Compiled by Donald Morgan
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NOTE: These lists are meant to identify possible problems in the Bible, especially problems which are inherent in a literalist or fundamentalist interpretation. Some of the selections may be resolvable on certain interpretations--after all, almost any problem can be eliminated with suitable rationalizations--but it is the reader's obligation to test this possibility and to decide whether it really makes appropriate sense to do this. To help readers in this task, these lists are aimed at presenting examples where problems may exist given certain allowable (but not always obligatory) assumptions. It should be kept in mind that a perfect and omnipotent God could, should, and likely would see to it that such problems did not exist in a book which s/he had inspired. It should also be kept in mind that what is and is not an atrocity is to some extent a matter of opinion. You are entitled to disagree with the author that these are, in fact, atrocities.
Note: In the Bible, words having to do with killing significantly outnumber words having to do with love.
GE 3:1-7, 22-24 God allows Adam and Eve to be deceived by the Serpent (the craftiest of all of God's wild creatures). They eat of the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil," thereby incurring death for themselves and all of mankind for ever after. God prevents them from regaining eternal life, by placing a guard around the "Tree of Eternal Life." (Note: God could have done the same for the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" in the first place and would thereby have prevented the Fall of man, the necessity for Salvation, the Crucifixion of Jesus, etc.)
GE 4:2-8 God's arbitrary preference of Abel's offering to that of Cain's provokes Cain to commit the first biblically recorded murder and kill his brother Abel.
GE 34:13-29 The Israelites kill Hamor, his son, and all the men of their village, taking as plunder their wealth, cattle, wives and children.
GE 6:11-17, 7:11-24 God is unhappy with the wickedness of man and decides to do something about it. He kills every living thing on the face of the earth other than Noah's family and thereby makes himself the greatest mass murderer in history.
GE 19:26 God personally sees to it that Lot's wife is turned to a pillar of salt (for having looked behind her while fleeing the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah).
GE 38:9 "... whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked ..., so the Lord put him to death."
EX 2:12 Moses murders an Egyptian.
EX 7:1, 14, 9:14-16, 10:1-2, 11:7 The purpose of the devastation that God brings to the Egyptians is as follows:
EX 9:22-25 A plague of hail from the Lord strikes down everything in the fields of Egypt both man and beast except in Goshen where the Israelites reside.
EX 12:29 The Lord kills all the first-born in the land of Egypt.
EX 17:13 With the Lord's approval, Joshua mows down Amalek and his people.
EX 21:20-21 With the Lord's approval, a slave may be beaten to death with no punishment for the perpetrator as long as the slave doesn't die too quickly.
EX 32:27 "Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.
EX 32:27-29 With the Lord's approval, the Israelites slay 3000 men.
LE 26:7-8 The Lord promises the Israelites that, if they are obedient, their enemies will "fall before your sword."
LE 26:22 "I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children."
NU 11:33 The Lord smites the people with a great plague.
NU 12:1-10 God makes Miriam a leper for seven days because she and Aaron had spoken against Moses.
NU 15:32-36 A Sabbath breaker (who had gathered sticks for a fire) is stoned to death at the Lord's command.
NU 16:27-33 The Lord causes the earth to open and swallow up the men and their households (including wives and children) because the men had been rebellious.
NU 16:35 A fire from the Lord consumes 250 men.
NU 16:49 A plague from the Lord kills 14,700 people.
NU 21:3 The Israelites utterly destroy the Canaanites.
NU 21:6 Fiery serpents, sent by the Lord, kill many Israelites.
NU 21:35 With the Lord's approval, the Israelites slay Og "... and his sons and all his people, until there was not one survivor left ...."
NU 25:4 (KJV) "And the Lord said unto Moses, take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun ...."
NU 25:8 "He went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly."
NU 25:9 24,000 people die in a plague from the Lord.
NU 31:9 The Israelites capture Midianite women and children.
NU 31:17-18 Moses, following the Lord's command, orders the Israelites to kill all the Midianite male children and "... every woman who has known man ...." (Note: How would it be determined which women had known men? One can only speculate.)
NU 31:31-40 32,000 virgins are taken by the Israelites as booty. Thirty-two are set aside (to be sacrificed?) as a tribute for the Lord.
DT 2:33-34 The Israelites utterly destroy the men, women, and children of Sihon.
DT 3:6 The Israelites utterly destroy the men, women, and children of Og.
DT 7:2 The Lord commands the Israelites to "utterly destroy" and shown "no mercy" to those whom he gives them for defeat.
DT 20:13-14 "When the Lord delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the males .... As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves."
DT 20:16 "In the cities of the nations the Lord is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes."
DT 21:10-13 With the Lord's approval, the Israelites are allowed to take "beautiful women" from the enemy camp to be their captive wives. If, after sexual relations, the husband has "no delight" in his wife, he can simply let her go.
DT 28:53 "You will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you."
JS 6:21-27 With the Lord's approval, Joshua destroys the city of Jericho men, women, and children with the edge of the sword.
JS 7:19-26 Achan, his children and his cattle are stoned to death because Achan had taken a taboo thing.
JS 8:22-25 With the Lord's approval, Joshua utterly smites the people of Ai, killing 12,000 men and women, so that there were none who escaped.
JS 10:10-27 With the help of the Lord, Joshua utterly destroys the Gibeonites.
JS 10:28 With the Lord's approval, Joshua utterly destroys the people of Makkedah.
JS 10:30 With the Lord's approval, Joshua utterly destroys the Libnahites.
JS 10:32-33 With the Lord's approval, Joshua utterly destroys the people of Lachish.
JS 10:34-35 With the Lord's approval, Joshua utterly destroys the Eglonites.
JS 10:36-37 With the Lord's approval, Joshua utterly destroys the Hebronites.
JS 10:38-39 With the Lord's approval, Joshua utterly destroys the Debirites.
JS 10:40 (A summary statement.) "So Joshua defeated the whole land ...; he left none remaining, but destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded."
JS 11:6 The Lord orders horses to be hamstrung. (Exceedingly cruel.)
JS 11:8-15 "And the lord gave them into the hand of Israel, ...utterly destroying them; there was none left that breathed ...."
JS 11:20 "For it was the Lord's doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be utterly destroyed, and should receive no mercy but be exterminated, as the Lord commanded Moses."
JS 11:21-23 Joshua utterly destroys the Anakim.
JG 1:4 With the Lord's support, Judah defeats 10,000 Canaanites at Bezek.
JG 1:6 With the Lord's approval, Judah pursues Adoni-bezek, catches him, and cuts off his thumbs and big toes.
JG 1:8 With the Lord's approval, Judah smites Jerusalem.
JG 1:17 With the Lord's approval, Judah and Simeon utterly destroy the Canaanites who inhabited Zephath.
JG 3:29 The Israelites kill about 10,000 Moabites.
JG 3:31 (A restatement.) Shamgar killed 600 Philistines with an oxgoad.
JG 4:21 Jael takes a tent stake and hammers it through the head of Sisera, fastening it to the ground.
JG 7:19-25 The Gideons defeat the Midianites, slay their princes, cut off their heads, and bring the heads back to Gideon.
JG 8:15-21 The Gideons slaughter the men of Penuel.
JG 9:5 Abimalech murders his brothers.
JG 9:45 Abimalech and his men kill all the people in the city.
JG 9:53-54 "A woman dropped a stone on his head and cracked his skull. Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, 'Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can't say a woman killed me.' So his servant ran him through, and he died."
JG 11:29-39 Jepthah sacrifices his beloved daughter, his only child, according to a vow he has made with the Lord.
JG 14:19 The Spirit of the Lord comes upon a man and causes him to slay thirty men.
JG 15:15 Samson slays 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass.
JG 16:21 The Philistines gouge out Samson's eyes.
JG 16:27-30 Samson, with the help of the Lord, pulls down the pillars of the Philistine house and causes his own death and that of 3000 other men and women.
JG 18:27 The Danites slay the quiet and unsuspecting people of Laish.
JG 19:22-29 A group of sexual depraved men beat on the door of an old man's house demanding that he turn over to them a male house guest. Instead, the old man offers his virgin daughter and his guest's concubine (or wife): "Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine; let me bring them out now. Ravish them and do with them what seems good to you; but against this man do not do so vile a thing." The man's concubine is ravished and dies. The man then cuts her body into twelve pieces and sends one piece to each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
JG 20:43-48 The Israelites smite 25,000+ "men of valor" from amongst the Benjamites, "men and beasts and all that they found," and set their towns on fire.
JG 21:10-12 "... Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword and; also the women and little ones.... every male and every woman that has lain with a male you shall utterly destroy." They do so and find four hundred young virgins whom they bring back for their own use.
1SA 4:10 The Philistines slay 30,000 Israelite foot soldiers.
1SA 5:6-9 The Lord afflicts the Philistines with tumors in their "secret parts," presumably for having stolen the Ark.
1SA 6:19 God kills seventy men (or so) for looking into the Ark (at him?). (Note: The early Israelites apparently thought the Ark to be God's abode.)
1SA 7:7-11 Samuel and his men smite the Philistines.
1SA 11:11 With the Lord's blessing, Saul and his men cut down the Ammonites.
1SA 14:31 Jonathan and his men strike down the Philistines.
1SA 14:48 Saul smites the Amalekites.
1SA 15:3, 7-8 "This is what the Lord says: Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass ....' And Saul ... utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword."
1SA 15:33 "Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord ...."
1SA 18:7 The women sing as they make merry: "Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands."
1SA 27:8-11 "David left neither man nor woman alive ....". (Note: This implies that children and infants were included in the slaughter.)
1SA 30:17 David smites the Amalekites.
2SA 2:23 Abner kills Asahel.
2SA 3:30 Joab and Abishai kill Abner.
2SA 4:7-8 Rechan and Baanah kill Ish-bosheth, behead him, and take his head to David.
2SA 4:12 David has Rechan and Baanah killed, their hands and feet cut off, and their bodies hanged by the pool at Hebron.
2SA 5:25 "And David did as the Lord commanded him, and smote the Philistines ...."
2SA 6:2-23 Because she rebuked him for having exposed himself, Michal (David's wife) was barren throughout her life.
2SA 8:1-18 (A listing of some of David's murderous conquests.)
2SA 8:4 David hamstrung all but a few of the horses.
2SA 8:5 David slew 22,000 Syrians.
2SA 8:13 David slew 18,000 Edomites in the valley of salt and made the rest slaves.
2SA 10:18 David slew 47,000+ Syrians.
2SA 11:14-27 David has Uriah killed so that he can marry Uriah's wife, Bathsheba.
2SA 13:1-15 Amnon loves his sister Tamar, rapes her, then hates her.
2SA 13:28-29 Absalom has Amnon murdered.
2SA 18:6 -7 20,000 men are slaughtered at the battle in the forest of Ephraim.
2SA 18:15 Joab's men murder Absalom.
2SA 20:10-12 Joab's men murder Amasa and leave him "... wallowing in his own blood in the highway. And anyone who came by, seeing him, stopped."
2SA 24:15 The Lord sends a pestilence on Israel that kills 70,000 men.
1KI 2:24-25 Solomon has Adonijah murdered.
1KI 2:29-34 Solomon has Joab murdered.
1KI 2:46 Solomon has Shime-i murdered.
1KI 13:15-24 A man is killed by a lion for eating bread and drinking water in a place where the Lord had previously told him not to. This is in spite of the fact that the man had subsequently been lied to by a prophet who told the man that an angel of the Lord said that it would be alright to eat and drink there.
1KI 20:29-30 The Israelites smite 100,000 Syrian soldiers in one day. A wall falls on 27,000 remaining Syrians.
2KI 1:10-12 Fire from heaven comes down and consumes fifty men.
2KI 2:23-24 Forty-two children are mauled and killed, presumably according to the will of God, for having jeered at a man of God.
2KI 5:27 Elisha curses Gehazi and his descendants forever with leprosy.
2KI 6:18-19 The Lord answers Elisha's prayer and strikes the Syrians with blindness. Elisha tricks the blind Syrians and leads them to Samaria.
2KI 6:29 "So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, 'Give up your son so we may eat him,' but she had hidden him."
2KI 9:24 Jehu tricks and murders Joram.
2KI 9:27 Jehu has Ahaziah killed.
2KI 9:30-37 Jehu has Jezebel killed. Her body is trampled by horses. Dogs eat her flesh so that only her skull, feet, and the palms of her hands remain.
2KI 10:7 Jehu has Ahab's seventy sons beheaded, then sends the heads to their father.
2KI 10:14 Jehu has forty-two of Ahab's kin killed.
2KI 10:17 "And when he came to Samaria, he slew all that remained to Ahab in Samaria, till he had wiped them out, according to the word of the Lord ...."
2KI 10:19-27 Jehu uses trickery to massacre the Baal worshippers.
2KI 11:1 Athaliah destroys all the royal family.
2KI 15:3-5 Even though he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, the Lord smites Azariah with leprosy for not having removed the "high places."
2KI 15:16 Menahem ripped open all the women who were pregnant.
2KI 19:35 An angel of the Lord kills 185,000 men.
1CH 20:3 (KJV) "And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes."
2CH 13:17 500,000 Israelites are slaughtered.
2CH 21:4 Jehoram slays all his brothers.
PS 137:9 Happy will be the man who dashes your little ones against the stones.
PS 144:1 God is praised as the one who trains hands for war and fingers for battle.
IS 13:15 "Everyone who is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their ... wives will be ravished."
IS 13:18 "Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children."
IS 14:21-22 "Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers."
IS 49:26 The Lord will cause the oppressors of the Israelite's to eat their own flesh and to become drunk on their own blood as with wine.
JE 16:4 "They shall die grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcasses shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth."
LA 4:9-10 "Those slain by the sword are better off than those who die of famine; racked with hunger, they waste away for lack of food. ... pitiful women have cooked their own children, who became their food ..."
EZ 6:12-13 The Lord says: "... they will fall by the sword, famine and plague. He that is far away will die of the plague, and he that is near will fall by the sword, and he that survives and is spared will die of famine. So will I spend my wrath upon them. And they will know I am the Lord, when the people lie slain among their idols around their altars, on every high hill and on all the mountaintops, under every spreading tree and every leafy oak ...."
EZ 9:4-6 The Lord commands: "... slay old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women ...."
EZ 20:26 In order that he might horrify them, the Lord allowed the Israelites to defile themselves through, amongst other things, the sacrifice of their first-born children.
EZ 21:3-4 The Lord says that he will cut off both the righteous and the wicked that his sword shall go against all flesh.
EZ 23:34 "You shall ... pluck out your hair, and tear your breasts."
HO 13:16 "They shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up."
MI 3:2-3 "... who pluck off their skin ..., and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron."
MT 10:21 "... the brother shall deliver up his brother to death, and the father his child, ... children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death."
MT 10:35-36 "For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law a man's enemies will be the members of his own family."
MT 11:21-24 Jesus curses [the inhabitants of] three cities who were not sufficiently impressed with his great works.
AC 13:11 Paul purposefully blinds a man (though not permanently).
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