Old testament violance?


what are we to make of the old testament violence? people charge God of sanctioning rape, mass murder and other violence in the OT. are there any resources that can explain this? thx




Please cite the passages that supposedly sanction rape, because I don’t think there are any.

As for violence, I think it is very helpful to interpret the Bible with the mind of the Church and by comparing other passages that help enlighten us about the meaning of more difficult passages.

These verses, for example, show that God does not like violence: Eze. 33:11, 2 Pet. 3:9, Eze. 18:23, Lam. 3:33, Eze. 18:32, Wis. 1:13, Matt. 18:14

These verses tell us some of the things that God wants to teach us through the violent passages of the Bible: 1 Corinthians 10:5-11, Deuteronomy 9:4, Jeremiah 18:7-8, Leviticus 18:25-28

These verses show that it is not immoral for God to take someone’s life: Job 1:21, 1 Samuel 2:6, 2 Kings 5:7, Deuteronomy 32:39

And these verses show that the violence of the Old Testament doesn’t perfectly reflect the will of God: John 8:2-11, Jeremiah 31:28-33, Isaiah 9:5-6, Isaiah 42:1-4

One thing we can conclude from all this Scripture is that the penalties and wars in the Bible are there to teach us the consequences of sin. I don’t think the Bible wants us to see violence and death as a good thing. I think it wants us to see violence and death as a terrible consequence of sin, and sometimes God makes this clear by inflicting a swift and/or violent death on sinners. Which is something only God can morally do, because only He has absolute rights over life and death.

The Church has occasionally spoken about the violent passages of Scripture in authoritative documents. An example is the document Verbum Domini by Pope Benedict XVI. It says:

Verbum Domini 42 - “[Some] passages in the Bible [contain] violence and immorality [and can] prove obscure and difficult. Here it must be remembered first and foremost that biblical revelation is deeply rooted in history. God’s plan is manifested progressively and it is accomplished slowly, in successive stages and despite human resistance. God chose a people and patiently worked to guide and educate them.”

Verbum Domini 42 - “Revelation is suited to the cultural and moral level of distant times and thus describes facts and customs, such as cheating and trickery, and acts of violence and massacre, without explicitly denouncing the immorality of such things. This can be explained by the historical context, yet it can cause the modern reader to be taken aback.”

Verbum Domini 42 - “[It] would be a mistake to neglect those passages of Scripture that strike us as problematic. Rather, we should be aware that the correct interpretation of these passages requires a degree of expertise, acquired through a training that interprets the texts in their historical-literary context and within the Christian perspective which has [the Gospel] as its ultimate hermeneutical key.”

See also the Catechism:

CCC 1964 - “under the…Old Covenant [there were] people who possessed the charity and grace of the Holy Spirit…[and] there exist [wicked] men under the New Covenant [who are] still distanced from the perfection of the New Law: the fear of punishment and certain temporal promises have been necessary, even under the New Covenant, to incite them to [virtue].”

CCC 1008 - “Death is a consequence of sin. The Church’s Magisterium, as authentic interpreter of the affirmations of Scripture and Tradition, teaches that death entered the world on account of man’s sin. … Death was therefore contrary to the plans of God the Creator and entered the world as a consequence of sin.”

Let me know if any of that is helpful. God bless!


Why is it commanded to kill children and infants?
1 Samuel 15:3
Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.


Even that, I think, is meant to show us how horrible sin is. One of the worst things about sin is, it always harms the innocent. I think God may have shown us that by having the Israelites kill the innocent along with the guilty, which, again, He alone can morally do.


When one goes to a surgeon he does not ask for only part of his tumor to be removed. His survival depends on the entire tumor being excised.


Oh. So that justifies killing children and infants? Would that also justify abortions? I thought that abortions were not justified even if the woman had been raped by a criminal, or even if both parents were criminals?


We are the created, not the creator. The creator decides what is needed and just. In addition, we do not know how God provided for their souls which is the bigger issue anyway,.


The darkness of the Old Testament is a drastic way for God to remind us how much he loathes sin, how incompatible it is with the children of God and the brightness of Heaven. We should feel fortunate for merely *reading *the events; that we didn’t participate in them ourselves.

God is ever-merciful, but he is not weak. God has no qualms sending even children to Hell, provided that they sinned via their own reasoning. No matter how young or old you are physically, the eternity of your soul remains.

Sirach 3:1-16
Whoever honors his parents atones for sins and preserves himself from them.
Kindness to fathers will be remembered. Against your sins it will be credited to you.
Whoever angers his mother is cursed by God.

The fourth commandment

:sad_yes: Make no mistake. Everyone, regardless of nationality, personality, and worldview is being very closely watched by God and the angels. Every single thought, word, and deed, both benevolent and malevolent, is recorded in God’s diary for reference at a person’s death and at judgment day.

Overestimating God’s mercy is just as dangerous as underestimating his mercy. The former is arrogance, the later is ignorance. Neither will lead to Heaven, although ignorance at least has *some *pardon.

Wisdom 13:1-9 → They tirelessly search for him, eagerly gaining knowledge in order to find him, but how could they have not found him by now? They have no excuse. The more deadly punishments, however, are reserved for those who worship the vanities of men.

Do you fight God, or at least want to? The intellectual answer would be ‘no’, but throughout history up until today, mankind in general has consistently said ‘yes’. We have transformed ourselves into loathsome rebels who make even God himself grieve.

We know that God is benevolent, and we know how lethal sin is when compared to more trivial dangers, such as car bombs and guns.

Poisons, land mines. and nuclear bombs kill the physical body, but not the spiritual body. Lets foster fear for the spiritual dangers which result from sin, which endanger both our physical bodies and our eternal souls.

This earthly pilgrimage is a series of warfare and temptations. Instead of blaming or questioning God for inflicting well-deserved justice upon us, lets bow our heads, convert our hearts, and prevent ourselves from being particularly loathsome.

God is not a child. He couldn’t care less if we constantly complain about him being “mean”. :tsktsk:

Surrender, and raise those white flags, for whoever loves danger will perish by it. Sirach 3:26 Most persons by name who died violently in the Old Testament had a certain kind of passion for violence himself or herself.

Catechism of the Catholic Church
catholic.com/magazine/articles/god-in-search-of-man (Catholic Answers magazine article)
olrl.org/snt_docs/num_sins.shtml (Catholic website)


Are you sure that God said to kill children and infants and that this was not the writing of a Jew who mistakenly believed that God would have commanded such?
This event which occurred in the Bible is not a good example for these religious fanatics who today are going into schools and killing children.


There are many tragic events in the Bible, bad, sad, embarrassing, people get killed, lied to, adultery, incest. I think almost every sin I could think off is in there except pornography. If they want a politically correct book, they would have sanitized it. But they didn’t because they are not allowed to change the Word of God.

Do you agree that God the Creator with his foreknowledge has the sovereign right to end lives as he sees fit? If you do, then the discussion is moot. Mentioning infants and children are always brought up to evoke emotional response and outrage and I understand why that would be an effective tool to degrade someone or something.


I don’t think it is a good example.


Obviously none of you have taken the time to read the link I provided. Do you really want to know the answer or do you just want to try to argue for the sake of arguing?

The link is long but truth ain’t cheap.


I believe that the “violence” is of a great, great, great scale.

I believe much of the theology of history is narrating the inner person or man.

I have felt much more “violence” in my inner self than in my outer self.

This is a personal opinion of my belief.


Rape is not sanctioned. That is nonsense.

I have read the Bible cover to cover five times and have hosted Bible study in my home for years. There is rape in the Bible but God never told anyone to rape nor said that it was acceptable.



Improperly understood it is not a good example, I agree. Note Jesus is the Prince of Peace.


I have already read the article a few months ago, and I agree with it. :thumbsup:


Which example do you mean? Is there an example of religious fanatics quoting the OT going into schools and killing children? You did not provide the source.

In the OT, these are prophets and accepted by the people to be prophets and authorized to speak for the Lord. There are no prophets today. Anyone claiming to be authorized by the Lord to start killing school children is suffering from mental problems, not a religion problem. There is no divine purpose other than a sick person doing bad things.

And I repeat the question. Do you agree that God the Creator with his foreknowledge has the sovereign right to end lives as he sees fit? The answer to your questions lies in the answer.

If your answer is no, then you can’t object to the Israelites action on self-preservation. The Amalekites have been killing them for ages since the day Moses took them out of Egypt, especially when they were weak and tired. That is over 300 years of killing I believe. Killing infants/children can be construed to be the more humane approach rather than leaving them to the desert to die from extremes of weather, starvation or wild animals.


I am opposed to killing children, infants and fetuses in cold blood. I am also opposed to leaving children and infants in the desert to die from extremes of weather, starvation or wild animals. I favor adoption of children who have no parents or if adoption is not possible, I favor orphanages. I worked as a volunteer at an orphanage and I know that many of the children there were good children, but they had bad parents. Even though their parents had problems, these children do not deserve to be harmed in any way. It was not their fault that their parents had problems with alcohol or drugs and were unable to take care of them. I disagree with people who claim that children must be punished because of the sins of their parents.


Your stance is admirable. But this is the 21st century with 21st century sensitives with 3000 yrs of civilization development.

What you are suggesting is unheard of or rare during 1110 BC. You have a nomadic tribe which have been warred upon for centuries. You are asking these people to take in and raise the children of those who have killed their parents, family, kinsmen. Put yourself in their shoes and you would find those shoes are impossible to fit. These children when they grow up may have to revenge killing to uphold their honor. Besides it is not the norm for the Israelites to adopt foreigners. Even foreign wives are being rejected what more the offspring of your deadliest enemies.

Your situation may be different. You may see with very compassionate eyes these innocent infants. However, unless you have been on the receiving end of killings of your family, it is easy to TALK of adopting kids of your enemies which have slaughtered your clan. Even in the 21st century, how many will adopt the children of terrorists who just killed, beheaded, tortured your family and children, friends, colleagues. Imagine if Hitler (substitute any other name) had kids and you a Holocaust survivor has been asked to raised his kids. WW2 lasted about 7 years. The war with the Amalekites was in hundreds of years.

I guess it is easier to feel compassion towards anonymous children rather than those associated with those that have make you suffered. Imagine the poor mother, whose kids have just had their heads bashed in by the Amalekites, your traditional enemy, and the menfolk after defeating the Amalekites came and thrust into her hands their kids for her to raise. “Be nice and gentle to these innocent babies”. I don’t think she will feel so loving. If you happen to travel back in time, what would you say to this mother? If you are the mother, what do you think your thoughts would be? How well do you think these adopted children will fare among them? They already have problems with their natural siblings. Joseph was sold by his brothers (almost got killed) (Genesis 37) just because his father favoured him. What more adopted children of your enemies.

And with 21st century sensitivities, it is almost a crime to leave a child to be brought up in the homes of the “enemies”, subjecting the child as well as the foster parents huge psychological stress and extreme risk to the safety of the child. You won’t even permit a child molester/abuser to adopt a child what more putting the child in the hands of the enemies.

Your 21st century stance is wonderful but unfortunately, wrong time, wrong age, wrong place. Social welfare is definitely lacking in those days.

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