12 January 2007

God's uncounted killings revisited (with estimates for the number of victims)

It's impossible to know how many people God killed in the Bible.

Sometimes the Bible provides a number, sometimes it doesn't. In previous posts, I left out the un-numbered victims from the total, and just provided a list. But I'm frequently asked for a grand total, however inexact it might be. So here, once again, is the list of God's uncounted killings, with rough estimates of the number of victims. In my next post, I'll use these to get an estimate of the total death toll.

  1. God drowns everyone on earth.
    And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth. Genesis 7:23, Brick Testament

    God supposedly drowned the entire human population (except for Noah and his family) in a flood, somewhere around 2400 BCE. Wikipedia estimates the human population in the third millineum BCE to be around 30 million.

  2. God rains fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, killing everyone.
    the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven. Genesis 19:24, BT

    No one knows what the population of Sodom and Gomorrah might have been at the time they were supposedly destroyed by God, or even if they ever existed at all. But Accuracy in Genesis says it was 600 to 1200. And they ought to know. So I just made it an even thousand.

  3. The Seventh Plague: Hail
    And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast. Exodus 9:25, BT

    Wikipedia says the Egyptian population to be 3 - 5 million at the time the Exodus supposedly happened. So if maybe 1% of the Egyptians were in the field at the time, that would mean that about 30 - 50 thousand would have been killed by God's hailstorm. I used 30,000.

  4. God kills all the firstborn Egyptian children.
    At midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon. Exodus 12:29, BT

    According to Exodus 12:37 there were 600,000 Hebrew men that left Egypt. So the total number of Israelites must have been several million, when women and children are included. If there were several million Israelite slaves, there must have been many more Egyptians. Let's say there were twice as many. That would make 6 million Egyptians. If one-sixth of them were first born sons, a million Egyptians were killed by God (or the angel sent by God to do his dirty work for him).

  5. God drowns Pharaoh's army in the sea.
    And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. Exodus 14:28, BT

    Since there's no way of knowing how many were supposed to have drowned, I just picked a number. 1000. I'll be (over)using that number a lot in these estimates.

  6. God and Moses help Joshua kill the Amalekites.
    And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. Exodus 17:13, BT

  7. God burned to death an unknown number for complaining.
    And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them. Numbers 11:1, BT

  8. God sent "a very great plague" for complaining about the food.
    And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. Numbers 11:33, BT

    Since this was a "very great plague," I figure at least 10,000 must have died.

  9. God killed those who murmured with a plague.
    Those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD. Numbers 14:36-37, BT

    How many would die in a regular plague? 100 or so maybe?

  10. Massacre of the Aradites
    And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. Numbers 21:3, BT

    Since God "utterly destroyed" several cities, at least a few thousand must have died.

  11. For complaining about the lack of food and water, God sent fiery serpents to bite the people, and many of them died.
    Numbers 21:6, BT

    I figure "many" is maybe 100 or so.

  12. God delivers the Bashanites into Moses' hands and Moses kills everyone "until there was none left alive."
    And the LORD said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people ... So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive. Numbers 21:34-35, BT

  13. The slaughter of the Anakim, the childen of Esau, and the Horim
    A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the LORD destroyed them ... As he did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed the Horims from before them ... And the Avims ... the Caphtorims ... destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead. -- Deuteronomy 2:21-22

    The usual 1000 from each group.

  14. God hardened the king of Heshbon's heart so that the Israelites could massacre his people. (included several cities)
    And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain: -- Deuteronomy 2:33-34, BT

  15. God delievered the king of Bashan so that the Israelites could massacre his people.
    So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining. ... threescore cities ... And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city. -- Deuteronomy 3:3-6, BT

    60 cities were "utterly destroyed." That ought to be at least 60,000.

  16. Massacre of Jericho
    And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city [Jericho], both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. -- Joshua 6:21, BT

  17. God slaughters the Amorites and even chases them "along the way" as they try to escape.
    And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way ... the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword. -- Joshua 10:10-11

  18. Massacre of 7 cities (Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, and Debir
    So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. Joshua 10:28-42, BT

    The massacre of 7 cities. At least another 7,000 must have died.

  19. God delivers the Hazorites.
    The LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel ... and they smote them, until they left them none remaining. -- Joshua 11:8-12, BT

  20. Massacre of the Anakim
    Joshua 11:20-21, BT

  21. Massacre of the Canaanites
    Judges 4:15, BT

  22. God delivered the Ammonites to Jephthah to slaughter.
    The LORD delivered them into [Jephthah's] hands. And he smote them ... with a very great slaughter. -- Judges 11:32-33

  23. God forces the Philistine soldiers to kill each other.
    Every man's sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture. -- 1 Samuel 14:20

  24. God orders Saul to kill every Amalekite man, women, and child.
    Thus saith the LORD of hosts ... 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. ... And Saul smote the Amalekites ... and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. -- 1 Samuel 15:2-18

    If this Bible story is true (which it isn't, of course), how many Amalekites were killed at God's command? I originally gave it the usual 1000 for a standard massacre, but Saul sent 210,000 soldiers to do the killing. He wouldn't send that many soldiers to kill only 1000 civilians, would he? So I've increased it to 10,000.

  25. God delivers the Philistines.
    I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand. So David ... smote them with a great slaughter. -- 1 Samuel 23:2-5

  26. God delivers the Philistines to David (again).
    And David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? ... And the LORD said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand. ... And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines." -- 2 Samuel 5:19, 25

  27. God sent a three-year famine because of something Saul did.
    Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites." -- 2 Samuel 21:1

  28. Baasha killed everyone in the house of Jeroboam "according to the saying of the Lord."
    He smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD. -- 1 Kings 15:29-30

  29. Zimri killed everyone in the house of Baasha "according to the word of the Lord."
    He slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall ... according to the word of the LORD. -- 1 Kings 16:11-12

  30. God calls for a seven year famine.
    The LORD hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years. -- 2 Kings 8:1

  31. Jehu shows his zeal for the Lord by murdering "all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him according to the word of the Lord."
    Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD. ... And when he came to Samaria, he slew all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the saying of the LORD, which he spake to Elijah. -- 2 Kings 10:16-17

  32. God delivered the Israelites into the hand of the Chaldeans.
    The wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. -- 2 Chronicles 36:16-17

  33. God and Satan kill Job's 10 children and all of his servants. The Bible doesn't say how many servants Job had, but it does say (Job 1:3) that he had 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 she-asses, and "a very great household." So he must have had a bunch of servants (slaves). I'll just say 50.
    And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. Job 1:14-17


Unknown said...

Hehe. Good numbers. Probably undertallied.

And I'm sure some smart-aleck christian will appear and somehow defend God's disturbing masochistic cruel ways.

Why anyone would want to believe in this monster is BEYOND me.

zooplah said...

"180 million killed in wars, etc. in the 21st century alone. Those damn wars."

Two wrongs don't make a right, dude.

Anonymous said...

Wrong according to whom, "objective" human logic?

Anonymous said...

anonymous: any other "logic" is fictional.

Steve: great list. :) There's small typo in number 12:

God delivers the Bashanites into Moses' hands and Moses kills everyone "until their was none left alive."

"their" should be "there".

Anonymous said...

Any other logic is fictional because we own the universe?

Anonymous said...

Any other logic is fictional because we own the universe?

No, because there's no evidence of any other entity or species capable of logic.

Anonymous said...

Well that just depends on who you ask :)

Jason said...


Anonymous said...

Just noting here, a 7 year famine would kill lots more than a mere 10,000 people. A 7 year famine's death count should be more in tune with the end of humanity.

Anonymous said...

The famine wasn't worldwide, it was restricted to Israel.