To set the scene a little bit… For those who have seen “The 10 Commandments”, one can easily pictured the righteous Moses pleading his case to Pharaoh and saying, “Let my people go!” Pharaoh was a bad man and brought the plagues upon himself and his country. We were led to believe that Moses was a good man who gave up his cushy lifestyle being raised as an Egyptian prince when he avenged a slave being brutalized by an Egyptian. After hiding in exile, he returned following God’s calling to lead the Hebrews back to their rightful place in Israel.
Moses had received “the law” and 10 commandments from God Almighty and was in the process of leading the Jews to the Promised Land. Here’s a little piece that you didn’t see in the movie. The following is unedited straight from the King James Version of the Bible. Numbers Chapter 31:
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people.
3 And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the LORD of Midian.
4 Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, shall ye send to the war.
5 So there were delivered out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.
6 And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand.
7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
8 And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.
9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
10 And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.
11 And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.
12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
13 And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp.
14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.
15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
For those of you confused, let me translate…
Verses 1 – 6: God has a beef with the Midianites and tells Moses to go to war. Look, God has his reasons so I wouldn’t bring him to trial on any of this. War is war and there is a different code of ethics. They raise an army of 12,000.
Verse 7: They slew all the males. OK, getting harsher. They didn’t take a single POW? No one surrendered? Still, it is war.
Verse 8: Naming some of the people who were killed.
Verse 9: This one is important. The Jews had killed all the men (we’ll just assume that they were all combatants). Now they take all the women and children as captives. They also take all their cattle and goods for themselves.
Verses 10 – 12: They destroy the cities and bring the captives to Moses.
Verses 13 – 16: Moe is angry that the Jews took captives? This is where the war crimes really kick in.
Verses 17 – 18: I’m going to reprint it again here. Follow along with me:
“Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”
Moses commands his army to kill every male CHILD and all of the women who are non-virgins. As for the virgins, they are now to be kept as sex slaves for the Jews! Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. God, through Moses, just commanded genocide. The rest of the chapter rambles on about how to purify the army after the massacre and even more importantly, how to split up the goods stolen from the Midianites.
Anyone see the irony here? At a Passover Seder, there are endless readings about the suffering of slavery while in Egypt. Now that they’ve been freed, the Jews go out, massacre an entire people, and