16 July 2009

14,700 killed for complaining about God's killings

In case you haven't been following along, here's what has happened so far in Numbers 16.
So, as you might expect, the people who had witnessed all this were pretty freaked out by now.
But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD. (v.41)


Then "the glory of the Lord" appeared and God tells Moses he's going to kill everyone (again).
Behold ... the glory of the LORD appeared.
...
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. (v.42-45a)
I think you can guess by now what Moses and Aaron did next.
They fell upon their faces. (v.45b)
Then Moses told Aaron to burn some incense to try to stop God from killing everyone. But God's plague had already started.
And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun. (v.46)
But the incense burning worked, sort of, anyway. (Sometimes God will stop killing if you burn incense; sometimes he'll burn you to death instead. He works in mysterious ways.) But not before 14,700 had died in the plague.
Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah. (v.49)
So in this chapter, God threatened to kill everyone twice, but settled for killing 14,962 instead in three separate killing events (a dozen or so buried alive, 250 burned to death, and 14,700 killed in a plague).

But don't complain about it or he'll kill you, too.

God's next killing: The massacre of the Aradites

11 comments:

busterggi said...

Ya know, it seems to me that the peoples NOT chosen by Yahweh had a much better time of it.

Less wars.

Lesss plagues.

Less miraculous disasters.

No wonder the Hebrews kept backsliding to Ba'al or Astarte, they didn't keep killing their chosen.

twillight said...

I like your tale-telling. I wish all people could tell these stories the same way. This "and after that they fell upon their faces" is so absurd, though noone bothered noticing until now.

Seriously Soulless said...

21th? Doth thomone have a lithp?

Steve Wells said...

Thanks seriously soulless,

I doubt if I'd have ever caught that thilly misthake.

jfior said...

I just ran across your blog recently...great stuff...keep up the good work....the OT's silliness is too much to bear

Randy said...

Steve, you asked two postings ago, but it bears repeating;

Where are the apologists?

Steve Wells said...

They are embarrassed, Randy.

Bible believer are deeply embarrassed by God's killings in the Bible, but they can't admit it, not even to themselves. So they either have to pretend that they are proud of God's killings (Go God Go!) or hide their feelings about them as best they can and say nothing at all. Nearly all believers take the latter approach.

matt311 said...

...or, they can just not teach them to the next generation at all, leading to hordes of Bible-thumpers calling such allegations "lies; that's what they nearly did with me, before I caught on and actually read the Bible.

The priests at my parish were more interested in teaching about the "seven gifts of the spirit", or some extrabiblical nonsense like that...

I Am said...

I think this blow-by-blow accounting of God's murders is a wonderful tool to show how horrible the God of the Bible really is.

Although I can see apologists trying to defend some killings by God here and there, it's just staggering how many of them there are. It's simply indefensible.

Unlike apologists, the average believer doesn't regularly consult the Bible. All a believer would have to do is hear about a few of these stories, probably disbelieve they are in the Bible or think they are taken out of context somehow, but if they are convinced to actually check it out for themselves, I bet it would really make many of them question the god they thought they believed in.

Markus Arelius said...

You are really pulling back the curtains here on parts of the Bible that rarely, if ever, get playing time on Sunday in Christian churches. Normally, pastors cherry-pick a few biblical passages here and there that align well with their sermon's main idea, be it regarding finances, marriage, "love thy neighbor", secrets, worldly vices, dealing with non-believers, etc. Hell, I could cherry pick some great Shakespeare quotes and bring down the house in laughter on Sunday.

The problem for me has always been how convenient this cherry-picking has been, and how disingenuous believers are about the true contents of the Bible.

How can Christians discount the shear brutality of these events you're sharing with us, or admit that they are true, and then somehow suggest that every ounce of the brutality surely awaits non-believers in hell?

I just don't get it.

In the end, God should have just said "you're all saved" and gotten on with his golf game. Why allow a bunch of monkeys to torture you're own monkey on a cross? Why would God expect and trust these tribalistic cro-magnons to get his "message of love and forgiveness" right down pat, and then disseminate it correctly across the planet?

You're doing the right thing to expose these never-discussed Biblical verses for what they are:

Born of bronze-aged stupidity.

Timothy said...

Anyone else see Cthulu in this section? You happen to survive the killings, and then decide that most of those people didn't deserve it and voice your disdain, and then you're killed. Maybe they should have just shut up and tried to ignore Yahweh and probably gotten away with a few thousand more Israelites when everything was over.
As for Markus Aurelius: there's also a segment of the Christian population who don't see anything except what Jesus said as having any relevance. They don't see the OT as being part of the Holy book, or is just history of Jesus' chosen.