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Even Bible sends the same message

Reader comment on item: Destroying Sculptures of Muhammad
in response to reader comment: Mansoor: Who are the fools fishing for ‘gems' in the Koran?

Submitted by Mansoor (Pakistan), Apr 17, 2008 at 16:00

When you put finger on Quran for so called Barbaric verses...just see this ...Plato man..

http://www.slate.com/id/2146473/

Excerpts

Chapter 31
Here is most hideous war crime in a Bible filled with them. As with the story of Dinah, it is sexual misbehavior that spurs the ugliest, evilest biblical vengeance. At the start of the chapter, God tells Moses he must complete one more task before he dies: taking vengeance against the Midianites. Why? For the fairly piddling crime described in Chapter 25. God was threatening punishment for Israelites who'd been whoring with Moabite women. At that very moment, an Israelite walked by the Tent of Meeting with his Midianite girlfriend. Phineas speared the couple to death. God, delighted by Phineas' zealotry, stops the plague he had sent against the Israelites as punishment for their lechery. Even so, 24,000 Israelites die. For reasons I can't understand, God and Moses hold the entire Midianite nation responsible for this mess, and they want payback. If you ask me—and Moses didn't--the Bible is willfully ignoring the obvious point. It was the Moabite women, not the Midianite women, who did the dreadful whoring that provoked God's rage and the plague. Going after the Midianites to punish a Moabite crime is as nonsensical as the United States invading Iraq to teach al-Qaida a lesson. (Oh, wait. We did that.)

Moses dispatches his army, which quickly kills the five Midianite kings and slaughters all the Midianite men. (This is not the war crime, but rather everyday policy.) The Israelites capture all the Midianite women and children and march them back to camp. Moses is furious that the Midianite women have been spared. (This chapter also fails to mention that Moses himself is married to a Midianite woman!) Moses orders his troops to execute all the Midianite boys and all the Midianite females except for the virgins. Isn't this a kind of sick, grotesquely disproportionate atrocity? It's collective punishment of a most repellent sort—and all to take revenge for the one bad date between an Israelite and a Midianite girl! Numbers informs us, with its usual fondness for precision, that 32,000 virgin females survive the mass execution (and were then enslaved, incidentally). By my rough estimate, this means the Israelites killed more than 60,000 captive, defenseless women and boys.

Let's pause for a second to consider Moses' rage, which I find almost incomprehensible. For most of the last three books, Moses has been restraining God. The Lord loses his temper with His disobedient people, and Moses persuades Him to show mercy. But God is on the sidelines during the Midianite slaughter: It is Moses who's bloodthirsty. Where does his new anger come from? Is it the fury of a frustrated old man who's been barred from his Promised Land? Is it the homicidal megalomania that descends on so many dictators who hold power too long?

What is particularly poignant is that Moses himself seems to know that this massacre of innocents is wrong. He orders his death squads to stay outside of camp after they finish their butchery. They need a week away from the Tabernacle to purify themselves. The Bible never mentions such a quarantine for Israelite soldiers after other battles. But, as Moses recognizes, these killings are not war, they are murder, and they defile his people.

Chapter 32
The Midianite massacre isn't the only incident of Moses spinning out of control. This chapter, too, suggests he is getting a little paranoid as his final days approach. Here Gad and Reuben—both successful herding tribes—ask Moses if they can make their home in the good rangeland east of the Jordan and not settle in the Promised Land with everyone else. Moses explodes at them, accusing them of sabotaging the settlement of the new land, undermining the army, demoralizing their fellow Israelites, and turning their back on God.

Moses' indignation comes from nowhere and seems entirely undeserved. Gad and Reuben immediately mollify him—they promise to be the "shock troops" that will lead the army. Only when Canaan is conquered, they vow, will they return east of the Jordan to their settlements. Moses grudgingly agrees, but threatens divine vengeance if they don't fight hard. Again, it's hard not to feel that the brilliant and humane prophet who has dominated the Torah is slipping away, and that he has suddenly become an old, angry, vindictive tyrant.

Mr. Plato any justification? just let me know!
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