvests and set afire the foundations of the mountains. "I will heap calamities upon them and spend my arrows against them. I will send wasting famine against them, consuming pestilence and deadly plague; I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts, the venom of vipers that glide in the dust. In the street the sword will make them childless; in their homes terror will reign. Young men and young women will perish, infants and gray-haired men.

Deuteronomy 32:40-42 (God proudly boasts of his own bloodlust)

I lift my hand to heaven and declare: As surely as I live forever, when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me. I will make my arrows drunk with blood, while my sword devours flesh: the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of the enemy leaders."

Thus endeth the Book of Deuteronomy. Yet another fearsome tale of violence and hatred. This is starting to get predictable.

The Book of Joshua

The Book of Joshua is famed for its violence, even when compared to the preceding books. Frankly, that's a bit scary, don't you think? In any case, the Book of Joshua is a God-sanctioned rampage of death and destruction. The Israelites destroy anyone and everyone in their path. Note that every one of these atrocities is specifically ordered by God, who is speaking to Joshua.

Joshua 6:20-21 (The fall of Jericho at the hands of murderous butchers)

When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it--men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

Joshua 7:15 (Don't keep anything which has been "devoted" to God for yourself, or you will be destroyed by fire! Yet another victimless crime punishable by death)

He who is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the LORD and has done a disgraceful thing in Israel!'"

Joshua 8:24-25 (As usual, Joshua indiscriminately kills soldiers and civilians alike, women and children, all the people in the entire city)

When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. Twelve thousand men and women fell that day--all the people of Ai.

Joshua 10:11-14 (A wonderful crazy-combo. God himself aids in the Israelite war effort by killing the Amorites with huge hailstones, thus putting to rest any apologist notions that the Israelites' atrocities went against his wishes. Then we enter the land of bizarre astrophysics, in which the Sun and the Moon "stopped in the middle of the sky" until Israel destroyed its enemies)

As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the LORD hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites. On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: "O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon."

So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!

Joshua 10:28-40 (an incredibly long murderous rampage, in which Joshua indiscriminately murders "all who breathed", including women and children, in the cities of Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, and Debir. All of these atrocities were ordered by God, and all of them were committed against cities that had done nothing except for the victimless crime of occupying land that God had promised the Israelites)

That day Joshua took Makkedah. He put the city and its king to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it. He left no survivors. And he did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.

Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it. The LORD also gave that city and its king into Israel's hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.

Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Libnah to Lachish; he took up positions against it and attacked it. The LORD handed Lachish over to Israel, and Joshua took it on the second day. The city and everyone in it he put to the sword, just as he had done to Libnah. Meanwhile, Horam king of Gezer had come up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his army--until no survivors were left.

Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Lachish to Eglon; they took up positions against it and attacked it. They captured it that same day and put it to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it, just as they had done to Lachish.

Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it. They took the city and put it to the sword, together with its king, its villages and everyone in it. They left no survivors. Just as at Eglon, they totally destroyed it and everyone in it.

Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned around and attacked Debir. They took the city, its king and its villages, and put them to the sword. Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron.

So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded.

Joshua 11:10-11,20-23 (Joshua destroys the city of Hazor and all of its inhabitants. We are reminded once more that all of this was not only ordered by God, but ensured by God who hardened the hearts of Israel's enemies "so that he might destroy them totally". In other words, as he did with Pharoah, he makes Israel's enemies do things which will give him an excuse to show off)

At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed them, not sparing anything that breathed, and he burned up Hazor itself.

For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses. At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country: from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns. No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive. So Joshua took the entire land, just as the LORD had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.

Thus endeth our journey through the terror of Joshua's marauding band of butchers. They entered a foreign land, found people already living there (how dare they!), and then with God's blessing and assistance, they butchered them all, including defenseless women and children. Their victims didn't even have the option of making peace or fleeing, because God "hardened their hearts" in order to ensure that he would get the chance to show off his merciless capacity for destruction.

The Book of Judges

The Book of Judges is best known for the bizarre Samson story (yes, the bit with the hair).

Judges 1:8 (Another city, another pointless butchery. If it weren't so horrible, it would be boring)

The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem also and took it. They put the city to the sword and set it on fire.

Judges 1:17 (More of the same)

Then the men of Judah went with the Simeonites their brothers and attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed the city. Therefore it was called Hormah.

Judges 1:23-25 (More of the same)

When they sent men to spy out Bethel, the spies saw a man coming out of the city and they said to him, "Show us how to get into the city and we will see that you are treated well." So he showed them, and they put the city to the sword but spared the man and his whole family.

Judges 1:28 (The Israelites enslave the poor Canaanites, who had been living peacefully on their land until these marauders came)

When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely.

Judges 3:15, 20-21 (Treachery and assassination. Ehud delivers a message from God, and it carries God's usual level of pacifism)

Again the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and he gave them a deliverer--Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab.

Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his summer palace and said, "I have a message from God for you." As the king rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king's belly.

Judges 4:15-21 (God gets his hands dirty by intervening directly in battle again, and Sisera not only loses his army, but ends up being assassinated through treachery. The fact that he runs for his life rather than surrendering is not surprising in light of how the Israelites treat prisoners of war).

At Barak's advance, the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera abandoned his chariot and fled on foot. But Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim. All the troops of Sisera fell by the sword; not a man was left. Sisera, however, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there were friendly relations between Jabin king of Hazor and the clan of Heber the Kenite.

Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, "Come, my lord, come right in. Don't be afraid." So he entered her tent, and she put a covering over him. "I'm thirsty," he said. "Please give me some water." She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up. "Stand in the doorway of the tent," he told her. "If someone comes by and asks you, `Is anyone here?' say `No.'" But Jael, Heber's wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.

Judges 11:29-39 (God gives twenty towns into Jephthah's hands, in return for a human sacrifice: Jephthah's own daughter. Some would argue that it was unintentional, but the most likely thing to come out of the door of his house is obviously going to be a human being! The fact that it was his daughter was apparently unintended, but one can only surmise that Jephthah must not have been too fond of the rest of his household)

Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering." Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands. He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! ... he did to her as he had vowed.

Judges 14:12 18-19 (Samson gives the men of Timnah a riddle. They coerce his wife (who he refers to as a "heifer") into giving them the answer, so he goes to Ashkelon, randomly attacks thirty innocent men with God's help, and then uses their belongings to pay off the men who answered his riddle! If he was angry at the men of Timnah for threatening his wife, then why did he randomly kill innocent men in Ashkelon in order to pay them off?)

"Let me tell you a riddle," Samson said to them. "If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. If you can't tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes." "Tell us your riddle," they said. "Let's hear it."

He replied, "Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet." For three days they could not give the answer. On the fourth day, they said to Samson's wife, "Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father's household to death. Did you invite us here to rob us?" Then Samson's wife threw herself on him, sobbing, "You hate me! You don't really love me. You've given my people a riddle, but you haven't told me the answer." "I haven't even explained it to my father or mother," he replied, "so why should I explain it to you?" She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.

Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him, "What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?" Samson said to them, "If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle." Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of their belongings and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he went up to his father's house.

Judges 15:14-15 (Whenever the spirit of God comes upon Samson, he kills people. How fitting)

As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.

Judges 19:22-29 (The famous story of the Levite and his concubine, who he coldly sacrificed to a rape gang. Note that slept peacefully while she was being raped and beaten, and when he discovered her dead body, he promptly mutilated it in order to tell the rest of Israel what had happened (you'd think a written message would be more appropriate than desecrating the dead)

While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him." The owner of the house went outside and said to them, "No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this disgraceful thing.

Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don't do such a disgraceful thing." But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.

When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, "Get up; let's go." But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home. When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.

Judges 20:48 (The Israelite army completely destroys the towns of one of their own tribes, the tribe of Benjamin. This is supposedly due to the actions of that lone rape gang, and of course, standard godly psycho-retribution tradition means that all of the innocent women and children of Benjamin must die. Note that 600 Benjamite soldiers escaped the massacre and hid in the desert, while the rest of the Israelites were busy killing all of their women and children)

The men of Israel went back to Benjamin and put all the towns to the sword, including the animals and everything else they found. All the towns they came across they set on fire.

Judges 21:8-10 (The Israelites butcher everyone at Jabesh Gilead because they didn't show up for the attack on the Benjamites. You don't want to be a draft-dodger in ancient Israel, that's for sure!)

Then they asked, "Which one of the tribes of Israel failed to assemble before the LORD at Mizpah?" They discovered that no one from Jabesh Gilead had come to the camp for the assembly. For when they counted the people, they found that none of the people of Jabesh Gilead were there. So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children.

Thus endeth our examination of the Book of Judges. It's the usual list of Old Testament horrors: murder, assassination, war crimes, use of women as property, and of course, the psychotic, completely random killing committed by Samson while filled with God's spirit.

The Books of Samuel

The Books of Samuel are the ones in which we meet King David (yes, the guy who slew Goliath). As usual, women and children are killed indiscriminately along with enemy soldiers, and God kills people for bizarre, arbitrary reasons.

1 Samuel 5:6-12 (God inflicts people with "tumours" (cancer?) for the victimless crime of living in whatever city the Philistines are using to store the Ark of the Covenant. As usual, women and children are not spared)

The LORD's hand was heavy upon the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation upon them and afflicted them with tumors. When the men of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, "The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy upon us and upon Dagon our god." So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, "What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?" They answered, "Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath."

So they moved the ark of the God of Israel. But after they had moved it, the LORD's hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors. So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, "They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people." So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, "Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people." For death had filled the city with panic; God's hand was very heavy upon it. Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.

1 Samuel 6:19 (God kills 70 people for the victimless crime of looking into the Ark. Note that the NIV uses a particular Hebrew manuscript which says "70" even though most of the manuscripts say "50,070". The King James Version uses the larger figure, which makes more sense in the larger context of the enormous casualty figures routinely reported in the Bible)

But God struck down some of the men of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy of them to death because they had looked into the ark of the LORD.

1 Samuel 15:3-8 (God orders Saul to commit another war crime, which he naturally does without hesitation since he's a wonderful "god-fearing man")

Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. So Saul summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim--two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men from Judah ... Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword.

1 Samuel 18:27 (David mutilates the bodies of dead enemy soldiers in order to impress his king and win his daughter's hand. Today, when an enemy army disrespects the bodies of dead soldiers, we consider it immoral. But in the Bible, it's "godly")

Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.

1 Samuel 27:8-11 (As usual, David indiscriminately murders women and children for their material possessions. during his raids. Note the reason for his ruthlessness: he wants to protect his anonymity! Also note that one of his victims is the Amalekites, who were "totally destroyed" by Saul back in 1 Samuel 15. One of countless Biblical inconsistencies)

Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish. When Achish asked, "Where did you go raiding today?" David would say, "Against the Negev of Judah" or "Against the Negev of Jerahmeel" or "Against the Negev of the Kenites." He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, "They might inform on us and say, `This is what David did.'" And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory.

2 Samuel 6:6-7 (God kills Uzzah for the victimless "crime" of reaching out and keeping the Ark from falling to the ground when the oxen stumbled. Even a helpful act can be punished by death if God deems it impertinent)

When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD's anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.

2 Samuel 12:10,14-18 (As usual, God punishes someone who angers him (by marrying a Hittite in this case) through his innocent child. Nice, eh? "You angered me, so I'm going to slowly kill your baby")

Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.

But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die." After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. On the seventh day the child died.

2 Samuel 21:1,8-9 (God subjects Israel to three years of famine, with all of the consequent deaths, for something the long-dead Saul did. David makes amends by giving the Gibeonites seven innocent boys for human sacrifice. Naturally, God is pleased by this monstrous act)

During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the LORD. The LORD said, "It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death."

But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah's daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul's daughter Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed and exposed them on a hill before the LORD. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.

2 Samuel 2:1,10,15 (God gets angry at Israel, tells David to initiate a census which takes more than 9 months and wastes resources. David feels bad about the waste of resources, so he asks God to take away his guilt, and God does that in the only way he knows how: by killing lots of people)

Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah."

David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing."

So the LORD sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.

The Books of Kings

The two Books of Kings revolve around a succession of kings in Israel who alternately please God and then anger him. It's an exercise in Pavlovian psychological reinforcement: positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. Like Pavlov's dogs, we're supposed to read the Books of Kings and mindlessly accept that obedience to God is rewarded, and disobedience is horribly punished. Naturally, we're not supposed to think for ourselves and question what kind of God would be so cruel.

1 Kings 14:1,9-13 (One of the most perverse pasages in the Bible, and that's saying a lot. God is angry at Jeroboam because he made idols, so he kills his son and promises to destroy his entire family. But the interesting part is at the end, where God states that the innocent child is "good"! In other words, by God's own admission, he has just killed a blameless child).

At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became ill,

You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have provoked me to anger and thrust me behind your back. Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel--slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung, until it is all gone. Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country. The LORD has spoken!

As for you, go back home. When you set foot in your city, the boy will die. All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only one belonging to Jeroboam who will be buried, because he is the only one in the house of Jeroboam in whom the LORD, the God of Israel, has found anything good.

1 Kings 15:28-29 (Baasha carries out God's wishes, which naturally involve killing Jeroboam's entire family, women and children included)

Baasha killed Nadab in the third year of Asa king of Judah and succeeded him as king. As soon as he began to reign, he killed Jeroboam's whole family. He did not leave Jeroboam anyone that breathed, but destroyed them all, according to the word of the LORD given through his servant Ahijah the Shilonite.

1 Kings 16:10-12 (Zimri carries out God's wishes, which naturally involve killing Baasha's entire family)

Zimri came in, struck him down and killed him in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah. Then he succeeded him as king. As soon as he began to reign and was seated on the throne, he killed off Baasha's whole family. He did not spare a single male, whether relative or friend. So Zimri destroyed the whole family of Baasha, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken against Baasha through the prophet Jehu--

1 Kings 21:19-22 (God, speaking through Elijah, promises to destroy Ahab's family the way he destroyed the families of Baasha and Jeroboam, because Ahab's wife Jezebel murdered Naboth. Murder is obviously evil, but even if you support the death penalty for murder, would you apply it to the murderer's husband and children? The real reason for Ahab's harsh treatment is given in 1 Kings 16, when it is revealed that he worshipped Baal instead of God)

Say to him, `This is what the LORD says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?' Then say to him, `This is what the LORD says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth's blood, dogs will lick up your blood--yes, yours!'" Ahab said to Elijah, "So you have found me, my enemy!" "I have found you," he answered, "because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD. `I am going to bring disaster on you. I will consume your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel--slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and have caused Israel to sin.'

2 Kings 1:9-12 (God kills a hundred men for the victimless "crime" of telling Elijah to come down from a hill)

Then he sent to Elijah a captain with his company of fifty men. The captain went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, "Man of God, the king says, `Come down!'" Elijah answered the captain, "If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!" Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men.

At this the king sent to Elijah another captain with his fifty men. The captain said to him, "Man of God, this is what the king says, `Come down at once!'" "If I am a man of God," Elijah replied, "may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!" Then the fire of God fell from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men.

2 Kings 1:16-17 (God kills Ahaziah for the victimless "crime" of sending messengers to consult Baal)

He told the king, "This is what the LORD says: Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!" So he died, according to the word of the LORD that Elijah had spoken.

2 Kings 2:23-24 (God kills 42 boys for being rude)

From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.

2 Kings 5:20,24-27 (God gives Gehazi and all of his descendants leprosy for securing donations from Naaman which Elisha had previously refused to take)

Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, "My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him."

When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left. Then he went in and stood before his master Elisha. "Where have you been, Gehazi?" Elisha asked. "Your servant didn't go anywhere," Gehazi answered. But Elisha said to him, "Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money, or to accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, flocks, herds, or menservants and maidservants? Naaman's leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever." Then Gehazi went from Elisha's presence and he was leprous, as white as snow.

2 Kings 10:11-17 (The usual Old Testament behaviour: massacres of entire families and of course, execution-style slayings of prisoners)

So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab, as well as all his chief men, his close friends and his priests, leaving him no survivor. Jehu then set out and went toward Samaria. At Beth Eked of the Shepherds, he met some relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah and asked, "Who are you?" They said, "We are relatives of Ahaziah, and we have come down to greet the families of the king and of the queen mother." "Take them alive!" he ordered. So they took them alive and slaughtered them by the well of Beth Eked--forty-two men. He left no survivor. After he left there, he came upon Jehonadab son of Recab, who was on his way to meet him. Jehu greeted him and said, "Are you in accord with me, as I am with you?" "I am," Jehonadab answered. "If so," said Jehu, "give me your hand." So he did, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot. Jehu said, "Come with me and see my zeal for the LORD." Then he had him ride along in his chariot. When Jehu came to Samaria, he killed all who were left there of Ahab's family; he destroyed them, according to the word of the LORD spoken to Elijah.

2 Kings 10:18-25,30 (Religious tolerance in the Old Testament. Jehu pretends to be a Baal worshipper and gathers all the ministers of Baal together in one place, so he can conduct his own version of Al Capone's infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Naturally, since God loves death and destruction, he gets a nice pat on the back)

Then Jehu brought all the people together and said to them, "Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu will serve him much. Now summon all the prophets of Baal, all his ministers and all his priests. See that no one is missing, because I am going to hold a great sacrifice for Baal. Anyone who fails to come will no longer live." But Jehu was acting deceptively in order to destroy the ministers of Baal. Jehu said, "Call an assembly in honor of Baal." So they proclaimed it. Then he sent word throughout Israel, and all the ministers of Baal came; not one stayed away. They crowded into the temple of Baal until it was full from one end to the other.

And Jehu said to the keeper of the wardrobe, "Bring robes for all the ministers of Baal." So he brought out robes for them. Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Recab went into the temple of Baal. Jehu said to the ministers of Baal, "Look around and see that no servants of the LORD are here with you--only ministers of Baal." So they went in to make sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had posted eighty men outside with this warning: "If one of you lets any of the men I am placing in your hands escape, it will be your life for his life." As soon as Jehu had finished making the burnt offering, he ordered the guards and officers: "Go in and kill them; let no one escape." So they cut them down with the sword. The guards and officers threw the bodies out and then entered the inner shrine of the temple of Baal.

The LORD said to Jehu, "Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation."

2 Kings 15:3-5 (More Old Testament religious tolerance: King Azariah is afflicted with leprosy not because he did anything wrong, but because he failed to destroy the "high places" of the idol-worshippers. In other words, he was slowly killed for not being intolerant enough)

He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. The LORD afflicted the king with leprosy until the day he died.

2 Kings 17:25 (As usual, God kills people for not worshipping him)

When they first lived there, they did not worship the LORD; so he sent lions among them and they killed some of the people.

2 Kings 19:35 (God kills 185,000 Assyrians in order to keep them from one of his "holy" places)

That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning--there were all the dead bodies!

The Books of Chronicles

The First Book of Chronicles is uneventful as far as we're concerned here, since its most noteworthy events are merely re-tellings of events already covered in the Second Book of Samuel (as usual, the Bible has to tell every story two or three times). The Second Book, however, contains some of the largest mass killings in the Bible outside of the Great Flood.

2 Chronicles 7:5 (Solomon kills more than a hundred thousand animals to dedicate his temple to God. I have thus far skipped all of the animal sacrifices of the Bible because I was concerned more with cruelty to humans than cruelty to animals. However, this is such a stunning display of pointless animal sacrifice that it merits mention, if for no other reason than to note that such an enormous sacrifice of livestock would be an agricultural disaster and it would undoubtedly bring much hardship upon the people)

And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God.

2 Chronicles 14:2-3,9-14 (God loves Asa because Asa is intolerant of other religions. As per his usual modus operandi, he demonstrates this love by helping Asa destroy a "vast army" of Cushites. Hebrew manuscripts describe an "army of a thousand thousand", ie- 1 million, which is faithfully translated by the King James Version while the NIV curiously omits the figure, probably to avoid reminding modern readers of the sheer magnitude of God's latest massacre. Naturally, they also destroy all of the surrounding villages)

Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God. He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles.

Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with a vast army and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. Asa went out to meet him, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah. Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, "LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you."

The LORD struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the LORD and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder. They destroyed all the villages around Gerar, for the terror of the LORD had fallen upon them. They plundered all these villages, since there was much booty there.

2 Chronicles 15:12-13 (Man or woman, adult or child, all must die if they don't seek God)

And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

2 Chronicles 21:14 (God decides to punish Jehoram for permitting sexual promiscuity in Israel, and for killing his brothers (it is never made clear which is considered the greater crime). As usual, the brunt of this punishment falls upon innocent women and children)

So now the LORD is about to strike your people, your sons, your wives and everything that is yours, with a heavy blow.

2 Chronicles 25:11-15 (Amaziah's troops kill a total of 23,000 people, of which only 10,000 die in battle (the rest are prisoners of war or civilians), with God's blessing. But when Amaziah brings back religious influences from the vanquished, "the anger of the Lord was kindled" against him. As usual, massacres and war crimes are OK but religious tolerance is not)

Amaziah then marshaled his strength and led his army to the Valley of Salt, where he killed ten thousand men of Seir. The army of Judah also captured ten thousand men alive, took them to the top of a cliff and threw them down so that all were dashed to pieces. Meanwhile the troops that Amaziah had sent back and had not allowed to take part in the war raided Judean towns from Samaria to Beth Horon. They killed three thousand people and carried off great quantities of plunder.

When Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought back the gods of the people of Seir. He set them up as his own gods, bowed down to them and burned sacrifices to them. The anger of the LORD burned against Amaziah, and he sent a prophet to him, who said, "Why do you consult this people's gods, which could not save their own people from your hand?"

2 Chronicles 26:18-20 (Uzziah is punished by God with leprosy for the victimless crime of burning incense. Apparently, the sons of Aaron wanted to protect their territory by including this story)

They confronted him and said, "It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the LORD God." Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD's temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the LORD had afflicted him.

2 Chronicles 28:6 (Woe to those who fail to worship God! As usual, the Bible encourages holy war at every turn. At least they avoided massacres of women and children this time around)

In one day Pekah son of Remaliah killed a hundred and twenty thousand soldiers in Judah--because Judah had forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers.

2 Chronicles 36:14-17 (God's "love" is, as always, totally conditional. The Israelites are open-minded enough to explore other religions, so God punishes them by sending the King of Babylon to destroy them, both young and old, man and woman)

Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the LORD, which he had consecrated in Jerusalem. The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place.

But they mocked God's messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, old man or aged. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar.

The Book of Job

The Book of Job is understandably famous. It is entirely devoted to a single story: that of God's mindlessly loyal servant Job. The story is as follows: God is bragging about how loyal Job is. Satan answers that Job is only loyal because God has given him great material wealth and personal happiness. God becomes petulant and decides to test Job's loyalty by taking away everything he holds dear. Job, of course, shows what a great guy he is by mindlessly praising God even after this despicable act. Judeo-Christians use this story as an object lesson in the importance of unwavering loyalty, while atheists and members of other religions use it as an example of the priests covering their asses, by ensuring that the people would feel compelled to thank God for both good and bad fortune, thus ensuring that they would continue to get their donations through good times and bad.

Job 1:12-21 (God tells Satan to destroy everything dear to Job, and it would appear he helps him as well, by lending the use of his holy fire. One must question how much power Satan actually has; his influence appears to be limited to tempting people, and in this passage, he successfully tempts God himself. There is therefore some question as to whether it was even possible for Satan to hurt Job without God's permission and assistance. In any case, Job praises God for doing this, thus proving that he was mentally unstable)

The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"

While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."

Job 2:6-7 (God gives Satan permission to give Job painful sores from head to toe)

The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.

The Book of Psalms

The Book of Psalms is a meandering list of sayings about God. It is very popular with preachers, who regularly quote snippets as part of their sermons. Psalms are often chanted ritualistically during Sunday services, and the choice of psalms tends to say a lot about the mentality of the preacher and his congregation. Pacifistic preachers tend to ignore the militaristic psalms, while militaristic preachers tend to trumpet them loudly.

Psalms 2:7-9 (More militaristic bragging. God promises to bend the nations of the Earth to the will of a loyal follower, and to help him "dash them to pieces")

I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery."

Psalms 11:5-6 (God promises to mercilessly punish the "wicked" and "those who love violence" (interesting that he describes them as two separate groups). Of course, he defines "wicked" in a rather curious way, as the term apparently included the innocent babies of Sodom and Gomorrah and countless other blameless children throughout the Old Testament. Moreover, it is rather hypocritical of him to hate those who love violence, since he loves violence himself)

The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates. On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.

Psalms 18:39-41 (More militaristic jingoism. God will help his followers destroy their enemies, and he will ignore their cries for help. This is interesting in light of Psalms 11:5, in which he hypocritically claimed to hate "those who love violence")

You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them-- to the LORD, but he did not answer.

Psalms 21:8-9 (More militaristic jingoism)

Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies; your right hand will seize your foes. At the time of your appearing you will make them like a fiery furnace. In his wrath the LORD will swallow them up, and his fire will consume them.

Psalms 50:22 (God reminds us that if we forget him, he will tear us to pieces)

Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue:

Psalms 68:21-23 (More militaristic jingoism)

Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins. The Lord says, "I will bring them from Bashan; I will bring them from the depths of the sea, that you may plunge your feet in the blood of your foes, while the tongues of your dogs have their share."

Psalms 110:5-6 (More militaristic jingoism)

The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.

Psalms 135:8-10 (More militaristic jingoism, including praise for the act of murdering the little babies of Egypt)

He struck down the firstborn of Egypt, the firstborn of men and animals. He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants. He struck down many nations and killed mighty kings.

Psalms 136:10 (Yet more praise for murdering little babies in Egypt)

To him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, His love endures forever.

Psalms 137:8-9 (Happy is he who murders the infants of Babylon. Yeah, kill 'em all, ye wondrous God of "love"!)

O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us-- he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.

Psalms 140:9-10 (Those who say the wrong thing will be burned to death for "the trouble their lips have caused")

Let the heads of those who surround me be covered with the trouble their lips have caused. Let burning coals fall upon them; may they be thrown into the fire, into miry pits, never to rise.

Psalms 144:1-2 (The loving God trains his people for war and helps them subjugate others. In other words, more militaristic jingoism)

Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.

The Book of Proverbs

The Book of Proverbs is similar to the Book of Psalms, except that the Proverbs are meant to be spoken rather than sung or chanted ritualistically.

Proverbs 13:24 (Beat your children)

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Proverbs 22:15 (Beat your children)

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

Proverbs 23:13-14 (Beat your children)

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.

Proverbs 20:30 (Severe beatings "cleanse away evil")

Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.

Proverbs 29:15 (Beat your children)

The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.

Proverbs 29:19 (Verbal corrections aren't enough for a servant. He needs more, so you should resort to <drum roll please> beatings!)

A servant cannot be corrected by mere words; though he understands, he will not respond.

Proverbs 30:17 (Mock your father or disobey your mother, and God will send birds to peck out your eyes and eat your rotting flesh)

The eye that mocks a father, that scorns obedience to a mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures.

The Book of Isaiah

The Book of Isaiah is one of the Bible's meandering God-inspired "visions" (read: "hallucinations")

Isaiah 8:5-9 (More militaristic mumblings)

The LORD spoke to me again: "Because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the River -- the king of Assyria with all his pomp. It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck. Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, O Immanuel!" Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle, and be shattered!

Isaiah 9:19-20 (More "angry God" stuff. This time, he'll burn heathens with fire and make them eat their own children)

By the wrath of the LORD Almighty the land will be scorched and the people will be fuel for the fire; no one will spare his brother. On the right they will devour, but still be hungry; on the left they will eat, but not be satisfied. Each will feed on the flesh of his own offspring.

Isaiah 13:15-16 (Displease God, and he'll have your wife raped and your babies killed)

Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished.

Isaiah 34:2-5,8 (God destroys Israel's enemies, causes laughably silly astrophysical events such as the sky rolling up "like a scroll" and the stars dissolving, and then brags about his "day of vengeance")

The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench; the mountains will be soaked with their blood.

All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree. My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; see, it descends in judgment on Edom, the people I have totally destroyed.

For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion's cause.

Isaiah 49:26 (God will make Israel's enemies eat their own flesh)

I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."

Isaiah 63:3-6 (God brags about his destructive power. He also reveals that he wears "garments", which I find rather amusing. Are they cotton? Or has God discovered polyester?)

"I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground."

Isaiah 66:15-16,24 (God will use fire and the sword to kill a great many people)

See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire and with his sword the LORD will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by the LORD.

And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.

The Book of Jeremiah

Under construction

The Book of Ezekiel

Under construction

The Book of Daniel

Under construction

The Book of Josea

Under construction

The Book of Joel

Under construction

The Book of Amos

Under construction

The Book of Obadiah

Under construction

The Book of Micah

Under construction

The Book of Nahum

Under construction

The Book of Habakkuk

Under construction

The Book of Zephaniah

Under construction

The Book of Haggai

Under construction

The Book of Zechariah

Under construction

The Book of Malachi

Under construction

Last changed: 09/01/2001

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