Why did God command the Israelites to kill the Midianite women and boys,1 if He is a God of love?
The background of God’s command:
- Balak, king of the Moabites, conferred with the Midianites to get the prophet Balaam to curse Israel.2 God did not allow Balaam to curse the Israelites, but only to bless them.3
- Revelation 2:14 tells us that Balaam advised Balak to entice the Israelites to immorality and idolatry (an immoral physical relationship causes a man to defect from God). It worked. God was furious and He sent a plague that killed 24,000 Israelites.4
- The Israelites were in a covenant relationship with God who warned them not to follow the example of the nations in Canaan. They knew God wanted to protect them against immorality and idolatry that defile the land so that it vomits out its inhabitants.5
- How did Balaam know about God and His decrees, because he lived far from Egypt 6 and Canaan,7 in Pethor near the River Euphrates? The God of the Israelites, and His power was well known.
- God’s reaction to the Midianites’ attempt to seduce the Israelites was to tell His people to treat them as enemies. 8 God always protects His people.
- Moses commanded 12,000 soldiers to exact vengeance on the Midianites. That tells us it must have been only a local tribe, since we meet the Midianites again as a big force in Judges 6.
Why different treatment for women who have slept with a man, boys and virgins?
- The women who have slept with a man were the ones who seduced the Israelites and caused God’s curse on His people. The women could also be pregnant and so bring Midianite enemies into the Israelite camp.
- Were the boys who had to be killed 1 year olds, or adventurous teenagers who could not resist the excitement of war? The problem was that since the male was regarded as the head of the family, leaving the boys to grow up, would raise a generation of Midianites inside the Israelite camp.
- Why were the virgins not killed? The Israelite men could marry them, teach them about God and assimilate them into the nation. Atheists taunt that God advocates rape. They obviously have never read Deuteronomy 21:10-14 that clearly teaches Israelite men how to treat a captive woman they wish to marry.
- The Midianites deliberately set out to alienate the Israelites from God.
- Opposing God will always lead to destruction, after a period of grace. Nothing prevented the Midianites from accepting God as their king instead of trying to destroy His people.
- Numbers 31:1-6
- Numbers 22:1-6
- Numbers 22-24
- Numbers 25:6-15
- Leviticus 18:24-29
- God miraculously led about 3 million Israelites out of slavery, Exodus 7-11
- God miraculously helped the Israelites to take in various main cities, Joshua 5-13
- Numbers 25:16
Enjoy the film, but if you want the real facts about Moses and the Exodus, go to Scripture. The film does include Biblical names like Moses, Israelites, Egypt and Pharaoh; it has the Israelites as slaves in ancient Egypt with the pyramids and temples, the plagues, the Passover and the passage through the Red Sea. That is the only way it resembles the Bible. There is nothing about Moses’ close relationship with God and the glorious work of the Almighty on behalf of His people.
According to Wikipedia, the producer, Scott Ridley, said in 2013 that he was an atheist. So he does not believe in the Bible or the God of the Bible. One would hardly expect a true ‘Biblical epic’ from him. Why would he glorify God who through the Exodus fulfilled His promise made hundreds of years earlier to Abraham? God said to Moses, ‘I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians….’ 1 The leading and power of God would rescue them, not a little boy.
What was the Moses of the Bible like?
- He was a man of faith.2
- He had intimate contact with God.3
- He was a humble man.4
- He was a type of Jesus who would free people from slavery to sin.5 This is repeated in the New Testament, since it is so important, “For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything He tells you.'” 6
By depicting Moses different from his Bible character, Mr Ridley subtly insults Jesus. This can be expected from his non-belief in the Bible.
- In the film Moses, as the leader, teaches the slaves to use weapons against the Egyptians. In the Bible God saved them miraculously.
- In the Bible Moses and Aaron visit Pharaoh repeatedly in the name of the Lord, to demand the release of God’s people. In the film Aaron scarcely features.
- God is depicted as a boy with queer mannerism and saying, ‘I am.’ What an insult to the Almighty!
- The reason for the very important Passover is never explained. The significance is that Jesus would be our Passover Lamb (His Blood on the doorposts of our hearts will save us from eternal judgement). 7
What does one learn from the film? Acts 7:38 gives the answer, ‘He (Moses) was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us.’ Those ‘living words,’ the Bible, are still a terror to the devil. He still does everything he can to indoctrinate the world that they are just idle words, not powerful and life changing.
Scott Ridley gave us a good film, but nothing that has to do with God’s glory and brilliance as depicted in the Bible.
- Exodus 3:8a
- Hebrews 11:24-28
- Numbers 12:7-8
- Numbers 12:3
- Deuteronomy 18:18
- Acts 3:22
- 1 Corinthians 5:7b