04 May 2009

The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation

Before the Israelites had even left Egypt, they began to do what they do best: complain.

They complain when they see the Pharaoh's chariots.
When Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. Exodus 14.10-12
They complain when they’re starving to death.
The whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger. Exodus16.2-3
They complain when dying of thirst.
There was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? Exodus 17.1-3
Before long, God will have to respond to their complaints with several mass murders. But we'll leave that for another time.

Because now it's time for some Holy War.

The Amalekites show up and the fight begins. God controls the whole thing with some remote control magic tricks. Every time Moses holds his hands up, the Amalekites are slaughtered by the Israelites. When he gets tired and lets his arms down, the situation is reversed.
When Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 17.11
Eventually they had to set some rocks under Moses' arms to make sure that the right people got killed.
But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands. 17.12
But it all worked out just fine.
Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 17.13
It's too bad, though, that the Bible doesn't say how many Amalekites died in this magical holy war, because now I'll just have to guess. Oh heck, let's just call it 1000.

But God was far from done with the Amalekites. In fact, he is fighting with them still and commands us all to kill them wherever and whenever we see them.
The LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. Exodus 17.14
The LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. Exodus 17.16
Thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it. Deuteronomy 25:19
So if you happen to see an Amalekite, you know what to do.

God's next killing: Who is on the Lord's side?


Baconsbud said...

Your coverage of the mass murders are just a reminder of how much a christian has to lie to themselves about their peaceful god. Thanks for doing this.

I Am said...

You've got to admit, it is kind of a catchy song. If I had to write a song about God blowing his nose to drown the Egyptian army, I certainly couldn't do any better. "She Loves You" is pretty repetitive, too, but look where that got the Beatles.

The difference being, of course, that the Beatles sang about peace and love, whereas God's chosen people chose to sang about war and death.

It's clear which Yahweh prefers...If only Lennon had been right about Christianity.

Ritchie Annand said...

It's my pet hypothesis that Moses' advantage in this instance was not due to magic at all, but can be reasonably inferred as having something to do with the smell of his armpits. The Israelites would be used to it, but against other tribes, it could be deadly.

What other use could raised arms be put to, really?

Baconsbud said...

Sconnor I agree I first started questioning the goodness of their god because of how he had them get the land that they claimed to be promised to them. If I was some supreme being and promised land to a select people, i don't see how a being can select just one of his creations as his only ones, I wouldn't have let anyone move on it in the first place. Why did he just put a barrier up that wouldn't allow anyone in until his chosen had arrived. Did their god tell the people living there that he had promised that land to his chosen? Some will say yes because whoever it was told them god had promised it to them. I then usually ask them how they would react if I came to them saying god had promised the home and land they live onto to me. Most then try to avoid the question or say god wouldn't do that.

If their god is truly as powerful and loving as they claim, he would have transported all the people to a different part of the world with new memories.

Markus Arelius said...

Hey I Am,

If John Lennon, McCartney and crew lived in this region during the Iron Age, would they have instead named their band "The Scarabs"?

Markus Arelius said...

"So if you happen to see an Amalekite, you know what to do."

Actually, from what I gleaned from reading the Bible regarding anyone who opposes God or his so called "chosen people" on the face of tiny earth in a massive galaxy, I think we all just need to look in the mirror to find an Amalekite. Or am I wrong?

Matthew Blanchette said...

This mentioning of the Amalekites makes me remember an early quibble I had with the Bible: At the end of 1 Samuel, Saul asks his spear-holder to kill him, but he refuses, so Saul throws himself on his own spear, and so does the spear-holder; at the beginning of 2 Samuel, however, an Amalekite comes up to David and gives a very detailed account of how he killed Saul, to which (despite having been Saul's enemy) David orders the man to be killed for.

This completely threw me off as a little kid. "Huh?" was my reaction. Which part of the Bible was right?

I know now: Neither.

barriejohn said...

And I suppose "The Rolling Stones" would have been "The Pyramidal Blocks" Markus? Doesn`t exactly roll off the tongue though, does it?

The reason why the Jews are the "Chosen Nation" is of course because "Yahweh" was originally just a tribal god. It`s perfectly possible that an "Abraham" character once existed, and that this family deity became, over the years, The One True God, due to the influence of other charismatic tribal leaders (see Akhenaton). He would obviouusly have been a vengeful, merciless warrior-god, because that is what kings were like in those days, and their gods were just cast in the mould of earthly leaders (but "Ours is greater than yours" of course!).

As for the "slayer of King Saul", I always assumed that he was lying in an attempt to gain favour with Saul`s sworn enemy David, and thought it rather a good morality fable, but I might be wrong there. It never bothered me that much.

I Am said...

sconnor, your image of "back-flips and mental gymnastics" is a good one. The verses you mention are completely unjustifiable to any person who reads them with an open mind. The problem of suffering is part of what helped lead me away from Christianity. God doesn't stop suffering in real life, and actually actively causes it in the Bible throughout the Old Testament and through the lovely hell Jesus and his followers promise.

matt311, that's an interesting contradiction that I don't remember coming across before. As barriejohn said, it could be explained by other circumstances, but it just goes back to interpretation. You would think a perfect God could make a document that was perfectly clear and error-free...

barriejohn, I remember this question coming up at some point when I was a kid, why the Israelites were the chosen people then but Christians now. I don't remember what the response given was, but whatever it was it must have satisfied me for the moment. I wonder what most Christians think about this, if they even think about it at all.

Btw, good one, Markus, about the Scarabs. Since John, Paul, and George having started as the Quarrymen, though, they might have preferred the Stone Age...

Michael Ejercito said...

Not being a Jew, I do not have to slay Amalekites.

Steve Wells said...

Not being a Jew, I do not have to slay Amalekites.

God said, "Thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it."

But you're going to ignore what God said and forget it since you're not a Jew.

Do you ignore everything that God said in the Bible, Michael?

Michael Ejercito said...

God's command was clearly to the Jewish rulers.

Steve Wells said...

God's command was clearly to the Jewish rulers.

So the Bible is only intended for Jewish rulers? Or just the bits that you choose to ignore?