11 March 2010

God killed 120,000 valiant men for forsaking him

After God smote Ahaz by delivering him into the hand of the Syrian king, he delivered him into the hand of another king (Pekah, the king of Israel) for some more smiting. I guess the Syrian king didn't smite Ahaz hard enough.

God should have been pleased with the second smiting, though, since it was "a great slaughter."
He [Ahaz] was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter. 2 Chronicles 28.5b
And it was a great slaughter, too. 120,000 valiant men died in one day! (And 200,000 women and children were taken for slaves.)
For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers. ... And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters. 28.6-8
But God wasn't pleased with this slaughter either. In fact, the fierce wrath of God was now on the smiters.
A prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded: and he ... said unto them, Behold, because the LORD God of your fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, and ye have slain them in a rage that reacheth up unto heaven. ... for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you. 28.9-11
You see, in the first smiting, the Syrians didn't kill enough people; in the second, the Israelites killed too many. God has a golden mean, sort of a Goldilocks standard for smiting. I'm guessing that God thought that 60,000 to 80,000 was the proper amount of smiting to pay forward king Ahaz for his children/incense burning activities.

In any case, the Israelites worked things out with God by sending the slaves back to Judah and giving them their stuff back. And God forgot his rage toward the Israelites and moved on to his next killing.

God's next killing: Jerusalem

1 comment:

Matthew Blanchette said...

Interestingly enough, this story is where the Israeli actor Oded Fehr gets his name from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oded_Fehr

As an aside, God must get some hellish mood swings...