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2014-03-24

We’re a long way from, “turn the other cheek!”

Just like the Canaanite king before him, Sihon the Amorite king goes to battle with the pillaging Israelites in order to defend his territory, and just like the Canaanite king before him, Sihon and his men are all slaughtered. However, unlike the Canaanite king, Sihon’s cities are not utterly destroyed, but rather occupied by the Israelites. The bible describes the battle occurring at Jahaz and spanning from Arnon to Jabbok, and the Israelites stayed in the region’s main city, Heshbon, and its outlying villages. That’s the general idea, but let’s talk about the details of Numbers 21:23-25.

Sihon amassed his Amorite army and traveled to Jahaz, which is weird because the bible just told us the Israelites were at Mt. Pisgah. Never mind that now, we’ve got a war to deal with! The mighty Sihon attacks, but the Israelites make short work of his foolish army and their pathetic desire to defend their homelands. Moses’ battles go so well that he doesn’t even bother to make a list of casualties! I guess, anyone who dies with God on their side deserves to be forgotten.

Now let’s look at the logistics of this occupation. If the Israelites are still so numerous, how are they able to fit into Heshbon? Historical evidence can give us insight about the largest city size of the time. If you use a Young-Earth Creationist time line, Babylon was the largest with around 60,000 total inhabitants, but a more-accurate historical time line puts that number closer to 100,000 people in the city of Nineveh. Either way, Heshbon, a minor desert city, wouldn’t have been remotely near that size, let alone large enough to accommodate 3,000,000 Israelites! But surely the Israelite army has diminished what with all God’s bumbled attempts at genocide? Well, if their numbers were so scant, how did they defeat Sihon so easily?

Next we have the problem of morality. Let’s use our typical go-to baddie scenario, World War II. When the Axis were defeated, even after unspeakable atrocities, the Allies still didn’t sweep into Axis land, kick out all the civilians, and annex the property for themselves. In fact, money and resources were even given to Axis countries so they could rebuild their war-torn cities and return to being productive members of society. Sure, there were a lot of bad political moves that should have been avoided, but the point is, Germany, Italy, Japan… these countries still exist and they’re still full of Germans, Italians, and Japanese. When the “heroes” of the bible win a war, they obliterate every trace of their opponent’s culture.

As for the Narrator’s comment at the end, those are the words of the Family Research Council. Seriously.

 

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Oh the irony!