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Strange passages in the bible

Discussion in 'Bibliology & Hermeneutics' started by Homie, Nov 28, 2002.

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  1. Homie

    Homie Gods servant

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    I found some strange passage in the Bible:
    1Sa 15:2 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.
    1Samuel 15:3 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 ***.

    Isn't that a bit violent, to kill the women and children. God is a fair God, so of course he would punish the Amalek people. But would God ask Saul to kill the innocent infants and toddlers? Is the answear:
    1: The 1st verse is the word of God (as Samuel says) and the second verse is Samuels own opinion on what he thinks Saul should do about it?
    2: Or does Samuel indeed mean that both verses is what God said to him? 3: Or is Samuel a false profet? (unlikely IMHO)
    Please help

    Also these passages indicates that God uses evil spirits:
    Judges 9:23 -- "Jud 9:23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:"
    1 Samuel 16:14 -- "1Sa 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him."
     
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  2. Matthew

    Matthew Member

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    These are very difficult passages in the Bible. It doesn't seem just for God to command that, and we want to avoid that conclusion. But there are other places where God directly commands the destruction of a people (men, women and children). Likely, all of this is the word of God.

    But now the question is: why? For an answer, we would be guessing for the most part. My belief is that God commanded this so that the corrupt practices of the Amalekites would not infect the nation of Israel.

    You certainly are bringing up a lot! Judges 9:23 - "God sent an evil spirit", and 1 Samuel 16:14 - "an evil spirit from the LORD", do indicate that God uses evil spirits/demons. But that doesn't mean that God directly sent them. He could have arranged circumstances so that they freely did their evil.
     
  3. Homie

    Homie Gods servant

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    So God teaches that the end justifies the means? Because what I have come to learn, God is fair. Is it fair to kill a child, an infant that never had the chance to choose God or to do any evil.

    Judges 9:23 - "God sent an evil spirit" hmm...seems so

    Cooperating with evil, the very enemy of God, does not seem better in my eyes. It is like the FBI helping/cooperating with the "little fish" to catch the "big fish" (hollywood talk for mafia)

    Only one reply :(, I was hoping for quite a few that explained this to me so I could rest easily and comfortably. Thanks to you at least Matthew, for your reply. Roughly 4500 members and only one have even attempted to answear these questions, have I stumbled upon something or does this sub-forum get little attention.
     
  4. Matthew

    Matthew Member

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    No, he does not. God is bound by the same rules of right and wrong that we are bound by. These rules are even part of his character, so that God cannot do something that is wrong.

    Because God is the Creator, he has the right to take life and to give life. We do not, because we are not the Creator. Further, the command not to murder is not a command against all killing. Killing and murder are not the same.

    If I was a general in an army, and was ordered to blow up a bridge, then I could ask a private to go and blow it up. The private could then say that the government sent him to blow up the bridge. It would be the truth. Yet the government did not directly send this private, he was sent through the general, me.


    When God arranges circumstances, it is more like a sting operation than "cooperation". God desires that everyone will choose the good and avoid evil, but they do not always do this. And God knows all that ahead of time.

    What would be worse: to have no control over the world, or to arrange circumstances so that a person freely chooses evil? I would prefer the second, knowing that God is both good and wise.

    This is a very difficult subject. Thanks.

    Unfortunately, this sub-forum recieves very little attention.
     
  5. Jesusong

    Jesusong Veteran

    +91
    Pentecostal
    Married
    In answering the Amalakite question one must know the conditions the people are living in in order to fully ascess the judgement that's about to befall them. Most of these people ( not just the Amalakites ) were given over to very depraved lifestyles such as fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, incest, beastiality, pedophilia, human sacrifices, all part of their religious worship. Who knows what diseases might be running rampant among them. In that light, its understandable as to why God would want all living things utterly destroyed. The death of all life doesn not necessarily mean that the children would be in hell for a sin that their not responsible for.

    In regards to the evil spirit sent by God, read in Job chapters 1 & 2. Satan was allowed by God to test the faith of Job. Satan did not have full access to Job. All spirits, good or evil, have to obey the authority of God. God may allow the evil spirit a time to do what they may do, but their access is limited. If a person is living outside of the will of God, His protective hand will be removed and an evil spirit will be allowed to have access to this persons life. How much access? Only God knows. But it will be only for our benefit, in order to draw us back to God in repentance.
     
  6. Matthew

    Matthew Member

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    Thanks for pointing that out. (Forgot to mention it my response.)

    Although I would say that sometimes (not in the case of Job), it is for other's benefit. You have to remember that Saul was living outside of God's will.
     
  7. Homie

    Homie Gods servant

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    I said:
    "So God teaches that the end justifies the means? "
    Matthew replied:
    "No, he does not. God is bound by the same rules of right and wrong that we are bound by. These rules are even part of his character, so that God cannot do something that is wrong. "

    But if God ordered the killing of innocent (infants and toddlers) he was being unfair to them, not giving them a chance to choose good or evil, he did this because it would be for the better in the long run since these sinful people the Amalekites would be wiped out, but he still did something bad/unfair because it would be for the better in the end. Now that is acting in the lines of "the end justifying the means".
     
  8. Matthew

    Matthew Member

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    Actually, he was not being "unfair" or unjust with them. God is the Creator of the Universe, and as such he is also the owner of everything and everyone in it. Because of this, he is allowed (it is just) for him to do with people as he pleases, and that includes being allowed to kill infants.

    So we agree that that is a good reason (good ends).

    As I have stated above, God did not do something unfair or bad. Therefore, he was not justifiying the means with the ends.
     
  9. filosofer

    filosofer Senior Veteran

    +287
    Lutheran
    That seems to be backward, although I agree with your conclusion. God isn't right because he lives up to a standard. Rather, whatever God does is right.
     
  10. Jesusong

    Jesusong Veteran

    +91
    Pentecostal
    Married
    I am reminded of a passage in Job 40:2 and 41:11

    "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!"

    Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.
     
  11. Outspoken

    Outspoken Standing in the Gap

    +15
    Christian
    "Isn't that a bit violent, to kill the women and children"

    Amleck what people group was he from? there inlies your answer :)
     
  12. Matthew

    Matthew Member

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    You may agree with my conclusion, but I certainly do not agree with your reasoning. You are saying that this:

    1) Action x is right because God does it.

    And I am saying that

    2) Action x is done by God because it is right.

    As you noticed, these are definitely not the same. And I think that the first one is not only unBiblical, but empties the statement "God is good" of meaning.
     
  13. Outspoken

    Outspoken Standing in the Gap

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    Christian
    Good point Matthew, we must also understand that God has all knowledge and thus there is something we don't see and thus our concept of what is right and wrong could be incorrect. For example a bear trap must be pressed farther INTO the wound inflicting more pain in order to take it off. The animal in the trap might not understand that and just thinks you're trying to hurt it more thus to it that action X is evil, when in reality, it is not.
     
  14. Matthew

    Matthew Member

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    I try to get my concept of right and wrong from the Bible. Since it is God's word, it is always correct.

    We might question, for example, God's reasons in allowing the Holocaust. I think that an example like that best illustrates your point.
     
  15. Julie

    Julie ONLY JESUS CHRIST SAVES

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    Me too.
     
  16. Outspoken

    Outspoken Standing in the Gap

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    Christian
    "Since it is God's word, it is always correct."

    I agree, but us being humans might not get it right. Its like having glasses, you can look at the word all you want, but without glasses you can't see it, its blurry. When we get to heaven we will have perfect(ed) vision, not before.
     
  17. filosofer

    filosofer Senior Veteran

    +287
    Lutheran
    The difference is whether God has to live up to the standard (your statement (#2 above), which makes God less than the all perfect, absolute, sovereign God because there is something higher than himself by which he is judged.

    Or whether God is the standard himself (#1 above), which means that all things, including statements about morality and ethics derive from him and his character.

    So, the statement that "God is good" is not a statement about how God lives up to a standard that we can determine is "good." Rather, this is a statement of God's character by which everything else is judged to be good relative to him.
     
  18. Outspoken

    Outspoken Standing in the Gap

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    "Rather, this is a statement of God's character by which everything else is judged to be good relative to him."

    yeah! Exactly! I think that's exactly what Thomas Aquanious (sp) was trying to get accross when speaking about religious language too!! I fully agree, great post.:)
     
  19. Homie

    Homie Gods servant

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    This is completely different. God did not order the killing of Jews. He did however, order the killing of the Amalekites, or did he? Could it be that we have misread the verses? Look:

    1Sa 15:2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts,*The word of God begins* I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.*The word of God ends?*

    1Samuel 15:3 *So angry at the Amalek people, Samuel says*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 ***.

    You see what I am saying, maybe there is a reason that the 2nd verse ends where it does. Just a theory, what do you think? If anybody knew Hebrew that would be the best way to analyze these 2 verses.
     
  20. andybell

    andybell The Eggman

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    Another version of the bible reads instead of smite it has punish. it might seem that these are the same but when read in the context of the verse to me it make more sense to me why all must have been killed.
    To me this says that the all were punished for there actions, but why? The Amalek people later in the passage we are told opposed the people of Israel. Does this mean that God orderd that they be killed to show all other people not to mess with the Isrealites? Were the childeren sacrificed to send a message to all others? These are my thoughts anyway
     
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