Jesus Christ or Jesus Barabbas

One tactic of the dawah team used to attack the idea that Jesus was crucified is to claim that the authorities made a mistake and crucified Barabbas instead! Why would they make such an obviously ridiculous assertion? The reason is that Muslims usually interpret Surah An-Nisa 4:157: “And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger They slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them” as meaning that Allah took Jesus up to himself and placed the features of Jesus on someone else. Traditionally, it has been suggested that the unfortunate victim of this facial switch was Judas, but sometimes a disciple of Jesus (usually unidentified, and always with no historical evidence) has been proposed, but there is one particular reason Barabbas is a current favourite of the dawahteam – his name.

In some manuscripts of the Caesarean text of Matthew 27:16-17, the full name of this individual is given as Jesus Barabbas (Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentaryon the Greek New Testament, London and New York: UBS, 1971, p. 67). While Metzger notes that “A majority of the Committee was of the opinion that the original text of Matthew had the double name in both verses”, he also observes that the reading has “relatively slender external support”. It follows that we cannot build too much on this variant reading. Perhaps it is right: after all, “Bar Abbas” is essentially a surname, meaning ‘son of Abbas’, and so the individual must have had a forename, and there is no reason to believe that it could not have been Jesus(Hebrew Yehoshua). In many ways, it would suit the irony of the Gospel writers (more specifically, Matthew) to note that when offered one of two men called Jesus, the crowd, incited by the Sanhedrin, demanded the release of the one who was a violent criminal, as stated by Peter in his sermon at Solomon’s portico in Acts 3:

13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servantJesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him.14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead.

However, the evidence is too limited to build much on it. Nonetheless, let us, for the sake of argument, continue as though the forename of Barabbas was indeed “Jesus”. The focus of the argument presented by the dawahteam is that somehow a mistake was made and the Romans crucified the wrong Jesus. The other point is the meaning of “Bar Abba(s)” – literally, “son of the father”, which the dawahteam feels could have led to confusion with Jesus, the Son of God.

  1. “Son of the Father” as a title of Jesus? 

Firstly, we must note that there is no title with the name “Son of the Father” in the Bible. The title nearest to this is “Son of God”, which Jesus uses of Himself in John 5:25; 10:36; 11:4. However, it does not act as surname, as is the case with the criminal Barabbas. It should be recognised that the Jewish leadership would never have referred to Jesus as “Son of the Father”, since they saw it as blasphemy worthy of death, John 5:18: “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling Godhisown Father, makinghimself equal with God.” As for “Son of God”, this was their accusation against Jesus, John 19:7: “The Jews answered him, ‘Wehavealaw, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.’” This cuts the ground from under the claim of the dawah team.

  • Surnames in first century Palestine

Surnames, as currently used in the modern West, did not exist in ancient Palestine. Instead, people would normally be identified by their patronymic– i.e. after their fathers, e.g. John, the son of Zebedee. Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the eyewitnesses: The Gospels as eyewitness testimony, (Grand Rapids and Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2006, p. 78) lists several examples: “Within the New Testament, there is Levi son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14), John son of Zachariah (Luke 3:2), and Jesus son of Joseph (John 1:45).” He also notes the case of Patronymic substituted (pp. 79-80):

A patronymic could also simply take the place of the personal name. This was a common phenomenon.For example, among the Masada ostraca we find Bar Simon, Bar Hilqai, Bar Yeshua{, Bar Qesa}, Bar Hanun, Bar Harsha}, Bar Benaiah, Bar Haggai, Bar Halafta}, Bar Jason, Bar Pinhi, Bar Levi, and others.It is notable that in many such cases, though by no means all, the name is relatively or very unusual. In such cases, especially if the person’s proper name were common (and especially if he had no brothers known in the context), the patronymic could be more useful than the proper name for distinguishing an individual. 

In the Gospels we find this phenomenon in the cases of Barabbas (= son of Abba) and Bartimaeus (= son of Timaeus). Mark calls the latter “Bartimaeus son of Timaeus” (Mark 10:46), thus explaining “Bartimaeus” for his Greek readers. He could never have been called “Bartimaeus son of Timaeus” (= Bar Timaeus bar Timaeus!). Timaeus is a Greek name occurring only in this case as a Palestinian Jewish name.This is no reason to question its authenticity or to treat Bartimaeus as a nickname rather than a real patronymic, since there are many other cases of Greek names occurring only once as the name of a Palestinian Jew. In this case, it is precisely the rarity of the name that makes the patronymic entirely sufficient for naming Timaeus’s son.

Barabbas and Bartimaeus are examples of what Ilan calls a “unique phenomenon in N[ew] T[estament] transliteration,” in which the Aramaic bar (son of) forms an integral part of the name.Other examples are Bartholomew, Bar-jesus, Bar-jonah, Barnabas, and Barsabbas. It looks as though this form is used when the patronymic (whether a true patronymic or a nickname, as in the cases of Barnabas and Barsabbas) functions as a personal name and could stand alone to designate the person without his personal name. 

On this basis, there is no compelling reason to think that the original text of Matthew did indeed include Jesus as the forename of Barabbas, but that is not the point here. The issue is that of the means of identification. One of these was geographical (p. 81):

Place of origin or dwelling added. Gospel examples are Jesus the Nazarene (= of Nazareth), Jesus the Galilean (Matt 26:69), Mary Magdalene (=of Magdala), Simon the Cyrenian (= of Cyrene), Joseph of Arimathea, and Nathanael of Cana (John 21:2). Of course, people could be distinguished in this way only when they were elsewhere than in their place of origin or dwelling. This is why Nathanael is called “from Cana of Galilee” in John 21:2, but not in 1:45.

Another example would be Judas Iscariot – i.e. Yehûdâh Îš-Qrîyôt, “Judah, the man from Kerioth”. The other Apostles were Galileans, but Kerioth was in Judaea, so it was equivalent to describing him as ‘the southerner’, to distinguish him from other men called Judas (Yehûdâh) such as Thaddaeus and Jude the brother of Jesus – the Hebrew name is the same. Similarly, by calling Jesus “the Nazarene”, people could distinguish Him from other men called Yehoshua. The Greek of John 19:19 presents Jesus crucified as “Jesus the Nazarene” – Ἰησοῦς ὁ Ναζωραῖος, which is in keeping with this trend.

Bauckham notes two other forms of surname which are relevant to this issue. One was the use of a nickname, the other referred to someone’s occupation (pp. 80, 83):

Nickname added. Nicknames were of many kinds. For example, they might refer to physical characteristics or defects, or they could be terms of endearment. Gospel examples of nicknames used with personal names are “James the little (tou mikrou)” (Mark 15:40), “Simon the leper” (Matt 26:6; Mark 14:3), and “John the baptizer.”

Occupation. A person’s occupation could be used to distinguish him in such a way as to become a form of nickname. In the case of a person’s profession or occupation recorded on their ossuaries, it is not easy to tell whether this had been used as a nickname during their lifetimes or was put on their ossuary simply as an honorific record. But in cases such as “Joseph son of Hananiah the scribe” or “Shelamzion daughter of Simeon the priest” it is clear that the term serves to distinguish the father from others of the name.

  • How did Pilate describe the two men?

It is most unlikely that a Roman like Pilate knew any Aramaic or Hebrew. He would have conversed with Jesus – and everyone else – in Greek. Therefore, the name “Barabbas” would not have signified any divine claims to him, and his knowledge of Jewish theology was probably rudimentary. When it comes to “Jesus the Nazarene”, Pilate describes Him to the crowd as “Jesus who is called Christ”, Matthew 27:17, 21. Otherwise he calls Him “the King of the Jews”, Mark 15:9, 12; John 18:39. The priest-incited crowds obviously never accused Barabbas of this claim, or they would not have demanded his release, nor does Pilate ever refer to Barabbas as a would-be Messiah/King. 

Even if the forename of Barabbas was “Jesus”, it is clear that Pilate distinguished him from the man which the Sanhedrin had handed over to him for capital punishment, because while he refers to the violent criminal by his patronymic, Pilate, as we have seen, refers to the Sanhedrin’s victim as “Jesus who is called Christ”, or “the King of the Jews”, specifically when he addresses the crowd, and his very address he distinguishes the two men, e.g. Matthew 27:17: “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” Note how in this very sentence, Pilate’s wordsdistinguish the two men – the violent criminal by his patronymic “Barabbas”, the Sanhedrin’s victim as “Jesus who is calledChrist” (ἢ Ἰησοῦν τὸν λεγόμενονχριστόν) – i.e. His “occupation”. 

In Luke 23, we find that Pilate became aware that Jesus was from Nazareth in Galilee: “Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.”But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.” When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean.And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time.” This explains the inscription on the Cross, which identifies this “Jesus” from anyone else bearing that name – “Jesus the Nazarene,the King of the Jews”, the second title referring to Jesus’ claimed occupation, the first describing His place of origin. We are not told the name of the two other men crucified alongside Jesus, but even if both of them possessed the forename “Jesus” i.e. Yehoshua(which is not impossible, considering the popularity of the forename in first century Palestine), Pilate’s inscription would have distinguishedthe identity of the Sanhedrin’s victim.

  • “Abba” and “Bar Abba” as personal humannames

Note also how Bauckham renders “Barabbas” as “son of Abba”, indicating that “Abba” was also a personal, human name. It was not an uncommon name, as this quote from the Talmud illustrates: (Berakhot18b, https://www.sefaria.org/Berakhot.18b.14?ven=William_Davidson_Edition_-_English&vhe=William_Davidson_Edition_-_Aramaic&lang=bi&with=Tools&lang2=en)  

The Gemara cites another proof: Come and hear, as it is told: They would deposit the money of orphans with Shmuel’s father for safekeeping. When Shmuel’s father died, Shmuel was not with him, and did not learn from him the location of the money. Since he did not return it, Shmuel was called: Son of him who consumes the money of orphans. Shmuel went after his father to the cemetery and said to the dead:I want Abba.The dead said to him: There are many Abbas here. He told them: I want Abba bar AbbaThey saidto him:There are also many people named Abba bar Abba here.He told them: I want Abba bar Abba, the father of Shmuel.

Obviously, we are dealing with legendary material here, but the story would make no sense if it did not reflect the fact that in Jewish society, both “Abba” and “Bar Abba” were fairly common personal humannames. To give an illustration from modern English-speaking society. There are many men called “Maurice”, which means “Moorish”, but that does not mean that all or even any of them are either of North African descent or even appearance. Similarly, the name “Norman” does not mean the man is either from Normandy or even of Norman descent. 

The failure of the dawah team is that in their desperation to disprove that Jesus was crucified they have latched on to the fact that God was called “the Father” in Jewish society, ignoring that human beings were also addressed as “father”, and that “Abba” functioned as a personal name. It follows that the violent criminal who was released by Pilate at the call of the crowd was called “Bar Abba” because his father was named “Abba”, not because the murderer was the Son of God, something neither the criminal, nor Pilate nor the Sanhedrin-incited crowd ever claimed.

  • Two criminals with same forename a problem?

One of the most spectacular legal cases in late twentieth century American history was that in 1992 of John Gotti, boss of the Gambino Mafia crime family. Gotti had two nicknames: “The Dapper Don”, reflecting his taste in clothes and “The Teflon Don”, after his acquittal in several cases in the 1980s. Gotti made no attempt to keep a low profile – quite the opposite. His was a flamboyant character, his face instantly recognizable, not least when he stood trial. 

The Italian name “Gotti” means “Goth”, referring to the Ostrogoth conquerors of Italy in the fifth century. Of course, today many people associate the name ‘goth’ with a youth subculture involving the wearing of black clothes, make-up, etc. Imagine if there was a goth with the forename “John”, whose nickname was ‘the Goth’ who had stood trial at the same time. Even if the guards or police had brought both men out to the steps of the court at the same time – even if they stood next to each other – and despite the fact that they were both called “John”, with one named “John Gotti”, the other nicknamed “John the Goth” – is there any realistic possibility that either the court officials, guards, police, or the crowds assembled outside the court would confuse the two figures? One only has to express the idea to realise that it is nonsense. 

Let us consider what is stated about Barabbas. Matthew 27:16 describes him as δέσμιον ἐπίσημον (desmion epismēon) – a “notable prisoner”. The same could have been said about Gotti. Why was Barabbas so “notable”? Mark 15:7 informs us: “There was one named Barabbas, who was imprisoned with the rebels and had committed murder in the rebellion.” Luke 23:19 echoes this: “Barabbas had been thrown in prison for a rebellion in the city and for murder.” John 18:40 states: “Then they shouted back, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” (Now Barabbas was a rebel.)” So, Barabbas was a violent insurrectionist – a murderer, perhaps someone who would be called “a murderous terrorist” today. Had Usama bin Laden been captured and put on trial in New York for being behind 9/11, the description would have fitted him. Would anyone mistake him if, in the same court building, another man called “Usama” was on trial for a different offence? Everyone knew Gotti, and everyone knew bin Laden. Likewise, Barabbas was a notorious murderer – his infamy would have prevented any confusion.

  • Could they have been swapped?

Even if Jesus called Christ and Barabbas, the murderous insurrectionist had been stood side by side at Pilate’s residence, they would have been guarded by trained, efficient Roman soldiers. Pilate had met Jesus, and evidently knew who Barabbas was. The crowd certainly knew the difference between the two men. One would have been on the left, the other on the right, both under heavy guard. There is no evidence that the two men were ever alone together, or that Jesus ever ceased to be under guard from the time of His arrest to that of His death. Even if a miracle has taken place, whereby their features were swapped, their geographical positions would have betrayed what had happened. Everyone would have seen it, and gasped, but there is no record of this happening. Even so, everyone would have known which was which, and so the real Jesus called Christ would still have been executed. The more we explore this claim, the more ridiculous the assertion of the dawah team becomes.

In conclusion, we have to say that this argument betrays the desperation of the dawah team, in presenting an absolutely nonsensical claim, with no historical basis, and which is rooted in ignorance about ancient Jewish society regarding the issue of names. What they are claiming is frankly farcical in its nature, something with no scholarly basis. Evidently, Pilate, the Sanhedrin, the crowd and everyone else knew who was crucified. There is no claim in history that Barabbas was the one who was really executed on Calvary. The dawah team will have to go back to the drawing board. 

The Destruction Of The Amalekites – Part 2/6

The Identity And Culture Of Amalek

As to origins, Genesis 36 displays the Amalekites as descendants of Esau:

2 Esau took his wives from the Canaanites: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite… 10 These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau…11 The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz.12 (Timna was a concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.) These are the sons of Adah, Esau’s wife.

So the Amalekites were descendants of Eliphaz, son of Esau through his Canaanite-Hittite wife Adah, through not the wife of Eliphaz, but rather his concubine Timna. Possibly for the latter reason, the Amalekites were not counted as among the Edomites.

Outside the Bible, there seems to be no record of the Amalekites. This has led some to be sceptical of their very existence, but the absence of extra-Biblical historical account can be explained by three related points: Amalek’s lack of any cultural impact, their lack of any historical impact, and their relatively small size in contrast to peoples such as the Egyptians.

Before examining these points, we shall look at their origins. The first Biblical reference to the Amalekites is in Genesis 14:7, referring to the alliance of northern kings who attacked the southern Levant: ‘Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh) and defeated all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who were dwelling in Hazazon-tamar.’ This is probably a deliberate anachronism by Moses, referring to territory that in his time was occupied by the Amalekites, e.g., if one were to refer to a Roman visiting Carthage in Tunisia, although Tunisia as a name and political entity did not exist in Roman times.

In Numbers 13:29, we read: ‘The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb.’ This indicates that they lived outside the Land of Promise, so had nothing to fear from the Israelite conquest, and that they were a desert people, probably living by oases. In 14:25 we read ‘…the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valleys…’, and Judges 12:15 refers to ‘the hill country of the Amalekites.’ In Judges 6:33 we read: ‘Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel…’ This puts them in Transjordan. The likelihood, therefore, is that they were a nomadic or semi-nomadic people, which the OT as a whole would seem to suggest, and that they were more a tribal confederacy than a nation, with encampments rather than normal cities. 

The latter would partly explain their lack of cultural and historical impact. Let us compare and contrast them with the Canaanites. It should be noted that the people normally known as ‘Phoenicians’ never called themselves by that name. Rather, they referred to themselves as ‘Canaanites’ (Garbini, Giovanni, ‘The Question of the Alpahbet’, in Moscati, Sabatino (ed.), The Phoenicians, London: I. B. Tauris, 2001, p. 107). There was no cultural or conceptual distinction between the people of Tyre and Sidon and those to the south of them.

The Phoenicians explored and traded as far as Britain (for Cornish tin), and established colonies across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, as far as what is now Morocco. Carthage was a Phoenician colony (founded 814 BC), and they conquered Sicily and Sardinia, as well as parts of Spain – the city of Cartagena was originally New Carthage. Cadiz was originally a Phoenician colony (founded 1104 BC).

The Phoenician alphabet influenced others, including even the Romans. We know from 1 Kings 5 and 6 how Phoenician builders from King Hiram of Tyre helped to build the Temple of Solomon. Previously, Tyrian builders constructed David’s house – 2 Samuel 5:11.

At the Canaanite city of Ugarit in northern Syria, discovered in 1929, extensive elements of the people’s culture and religion were discovered. One text discovered at Ugarit, concerning ‘Keret’, refers to ‘a [sacri]ficial lamb [in] your right hand’ as well as a young goat and ‘a bird for sacrifice’ (Bernhardt, Karl-Heinz, ‘Ugaritic Texts: Keret’, in Beyerlin, Walter (ed.), Near Eastern Religious Texts Relating to the Old Testament, London: SCM, 1975, 1978, p. 224). This demonstrates that the Canaanites had a literary heritage. Hence, the Canaanites, especially the Phoenicians, had a major historical and cultural impact, even outside their homeland.

By contrast, we read nothing of the Amalekites being great builders, agriculturalists, horticulturalists or traders. All we read of them is that they were robbers, raiders and enslavers. Their whole economy was built on the principle of raiding to satisfy their needs.

Since they were economically parasitic, this would explain their lack of coinage or constructions, whether buildings or goods. Again, it would follow that this would mean that they did not engage in normal trade, especially with their neighbours. As an inland, largely desert people, they obviously were not sailors, which would undermine their contact with other peoples. Their relatively small size would have limited their impact, in the absence of extensive trading relations. This being the case, it is hardly surprising they the Amalekites left no cultural or historical footprint. 

We know nothing about their language, but given their proximity to the Canaanites, it was probably the same or a related dialect. Similarly, we know nothing about their religion – a point to which we will return. This is somewhat surprising, since the OT usually does say something about the religion of the surrounding nations, albeit in a hostile and denunciatory fashion, e.g., 1 Kings 11: ‘For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites…Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abominationof Moab, and for Molech the abominationof the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.’Again, the lack of reference to them in the annals of surrounding nations testifies to their lack of cultural impact. They would only be known as plunderers.

Part 3 of 6 will discuss The Malicious And Incorrigible Nature Of The Amalekites

The Destruction Of The Amalekites – Part 1/6

Introduction

It is a frequent practice of dawah team, especially when Christians mention the Muslim massacre of non-Muslims such as at Banu Qurayzah, or orders allowing the killing of civilians as recorded in the Hadith and Seerah, to refer to God’s order to extirpate the Amalekites. The Muslim texts to which Christians often refer include these:

Sahih Al-Bukhari 5.448 Narrated by Aisha; …When the Prophet returned from the (battle) of Al-Khandaq [Trench] and laid down his arms and took a bath Gabriel came to him while he [Gabriel] was shaking the dust off his head, and said, “You have laid down the arms?” By Allah, I have not laid them down. Go out to them (to attack them).” The Prophet said, “Where?” Gabriel pointed towards Bani Quraiza. So Allah’s Apostle went to them (i.e., Banu Quraiza) (i.e., besieged them). They then surrendered to the Prophet’s judgment but he directed them to Sad to give his verdict concerning them. Sad said, “I give my judgment that their warriors should be killed, their women and children should be taken as captives, and their properties distributed.”….

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.256 Narrated by As Sab bin Jaththama: The Prophet passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa or Waddan, and was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, ‘They (women and children) are from them (pagans).’

Al-Misri, The Reliance of the Traveller, Book O: Justice, Chapter O-9.0: Jihad; O-9.10: ‘The Rules of Warfare’, p. 603. It is not permissible (A: in jihad) to kill women or children unless they are fighting against the Muslims. Nor is it permissible to kill animals, unless they are being ridden into battle against the Muslims, or if killing them will help defeat the enemy. It is permissible to kill old men (O: old man, shaykh, meaning someone more than forty years of age) and monks.

7389 AL-RISALA (Maliki Manual) CHAPTER 30: A Chapter on Jihad or Holy War … Women and children are not to be killed. Muslims must avoid the killing of monks and learned men except where these fight them. Similarly, if a woman fights she can be killed

What particularly excites dawah team is 1 Samuel 15: 1-3: And Samuel said to Saul, “YHWH sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of YHWH.Thus says YHWH of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt.Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”

The accusation of dawah team is that this is a command to commit genocide, and they particularly emphasise the order to kill even minors. Obviously, to understand this command, we need to examine the context, and to comprehend why the command was given in the first place. This is vital, because dawah team always ignore what precedes the order – the historical recollection of Amalek’s aggression against the Israelites immediately after the Exodus.

That is, the command is responsive, and should be compared to America dropping the atomic bomb on Japan in 1945 to end the war and spare the lives of tens of thousands of Allied servicemen (American, British, Australian, New Zealand and other Allies), and as a responsive act to Japanese aggression at Pearl Harbor in 1941, and especially, in light of Japanese massacres in China in 1937 such as the Rape of Nanking, the invasion of Indo-China, Malaya, Burma and other British-ruled territories, the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, and attacks on India and Australia, as well as the well-founded reports of the torture of Allied POWs and violations of the Geneva Convention. In short: no Pearl Harbor, no atomic bombs dropped on Japan. Similarly, no Amalekite aggression, no divine punishment.

Part 2 of 6 will discuss the identity and culture of Amalek.

The Bible and Islam on ‘Slave Women’ p3/3

part 3/3

We continue where we left off in Part 2.

3.Islamic teaching on sex-slaves/captives

Muhammad arrived in Yathrib (Medina) in 622 at the invitation of the two main tribes, the Aws and the Khazraj, who had previously been enemies. His role was to reconcile them and provide a constitutional reference for the city. Two Jewish tribes, the Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayzah were confederate with the Aws, whilst the Banu Qaynuqah were confederate the Khazraj.[1]In regard to the actual destruction of the Qurayzah, Watt provides us with this information:

After the unconditional surrender of Qurayzah, Muhammad b. Maslamah was in charge of the men and ‘Abdallah b. Sallam of the women and children… Muhammad …appointed as judge Sa’d b. Mu’adh, the leading man of the Aws, who had been gravely wounded during the siege and died soon after his sentence on Qurayzah. When he was brought to where Muhammad was, all the Aws and the others present swore to abide by his decision. He decreed that all the men of Qurayzah should be put to death and the women and children sold as slaves. This sentence was duly carried out, apparently on the following day[2]

Watt gives a figure of six hundred Qurayzah slaughtered (although others put the figure as high as nine hundred).[3]It is in the Hadith that we meet the most extensive treatment:

Narrated by Aisha

Sahih Al-Bukhari 5.448

…When the Prophet returned from the (battle) of Al-Khandaq (i.e. Trench) and laid down his arms and took a bath Gabriel came to him while he (i.e. Gabriel) was shaking the dust off his head, and said, “You have laid down the arms?” By Allah, I have not laid them down. Go out to them (to attack them).” The Prophet said, “Where?” Gabriel pointed towards Bani Quraiza. So Allah’s Apostle went to them (i.e. Banu Quraiza) (i.e. besieged them). They then surrendered to the Prophet’s judgment but he directed them to Sad to give his verdict concerning them. Sad said, “I give my judgment that their warriors should be killed, their women and children should be taken as captives, and their properties distributed.”….

Whether the actual event is mentioned in fiqh, the treatment handed out to the Qurayzah has continued. For example in Shafi fiqh, non-Muslim subjects of the Islamic state face severe sanctions if break their covenant with the regime:

o11.9 If non-Muslim subjects of the Islamic state refuse to conform to the rules of Islam, or to pay the non-Muslim poll tax, then their agreement with the state has been violated (dis: o11.11) (A: though if only one of them disobeys, it concerns him alone).

o11.10 The agreement is also violated (A: with respect to the offender alone) if the state has stipulated that any of the following things break it, and one of the subjects does so anyway, though if the state has not stipulated that these break the agreement, then they do not; namely, if one of the subject people:

(1) commits adultery with a Muslim woman or marries her;

(2) conceals spies of hostile forces;

(3) leads a Muslim away from Islam;

(4) kills a Muslim;

(5) or mentions something impermissible about Allah, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), or Islam.

o11.11 When a subject’s agreement with the state has been violated, the caliph chooses between the four alternatives mentioned above in connection with prisoners of war (o9.14).[4]

Obviously, the accusation against the Banu Qurayzah is that by their treachery, they were seeking to overthrow the Islamic State, and thus they refused ‘to conform to the rules of Islam’. As for ‘the four alternatives mentioned above in connection with prisoners of war’, these involve the following:

o9.14 When an adult male is taken captive, the caliph (def: o25) considers the interests (O: of Islam and the Muslims) and decides between the prisoner’s death, slavery, release without paying anything, or ransoming himself in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy. If the prisoner becomes a Muslim (O: before the caliph chooses any of the four alternatives) then he may not be killed, and one of the other three alternatives is chosen.[5]

Often in the history of jihad, prisoners of war have been enslaved, sometimes ransomed (both options were employed by the Barbary Corsairs of North Africa), but an option to slay them remained. This is what happened to the Qurayzah male adults. The option for women and children is clear: ‘o9.13 When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman’s previous marriage is immediately annulled.’[6]Similar opinions are found in the Hanafi madhab:

4026 AL-HEDAYA Vol. II (Hanafi Manual)

[Captives may either he stain, or enslaved, or admitted to become Zimmee]

The Imam, with respect to captives, has it in his choice to flay them, because the prophet put captives to death, – and also, because fslaying them terminates wickedness: – or, if he chose, he may make them slaves, because by enslaving them the evil of them is remedied, at the same time that the Muslims reap an advantage: – or, if he please, he may release them so as to make them freemen and Zimmees, according to what is recorded of Omar: – but it is not lawful so to release the idolaters of Arabia, or apostates, for reasons which shall be hereafter explained.

The implication of this ruling is that it is permissible either to slay or enslave captives. Note the basis of this: the Sunnahof the Prophet – ‘the prophet put captives to death’. Whilst the Qur’an limits the number of wives a man may marry, this does not prevent him enjoying the pleasure of sex-slaves, which in effect was what those women whom ‘your right hand possesses’ were:

Surah Al-Ahzab 33:52

It is not allowed thee to take (other) women henceforth, nor that thou shouldst change them for other wives even though their beauty pleased thee, save those whom thy right hand possesseth.

Islamic law is quite open about the different functions of the male and female slaves. With the former, their role was labour, but with the latter, the primary function was sexual gratification:

4427 AL-HEDAYA Vol. II (Hanafi Manual)

[Defects which operate in the sale of female slaves, but not of males].

A bad smell, from the breath or armpits, is a defect in regard to female slaves, because in many instances the object is to sleep with them(emphasis ours);and the existence of such defects in a bar to the accomplishment of that object. – These, however, are not defects with regard to male slaves; because the object, in purchasing them, is merely to use their services; and to this these defects are not obstacles, since it is possible for a slave to serve his master without the necessary of the master’s fitting down with him, so as to receive annoyance from these defects. – If, however, they proceed from disease, they are considered as defects with regard to male slaves also.

Whoredom and bastardy are defects with regard to a female slave, but not with regard to a male; because the object, in the purchaser of a female slave, is cohabitation and the generation of children, which must be affected by either of the above circumstances; whereas, the object in the purchase of a male slave is the use of his services, the value of which is not depreciated by his committing whoredom. – If, however, a male slave be much addicted to whoredom, our lawyers are of opinion that it is a defect, because in the pursuit of women he neglects the service of his master.

The married condition of the women captives was ignored, it was it considered annulled by virtue of the command of God. This has been emphasised in Islamic law:

AbuSa’id al-KhudriSAHIH MUSLIM3432At the Battle of Hunayn Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) sent an army to Awtas and encountered the enemy and fought with them. Having overcome them and taken them captives, the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) seemed to refrain from having intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists. Then Allah, Most High, sent down regarding that: ‘And women already married, except those whom your right hand possess (iv.24)’ (i.e. they were lawful for them when their Iddah period came to an end). 6904 AL-MUWATTA of Imam Malik29.34.95AbuSa’id al-KhudriWe went out with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on the expedition to the Banu al-Mustaliq. We took some Arabs prisoner, and we desired the women as celibacy was hard for us. We wanted the ransom, so we wanted to practise coitus interruptus.  We said, ‘Shall we practise coitus interruptus while the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is among us before we ask him?  We asked him about that and he said, ‘You don’t have to not do it. There is no self which is to come into existence up to the Day of rising but that it will come into existence.’ Surah An-Nisa 4:24And all married women (are forbidden unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you. Reliance of the Travellero9.13 When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman’s previous marriage is immediately annulled. 7405 AL-RISALA (Maliki Manual)32.06 INTERCOURSE WITH NON-MUSLIM WOMENGod – Glorified be He – has prohibited sexual intercourse with unbelieving women who do not happen to belong to People of the Book, that is, Christians and Jews, whether this is to take place on account of ownership or marriage. But Muslims can have relations with women belonging to People of the Book through ownership (that is, as concubines). It is also lawful to have relations through marriage with their freeborn women. But relations with their slave women through marriage is forbidden both to a freeborn Muslim and a Muslim slave.  

Note also the difference between the Biblical model of effectively emancipating a captive woman by marriage and the Islamic practice, whereby aslave wife is inferior to a free wife; the husband has a lesser obligation to the former than he does to the latter:

3346 AL-HEDAYA Vol. I (Hanafi Manual)

[Partition, where the wives are of different rank or degree, must be adjusted accordingly]

If a man be married to two wives, one of them a free woman, and the other a slave, he must divide his time into three portions, cohabiting two portions with the former and one with the latter, because the same is recorded of Ali; and also, because, as it is lawful to marry a free woman upon a slave, but not a slave upon a free woman*, it hence appears that the rights of the former in marriage are short of those of the latter. – And a Mokatiba, Modabbira, or Um-Walid, are, with respect to their right of partition, the same as slaves.

*  By marrying one woman upon another is to be understood a man marrying a woman when he is already possessed of a wife; the expression is merely idiomatical.

CONCLUSION

There is a vast difference between the Biblical treatment of captive women and that of Islam. In the latter, they can become sex-slaves, concubines for the gratification of their masters. In the former, they must be honourably married and treated with respect. Essentially, they join the People of YHWH. The two models are diametrically opposed, rather than being equivalent.


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[1]Guillaume, Alfred, Islam, (Harmondsworth: Penguin, Second Edition 1956, 1978 printing), p. 38.

[2]Watt, W. Montgomery, Muhammad at Medina, (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1956, 1988), p. 214.

[3]Ibid., p. 216.

[4]al-Misri, Ahmad, Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, (Delhi: Aamna Publishers, 1991, 1994, ed. Nuh Ha Mim Keller), p. 609.

[5]Ibid., p. 604.

[6]Ibid.

The Bible and Islam on ‘Slave Women’ p2/3

Part 2/3

We continue where we left off in Part 1.

2. Marriage to prisoners of war

There was a difference between the wars of Biblical Israel against the Canaanites of Palestine and the peoples elsewhere – Deuteronomy 20:

10 “When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it.11 And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labour for you and shall serve you.12 But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.13 And when YHWH your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword,14 but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as plunder for yourselves. And you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which YHWH your God has given you.15 Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here.16 But in the cities of these peoples that YHWH your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes,17 but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as YHWH your God has commanded,18 that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against YHWH your God.

It does not say about the recalcitrant cities that were far off that the women could be raped, any more than could be the children. The implication is that after the execution of the combatants (adult males), the women and children would do forced labour, as in v11. Note that women and children perform the same duties, and these are laid out – labour, not sex! The reference to captive women in the subsequent chapter must be seen in this context (Deuteronomy 21.10ff):

10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and YHWH your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12 and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13 And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14 But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.

Observe the reaction of the Israelite man: ‘According to Deut. 21.11, though the soldier has apparently only seen the woman among the captives, he ‘loves’ her, קשח. This term is used elsewhere in Deuteronomy of YHWH’s love for Israel (7.7; 10.15)…’[1]Notice what then text doesnotsay: it does not say that a beautiful woman can be enslaved as a concubine, i.e. a sex slave. Rather, it indicates that a woman – who is now without adult male support, having no father, elder brothers, etc. (and if she is a widow, no husband) – can be married to a Hebrew man. Note that she has to be treated with respect – she is given time to mourn her family, and thereafter she cannot be sold or treated as a slave, but rather, honourably, as a wife. Neither does it refer to a man taking multiple captive women as wives. Essentially, the captive woman is thereby emancipated (freed) from captivity and forced labour to enjoy the honoured status of a free Israelite woman – a wife.

The other relevant text is Numbers 31, which begins with the command of YHWH to slay the Midianites involved in the Baal-Peor incident:

YHWH spoke to Moses, saying,“Avenge the people of Israel on the Midianites. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people.”So Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute YHWH’s vengeance on Midian…They warred against Midian, as YHWH commanded Moses, and killed every male.They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of their slain, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. And they also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword.And the people of Israel took captive the women of Midian and their little ones, and they took as plunder all their cattle, their flocks, and all their goods.10 All their cities in the places where they lived, and all their encampments, they burned with fire,11 and took all the spoil and all the plunder, both of man and of beast.12 Then they brought the captives and the plunder and the spoil to Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the people of Israel, at the camp on the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.

Note the plurality of kings mentioned, and the destruction of the Midianite cities, which bears some resemblance to what happened later in Canaan. However, observe Moses’ reaction to the fact that the Israelite commanders handled the offending Midianites the way a later ‘far off’ people were to be treated:

14 And Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had come from service in the war.15 Moses said to them, “Have you let all the women live?16 Behold, these, on Balaam’s advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against YHWH in the incident of Peor, and so the plague came among the congregation of YHWH.17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him.18 But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.

(“And all the youngsters among the women, who have not known lying (with a) male [cf. v. 17], you shall cause to live for yourselves.” (Literal translation) )

We must remember that Israel was commanded to slay the Canaanites because of their evil ways, which included sexual perversion/immorality, and not to intermarry with them, since they would draw Israel away from YHWH. This is what happened at Shittim, where, apparently on the advice of the prophet Balaam, whom king Balak hired to curse Israel, the women seduced the Israelite men sexually and religiously to engage in pagan worship. This suggests that the action of the women was planned and contrived as a kind of ‘honey-trap’ manoeuvre similar to that employed by modern espionage services – in this case, to get the Israelites to betray YHWH. That action made the women combatants, who had therefore to be executed.

An exception is made for virgins – v18, since obviously they were of a better character than the women who prostituted themselves, and were also innocent of the ‘honey-trap’ seduction of the Israelite men. Such virgins could be honourably married. There is nothing to suggest that they could be made concubines/sex slaves. The same conditions as held for the women in Deuteronomy 21.10ff prevailed in this instance as well. Remember, the Decalogue forbade illicit sexual activity – i.e. extra-marital sex, so no woman of any background could be raped. So, Biblical teaching on beautiful female captives is that they must be married and essentially converted to the faith of YHWH. They were not objects of sexual molestation. 

This was a radical departure from conditions that prevailed in the region:

The female slave, like her brother, the male slave, was treated as a commodity. She was leased for work, given as a pledge, handed over as a part of a dowry, or presented as a gift to the temple. In addition to her routine duties as a maid servant, she was subject also to burdens peculiar to her sex. Ownership of a female slave meant not only the right to employ her physical strength, but also, and in many cases primarily, the exploitation of her charms by the male members of her master’s household and the utilization of her body for the breeding of slave children. The highest position a female slave could achieve was to become a child-bearing concubine to her master, and the lowest, to be used as a professional prostitute.

According to the Hammurabi Code a slave-concubine and her children were to be set free after the death of the owner. Children born of a union between a female slave and her master, however, did not share in the inheritance of their father, unless they had been adopted by him during his lifetime.[2]

Such a slave could be molested even by other slaves under her master’s direction: ‘Within the household the female slave, in addition to her regular duties as a maid, was also used as a means to increase the number of slaves, and was therefore promiscuously mated with the male slaves.’[3]Hence, even under the famous Code of Hammurabi, a female slave could be sexually molested. Apart, from being bought at sale, slaves were often the result of war booty, so the Biblical record stands apart. 

We will continue with our discussion in part 3.


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[1]Reeder, Caryn A., ‘Deuteronomy 21.10-14 and/as Wartime Rape’, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament41(3), March 16, 2017, p. 320.

[2]Mendelsohn, Isaac, Slavery in the Ancient Near East, (West Port: Greenwood Press, 1978), p. 50.

[3]Ibid., P. 52.

The Bible and Islam on ‘Slave Women’ p1/3

Part 1/3

INTRODUCTION

  1. The Biblical accusation against Canaanite religion and ban on inter-marriage

The overarching Biblical accusation against the Canaanites is that they were guilty of ‘abominations’. Amongst those abominations was that of human sacrifice – specifically child sacrifice, Deuteronomy 12:.32: ‘…for every abominable act which YHWH hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.’ Again, in chapter 18:9ff, we read of the practices of the Canaanites in relation to infant sacrifice:

When you enter the land which YHWH your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. 10.There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11.or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12.For whoever does these things is detestable to YHWH; and because of these detestable things YHWH your God will drive them out before you. 

It is clear from these texts that the Canaanite religion was occultic in nature, and involved child sacrifice. From what is stated in Leviticus 18.21ff, it is appears that alongside child sacrifice, the Canaanites also practised homosexuality and bestiality:

You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am YHWH. 22.You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. 23.Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion. 24.Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. 25.For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. 

It also appears that that the Canaanites practised temple prostitution (of both sexes), Deuteronomy 23.17-18, cf. Genesis 38:21, 1 Kings 14.24: ‘There were also male cultprostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which YHWH dispossessed before the sons of Israel.’ There is a further implication in Leviticus 18 that the Canaanites practised incest, with the possible implication of paedophilia:

6.None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness… 7. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, that is, the nakedness of your mother. She is your mother; you are not to uncover her nakedness… 9.The nakedness of your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born outside, their nakedness you shall not uncover. 10.The nakedness of your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter, their nakedness you shall not uncover; for their nakedness is yours.

The very fact that the Israelites are commanded not to have sexual relations with their grandchildren may point to a ban on paedophile activity. What is significant is that v3 begins the passage with this injunction: ‘nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes.’ Furthermore, v24, warns that the Canaanites practised these abominations: ‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.’ Essentially, Leviticus 18 bans Israelites from performing sexual activities common to the Canaanites – and these included adultery, incest and probably child molestation. After all, if the Canaanites thought it right to sacrifice children, they probably would not have balked at sexually abusing them.

Thus, according to the Bible, Canaanite religion was devoid of ethical content. Harrison describes it as a ‘crude and debased form of ritual polytheism. It was associated with sensuous fertility-cult worship of a particularly lewd and orgiastic kind…’[1]This, as we have seen, involved the use of sacred prostitutes.[2]Wenham quotes G. E. Wright on this issue: ‘The amazing thing about the gods … in Canaan, is that they had no moral character whatsoever… Worship of these gods carried with it some of the most demoralizing practices then in existence. Among them were child sacrifice…’[3]

Such was the depravity of Canaanite religion, they were to be destroyed and no inter-marriage with them was permissible (save for people like Rahab who had already gone over to the side of YHWH): 

When YHWH your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you,and when YHWH your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them.You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons,for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of YHWH would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.

Given that Rahab and her family were taken into Israel, it is clear that the ban on inter-marriage was not ethnic, but religious. Canaanite religion and culture was not simply polytheist – it was sexually abusive, not least to children, and also abusive in that it practised child-sacrifice. Remember that it was no new cult but centuries old – an entire civilisation was committed to its values. It was irreformable, as were its people. Even its children were infected with its values – they were like ‘the Cubs of the Caliphate’ under the Islamic State group (IS) who actually participated in executions and boasted of their murderous intent. Again, unlike IS, the Canaanite culture and religion was centuries old, and the children thereof would have been infected with their religious, sexual and murderous depravity, and been a continual threat to both the spiritual and physical well-being of Israelite children.

To some extent, albeit perhaps not so great, such depravity also affected certain peoples neighbouring Palestine, e.g. 2 Kings 3: ‘26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle was going against him, he took with him 700 swordsmen to break through, opposite the king of Edom, but they could not.27 Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place and offered him for a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel. And they withdrew from him and returned to their own land.’ From the Moabite Stone of King Mesha, which is dated c. 840 B.C., we know that their vernacular was very similar to the Canaanite language. It confirms that their god (or chief god) was Chemosh. Judges 11.23-24 indicates that Chemosh was also a god of Ammon. In 1 Kings 11.7 we read: ‘Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites…’ The same terminology ‘abomination’ is used for these two gods as for the religion and practises of the Canaanites, indicating the nature of their religion. In Numbers 25 it is implied that the Moabites also worshipped Baal – unless they identified Chemosh with him, perhaps. Deuteronomy 23 is clear about relations with Moabites and Ammonites, which affected marital relations – unless, of course, individuals from those nations forsooktheir religion for YHWH (e.g. Ruth):

“No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of YHWH. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of YHWH forever,because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. But YHWH your God would not listen to Balaam; instead YHWH your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because YHWH your God loved you. You shall not seek their peace or their prosperity all your days forever.

The Phoenicians, of course, were exactly the same people as the Canaanites in Palestine, and worshipped the same gods, principally Baal. The Aramaeans worshipped Rimmon, who was identified with Baal. The Midianites were not a single people but were at most, a tribal league dwelling in the region called Midian: …‘they are also related to or associated with the Edomites, Kenites, Ishmaelites, Hagarites and Kenizzites while there are at least connections with Amalekites and Moabites, and perhaps with Ammonites. All in all, they are an amorphous and complex grouping.’[4]Along with ethnic diversity, there was also religious distinction. Jethro seemed to have worshipped YHWH in some way. The reference to Baal-Peor in Numbers 25 suggests that some Midianites at least worshipped Baal. The context suggests that such worship involved sexual immorality:

While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab.These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of YHWH was kindled against Israel.And YHWH said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hangthem in the sun before YHWH, that the fierce anger of YHWH may turn away from Israel.”And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.”

And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting… 16 And YHWH spoke to Moses, saying, 17 “Harass the Midianites and strike them down, 18 for they have harassed you with their wiles, with which they beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the chief of Midian, their sister, who was killed on the day of the plague on account of Peor.”

Note that Israelites who committed whoredom with the Midianites were executed. The words of v18 imply that the Midianite women seduced the Israelites into both immorality and idolatry: the two were inter-connected – the idolatrous worship of Baal involved sexual immorality. 

We will continue this discussion in part 2.

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[1]Harrison, Old Testament Times, p. 167.

[2]Ibid., p. 168.

[3]Wenham, John, The Goodness of God, (Leicester: IVP), p. 126, quoting Wright, G. E., and Filson, F. V., The Westminster Historical Atlas to the Bible, (London: 1945), p. 36.

[4]Dumbrell, William J., ‘Midian: A Land or a League?’, Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 25, Fasc. 2, No. 2a. Jubilee Number (May, 1975), p. 323.

Tongue sucking in the Hadith

Tongue sucking in the Hadith

Godwin discusses Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha (age 6, consummated when she was 9), and more disturbing evidence of Muhammad’s behaviour…

Musnad Ahmad 16245—[Mua’wiya said]: I saw the prophet sucking on the tongue or the lips of Al-Hassan son of Ali, may the prayers of Allah be upon him. For no tongue or lips that the prophet sucked on will be tormented (by hell fire).

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Does Jesus teach violence?

Does Jesus teach violence?

Daniel talks to a Muslim about whether Jesus teaches his followers to be violent in Luke 19:27, and contrasts it with Sura 9:29.

26 ‘He replied, “I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them – bring them here and kill them in front of me.”’

Sura 9:29 Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth(even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

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Why does Allah deceive Christians?

Why does Allah deceive Christians?

Hatun and Abbas discuss why Allah would deceive Christians by making it only ‘appear’ as if Jesus was crucified? Islamic tradition even has conflicting reports, with some saying Judas was crucified in Jesus’ place and others saying another disciple volunteered. See Sam Shamoun’s article for more information: https://www.answering-islam.org/Shamo…

Hatun also defends the Resurrection accounts in the Gospels. Psalm 22: All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him – those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

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