Wednesday, April 23, 2008


In the episode we recorded tonight, I conflated and confused the history of the Midianites with the Amalekites and the Canaanites. I owe John Ferrer an apology on this basis, however I uphold my contention that, even given the blood feud underway between the Midianites and the Israelites in the book of Numbers, genocide and forced pedophillic sexual slavery are still utterly without moral justification. Although such things were common in the warfare of the time, the fact that Yahweh both sanctioned and commanded these actions neuters the notion that he is somehow "good."

Zach - if you have a chance, could you place this errata at the front or back of the podcast?


Blogger Zachary Moore said...

Appreciate it, Dan...

Although, I wouldn't hold your mistakes against you, since the particular details are wildly confusing.

In Genesis 9, Noah curses his grandson Canaan because his son Ham saw him naked, thus justifying the conquest (and implicit enslavement) of Canaan's descendants (the Canaanites) by Shem's descendents (the Israelites).

Midian was a son of Abraham, and thus wouldn't be subject to that particular curse.

The genocide in Numbers 31 is presented as retribution for the influence of the gentile women (mostly Moabite, and only one Midianite!) at Peor, in Numbers 25. At the end of the chapter Yahweh specifically condemns the whole culture because of the one Midianite princess the high priest killed.

What's more, the genocide in Numbers 31 is told in a way that pretty clearly indicates the whole culture was wiped out (except for the virgin girls), but years later they're back in full force, in Judges 6. It's here that they're described as partnering with the Amalekites to terrorize the Israelites, which means that 1) the stories aren't consistent, and 2) any justification for the genocide based on this later terrorism is chronologically inaccurate.

4/23/08, 10:05 PM  

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