18 August 2009

God hardens King Sihon's heart so that all his people can be killed

After God killed off all the old soldiers and at least most of giants, it was time to get what was left of the Israelite army moving again.
Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold, I have given into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land: begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle. Deuteronomy 2:24
God tells them to terrorize the current occupants of the land they are about to steal. The entire world will fear, tremble, and anguish at the very thought of them.
This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee. Deuteronomy 2:25
The Israelites begin by lying about their true intentions. They send messengers to King Sihon asking to pass through his land, promising to pay for food and water along the way.
And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying, Let me pass through thy land: I will go along by the high way, I will neither turn unto the right hand nor to the left. Thou shalt sell me meat for money, that I may eat; and give me water for money, that I may drink: only I will pass through on my feet. Deuteronomy 2:26-28
But then God runs into a bit of a problem. What if King Sihon agrees to let the Israelites pass through his land? Then the Israelites wouldn't get to kill all of his people and God would be sad. So God has a brilliant idea: he'll harden King Sihon's heart so that he won't let them pass. (It worked so well with the Pharaoh that God thought he'd try it again here.)
But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand. Deuteronomy 2:30
And God's plan worked perfectly. After God hardened King Sihon's heart, he refused to let the Israelites pass and fought to protect his land. Which gave God and the Israelites all the excuse they needed to kill the king along with every man, woman, and child in every city in the kingdom.
And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. Deuteronomy 2:33
And we took all his cities at that time, Deuteronomy 2:33
and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain. Deuteronomy 2:33
Sometimes God has to harden a heart in order to kill thousands of people.

A note on the number of victims.
Since everyone in every city was killed, I guessed 3000.

God's next killing: All the men, women, and children in 60 cities


Unknown said...

What an awesome god! He's not about to take 'no' for an answer to a good killing.

twillight said...

This is one of those plain sick stories why, even if somehow it'd be exist, I'd never-ever worship this god.
Damn, I'd try anything to destroy it, even in the most hopeless circumstances. Hey, it worked for Dr. Doom in the first Secret War!

Anonymous said...

If anyone ever builds a time machine, please go back and kill Abraham.
We'll get three burdensome cults finally off our backs.

Uruk said...

I mean, what's up with hardening someone's heart, anyhow?

If that isn't predestined doom . . .

RsD said...


In your counts, do we assume that none of God's soldiers get killed in the battles?

busterggi said...

I shall refrain from treating fictional characters as if they were real - but if Yahweh were real I'd call him a prick for taking credit for giving free will & then taking it away just as an excuse to slaughter people.

Matthew Blanchette said...

To think that all of the nice Jewish people in the world believe in this hideous account (and similar others) is beyond me... and I have Jewish friends! Fortunately, they're not too religious.

I Am said...

Uruk, I assume the whole God hardening hearts thing was used because it solves two problems

* It's a way to try to explain away why there would be people standing in the way of the chosen people. An all-powerful God could easily poof away any peoples standing in the way, but he doesn't. Why? Well, he told them to resist so that the Israelites and their God would seem so powerful!

* It explains why it was okay for the Israelites to commit mass slaughter and/or genocide. God served these people up on a silver platter and told the Israelites to have at 'em, so they had to do it!

Otherwise, if it wasn't God who told them to do it as part of his great mysterious plan, it might seem like the leaders of the Israelites were bloodthirsty and immoral for leading them to such horrible violence and destruction...

Uruk said...


Good points, and well said.

Seems that in their attempts to justify their blood-thirst, they forgot that it made God look rather bloodthirsty. God is using people as tools to "get glory". Even if that means hardening someone's heart to destroy them. What a way to go! I sure would hate to live a day in the life of an Old Testament character!!

Unknown said...

Surely God don't need me to justify His actions. Shall you all take the time to get to know Him, you will see with a set of new eyes. If you will read the whole story of King Sihon, you will see what a treacherous character he was. King Sihon took the land from the Moabites and he and his army destroyed the Moabites. (Yes, he slaughtered thousands of people himself just because he could). By no means do I condone killing of any human being and it was hard for me to understand God's logic for enforcing the Israelities to do so. "His way's are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts." When I asked the Lord to explain His actions, this is what I learned:

The conquest must have been recent at the time of the Israelite invasion, as the Amorite song of triumph is quoted in Nu 21:27-29, and adapted to the overthrow of Sihon himself by the Israelites. `Woe unto thee,' it reads, `O Moab; thou art undone, O people of Chemosh! (Chemosh) hath given thy sons who escaped (the battle) and thy daughters into captivity to Sihon king of the Amorites.' The flame that had thus consumed Heshbon, it is further declared, shall spread southward through Moab, while Heshbon itself is rebuilt and made the capital of the conqueror: "Come to Heshbon, that the city of Sihon (like the city of David, 2Sa 5:9) may be rebuilt and restored. For the fire has spread from Heshbon, the flame from the capital of Sihon, devouring as far as Moab (reading `adh with the Septuagint instead of `ar), and swallowing up (reading bale`ah with the Septuagint) the high places of Arnon." The Israelite invasion, however, prevented the expected conquest of southern Moab from taking place.

So if you have taken the time to read this passage, you will see that King Sihon was no saint himself and his intentions was to overtake more land and kill thousands more people, (men, women and children). The consequences of our actions no only affect us, they also affect our loved ones. As a leader our actions affect and can infect an entire nation of people. Such as did King Sihon.
God does not glorify in eliminating/killing people. His intellect far surpass our carnal minded thinking and He sees the beginning and the end of what we are not equipped to see. God saw what King Sihon had done and what he planned to do. Unfortunately, Sihon infected the minds of the people he reigned over and even if God had ordered the Israelities to destroy the perpetrator only, the people he led were still infected by what they had been taught.

I pray that God enter into your hearts here today, and that you open your hearts to the real truth about who God really is. I believe there is a total misconception here about who God is. God is an AWESOME God, full of love and tender mercies. There is a great hatred for God here and great unbelief. The good news is no matter what you feel about God, He still loves you all and He is waiting to show you just how much. I pray one day you all will give Him a chance. Be Blessed children of God.