Genocide as a tool for social and political change
Excerpt from the book “Gods of Eden – William Bramley
Early human writers often portrayed mankind’s Custodial “gods” as bloodthirsty creatures prone to excessive violence. Sadly, those lamentable qualities did not improve with Jehovah. During the trek from Egypt to the Promised Land, Jehovah demanded unflagging obedience from the Hebrews. Many humans rebelled and Jehovah reacted with extreme cruelty. Jehovah reportedly killed up to 14,000 Hebrews at a time for disobedience. He used a variety of killing methods, such as spreading diseases, just as other Custodial “gods” had done earlier in Sumeria.
When the Hebrew armies reached Canaan, Jehovah displayed a genuinely psychopathic bent. To establish the Hebrews in their new homeland, Jehovah ordered the Hebrew armies to embark on a campaign of genocide to depopulate all of the region’s existing cities and towns. Under the new leadership of a man named Joshua, the first city to fall in Jehovah’s seven-year holocaust was Jericho. According to the Bible, the Hebrew army, numbering in the tens of thousands, slaughtered everyone in Jericho except, ironically, a prostitute because she had earlier betrayed her own people by helping two Hebrew spies:
And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. JOSHUA 6:21
After that was accomplished:
… they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. JOSHUA 6:24
The next target was Ai, a city with a population of 12,000 inhabitants. All of the citizens of Ai were butchered and the city was burned to the ground. This savagery was perpetrated city after city:
So Joshua killed all in the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the valleys, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded. JOSHUA 10:40
The genocide was justified by saying that the victims were all wicked. This could not havebeen the true reason because children and animals were also slaughtered. It is hardly fair to massacre an entire city for the crimes of a few; neither is it right to murder a child for the crimes of its parents. The real crime, according to the Bible, was that the natives of the region had become disobedient. The more obedient Hebrews were therefore elected by Jehovah to wipe out the natives and replace them.
There is some debate today about whether the Hebrew assimilation into Canaan was as genocidal as portrayed in the Bible. Modern archaeological digs into some of the battle sites named in the Bible (such as Hazor, Lachish and Debir) have revealed evidence of violent destruction during the time of Joshua. Other sites have yielded less conclusive evidence. Many people understandably prefer to play down the Biblical bloodshed as much as possible. To whatever degree the Biblical story of the conquest of Canaan is true, it does tell us something very important about genocide: Genocide is often a tool for promoting rapid political or social change by quickly replacing one group of people with another. For this reason, genocide has emerged as a significant historical phenomenon in connection with many Brotherhood efforts at bringing about rapid political and social change.
People who are familiar with Jewish moral teachings may be surprised at the brutal behavior ascribed to Jehovah and the Hebrews. The most famous of the Jewish moral teachings are, of course, the Ten Commandments, which were reportedly given to Moses by Jehovah during the Hebrews’ trek to the Promised Land. After Moses’ death, Jehovah and the armies of Israel clearly violated the Commandments in a big way. Thou shalt not kill was transgressed when the Hebrews massacred the inhabitants of Canaan. The Hebrews ignored the commandment Thou shalt not steal when they robbed the dying cities of their precious metals. They were no better about adhering to the commandment Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house … nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s when they committed genocide to take away the land of their neighbors.
This behavior is puzzling because many Biblical commandments do establish a decent code of conduct. For example, the Hebrews were admonished never to cooperate with a wrongdoer by giving false testimony. Another commandment stressed the importance of individual responsibility in the face of group pressure by stating, “You shall not go along with a group in doing evil.” Tolerance for outsiders was made law with, “You shall not vex a stranger, nor oppress him… .” Thieves were usually required to pay restitution to their victims. How do we account for the existence of such humane commandments in the face of such barbaric behavior?
Another puzzling aspect of the Biblical genocide story was the behavior of the people being slaughtered. According to the Bible, only one city surrendered. The rest chose to fight and be butchered. When confronted with an overpowering Hebrew army, and perhaps even a thundering “God” in the sky, is it not likely that more besieged cities would surrender, or at least offer to vacate Canaan peaceably? The Bible, only one city surrendered. The rest chose to fight and be butchered. When confronted with an overpowering Hebrew army, and perhaps even a thundering “God” in the sky, is it not likely that more besieged cities would surrender, or at least offer to vacate Canaan peaceably? The Bible presents an interesting explanation of why that did not happen:
There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hi-vites, the inhabitants of Gib-eon, all others they took in battle. For it was the Lord who hardened their hearts, that they would go against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might find no favor, but that he might destroy them…. JOSHUA 11:19-20
The above passage states that Jehovah had manipulated the victim peoples into fighting the Hebrews so that the victims could be destroyed. This is a stunning and important admission, for it would imply that Jehovah or other Custodians dominated other cities in the region and used their influence to manipulate people into fighting the Hebrews. This would not have been the first time it happened. To be continued…
* Not all Old Testament commandments were humane by today’s standards. Freedom of worship was not tolerated. Slavery was an accepted institution and Hebrew men were allowed to sell their daughters into slavery. The eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth form of punishment does not always result in justice.
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I can not understand how people can be against violence, be even activists against violence and physical and psychological abuse, are against the war, and yet praise to a god who is the ultimate expression of abuse, manipulation, violence and war. Cognitive dissonance? Ignorance? Brain washed? Lack of discernment? Believing that Jehovah is God and that he is the creator of all, is the same as believing that Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is a God. How can there be justice in entire cities exterminated on the grounds that its inhabitants were sinful or evil? How can there be justice when such a god uses pure Machiavellianism to manipulate the inhabitants of the cities and get them to face armies against which they had no chance? How can there be justice when, after fully exterminated the populations of cities, all his possessions were looted by the “chosen of god”? How can there be justice if after exterminated the population and looted their property and assets, fire-ignited the cities so that nothing was left standing, not even the history of those who lived there? Is this religion? Is this God? What God? Are these the values that are transmitted to us through religion? If you are in favor of such a god, if you praise a god so if you defend that to carry out such actions, He had a purpose, that He was exercising his fair justice, you are as guilty as, or at least is a potential criminal. Eduardo Scapelatto