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Christians and Scripture

Christians and Scripture: Chapter 3


A possible reading of some of the Septuagint

This Chapter shows the pitfalls of a Christian reading of the Septuagint which is not anchored in the Gospels. I will assume in this Chapter, contrary to my belief but in line with Fundamentalists, that each verse of the Bible must be taken as is. I will produce an indictment for Crimes against Humanity of a certain Jehovah Sabaoth, also known as LORD. I characterize this Jehovah Sabaoth basically as the Jewish god of war, the «LORD of Armies». I will pick some of the many excerpts that portray God in the Septuagint as this god who fights for the Israelites to make a name for himself by his victories.

I understand that this will not impress some American Fundamentalists who, like many Americans, consider that a Super Power is not subject to such trifles as Crimes against Humanity. Jehovah Sabaoth is nothing for them if not a Supreme Power, someone who does not have to answer to any accusation of wrong-doing. But there are people like me who think that everyone is subject to such laws, including the One from whom these laws emanate.

1. Jehovah Sabaoth's Crimes Against Humanity

So let us procede. I will make here a very incomplete list of crimes; in each case the evidence will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the guilt of the said Jehovah Sabaoth. The dates of the events mentioned below are those believed as correct by Fundamentalists.

How can I be certain of the value of the evidence? It comes from the Bible which is, as we all know, a Book entirely trustworthy. Furthermore, the accused cannot deny the evidence given because He is its author.

We will see that the accused is guilty of genocide, of having ordered the mass killing of civilians, of ethnic cleansing, of having used biological and chemical warfare against civilians, and of having assisted a suicide mass killer.

So here is the case :

Defendant : Jehovah Sabaoth (also known as LORD):

1) Crime against Humanity : genocide

Event : destruction of the whole world's creatures save a family of humans and a pair of each animal

Date : 2349 BC

Evidence :

[7] And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them... [17] And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.1

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth:2

2) Crime against Humanity : genocide; first recorded use of chemical weapons of mass destruction

Event : destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah

Date : 1898 BC

Evidence :

Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.3

3) With co-defendant: Moses, of the tribe of Levi, warlord

Crime against Humanity : killing of civilians; economic warfare; first recorded use of biological weapons of mass destruction

Event : plagues of Egypt

Date : 1491 BC

Evidence :

And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.4
And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.5
And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.6
And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharoah that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.7

4) With co-defendant: Joshua, son of Nun, warlord

Crime against Humanity : first recorded case of ethnic cleansing

Event : the mass destruction of the people of Canaan

Date : 1491 BC

Evidence :

a) City of Jericho:

And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.8

b) City of Ai:

And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai. And the other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape. And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua. And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword. And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai. For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.9

c) City of Makkedah

And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain: and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of Jericho.10

d) City of Libnah

Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah: And the LORD delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho.11

e) City of Lachish

And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it: And the LORD delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah.12

f) City of Gezer

Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.13

g) City of Eglon

And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it, and fought against it: And they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.14

h) City of Hebron

And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, unto Hebron; and they fought against it: And they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein.15

i) City of Debir

And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and fought against it: And he took it, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining: as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king thereof; as he had done also to Libnah, and to her king.16

j) From Kadesh-barnea to Gaza

So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. And Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.17

k) City of Hazor and others

And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms. And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire. And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. But as for the cities that stood still in their strength, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; that did Joshua burn. And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe. As the LORD commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses. So Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same; Even from the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them. Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle. For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses. And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.18

5) With co-defendant: Samson, son of Manoah, warlord

Crime against Humanity : first recorded case of suicide mass killing of civilians

Event : Mass suicide killing of men and women during a celebration

Date : 1120 BC

Evidence :

And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars. And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.19

6) With co-defendant: Saul, son of Kish, warlord

Crime against Humanity : second recorded case of ethnic cleansing

Event : mass killing of Amalekites

Date : 1079 BC

Evidence :

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley. And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.20

7) With co-defendant: David, son of Jesse, warlord

Crime against Humanity : first recorded use of biological weapons of mass destruction against his own people

Event : mass killing of Israelites by pestilence

Date : 1017 BC

Evidence :

So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men. And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.21

2. Jehovah Sabaoth's sadism

It should be obvious that Jehovah Sabaoth is guilty of all these crimes described by his own words. But not only do the texts say that Jehovah Sabaoth did all these terrible things, they add that he manipulated his enemies so that they would make their predicament worse: «But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.»22 is followed by a worse plague; «But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.»23 is followed by the murder of innocent children who just happened to be Egyptian first-borns; «For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.»24 is followed by a massacre.

So we have a Supreme Power who toys with people to crush them utterly. This is a god like the Greek and Roman gods described in the Iliad and the Aeneid. He is a god who takes great pleasure in crushing his enemies and in taking revenge. He is not a nice person to say the least, but a god made in men's image, very much like the present and ancient worlds' supreme rulers.

3. The different pictures of God in Scripture

Of course, this picture does not square at all with other pictures of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob found in the Septuagint. The God Who is worshipped by the Jewish people is not a murderer nor is He vindictive.

Some will say that He did these things out of love for His people, that He had to free them from oppression, that He had to give them a place to live. The end does not justify the means. Furthermore, He did not «save» His people from Hitler25 nor from lots of other tyrants who oppressed them, before as well as after the coming of Jesus. So why would He have done so then in such a terrible way?

We know that there was a major flood at one time in Mesopotamia. We also know that some Jews went from Egypt to Palestine. We do not know exactly what happened then. The Torah was written a very long time after those events. Its writers produced weird and wonderful stories from their oral traditions where Jehovah, the god of the Jewish people, saves the day for them. In it all the successful acts of war by the «good guys» are attributed to their god of war, Jehovah Sabaoth, the god of armies.

But their god of armies is less and less successful as time goes by. Why? It must be because the Jewish people have not followed the rules he gave them. So they blame themselves. But then Prophets turn up who show an evolving visage of God, a vision that permits quite a few glimpses of the figure of Jesus Christ,26 our Lord and God. May His Name be blessed for ever!

I hope that I have made my point; that it suffices that I examine the Gospels to answer all the important questions about what it is to be a Christian, about who is the God of the Christians and about what one has to do to be saved - that is, how to enter Heaven.

This next step is the object of my book Life, Love and Law, where I try to establish Jesus' core message.

1 Genesis 6:7;17

2 Genesis 7:21-3

3 Genesis 19:24-5

4 Exodus 9:6

5 Exodus 9:25

6 Exodus 10:13-5

7 Exodus 12:29

8 Joshua 6:21

9 Joshua 8:21-6

10 Joshua 10:28

11 Joshua 10:29-30

12 Joshua 10:31-2

13 Joshua 10:33

14 Joshua 10:34-5

15 Joshua 10:36-7

16 Joshua 10:38-9

17 Joshua 10:40-1

18 Joshua 11:10-23

19 Judges 16:25-30

20 1 Samuel 15:2-8

21 2 Samuel 24:15-6

22 Exodus 10:20

23 Exodus 11:27

24 Joshua 11:20

25 Or did He do just that in the Holocaust? Could the fact that these millions of poor people died destitute and in agony without fighting back, just like Jesus on the Cross, be a sign that God was taking them to Himself just like He did with His only Son Jesus, a destitute Jew in agony killed by the Roman Reich? Why should «saving» mean «saving from death»? Why could it not rather mean «saving from this valley of tears»? Why is not God Saviour when He takes us «to the wedding feast of the Lamb», when He takes us away from this life to His loving embrace?

26 who, to be His Father's voice in the flesh, became a Jew, as He was born of a Jewish woman and conceived in a Jewish womb (the only condition, according to the Law, to be a Jew)

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Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, June 6th, 2004

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