“You shall not murder”
(Exodus 20:13)

Oddly, there is absolutely no doubt that the Lord Himself is a ruthless murderer.

In the bible, the Lord has no particular problem to kill whoever gets in the way of Him or His followers. He takes no prisoners! Without any second thoughts, He kills innocent civilians, peaceful peasants, women and children.

If He were a human being, we’d call Him a war criminal and trial Him for constantly violating the Genevan Convention and committing genocide.

Here’s a selection of some of the Lord’s biggest blood baths:

Genesis 6-8

God drowns everyone, except for Noah and his family. An estimated 200 million civilians die.

Genesis 19:24-25

God destroys the cities of Sodom and Gomorra ‘and all the valley’ and kills all inhabitants with brimstone and fire.

Exodus 12:29-30

God kills all the firstborn in Egypt. “There was no home where there was not someone dead.” (Ex 12:30)

Exodus 14:24-28

God drowns the Pharao’s army by dropping the Red Sea  on it.

Deuteronomy 2:21-22

God ‘destroys’ two ethnic groups, the Zamzummites and the Horites, in what the UN would call ‘ethnic cleansing’  today

Joshua 10:10-11

God throws large hailstones at fleeing soldiers from the city of Gibeon. “More of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.”

1 Samuel 5-6

After the Philistines have stolen the Ark, God strikes the people of the cities of Ashdod, Gath and Ekron with tumors. ‘Both young and old’ are affected. In Beth Semesh, God kills seventy more men for looking the Ark of the Covenant.

2 Kings 1:9-12

God incinerates two captains and one hundred soldiers who come to take Elijah

2 Kings 2:24

God sends two bears that ‘maul’ 42 youths who were making fun of Elisha’s baldness

2 Kings 19:35

God sends in an angel to kill 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in their sleep

2 Chronicles 14:12-13

God destroys the Cushites (Ethiopians). “Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover.”

2 Chronicles 20:22-24

God tricks three enemy armies into fighting each other. “When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped”

Various verses

God kills many individual sinners who are mentioned by name: Er, Onan, Nadab, Abihu, Nabal, Uzzah, King Jeroboam, King Jeroboam’s son, King Azariah, King Jehoram and King Uzziah

So, what's the point? Why would the Lord do all this? Actually, the reason is quite simple.

In almost all traditional agricultural civilizations, people believed that the world was soaked in personal gods, spirits and demons. When you got ill, it was an evil spirit's doing. When a natural disaster destroyed your city – some god must be pretty pissed at you. If you lost a war: same story.

The bible echoes this tradition. It incorporates old, rudimentary ideas about nature into one God: Yahweh, the Lord of the bible. That’s why all disasters, wars and sudden deaths are attributed to the Lord.

The cruelty of the Lord reflects this. If something goes wrong, it’s the Lord. And if something goes really terribly bad – hey, it’s the Lord again!

God of the bible does a pretty thorough job on this. We’ll leave you with the cruel ending of King Jeroboam, obviously not a close friend of the Lord:

“And after all this the LORD struck him in his bowels with an incurable disease. In course of time, at the end of two years, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great agony.” (2  Chronicles 21:18-19)

"You shall not murder"? Yeah, sure.

John Muncy: "Whatever Happened to the Wrath of God?" (1996)

John H. Gerstner: "The Terror of the Lord"

Bigger God