29 April 2009

The Lord took off their chariot wheels

God's last mass murder pretty much did the trick. The night that God killed every firstborn Egyptian child and animal, Pharaoh told Moses to go.
He called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. Exodus 12:31-32
So Moses rounded up all three million or so Israelites, their flocks, herds, cattle, unleavened bread, and all the silver, gold, and clothes that they could steal from the Egyptians, and left town.
The people took their dough before it was leavened … and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment … And they spoiled the Egyptians … about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children … and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. 12.34-38
And everything would have ended happily ever after, too, if God could have resisted the temptation to harden the Pharaoh's heart a few more times.

You see, the Pharaoh's heart was just too damned soft to suit God. So he set about hardening it a bit more. (He had to harden it 8 times in order to pull off his last killing.)
I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. 14.4
And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh. 14.8
I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 14.17-18
So God hardened Pharaoh's heart some more and got himself a little more honor.

Of course he had to kill some more Egyptians so that they would know that he is the Lord. Sometimes you have to kill people in order to get to know them better.

So that's what God did. And you saw the movie so you know the rest of the story. God parted the sea so the Israelites could cross and then drowned the Egyptian army.
The LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians … and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of 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. 14.26-28
But part I like best they didn't show in the movie. God got right out there with his wrenches and whatnot and removed the wheels from the Egyptian chariots. How cool is that?
The LORD … took off their chariot wheels. 14.24-25
That would have been fun to watch.

OK. So how many Egyptians drowned to get God some more honor?
Well, we know there were at least 600, since that's how many chariots the Pharaoh sent after the Israelites.
And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. 14.7
But along with the chariots there were “horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh” that chased after the three million or so escaping slaves.

So although I probably greatly underestimated the imaginary number, I guessed 5000.

God's next killing: Amalekites

26 April 2009

The LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt

God starts planning this mass murder in Chapter 3 of Exodus, and he doesn't stop talking about it until he kills every Egyptian firstborn child (and animal) in Exodus 12.

Here was the way God planned it.

On the night of the mass child murder, God told each Israelite family to find a year-old lamb without blemish, kill it, and wipe the blood on the top and sides of the door.
In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb … without blemish, a male of the first year … And ye shall … kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses. Exodus 12.3-7
That way when God came through Egypt looking for first born children and animals to kill, he would see the bloody door and “pass over” the house, saying to himself, “Oh yeah, I’m not supposed to kill any children or animals here.”
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast … and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, 12.12-13
And that’s what happened.

At midnight God passed through Egypt killing every Egyptian first-born child and animal.
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; and all the firstborn of cattle ... and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. 12.29-30
Why did God do it?

Well, it seems that he did it mostly just to show off.

To show off his signs and wonders:
I will … smite Egypt with all my wonders. 3.20
I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. 7.3
Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him. 10.1
The LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt. 11.9
To introduce himself to the Egyptians:
And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD. 7.5
To show what he can do:
Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh. 6.1
To show that there is nobody else on earth quite like him:
For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. 9:14
To make himself famous (so that everyone will know his name):
That my name may be declared throughout all the earth. 9.16
To give us a story to tell our children and grandchildren:
That thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt. 10.2
To show that the whole earth belongs to him:
That thou mayest know how that the earth is the LORD's. 9.29
To prove that he is God:
In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD. 7.17
That ye may know how that I am the LORD. 10.2
To show that he likes Israelites more than Egyptians:
That ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel. 11.7
And to punish the Egyptian Gods:
Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. 12.12
Well, I guess those motives are about as good as any for a mass murder.

In any case, God is clearly proud of this one. And it's no wonder. It wasn't all that easy to pull off, even for God.

He had to harden the Pharaoh's heart eight times to make it all work out as planned. (Exodus 4.21; 7.3, 13; 9.12; 10.1, 20, 27; 11.10)

Some hearts are hard for even the Bible god to harden.

So how many were killed in this killing? Well, the population of Egypt at the time the Exodus supposedly occurred was about 3 million (McEvedy and Jones 1978). If half of the Egyptians were killed in the first plague, and 10% of the survivors were killed in the seventh (150,000), then 1,350,000 remained. If one-sixth of them were first born sons, then about 200,000 Egyptians were killed by God (or the angel sent by God to do his dirty work for him) in the tenth plague.

God's next killing: drowning the Egyptian army

18 April 2009

Why Christian "Marriage" is Wrong

Christians claim that the Bible condemns gay marriage. It doesn't.*

The Bible says nothing at all about gay marriage. But it has plenty to say about Christian "marriage."

  1. The Bible says that Christians should not marry.
    (God doesn't want Christians to marry. We shouldn't either.)
    Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. 1 Corinthians 7:27
    For I would that all men were even as I myself.... I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 1 Corinthians 7:7-9

  2. But if a Christian man decides to get married (which he shouldn't), he can have more than one wife.
    If he take him another wife.... Exodus 21:10

  3. And if he doesn't like one of his wives (like if she's unclean or ugly or something), he can divorce her.
    When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. Deuteronomy 24:1

  4. If a Christian man gets married and then discovers on his wedding night that his new wife is not a virgin, then he and the other Christian men must stone her to death.
    If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate.... But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you. Deuteronomy 22:13-17
  5. Christians shouldn't have sex (even if they are married, which they shouldn't be).
    But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none. 1 Corinthians 7:29
    It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 1 Corinthians 7:1-2
  6. Christian parents must beat their children (which they shouldn't have, since they shouldn't get married or have sex).
    He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Proverbs 13:24
    Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. Proverbs 19:18
    Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15
    Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. Proverbs 23:13-14
  7. Good Christians must hate their families.
    (If you abandon them for Jesus, he'll give you a big reward.)
    If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children,and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26
    And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. Mattthew 19:29

  8. And kill their disobedient children.
    If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother ... Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city ... And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die. Deuteronomy 21:18-21
    He that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. Exodus 21:15
    He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. Exodus 21:17
    For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him. Leviticus 20:9
    God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. Matthew 15:4

  9. And kill their families, if they have religiously incorrect ideas.
    If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you ... Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die. Deuteronomy 13:6-10

  10. And finally, like Abraham (Susan Smith, Andrea Yates, et al.), Christian parents should be willing to kill their children for God.
    And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him ... Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.... And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. Genesis 22:1-2, 10

*The Bible tell us to kill homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13). Dead people seldom marry.

16 April 2009

Legos: The perfect medium for the book of Revelation

It's impossible for a sane person to take the Book of Revelation seriously. But it can be a lot of fun to read -- especially when illustrated with legos.

The Reverend Brendan Powell Smith has begun to do stories from the book of Revelation. The first four are now available here.

What other medium could deal with this description of Jesus?

And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword. Revelation 1:12-16

Here's the illustration from the Brick Testament.

Now that's what Jesus looks like!

Or used to, anyway. Jesus' appearance changes a bit toward the end of Revelation. By then he has tortured and killed billions of people. And you just can't do that without messing up your clothes a bit. So Jesus' gown is dripping with blood, but he still has the sword sticking out of his mouth.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Revelation 19:11-15

But I guess we'll have to wait to see the new lego Jesus with his clothes dripping in blood.

08 April 2009

How does God kill people? Let me count the ways.

And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. -- Numbers 21:6

When it comes to killing people, God has quite an imagination.

Here's a summary of the many ways God killed people in the Bible. (Numbers in parentheses are the number of killing events, not the number of people killed. My very rough estimate of the total number of people killed by God is 33 million.)

  1. The edge of the sword: God-assisted genocides and massacres (32)

    Okay, it's gets a bit boring reading the same words over and over again.

    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 2:23-24

    And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them. Deuteronomy 7:16

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

    But if you are going to read the Bible, then you have to get used to it. There are 32 separate God-assisted massacres and genocides that are recorded in the Bible. And God is proud of every one of them. (See The Bible's top 10 massacres for some details.)

    Here is a list of the massacres.

    1. God and Moses help Joshua kill the Amalekites (Exodus 17:3)

    2. "The LORD ... delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities." (Numbers 21:1-3)

    3. Bashanites: " 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)

    4. Midianites: "And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males ... And Moses was wroth with the officers ... And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? ... Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. (Numbers 31:1-35)

    5. Anakim: "A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the LORD destroyed them." (Deuteronomy 2:21-22)

    6. Heshbonites: "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)

    7. Bashanites (again): "So the LORD our God delivered into our hands ... and we smote him until none was left to him remaining.... threescore cities ... And we utterly destroyed them ... utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city. (Deuteronomy 3:3-6)

    8. Jericho: "And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword." (Joshua 6:21)

    9. Ai: "Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai." (Joshua 8:1-25)

    10. 7 cities: "So Joshua ... left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded." (Joshua 10:28-42)

    11. Hazorites: And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire. (Joshua 11:8-12)

    12. Anakim: "Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities." (Joshua 11:20-21)

    13. Canaanites and Perizzites: "and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand ... and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites." (Judges 1:4)

    14. Moabites: "For the LORD hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand ... And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man." (Judges 3:28-29)

    15. Canaanites: "And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword ... and there was not a man left." (Judges 4:14)

    16. Ammonites: So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon ... and the LORD delivered them into his hands ... And he smote them ... with a very great slaughter." (Judges 11:32-33)

    17. "And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he ... slew thirty men." (Judges 14:19)

    18. Benjamites: "And the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel: and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty and five thousand and an hundred men:" (Judges 20:35-37)

    19. More Benjamites: "And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city, as the beast, and all that came to hand: also they set on fire all the cities that they came to." (Judges 20:44-16)

    20. God delivered the Philistines to Jonathan: "the LORD hath delivered them ... And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land. (1 Samuel 14:12)

    21. God orders Saul to kill every Amalekite man, woman, and child (1 Samuel 15:2-3)

    22. God delivers the Philistines: I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand ... So David ... fought with the Philistines ... and smote them with a great slaughter." (1 Samuel 23:2-5)

    23. God delivers the Philistines to David: "And David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand." (2 Samuel 5:19, 25)

    24. Baasha killed everyone in the house of Jeroboam "according to the saying of the Lord." (1 Kings 15:29)

    25. Zimri killed everyone in the house of Baasha "according to the word of the Lord." (1 Kings 16:11-12)

    26. Religious leaders killed in a prayer contest (1 Kings 18:22-40)

    27. God delivers the Syrians into the Israelites' hands (1 Kings 20:28-29)

    28. Jehu killed "all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria ... according to the saying of the Lord"(2 Kings 10:16-17)

    29. God delivers Israel into the hands of Judah (2 Chronicles 13:15-17)

    30. "The Lord smote the Ethiopians." (2 Chronicles 14:9-14)

    31. Judean soldiers killed for forsaking God (2 Chronicles 28:6)

    32. God delivered the Israelites into the hand of the Chaldeans. (2 Chronicles 36:16-17)

  2. Burning people to death (5)

    Most people that I know are opposed to this sort of thing, but it's one of God's favorite ways to kill people. He did it himself (or commanded others to do it for him) 5 times in the Bible.
    (See Is it wrong to burn people to death? for more on this.)

    1. Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24)

    2. Aaron's sons for offering strange fire before the Lord (Leviticus 10:1-3; Numbers 3:3:4, 26:61)

    3. An unknown number for complaining (Numbers 11:1)

    4. For offering incense without a license (Numbers 16:35)

    5. For worshiping the wrong god (2 Kings 1:9-12)

  3. Lions and serpents and bears, Oh my! (5)

    Remember how the Romans used to kill Christians by throwing them to the lions? Well, God thought of it first!

    1. A lion is sent by God to kill a prophet for believing another prophet's lie (1 Kings 13:1-24)

    2. God sent lions to kill a man for not killing a prophet (1 Kings 20:35-36)

    3. And he sent lions to kill some foreigners for not fearing him enough (2 Kings 17:25-26)

    4. Sometimes God made special creatures to kill people on special occasions. Like the time he sent fiery serpents (maybe even flying, fiery serpents!) to bite and kill people for complaining about the lack of food and water. (Numbers 21:6)

    5. And then there were the bears. God sent two bears to kill 42 boys for making fun of Elisha's bald head. (2 Kings 2:23-24)

  4. Plagues (5).

    What would God be without his plagues? They became his trademark after the ten plagues of Egypt. But he didn't use them as often as you might think. I can only find 5 times that God used plagues to kill people.

    1. God sent "a very great plague" for complaining about the food. (Numbers 11:33)

    2. For murmuring (Numbers 14:35-36)

    3. For complaining (Numbers 16:49)

    4. For "committing whoredom with the daughters of Moab" (Numbers 25:9)

    5. To punish David for his census (2 Samuel 24:15, 1 Chronicles 21:14)

  5. Forcing people to kill each other (3).

    I'm not talking about war here. Yes, God often inspired or forced people to kill each other in war (see the 32 massacres above). But that's not what this is about. In this method God forces friends, family, soldiers, and community members to kill each other.

    1. For dancing naked around Aaron's golden calf (Exodus 32:27-28, 35)

    2. Midianites soldiers (Judges 7:22, 8:10)

    3. Philistine soldiers forced to kill each other (1 Samuel 14:20)

  6. Drowning (2)

    1. The big one -- the flood of Noah (Genesis 7:23)

    2. The drowning of the Egyptian army (Exodus 14:27-28)

  7. Hailstones (2)

    1. God chases the Amorites along the way, throwing hailstones at them (Joshua 10:11)

    2. The seventh Egyptian plague -- fiery hailstones killing man and beast (Exodus 9:25)

  8. Stoned to death (2)

    1. For blasphemy (Leviticus 24:10)

    2. For picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32)

  9. Famine (2)

    1. A three year famine for something Saul did (2 Samuel 21:1:)

    2. A seven year famine for God knows what (2 Kings 8:1)

  10. Eaten by worms

    Herod for not giving God enough glory (Acts 12:23)

  11. Buried alive

    Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (and their families) for criticizing Moses (Numbers 16:27)

  12. Burned and stoned to death

    Achan (and his his sons and daughters) for taking the accursed thing (Joshua 7:10-12, 24-26)

  13. Falling wall

    God makes a wall fall on Syrian soldiers killing 27,000 (1 Kings 20:30)
    (It was a very big wall. After the wall fell, they built a new one and put up a sign, "Watch out for falling wall". It hasn't happened since.)

  14. Hacked to pieces before the Lord

    Samuel hacks Agag to pieces before the Lord (1 Samuel 15:32-33)

  15. Hanged before the Lord

    The seven sons of Saul (2 Samuel 21:6-9)

  16. Killed with the jawbone of an ass

    Samson kills 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass (Judges 15:14-15)

  17. Killed and hung on a tree

    Joshua kills 5 kings hand hangs their dead bodies on trees (Joshua 10:24-26)

  18. Killed by an angel

    Sleeping Assyrian soldiers (2 Kings 19:35, Isaiah 37:36)
    ("When they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.")

  19. Forced to committed suicide

    Saul because he didn't inquire of the Lord (1 Chronicles 10:4-6, 13-14)

  20. A message from God (knife in the belly)

    Ehud gets the message (Judges 3:15-22)

  21. Bowels fell out

    God kills Jehoram by making his bowels fall out (2 Chronicles 21:14-19)

  22. Thrown off a wall and trampled to death

    Jezebel (2 Kings 9:33-37)
    ("And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field.")

  23. Trampled to death

    For not believing Elisha (2 Kings 7:17-20)

  24. God-inspired act of terrorism

    Samson's suicide attack (Judges 16:27-30)

  25. Turned into a pillar of salt

    Lot's wife for looking back (Genesis 19:26)

  26. Scared to death

    Ananias and Sapphira for not giving all their money to Peter (Acts 5:1-10)

  27. Unknown methods: "The Lord smote them." (10)

    1. Er for being "wicked in the sight of the Lord" (Genesis 38:1, 1 Chronicles 2:3)

    2. Onan for spilling his seed (Genesis 38:10)

    3. Every Egyptian firstborn child (Exodus 12:29-30)

    4. For looking into the ark of the Lord (1 Samuel 6:9)

    5. Nabal so that David could marry his wife (1 Samuel 25:38)

    6. Uzzah for trying to keep the ark from falling (2 Samuel 6:6-7, 1 Chronicles 13:9-10)

    7. David and Bathsheba's baby boy(2 Samuel 12:14-18)

    8. Jeroboam (2 Chronicles 13:20)

    9. Ahaziah for talking to the wrong God (2 Kings 1:2-4, 2 Chronicles 22:7-9)

    10. Ezekiel's wife just for the heck of it (Ezekiel 24:15-18)

Here's a handy chart you can put on your wall.

The Passover Plot -- God's Intelligently Designed Mass Murder

(Re-post for Passover)

Today at sunset is the beginning of Passover, a religious festival celebrating the mass murder of every non-Jewish "firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast." And the murderer is God himself.

Of course God had a motive for the murders. The Israelites (his favorite people) were enslaved by the Pharaoh, and God wanted them to be set free. And he tried all sorts of things to get Pharaoh's attention.

First he taught Moses some magic tricks. Like how to throw his rod on the ground and turn it into a snake. Then grab the snake by the tail and make it a rod again.

And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand. Exodus 4:2-4

Next God showed Moses how to make his hand leprous and then cure it.

And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. Exodus 4:6-7

And finally, God taught Moses to turn water into blood.

And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land. Exodus 4:9

God knew that none of this would work though, since he planned to harden Pharaoh's heart. (I guess he just wanted Moses to show off his magic tricks in front of Pharaoh anyway.)

And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. Exodus 4:21

So God teaches Moses the magic tricks and then hardens the Pharaoh's heart to ensure that the tricks won't work. How's that for an intelligently designed plan?

But God had another plan up his sleeve: murder.

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 4:23

In the very next verse, God's plans are interrupted by another divine impulse to kill. God tries to kill Moses!

And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. Exodus 4:24

The Bible doesn't say why God tried to kill Moses, but it had something to do with foreskins. Here's what the holy book says.

Then Zipporah [Moses' wife] 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. Exodus 4:25

Makes sense to me. But back to the main murder story.

Moses recruits his brother, Aaron, to be his spokesman (since Moses has "uncircumscribed lips") and Aaron performs the rod to serpent magic trick for the Pharaoh. But darn it all! Pharaoh's magicians know that trick, too. Luckily it ends well, since Aaron's rod/snake swallows theirs.

And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. Exodus 7:10-12

Even with such a great trick, the Pharaoh was still unconvinced. But then I guess that was because God hardened his heart again.

And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them.Exodus 7:13

So enough with the tricks. It's time for God to get serious. He begins with the famous ten plagues of Egypt. I won't go through all that, since I want to complete this post while it's still passover. But here's a list.

  1. Rivers turned to blood. (Pharaoh's magicians did this one too.) Exodus 7:17-24 BT

  2. Frogs. (The magicians know the frog trick too!) Exodus 8:1-7 BT

  3. Lice. (This is the first trick that the magicians couldn't do. I guess lice are harder to make than frogs.) Exodus 8:16-19 BT

  4. Flies (continuing the frogs and lice theme) Exodus 8:21 BT

  5. All cattle in Egypt die. Exodus 9:3-6 BT

  6. Boils and blains upon man and beast. Exodus 9:9 BT

  7. Hail. Exodus 9:19 BT

  8. Locusts. Exodus 10: 4-15 BT

  9. Three days of darkness. Exodus 10:21-23 BT

  10. God kills all Egyptian firstborn humans and animals. Exodus 12: 29-30 BT

It is, of course, the last plague that is celebrated at passover, with the focus on how God knew who to kill.

Even for God, mass murder is a complicated and messy business. But God learned from his previous mistakes. In Noah's flood and at Sodom and Gomorrah, God didn't worry too much about collateral damage. He just drowned or burned to death everyone (except Noah, Lot, and some family members). This time, though, God wanted to be more selective in his killings.

So how did he decide which children to kill? Well, here's what he came up with.

Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying ... they shall take to them every man a lamb ... without blemish, a male of the first year ... and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses. ... For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. ... And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. Exodus 12: 3-13

You've got to hand it to God. That is quite a plan.

God himself will come down and kill every firstborn child and animal (How did he know which was firstborn?) except for in houses that had lamb's blood smeared on door posts. But if he sees blood on door posts he will "passover" that house and refrain from murdering any children or pets.

And, if you are foolish and nasty enough to believe in the Bible, that is exactly what God did.

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; and all the firstborn of cattle ... and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. Exodus 12: 29-30

How could anyone celebrate passover or worship the God of the passover plot?