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Live Blogging the Bible: Deuteronomy 12:31

July 17, 2013 77 comments

by Noah Lugeons

God loves a good genocide.

I can’t help but feel like they’re going out of their way to make this god character an asshole so that it’ll be more cathartic when he’s redeemed, but I’ve gotta be honest, even with 61 books to do it, I’m not sure if there’s any way they can make me like this guy.

So in chapter 12 god reminds us why we can’t realistically entertain the “moral guide” notion of the bible by spelling out all the good reasons to thoroughly destroy every member and memory of the cities they’re all about to ravage.  This is late in the chapter after a thrilling and detailed reminiscence about proper meat-eating etiquette.

God’s explaining why you shouldn’t worship any other gods or even know about how other people worship, which he reminds us of no fewer than infinity times in the book of Deuteronomy.  And in an apparent effort to soften the blow of killing women and children, livestock and slaves, then burning homes, buildings, temples, possessions, clothes and any remnant of a civilization to the ground, Moses takes a minute to remind us just how horrible these societies are:

You must not [worship their gods] because every abhorrent thing they have done for their gods.  They would even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.

My first thought was of Abraham taking ol’ Isaac for a midnight stroll so the actual depth of the irony of this passage took me a second to process.  God’s in the middle of telling them to kill all of these heathens, even the children.  Their god is telling them that they have to burn their enemy’s children because their enemies would burn their children for their god.

But it’s totally still divinely inspired, though…