Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Y is for YHWH (r)

YHWH, the God of the Original Testament, is an angry, jealous, violent fellow. Once, in a fit of rage, He drowned every human being in the entire world except for Noah and his immediate family. Several times He inflicted terrible punishments on innocent Egyptians, who, as we all know, didn’t exactly elect their Pharaohs. But YHWH really flaunts his Dark Side in the Book of Deuteronomy.

As the Jews approach to the Promised Land, YHWH hands down the Ten Commandments.  Then, only a few short verses later, in Chapter 7, we come to this startling passage:

         When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2) And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: 3) Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4) For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. 5) But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. 6) For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

Obviously, the Ten Commandments DO NOT APPLY when Chosen People deal with foreigners. You can do whatever you’d like to Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. YHWH then goes a giant step further and commands the Jews to kill these people, to “utterly destroy” them, to make no treaties with them, to show them no mercy, to refuse intermarriage with them, and to destroy their sacred artifacts.

Even the Mongols of Genghis Khan would have hesitated to carry out such orders. And these commands come from the mouth of the very same YHWH who just a few verses before commanded his people not to kill, and not to steal and not to covet. Of course, we now know that he was speaking only of one’s fellow Jews. The Ten Commandments DO NOT APPLY to outsiders. This YHWH is a fierce Tribal God who demands absolute obedience from his flock and hates outsiders who have no right to exist.

One is reminded of Adolph Hitler’s bitter complaint from the early 1920’s when liberal  -minded German hecklers taunted him for his ceaseless, bitter attacks on Treaty of Versailles by shouting “What about Brest-Litovsk?” “What about Brest-Litovsk?” Everyone knew then that Brest-Litovsk was the city where a very harsh treaty was imposed by the victorious Germans on the defeated Russians in 1917. Hitler could not comprehend such people. To him, Brest-Litovsk was a good treaty because it was good for Germany. Versailles was a bad treaty because it was bad for Germany. Hitler refused (or was unable) to see beyond  “What is Good, is What’s is Good For Us!” Our enemies deserve whatever injustices and penalties we inflict upon them because we are Germans and they are not!

YHWH would understand.

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