09 March 2009

The Lord Tried to Kill Him: God's first failed murder attenpt

OK, I'm done with Genesis. I found five divine killing episodes.

  1. The Flood
  2. Sodom and Gomorrah
  3. Lot's wife
  4. Er
  5. Onan

If I've missed any, let me know. I don't want to get God pissed off. I know how proud he is of his killings.

Now on to Exodus.

Which leads me to the topic of this post. It is one of the strangest stories in a book filled with strange stories. And it all happens so fast, you'll miss it if you're not careful.

But first a little background. (Context is everything, as believers like to say.)

In the previous chapter (Exodus 3), Moses has a long conversation with God, who is cleverly disguised as a burning bush. God tells Moses to return to Egypt and rescue the Israelites. God says that he will smite the Egyptians with all his wonders and all the Israelites have to do is steal the Egyptians' possessions.

But Moses is worried that the Pharaoh might not listen to him. So God teaches him some magic tricks. He shows him how to throw his rod on the ground and turn it into a snake. Then grab the snake by the tail and it becomes a rod again. How cool is that?

In case that doesn't work, God shows Moses how to make his own hand leprous, and then make it normal again.

And finally, the God's third trick is to turn water into blood. God says that that ought to do it.

But Moses is still unconvinced. What if they still don't believe him? He's not that great a public speaker, ya know.

Then God says, "Who made the dumb, deaf, and the blind? Have not I the Lord?" If he can make people dumb, deaf, and blind, he can do anything.

But Moses is still unsure of himself, so God tells him to bring his brother Aaron along. He's a smooth talker. They'll believe him.

And even if they don't, it won't matter. God says that even with all his snake, leper, and blood tricks, the Pharaoh still won't believe. Because God "will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go."

So the whole thing is pointless, really. Moses and Aaron are going to do all the neat tricks, but they will fail because God will harden the Pharaoh's heart.

And then God throws in one more thing.

And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn. Exodus 4:22-23

And that's it. That's the context.

Now for the rest of the story.

And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision. Exodus 4:24-26

Moses heads off on a mission from God, God meets him along the way and tries to kill him.

The Bible doesn't say why God tried to kill the guy he just taught his tricks to. But apparently it had something to do with foreskin.

Moses' son wasn't circumcised, I guess, and it really pissed off God, so he tried to kill Moses. Lucky his wife (Zipporah) quickly figured out what God was bugged about, grabbed a sharp rock and cut off her son's foreskin -- all before God could kill Moses. Whew!

OK. Try to top that story!

Can you believe that over 3 billion people believe this stuff?
(Fortunately, fewer and fewer do each day.)


busterggi said...

That Yahweh, what a kidder!

"So the whole thing is pointless, really. Moses and Aaron are going to do all the neat tricks, but they will fail because God will harden the Pharaoh's heart."

Its not pointless if it gets Yahweh's rocks off! And he is known for his twisted sense of humor.

But the whole foreskin thing, why did he put them on his creations if he didn't want them there? Must be he did that the same day he designed shrimp.

FrodoSaves said...

I would just like to express my deep thanks for this free education which you are providing the lesser biblically-informed.

C Woods said...

I have been enjoying your posts. They are informative and witty. And, NO, I can't believe over 3 billion people believe this stuff, Some are my friends and relatives, very intelligent people, but they just don't think.

I am looking forward to more from you.

I included your blog in my lengthy list of Freethought Resources on my blog: "My Thoughts Are Free"

If you are unaware of the 2009 "Blog Against Theocracy" event, see my post on 3/11/09 for information.

C Woods said...

Correction to my above comment:
I will be posting the information about Blog Against Theocracy on 3/13/09 (not the 11th.)

Anonymous said...


my favorite part is this:

"Who made the dumb, deaf, and the blind? Have not I the Lord?"

It's as if he's telling Moses he impaired people so they'd believe in him.

TWF said...

Hi Steve,
Thanks for all your hard work!

I think you missed one Genesis divine killing though, and a big one at that. That would be the famine which ultimately resulted in the Israelite slavery. Genesis 41:56-57 claims it was worldwide, while Genesis 45:4-11 claims that Joseph was sold into slavery "preserve for you a remnant on earth", which sounds to me like many people died during this famine.

I go into greater detail about it on my blog series "God Play God", starting with the link below.


All the best to you!

Steve Wells said...

Thanks wise fool.

I think you're on to something, here. In Genesis 41:25, 28, and 32, Joseph states that God is causing the famine. Verse 41:56 says that the famine "was over all the face of the earth" and it lasted for 7 years. Joseph saved the Egyptians by storing up food during the 7 years before the famine, but everywhere else people must have starved.

How many people starved to death in the 7 years of world-wide famine? Maybe 10,000?

You're right wise fool. I missed a big one!

TWF said...

How many died is a very good question! It's really tough to say, of course. It would be all speculation. However, if you consider that with the Tower of Babel incident the whole world supposedly got populated by different peoples speaking different languages. The best that I can figure is that it was approximately 700 years between the Babel and this world-wide God-caused famine. If we are to believe Bible-exponential population growth, meaning that about 70 Israelites turned into a million plus people in 430 years, then I would say it is entirely possible that the earth would have had a population that exceeded the one billion mark at that time in Biblical history. Not everyone who could not make it to Egypt would have died from the famine. So a conservative estimate of 1/10, or about one million people plus, sounds right.

However, that would conflict with actual history. So you’ll have to figure out the best number to use there! ;-)

FrodoSaves said...

Funny that we often refer to the deaths of people who may never have existed to demonstrate the extreme barbarity of a god that probably doesn't exist either.

Louise said...

It's all rather twisted and very weird isn't it?

One of the things I could never understand is the fact that God hardens Pharoah's heart, but then punishes him by killing off the first born. He is punishing a guy for doing something God is making him do??

I guess that this god guy just has an extreme love of violence and shoddy logic.

Oddly enough I had never heard of that foreskin story before. I've just nicked my housemate's bible from her room and am checking it up, and yes it's right there. I wonder how I missed it before. What a completely twisted little story!!

On a plus side lots of people who consider themselves Christians don't believe these stories. (At least they don't in the UK). They just say they believe in God. I have lost count of the number of people who either have no idea about what they are supposed to believe in or those who say that they figure the bible is metaphorical but that doesn't stop them from believing in their god.

Matthew Blanchette said...

This is proof of what I've suspected all along: God is homicidal and suffers from attention-deficit disorder. That's probably why he couldn't kill Moses: "Ooh, look at the pretty foreskin!"

Blue Mako said...

"One of the things I could never understand is the fact that God hardens Pharoah's heart, but then punishes him by killing off the first born. He is punishing a guy for doing something God is making him do??"
This. The whole Exodus story is just God being a complete dick. He sends Moses to free the Israelites, then mind controls Pharaoh so that he *won't*, and then rains destruction on Egypt to punish them for their ruler not doing something *he's* preventing said ruler from doing!

Evan and Steph said...

Wow, that is a great question about Pharoah,I noticed while I was reading Exodus recently that at first it only says that Pharoah hardens his heart, and only after he makes his decision to harden his heart several times does God "harden his heart".

Often times God's wrath is a bit misunderstood, often God's wrath means he let's us get what we want. ie we decide to ignore him and our lives get hard becuase we are dragged down by the results of our bad decisions.(ie drug addications) and then when our lives get really bad we cry out. We are angry at God.

Thankful said...

Always accountable before the Lord. Sir, you may have much to say in your unbelief, but you have to say it to the One who created you. And, yes, God gets pissed off. Remember that.

Kirubakaran said...

Ebanesar Kirubakaran said:
Q : Why God tried to kill Moses?

Ans: How did Zipporah Know that the lord tried to kill Moses because he is not circumcised?

Assumption 1: Zipporah And Moses already knew and Discused each other about doing circumcision.

Then Why They were reluctant in doing circumcision?

God has a specific plan in Moses "LIFE" So He is not feared about his "LIFE".It reduced fear of God Too.
Moses Assumed that God will never take my "LIFE" for not doing circumcision.So That God threatened Moses "LIFE" not to kill him

Assumption 2: God Would have warned him about circumcision before He tried to kill him.
Since He refused to listen.So God threaten him not to kill him

Brunch said...

It is ironic that so many of the posts are from unbelievers. I think I saw a post, if God doesn't exist, why bother reading any of this (scripture) or getting worked about it? But if God does exist...anyway, I would like to point out we are judging the ways ancients viewed the world and how they acted using our "modern" standards of morality. Keep in mind, human sacrifice and other abominable or acted we actively practiced by the pagan (non-Jewish) religions at the time. In fact, if you think God was mean and nasty, you should research some of the other "gods" at the time. The word "immolate" (from the god Molech comes to mind...)