Revered Criminals of the Bible

The Bible, which is constantly held up as holy and as the alleged word of God, and therefore the moral standard by which man is to live,  is a remarkably violent and bloody book.  Old Testament criminals such as Cain, Samuel, David, etc., etc. are repeatedly treated lightly by God and simply put up with like hyperkinetic children.  Cain, for example, who killed his brother, was not punished, just exiled.  In essence he was lifted out of a humdrum dirt farming existence to be set up as a builder of  cities, which happened to make him influential and very wealthy.  What punishment!

But we cannot judge Bible characters by man’s evolved social/moral standards, however.  In the case of Cain, we must set aside our advanced understanding of law and justice, for in the Genesis account with its vague settings before the advent of time, there was not yet an established system of anything, let alone law and order.  On that technicality, therefore, the murderous act of Cain, although morally despicable from our perspective, cannot be judged as a case of murder or even manslaughter.  Indeed, the Lord did not get around to denouncing homicide until he himself had indulged in drowning most of the world population—traditionally presented as having occurred sometime around 2348 BCE.  Be that as it may, the Lord still didn’t bother to hand down the sixth commandment (thou shalt not kill) to Moses until around 1491 BCE, if biblical chronology is to be trusted.  That was only a mere 2,284 years after the slaying of Abel, and Cain was long dead. 

Apparently the Lord had his attention elsewhere after drowning man, and when he finally noticed, mankind had again become corrupt and men were building towers and spoke one language! (Genesis 11:1)  “And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.” (verse 5)  What corruption!  So the Lord says, “…let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Genesis 11:17).  What an absolutely brilliant idea for remedying the corruption which the Lord found: make sure that no one understood each other and they would live in peace!  But with this remedy put in place the corruption did not cease.  That is fortunate, for otherwise we wouldn’t have much to read about in Scripture: like such spirit-inspiring tales as: 1) the annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah, 2) Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac, 3) Jacob stealing Esau’s birthright, 4) Moses murdering an Egyptian, 5) Joshua’s indulgence in holocaust, 6) a list of 28 priest-approved ways to kill sinners (in Leviticus), 7) the  invasion and slaughter of Canaanites with God’ approval for occupation of the Canaanite’s land, 8) the God-approved “laws” of warfare (Deuteronomy 20).  Etc., etc., etc., etc…

 Things were really not  much better once God’s chosen ones got settled into the Promised Land, and it was a bunch of Judges who were allegedly privy to God’s opinions who set themselves up as leaders after Joshua had fertilized the land with much Canaanite blood.   The stories of the Judges do not actually begin until 3:7 of the book of Judges and conclude with 16:31 (of 21 chapters).  Naturally Israel sinned repeatedly and, the priest-authors assure us, had to be disciplined.

The account given in the Book of Judges, as we have seen (Fables from the Book of Judges, October 2010), supposedly set the scene for the establishment of the kingdom of Israel.  The establishment of a united monarchy is traditionally placed c. 1020-931 BCE.  A throne and regional power thus became a God-directed holy pursuit, if the priest-authors recorded correctly, and worthiness to rule in God’s name could be achieved by any means, fair or foul.  So in the book of Judges (chapter 9) a son of a Hebrew judge (Gideon) who was named Abimelech, nudged things toward a kingdom by making himself king of Shechem and having his seventy half-brothers murdered.  He had borrowed seventy pieces of silver to hire assassins.  The gory details of this are always sidestepped in encyclopedias and in Bible companion crib notes, saying only that Abimelech ruled a mere three years before being “mortally wounded” by a stone thrown by a woman while he was besieging the tower of Thebez.  Well, the story was more lovingly detailed than that by the priests.

If we accept biblical storytelling as unvarnished holy truth, one of the first clashes in all mankind’s history between spiritual and temporal power is accounted for in the tale of Samuel (c. 1140 BCE), the last of the “judges” and the first pitiless “prophet.”  If you are unfamiliar with the tale as juicily told by priest-authors, Samuel  personally “hewed…to pieces” with a sword the lone and defenseless King Agag of the Amalekites for personal and political advantages (1 Samuel 15:33).  It was a premeditated act of murder, and against God’s earlier command Thou shalt not kill.  As we have often seen in biblical tales, that Commandment got vetoed an awful lot by the majority of biblical characters—including God.

9 Responses to “Revered Criminals of the Bible”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by C.M. Houck, C.M. Houck. C.M. Houck said: New blog post: Revered Criminals of the Bible […]

  2. The Bible is indeed a bloody book because the human heart is wicked. If mankind were by nature good, loving people there would be no war and murder, etc.

    The most dificult thing about the Bible to understand is not that God flooded the world to wipe out mankind. The hardest thing to understand is why He let 6 people surrive.

    • Personally I believe that mans nature is good and loving…for those that believe the Bible…we are created in the image og God. Therefore our nature must be good and loving….if we are to believe that God is also that.
      I tend to believe that when we act or behave in any way that is anything but good and loving, it is because we have allowed outside influences dictate our behaviour. I think people forget that our true purpose is to love and be peaceful with one another.
      I don’t find it hard to understand why people were allowed to survive the great flood. No more than why people are allowed to survive bigotry, famine, violence or war. It is proof that God is giving us the opportunity to do better…and shine his light on others.

      I wish you love and peace,

      • chouck017894 Says:

        Are you saying that only “for those that believe the (myths of the) Bible are the the only good and loving” persons? Isn’t it quite likely that the diversity of life experiences happen to be “…proof tht God is giving us the opportunity to do better…”?

      • No, I was saying that people who believe the Bible believe that we are created in His image. I honestly believe that we are ALL good and Loving people…regardless of our religious views…if any at all. I absolutely agree with you…we are supposed to be diverse…it further proves that we are all loved.
        Sorry if I was unclear to you…I appreciate the opportunity to be more specific.

        Peace and Blessings

  3. Or was it 8 people?

  4. Read more…

    You can find the original post at ……

  5. Well I’m going to need to look up a couple more things but this was a really good strting point.

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