IS IT GOD'S WORD?
YAHVEH -- THE "TERRIBLE GOD" OF ISRAEL
R RYAHVEH -- THE "TERRIBLE GOD" OF ISRAEL R R YAHVEH AS A SUPERMAN R R EX NIHIL NIHIL R R YAHVEH A LOCAL DEITY
R RYAHVEH A KING ELOHIM R R YAHVEH AS A WAR-GOD R R YAHVEH, WAR-GOD OF ISRAEL R R PERSONAL TRAITS OF YAHVEH
R RYAHVEH A DEITY OF TERROR R R A GOD OF BLOODY MURDER R R YAHVEH THE VENGEFUL R R THE CHANGEFUL YAHVEH
R RYAHVEH REPENTANT R R THE FATHER OF LIES R R THE LUSTS OF YAHVEH R R YAHVEH THE WHITE-SLAVER R R L'ENVOI
R RRETURN TO THE INDEX OF CHAPTERS
THE revelation which is made in the inspired pages of the Hebrew Scriptures of the personality and characteristics of the Hebrew God, cannot but be amazing and even revolting to those whose concept of the God of the Bible is that of a God of mercy and truth. The portrait of their Deity which the Chosen People draw in the sacred pages will be here exposed to candid view, in the very words and lines in which it is drawn by inspired pens; the reader must be left to formulate his own convictions of the result. The revelation is written by inspiration of this selfsame God, and not by this reviewer of the record.
YAHVEH AS A SUPERMAN
First of all, the Hebrew God was to his Chosen People merely a man, or superman, human in form, functions, and attributes, with some attributes of a spirit or genie added, such as power to change shape at will, like the gods of Homer.
His human, or anthropomorphic, form and functions appear unequivocally from the beginning: "Elohim created man in his own image, in the image of elohim created he him." It is added: "Male and female created he them, ... and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth" (Gen. 1: 27, 28 ). This would imply an hermaphroditic sexuality in the person of Elohim (as a single deity), or a female consort, or a plurality of Elohim, male and female, like the gods and goddesses of Olympus. In truth, Yahveh Elohim is often represented as having many offspring, referred to as "the sons of God" (or, of the gods -- beni ha- elohim). It is early recorded that "the sons of God [beni ha- elohim] saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives [nashim] of all which they chose" (Gen. 6: 2 ), and thus produced a race of giants and provoked the Flood.
This primitive Hebrew God-man, named Yahveh, used to come down to the earth and walk about, and talk to the people he had created; and he made coats of skins for Adam and Eve. He came down as a man and watched the Tower of Babel building (Gen. 11: 5 ); and a thousand times he came to earth in the form of man, to talk with people and to do this and that. At Horeb he stood on the rock and watched Moses smite it for water (Ex. 17: 6 ); and on Sinai "Yahveh descended in the cloud, and stood with him there" (Ex. 34: 5 ). To Moses he always appeared on Mount Sinai in the form of man -- "and Yahveh spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend" (Ex. 33: 11 ); although in the same chapter this is contradicted, for Moses asked Yahveh to let him see him, and Yahveh replied: "Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me and live" (33: 20 ). But as the God wished to be complaisant, as far as possible without danger of death, he put Moses into a little cleft in the rocks, and placed his hand over Moses' face, and paraded by and showed Moses his man-like "back parts" (33: 21-23 ). Before this Yahveh had been more sociable and seeable, for after writing the tables of stone with his finger, he celebrated the occasion by inviting Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel, to a big banquet up on the "Mountain of the Gods"; and there "they saw the God [ha elohim] of Israel," whose feet were upon a paved work of sapphire stone; and they all "saw God, and did eat and drink" (Ex. 24: 10, 11 ). Moses has it recorded as notorious, even to the Egyptians, that "Thou Yahveh art seen face to face" (Num. 14: 14 ).
Yahveh came down as an angel and had an all-night wrestling- match with Jacob; and Jacob named the place Peni-el, "for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved" (Gen. 32: 30 ).
But there would seem to be some mistake about all this somewhere. For we have the positive assurance of John that "No man hath seen God at any time" (John 1: 18 ); though St. John the Divine contradicts this by his own claim to have made a visit to highest heaven, where he saw both God himself and his Son (two wholly distinct Persons), sitting side by side on the throne of glory, circled by a rainbow (Rev. 3: 21, 4: 2, 3 ); and John gives minute personal description of one or the other, or both -- it is all mixed and fairy-talelike: "His head and his hairs were white like wool; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass; ... and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword" (Rev. 1: 14-16 ) -- very much like a grotesque image in a Hindu temple. This description must be intended for Yahveh himself, as it is very like that given by Daniel when he too visited Yahveh (Dan. 7: 9 ), when the Son was not recorded as present. Daniel does not mention the two-edged sword sticking out of his mouth, but he does tell us that Yahveh "had wheels," which were as burning fire (Dan. 7: 9 ). Isaiah also either visited heaven or had a good long-distance view into it, for he assures us: "I saw also Yahveh sitting upon a throne" (Isa. 6: 1 ); and he reports that "the breath of Yahveh, like a stream of brimstone" kindles the fires of Tophet (Isa. 30: 33 ). Job (a heathen) says: "Now mine eye hath seen thee" (Job 42: 5 ). Amos saw him in quite a belligerent mood: "I saw Yahveh standing upon the altar: and he said, ... Cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword" (Amos 9: 1 ). Ezekiel also toured Jerusalem with Yahveh, whom he calls a man, measuring the city, Yahveh being in his usual form of man: "The man [Yahveh] stood by me" (Ezek. 43: 6 ); and "Then said Yahveh unto me" (Ezek. 44: 2 ); the arrangement of the texts identifying the man with Yahveh.
All this certainly proves, so far as any wonder in the Bible may be taken as proved, that many of the Chosen did see the dread Yahveh in very person, and yet lived to tell the tale. But, whether seated on his throne or parading around on earth, he was always and everywhere "very man" as well as "very God," as the all-knowing doctors of divinity assure us. And it proves, as do hundreds of sacred texts, that Yahveh was "revealed" and seen as having every bodily part, function, faculty, and attribute of mere man, though, like Jove, in very godly degree.
Yahveh is throughout the Book credited explicitly with human body and all its parts: head, hair, face, beard (which he shaves), eyes, ears, lips, mouth, tongue, nostrils, breath, shoulders, arms, hands, horns on his hands, fingers, legs, feet, loins, heart, bosom, bowels, "back parts," even "wheels; " he has voice, uses words, and speaks: "We have this day seen that God doth talk with man" (Deut. 5: 24 ). He sees, hears, smells, eats, drinks, reads, writes, blots out, touches, sits, rises, stands, walks, rides, wrestles, works, is weary, rests, plants a garden and trees, builds, wears garments and makes them for our first parents, makes shoes, teaches, cures, judges; he begets, forgets, remembers, he laughs, cries, shouts, sleeps, wakes, loves, hates, fears, is pleased, delighted, angry, in wrath, in fury, takes vengeance, is grieved, jealous, promises, threatens, repents, changes his mind, swears, takes oaths, deceives, lies, swears he will not lie, has a soul. He is a "man of war," and blows a trumpet, bends a bow, whets a sword, shoots, slays, throws down stones from heaven (Eke Jove), fights with a sword, bow and arrows, has a quiver full of arrows, and a whole armory of weapons with which to equip himself for war. He marches; "he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind"' (2 Sam. 22: 11; Psalm 18: 10 ); "Yahveh rideth upon a swift cloud" (Isa. 19: 1 ), and also on horses and in a chariot.
If Yahveh was not anthropomorphic, or of man-form, then the whole frame work of the Old Testament is wrecked, and every recorded appearance of Yahveh to the Bible historians, and all the talks of the God with man, from Adam to the end, including the giving of the Law to Moses, did not occur, and the stories of the appearances and the talks, which compose the bulk of the Hebrew Scriptures, are fabulous and meaningless.
Throughout this Hebrew "revelation" of their God, El or Yahveh is conceived as a man in all his form and parts, actions and passions; although, like Zeus and the gods of Olympus, he could and often did change himself into other forms, appearing as an "atmospheric" divinity, as in the burning bush, in the pillar of cloud and of fire, in thick clouds, in darkness, in smoke, in storms and winds, as a still small voice.
And throughout the New Testament, the Hebrew-Christian Yahveh is still represented as in form and act of a man. The evangelist Mark, who is the only one to mention the circumstance, says that at the ascension, Jesus was received up into heaven, "and sat on the right hand of God" (Mark 16: 19 ). He represents Yahveh and Jesus as two entirely distinct persons, both of human form, having separate hands and seats, and sitting separately on a seat. Stephen, becoming ecstatic and clairvoyant, saw "the heavens opened, and the Son of man [Jesus] standing on the right hand of God" (Acts 7: 55, 56 ) -- no doubt meaning on the right-hand side. John also, in his apocalypse, beheld a throne in heaven, and "One sitting on it," and he "saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book" (Rev. 5: 1 ).
The "Apostles' Creed" likewise is inspired to advise us that Jesus, after rising from the dead and ascending into heaven, "sitteth on the right hand of God the Father, from whence he [Jesus] shall come to judge the quick and the dead" evidently leaving his Father Yahveh in heaven. This sounds to the ordinary understanding very much like two Gods instead of one God. The evangelist John, alone of all the Bible biographers (except for a passing remark of Paul in 2 Corinthians 3: 17 ), is unique in declaring that "God is a Spirit" (John 4: 24 ); but his notion must be doubted as contrary to all the rest of the inspired authority from Genesis to Revelation inclusive; even the Creed does not follow him.
EX NIHIL NIHIL
The God "revealed" in the Bible is therefore, by its every text and test, altogether a sort of magnified man, created by his votaries -- as were all the "gods of the nations" about them -- in their own form and image, with all their own traits and qualities, but magnified. There is, consequently, nowhere to be found a word of Biblical authority or precedent for the article of faith of all the great Christian creeds affirming, in their full knowledge of things unknowable, that "God is a Being without form, parts, or passions, and invisible" (see the Westminster Confession; Calvin's French confession; the thirty-nine Articles; the Methodist Articles of Religion.; the Baptist Declaration of Faith; et id omne genus) -- and therefore, a perfect Nonentity or Nothingness, if it be possible to conceive such a Being; the antithesis of Milton's shapeless "Shape, if Shape that can be called which shape hath none.
If these Protestant creeds appear to reduce the "Revealed" Godhead to nihility, they may be perfectly matched with these incomparable, and incomprehensible, mystic dogmas of the One True Faith, admitted to be directly inspired and revealed by Yahveh himself for our faith and wonder:
"Transcendentally one, absolutely free from composition, the Divine Being is not, and may not be conceived as, a fundamental substrate in which qualities or any other modal determinations inhere." (Cath. Encyc., Vol. 2: p. 63 ).
If this be considered a bit difficult for ordinary lay minds to grasp, relief may be found in this simpler affirmation of Nonentity: "God is a simple being or substance excluding every kind of composition, physical or metaphysical" (Cath. Encyc., Vol. 6: p. 614 ).
Or in the Divine assurance, from the same source: "The Three Persons of the Trinity are distinguished from all creatures by the three following characteristics: Absolute immateriality; Omniscience, and Substantial sanctity" (Id., Vol. 11:p. 309 ).
If this does not spell NOTHING, the human mind may despair of reconciling "absolute immateriality," which is one ineffable "quality" or "characteristic," with "sanctity of substance," which is another and a "material" one; or unravelling how one "Person" of an absolutely immaterial Triad of Nothing can be "consubstantial" with two other fractions of the same "Absolute Immateriality" -- to say nothing of the famous "homoousian" muddle, or of transsubstantion, whereby the faithful eat and drink the material body and blood of "Absolute Immateriality." But this is a question for the learned divines who invented it all; common mortals may find comfort in their assurance: "It is manifest that a dogma so mysterious presupposes a divine revelation." One and all, however, True Faith and heretic, are in this particular totally un-Biblical. The God of the Bible, El or Yahveh, is, upon all Bible revelation and authority, a man-god exactly like Bel, Baal, Osiris, Zeus, or Thor, in the pagan mythologies.
YAHVEH A LOCAL DEITY
Like Zeus and the other gods of Olympus, Yahveh had his special habitat on a high mountain, Horeb or Sinai (the seat of the pagan moon-god Sin), which is in Hebrew Scripture always called "the mountain of the Gods" (har ha-elohim; Ex. 3: 1; 24: 13, et passim). He also lurked in the Ark of the Covenant, carried about in tents: "For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another" (I Chron. 17: 5 ). When the Chosen came into the promised land, Yahveh lodged wherever the Ark happened to get stranded; later he was localized, having his chief seat of presence and worship, first at Shiloh, and afterwards in the temple at Jerusalem, on Mount Zion (Ps. 74: 2; 76: 2 ). This location of the sanctuary was expressly commanded by Moses (Deut. 12: 5, 10, 11, 14 ), and all other places were forbidden. The dispute about worshipping at another place (Mt. Gerizim) instead of at Jerusalem was the crux of the schism of the Samaritans (John 4: 20, 21 ). But this command was in reality evidently not of Moses but of the priests, much later; for in Canaan Yahveh was essentially a local baal, or lord, and was worshipped, as we have seen and shall see, with all the Canaanitish phallic accessories, "on every high hill and under every green tree."
On Sinai Yahveh himself declared: "In all places where I record my name I will come unto thee and I will bless thee" (Ex. 20: 24 ); at the simple "altars of earth" which were then enjoined by Yahveh, but later prohibited by the monopoly of priests. So all through the record, Yahveh would "put his name," or nomen, here or there, in stone, or earth altar, or mazzebab, and was the recognized baal, or land-lord, of that locality, as Beth-el, Mizpah, or Eben-ezer.
YAHVEH A KING ELOHIM
The Hebrew El or Yahveh was also in a vague sense conceived as a sort of king-spirit, or king of departed spirits -- the "El of the elohim." Yahveh was known and worshipped by the patriarchs as El Shaddai (El my Daemon; translated "God Almighty"), as he calls himself (Gen. 17: 1, Ex. 6: 3; et passim). This seems very curious, for the word means, or is often used as meaning, demon or devil: "They provoked him [Yahveh] to jealousy with strange gods [elohim]; ... they sacrificed unto devils [shaddim], which were not gods [elohe]; to gods [elohim] whom they knew not, to new gods [elohim) that came newly up" (Deut. 32: 16, 17 ); "They sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils [shaddim]" (Psalm c6: 37 ); "And he ordained him [Rehoboam] priests ... for the devils [shaddim]" (2 Chron. 11: 15 ). Ezekiel speaks of the "voice of the Almighty [kol shaddai -- kol el-shaddai]" (Ezek. 1: 24, et passim), the form shaddai being a sort of genitive, "my- daemon."
Moses and Aaron address the Deity Yahveh directly as El Elohe -- "O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh" (Num. 16: 22 ); and again Moses calls him Elohe ha-elohim (God of the gods," Deut. 10: 17 ). He calls himself El Elohim Yahveh (Josh. 22: 22 ). Yahveh is himself quoted as saying: "Thou shalt not revile the gods [elohim]" (Ex. 22: 28 ). This term, elohim, was likewise applied to departed spirits. The witch of En-dor says: "I saw elohim [gods, spirits] ascending out of the earth" (1 Sam. 28: 13 ).
Oracles, supposed declarations of Yahveh's will, were pretended to be received from these "familiar spirits," subject to the King El, Yahveh, and elohim, as in the case of the witch of En- dor, and as is recognized by Isaiah: "And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards: ... should not a people seek unto their God [Elohe]?" (Isa. 8: 19 ). Frequently the King-El sent "evil spirits from elohim" on this or that mission; as when "the evil spirit from elohim came mightily upon Saul, and he prophesied" (1 Sam. 18: 10 ). The term elohim was likewise applied to "other gods," as in the "first commandment" (Ex. 20: 3 ), to Chemosh, to Dagon, to Ashtoreth, to Baal-zebub, and all the other "gods of the nations."
YAHVEH AS A WAR-GOD
The celestial Yahveh was also par excellence El Sabaoth -- "the Lord of [the starry] Hosts." These, personified, were considered as his personal retinue; and they "fought on high for Israel." "They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera" (Judges 5: 20 ). When the King of Syria came to war against Israel, "Behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about" (2 Kings 6: 17 ). The warlike Psalmist sings that "the chariots of God [Elohim] are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels; Yahveh is among them" (Ps. 68: 17 ). In Joshua, "Yahveh cast down great stones from heaven" (Josh. 10: 11 ), upon the Amorites, and killed more of them than the Chosen warriors slew by the sword, while the sun stood still all day to watch and aid the slaughter -- "for Yahveh fought for Israel" (Josh. 10: 14 ). All this is exactly as if lifted bodily from the Iliad of Homer, describing the battles of Zeus and the gods of Olympus on behalf of their favored Greeks or Trojans.
YAHVEH, WAR-GOD OF ISRAEL
These latter references introduce what was the most definite and dominant concept of Yahveh found in the Hebrew Scriptures from Exodus until the end of the inspired record. Yahveh was par excellence their War-God, as was Zeus of the Greeks, and Thor and Odin of the barbarian Teutons, and as was their Gott till recently. Moses tells the fleeing soldiers to hold their hands off the pursuing Egyptians (of whom they were scared nearly to death; Ex. 14: 10 ), for "Yahveh will fight for you" (14: 14 ); and, jubilant over the destruction of the Pharaoh and his army, drowned in the Red Sea, he sings: "Yahveh is a man of war: Yahveh is his name" (15: 3 ). Miriam, sister of Moses, and the women take up the exultant refrain: "Sing ye to Yahveh, for he hath triumphed gloriously" (15: 21 ). Moses tells the soldiers of El when they go to battle against their enemies: "Be not afraid of them, for Yahveh your God is he that goeth with you to fight for you against your enemies, to save you" (Deut, 20: 1-4 ). In Numbers 21: 14, and sundry other places, several heroic exploits of the War-God Yahveh are mentioned as being recorded, evidently among a whole history of them, "in the book of the wars of Yahveh." When Joshua went up against Jericho, Yahveh himself came down "as captain of the hosts of Yahveh," with a drawn sword in his hand, and he gave in person the orders for marching around the city seven days blowing trumpets (Josh. 5: 13-15; 6: 2-5 ).
When David went out to fight Goliath, be called upon "Yahveh Sabaoth [the Lord of (starry) hosts], the Elohe of the armies of Israel" (1 Sam. 17: 45 ); and he said: "For the battle is Yahveh's" (17: 47 ). He sings of "Yahveh strong and mighty, Yahveh mighty in battle" (Ps. 24: 8 ); and again: "He breaketh the bow and cutteth the spear in sunder" (Ps. 46: 9 ). Isaiah says: "Yahveh Sabaoth mustereth the host for the battle" (Isa. 13: 4 ); and he prophesies: "so shall Yahveh of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion" (Isa. 31: 4 ), evidently with the celestial hosts, for he says: "As birds flying, so will Yahveh of hosts defend Jerusalem (31: 5 ) -- prophecies, by the way, which were not fulfilled.
Nehemiah encourages the returning exiles with the assurance: "Our Yahveh shall fight for us" (Neh. 4: 20 ). Zechariah declares: "Then shall Yahveh go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle" (Zech. 14: 3 ); and he says: "Yahveh shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning" (Zech. 9: 14 ). The battle-cry of the band of Gideonites, when they attacked the hosts of Midian, was "The sword of Yahveh and of Gideon." The phrase "the sword of Yahveh" is one of frequent use in the sacred texts; the title Yahveh Sabaoth ("Lord of Hosts") recurs an infinite number of times. The most potent piece of magic of the soldiers of El was the miracle-working Ark of the Covenant, within which the nomen of Yahveh-Elobim dwelt, and which they constantly carried before them into battle. The Egyptian and Babylonian monuments frequently show similar "Arks" of their war-gods, which they also carried into battle as the source of powerful witchcraft against their enemies. Thus we have seen that a warlike spirit is the dominant note of their conception of their Deity: "Yahveh Sabaoth is with us, the El of Jacob is our refuge" (Psalm 66: 7 ).
PERSONAL TRAITS OF YAHVEH
This Hebrew El-Elohe-Yishra-el, as he is dubbed by Jacob (Gen. 33: 20 ), is beyond all odds the most hateful and execrable character in all literature, sacred or profane, according to the attributes of his Godhead ascribed to him by his own inspired biographers. The pagan gods of Greece are sung by Pope as
"Gods artial, vengeful, changeable, unjust, Whose attributes were rage, revenge, and lust."
The Hebrew-pagan God Yahveh has all the gods of Greece and of every known theogony paled into innocuous shades of villainy by comparison. Yahveh, to credit his inspired biography, is the greatest criminal on record; he reeks with the blood of murders unnumbered, and is personally a murderer and an assassin, by stealth and treachery; a pitiless monster of bloody vengeances; a relentless persecutor of guilty and innocent alike; the most raging and terrifying bully; fickle and changeable as chameleon Fortune; a synonym for partiality and injustice; a vain braggart; a false promiser; an arrant and shameless liar "and the father of it." He has repeated fornications and adulteries to his credit, besides being a shameless procurer. Of every commandment except the self- glorifying first he is a chronic breaker.
Every particular of this, maybe to many shocking, description, is out of the inspired Bible. It is wholly out of the question, in this sketch, to review a tithe of the proofs of these divine attributes of Yahveh; his Holy Word is replete with them. But I promise to produce amplest "proofs of Holy Writ" for each one of these attributes, picked almost at random. Many instances of these several attributes of Yahveh have already been recounted, or will appear in other connections. Listen first to some generalities glittering with fiery terror.
YAHVEH A DEITY OF TERROR
Moses, who had occasion to know him quite intimately, if he is to be believed at all, declares: "Yahveh thy God is a mighty God and terrible" (Deut. 7: 21 ); and "Yahveh is a great God, mighty and terrible" (Deut. 10: 17 ), a description repeated in nearly every book of Hebrew Scripture: by Nehemiah (Neh. 1: 5 ); by Isaiah many times; by David very often; by Jeremiah, as "a mighty, terrible one" (Jer. 20: 11 ); by Daniel, as the "great and dreadful God" (Dan. 9: 4 ); and so times without number.
In fierce and fatal wrath Yahveh surpasses gods and men: one of the most iterated phrases in the whole "Word of God" is "and the anger of Yahveh was kindled." Yahveh's own solemn words and acts belie altogether his vainglorious boastings, as when, for instance, Yahveh paraded himself on Sinai, before Moses, and proclaimed: "Yahveh, Yahveh El, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth" (Ex. 34: 6 ).
But at the very first encounter between Yahveh and Moses, at the burning bush, when Moses asked to be excused from going to Egypt and heading the fugitive slaves, "the anger of Yahveh was kindled against Moses" (Ex. 4: 14 ); and a little later, as he reluctantly went, Yahveh ambushed him behind a wayside inn "and sought to kill him" (4: 24 ). This incident scores one for Yahveh as an assassin. Long before that, to say nothing of Eden and the Flood, "Er ... was wicked in the sight of Yahveh; and Yahveh slew him" (Gen. 38: 7 ); and then, because "the thing which [his brother Onan] did displeased Yahveh. ... he slew him also" (38: 10 ). Yahveh "came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them. ... And Yahveh's anger was kindled because he went" (Num. 22: 20, 22 ). Even Balaam's ass had some remarks to make about the unjustness of it all (22: 28 ). Yahveh entered into a conspiracy for murder in heaven, and sent "a lying spirit" to deceive Ahab and entice him to his death in battle (1 Kings 22: 20-23 ).
A GOD OF BLOODY MURDER
The alleged atrocities which Yahveh wilfully and maliciously perpetrated by the universal destruction of the Flood, and on the Egyptians with his inhuman Plagues, the wholesale massacre of the first-born of Egypt, and the drowning in the Red Sea of the Pharaoh and his army, also score for his inhumanity and murders. David, a "man after Yahveh's own heart," extols the feat: "O give thanks unto Yahveh. ... To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever" (Psalm 136: 1, 10 )! He is pictured as no less atrocious and murderous in his treatment of his own Chosen People, condemned to a miserable wandering in the howling wilderness for forty years and to extinction in death, simply because the people were frightened at the majority report of the spies sent to prospect in Canaan, and wept all night, and wanted to go home to Egypt (Num. 14: 1-4 ). Yahveh was "provoked," and his "anger kindled," and be said: "I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them" (14: 12 ); but Moses again held up the spectre of what the Egyptians would say -- "because Yahveh was not able to bring this people unto the land which he sware into them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness" (14: 16 ). Yahveh sees the point and relents, a little.
Just after the departure from Sinai, the people for some reason murmured, "and Yahveh heard it, and his anger was kindled; and the fire of Yahveh burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp" (Num. 11: 1 ). A little later, when the people lusted for meat to eat, "the anger of Yahveh was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased" (11: 10 ). Yahveh sent the holy oily manna, and quails; and when the Israelites began to eat them, "the anger of Yahveh was kindled against the people, and Yahveh smote the people with a very great plague" (11: 33 ). Later, because the people got tired of eating manna, Yahveh in his anger "sent fiery serpents, and they bit the people, and much people of Israel died" (21: 5, 6 ). Because his Chosen lusted for the Moabitish maidens, "the anger of Yahveh was kindled against Israel," and he murdered 24,000 of them (Num. 25: 9 ). Against the man who should worship any other god, "the anger of Yahveh and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie against him" (Deut. 19: 20 ); and the people must do this and do that, or not do this or that, all through the Book of Curses, "that Yahveh may turn from the fierceness of his wrath."
Because Achan kept out a few of the spoils at the battle of Ai, "the anger of Yahveh was kindled against the children of Israel"; and Yahveh ordered Achan, and his sons, and his daughters, to be stoned to death. The sons of Eli "lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle," and Eli reproved them; "notwithstanding they hearkened not to the voice of their father, because Yahveh would slay them" (I Sam. 2: 25 ); and Yahveh said: "Because ... he restrained them not," and he murdered them, and brought ruin on the whole house of Eli (3: 13, 14 ). Because Uzzah put forth his hand and touched the malignant Ark to keep it from jolting off the ox-cart when it struck a rut, "the anger of Yahveh was kindled against Uzzah; and Yahveh smote him, and he died by the ark of Yahveh." Because the men of Beth-Shemesh "looked into the ark of Yahveh" the murderous god slew 50,070 of them (I Sam. 6: 19 ). And "again the anger of Yahveh was kindled against Israel," for what reason I cannot clearly gather, "and he moved David to number Israel and Judah," and because David did so, Yahveh sent his only angel and murdered 70,000 of his Chosen, from Dan to Beersheba, in one day (2 Sam. 24: 15 ). Time and again Yahveh repeats the infernal commands for the indiscriminate murder of men, women, and children, the total extermination of the populations of the promised land by the savage soldiers of El: "Thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; ... nor shew mercy unto them; ... And thou shalt consume all the people which Yahveh thy god shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: ... and [Yahveh] shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed" (Deut. 7: 2, 16, 23 ). And his brutal soldiers execute his holy will to the letter, pitilessly; through ineffectively, for they never succeeded in exterminating the populations.
These ebullitions of Jahvistic temper and terror, and their trains of frightful murder, might be multiplied indefinitely; but these suffice to prove our point of constant rage, terrorism, and murder against the Hebrew Yahveh.
YAHVEH THE VENGEFUL
As for vengeance "Vengeance is mine, I will repay," is the crown-jewel of Yahveh's gorgonian Godhead. "Yahveh, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God" (Ex. 34: 14 ), "jealous for my holy name" (Ezek, 219: 25 ). Again, "Yahveh he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions, nor your sins" (Josh. 24: 19 ); "Yahveh is jealous, and Yahveh revengeth" (Nahum, 1: 2 ). One must not dare even to dislike him: "Yahveh repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them" (Deut. 7: 10 ). In his holy ten commandments he stigmatizes himself: "I Yahveh am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation" (Ex. 20: 5; 34: 7; Num. 14: 18; Deut. 5: 9 ). This is Yahveh's own law of relentless vengeance and persecution of innocent and guilty alike. Fortunately it is simply a monstrous "bluff," for, despite all its blood-curdling iteration, it was perfectly innocuous. The Jahvistic decree against "other gods" is repeated scores of times: "Ye shall make you no idols, nor mazzebahs [graven images]" (Lev. 26: 1 ), etc. Leviticus 26: 16-39 is a perfect hell of sulphuric penalties called down on the poor idolater, who naturally would prefer some milder deity to the terrible jealous Yahveh. "I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart. ... And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies. I will bring seven times more plagues upon you. ... I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children. ... I will walk contrary unto you also in fury. ... And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat" (Lev. 26: 16-29 ); so spake the longsuffering and merciful God. While most of these things did, quite deservedly, one might think, befall the Chosen People, it certainly "just happened," as it did to all the other nations about them, from their incessant bloody warfares. The sacred history itself makes this perfectly evident.
THE CHANGEFUL YAHVEH
There was no fulfilment of these brutal threats, which no kind of idolatry could justify; and this chronic "crime" of Israel was never punished, nor had anything to do with the disasters which befell the Chosen People. It would require a review of their whole miserable history to fully demonstrate this; but one humorous instance must suffice, in proof of the false promises and threats of Yahveh, and his constant fickleness. After several hundred years of unbroken idolatry, Solomon worshipped a variety of "strange gods" imported by his seven hundred wives, and "Yahveh was angry with Solomon" (1 Kings 11: 9 ). But Solomon was not stoned to death, as Yahveh's awful "law" commanded; he was not even "utterly destroyed"; Yahveh only said to Solomon: "I will surely rend the kingdom from thee. ... Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son" (11: 12, 13 ). And after the death of Solomon, when it did not much matter to Solomon anyhow, both the successors of Solomon, who divided the kingdom, were far worse idolaters than Solomon; and the kingdom was not rent from them at all; and their respective successors kept up unrestrained idolatry for several hundred years, until the end. Yahveh also told Solomon: "I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever" (11: 39 ); but they were afflicted, by incessant wars and captivities, till the end of the record. We will give Yahveh the credit for it.
Four or five hundred years before Solomon, Yahveh had declared his patience to be exhausted: "And Yahveh said unto the children of Israel, Ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more" (Judges 10: 13 ); but we find this same Yahveh saying through Samuel: "Yahveh will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased Yahveh to make you his people" (1 Sam. 12: 22 ); adding, however, from force of savage habit: "But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed" (12: 25 )! They continued to do the same as ever, and were not consumed. Yahveh gave his plighted word to David, referring to Solomon: "He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever; ... my mercy shall not depart away from him" (2 Sam. 7: 13, 15 ). But immediately on Solomon's death the kingdom was split by the secession of Jeroboam, incessant civil wars followed, and both factions were finally wiped out by the Assyrians and other powerful enemies.
This was not because the Chosen served idols. The nations around them had no jealous Yahveh to punish them; yet they all went the same way of destruction. For as King Hezekiah, in terror of the Assyrians, wails: "Of a truth, Yahveh, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries" (Isa. 37: 18 ). Rabshakeh, in his warning to Hezekiah, asks: "Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?" (Isa. 36: 18-20 ).
The truth is that Israel worshipped the same gods as the Assyrians and other nations, and never believed in or worshipped Yahveh, except as a local phallic baal, one of their many gods. Just at the time of the first captivity this fact is admitted: "they served idols as did the heathen whom Yahveh carried away before them" (2 Kings 17: 11, 12 ); and although "Yahveh testified against [them] by all the prophets, and by all the seers, notwithstanding, they ... did not believe in Yahveh their God" (17: 13, 14 ); but they persisted in idolatry and did not depart therefrom, "until Yahveh removed Israel out of his sight" (17: 23 ).
This idolatry is admitted to have been continuous from first to last, some seven hundred years: "Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day" (2 Kings 21: 15 ), therefore, says Yahveh -- in total disregard of his "everlasting covenant" with Abram, and the iteration ad nauseam of "I will not forsake my people for my great name's sake" -- therefore, said Yahveh, "I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies" (21: 14 ).
And yet the farce goes merrily on; in the last chapter but one of the old Jewish folk-book, the curtain is rung down to this same old tune: "For I am Yahveh, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith Yahveh of hosts" (Mal. 3: 6, 7 ) -- though to an unprejudiced observer it might seem that both parties would be glad for a mutual good riddance. And Yahveh takes this humorous loathing, longing, fickle, parting fling at his "lying children": "Ye are cursed with a curse; ... prove me now herewith, saith Yahveh of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing; ... and all nations shall call you blessed" (Mal. 3: 9, 10, 12 )! All this and much more of the truth-inspired record proves the fickle inconstancy of Yahveh.
This same and some other points may be further illustrated by Numbers 23: "Yahveh is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (23: 19 ). It would seem not. We have seen instances of fickleness, threats, changings, and repentings. Yahveh several times, as we have seen, in the wilderness, "repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people"; in Genesis "it repented Yahveh that he had made man on the earth" (6: 6 ); in I Samuel Yahveh says: "It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king" (15: 11 ); in 2 Samuel, when Yahveh's murdering angel had slain seventy thousand men, and had stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, "Yahveh repented him of the evil," and stayed the angel's massacring hand (24: 16 ). And so on throughout, with this fickle Deity who boasts: "For I am Yahveh, I change not." But after so many instances of it, Yahveh himself complains to Jeremiah: "I am weary with repenting" (Jer. 15: 6 ).
THE FATHER OF LIES
Of bald lies attributed to Yahveh by his inspired biographers and votaries and lies instigated by this soi-disant God of Truth we have several edifying instances. The first lie on record is told by Yahveh; he threatened Adam: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2: 17 ). Adam ate the apple, and died of old age 930 years later. Yahveh told Moses to lie to the Pharaoh, as a pretext for escape, by saying that the people wanted to go "three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to Yahveh our God" (Ex. 3: 18 ); but as Yahveh was a total stranger to the people and to the Pharaoh, the latter, when the inspired lie was repeated to him, was skeptical, and failed to take the bait. This hypocritical religious excuse seems to have been a favorite with Yahveh, or with the holy men who wrote his biography, for Yahveh suggested the same lie to Samuel, when he told this prophet to go to Bethlehem and find Jesse, and pick one of his sons for king. "And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And Yahveh said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to Yahveh" (1 Sam. 16: 2 ). In Exodus Yahveh tells Moses that the fleeing Hebrew slaves should lie to the Egyptians about "borrowing" their finery as a trick to rob their masters of all their jewellery and clothes; "and ye shall spoil the Egyptians" (Ex. 3: 22 ). We recall the "lying spirit" sent by Yahveh to the four hundred prophets in order to lure Ahab to death in a fatal battle (1 Kings 22: 20-23 ).
Because of the majority report of the spies, Yahveh swore at his children, and in violation of his myriad promises avowed: "Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I swore to make you dwell therein. ... and ye shall know my breach of promise" (Num. 14: 30, 34 )!
His own prophet Ezekiel attributes all prophetic lies directly to Yahveh, and quotes Yahveh as shamelessly declaring: "If the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I Yahveh have deceived that prophet" (Ezek. 14: 9 ). With outrageous injustice Yahveh inflicts this punishment upon the deluded prophets whom he himself has deceived: "I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him." Several times Jeremiah frankly taxes Yahveh to his face with deception and lies: "Then said 1:Ah, Yahveh! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem" (Jer. 4: 10 ); and again, "O Yahveh, thou has deceived me, and I was deceived" (20: 7 ). Jeremiah is so angry with Yahveh that he declares: "I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name" (20: 9 ); and for the climax, he puts it straight into the teeth of Yahveh: "Wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar?" (15: 18 ). All this would seem to make Yahveh a rival with Baal-zebub as the "Father of Lies" -- a glorious conception of the boasted "God of all Truth."
In Genesis, when Yahveh is enraged and threatens a general destruction, Abraham expostulates with him: "Wilt thou destroy the righteous with the wicked? ... "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (18: 23, 25 ). But this is a constant form of the injustice of Yahveh, if we believe his Book.
THE LUSTS OF YAHVEH
There is not much detail in the sacred record in regard to the "sportive tricks" of the Hebrew Jove, but what there is reveals the frequent practice. Yahveh had so many "sons" (beni ha-elohim) who were enamored of the fair daughters of men that this is given expressly as the reason for the monstrous injustice of Yahveh in destroying the whole of his creation in the Flood, instead of keeping his lustful sons at home in heaven.
But more explicit instances of Jahvistic paternity are recorded. Yahveh had promised a son to Abraham by his wife Sarah; but she laughed when she heard it, and said to Yahveh: "After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" Yahveh replied: "Is any thing too hard for Yahveh?" (Gen. 18: 12, 14 ) "And Yahveh visited Sarah as he had said, and Yahveh did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son" (21: 1, 2 ). The favorite phrase, "and so-and-so begat" is not spoken of Abraham. The barren wife of Manoah was visited by Yahveh "as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her." And Yahveh told her: "Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son"; and in due course "the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson" (Judges 13: 71 91 24 ). In another instance, five offspring are credited to Yahveh by one human woman: "And Yahveh visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters" (I Sam. 2: 21 ). Besides all this, we have the instance of the Virgin Wife of Joseph, whose natural suspicions of carnal, rather than Holy Ghostly, agency were aroused until he dreamed that Yahveh was the father of the unborn child. And Yahveh admitted: "Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee" (Heb. 1: 5; 5: 5 ).
YAHVEH THE WHITE-SLAVER
As a procurer Yahveh is a shining example for the white- slavers of all time. After first commanding that all men, woman, and children of the peoples of the promised land should be massacred and their property and cattle destroyed, Yahveh withdrew this proviso of his barbarous rules of war, and substituted: "Thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones. ... and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof shalt thou take unto thyself" (Deut. 20: 13, 14 ); and the women and children were consigned to debauchery and slavery. The most signal single instance of Yahveh's utter depravity as a monster of murder and debauchery is on the occasion of the battle with the Midianites, when Master Procurer Yahveh delivered 32,000 captive maidens to the lusts of his holy People (Num. 3i).
I call attention to the lying sophistry of the inspired "justification" for this particular wholesale rape. When Moses saw the women and little ones brought captive into camp, "Moses was 'Wroth with the officers of the host. ... And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel ... to commit trespass against Yahveh in the matter of Peor" (Num. 31: 14-16 ), when, because "the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab," Yahveh massacred 24,000 of his "holy people" (Num. 2v). The women of Midian, several hundred miles away across the Arabian deserts, could have nothing to do with the sportings of the daughters of Moab with the holy ones; but we should naturally expect that Yahveh's command would be, "Smite all these women," and thus prevent further sin.
His brutal order is, however, naively sophistical, and knavishly diabolic: "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" (Num. 31: 17, 18 )! Note the inspired devilish illogicality of Yahveh: Ye have sinned against me by whoring with the Moabitish women; ergo, after killing all the male little ones, and their mothers, and "every woman that hath known man," keep the others, the best of them, the fresh and yet virtuous young Midianite maidens, 32,000 of them, for your holy selves! Verily, as the Psalmist sang, "the commandment of Yahveh is pure, enlightening the eyes" (Psalm 19: 8 )! And Job pertinently queries: "Shall mortal man be more just than Yahveh? shall a man be more pure than his maker?" (Job. 4: 17 ). With such an example as Yahveh to enlighten human eyes, and piously to imitate, the wonder is that there are any saints in the calendar or virgins left alive. We shall notice later how Yahveh kindly acted as go-between for his holy prophet Hosea.
Here, astonished reader, hangs before you a pen-and-ink outline sketch of the Bible Yahveh. Every line of it is drawn, it is pretended, by a divinely inspired pen, at the infallible dictation of the Great Subject himself, and it is said to bear his own sacred seal of accuracy and authenticity. That there may be no mistaking it for a lurid portrait of the Devil, read Yahveh's own signature upon it: "I am Yahveh which exercise loving-kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight" (Jer. 9: 24 ). But for this divine certificate of authenticity and good character, the casual observer must have recalled, as applicable to its original, the horrible words of the Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, as he tore the silver veil from his blasted face before his deluded votaries:
"Here, see, if Hell, with all its powers to damn, Can add one blot to the foul thing I am!"
True, the braggart words of the certificate, and many others scattered through the sacred biography, sing praises of him as "the Holy God," "glorious in holiness" and in righteousness, and ascribe manifold goodnesses and mercies to him. But these are mere words of exaltation by fervid partisans --
"Deeds are bigger things than words are; Actions mightier than boastings"; and from "In the beginning" of Genesis, to the closing blast, "Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse," of Malachi, there is not to be found -- I challenge its production -- one single good, honest, true, faithful, decent, or righteous action which it is even alleged that this Hebrew Yahveh ever did or thought of doing. If the Veiled Prophet could make publicly the confession quoted above, may not a Christian, when now he has come to know his God, in contrition confess to himself:
"What a thrice-doubled dupe was I To take this Ogre for a God And worship this foul fiend!"
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