The battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest three days in U.S. war history, saw about 100,000 men fall. The entire Vietnam war involved about 55,000 U.S. casualties. A half-million dead and injured in one day is a staggering sum, almost more violence then we can conceive an army enduring.Continue reading HOW COULD ANCIENT ISRAEL SUSTAIN 500,000 WAR CASUALTIES IN A DAY?
The Bible is not definitive on this point, so each person, church, and movement must come to peace with its position. Certainly the Bible includes several stories of resistance to government, even armed resistance. Sometimes, as in this passage, no moral judgment is attached to the report of resistance. Warfare is constant throughout of the Old Testament, including warfare ordained by God.Continue reading IS CIVIL REBELLION EVER JUSTIFIED? (2 CHRONICLES 10:16-19)
These laws sound rigid and austere in their proclamations, and we cannot say for sure how often this particular punishment was employed. What we can say for sure is that exceptions were allowed, as illustrated by Jesus. He did not demand that the woman caught in adultery be executed but instead disarmed her executioners and urged her to leave her lift of sin (John 8:3-11).Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (STONING “AS A FORM OF EXECUTION” PT2)
Moses learned an important lesson about violence and anger here. In the first case, he observed violence against a fellow Israelite and responded by killing the perpetrator. Clearly, other options were open to him: reporting the misdeed, using his position to bring the power of the state to bear against the perpetrator, advocating a change in state labor laws. In the second case, he intervened when some annoying shepherds pestered a group of young women, This time he did not kill but drove off the nuisances.Continue reading IS VIOLENCE OKAY WHEN FIGHTING VIOLENCE?
NEW TESTAMENT – Paul and Peter insisted that Christian salves be obedient to their masters (Eph 6:5-8; Col. 3:22-25; 1 Tim 6:1-2; 1 Pet 2:18-21) and not seek freedom just because of conversion (1 Cor 7:20-22). Masters were urged to be kind (Eph 6:9; Col 4:1). Slave trading was condemned (1 Tim 1:10). Paul claimed that in Christ human status was unimportant (Gal 3:28). But neither Jesus nor the apostles condemned slavery. Slavery was so much a part of their society that to call for abolition would have resulted in violence and bloodshed. Rather, Jesus and the apostles set forth principles of human dignity and equality that eventually led to abolition.Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (SLAVE/SERVANT PART3)
Garments are used as biblical symbols in almost as many ways as there are styles of clothing. Clothes are used as expression of socioeconomics status, spiritual well-being, and emotional state. They can protect, conceal, or display an inner reality of the wearer. They can last for a long time or wear out quickly (Neh 9:21; Matt 6:19). They can consist of leaves (Gen 3:7), animal skin (Gen 3:21; Matt 3:4), rags (Isa 64:6), pure white linen (Dan 7:9; Rev 19:14), or anything in between. They can be literal or figurative. Yet despite al this variety, the use of clothing as a symbol falls into a few set patterns that yield a wealth of insight. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CLOTHING)
Revenge as a common human feeling has a long history. Legal scholars, for example, believe that revenge is the basis for all jurisprudence. When Harry first stole a cow from Joe, Joe took two of Harry’s goats. Then Harry grabbed three of Joe’s turkeys. And Joe, seeing where this could lead, mustered the village elders. Thus the first court was born. We seem to have an intuitive sense of justice made right, especially wrongs done against us. Revenge is our impulse to fix injustice. In that sense, praying for revenge may be just another name for praying that God will hear our tort claims, judge wrongdoers for their unjust deeds, and levy a just sentence. Thus we will not need to seek revenge ourselves. Continue reading IS PRAYING FOR REVENGE OKAY? (PSALM 56:6-7)
Ancient Israelites attached a severe social stigma to rape. A young woman victim was “ruined”-she became an outcast with no means of financial support and no prospects for a family of her own. So the law imposed on the perpetrator the responsibility of care for the victim-providing her a home and family-at considerable cost to him. Such an arrangement also reduced the need of the victim’s family to seek forcible revenge, thus sparing the culture much violence. Continue reading OLD TESTAMENT LAW REQUITES A MAN WHO RAPES A VIRGIN TO MARRY HER. WHY FORCE THE VICTIM OF SUCH A TERRIBLE CRIME MARRY THE PERPETRATOR?
When Jacob’s sons learn that their sister, Dinah, had been raped by Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite, and that Hamor had approached their father to ask for Dinah’s hand in marriage for the offender, they stepped in and gave Shechem a condition-every male must be circumcised so the Shechemites would be like them. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (LEVI: FROM VIOLENCE TO PRIESTHOOD)