19 December 2009

Jonathan's very first slaughter (not counting the one before)

Well, it was a bit disappointing to me, but I guess it was OK for a very first slaughter.

Here's how it happened.

One day Jonathan and his armor bearer decided to go find some uncircumcised guys to kill. Who knows? Maybe God would help them.
Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us. 1 Samuel 14:6
Jonathan's amorous armor bearer said to him, "Do whatever is in your heart. Whatever is in your heart is in my heart, too." (They had a very close, intimate relationship.)
And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart. 1 Samuel 14:7
So Jonathan told him his plan. They will go over to the Philistines and if they say, "Wait there and we'll come over to you," then Jonathan and his armor bearer will stay put. But if the Philistines say, "Come up to us, and we will show you something," then they will attack, knowing that God will help them kill them.
Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them. If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them. But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the LORD hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us. 1 Samuel 14:8-10
So they did that. And when the Philistines saw them, they said, "Look the Hebrews have crawled out of the holes they were hiding in."
And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves. 1 Samuel 14:11
And then the Philistines said the magic words of doom, "Come on up and we'll show you a thing or two."
And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. 1 Samuel 14:12a
When Jonathan heard that, he he told his armor bearer that God would help them kill the Philistines.
And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel. 1 Samuel 14:12b
So Jonathan and his armor bearer crawled out of their hole and began to kill Philistines.
And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him. 1 Samuel 14:12
They killed about 20 of them, all in an area of half an acre or so. Which is not too bad for a very first slaughter.
And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow. 1 Samuel 14:14
I don't know about you, but the thing that bothers me about this story is the "first slaughter" part. Because if this was Jonathan's very first slaughter, then what the hell was he doing in the last chapter?
And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba. 1 Samuel 13:3
It sounds like Jonathan's second slaughter, and I'm a bit pissed off about it!

God's next killing: God forced the Philistines to kill each other

22 comments:

busterggi said...

It was his first slaughter, after all the bible wouldn't lie.

The other slaughter was just bad editing.

Brucker said...

The verse says "that first slaughter", not "Jonathan's first slaughter". You're assuming what "first" refers to. It might be the first slaughter of this particular garrison, for instance. I don't know what "first" means in this instance, but the fact that you point out seems to be true: it couldn't refer to Jonathan's military career.

Steve Wells said...

Brucker,

"I don't know what "first" means in this instance, but the fact that you point out seems to be true: it couldn't refer to Jonathan's military career."

It couldn't refer to Jonathan's military career because if it did it would be a contradiction, and, as we all know, the Bible never contradicts itself!

When the text refers to "that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made," it could mean the first slaughter that both of them made together (while holding hands), or the first slaughter that Jonathan made on a Tuesday, or the first slaughter that Jonathan did in only a half an acre, or pretty much anything you can think of. And there is no limit to the number of things believers can think of to get out of an obvious contradiction.

But the story seems clear enough. The boy Jonathan was out to find some uncircumcised guys to kill to impress everyone on his very first slaughter. And with God's special help he found and killed 20 guys. It was wonderful start for one of God's favorite killers.

1&2 Samuel had several sources that often contradict each other. This is just one example.

twillight said...

Wan't that "first slaughter" of that particular battle, or first slaughter against the Philisteans (aren't the jews still restricted having any weapons, filnt and such because of phiistean rulership?) or something?

Steve Wells said...

Sure, twillight, it might mean the first slaughter of that battle (or the year, or whatever). But it seems to me that it was making up a story about Jonathan's first slaughter -- that's why there were only 20 killed (which isn't too bad for a very first slaughter). The author had never heard about the story from the previous chapter, because the other story was written by someone else and both were thrown together much later when the two sources were redacted together.

skanksta said...

Steve, you're forgetting the fact that these victims were UNCIRCUMCISED. It's obvious what God is trying to tell us.

If people defy him, (and being uncircumcised was clearly VERY bad in his eyes at that time), then it really doesn't MATTER whether this is the first slaughter or the second - God will punish you !

Mankind was very wicked in those times and had to be corrected - the whole of the OT is about God's struggle to teach his children.

Thankfully - for us - he later came up with the much better plan of making himself a son of flesh on earth, then crucifying him.

Brucker said...

The point I'm trying to make is that there are enough legitimate contradiction issues to resolve without making a disingenuous assumption that if you can interpret a passage to imply contradiction, then that's the assumption to go with.

It's like this:

In verse 14:10a, Jonathan says, "But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up:" But in verse 14:12a, "And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing." The men didn't say the magic code phrase that Jonathan asked for from God, so why did he go to them? It must be a contradiction!

In 14:11, "And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves." Wait a minute, the Bible doesn't say anything about the Israelites hiding in holes. It must be a contradiction!

Check out 14:13! "And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him." Wait, can't the Bible be clear? Was it Jonathan, or his armorbearer who was doing the killing? It must be a contradiction!

14:20 "And Saul and all the people that were with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man's sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture." Wait a minute, if it was "every man", then that would mean the Israelites must have been killing each other, too, but we get no body count or even indication of casualties at all. It must be a contradiction!

14:21 "Moreover the Hebrews that were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan." Wait, I thought Jonathan was off alone with his armorbearer, and not with Saul? It must be a contradiction!

In verse 27, Jonathan eats some honey, but in verse 24, it says, "So none of the people tasted any food." It must be a contradiction!

But wait! In verse 32, "the people did eat"! Can't the Bible make up its mind? It must be a contradiction!

Verse 34: "And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, Bring me hither every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and slay them here, and eat; and sin not against the LORD in eating with the blood. And all the people brought every man his ox with him that night, and slew them there." Wait, what happened to the sheep in the second half of that verse? It must be a contradiction!

I could probably continue, but what's the point? Eight contradictions so far just in this one chapter? This goofy Bible is full of holes!

I think skanksta and I will have to permanently trade places; this is much more fun.

Brucker said...

By the way, after I'm finished here, I'm going to start a website called "Skeptics Annotated Charles Dickens" I think.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it ws the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way."

Whew, that'll keep you busy...

Steve Wells said...

I agree, Brucker. The bible is goofy and full of holes.

And good luck with the SACD. That sounds like a fun project for you.

Randy said...

Of course, Dickens wrote much more cohesive fiction than whoever redacted the Bible.

matt311 said...

So did Douglas Adams, and he was making it up as he went along!

Wow, this story; I guess Jonathan and his gay armour-bearer thought God could help them kill some random Philistines... and they were right!

Also, Steve? The first two times you wrote Jonathan's name (in the title and third line), you accidentally wrote it as "Johathan"; might want to correct that.

Steve Wells said...

Thanks matt311. Man, have I been messing up spelling names lately, or what?

matt311 said...

I guess so; nothing against you, but I'm sure you come up with these entries on the go, so you don't really have time to proofread them.

Also, you have "Maybe God would hep them" where it should be "Maybe God would help them"; God isn't a hep cat, now, is he? ;-)

Steve Wells said...

Thanks for the 'hep' there, matt311.

skanksta said...

It IS more fun, eh Brucker ? but I don't think we're either of us doing a convincing job.
However, I HAVE been reading some of the daft posts from NBFF and I think I'm up to making a better fist of it.

I want Steve to bring us something really indefensible - won't be hard - and I'll defend it properly.

Forgive me, even though I'm the only person I know who's actually READ the bible even once, (thanks to the excellent British church school education ironically), I'll struggle with scripturizing, but I'm ready for the challenge...

Meanwhile... Brucker, I really am fascinated in how you're politically liberal ? I mean WTF ! I'm sorry to go on about this, but what do you believe in...
Age of earth ?
gays ?
hell ?
stem cells ?
evolution ?
holy war ?
According to your site you seem to be some sort of heretic ?! Are you trying to edit your holy book so that it says your saviour returned in 1915 ?

Steve, great stuff as usual - really looking fwd to what you'll come up with for our Christmas Present !

Brucker said...

Do you have Firefox? It has a built-in spellchecker.

matt311 said...

No problem; glad to give you a hand.

Steve Wells said...

Brucker,

Yeah, I use Firefox, but I didn't know it had a spell checker. Does it spell check web pages as you view them?

Blogger has a spell checker, too, but I tend to ignore that when I'm composing.

Brucker said...

So, skanksta, going to be insistant, eh? Okay, briefly, what I believe about...

"Age of earth ?" Appears to be older than the 6,000 years or so that a literal reading of the Bible might suggest, yet I don't count out "Young Earth Creationism" for various reasons.

"gays ?" I believe that the Bible teaches same-sex intercourse is a sin, but don't believe that that means our secular governments have a right to tell people how to live their personal lives. Note that we're all sinners, but luckily being a sinner won't imply our going to...

"hell ?" Exists, but it's not much like the stereotypical view of it.

"stem cells ?" From what I have heard and read, research in the use of embryonic stem cells has yielded nothing useful, while adult stem cells have yielded some. The use of embryonic stem cells is a moral grey area I don't feel comfortable with, especially since it seems to have no point.

"evolution ?" Also certainly real, but it's never really very clear what the implications of it are. Did humanity evolve from other forms of life? If so, which ones? What is the real mechanism behind evolution? Nobody has the final answers, including the Bible.

"holy war ?" Bad idea unless you really know that God is on your side.

"According to your site you seem to be some sort of heretic ?!" Some might say that, but I prefer to think of myself as an open-minded Christian who's willing to ask questions that others might not.

"Are you trying to edit your holy book so that it says your saviour returned in 1915 ?" You're confusing me with the JWs again, who, despite believing something like that, haven't (as far as I know) edited the Bible to say any such thing.

busterggi said...

Brucker - Was Oliver really twisted & if so why?

And do you really expecrt me to believe that the mice wouldn't have finished off Miss Havershams cake in 50 years? Really, that table should have been clean except fot mouse shit.

Rob said...

"Steve, you're forgetting the fact that these victims were UNCIRCUMCISED. It's obvious what God is trying to tell us."

Foreskin is worth killing living, thinking, feeling and loving sons, brothers, fathers, and friends? A little bit of extra skin on your private parts deems a human being worthy of death?

"If people defy him, (and being uncircumcised was clearly VERY bad in his eyes at that time), then it really doesn't MATTER whether this is the first slaughter or the second - God will punish you !"

Oh, ok, now I get it...not because they had foreskin, but because they failed to obey God by mutilating their genitals.

"Mankind was very wicked in those times and had to be corrected - the whole of the OT is about God's struggle to teach his children."

Not a very powerful or impressive God if he can't keep mere human beings in line. If he couldn't do it 5,000 years ago, what makes people think he'll do any better after the second coming?


"Thankfully - for us - he later came up with the much better plan of making himself a son of flesh on earth, then crucifying him."

Giving his own son to be tortured and murdered...and this is supposed to be a father figure to look up to?

Honestly, is your comment a satire or were serious when you wrote it?

skanksta said...

@ Rob,

I was NOT being satirical as such, I was attempting to suspend my wonderful, (and expensive) education in reason and enlightenment, (at a church school!) and answer as I a believer would - without logic and ignoring all moral implications.

It's a game I was trying for a while, obviously it worked !