Why Was Moses Barred From the Promised Land?

 On that same day the Lord told Moses, 49 “Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. 50 There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. 51 This is because you ordered the slaughter of tens of thousands of Midianite mothers and their little boys; and because you allowed the virgin Midianite girls to be raped and enslaved by the Israelite soldiers. How could you commit such a horrific abomination in my name?  52 Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.”

Deuteronomy 32

Oops!

Sorry for the typo. I accidently mixed up two different stories about Moses. The slaughter of thousands of captive Midianite mothers and their little boys and the enslavement and rape of all the virgin Midianite girls was not why God barred Moses from entering the Promised Land. Silly me. Here is the real reason:

 You [Moses] will not enter the Promised Land because you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin.

Yea, that’s right. God barred Moses from entering the Promised Land because he lost his temper and hit a rock with his staff, not because he ordered the slaughter and rape of thousands of women and children.

And here is the full story about the slaughter of the Midianite women and children:

And Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the congregation went out to meet them outside the camp. 14 But Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had come from service in the war. 15 And Moses said to them, “Have you [c]spared all the women? 16 Behold, they caused the sons of Israel, through the [d]counsel of Balaam, to be unfaithful to the Lord in the matter of Peor, so that the plague took place among the congregation of the Lord! 17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man [e]intimately. 18 However, all the [f]girls who have not known a [g]man intimately, keep alive for yourselves.

Numbers 31

Genocide! Mass Murder! Mass Rape! How can any person with any sense of morality worship a god who ordered the slaughter of thousands of mothers and their little boys and ordered the rape of young girls?

Christian apologist: Wait a minute, Gary! No where in the Bible does it say that God ordered the slaughter of the Midianite women and little boys. That was Moses’ order, not God’s.

Really? Well, let’s go back to the first verse of Numbers 31 and see what it says:

 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the sons of Israel; afterward you will be gathered to your people.”

True, Yahweh never says, “Slaughter all the women captives and their little boys and rape and enslave all the virgin girls.” He simply says, “Take vengeance on the Midianites” and Moses took it from there. But do you notice something in that passage? This was God’s last command to Moses prior to Moses’ trip up Mount Nebo to die!

So, after Moses had ordered the slaughter and rape of thousands of women and children, what did God say to Moses when he got to the top of Mount Nebo? Did God chew him out for committing mass murder and rape? No!

God chewed out Moses for hitting a rock!

My god. How can Christians worship such a sick monster???

Now, many modern Christian apologists see the HUGE moral problem with this passage and have contorted themselves and their consciences into pretzels to concoct elaborate excuses for this barbaric act by the Judeo-Christian god.

The most popular explanation is to say that this event never happened. That this story is a non-historical allegory. God used the brutal language of the ancient Middle East (cultural accommodation) to express a theological concept to us. Bottom line: God never ordered genocide, rape, or murder. Not of the Midianites. Not of the Amalekites. Not of the Canaanites. If skeptics would only educate themselves a little bit regarding ancient Near East literature, they would understand this. Stupid skeptics! God is (still) soooo good!

But there is still a problem, my dear Christians. No where in the Hebrew Bible or in the Christian New Testament do the authors of holy scripture ever condemn the stories of mass genocide and rape in the Old Testament. It is as if these actions were seen by the [allegedly] God-inspired authors of scripture as moral; as justifiable actions. The fact that these horrible events may have never happened is irrelevant!

The Christian religion is based on sick, depraved teachings, dear friends. If Christians cannot see the gross immorality of their holy book, they have no business condemning the barbaric acts of modern day Muslim fundamentalists.

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12 thoughts on “Why Was Moses Barred From the Promised Land?

  1. “The most popular explanation is to say that this event never happened.” I’m sure you’ve noticed that Christians are quite good at deflecting on certain issues.

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    1. Except Trinitarian Christians believe that Jesus was the Old Testament god. If true, Jesus was a barbaric, baby-murdering butcher. How do they square that?

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  2. Jesus was a good, honorable, moral man. The god of the Old Testament, on the other hand, was a narcissistic, barbaric, mass-murderer. How can Trinitarian Christians believe that Jesus is the god of the Old Testament? It is incomprehensible to me. Let us ALL emulate the compassion, selfless giving, and humanism of Jesus, but abandon the worship of the highly immoral Trinitarian god.

    I suggest a better worldview: Deism. The TRUE creator, whose identity remains unknown, instilled in every human being core moral standards. These moral standards cry out against the injustice of slaughtering children and other innocents and against the crime of genocide. The god of the Old Testament is guilty of both of these horrendous crimes! Trinitarian Christianity is immoral, my friends. Abandon it.

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    1. There are plenty dishonourable, bad thing things Jesus says and does that are ignored because Christians want him to be faultless.

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      1. My praise of Jesus is mostly strategic: Trinitarian Christians (the overwhelming majority of the world’s Christians) believe that Jesus and the god of the OT are one of the same. If true, Jesus wasn’t very nice. In fact, if Jesus is the god of the OT, Jesus is a brutal, baby-slaughtering bastard. A smart apologist will weasel out of this corner by saying that atheists cannot condemn the morality of the Christian God because atheists cannot appeal to any objective standard of morality. I know that some atheists think they can prove that they do, but Christians don’t buy this argument.

        By taking the deistic position that our creator, whomever he or she was, instilled in every human being a core set of objective moral standards, the apologist cannot use this trick. He is stuck defending his god’s violation of the creator’s objective morality, proving that his god cannot be the creator.

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      2. My praise of Jesus is mostly strategic: Trinitarian Christians (the overwhelming majority of the world’s Christians) believe that Jesus and the god of the OT are one of the same. If true, Jesus wasn’t very nice. In fact, if Jesus is the god of the OT, Jesus is a brutal, baby-slaughtering bastard. A smart apologist will weasel out of this corner by saying that atheists cannot condemn the morality of the Christian God because atheists cannot appeal to any objective standard of morality. I know that some atheists think they can prove that they do, but Christians don’t buy this argument.

        By taking the deistic position that our creator, whomever he or she was, instilled in every human being a core set of objective moral standards, the apologist cannot use this trick. He is stuck defending his god’s violation of the creator’s objective morality, proving that his god cannot be the creator.

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      3. My praise of Jesus is mostly strategic: Trinitarian Christians (the overwhelming majority of the world’s Christians) believe that Jesus and the god of the OT are one and the same. If true, Jesus wasn’t very nice. In fact, if Jesus is the god of the OT, Jesus is a brutal, baby-slaughtering bastard. A smart apologist will weasel out of this corner by saying that atheists cannot condemn the morality of the Christian God because atheists cannot appeal to any objective standard of morality. I know that some atheists think they can prove that they do, but Christians don’t buy these arguments.

        By taking the deistic position that our creator, whomever he or she was, instilled in every human being a core set of objective moral standards (as Christian apologists agree is true), the Christian apologist cannot use this dodge. He is stuck defending his god’s violation of our creator’s most basic objective moral standards, proving that his god, Yahweh/Jesus the Christ, cannot be the creator.

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  3. You let Jesus off lightly, Gary. This is the man who calls a gentile woman a dog, tells his followers they should hate their parents, proposes that some should castrate themselves, relishes the opportunity of slaying his enemies and supports all the old brutal, barbaric laws. He doesn’t strike me as good, honorable moral man at all.

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