A Supernatural War Criminal

A Supernatural War Criminal
by Dave E. Matson

God commands his people not to kill, steal or covet other people's property. Apparently, such protection does not apply to outsiders. Yahweh-God directs the Israelites to kill Canaanites and to steal land that the Israelites and their god covet. Under Yahweh's guidance the Israelites slaughter all the Canaanites in Hormah, Heshbon and Bashan (Numbers 21) in order to get their land. At Jericho, they massacre every man, woman, child and baby (Joshua 6:21) except the traitor Rahab and her household (who hid Joshua's spies). Even the donkeys got the sword. Similar slaughters occur at Ai (Joshua 8:25-27), Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, Debir (Joshua 10) and Hazor (Joshua 11). According to the Bible, that is how the Israelites obtained their land.

Let us not forget about Moses and the rape of the Midianites (Numbers 31). Here, following God's instructions, Moses orders the Israelites to murder all men, women, children and babies. However, in this instance they were to keep the young virgin girls alive for their own pleasure: "But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves" (Numbers 31:18). Nice touch, huh? How did they know which teenage girls to rape and which to run through with the sword? Did Moses and his officials finger each and every one? "Okay, honey, just spread those legs and bend over," said the man of God with a sword in one hand!

Some apologists have the gall to suggest that these girls were not really raped, that they became "second wives." However, forced sex with girls who have just had their entire families murdered, who are not the least interested in their captors, is the moral equivalent of rape.

Here are God's instructions as to how an aggressive, holy war-criminal should conduct himself (Deuteronomy 20:10-17):

When you go to attack a city, first give its people a chance to surrender. If they open the gates and surrender, they are all to become your slaves and do forced labor for you. But if the people of that city will not surrender, but choose to fight, surround it with your army. Then, when the Lord your God lets you capture the city, kill every man in it. You may, however, take for yourselves the women, the children, the livestock, and everything else in the city. You may use everything that belongs to your enemies. The Lord has given it to you. That is how you are to deal with those cities that are far away from the land you will settle in.
But when you capture cities in the land that the Lord your God is giving you, kill everyone. Completely destroy all the people: the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, as the Lord ordered you
to do.
(Today's English Version:
Deuteronomy 20:10-17)

Genghis Khan would have approved.
The Bible actually gives a reason for the latter part of the above instruction, where all the people, including children and babies, are killed. It seems that poor, limited God is afraid that any survivors would "contaminate" his precious Israelites and win them over to foreign gods. He couldn't stand the competition, I guess. How children and babies might "contaminate" the chosen people is not made clear. One thing is very clear, however. By modern standards of morality, the above activities constitute war crimes of the first order.

Fundamentalist apologists tie themselves in knots trying to explain why none of the above constitutes immoral behavior. "If God does it, it must be okay," they speculate 3. God, no doubt, also supported the Spanish Inquisition and its torturing of victims. Is there anything that cannot be justified in the name of God? The working brain will have nothing to do with such drivel. It immediately recognizes that a moral god is totally incompatible with the above scenario. Common sense tells us that God, if he were truly powerful and good, could have selected any number of solutions superior to the wholesale slaughter given in the Bible. If you stop and think about it, I'm sure that you, too, could find some improvements on God's supposed solution.

On the brighter side, things may not have been that bad. Archaeological digs have destroyed the idea that Joshua just marched in and took over in a bloody conquest. Even the Bible (Judges) strongly contradicts that idea. It may surprise you to learn that the Canaanite civilization was quite advanced, and as far as language and religion went, they were very similar to the Israelites. The Bible tells us that Solomon hired artisans from Tyre (part of Canaan) to work on God's Temple, because they were able to do the metal-work and other artistic jobs that were beyond the reach of Israelite artisans.

Archaeological work at Jericho by Kathleen Kenyon indicates that its walls had been down 300 years before Joshua arrived on the scene. Joshua would have found, if that, a small, seasonal occupation on part of the site. There were no grand walls for him to knock down! There was no city to conquer! A number of cities in the Moses-Joshua tales have stubbornly refused to show any evidence of existence at the time of their "conquest." Ai, for example, was vacant when Joshua "conquered" it. Most likely, the Israelite take-over of Canaan was by slow settlement and assimilation. The supposed exodus from Egypt, if it ever occurred, involved only a handful of Israelites who left no evidence of their presence in the Sinai. The great majority of Israelites probably lived in Canaan, possibly as part of an outlying population that later became independent. William Stiebing, Jr. will give you a good feeling for the problems scientists and scholars have with the Exodus. Do read his book, Out of the Desert?, which was published by Prometheus Books in 1989.

3. The theologian has not demonstrated that God, in fact, has done these deeds. He or she is merely proposing that God did them because the Bible says so. However, if the Bible attributes questionable deeds to God, then it undermines its own credibility.



    The official unabridged Soncino Edition of the Talmud published in 1935 was "Translated into English with Notes, Glossary and Indices" by such eminent Talmudic scholars as Rabbi Dr. I. Epstein, Rabbi Dr. Samuel Daiches, Rabbi Dr. Israel W. Slotki, M.A., Litt.D., The Reverend Dr. A. Cohen, M.A.', Ph.D., Maurice Simon, M.A., and the Very Reverend The Chief Rabbi Dr. J.H. Hertz wrote the "Foreword" for the Soncino Edition of the Talmud. The Very Reverend Rabbi Hertz was at the time the Chief Rabbi of England.

    The world's leading authorities on the Talmud confirm that the official unabridged Soncino Edition of the Talmud translated into English follows the original texts with great exactness. It is almost a word-for-word translation of the original texts. In his famous classic "The History of the Talmud," Michael Rodkinson, the leading authority on the Talmud, in collaboration with the celebrated Reverend Dr. Isaac M. Wise states:

    "THE TALMUD IS ONE OF THE WONDERS OF THE WORLD. During the twenty centuries of its existence...IT SURVIVED IN ITS ENTIRETY, and not only has the power of its foes FAILED TO DESTROY EVEN A SINGLE LINE, but it has not even been able materially to weaken its influence for any length of time. IT STILL DOMINATES THE MINDS OF A WHOLE PEOPLE, WHO VENERATE ITS CONTENTS AS DIVINE TRUTH..."

    SANHEDRIN, 55b-55a: "What is meant by this? - Rab said: Pederasty with a child below nine years of age is not deemed as pederasty with a child above that. Samuel said: Pederasty with a child below three years is not treated as with a child above that (2) What is the basis of their dispute? - Rab maintains that only he who is able to engage in sexual intercourse, may, as the passive subject of pederasty throw guilt (upon the actual offender); whilst he who is unable to engage in sexual intercourse cannot be a passive subject of pederasty (in that respect) (3). But Samuel maintains: Scriptures writes, (And thou shalt not lie with mankind) as with the lyings of a woman (4). It has been taught in accordance with Rab: Pederasty at the age of nine years and a day; (55a) (he) who commits bestiality, whether naturally or unnaturally: or a woman who causes herself to be bestiality abused, whether naturally or unnaturally, is liable to punishment (5)."

    This "divine truth" which "a whole people venerate" of which "not a single letter of it is missing" and today "is flourishing to such a degree as cannot be found in its history" is illustrated by the additional verbatim quotations which follow:

    SANHEDRIN, 55b: "A maiden three years and a day may be acquired in marriage by coition, and if her deceased husband's brother cohabits with her, she becomes his. The penalty of adultery may be incurred through her; (if a niddah) she defiles him who has connection with her, so that he in turn defiles that upon which he lies, as a garment which has lain upon (a person afflicted with gonorrhea)."

    (footnotes) "(2) His wife derives no pleasure from this, and hence there is no cleaving. (3) A variant reading of this passage is: Is there anything permitted to a Jew which is forbidden to a heathen. Unnatural connection is permitted to a Jew. (4) By taking the two in conjunction, the latter as illustrating the former, we learn that the guilt of violating the injunction `to his wife but not to his neighbor's wife' is incurred only for natural but not for unnatural intercourse."


    PART 2

    SANHEDRIN, 69b "Our rabbis taught: If a woman sported lewdly with her young son (a minor), and he committed the first stage of cohabitation with her, -Beth Shammai says, he thereby renders her unfit for the priesthood (1). Beth Hillel declares her fit...All agree that the connection of a boy nine years and a day is a real connection; whilst that of one less than eight years is not (2); their dispute refers only to one who is eight years old.

    KETHUBOTH, 11a-11b. "Rabba said, It means (5) this: When a grown up man has intercourse with a little girl it is nothing, for when the girl is less than this (6), it is as if one puts the finger in the eye (7), but when a small boy has intercourse with a grown up woman, he makes her as `a girl who is injured by a piece of wood' ".
    (footnotes) "(5). Lit., `says'. (6) Lit., `here', that is, less than three years old. (7) Tears come to the eyes again and again, so does virginity come back to the little girl under three years."

    KETHUBOTH, 11a-11b. "Rab Judah said that Rab said: A small boy who has intercourse with a grown up woman makes her (as though she were) injured by a piece of wood (1). Although the intercourse of a small boy is not regarded as a sexual act, nevertheless the woman is injured by it as by a piece of wood."(Dildo)
    (footnotes) "(1) Although the intercourse of a small boy is not regarded as a sexual act, nevertheless the woman is injured by it as by a piece of wood."(Dildo)

    ABODAH ZARAH, 36b-37a. "R. Naham b. Isaac said: They decreed in connection with a heathen child that it would cause defilement by seminal emission (2) so that an Israelite child should not become accustomed to commit pederasty with it...From what age does a heathen child cause defilement by seminal emission? From the age of nine years and one day. (37a) for inasmuch as he is then capable of the sexual act he likewise defiles by emission. Rabina said: It is therefore to be concluded that a heathen girl (communicates defilement) from the age of three years and one day, for inasmuch as she is then capable of the sexual act she likewise defiles by a flux.

    SOTAH, 26b. "R. Papa said: It excludes an animal, because there is not adultery in connection with an animal (4). Raba of Parazika (5) asked R. Ashi, Whence is the statement which the Rabbis made that there is no adultery in connection with an animal? Because it is written, Thou shalt not bring the hire of a harlot or the wages of a dog etc.; (6) and it has been taught: The hire of a dog (7) and the wages of a harlot (8) are permissible, as it is said, Even both of these (9) - the two (specified texts are abominations) but not four (10)...As lying with mankind. (12) But, said Raba, it excludes the case where he warned her against contact of the bodies (13). Abaye said to him, That is merely an obscene act (and not adultery), and did the All-Merciful prohibit (a wife to her husband) for an obscene act?"

    Of the "sacred" Talmudic teachings of the "Sages," preserved since 500 A.D. and taught more widely today than ever before in Talmud-Torah schools in the U.S.A., perhaps nothing better illustrates "fools" with "reprobate minds" than the teaching in the Talmud book of Yebamoth that spittle on the top of the bed curtain proves that a wife has been guilty of adultery, as only lying down face upwards could she have spit up on it. Spitting several feet straight up! The Talmud states: "When a peddler leaves a house and the woman within is fastening her sinnar [breech-cloth] … . If spittle is found on the upper part of the curtained bed she must, said Rabbi, go."

    Footnote: "Even if there were no witnesses that misconduct took place."
    Further footnote: "Only the woman lying face upwards could have spat on the spot. Intercourse may, there fore, be suspected."