Terrorism in the Old Testament

Stacy Norton 03 October, 2012 Old Testament Ballard Terrorism and the Old Testament Many terrorist organizations use their religious texts as justification for their acts of terrorism. People even go as far to say that God, as depicted in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, encourages those acts as a way to defend their actions. While it is true that the Old Testament has evidence of God sending out his people to defend his word and his chosen people, it should not be taken as black and white as others would argue. It is important that we study the religious texts in their proper context.

When these texts are not read in their proper textual and historical contexts they are manipulated and distorted. My God is a teacher of love and forgiveness and only uses violence as a last resort. This is more evident in the story of Moses and the release of the Israelite’s from the Egyptians. The Israelite s were being held captive and tortured by the Egyptian Pharaoh and his people. They were forced to spend their days as slaves and lived in deplorable conditions and were beaten routinely by the Egyptians. Moses upset that his people were being treated this way sought guidance from God.

God agreed to help Moses free his people. God first sent Moses to the Pharaoh to ask kindly for his people’s release. The Pharaoh refused. Moses even tried to convince the Pharaoh with the threat of curses being placed on his people. The Pharaoh refused again. Then, after the curses were released, the Pharaoh still held strong and would not release the Israelite s He was willing to have his own people suffer just because he did not want to give up his power over the Israelite s He only relented when the final curse was released and the first born of the Egyptians, including the Pharaoh’s, were killed.

The Egyptian Pharaoh was given multiple opportunities to prevent his own people’s suffering but decided instead that his power was more important. Another part of the bible people like to criticize is the book of Judges. Especially the story of Samson. Samson was a Nazarene leader with incredible strength. The Philistines wanted to capture him but could not find a way. Samson then fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who then tricked him into telling her the secret of his strength. He told her that if his hair was cut he would lose his power.

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When Samson fell asleep that night she cut his hair and let the Philistines in to capture him. They shackled him and gouged out his eyes and were planning on offering him up as a sacrifice to their deity. Samson cried out to God for help. He took out his revenge on the Philistines by basically, for lack of a better term, suicidal terrorism. He killed more people that day than in his whole life combined. In conclusion, the bible is not exempt from what some could deem as unflattering to the Christian faith. God does not try to deny that humanity is riddled with faults.

But we must instead of looking at specific stories to justify harming others think about the overall message. He only asks that we try to lead faithful lives. Treat each other kindly . Above all, we must keep his name holy. No where in the bible can we find where he tells us to set out and harm others just because we do not like their culture or religious viewpoints. He teaches tolerance. A most noteworthy verse that I like to remind myself often “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1-2)

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