The first step in the Next Reformation is to accept the Old Testament as a combination of Middle Eastern mythology and Jewish history just as we accept Roman mythology and history. The Next Reformation must reject the violence and genocide allegedly commanded by God in the Old Testament. 



Moses   Another Case For the Next Reformation 

Now consider another simple self-incriminating Scripture.     

Numbers 31  The Lord spoke to Moses saying, “Avenge the Isrealites on the Midianites;...”. The Isrealites took the women of Midian and their little ones captive;... Moses said to them, “Have you allowed all the women to live?  These women here made the Isrealites act treacherously against the Lord in the affair of Peor, so that the plague came among the congregation of the Lord.  Now therefore, kill every male among them the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by sleeping with him.  But all the young girls who have not known a man by sleeping with him, keep alive for yourselves.”  


Moses Ordering the Slaughter of the Midianitic, by Claes Cornelisz Moeyaert, 1650.

 “Among the detestable villains that in any period of the world have disgraced the name of man, it is impossible to find any greater than Moses, if this account be true.  Here is an order to butcher the boys, massacre the mothers, and debauch the daughters.”
Thomas Paine in Age of Reason: Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology, 1794.     
Thomas Paine was a founding father of the American Revolution inspiring those with his pamphlet Common Sense and helped write the Declaration of Independence.  He realized how controversial his Age of Reason would be and and saved it as his last work.  Thomas Paine’s words are harsh, but it is difficult to disagree with his characterization of Moses. 

Matthew Henry was a Presbyterian minister whose explanation of that same passage in Numbers stands in constrast and is a vile rationalization for the action of Moses, has propagated abuse of women and children and shows the obsession with sin and the distorsion that it produces.
31:13-18  “The sword of war should spare women and children; but the sword of justice should know no distinction, but that of guilty or not guilty. This war was the execution of a righteous sentence upon a guilty nation, in which the women were the worst criminals. The female children were spared, who, being brought up among the Israelites, would not tempt them to idolatry. The whole history shows the hatefulness of sin, and the guilt of tempting others; it teaches us to avoid all occasions of evil, and to give no quarter to inward lusts. The women and children were not kept for sinful purposes, but for slaves, a custom every where practised in former times, as to captives. In the course of providence, when famine and plagues visit a nation for sin, children suffer in the common calamity. In this case parents are punished in their children; and for children dying before actual sin, full provision is made as to their eternal happiness, by the mercy of God in Christ.”
  From Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary ~ 1710.


Oblation Out of the Spoils of the Midianites, engraving by Gerard Hoet,

Illustration in the 1728 Figures de la Bible.

The Hebrews are shown giving a portion of their plunder to God, or at least to the priests.


The story of Moses is one of survival.  Purging the enemies and curtailing sexually transmitted diseases helped the Hebrews survive.  However, the Word of the Lord to Moses, is in part, most likely his own inner self speaking and helping to preserve self. 

These verses are simply the Hebrew’s view of their history and their attempt to justify it as the “will of God”.   This is man writing about man’s own journey.  And it set the precedent for all land grabbing, including the conquest of the native Americans, and justifying it as a God given right.  It gives Divine Sanction to violence.

Re-interpretating another myth - Abraham and Issac ~