We explore verses and some other historical documents talking about lockdown, violence, and siege in the Old Testament. There is discussion about things we don’t know about history, and how we have to deal with the fact that God told the Jewish people to wipe out certain cities. We discuss how Marcion, who was deemed a heretic by the church, had dealt with this by saying the Jewish God of genocide is not the Christian God of love. If God is the same then, now, and forever, why does it seem that his actions toward other cultures changes through time? Is it his love that is unchanging, or perhaps that he was aware of something terrible that what would happen if these violent pagan cultures who had rulers that claimed to be descended from the gods continued existing and used the Jewish people to make a better life for people in the region? Some things we don’t know. But some things we do. Christ said to love your neighbor as I have loved you, and He cared enough to die for you. What will you do for your neighbor?
As Christians we wrestle with God commanding the Hebrews to lay waste to cities and people who did not worship him, but we must understand the context at the time. These civilizations were violent, warring peoples in constant conflict with each other and they were brutal to anyone they conquored. Raping both suviving men and woman was common practice to show dominance, a practice that continued on for centuries, and something the Isrealites didn’t do. We may not know why God told the Isrealites to wipe out certain cultures and cities, but we can guess that rampant immorality, inequality, abusive leadership, harsh treatment of conquered cultures, and maybe even the knowledge of what could happen if these cities were left unchecked could have had something to do with it. We don’t know, but we trust that God has a plan for those that follow him. It’s our duty to make our society one of love, kindness, responsibility, and protection.
What should the Government today be responsible for? What should it not be responsible for? What roles can non-profits serve? Are they doing a good job? If not, what do they need to do differently? What changes in society do you think would be helpful?
Extremely Rough Notes
Hebrews coming from Egypt out of slavery in 12th centry BC. There were some sea peoples who may or may not have been the sea faring people Hebrews. An argument for is the Maerenptah Stele from around 1213-1203 bc and is the first time the name of Isreal is written on a secular source on line 27. Was Joshua part of the Bronze age collapse, conquering idol working nations? Killing Cananite cities.
Isreal and David and Solomon emerge as a Kingdom 1100-1000 BC. Iron Age, stronger weapons. Kings and Chronicles are in the Iron age.
After Solomon, the Kingdom splits to northern, conquered by Assyrians, and Southern Kingdom to Babylonians. Assyrians shuffle the deck, they take large people in a conquered territories and relocate them in other cities. Less likely to rise up if you are around strangers. The Jewish people of the 10 northern tribes are
The southern cities interbreed and become Sumeria, Samaritans.
Babylonians skim the best people and bring them to Babylon and leave poor people in the city.
In Deuteronomy, the Isrealites are told to kill and burn everything. People didn’t think of themselves as individuals with individual rights. You were part of the tribe and your extended family. Many pagans thought they were descended from certain gods. Claim Gods had intercourse with humans and the rulers had the blood of the gods. Cananites
Marcean was deemed a heretical person by the church because he disowned Jewish history and the conquest of Palatine by saying the Jewish God of wrath was different than the Christian God of love. The church believes that the God of Abraham and the Isrealites is the same entity as the Father in the Trinity with Jesus as the Son.
Jewish prophets talk about the messiah, economic justice, even the Jews didn’t totally understand the prophets, and they discussed the meaning, and still do today.
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