Monday, October 14, 2013

Judges Part I: Just a Few Questions

Pick Your Poison

There are many translations of the Holy Bible and even more interpretations of the words translated. Consider that some of the interpretations are quite harmful to both the individual and the congregation, even to humanity as a whole.

Would you agree that any philosophy or line of reasoning or heartfelt belief that destroys instead of builds up is poisonous to the individual(s) in some form or other?

Which practices and beliefs and faiths connected to the Holy Bible are poisonous and which ones are not poisonous?

If you are a believer, what do YOU believe?

Which poison did you pick?

1. Judges 1:1-2
After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel inquired of the LORD, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?”

The LORD said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.”


     1) Why in the world would the people of Israel ask such a strange question of God/the LORD?

     2) If the LORD was all about protecting His people and leading them through the promised land, and if the people knew of and felt this amazing protection, and if God/the LORD was SO clear in His expression of love and protection for His people, WHY do His people feel this apparent lack of protection, a lack of someone fighting for them, the NEED to ask WHO is going to help them?

     3) Doesn't Deuteronomy 11:25 quote the LORD as saying that when His people get to the promised land that no one will be able to stand against them? If God/the LORD follows through on all of His promises of this apparent lack of resistance of the inhabitants of the land that the people of Israel are taking control of why are they worried about someone fighting for them?

2. Judges 1:5-6
They found Adoni-bezek at Bezek and fought against him and defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites.

Adoni-bezek fled, but they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and his big toes.


     1) Okay, this is really interesting, right? Did you know the Hebrew word 'Adoni' is not just another way to refer to YHVH (Yahweh), but also refers to men and angels as well as the LORD God of Israel?

     2) With such diverse interpretations available for the word 'Adoni' in the Bible, how sure are scholars that the meaning assigned to a verse containing this word is the correct, absolutely correct, application?

     3) Considering the many interpretations and translations of the Bible throughout history has there ever been an instance where the translators misinterpreted the intended application/meaning of the word 'Adoni'?

3. Judges 1:8
And the men of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire.


     1) Sooo...does this verse mean that when the people of Israel arrived in the promised land that the city of Jerusalem was already there?

     2) Does this verse also mean that like many men have done in regards to Jerusalem the people of Israel SACKED this 'holy' city, killed the inhabitants, and then set it on fire?

     3) Since the Jebusites and others were in Jerusalem FAR EARLIER than the people of Israel, and since the people of Israel were the very first amongst those who would sack the city in an effort to wrest it away from the rightful inhabitants, don't you find it a TAD strange that some Christians believe Jerusalem to belong to the people of Israel going all the way back to Bible times? 

     4) The people of Israel did not found Jerusalem, the Jebusites did or at the very least people other than the people of Israel, right?

     5) Why does so much Bible prophecy center around Jerusalem as THE holy city of God and His people when it is clear it was not even theirs to begin with?

     6) Why do some Christians cite the many sackings of Jerusalem throughout history, the many wars and conflicts surrounding Jerusalem as proof of Satan's workings and efforts against God and God's people, as proof of Satan and everything that is evil trying desperately to destroy what is holy and good when from the very beginning it was God's own people who ushered in Jerusalem's violent history?

     7) Isn't it possible that some of the efforts to attack Jerusalem after the people of Israel came to possess it were not so much about attacking God's people so much as trying to regain possession of a place that the people of Israel had no true right to to begin with?

     8) Is God's reckless promise to His people that the promised land was THEIRS (and damn the folks who already lived there) the 'golden ticket' to absolve the people of Israel of any wrongdoing in regards to taking Jerusalem?

4. Judges 1:9-11
And afterward the men of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who lived in the hill country, in the Negeb, and in the lowland.

10 And Judah went against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (now the name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath-arba), and they defeated Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai.

11 From there they went against the inhabitants of Debir. The name of Debir was formerly Kiriath-sepher.


     1) Sooo...when the LORD said that He would deliver the inhabitants of the promised land to His people was what this really meant that they (God's people) would have to go in and either drive the inhabitants out or simply slaughter them all so that actual possession of the land could be taken?

5. Judges 1:12-13
12 And Caleb said, “He who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter for a wife.”

13 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, captured it. And he gave him Achsah his daughter for a wife.


     1) Caleb promises away his daughter. Since when should a man offer a human being, much less his own daughter, as some type of prize or possession or trophy? Is Caleb's daughter one of the first trophy wives in history?

     2) Does God approve of this behavior?

     3) Does Caleb's daughter agree to this or have any say? If she has no say is this in accordance with how God/the LORD views women and how they should be treated? Isn't Caleb's daughter being treated as a means to an end here?

     4) Throughout human history men have promised their daughters to the 'victors' of many wars, correct? Does God approve of this? Is it appropriate behavior ONLY for the people of Israel, or does God approve of such behavior when other cultures do this same thing?

     5) Who is a person to pledge away the life and the existence of another person? By what universal right does ANY person do this? It DOES have to be a universal right, correct? I mean, God is universal so wouldn't it follow that if He approves of this His approval is in totality and thus universal?

6. Judges 1:19
19 And the LORD was with Judah, and he took possession of the hill country, but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain because they had chariots of iron.


     1) Sooo...what happened to God's promise in Deuteronomy 11:25 that states that when the people of Israel go into the promised land to take possession that no one will stand against them?

     2) If Deuteronomy 11:25 is correct how can it be that the people of Israel are unsuccessful in driving out or killing ALL of the inhabitants? 

     3) Did God intend His Deuteronomy 11:25 promise to mean something OTHER THAN that the people of Israel would face no resistance from the indigenous peoples of the promised land?

7. Judges 1:21
21 But the people of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem, so the Jebusites have lived with the people of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.


     1) Again, what happened to the promise in Deuteronomy 11:25, never mind all of the other promises in regard to the promised land?

     2) Sooo...if the original inhabitants of the promised land were not driven out what impact does that have on God's promise that when His people made the move to take possession of the land the inhabitants would NOT be able to stand against the people of Israel?

     3) If God's words did not come true in totality, and if, being all-knowing, God KNEW that there would indeed be people that could and did make a stand against the people of Israel, doesn't this make God's claim in Deuteronomy 11:25 bullshit?

     4) Does bullshit equate with what constitutes a lie?

     5) Is God lying?

8. Judges 1:24-25
24 And the spies saw a man coming out of the city, and they said to him, “Please show us the way into the city, and we will deal kindly with you.”

25 And he showed them the way into the city. And they struck the city with the edge of the sword, but they let the man and all his family go.


     1) Well, aren't these verses a slice of heaven?

     2) Aren't these verses the very same as saying, "Tell us what we want to know, or we will kill you," or at the very least something quite similar?

     3) Do you think that the reason the man did show them where everyone was resulted from the spies threatening the man's family and the man's apparent fear in response to that threat?

     4) Would you have done the same thing if faced with such a situation?

     5) Sooo...when the spies took this approach with the man did God/the LORD approve of this?

     6) If the answer to the above question is in the affirmative would such translate to God's approval of threatening women and children in order to get whatever is being demanded?

     7) Isn't a threat of physical harm along with the present ability of the one doing the threatening to actually do it the definition of assault?

     8) Isn't assault a crime?

     9) If the answer to the question directly above is in the affirmative, doesn't that mean the spies are committing a crime?

     10) If God allows/approves of this criminal behavior doesn't that make Him an accessory to a crime?

     11) Is God/the LORD criminal?

9. Judges 1:27-28
27 Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages, for the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land.

28 When Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not drive them out completely.


     1) Doesn't Numbers 21:3 say that the people of Israel destroyed the Canaanites AND their cities?

     2) If Numbers 21:3 true/correct then how in the freaky-doo are there STILL Canaanites that have not been destroyed?

10. Judges 1:29-30
29 And Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.

30 Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol, so the Canaanites lived among them, but became subject to forced labor.


     1) What happened to the promise in Deuteronomy 11:25?

11. Judges 1:31
31 Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon or of Ahlab or of Achzib or of Helbah or of Aphik or of Rehob,


     1) What happened to the promise in Deuteronomy 11:25?

12. Judges 1:33
33 Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, so they lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land. Nevertheless, the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and of Beth-anath became subject to forced labor for them.


     1) What happened to the promise in Deuteronomy 11:25?

13. Judges 1:34
34 The Amorites pressed the people of Dan back into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the plain.


     1) What happened to the promise in Deuteronomy 11:25?

14. Judges 1:35
35 The Amorites persisted in dwelling in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim, but the hand of the house of Joseph rested heavily on them, and they became subject to forced labor.


     1) What happened to Deuteronomy 11:25?

15. Judges 2:1-2
Now the angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you,

and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done?


     1) Is it possible that the people of Israel are NOT obeying the LORD in an effort to relay to Him that if He is not going to follow through will all of His promises it makes no sense whatsoever for them to fulfill their part of the bargain?

     2) Didn't God say the inhabitants of the promised land would NOT be able to stand against the people of Israel, yet a stand against Israel is exactly what happened?

     3) Does God instill confidence in people by failing to deliver His promises?

     4) Does God really expect obedience when He does not follow through?

     5) Why does God bother to ask what the people of Israel have done if, being all-knowing, He already friggin' knows what the hell they did?

16. Judges 2:4-5
As soon as the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the people of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept.

And they called the name of that place Bochim. And they sacrificed there to the LORD.


     1) Sooo...the people of Israel are SO distraught at realizing they have pissed God off that they decide to say "I'm Sorry" by killing/sacrificing something? Did God accept their murderous apology?

17. Judges 2:6-7
When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land.

And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel.


     1) Which part of what the people of Israel and what the people of the cities that are being killed by God's people go through qualifies as 'great work'?

18. Judges 2:14-15
14 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies.

15 Whenever they marched out, the hand of the LORD was against them for harm, as the LORD had warned, and as the LORD had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress.


     1) When bad things happen to the people of Israel why is it always directly attributable to God/the LORD responding to some kind of wrong with complete, utter and total anger?

19. Judges 2:16-19
16 Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them.

17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the LORD, and they did not do so.

18 Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them.

19 But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways.


     1) If the people of Israel did not listen to their judges how in the hell could they ever have been saved from plunderers? Wouldn't such require cooperation? If the people are not cooperating they cannot be saved, right?

     2) Why does verse sixteen say the people were saved but the very next verse says the people did not listen? How does this work? What am I missing?

20. Judges 2:20-23
20 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people has transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice,

21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died,

22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the LORD as their fathers did, or not.”

23 So the LORD left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua.


     1) How can God/the LORD sit there and say He will no longer drive out the inhabitants when, although He did promise to do so, He never followed through with such?

     2) Since God/the LORD never followed through with His promise isn't He breaking His own covenant?

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