Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Numbers, Chapter 32

Today in bible bedtime stories guaranteed to give your kids nightmares for years to come: the wholesale slaughter of mothers and children! But don't worry! The virgins are spared so they can become concubines!

So, god is still upset about those Moabite hussies who lured the Israelites into worshipping their false gods with sex. He's done punishing the Israelites, which you will recall involved cutting off their heads and hanging them in the sun. Now he's ready to punish... the Midianites. Wha...? All that happened with the Midianites is one of their women went on a date with an Israelite and got speared by Phineas for it. Never let it be said that god isn't just.

So Moses raises an army of 12 000 and kills all the Midianite men. The Israelites bring back the women and children and livestock as war spoils. But Moses isn't happy with this. He orders them to kill all the non-virgin women and the boys. Go Moses. He also sends them away for a 7-day ritual cleansing and burns everything that wasn't valuable from the spoils.

We then get a listing of the livestock, and note that women are at the bottom of this list: 670 500 sheep, 72 000 cattle, 61 000 asses, 32 000 virgins. The spoils are to be divided between the tribes, with a percentage going to god. There is an implication that some of the women were also sacrificed, but the KJV isn't explicit and of course neither is Jerry, who is too busy telling us how the punishment for adultery was death, and this was spiritual adultery and well-deserved. Wouldn't you love one of his minions as president? I sure would.

Somehow, I don't think this chapter makes it into very many Sunday School classes or Bible Study discussions. Also, if god is so against abortion, how come he's for killing children and non-virgin women, some of whom are presumably pregnant?

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