A “Free Bradley Manning” button.
Although we had to swelter in the Maryland sun on Saturday, I found the pre-trial rally at Ft. Meade to support Bradley Manning particularly spirit-filled. It seemed there was an unspoken but widely shared consciousness that Manning is as much Biblical prophet as Army private.
I think Manning can be seen as a classic prophet in the Abrahamic tradition. Such prophets take risks to expose injustice and challenge the rest of us to do the same. They also are a very large pain to those who oppress — and a pain, as well, to those of us who would prefer not to have to bother about such things.
Prophets will neither acquiesce in injustice nor hide wrongdoing; they answer to a higher chain of command with very different “rules of engagement.” Take Isaiah, for example, who is described as an eccentric, walking around for three full years “naked and barefoot.” (Hat tip here to Rev. Howard Bess, for his recent reminder in “Rethinking the Genesis Message,” that, whereas Bible stories are largely myth and cannot be read as history, they often witness to truth in a way that mere history cannot.)
What was Isaiah trying to say by his nakedness? Biblical scholars conclude that he sought a vivid way to demonstrate to the Israelites that, if their oppressive practices did not stop they too would be “naked and barefoot, their buttocks shamefully exposed.” (Isa. 20:2-4) Or, more simply: It is not my nakedness that is shameful. It is yours — those of you who have stripped yourselves of the vision with which you were blessed, a vision of justice and shalom.
Can we borrow Isaiah’s eyesight to see and acknowledge that the abuse uncovered and revealed by Bradley Manning — including the torture and slaughter of Iraqi civilians — exposes the buttocks of us Americans? (And I refer not simply to those in the chain of command, but the rest of us too. Are you starting to feel a draft on your derriere?)
In suggesting we all need to examine our consciences, I take my cue from a more recent prophet in the tradition of Isaiah, Rabbi Abraham Heschel, who insisted that wherever injustice takes place, “few are guilty, but all are responsible.” Rabbi Heschel drove home the point, adding that, “indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself.”
Responsible If Unaware
Those of us Americans who have seen and heard the U.S. Army Apache helicopter gun-barrel video showing the killing of a dozen civilians (including two Reuters journalists) in Baghdad on July 12, 2007, (during President George W. Bush’s much-heralded “troop surge”) can appreciate how that video, which has been given the apt title “Collateral Murder,” leaves our buttocks “shamefully exposed.”
The premier German TV program Panorama, unlike its American counterparts, replayed the most salient parts of the gun-barrel footage, but also put context around the incident in a short 60 Minutes-type segment. Those of us who had some role in the German version begged the producers of Panorama to “undub” the program. They acknowledged the need, made an exception to their corporate policy against “undubbing,” and what emerged is a 12-minute English version titled “Shooters Walk Free, Whistleblower Jailed.”
To view the video please click on the following link
Lacking any real competition, the 12-minute English version is, in my view, the most straightforward depiction of what happened, including the war crime of murdering the “Good Samaritan,” who stopped to help one of the wounded.
War crime? Yes, war crime. “Justifying” the killing of a dozen people, including two journalists, based on the claim that a camera was mistaken for a gun and that therefore the killing was in keeping with the “Rules of Engagement,” as Defense Secretary Robert Gates claimed at the time, is already a stretch. But killing someone trying to help the wounded stretches that “justification” well beyond the breaking point. It is a war crime.
As Bradley Manning commented later, “The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they [the Apache helicopter shooters] appeared to have.”
What Moved Manning?
As I see it, Manning’s motivation was not necessarily religious, but rather a profoundly human reaction of the kind described in the Cain and Abel story in Genesis. I think most of us understand the imperative to be our brother’s keeper, but I do find the Genesis story helpful in sorting through these thorny issues.
What we need to bear in mind is that Genesis is not the first book of the Bible’s Old Testament that was written; it is one of the last. It was composed during and after the Babylonian captivity (587 to 538 B.C.E.) as a counter-story and repudiation of Babylon’s religion of empire.
That kind of “religion” was based largely on the concept of redemptive violence as the way to defeat evil and stave off chaos until the next time violence would be seen as unavoidably necessary. (How fortunate that we 21st Century sophisticates have long since risen above that primitive concept!)
Counter-stories are often tools designed to repair the damage inflicted on people by abusive power systems. That’s what Genesis was all about. The Israelites desperately needed to teach their children a narrative that would negate the influence of the violence-prone, opulent Babylon — their home for half a century. (Have any of you noticed how seductive the redemptive violence ethos can be, even — or especially — in nations that claim “city-on-the-hill status?”)
One story in Genesis is key to this understanding: Abel meets a violent end at the hands of his brother Cain. When God asks Cain where his brother is, Cain gives a Babylonian-empire-type response: “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
In his Come Out, My People: God’s Call out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond, Wes Howard-Brook highlights the impact of this passage, pointing out that with this question and Cain’s response, “Genesis undermines Babylon’s claim to divinely authorized violence.”
The murderer has no escape when faced with this question because there is someone who hears the victim’s blood crying out. These words, valid for the whole history of humankind, protect the person as a creature of God from other people. No cover story, no rules of engagement, can justify Cain’s act. God hears the cry of victims even from the bloody ground. And, we can add, even from the bloodstained streets and sidewalks of Baghdad.
Howard-Brook makes the point that biblical “myths” can shed light on human behavior — and misbehavior — even today. I am not suggesting that Bradley Manning was consciously motivated by the “Am I my brother’s keeper” story in Genesis. It would be a good question to ask him. I do think this story/myth can provide both guide and warning as to how we humans are to treat one another.
Manning and Goliath
Having just begun his fourth year in prison, the “speedy trial” that is every citizen’s right starts today when Bradley Manning’s actual court martial gets under way at Ft. Meade.
Indignities galore have tainted the pre-trial proceedings. Perhaps the most egregious travesty of justice occurred on April 21, 2011, with what must be the “mother of all command-influence” assertions. At a fundraiser in San Francisco, Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama was videotaped claiming that Manning “broke the law.” Taking their cue from their commander, zealous Army prosecutors down the chain of command are throwing the book at Manning, even accusing him of “aiding the enemy” and demanding a life sentence.
The objective of the Obama administration is transparent. It has little to do with the law, but rather is designed to make an object lesson of Manning. The administration wants to deter others truth-tellers who might also be tempted to reveal information that is labeled secret to hide oppression and abuse — including, in this case, U.S. war crimes.
Despite all this, Manning has kept his cool. Readers may not have learned the following from the “mainstream media,” but on Feb. 28, 2013, when Manning was finally given a chance to speak, after countless “pre-trial” Army court sessions, he said this:
“The video [of the July 12, 2007, Apache helicopter attack] depicted several individuals being engaged by an aerial weapons team. At first I did not consider the video very special, as I have viewed countless other war-porn type videos depicting combat. However, the recording of audio comments by the aerial weapons team crew and the second engagement in the video of an unarmed bongo truck troubled me. …
“The fact neither CENTCOM or Multi National Forces Iraq or MNF-I would not voluntarily release the video troubled me further. It was clear to me that the event happened because the aerial weapons team mistakenly identified Reuters employees as a potential threat and that the people in the bongo truck were merely attempting to assist the wounded.
“The people in the van were not a threat but merely ‘good Samaritans.’ The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they [the weapons team members] appeared to have.
“This dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as ‘dead bastards’ and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded.
“Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.
“While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew’s lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene. In the video, you can see the bongo truck driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response the aerial weapons team crew … repeatedly request authorization to fire on the bongo truck and, once granted, they engage the vehicle at least six times.
“Shortly after the second engagement, a mechanized infantry unit arrives at the scene. Within minutes, the aerial weapons team crew learns that children were in the van and despite the injuries the crew exhibits no remorse. Instead, they downplay the significance of their actions, saying quote ‘Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kid’s into a battle’ unquote.
“The aerial weapons team crew members sound like they lack sympathy for the children or the parents. Later in a particularly disturbing manner, the aerial weapons team verbalizes enjoyment at the sight of one of the ground vehicles driving over a body — or one of the bodies. As I continued my research, I found an article discussing the book, The Good Soldiers, written by Washington Post writer David Finkel.
In Mr. Finkel’s book, he writes about the aerial weapons team attack. As, I read an online excerpt in Google Books, I followed Mr. Finkel’s account of the event belonging to the video. I quickly realize that Mr. Finkel was quoting, I feel in verbatim, the audio communications of the aerial weapons team crew.
“It is clear to me that Mr. Finkel obtained access and a copy of the video during his tenure as an embedded journalist. I was aghast at Mr. Finkel’s portrayal of the incident. Reading his account, one would believe the engagement was somehow justified as ‘payback’ for an earlier attack that led to the death of a soldier. … For me it’s all a big mess, and I am left wondering what these things mean, and how it all fits together. It burdens me emotionally. …
“I hoped that the public would be as alarmed as me about the conduct of the aerial weapons team crew members. I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan are targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare.”
A final comment or two before I leave for the start of Manning’s trial. Is it not transparent what our government wants to keep hidden from us? Is it not a safe bet that the court proceedings will be orchestrated such that what remains hidden will not be revealed? But truth has a way of seeping out. I trust that it will.
Friends in the Los Angeles Catholic Worker have given this very serious issue a light touch with bumper sticker: “Jesus Loves WikiLeaks — Mark 4:22.” Here’s the verse from Mark: “Whatever is hidden away will be brought out into the open, and whatever is covered up will be uncovered.”
Which prompts the question: Where are the leaders of Christian institutions on all this? Deafening silence.
Sometimes it takes a compassionate but truth-telling outsider to throw light on our country, its leaders, and its policies. After the attacks of 9/11, Bishop Peter Storey of South Africa, a long-time fearless opponent of the earlier apartheid regime, offered this prophetic word:
“I have often suggested to American Christians that the only way to understand their mission is to ask what it might have meant to witness faithfully to Jesus in the heart of the Roman Empire. …
“American preachers have a task more difficult, perhaps, than those faced by us under South Africa’s apartheid, or by Christians under Communism. We had obvious evils to engage; you have to unwrap your culture from years of red, white, and blue myth.
“You have to expose, and confront, the great disconnect between the kindness, compassion, and caring of most American people and the ruthless way American power is experienced, directly and indirectly, by the poor of the earth. You have to help good people see how they have let their institutions do their sinning for them.
“This is not easy among people who really believe that their country does nothing but good. But it is necessary, not only for their future, but for us all. All around the world there are those who believe in the basic goodness of the American people, who agonize with you in your pain, but also long to see your human goodness translated into a different, more compassionate way of relating with the rest of this bleeding planet.”
A Charism Moment
Bradley Manning has given us a charism-moment — a Christian belief in total consecration to Jesus — and a chance to reflect on all this. It is up to us now to unwrap the red, white and blue myth and ask ourselves if we are up to taking the kind of risks required by the times, if we really believe we are “our brother’s keeper.”
As we did our best on Saturday to wave our Veterans for Peace flags, I thought back to the President’s May 23 speech on drones and on Guantanamo. With eight American flags behind him and one on his lapel, Barack Obama referred to the “ruthless demagogues who litter history.” He then added that “the flag of the United States will still wave from small town cemeteries … to distant outposts abroad. And that flag will still stand for freedom.”
And I thought of the late Howard Zinn’s observation: “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
Obama concluded his long speech with his customary: “And may God bless the United States of America.” If there is a God of Justice (and I believe there is), we run the risk of forfeiting that blessing, unless and until we stop playing the role of violence-prone Cain; that is, if we fail to recognize, as Bradley Manning did, the mandate to be keepers, not oppressors, of our brothers and sisters.
God will not be mocked — or fooled by flag-waving.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of (more…)
Note: In the Bible, words having to do with killing significantly outnumber words having to do with love.
It begs the question how nice was God to his creation?
GE 3:1-7, 22-24 God allows Adam and Eve to be deceived by the Serpent (the craftiest of all of God’s wild creatures). They eat of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil,” thereby incurring death for themselves and all of mankind for ever after. God prevents them from regaining eternal life, by placing a guard around the “Tree of Eternal Life.” (Note: God could have done the same for the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” in the first place and would thereby have prevented the Fall of man, the necessity for Salvation, the Crucifixion of Jesus, etc.)
GE 34:13-29 The Israelites kill Hamor, his son, and all the men of their village, taking as plunder their wealth, cattle, wives and children.
GE 6:11-17, 7:11-24 God is unhappy with the wickedness of man and decides to do something about it. He kills every living thing on the face of the earth other than Noah’s family and thereby makes himself the greatest mass murderer in history.
GE 38:9 “… whenever he lay with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked …, so the Lord put him to death.”
EX 2:12 Moses murders an Egyptian.
EX 7:1, 14, 9:14-16, 10:1-2, 11:7 The purpose of the devastation that God brings to the Egyptians is as follows:
to show that he is Lord;
to show that there is none like him in all the earth;
to show his great power;
to cause his name to be declared throughout the earth;
to give the Israelites something to talk about with their children;
to show that he makes a distinction between Israel and Egypt.
EX 9:22-25 A plague of hail from the Lord strikes down everything in the fields of Egypt both man and beast except in Goshen where the Israelites reside.
EX 12:29 The Lord kills all the first-born in the land of Egypt.
EX 17:13 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua mows down Amalek and his people.
EX 21:20-21 With the Lord’s approval, a slave may be beaten to death with no punishment for the perpetrator as long as the slave doesn’t die too quickly.
EX 32:27 “Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.
EX 32:27-29 With the Lord’s approval, the Israelites slay 3000 men.
LE 26:7-8 The Lord promises the Israelites that, if they are obedient, their enemies will “fall before your sword.”
LE 26:22 “I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children.”
NU 11:33 The Lord smites the people with a great plague.
NU 12:1-10 God makes Miriam a leper for seven days because she and Aaron had spoken against Moses.
NU 15:32-36 A Sabbath breaker (who had gathered sticks for a fire) is stoned to death at the Lord’s command.
NU 16:27-33 The Lord causes the earth to open and swallow up the men and their households (including wives and children) because the men had been rebellious.
NU 16:35 A fire from the Lord consumes 250 men.
NU 16:49 A plague from the Lord kills 14,700 people.
NU 21:3 The Israelites utterly destroy the Canaanites.
NU 21:6 Fiery serpents, sent by the Lord, kill many Israelites.
NU 21:35 With the Lord’s approval, the Israelites slay Og “… and his sons and all his people, until there was not one survivor left ….”
NU 25:4 (KJV) “And the Lord said unto Moses, take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun ….”
NU 25:8 “He went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly.”
NU 25:9 24,000 people die in a plague from the Lord.
NU 31:9 The Israelites capture Midianite women and children.
NU 31:17-18 Moses, following the Lord’s command, orders the Israelites to kill all the Midianite male children and “… every woman who has known man ….” (Note: How would it be determined which women had known men? One can only speculate.)
NU 31:31-40 32,000 virgins are taken by the Israelites as booty. Thirty-two are set aside (to be sacrificed?) as a tribute for the Lord.
DT 2:33-34 The Israelites utterly destroy the men, women, and children of Sihon.
DT 3:6 The Israelites utterly destroy the men, women, and children of Og.
DT 7:2 The Lord commands the Israelites to “utterly destroy” and shown “no mercy” to those whom he gives them for defeat.
DT 20:13-14 “When the Lord delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the males …. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves.”
DT 20:16 “In the cities of the nations the Lord is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.”
DT 21:10-13 With the Lord’s approval, the Israelites are allowed to take “beautiful women” from the enemy camp to be their captive wives. If, after sexual relations, the husband has “no delight” in his wife, he can simply let her go.
DT 28:53 “You will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you.”
JS 6:21-27 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua destroys the city of Jericho men, women, and children with the edge of the sword.
JS 7:19-26 Achan, his children and his cattle are stoned to death because Achan had taken a taboo thing.
JS 8:22-25 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly smites the people of Ai, killing 12,000 men and women, so that there were none who escaped.
JS 10:10-27 With the help of the Lord, Joshua utterly destroys the Gibeonites.
JS 10:28 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the people of Makkedah.
JS 10:30 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the Libnahites.
JS 10:32-33 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the people of Lachish.
JS 10:34-35 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the Eglonites.
JS 10:36-37 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the Hebronites.
JS 10:38-39 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the Debirites.
JS 10:40 (A summary statement.) “So Joshua defeated the whole land …; he left none remaining, but destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded.”
JS 11:6 The Lord orders horses to be hamstrung. (Exceedingly cruel.)
JS 11:8-15 “And the lord gave them into the hand of Israel, …utterly destroying them; there was none left that breathed ….”
JS 11:20 “For it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be utterly destroyed, and should receive no mercy but be exterminated, as the Lord commanded Moses.”
JS 11:21-23 Joshua utterly destroys the Anakim.
JG 1:4 With the Lord’s support, Judah defeats 10,000 Canaanites at Bezek.
JG 1:6 With the Lord’s approval, Judah pursues Adoni-bezek, catches him, and cuts off his thumbs and big toes.
JG 1:8 With the Lord’s approval, Judah smites Jerusalem.
JG 1:17 With the Lord’s approval, Judah and Simeon utterly destroy the Canaanites who inhabited Zephath.
JG 3:29 The Israelites kill about 10,000 Moabites.
JG 3:31 (A restatement.) Shamgar killed 600 Philistines with an oxgoad.
JG 4:21 Jael takes a tent stake and hammers it through the head of Sisera, fastening it to the ground.
JG 7:19-25 The Gideons defeat the Midianites, slay their princes, cut off their heads, and bring the heads back to Gideon.
JG 8:15-21 The Gideons slaughter the men of Penuel.
JG 9:5 Abimalech murders his brothers.
JG 9:45 Abimalech and his men kill all the people in the city.
JG 9:53-54 “A woman dropped a stone on his head and cracked his skull. Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, ‘Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say a woman killed me.’ So his servant ran him through, and he died.”
JG 11:29-39 Jepthah sacrifices his beloved daughter, his only child, according to a vow he has made with the Lord.
JG 14:19 The Spirit of the Lord comes upon a man and causes him to slay thirty men.
JG 15:15 Samson slays 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass.
JG 16:21 The Philistines gouge out Samson’s eyes.
JG 16:27-30 Samson, with the help of the Lord, pulls down the pillars of the Philistine house and causes his own death and that of 3000 other men and women.
JG 18:27 The Danites slay the quiet and unsuspecting people of Laish.
JG 19:22-29 A group of sexual depraved men beat on the door of an old man’s house demanding that he turn over to them a male house guest. Instead, the old man offers his virgin daughter and his guest’s concubine (or wife): “Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine; let me bring them out now. Ravish them and do with them what seems good to you; but against this man do not do so vile a thing.” The man’s concubine is ravished and dies. The man then cuts her body into twelve pieces and sends one piece to each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
JG 20:43-48 The Israelites smite 25,000+ “men of valor” from amongst the Benjamites, “men and beasts and all that they found,” and set their towns on fire.
JG 21:10-12 “… Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword and; also the women and little ones…. every male and every woman that has lain with a male you shall utterly destroy.” They do so and find four hundred young virgins whom they bring back for their own use.
1SA 4:10 The Philistines slay 30,000 Israelite foot soldiers.
1SA 5:6-9 The Lord afflicts the Philistines with tumors in their “secret parts,” presumably for having stolen the Ark.
1SA 6:19 God kills seventy men (or so) for looking into the Ark (at him?). (Note: The early Israelites apparently thought the Ark to be God’s abode.)
1SA 7:7-11 Samuel and his men smite the Philistines.
1SA 11:11 With the Lord’s blessing, Saul and his men cut down the Ammonites.
1SA 14:31 Jonathan and his men strike down the Philistines.
1SA 14:48 Saul smites the Amalekites.
1SA 15:3, 7-8 “This is what the Lord says: Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass ….’ And Saul … utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.”
1SA 15:33 “Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord ….”
1SA 18:7 The women sing as they make merry: “Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands.”
1SA 27:8-11 “David left neither man nor woman alive ….”. (Note: This implies that children and infants were included in the slaughter.)
1SA 30:17 David smites the Amalekites.
2SA 2:23 Abner kills Asahel.
2SA 3:30 Joab and Abishai kill Abner.
2SA 4:7-8 Rechan and Baanah kill Ish-bosheth, behead him, and take his head to David.
2SA 4:12 David has Rechan and Baanah killed, their hands and feet cut off, and their bodies hanged by the pool at Hebron.
2SA 5:25 “And David did as the Lord commanded him, and smote the Philistines ….”
2SA 6:2-23 Because she rebuked him for having exposed himself, Michal (David’s wife) was barren throughout her life.
2SA 8:1-18 (A listing of some of David’s murderous conquests.)
2SA 8:4 David hamstrung all but a few of the horses.
2SA 8:5 David slew 22,000 Syrians.
2SA 8:13 David slew 18,000 Edomites in the valley of salt and made the rest slaves.
2SA 10:18 David slew 47,000+ Syrians.
2SA 11:14-27 David has Uriah killed so that he can marry Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba.
2SA 13:1-15 Amnon loves his sister Tamar, rapes her, then hates her.
2SA 13:28-29 Absalom has Amnon murdered.
2SA 18:6 -7 20,000 men are slaughtered at the battle in the forest of Ephraim.
2SA 18:15 Joab’s men murder Absalom.
2SA 20:10-12 Joab’s men murder Amasa and leave him “… wallowing in his own blood in the highway. And anyone who came by, seeing him, stopped.”
2SA 24:15 The Lord sends a pestilence on Israel that kills 70,000 men.
1KI 2:24-25 Solomon has Adonijah murdered.
1KI 2:29-34 Solomon has Joab murdered.
1KI 2:46 Solomon has Shime-i murdered.
1KI 13:15-24 A man is killed by a lion for eating bread and drinking water in a place where the Lord had previously told him not to. This is in spite of the fact that the man had subsequently been lied to by a prophet who told the man that an angel of the Lord said that it would be alright to eat and drink there.
1KI 20:29-30 The Israelites smite 100,000 Syrian soldiers in one day. A wall falls on 27,000 remaining Syrians.
2KI 1:10-12 Fire from heaven comes down and consumes fifty men.
2KI 2:23-24 Forty-two children are mauled and killed, presumably according to the will of God, for having jeered at a man of God.
2KI 5:27 Elisha curses Gehazi and his descendants forever with leprosy.
2KI 6:18-19 The Lord answers Elisha’s prayer and strikes the Syrians with blindness. Elisha tricks the blind Syrians and leads them to Samaria.
2KI 6:29 “So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”
2KI 9:24 Jehu tricks and murders Joram.
2KI 9:27 Jehu has Ahaziah killed.
2KI 9:30-37 Jehu has Jezebel killed. Her body is trampled by horses. Dogs eat her flesh so that only her skull, feet, and the palms of her hands remain.
2KI 10:7 Jehu has Ahab’s seventy sons beheaded, then sends the heads to their father.
2KI 10:14 Jehu has forty-two of Ahab’s kin killed.
2KI 10:17 “And when he came to Samaria, he slew all that remained to Ahab in Samaria, till he had wiped them out, according to the word of the Lord ….”
2KI 10:19-27 Jehu uses trickery to massacre the Baal worshippers.
2KI 11:1 Athaliah destroys all the royal family.
2KI 15:3-5 Even though he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, the Lord smites Azariah with leprosy for not having removed the “high places.”
2KI 15:16 Menahem ripped open all the women who were pregnant.
2KI 19:35 An angel of the Lord kills 185,000 men.
1CH 20:3 (KJV) “And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes.”
2CH 13:17 500,000 Israelites are slaughtered.
2CH 21:4 Jehoram slays all his brothers.
PS 137:9 Happy will be the man who dashes your little ones against the stones.
PS 144:1 God is praised as the one who trains hands for war and fingers for battle.
IS 13:15 “Everyone who is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their … wives will be ravished.”
IS 13:18 “Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.”
IS 14:21-22 “Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers.”
IS 49:26 The Lord will cause the oppressors of the Israelite’s to eat their own flesh and to become drunk on their own blood as with wine.
JE 16:4 “They shall die grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcasses shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.”
LA 4:9-10 “Those slain by the sword are better off than those who die of famine; racked with hunger, they waste away for lack of food. … pitiful women have cooked their own children, who became their food …”
EZ 6:12-13 The Lord says: “… they will fall by the sword, famine and plague. He that is far away will die of the plague, and he that is near will fall by the sword, and he that survives and is spared will die of famine. So will I spend my wrath upon them. And they will know I am the Lord, when the people lie slain among their idols around their altars, on every high hill and on all the mountaintops, under every spreading tree and every leafy oak ….”
EZ 9:4-6 The Lord commands: “… slay old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women ….”
EZ 20:26 In order that he might horrify them, the Lord allowed the Israelites to defile themselves through, amongst other things, the sacrifice of their first-born children.
EZ 21:3-4 The Lord says that he will cut off both the righteous and the wicked that his sword shall go against all flesh.
EZ 23:34 “You shall … pluck out your hair, and tear your breasts.”
HO 13:16 “They shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”
MI 3:2-3 “… who pluck off their skin …, and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.”
MT 10:21 “… the brother shall deliver up his brother to death, and the father his child, … children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.”
MT 10:35-36 “For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law a man’s enemies will be the members of his own family.”
MT 11:21-24 Jesus curses [the inhabitants of] three cities who were not sufficiently impressed with his great works.
AC 13:11 Paul purposefully blinds a man (though not permanently).
Tomorrow part 5 Bible Inconsistencies and contractions