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Author Topic:   A Problem With the Literal Interpretation of Scripture
GDR
Member
Posts: 6206
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 1 of 4 (642569)
11-29-2011 7:24 PM


I have been working my way through the OT and came across this story of how Jehu slaughtered all of the descendants and followers of Ahab using deceit and treachery.
Here is the account from 2 Kings 10.
quote:
1 Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the rulers of Jezreel, the elders, and to the guardians of the children of Ahab, saying,
2"Now, when this letter comes to you, since your master's sons are with you, as well as the chariots and horses and a fortified city and the weapons,
3select the best and fittest of your master's sons, and set him on his father's throne, and fight for your master's house."
4 But they feared greatly and said, "Behold, the two kings did not stand before him; how then can we stand ?"
5 And the one who was over the household, and he who was over the city, the elders, and the guardians of the children, sent word to Jehu, saying, "We are your servants, all that you say to us we will do, we will not make any man king ; do what is good in your sight."
6 Then he wrote a letter to them a second time saying, "If you are on my side, and you will listen to my voice, take the heads of the men, your master's sons, and come to me at Jezreel tomorrow about this time." Now the king's sons, seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, who were rearing them.
7 When the letter came to them, they took the king's sons and slaughtered them, seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent them to him at Jezreel.
8 When the messenger came and told him, saying, "They have brought the heads of the king's sons," he said, "Put them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until morning."
9 Now in the morning he went out and stood and said to all the people, "You are innocent ; behold, I conspired against my master and killed him, but who killed all these ?
10"Know then that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spoke concerning the house of Ahab, for the LORD has done what He spoke through His servant Elijah."
11 So Jehu killed all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men and his acquaintances and his priests, until he left him without a survivor.
12 Then he arose and departed and went to Samaria. On the way while he was at Beth-eked of the shepherds,
13Jehu met the relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah and said, "Who are you?" And they answered, "We are the relatives of Ahaziah ; and we have come down to greet the sons of the king and the sons of the queen mother."
14 He said, "Take them alive." So they took them alive and killed them at the pit of Beth-eked, forty-two men ; and he left none of them.
15 Now when he had departed from there, he met Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him; and he greeted him and said to him, "Is your heart right, as my heart is with your heart ?" And Jehonadab answered, "It is." Jehu said, "If it is, give me your hand." And he gave him his hand, and he took him up to him into the chariot.
16 He said, "Come with me and see my zeal for the LORD." So he made him ride in his chariot.
17 When he came to Samaria, he killed all who remained to Ahab in Samaria, until he had destroyed him, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke to Elijah.
Jehu Destroys Baal Worshipers
18 Then Jehu gathered all the people and said to them, "Ahab served Baal a little ; Jehu will serve him much.
19"Now, summon all the prophets of Baal, all his worshipers and all his priests ; let no one be missing, for I have a great sacrifice for Baal ; whoever is missing shall not live." But Jehu did it in cunning, so that he might destroy the worshipers of Baal.
20 And Jehu said, "Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal." And they proclaimed it.
21 Then Jehu sent throughout Israel and all the worshipers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left who did not come. And when they went into the house of Baal, the house of Baal was filled from one end to the other.
22 He said to the one who was in charge of the wardrobe, "Bring out garments for all the worshipers of Baal." So he brought out garments for them.
23Jehu went into the house of Baal with Jehonadab the son of Rechab ; and he said to the worshipers of Baal, "Search and see that there is here with you none of the servants of the LORD, but only the worshipers of Baal."
24 Then they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed for himself eighty men outside, and he had said, "The one who permits any of the men whom I bring into your hands to escape shall give up his life in exchange."
25 Then it came about, as soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the royal officers, "Go in, kill them; let none come out." And they killed them with the edge of the sword ; and the guard and the royal officers threw them out, and went to the inner room of the house of Baal.
26 They brought out the sacred pillars of the house of Baal and burned them.
27 They also broke down the sacred pillar of Baal and broke down the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day.
28 Thus Jehu eradicated Baal out of Israel.
29However, as for the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin, from these Jehu did not depart, even the golden calves that were at Bethel and that were at Dan.
When we get to the end we can see that Jehu destroyed all of the places of worship of Baal so if you like it can be argued that Yahweh felt it necessary. Indeed it goes on to say that:
quote:
30 The LORD said to Jehu, "Because you have done well in executing what is right in My eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in My heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel."
So ostensibly here we have a case of Yahweh applauding a brutal treacherous slaughter as presumably the means must have justified the ends. Not exactly bed time reading for the little ones — is it?
However when we read the book of Hosea chapter 1 we read the following.
quote:
4 And the LORD said to him, "Name him Jezreel ; for yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5 "On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel."
Now it seems that although Yahweh was pleased with Jehu for what he did in 2nd Kings, he is now going to punish him for it in Hosea. This does strike me as more than a little odd and definitely un-God-like.
My contention again is that the OT is the story of God’s relationship with His people. It is told with the cultural and personal biases of the individual writers who had been inspired to write their stories. My belief is that when the Bible is read that way, as a narrative made up of numerous styles of writing, then it becomes a much more powerful and meaningful story. God’s message of truth, love, justice and forgiveness, mercy etc is all there if we don’t keep trying to deify the Bible, which IMHO only detracts from the God that the Bible is actually about.
I would like to hear the views of literalists/fundamentalists regarding what seems to me to be an inconsistent view of Yahweh and in the passages I have just cited. If it isn’t viewed as inconsistent it IMHO, makes Yahweh duplicitous, as well as brutal, and I have to wonder why anyone would want to worship a God like that.
Micah 6:8 says the following.
quote:
8 He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God ?
How does a person who loves humble kindness and justice, the qualities of Yahweh that we see in Jesus Christ, worship the God that we see in those two passages if we take them as being literally true. Does it not make a whole lot more sense to understand that it is a part of Jewish history where they went off the rails, and then justified it by saying that Yahweh was in favour of what they had done?
I think Bible Study is appropriate if some mod thinks that this passes muster.
Edited by GDR, : As suggested by Admin PD

Everybody is entitled to my opinion.

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by AdminPD, posted 11-30-2011 3:53 AM GDR has replied

AdminPD
Inactive Administrator


Message 2 of 4 (642600)
11-30-2011 3:53 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by GDR
11-29-2011 7:24 PM


Suggestions
Suggestion concerning the big chunk of scripture you quoted.
To make reading easier, I suggest breaking it into paragraphs or just quote the part at the end you referred to and link to the page where people can read the whole story if they choose.
Even the NIV and KJJV have it broken into paragraphs. Makes for easier reading on the screen.
I'm not sure Bible Study is the right forum. Bible Study is on the religious side and the description is: What does the Bible really mean?
The Accurracy and Inerrancy thread on the science side says in the description: Is the Bible the inerrant word of God? Or is it the words of men?
You seem to be looking at the reality behind the Bible, which might do better on the science side.
If you want it on the religious side, Faith and Belief may be a better fit. I don't feel you're looking at what the Bible really means.
Thanks
AdminPD

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by GDR, posted 11-29-2011 7:24 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by GDR, posted 11-30-2011 11:21 AM AdminPD has not replied

GDR
Member
Posts: 6206
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 3 of 4 (642639)
11-30-2011 11:21 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminPD
11-30-2011 3:53 AM


Re: Suggestions
AdminPD writes:
Suggestion concerning the big chunk of scripture you quoted.
Thanks. That was something of a no-brainer.
AdminPD writes:
The Accurracy and Inerrancy thread on the science side says in the description: Is the Bible the inerrant word of God? Or is it the words of men?
You seem to be looking at the reality behind the Bible, which might do better on the science side.
That makes sense. Thanks again.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by AdminPD, posted 11-30-2011 3:53 AM AdminPD has not replied

AdminPD
Inactive Administrator


Message 4 of 4 (642657)
11-30-2011 11:56 AM


Thread Copied to The Bible: Accuracy and Inerrancy Forum
Thread copied to the A Problem With the Literal Interpretation of Scripture thread in the The Bible: Accuracy and Inerrancy forum, this copy of the thread has been closed.

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