17 December 2009

Another Ammonite Massacre (and another God-inspired body-part message)

Remember the Holy Civil War a few killings back? Well this is a lot like it.

It starts with the people from Jabeshgilead making a proposition to the Ammonites.
Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabeshgilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee. 1 Samuel 11.1
Does Jabeshgilead sound sound familiar to you? Well, if you read about God’s 57th killing, it should. (In that story, the Israelites killed everyone in the city of Jabeshgilead except for the virgin women, whom they gave to the surviving Benjamites for wives.)

So everyone in Jabeshgilead was killed a few years before the events in 1 Samuel 11 supposedly took place. Yet here in verse 1 they are making a treaty with the Ammonites. Do dead people make treaties? I guess they do in the Bible.

Anyway, here's the deal that Nahash offered the (dead?) people from Jabeshgilead:
Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel. 11.2
Now you might think that this would be a 'no brainer' to the people of Jabeshgilead. But since they were already dead, maybe they didn't have any eyes to poke out. In any case, the people of Jabshgilead asked for a week to see if they could get an army together to fight the Ammonites. If they couldn't, they'd let the Ammonites poke out one of their eyes.
The elders of Jabesh said unto him, Give us seven days' respite, that we may send messengers unto all the coasts of Israel: and then, if there be no man to save us, we will come out to thee. 11.3
The Ammonites said, "Sure, go ahead and get an army together. We'll give you a week." So the leaders of Jabeshgilead sent messengers to Saul.

When Saul heard about it, "the Spirit of the Lord came upon him," and Saul did what any spirit-filled person would do: he killed some oxen, chopped their bodies up into 12 pieces, and sent the pieces to the 12 tribes of Israel.
The Spirit of God came upon Saul ... And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers. 11.6-7a
And it worked, too. Messages like that always work in the Bible.
The fear of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out with one consent. 11.7b
Within a week the ox body parts were sent around to all the tribes of Israel and all the people of Israel responded "as one," forming an army of 330,000.
When he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. 11.8
It's amazing what a 12 rotting pieces of meat can do!

Then Saul told the people of Jabeshgilead:
To morrow, by that time the sun be hot, ye shall have help. And the messengers came and shewed it to the men of Jabesh; and they were glad. 11.9
So the messengers went back and told the good news to leaders of Jabeshgilead, and they told Nahash that tomorrow they'd let them poke out their eyes.
The men of Jabesh said, To morrow we will come out unto you, and ye shall do with us all that seemeth good unto you. 11.10
The next day Saul and his army killed Ammonites until it got a bit too hot for killing. Then they stopped and took a little break. Before they were done, though, they had killed all the Ammonites.
Saul ... slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day: and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together. 11.11
After the slaughter, some of the people wanted Samuel to kill all the Israelites that didn't want Saul to be made king. But Saul said,
There shall not a man be put to death this day: for to day the LORD hath wrought salvation in Israel. 11.13
So since it was God that did all the killing, he deserves all the credit. The Bible doesn't say how many Ammonites were killed; I'll call it a standard massacre and say 1000.

God's next killing: Jonathan's very fist slaughter (not counting the one before)


Matthew Blanchette said...

So... Samuel can talk to dead people (the leaders of Jabeshgilead)? I'm not surprised if he's ever played by Haley Joel Osment in a bio-pic...

Brucker said...

Hey, Steve, don't get sloppy like the Bible... ; ) You've got a lot of spelling variations on your names in this post.

Steve Wells said...


Are you talking about "Jabeshgilead" and "Jabesh"? If so, I'm not sure what I can do about it. The Bible seems to refer to the town as Jabeshgilead (or Jabesh-gilead) but townspeople as the men of Jabesh.

Brucker said...

You spell:
Jabeshgilead as "Jabshgilead" once,
Ammonites as "Ammorites" twice, and
Nahash as "Nabash" twice.

Steve Wells said...

Thanks for the help, Brucker. I'd have never found those mistakes. Let me know if I missed any.

BTW, how do you figure Jabeshgilead repopulated itself so quickly after the Benjamite wife finding genocide affair in Judges 21?

skanksta said...

Hey Brucker, Daystar, my NFF (New Fundie Friends)...

wiki isn't really helpful re: 'the republic of gilead' - a fictional theocratic United States of the future, in Margaret Atwood's novel (and film) 'The Handmaid's Tale'.

Never really knew what she/futuristic theocratic govt. meant by using 'Gilead' as the name of their republic.

What happened in Gilead - is it this Jabeshgilead ? Where god shows his mercy to the benjaminites by massacreing a tribe and kidnapping and raping their frightened virgin daughters ?
I guess it must be.

Brucker you are one cool guy - you're politcally liberal AND believe (insert lunacy here)!
Now I really am learning... how does that happen ?
Where do you stand on gays/abortion/stem cells/capital punishment &c ?
Do your PROPER fundie friends think you're a cocunut chumming up with Steve !?

twillight said...

How it repopulated itself?
Isn't it obvious?

First: Sex is unclean according to the Bible.
Second: Jabes-whatever got cleansed, but some women of it remained alive.
Third: Nothing from the biblegod's creation can be destroyed for sure.

Conclusion: the women reproduced by dividing as single-cell organisms do after the mayhem but before the abduction. They were made so clean that they could do that.

Robert said...


You say everyone was killed "a few years" before 1 Sam 11. How much do we know about the time lapse? Could it have been a few decades or enough time for the desolated city to be re-inhabited?

Any thoughts you have on this would be greatly appreciated.