The Story of the Bible is Violence

The story of the Holy Bible is violence. Violence was used by God and sometimes God used mankind to help the nation of Israel  change  its ways. One has to pick the stories from the different books of the Bible to prove, through the whole Bible, that violence was used. One will see in these examples from the different translations, that God used violence to make the world a better place.

            First, we will start from the book of Genesis and the fall of mankind; after Adam and Eve wished to be like God. God punished them by forcing them out of the Garden of Eden.  From the book of Genesis chapter 3:24, “And he cast out Adam: and placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubims, and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life”. [1] The effect of Adam and Eve’s choice made possible for this sin to spread to their children. Cain and Abel were brothers, but were jealous of each other. God would take offerings from Abel and not that of Cain. Cain tricked his brother into thinking they were going for a walk, when Cain would murder his brother. From Genesis 9:1, “and he said to him: What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth to me from the earth.”[2] Cain would end up being forced out from God as his parents were before him and he would be cursed.

            The book of Exodus is about the  Ancient Hebrew People  and their movement to Egypt over time, which became such a large number of people that the Egyptians had to force them into slavery. This way, the Hebrew people would not over-power them. This would backfire on Egypt for out of this, Moses would rise to be the voice of God among His Hebrew People. Moses and his brother Aaron go through conflict with the Egyptians  over whose gods were more powerful than the other. The Pharaoh’s heart was still hard to letting the Hebrew go. God chose to soften his heart by killing all first borns of Egyptian households in that area. In Exodus 11:5,  “All the first born sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour”.[3] Moses, through God, used Pharaoh’s own words against him by killing all the first borns. This  reinforces that the Lord used violence for the  purpose of the “greater good” of humanity. The Pharaoh, mourning his son’s life and his people’s children, told Moses that  the Hebrew people could go. Ironically, Pharaoh would rise up with force and try to stop the Hebrew people from leaving. Once again, the Egyptians would be foolish to act this way. The Hebrews would pass through the Red Sea with God’s help and when the Egyptians tried to follow, the Red Sea came down and crushed them. Then, the Hebrew people started over, but again violence is ever present in their lives. The Hebrew people would live in the desert for 40 years according to Exodus and other books of the early Hebrew Bible. There is also Numbers, Joshua and Judges. All of these books have violence in them in one way or another.

First and Second Book of Samuel

            Eli’s family was called to be a part of the priesthood and his children were not doing what was right in eyes of God. For this, God punished Eli and his family. According to the  book of Samuel, “And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day”. [4] Now this may not seem like violence to most people, but God did kill this whole family. They were His priests and they were not living rightly in his eyes, so he destroyed them. In the story of David and Goliath, people think David is an innocent boy. As people know, David was simply a Sheppard and a little boy, but look at his actions. According to Samuel 17:51, Then David ran and stood over the Philistine; he grasped his sword, drew it out of its sheath, and killed him; then he cut off his head with it”. [5] David was not meek. Firstly, being a Sheppard they were  tough people and he said before this that God had protected him from lions and bears. God used David with violence to save his people of  Israel and ultimately make him king. David  became King of Israel and united them under him. David would cross the line and sleep with another man’s wife and get her pregnant Uriah, not even Jewish but Hittite, was more of a man of honor than David. David would have him killed and take Bathsheba as his own. David did this because he did not get caught. He would not sleep with his wife before battle, which was Jewish custom. So David had him killed to protect him from the crime he did.  David is so blinded by his power he does not realize what wrong he has done. According to  2 Samuel 11: 15, “In the letter he wrote, ‘Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.”[6] Nathan, the Prophet of God, remind David of his sinful deeds  and God take away his son’s life. According to 2 Samuel 12:14, “Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child that is born to you shall die.”[7] It can clearly be seen God used violence to bring his message across.

The Book of Kings:

            In the book of Kings, Elijah gets into contestation with other prophets of Baal who stated their  god was  more powerful. Elijah would let Baal’s priests “work their magic.” but a fire would not start with their spells. Elijah, even with wet wood, would start a fire with his God’s power. After this, Elijah had the Jewish people murdering in the name of their God.  According to  the book of Kings,”and Elijah said to them, ‘Seize the prophets of Baal!   Do not let one of them escape!’ So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.”[8] God used violence in this situation to get his message across. Baal is a false god and  Yahweh of Israel was not.  God used the exile of  other nations to make Israel become the nation he wished it to be. First by Babylonians and then by Persians. Both of these nations were used by Yahweh to make Israel change its ways.

The Exile :

            Both the book of Jeremiah and  Daniel show life before and after the exile. Jeremiah warns the  people and acts likes a fool to get his point across. According to Jeremiah,  “and the king of Babylon’s army was then besieging Jerusalem; and the prophet Jeremiah was shut up in the court of the guard, which was in the king of Judah’s house.”[9]  God is using violence in this situation to gain humanity’s salvation for the greater good. The first passage of Daniel shows how God used the Babylonians to help the Jewish people and humanity overall. In the first chapter of the book of Daniel, In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim King of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged .”[10] Both of these passages used the word “besieging” which was warfare and one nation forcing control over another ., Israel let God down and a cycle of  God punishing them and then redeeming them  came about. Violence, once again, is ameans to an end for God and the greater good of humanity.

The Salvation Story through Violence:

 Most people know the Biblical story of the Lord Jesus. There were many violent events that took  place in His lifetime. The connection as seen in Matthew’s Jesus as the new Moses.  According to Matthew :

            Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly            angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all         its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.[11]

These poor infants were killed in an effort to stop Jesus from becoming the Messiah. It is  interesting how this violent act is only talked about in this Gospel; once again reinforcing that violence is needed  to make God’s salvation plan known.  Jesus, when he was put on trial, was whipped badly  and he could have died from that alone. According to Gospel Matthew, Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.”[12] This sentence has double meaning because Jesus was whipped and this is a violent act, However, when the Jewish people pick Barabbas over Jesus, this shows that  the Jewish people said they preferred violence over peace. Most people knew that Jesus died on the Cross for humanity’s sin. This can even be seen throughout the Bible to the book of Revelation.

            Revelation has been seen as the end of the world and has been influenced by the book of Daniel.  St. John the Divine writes about how those who used violence will have  violence used on them too.  St. John the Divine wrote, “If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed” [13] Revelation also tells about the ten plagues that fall on the Earth. Revelation states, “I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.”[14] It is about when judgment day comes upon the end. Also,  St. John the Divine writes about other forms of problems for people. Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”[15] The “mysterious whore of Babylon” has been a question of some scholars for many years. Many think it is the  link to paganism, especially in the Roman Empire, In the age of  Reformation,  many of the Reformers claim it  to be  the Papal state.  One must think of this as Rome. Of course, the early church was attacked by Rome and ironically it took over the Roman Empire itself. This too proves that God used violence for a greater purpose. St. John the Divine writes about these visions of battle between good and evil; in other words, Jesus against the Devil. The Devil will lose and be locked in Hell for all eternity in the lake of fire.

            The world  has always been in a battle between good and evil. In the end, the Good, which is God, will win and bring salvation to people who repent and change their sinful ways. Sadly, this world only seems to know violence and God has let us have it. The book of Revelation said it the best, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” [16]

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611            Authorized Version.) (Jn 19:1). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.The Holy

Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611    Authorized      Version.) (Lk 22:50–52). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

The New King James Version. 1982 (Mk 6:16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Darby, J. N. (1996). The Holy Scriptures : A new translation from the original languages (Je          32:1–2). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

Darby, J. N. (1996). The Holy Scriptures : A new translation from the original languages (Is          53:4–5). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2003 (Da 1:1). Nashville: Holman Bible       Publishers.

The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2003 (1 Ki 12:1–4). Nashville: Holman         Bible Publishers.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Ex 12:29–30). Grand Rapids:             Zondervan.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Ex 11:4–6). Grand Rapids:     Zondervan.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Ex 2:11–13). Grand Rapids:   Zondervan.

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ex 1:12–14). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

The Everyday Bible : New Century Version. 2005 (Ge 4:9–12). Nashville, TN.: Thomas Nelson,   Inc.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. (2nd ed.) (Ge 3:22–24). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.

1 The Holy Bible, Translated from the Latin Vulgate. 2009 (Ge 3:24). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

2 The Holy Bible, Translated from the Latin Vulgate. 2009 (Ge 4:10). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

10 Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. (2nd ed.) (Ex 11:4–5). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.

4 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (1 Sa 2:34). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

5 The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (1 Sa 17:51). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

 6 The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (2 Sa 11:15). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

7 The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (2 Sa 12:14–15). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[8] 1 Kings 18:40 (NKJV)

[9] Jeremiah 32:1-2

10 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Da 1:1). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[11] The New King James Version. 1982 (Mt 2:16–17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[12] Matthew 27:26 (NKJV)

13 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Re 13:10). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

14 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Re 15:1–2). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

15 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Re 16:1). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

16 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Re 1:8). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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