Those Really Tough Bible Verses About Murder, Oppression, and Women

championpayne asked a question:

Hi! I was wondering what your input would be on this post. It bothered me a bit and I want to defend these scriptures, but I’m not sure how. The scriptures are, Psalm 137:9, 1 Timothy 2:12, Deuteronomy 22:28, Exodus 21:7, Leviticus 25:44, Numbers 25:4, Jeremiah 48:10 and Ezekiel 9:5. Thanks!

Hey dear friend, for easy reference, all the verses are listed here.

One thing I learned in seminary was that without context, there is no content.

These verses by themselves look absurd, and in fact, I will wrestle with a lot of the Bible until my time on earth is done. At the same time, many of these problematic verses have adequate explanations behind them when you can dive into the history and background.

This is really an issue of trust. If I approach the Bible with my modern Westernized preconceived bias, I will naturally find things to hate about the Bible, no matter how much they’re explained to me. If I trust that the God of the Bible is good, loving, and compassionate, then I will naturally find a logical rationale, even as I admit that some verses are harder to understand than others. I could argue both for and against these verses if I really wanted to. It’s a matter of choosing to trust Him, or not. If I don’t, I won’t. If I do, there’s a plethora of insight and wisdom that will jump out of Scripture. It all depends on who I believe that God is first.

For the record, I absolutely believe that God is against genocide, misogyny, polygamy, bigotry, slavery, and oppression. God never condones these things. When people choose them in the Bible, it always goes bad, and God has to begin His re-shaping. Often times in the Old Testament, God is working within a misshapen world of terrible consequences, in which He must prescribe the better of two bad options. As many times as we run into moral dilemmas, I can’t imagine how God must orchestrate our innumerable amount of imperfections towards an eternal good. He probably has a headache like all the time. I’m just glad I don’t have His job.

I’ll leave you with a few posts that might help with some groundwork over these passages. Please feel free to skip around or to skip them altogether.

– The Down-Low on The Old Testament Commands

– God Seems A Little Crazy In The Old Testament — A Mega-Post on the OT

– Mega-Post: Female Pastors, Neo-Feminism, and The Scary Words Submission, Quiet, and Penis

– So About God’s Punishment and Wrath: A Mega-Post On Theology That Bothers Us

— J.S.

4 thoughts on “Those Really Tough Bible Verses About Murder, Oppression, and Women

    1. Yes! Reminds me of this quote from Know Doubt by John Ortberg:

      “Dating, like faith, is an exercise in strategic uncertainty. Andre Comte-Sponville notes that it is precisely the experience of uncertainty that makes possible the euphoria of what we call falling in love. We go through intense questioning, wondering, hoping, and doubting. Does she really care? And when that is followed by evidence that she does care, we have an endorphin tidal wave. It is precisely this roller-coaster ride of the agony of uncertainty and the ecstasy of relief that gives the early stages of love their emotional TNT. It is also why, as love matures, as commitment becomes sure, the roller coaster must inevitably settle down.

      [At this point] we all think we want certainty. But we don’t. What we really want is trust, wisely placed. Trust is better than certainty because it honors the freedom of persons and makes possible growth and intimacy that certainty alone could never produce. … I would rather trust, because when you trust someone, you give him or her a gift, and you enter into a kind of dance. When I trust, I take a risk. I choose to be vulnerable.”

      Liked by 1 person

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