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Child Abuse, Yahweh's Way


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Initial post: Feb 29, 2012, 10:56:36 PM PST
Child Abuse Yahweh's Way

Only in the 'Twilight Zone' of biblical times could one become a "hero of faith" by killing his daughter in order to keep a foolish oath.

Faithfulness to one's word is certainly an admirable trait, but in the Twilight Zone of biblical times loyalty was sometimes carried to extremes.

The most extreme example of oath-keeping recorded in the Bible is the case of Jephthah, an Israelite judge whose ill-conceived oath led him to sacrifice his only child as a burnt offering to Yahweh. The story is recorded in Judges 11:29-40. During a territorial dispute with the Ammonites, Jephthah made a vow to Yahweh prior to battle: -- "If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the People of Ammon, shall surely be Yahweh's, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering" -- (vs:30-31).

Needless to say, with Yahweh on his side, Jephthah defeated the Ammonites "with a very great slaughter" (v:33). Of course, it just couldn't have been a Yahwistic victory without a - "very great slaughter."

On his return home, however, Jephthah was greeted at his house by his daughter who came out to meet him "with timbrels and dancing" (v:34). When Jephthah saw her, he tore his clothes and cried out in anguish, -- "Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I have given my word to Yahweh, and I cannot go back on it" --(v:36).

Well, pardon me for not having a lot of sympathy for Jephthah, but didn't this guy realize when he made his oath that something like this could easily happen? True, archaeological evidence indicates that Israelites had quarters for livestock in their houses, but I would think that even a nincompoop would have known that his daughter or wife could be the first to come out the door when he returned home.

So SURELY Jephthah reconsidered and said, --"Well, let's face it; I made a stupid oath, and there's no way I can fulfill it."

If this is what you're thinking, then think again, and try to remember that these are stories from the Twilight Zone of Biblical times. As noted above, Jephthah wailed to his daughter, --"I have given my word to Yahweh, and I cannot go back on it" --

Well, then, SURELY the daughter said, -- "Forget it, Pop; I'm not going to fry for some crazy oath you swore" -- right?

No, no, no, a hundred times no. This is the Twilight Zone we're talking about. Remember? When Jephthah's daughter heard his plaint, she said, -- "My father, if you have given your word to Yahweh, do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, because Yahweh has avenged you of your enemies, the people of Ammon."

Gee, and some of us have trouble just getting our daughters to respect curfews and other simple rules.

To make a long story short, Jephthah's daughter asked her father to wait two months so that she could "wander on the mountains and bewail her virginity" (v:37). Permission was granted (so this guy Jephthah was really a decent fellow), -- "and it was so at the end of two months that she returned to her father, and he carried out his vow with her which he had vowed" (v:39).

So great was Jephthah's deed in the Twilight-Zone minds of biblical writers that he was listed as a hero of faith in Hebrews 11:32, along with such notables as Abraham, Noah, Enoch, Joseph, Sampson, Samuel, and David.

Now, as shocking as this story is to modern readers, its whole purpose was to depict Jephthah as a man who deemed service to God more important than everything else, even close family relationships. If that seems hard for you to grasp, you just don't realize that KILLING ONE'S DAUGHTER AND SACRIFICING HER AS A BURNT OFFERING TO YAHWEH wouldn't have been the least bit shocking to Twilight-Zone minds. After all, these were people who considered Abraham a great example of faith because he had been willing to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to Yahweh (Gen. 22:1-14). They thought this way because they lived in times when sacrificing children and babies to the gods was routinely done (see 2 Kings 16:3; 17:17; Psalm 106:37-38; Deut. 32:17). What better way, then, to depict Jephthah's great faith than to present him as a man who considered his vow to Yahweh more important than love for his daughter? __________Farrell Till

Posted on Mar 1, 2012, 7:34:06 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012, 8:05:40 AM PST
amanda says:
Critical thinker,
I agree. There is another thread about atheist being hurt by religion somewhere in their past causing them to become atheist. With stories like this, how can anyone in the society not be hurt by religion? Calling a book 'good' that condones homophobia, racism, child abuse, rape, and murder is complete nonsense to anyone still in control of their thoughts. When my Aunt told me the 'lovely' parable of Abraham and Isaac, I realized, even in my five year old mind, she had been brainwashed. After that, I worried about her 'conversations' with her 'loving' God.
When I ventured to tell her I found the story scary and morally wrong, my aunt told me things were different then. I wanted to say things should be different now. We know such an act would be reprehensible. So, why do we still offer praise? If their own children were dispensible to these people, why would we think they were wise? Why would we worship a God who created a vulnerable beautiful person and then destroyed them? Either this is an example of a foolish abusive man who tired of his own family and wanted a 'socially acceptable reason' to kill one of them, a psychotic man having auditory hallucinations, or evidence of an ujust God. I would vote for one or possibly two.
I truly believe there is more prejudice, addiction, domestic abuse, and incest in families that are religious. Telling children stories about 'great men' such as these are likely to warp their ideas of right and wrong.
Isn't it a bit sad that some people raise their children to have such a poor self image that they cannot do anything 'good' without attributing it to God? How can you be proud if your hard work is reduced to a talent that is nothing but a 'gift' from someone else?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 7:44:27 AM PST
Lj3d says:
When one sees the Biblical stories as written by humans...some stories possibly allegorical, some with a little history mixed in, but all too human. Then it becomes a bit better focused, at least for me. Of course, religious people want to believe these are actual stories about mans interaction with God, and that's their perogative because nobody can change their perspective except them.

Posted on Mar 1, 2012, 8:11:48 AM PST
amanda says:
Lj3d,
The only 'good ' thing about such a story is teaching people to place obedience to 'God' above everything else. In my opinion, such a value system is seriously flawed.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 8:16:05 AM PST
Lj3d says:
No doubt that was the main purpose of the story. Considering it was written when large portions of the population couldn't even read. A lot easier to control large groups of people then. Thats what marks the Bible as "All too human" IMO.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 8:44:41 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012, 12:03:32 PM PST
True, in the sense that the story above is a cautionary tale. Some believe that the woman's life was not sacrificed, as she spent the two months "mourning her virginity" rather than the loss of her life. It's very ambiguous and was not meant to be taken literally, but allegorically.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 8:53:53 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012, 8:56:08 AM PST
BV says:
CT - "Now, as shocking as this story is to modern readers, its whole purpose was to depict Jephthah as a man who deemed service to God more important than everything else, even close family relationships."

You are mistaken. The purpose of this was to show how foolish it is to make a vow that you can't keep, WHICH THE BIBLE SAYS NOT TO DO. Can you find a place where God says to do such a thing? No, the Bible stories more often than not show examples of what happens when people do what God DOESN'T want them to do.

Now, as far as the sacrifice goes, since human sacrifice was forbidden, chances are he gave his daughter over to service in the temple, or tabernacle or something of that nature.

Posted on Mar 1, 2012, 9:04:31 AM PST
BV says:
When I was younger, I was also confused by the story of Jacob and Esau. I thought God wanted Jacob to deceive his father by putting the lamb skin on his arm so he felt hairy, etc. Later on, I realized that this was the story of a real sneak (Jacob) who conspired with his mother to do something dishonest and poorly conceived, and Esau's screwed-up priorities only made it worse. Jacob suffered dearly for his actions for many years. In the end, God used the whole mess to carry out His plan, which turned out good for some, and not so good for others.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 9:05:01 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012, 9:06:40 AM PST
One problem with your post.
You seem to think that she was actually killed and sacrificed to God. ....no

God detests literal human sacrifice, one of the practices of the Canaanites, as is mentioned in the scriptures. (Leviticus 18:21; Deuteronomy 12:31) - and no, hellfire is something I don't believe in since it is not a biblical teaching.

Jephthah evidently meant that he would devote the one who he met to the exclusive service of God. The Mosaic Law provided for the vowing of souls to God. She bewailed her virginity because she would never marry since her life would then be dedicated to work at the sanctuary and she would never have children.

For instance, women served at the sanctuary, perhaps drawing water. (Exodus 38:8; 1 Samuel 2:22)
Little is known about such service or even whether it was usually permanent. But Jephthah apparently had such special devotion in mind when making his vow, and it seems that his promise implied permanent service.

Also, read Judges 11:40 shows that from year to year the daughters of Isreal would go to visit with her for 4 days.

And as far as Abraham goes. God did not have him sacrifice his son did he? The reason he had him go that far and then STOP HIM was to show how hard it would be for God himself to sacrifice his son for mankind, only He and Jesus went through with it.

And those Ammonites Jephthah and his army defeated? They did sacrifice thier children to their god called Molech, also known as Milcom or Moloch.

God's law to Israel prescribed the death penalty for anyone, even an alien resident, who would give his offspring to Molech. (Le 20:2-5)

Molech to whom children were sacrificed had the form of a man but the head of a bull. The image is said to have been heated red hot and the children cast into its outstretched arms, to fall into the flaming furnace below. This conception is largely based on the description of the Carthaginian Cronos or Moloch given by the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus of the first century B.C.E.-Diodorus of Sicily, XX, 14, 4-6.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 9:08:20 AM PST
BV says:
Katy - "One problem with your post."

You're being too nice - it's got more than one problem!

Posted on Mar 1, 2012, 9:41:17 AM PST
Budgie says:
I wonder what the Bible apologist's explanation is for Yahweh sending bears to kill 42 children because they made fun of Elijah's bald head.

"And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them." -- 2 Kings 2:23-24

Or this: "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones". -- Psalm 137:9

Or this: "And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat." -- Leviticus 26:29

Or this: "He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death." -- Exodus 21:17

I marvel that people revere this ancient, barbaric book and that a large number of people take it literally (due to childhood brainwashing) is even more mind-boggling.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 10:13:47 AM PST
BV says:
Budgie - "there came forth little children"

The KJV says "little children," but other versions say "youths," which can refer to people in their twenties. And if two bears were able to nab 42 of them, there must have been hundreds. So now you've got a roving gang of three hundred or so twenty five year-olds going after poor Elisha.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 10:19:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012, 10:21:34 AM PST
amanda says:
BV and Katydid,
Does your head hurt? Such psychological and mental gymnastics must be a strain on the mind. Did Abraham truss up his son like an animal to send him into the priesthood? One would not think the son would resist such a life so violently if he were raised in a religious household.
As far as God condoning human sacrifice, who was Abraham supposedly talking to while he prepared his son for sacrifice?
A supreme being would be able to convey his orders clearly and concisely. He would be able and willing to protect the most vulnerable of His flock. No man would need to explain what He really thought. Apologists say the objectionable entries such as cooking with feces in the Bible came from men. Why would a man be foolish enough to dictate incorrectly if he knew God existed? Also, why would God need a secretary? Didn't he know how to write?
Why would serving a loving God be a sacrifice? Wouldn't such families believe serving God to be the highest honor? Why would a father have any right to dictate their children's lives?
Fluffy bunny means fluffy bunny. Burnt offering means burnt offering. An all knowing all powerful diety would have intervened.
Those who insist on the service to God meaning are illogical. What would have happened if the first thing out of the house were a goat? The goat would have become a priest or nun?
If my daughter promised to sacrifice her brother if she won a fight with an enemy, I as any responsible parent would let her do so. After all, it would teach us all a lesson. That makes sense. No, actually it doesn't, especially for the sacrificial lamb. Talk about a lack of empathy.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 10:20:55 AM PST
BV: The KJV says "little children," but other versions say "youths," which can refer to people in their twenties. And if two bears were able to nab 42 of them, there must have been hundreds. So now you've got a roving gang of three hundred or so twenty five year-olds going after poor Elisha.

RR: To say this is a stretch is an understatement. So the Bible says "42" kids mocking but it really means 300+ who are "going after" Elisha. Since there is no hint of a physical threat to Elisha, it seems that tearing 42 children apart is a wee bit excessive. At least it seems that way to me, but I'm not a Christian apologist.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 10:36:41 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012, 10:46:50 AM PST
amanda says:
BV,
Youths could mean little children. However, little children is more specific and would not include those in their twenties.
If two bears could nab 42 of them, I would assume they had no means of escape. People would not wait to be the 42 victim if there were.
It seems clear the children did nothing but laugh at the man's lack of hair. Unless, of course, God told you there was more to the story. Ridicule is punishable by death? This makes sense to you? Do you know my Aunt?
What words of wisdom do you have to impart to change the other biblical quotes mentioned by Budgie into lovely little anedotes of joy? You may be able to so to your affirmation. I read them and know I could never for one moment embrace christianity. I love children way too much to overlook or purposely misinterpret such quotes.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 10:50:48 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Mar 6, 2012, 8:36:23 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 11:02:27 AM PST
BV says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 11:04:09 AM PST
BV says:
RRR - "So the Bible says "42" kids mocking"

No it doesn't. It says 42 KILLED out of the group. The bears were able to grab them all? Were they all in wheelchairs?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 11:06:27 AM PST
BV says:
amanda - "It seems clear the children did nothing but laugh at the man's lack of hair."

If this were a LARGE group of older youths, and they say "hey baldy," usually something else comes next, like "give me your money." But hey, I wasn't there, and neither were you.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 11:16:46 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Mar 6, 2012, 8:36:38 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 11:33:21 AM PST
I stand corrected. However, since the true number of the children is unknown, your 300 number is phony and inflammatory, designed to create a sense of menace to Elisha which doesn't exist in the original story. YHWH's response, as usual, was overkill and out of proportion to the "injury" inflicted. Only in the Bible would the mockery of a bald head mean a death sentence.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 11:45:15 AM PST
Max Flash says:
RRR: Only in the Bible would the mockery of a bald head mean a death sentence.

Max: They might have made fun of his shoes too! You don't know, you weren't there.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 11:50:21 AM PST
Budgie says:
The thread is about Yahweh's guidelines for treating children, not Christianity. However, I can counter the "Love thine enemy" with Yahweh's "eye for an eye", which is actually a plagiarism the ancient Hebrews stole from Hammurabi's Code.

Speaking of eyes, and to get back to the thread, here's another lovely quote from Yahweh's book on child rearing:

"The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. -- Proverbs 30:17

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 12:01:50 PM PST
Max: They might have made fun of his shoes too! You don't know, you weren't there.

RRR: You are so right! Elisha may have had some nasty foot fungus!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012, 5:47:32 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012, 5:56:46 PM PST
>>>>Critical Thinker - "Now, as shocking as this story is to modern readers, its whole purpose was to depict Jephthah as a man who deemed service to God more important than everything else, even close family relationships."<<<<

>>" BV says:
You are mistaken. "<<

You sir, are the one who is mistaken, which i will demonstrate shortly.

>>" BV says:
The purpose of this was to show how foolish it is to make a vow that you can't keep, WHICH THE BIBLE SAYS NOT TO DO. Can you find a place where God says to do such a thing? No, the Bible stories more often than not show examples of what happens when people do what God DOESN'T want them to do. "<<

Demonstrably WRONG, sir.

IF the character of Jephthah was indeed *acting in OPPOSITION TO** what the Bible instructs people to do, then the Bible would NOT HAVE CAST Jephthah AS A __BIBLICAL HERO__...........yet it DID exactly that.

>>" BV says:
Now, as far as the sacrifice goes, since human sacrifice was forbidden, chances are he gave his daughter over to service in the temple, or tabernacle or something of that nature. "<<

What an incredibly LAME and infantile dodge...........the Bible clearly and unambiguously states that Jephthah SACRIFICED his daughter and gave her up as a BURNT OFFERING.

Jephthah did NOT promise his invisible friend-in-the-sky that IF BibleGod allowed him a great victory over the people of Ammon (iow, if he was allowed to perform a massive slaughter of his 'enemies') that he would "give his daughter over to service in the temple", Jephthah emphatically and clearly (according to the Biblical account) vowed that he would sacrifice a PERSON as a burnt offering.

The depths of dishonesty and lying-to-oneself that you religionists will go to to try to excuse your monstrous, bloodthirsty deity is truly incredible.
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