Christian Justifications for Moses’ Slaughter of the Midianite Mothers and Boys

Comment copied from a post on Debunking Christianity

 

Conservative Christian:

I trust you read the first part of the story about how the Midianites (Moab) used deception to entice the Israelites to engage in sexual immorality leading them away from God. See Numbers 22-25.

…Yes. It [the slaughter of the Midianite mothers and boys] was awful.

It needed to be.

Skeptic:

Numbers 22 differentiates between the Moabites and the Midianites, and although it is likely that they worshiped the same deities, why make a distinction there, and later in Numbers 25, blame all the “whoredom” on just Moab? A further reading of Numbers 25 shows that the real sin was intermarrying and a desire for racial purity. Remind you of any events from, say, the 1940’s? Zumri, a Jew, brought Cozbi, a Midianite, to meet the family and Phinehas, a priest, runs them both through with a spear! Then Yahweh commands Moses to “vex and smite” the Midianites. Not only does Moses maintain racial purity of the tribe, but manufactures a reason to steal the Midianites’ land and possession, and take sexual slaves.

Numbers 31: 26-28 lists the types of booty – beeves, asses, sheep, and persons (female virgins, since all males and non-virgins were already murdered) – and specifies how to divide it up. Verse 29 then commands that a share be given to Eleazar, the priest, as a “heave offering”.

But what is a “heave offering”? According to Leviticus 7:29-34, Heave and Wave offerings are the “right shoulder and breast”, held up and waved before the congregation, before the priests eat them. So it’s actually worse: human sacrifice and cannibalism!

But let’s return to your claim that the reason the Midianites deserved such a horrible end was that they seduced the Israelites. A little illicit sex demands a death sentence? No wonder many Christians (and Muslims) are so warped; all this preoccupation with and fear of sex! It’s been the downfall of so many of you guys: Ted Haggard, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, innumerable numbers of Catholic priests…If you can’t see how morally bankrupt and perverse your position is, I don’t know what to say. You are beyond salvation.

Further problems you fail to address are: 1) what possible excuse can you offer to justify
the murder innocent babies (presumably they weren’t seducing grown men); 2) how weak was the Israelites’ faith that they could be so easily seduced by a false god; and 3) how can you put any trust in an eternal/unchangeable god who is just as capable of atrocity now as he was then?

These Israelites are the same people who witnessed God’s judgment of the Egyptians, the parting of the Red Sea, the whirlwind, pillar of fire, and manna from Heaven and yet, they risked death and damnation for a little “strange”??? I’m not buying that. And why punish women/people who have not been exposed to “god’s love”? Is it not more just to punish the Israelites? Why not a really bad case of the clap, or hemorrhoids, or just have their peckers fall off (that would definitely put an end to dalliances with strange women!) That seems like real justice!

—“Procrastus”

 

 

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