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The wars of ancient Israel

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posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 04:59 PM
I’ve come to understand the relationship between God and his people as a joint enterprise between God and man.
The original purpose and impetus come from God, but a large part of the practical work is done by human agency and therefore compromised by human thoughts and preferences.
And that’s where the flaws come from. The human contribution.

In the past, I’ve argued that case on the “social” laws of the Pentateuch; GOD’S LAW; YOUR PATIENT TEACHER

I found it necessary to try to discern the difference between the human element in the teaching and the effects of God’s influence.
The same can be said of the history of Old Testament Israel (and also, for that matter, the history of the church).

The history of Israel, when examined carefully, is found to be full of things which God did not want.
He did not want human sacrifice, and made strong declarations against the sacrifice of children, which was the most popular form.
He demanded the death penalty for murder, on the principle of “equal recompense”. Yet we may question how much he intended the extension of the death penalty to lesser offences like adultery and disobedience to parents. This extension looks like a human solution to the problem that Israel was not a voluntary society, and needed some way of enforcing conformity to the rules which had been given.
Paul would have recommended expulsion, but people cannot be expelled from a territorial community except by exile or death.
He did not want slavery, and would not have wanted marriage to be undermined by loose practices like divorce and polygamy. However, educating his people out of these practices was a slow process, and he was obliged to tolerate what Jesus called “the hardness of their hearts”.
He did not ask for kingship or a Temple, and he did not (according to Jeremiah) ask for animal sacrifice. In all these things, his people were simply imitating the institutions of the culture in which they found themselves. Nevertheless, this did not prevent him from using these institutions for symbolic purposes, at least for the time being.
In short, we cannot take it for granted, without qualification, that Israel is always acting in accordance with God’s will.

Which has a bearing on the question; How much “of God” was there in the wars of the Israelites?

In fact the wars of the Israelites come in different forms, which means the question is not straightforward.
In the first place, there were the defensive wars, fought to protect the very existence of the society and the lives of individual members.
The gospel advice to “turn the other cheek” was given to individuals. In the current sinful state of the world, no nation adopting that policy for itself could expect to survive the attacks coming from outside.
It was no part of God’s purpose that he should allow his people to become extinct, and therefore he was willing to help them to defend themselves.

This was the case even in the very beginnings of the nation.
When Jacob was coming back to the land and expecting to face the potentially hostile forces of Esau, the angels of God met him on the way. He took this as a sign that the hosts of the Lord would be supporting his own host, and called the place Mahanaim- “Two armies” (Genesis ch32 vv1-2).
Moses was praying for, and evidently receiving, the Lord’s help when Joshua was leading Israel against the attack of the Amalekites (Exodus ch17 vv8-14).
In their settlement in Canaan, before the establishment of the kingdom, the Israelites were constantly suffering from the raids or the domination of outsiders. The pattern we find is that the Lord “raised up judges, who saved them out of the power of those who plundered them” (Judges ch2 v16).
So he raised Ehud (to fight the Moabites), Barak (for Jabin, king of Canaan), Gideon (for the Midianites), Jephthah (for the Midianites), Saul (for the Philistines and the Ammonites and the Amalekites), and David (for the Philistines).
That’s why they did not need kings. He was giving them men who were doing the work of kings.

edit on 28-8-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 05:00 PM
Then there is the more ambiguous possibility of “religious war”, undertaken to bring people into or keep them within the religious community. But this is man’s way, rather than God’s way, of sustaining the community. Like the extension of the death penalty, it happens because they are not yet ready to trust in the voluntary principle.

We find two such episodes (running together without a break) in Numbers ch25, The Exodus tribes have reached Shiittim, on the eastern side of the Jordan. In both cases, the appeal of the local culture endangers the existence of the distinct community.
In the first episode, some of the Israelites began to “play the harlot with the daughters of Moab”, which was one aspect of being drawn in to the worship-system of the Moabite gods. Moses cut the connection by ordering the death of those who had “yoked themselves to Baal of Peor”.
In the next episode, an Israelite man brought a Midianite woman into his household and lay with her “in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel” (that is, he publicly took her to the other side of a closed door). Then Phinehas, son of Eleazar, of the tribe of Levi, won himself praise and a mention in the psalms (106 v30) by killing them both in a single spear-stroke. War followed with the resentful Midianites, because the woman was the daughter of one of their princes. But the narrative considers that the Midianites were trying to beguile the people of Israel and seduce them from their allegiance.

There follows the conquest of Canaan.
In Deuteronomy, Israel are told to take possession of the land and drive away the current occupants, the mighty nations of the Hittites, Girga#es, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.
The word used is “destroy”.
In practice, this means that Israel should not make covenants with them or allow intermarriage.
It also means breaking down their altars and their images.
So this is less about killing them, as individuals, and more about not allowing them to be in close proximity as distinct religious communities (Deuteronomy ch7 vv1-5).

In the book of Joshua, the conquest of Canaan is carried out systematically over a series of campaigns, involving the wholesale slaughter of populations in captured cities and entire regions.
However, it is very unlikely that the conquest really took place in that form.
Modern students of history are more inclined to get their understanding of the conquest from the book of Judges.
What we find in Judges is a story of gradual infiltration and local fighting and incomplete occupation; “The Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land. When Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labour, but did not utterly drive them out.” (Judges ch1 vv27-28)
Later generations of Israelites were promiscuously worshipping at the shrines of the original gods of the land precisely because they were continuing to share the land with the original inhabitants.
This cause-and-effect was obvious enough to the prophets of the kingdom period. So the instruction to drive away the other nations and break off all contact, destroying their shrines in the process, was inserted in the law retrospectively to demonstrate what should have happened to prevent that result.
And the book of Joshua, which comes from the same period, is an idealised account (from their viewpoint) describing the kind of conquest which would have prevented the later religious promiscuity.
We need to understand that the grand genocide of the inhabitants of Canaan, for which Old Testament Israel is frequently blamed, was not a real event in history, but a retrospective wish-fulfilment fantasy.

When David was firmly on the throne, his campaigns against the eastern raiders began to evolve into campaigns of conquest (this happens frequently in history, because the best way of inhibiting raiders may be to control their territory). So he fought against the Ammonites, and he fought and defeated the Edomites and the Syrians and the king of Zobah.
He left Solomon ruling over kingdoms as far as the Euphrates- not necessarily under his administration, but at least having to pay tribute. This would have given Solomon control over the east-of-Jordan trade routes and the associated tolls, which was the real basis of his wealth and power.
Nevertheless, God had not instructed David to indulge himself in wars of conquest, and does not seem to have approved of them;
“God said to me; You may not build a house in my name. for you are a warrior and have shed blood” -1 Chronicles ch28 v3 (I would not lean too heavily on that statement, though, because that is the Chronicler glossing over the fact that God did not want a Temple in the first place.)
And God was certainly disapproving when Solomon’s kingdom broke in half, and the two kingdoms were about to start fighting each other;
“Thus says the Lord; You shall not go up or fight against your kinsmen the people of Israel. Return every man to his home, for this thing is from me” (1 Kings ch12 v24).

Even when the two kingdoms were not fighting each other, they were never as strong separately as they had been when they were in union.
Increasingly, their wars were becoming defensive wars which God was willing to endorse.
Yet the kingdom of Judah was destroyed, for practical purposes, by the battle of Megiddo, a battle which Josiah undertook as part of a coalition, and which God had not prompted.
The wars of Israel are not necessarily the same thing as the wars of God.

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 05:05 PM
The above is a sketchy approach to a theme which ought to have more detailed treatment, like the laws, if the time were available.

For information; "Prophets, priests and politics", covering the history of Israel from Deborah to Malachi, is just about ready for publication (in my opinion) and just needs a publisher. So that side of things is developing slowly.

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 06:40 PM
I read all your thread and I see you gave a lot of thought to it, maybe to much.

It all came down to this one thing you said.

I found it necessary to try to discern the difference between the human element in the teaching and the effects of God’s influence.
Why did you find it necessary to TRY TO DISCERN the differences between something that is questionable if there were actually there in the first place?

All God wanted from them was to believe him and follow his words. To do so is faith, a result of their belief.

When he said Destroy, utterly destroy, kill them all, that is what God wanted them to do. Because the sin of the Canaanites had come full round and it was time for God's judgement on them.

THE HUMAN ELEMENT was THEY DID NOT DO AS GOD COMMANDED TO DO. And he knew they wouldn't obey and said so to Moses and Moses told them as such and wrote it down for them so they had a record of what God knew from the beginning.

THE EFFECTS OF GOD'S INFLUENCE was ignored by the majority.

When you over think God's words, you will recreate God's word into your own thoughts and ways, which are not his thoughts and ways.

Just believe what the Bible says, where God says it, to whom he says it, where you find it, as you find it. And if you want to have ALL OF HIS WORDS in English pick up a KJV Bible.

edit on 8/28/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 06:49 PM

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 06:55 PM
sorta said to kill them all

two verses later ....God says after ya destroy them and their livestock.....He says do not let your sons marry into their family....and do not do business with them.....

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 06:56 PM
a reply to: GBP/JPY
Exactly. They were still there.

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 07:06 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

As usual you can not hold a honest conversation on clear and concise points.

Go join the protest you fit in better there.

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 07:08 PM

originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: GBP/JPY
Exactly. They were still there.

No, they had been out of there for 1,918 years. Only after 1,918 did Israel start going back into their land.

You erred not knowing the history.
edit on 8/28/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 07:19 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Phenomenal thread, sir (as usual). My favorite teacher- Dr. Michael Heiser- helped me come back to the Lord by explaining that God wasn’t endorsing any particular culture when He chose Israel. He was inserting himself into the culture and changing it slowly from within. That helped me so much, because I felt that the “Old Testament God” was completely different than Jesus; he seemed like a crazy monster to me.

Learning about CONTEXT changed everything for me. I didn’t grow up being taught a lick about context, nor did I know or even think to learn about the culture of the time of the Hebrew bible (and the New Testament, for that matter).

I refer people to his podcast (The Naked Bible) as often as I can, because I know plenty of people have the same beliefs that I did about God in the Hebrew bible.

I love your threads- they’re so informative and so well constructed. I don’t comment much, but I read and am blessed by all of them. God bless you, DISRAELI.

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 07:23 PM

originally posted by: ChesterJohn
a reply to: DISRAELI

As usual you can not hold a honest conversation on clear and concise points.

Go join the protest you fit in better there.

You’re viewing his responses with distortion, I think, brother.

But whatever the case, that “join the protests” comment was unnecessary and rude, brother.

I make plenty of unnecessary and rude comments on this board too. That’s how I recognize yours- because I’m guilty too.

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 08:13 PM
Not so sketchy, its very well written in a concise and easily understood manner, DISRAELI. Well done.

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 10:10 PM
a reply to: KansasGirl

I said that because, the protestors don't want a dialog because they can't dialog. So yes he is better fit to be with the rioters than with those of us who can dialog and get our points clearly across using scripture.

Yes, because his response is rude to me, and to others because they see his lack of fidelity to scriptural context when I point it out, and instead of discoursing on it. it is "I am not talking to you until you repent" or a link to where he claims I am not serving the Lord or I have to repent for rebuking him in the past. Which is a scriptural mandate to us Bible Believers for false teachers who add, take away of change God's words.

So yes he is like the protestors unable to communicate their ideas.

You will notice my original reply I was not rude, I clearly and simply shared what is the obvious a flaw in his thinking, which is his over thinking. It would have been easy for him to respectfully reply but again his lies is all he can point too.

edit on 8/28/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 10:20 PM
a reply to: glend

I agree it is so well done it is convincing. In the bible they are known as eloquent speakers but there are very few eloquent speakers in the Bible except for Jesus Christ.

But anyone who has studied scriptures for 27 years as I have, you see error very quickly and easily because their words don't jive with God's words. It is a familiarity with God's words that when you read mans words the difference stands out. As I pointed out above.

So in a case where a man's words don't jive with God's words, which are you going to believe God's ? or Man's?

I'll take the KJV Bible which is God's words preserved for us over any man in error. No matter how well it is written or thought out.
edit on 8/28/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 10:21 PM
positive waves , man......

I'm sendin it....YOU SEND IT

cool, we sent it....
edit on 28-8-2020 by GBP/JPY because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 11:01 PM
a reply to: GBP/JPY

you can't have positive without a negative. If you don't have a negative you can't have a positive. Negatives are just as important as Positives without the one the other cannot exist.

Simple physics

The Bible is 75% negative.

posted on Aug, 29 2020 @ 12:06 AM
Israel probably been a battlefield since time immemorable, and was the center of the known world at one point which why there so much conflict. Even the four ancient empires vied for it, and the infighting with the senate like tribes.

Elijah story about Yahweh and Baal sounds like a big language barrier. Wonder if it was about accents, an free speech vs cancel culture. Rome did make roads, but couldn't make rivers.

edit on 29-8-2020 by Specimen88 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 29 2020 @ 12:28 AM
a reply to: ChesterJohn

We cannot have people, stoning to death, their disobeying children. So clearly some discernment has to be made. But I do understand your point. If one thing is questioned then the mind will pick and choose what it wants to believe.

I know some religious groups like mandaeans (may have originally followed John the Baptist) don't believe that Moses nor Abraham were true prophets. Which begs the question, do all prophets communicate with God equally or is their lens to God dependant on the light within.

I have no answers to the questions.

posted on Aug, 29 2020 @ 01:52 AM
ha.... if the fallen prince of egypt tuthmoses knewed before wat he had triggerd by leading the slaves out of egypt
he might have considerd it....

posted on Aug, 29 2020 @ 02:01 AM
Since the subject has been brought up, I will make one observation; limiting it to that, because otherwise off-topic.
Charges were made about me which were both malicious and dishonest. They have never been withdrawn, despite requests.
The relationship could have degenerated nto a messy public scrap, but I thought it better to break off contact altogether, and give a standard reply to any attempt at contact.

edit on 29-8-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

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