The Slitting of 850 Throats

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Ben Masada, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    THE SLITTING OF 850 THROATS

    Dear Ben,

    Reading the books of I and II Kings this past weekend, I came about a gruesome deed of prophet Elijah's who, in order to erradicate the cult of Baal and Asherah, he slitted the throats of 850 of the prophets of Baal and Asherah. (I Kings 18:19) Regardless of the violence of how he carried that out, what had happened to freedom
    of speech and religion in Israel then?

    There was indeed freedom of speech and of religion in Israel even at the time of Elijah. Those 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah were not executed for being what they had chosen to be, but for competing with Elijah the spiritual guardianship of the House of Israel and misleading the People into following after gods that they had not known besides the Lord. They were, IOW, leading the People astray from the way of life in Judaism and into apostasy. (Deut. 13:2-6)

    As Elijah was concerned, they were no longer Jews for having adopted the Baal cult of Jezebel, but they would insist on holding unto the Jewish identity to make it easier to add more and more Jewish adepts to their cult. They were so to speak, the Jews-for-Baal.

    In fact, Elijah did warn them to make up their minds and decide to, either return to Judaism or stay where they were, but not as Jews. Hence, Elijah's question: "How long will you straddle the issue? If the Lord is God, follow Him; if it's Baal, follow him!" (I Kings 18:21) Just return or stay there IOW.

    The Jews-for-Baal were causing a spiritual havoc in the Jewish Community. The issue had become rather political because of the insurrection. Then, Elijah condemned those 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah to death and the People was rescued from total apostasy. (I Kings 18:40)

    Something today quite similar to that time, I see in "Jews-for-Jesus" and "Messianic Jews" straddling the issue between Judaism and Christianity. Exactly in between one ideology and the other. They hold unto the Jewish identity while upholding the tenets of Christianity. They are lucky because, the only thing Elijah can do today, is to turn in his grave.

    Ben
     
  2. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Are the heretics the apostates, or are ones doing the murdering the apostates? :rolleyes:
     
  3. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Well I was thinking one of the themes of the story was that Elijah confronted the eight hundred "prophets" of Baal alone with the Lord of course on his side. But think about that.. He was alone confronting eight hundred.

    This was a case where King Ahab and Jezebel had favored the Baal prophets over the prophets of the Lord and had already killed some of the prophets of the Lord:

    Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord? I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!”

    1 Kings 18:13-14

    So the model is Elijah alone was able to confront the ecclesiastical order of the Baalim and through the help of the Lord vanquish them.

    There had been a great famine and no rain for a long time in Samaria and Ahab called for the prophets to pray for rain...

    I stood on Mount Carmel some thirty seven years ago and looking off to the sea recalled the scripture:

    And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.
    “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
    “There is nothing there,” he said.
    Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
    The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”
    So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”

    - 1 Kings 18:41-44

    Well that's the Bible lesson for today I guess...
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Freedom of speech and religion? While these didn't exist....the golden rule did...whoever had the gold made the rules....

    The books are made of mythological stories in order to get people to obey...

    this is a good one... moral....do as our invisible leader says or we'll slaughter you all.

    note that G!d isn't powerful enough to simply vaporize those that don't believe...

    or compassionate enough to simply place the urge to believe and obey as strong as the urge for greed and violence...

    Instead, he supposedly places power in folks to be summoned during big dog and pony shows and then has humans do his slaughtering for him...similar to how he takes sides in football games and graces folks who tebow in stadiums...
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Freedom of speech and religion? While these didn't exist....the golden rule did...whoever had the gold made the rules....

    The books are made of mythological stories in order to get people to obey...

    this is a good one... moral....do as our invisible leader says or we'll slaughter you all.

    note that G!d isn't powerful enough to simply vaporize those that don't believe...

    or compassionate enough to simply place the urge to believe and obey as strong as the urge for greed and violence...

    Instead, he supposedly places power in folks to be summoned during big dog and pony shows and then has humans do his slaughtering for him...similar to how he takes sides in football games and graces folks who tebow in stadiums...
     
  6. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    Well, Elijah was acting according to Torah law. The apostates were on the verge of causing a civil war. I guess Elijah was on the right place at the right time and acted as the extraordinary man for the sake of future generations.

    Ben
     
  7. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    Nice theme for a Bible lesson, Arthra. It was very salutary to read it. Now, with regards to Elijah and the 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah, you have mentioned above that it was he against the whole bunch. Needless to ask, IMHO, Elijah did not himself do the killing. He had some of his people, not to mention those from the "Jews-for-Baal" who had retracted their loyalty to Baal and turned upon them as revengers. Just a logical conclusion.

    Ben
     
  8. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    You could be totally right if we were talking about the Greek gods of Mythology. As we were naturally granted with Intellect and the attribute of free will, it would be to act like a man to interfere with the businesses of man. We have created our own laws to live according to the laws and this has nothing to do with God.

    The Golden Rule is just one of the laws of cause and effect. You break, you pay the consequences thereof. The "Jews-for-Baal" were on the verge of causing a civil war in Israel and Isaiah tried to prevent it by being able to see farther enough than the transgressors. This happens all the time, even in our day and age.

    God is all-powerful alright, but He is not that personal to get annoyed with the things of man. Baruch de Spinoza says in his "Tractatus Theologico-Politico that God would rather show signs of weakness if He interfered with men in his dealing with each other in terms of miracle or the like. And that's how Einstein also perceived God. As an impersonal Divine Entity. We have already the law of cause and effect to learn by experience.

    What Elijah did was to preserve the integrity of the Jewish way of life and not for God Himself. There would be no change in God whether Elijah had acted or not. (Num. 23:19)

    Ben
     
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Where can we read any corroborating evidence that any of this happenned outside of our bible stories....

    The biblical stories were told for the sake of control and metaphor...parables told around a fire with blood and excitement and hyperbole, so the story would sink in and be retold...tis the nature of an oral tradition....reality isn't important it is the point being made.
     
  10. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    What on earth has Spinoza got to do with traditional Jewish scriptures??
     
  11. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    He was raised and educated as a traditional Jew, and spent much of his youth studying the torah before he quit to work in the family business. Later on, he was formally expelled from the Jewish community.
     
  12. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    SG, yet, for daring to be one of the first panentheists.
     
  13. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    You could be right to think so. Myself, I am fun of metaphorical language. It helps eliminate contradictions. But if you are thinking that Elijah did all that killing himself, probably not. Perhaps not even a single one was done by him, personally, but by those under his authority. And then again, all could have been only chronicles of famous people to talk about at a leisure time.

    Ben
     
  14. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    By your question, I can see that you have never read Spinoza's "Tratactus Theologico-Politicus." Read it and you will understand why I quoted Spinoza.

    Ben
     

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