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The Bible’s Prescriptive, Open-Ended, and Universal Commandments to Wage Holy War and Enslave Infidels (II)

This is page II of IV.  To return to page I, go here.

In his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), Robert Spencer claims that the violent verses in the Bible are only “descriptive” whereas those in the Quran are supposedly “prescriptive, open-ended, and universal.”  However, this argument is simply not supported by the facts on the ground, as we explained on page I.  There are many violent verses in the Bible that are “prescriptive, open-ended, and universal”–at least using the same standards that Spencer so mirthfully employs against the Quran.

The Battle Psalms

The Book of Psalms is amongst the most commonly read and recited part of the Bible by both Jews and Christians.  “Throughout the world many Jews recite the Book of Psalms each week or each month.” “The Psalms are some of the most widely read portions of the Old Testament. They have a long history of popularity in the Christian tradition, so much so that often the Book of Psalms has been bound with the New Testament in pocket editions.”

The Psalms are attributed to King David, who waged violent holy war against heathens and committed atrocities that can only be described as genocide (see part 3 of this Series).  Many of the Psalms are war poems, glorifying holy war against heathens.  No wonder then that even today “when Israel is at war, Jews gather to recite Psalms” and “many Yeshivot and synagogues recite Psalms (especially Psalms 20, 83, 121, 130, 142 …) daily for the protection of Jews in Israel from terrorism.” (Certainly, ethnic cleansing–which is called for in this particular selection of Psalms–is one vengefully satisfying, albeit ineffective, way of dealing with terrorism.)  Christian soldiers in the U.S. military routinely recall and recite the Psalms as they sustain their illegal occupations in the lands of the Saracen heathens.

The Bible proclaims:

Psalms 149:5 Let godly people triumph in glory. Let them sing for joy on their beds.

149:6 Let the praises of God be in their mouths, and a two-edged sword in their hands,

149:7 to execute vengeance on the heathen and punishment on the people,

149:8 to bind their kings with chains, and their leaders with iron shackles.

Using Spencer’s own standards, this is a “prescriptive, open-ended, and universal” proclamation of holy war against “the heathen”.  Far from letting “God handle the unbelievers”, this Biblical passage empowers men to do God’s bidding–with the sharp edges of a sword no less.  After all, Psalm 18:34 says of God: “He teaches my hands to war” and 144:1 says: “Praise be to the LORD, who is my rock, who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight.”

Other verses more graphically depict how the Jewish and/or Christian believers will themselves “see vengeance” and exult in bloodletting:

58:10 The righteous will be glad when they see vengeance, when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.

The believers pray to God: “Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked” (3:7), “Strike them with terror” (9:20), “let death seize my enemies” (55:15), “trample our enemies” (60:120), “destroy them!” (74:11), “terrify them” (83:15), and “let them perish in disgrace” (83:17).

It cannot be claimed that these verses ask for the intervention of God without any human action.  Rather, the Psalms are calling for divine support to aid human soldiers on the battlefield.  This becomes abundantly clear from numerous passages contained therein:

18:29 With [God’s] help I can advance against a troop [of soldiers]; with my God I can scale [an enemy] wall.

18:30 God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

18:31 For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?

18:32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.

18:33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.

18:34 He teaches my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by my arms.

18:35 You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great.

18:36 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.

18:37 I will pursue my enemies and overtake them; I will not turn back till they are destroyed.

18:38 I will smite them through, so that they shall not be able to rise: They shall fall under my feet.

18:39 You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet.

18:40 You have also given me the necks of my enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me.

God’s aid is certainly sought, but it is the human who will become God’s agent of vengeance.  It can almost be considered that God was thought of as another fighter on the battlefield:

108:11 Have you rejected us, O God? Will you no longer march with our armies?

108:12 Oh grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man!

108:13 With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.

Psalm 83 is one of the most commonly recited parts of the Bible and is in fact read “daily” by many pro-Israeli Jewish congregations.  This psalm calls for God to do to the enemies of Israel what was done to the people of Midian.  As we read earlier, the Israelites killed every Midianite man, and enslaved their women and children.  The passage also lists other peoples who were defeated and destroyed by the Israelites.  This prayer in the Book of Psalms reads:

83:9 Do to them as you did to Midian, as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,

83:10 who perished at Endor and became like dung for the ground.

83:11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,

83;12 who said, “Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God.

83:13 Make them like tumbleweed, O my God, like chaff before the wind.

83:14 As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,

83:15 so pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm.

83:16 Cover their faces with shame so that men will seek your name, O LORD.

83:17 May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace.

Far from rejecting the wars and genocides of Moses, this prayer in the Bible–recited by Jews (and Christians) worldwide–hopes for similar treatment of other infidels, especially those who have the unfortunate fate of being deemed enemies to Israel.

Editor’s Note: Due to the length of this article, it will be split into four parts, the next part to be published tomorrow.

Update I: Page 3 is now available here.

Update II: Page 4 is now available here.

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  • SangyePhuntsok

    Great job Danios, as always your work is truly amazing…
    I don want to sound like Robert Spencer when he says that Islam is essentially diferent to other religions, but i think that there is a fact that is worth to point when comparing the violence of the Bible with the violence of the Quran:
    The violence of the Quran it is mostly limited to a context of battles fought by two clashing armies, and therefore it is similar to the violence of other religious texts like the Hindu Mahabharata and Ramayana and the Buddhist Kalachakra Tantra so it is violence in a military context, while the violence of the Bible is way beyond that and it is about criminal and perverse acts like genocides and brutal slaughter of innocent children, so the Bible is different to other religious texts and condones evil and immoral acts like this:
    Numbers 31:17-18 (King James Version)
    17Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
    18But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
    Deuteronomy 2:33-34 (King James Version)
    33And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.
    34And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:
    1 Samuel 15:3 (King James Version)
    3Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
    Not even poor animals scape from the cruelty of the Bible…of course that does not imply that modern day jews and christians are like ancient Bronze age barbaric hebrews( at least not most of them) but i think that those whom believe in the god of the Bible(like Spencer) should have the decency to avoid selfrighteous and arrogant attitudes and delusional rants about the so called “moral superiority” of the judeochristian tradition because in any comparative study about violence in religious texts the Bible believers are going to end being the losers. So for people like Spencer the wise thing to do is to beheave themselves and keep their mouth shut.

  • Think_hard

    These original pieces and insights make loonwatch special.

    Can we expect a book or booklet (electronic or print) on this at the end? It would be a great resource in combating islamaphobia.

  • Mosizzle

    ^Lol. The morons really didn’t read the disclaimer at the very top of the page.

    To them it’s just a case of the evil Leftist-Mooslim alliance, headed by Michale Moore, trying to destroy Western civilisation from within. Chill out, it’s just an article.

  • Rob

    Check out the logical and well thought out response to this article from this racist loony website:

  • JN

    Lawl @ the damage control comments from Spencerland (and the other hate sites as well I’m sure). The Islamophobes are getting a taste of their own medicine…and I guess they don’t like it. Too bad.

  • Crow

    That explains the shock and awe, the genocide and collective punishment the christian majority natins approve of. those nations are just misunderstanders of Christianity. Christianity is really very peaceful. Sarcasm

  • Daniel

    Great job again, Danios.

    Perhaps you’ll bring this out in future parts, but I’ll raise it any way: Jesus quoted extensively from the Hebrew Bible. The two books He quoted from the most? Deuteronomy (the fifth book of Torah, the supposedly “abrogated” law) and the Psalms.

    As I stated before, a Christian can disagree with Islam–the two religions have some profound differences. But violent commands and a God who orders Hos followers to commit violence is not one of those differences.

  • NassirH

    Of course Spencer will be able to argue that the violent passages of the Bible are entirely descriptive if he omits anything that falsifies his argument and edits out lines.

  • Anti-loon

    I think readers themselves can make up their mind. No need to choreograph his work for him.

  • TomThumb

    Thus far, the general response being trotted out by the anti-Islam crowd to this Jihad series seems to be that Danios is wrong because he has misunderstood these verses and taken them out of context, etc. Posters like JustBob go one step further and claim to have ‘destroyed’ Danios’ arguments.

    The fact is, Danios has made it very clear, both in this article and in his previous writings, that he is deliberately using the same methodology and the same standards that Robert Spencer uses with the Quran to demonstrate that one could easily conclude that the Bible is a violent book, if one followed the modus operandi of that self-titled scholar Robert Spencer. JustBob and Co. have obviously misunderstood this series and see every article as an ‘attack’ on the Bible.

    Instead of getting into a frenzy and attempting to ‘destroy’ Danios’ arguments, what we reasonably expect from the anti-Islam crowd is to ponder the futility and unreasonable nature of the commentary of Islamic texts that Robert Spencer offers the world. Danios is only duplicating the same tactics and strategies that Spencer employs, as a way of arguing that Spencer’s narrative is at best unfair, and at worst downright disingenuous and a gross violation of scholarly ethics.

  • Garo

    Once more Robert Spencer has been treated with his own medicine by this marvelous fellow calling himself or herself,Danios.

    As a fair-minded Agnostic,I cannot help but love what this marvelous fellow calling himself or herself,Danios,writes,in substance and style.

    What else can I say,Danios!! I simply cannot thank you enough for making my life-long-files about Judaism,Christianity and Islam thicker and smarter!!

    One thousand Cheers for Danios………

  • Solid Snake

    Danios, another great article. Keep them coming.

  • Anti-loon

    That explains the “shock & awe” massacres, genocide and collective punishment the christian majority nations practise.

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