I’m betting you weren’t pegging Moses as a great general, were you? How do you think that, like George Washington, he freed a people from an oppressive kingdom? You have to defeat the enemy.
While the God of Israel is often condemned as being a violent God of vengeance, his attitudes and actions are best understood in the context of his reason for vengeance. Not to protect his ego. To protect his children. We can understand God’s motives and methods because we are like him. The best parents not only personally protect their children, but also promote their children’s personal growth and development for their own self-protection and parenthood.
Characters What do your characters want? Their desire can be simple or complex, tangible or concept…If your character doesn’t want something, they won’t be compelled to act.
Setting – when and where your story takes place.
Plot – the actual story–what happens, when, how, why, and what’s the result?
Conflict – a good practice is to look at each scene and ask if there is conflict within it.
- Does the scene add to the overall plot?
- Does the scene advance internal or inter-character relationships?
- Does the scene add to a subplot?
- Does the scene answer or bring about any plot-crucial questions?
The conflict could lend to the overall plot, a subplot, conflict between characters, or even a smaller conflict that is resolved within that scene. For a story to be interesting, there needs to be conflict. Scenes that don’t add to that are fluff.
Resolution – By the end of your story, all of your conflicts should have a resolution.
Theme – your story’s main takeaway. Your story can one theme or several. The theme(s) of your story helps to focus the narrative and answers the question: What’s the point? What have your characters learned? How are they changed, and what will they affect now that they are different? Some examples of themes include:
- Death – overcoming it, processing it, fearing it
- Good versus bad
These themes are exactly the themes in the Bible, which is why so much literature pulls or plays on quotes from the Bible.
As detailed in the post Redemption and Restoration, the plot of of the Bible is mankind retaking dominion over creation, resulting in war between the Seed of the Woman and his hosts and the Seed of the Serpent and his hosts.
Surely we understand that any entity must do more that mind its own business to develop, grow and survive. Whether it’s a human body wearing a mask to guard against COVID or parents protecting their children from online predators and school drug dealers or a town with a police force protecting its residents from robbers and rapists or a nation with a military defending its borders from aggression, humans must constantly, actively fight to maintain freedom from those who would destroy us.
The same is true for the Kingdom of Heaven, the real “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.”
This is due to the unavoidable reality of evil, regardless of efforts to dumb it down.
God demands that his people do something. Like America going to war against Nazi Germany.
“the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?…the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea…
and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”
“And the LORD said unto Moses…speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:[that would be into the sea] But [you stay at the back] lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.” (Exodus 14)
God shares the honor of winning the battle WITH HUMANS who trust and obey his orders. Keep in the mind the whole “let humanity take dominion” concept.
Joining forces with Moses.
In his 1994 autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom”, Nelson Mandela described a leader leading from behind as a shepherd.The shepherd stays behind the flock, letting the weakest go ahead. As the others follow, all of them are unaware that they have been directed from behind.
How else does the caregiver know who needs to be picked up?
“And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD…took off their chariot wheels…so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And…the sea returned to his strength…and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
Are you catching the unity through action between Moses and the LORD?
and the people…believed the LORD, AND his servant Moses…Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD…The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation….
The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” (Exodus 14:1-5:3)
“And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel…The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb / Sinai…not…with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. 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…when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt
- smite them, and
- utterly destroy them;
Ooooh. Harsh. What kind of a divinity orders extermination?! Surely that allows us to discredit the Bible’s version of God, right?
How about we set aside automatic bias and consider this situation with an open mind. Put this situation in context. This territory was smack in the center of the civilized world. As the crossroads of international trade and diplomacy during the height of the Bronze Age there were settlements of representatives from every nation in the world, on land to the East and through ports to all the nations rimming the Mediterranean such as Greece, Cyprus, Libya, and through the Red Sea to Africa, Arabia and India. The Israelites were not instructed to wipe out every non-Israelite, notably the Philistines, Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, etc. who were present.
The Israelites are specifically forbidden to fight against certain nations because God gave them their land: Lot’s children the Moabites and Ammonites, and Esau’s children the Horites.
“Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given ____ unto ___ for a possession.”
There was a reason for this. Just as YHVH specifically instructed the children of the chosen Seed to do, these children of Abraham had, out of simple common sense and survival, accomplished at least one of YHVH’s purposes for possessing this extended territory – protecting all of humanity by wiping out the abominable hybrid giants in their territories.,
So there was something specifically dangerous about these seven nations left to the nation of Israel.
[In Canaan] Religious rites included human sacrifice (especially child sacrifice) in the understanding that the gods gave only the best to the people and so they should reciprocate by offering their best to the gods.
The Israelites taking possession of the land set aside for YHVH’s representatives had two options. Join em’ or fight em. It’s not as if these nations were going to accommodate them.
- make no covenant with them,[which requires accepting their gods]
- nor shew mercy unto them:
- Neither shalt thou make marriages with them
- destroy their altars, and
- break down their images, and
- cut down their groves, and
- burn their graven images with fire.
For…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…because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD…redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.” (Deuteronomy 5:1, 7:1-10)
Based on what was covered in the post Canaan: Rival Father of Many Nations, these seven Canaanite nations ruled by their gods did indeed hate YHVH.
It was a fair fight. You can’t honor America’s Greatest Generation for the fighting the Axis powers and condemn the Israelites for doing the same.
In 1177 B.C…the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end…over the course of just a few decades… Minoans… Mycenaeans… Trojans… Hittites… Babylonians….thriving economies and cultures which had stretched from Greece to Egypt and Mesopotamia, suddenly ceased to exist.
The precise cause of the Bronze Age Collapse has been debated by scholars for over a century…but no consensus has been reached. What is clearly known is that…major cities were destroyed, whole civilizations fell, diplomatic and trade relations were severed, writing systems vanished, and there was widespread devastation and death on a scale never experienced before.
The primary causes advanced for the Bronze Age Collapse are [Natural Catastrophes and]
- Climate Change (which caused drought and famine)
- Internal Rebellions (class wars)
- Invasions (primarily by the Sea Peoples)
- Disruption of Trade Relations/Systems Collapse (political instability
Note that, other than uncontrollable natural catastrophes, all other causes for this first Dark Age are controllable by government: sustainable agricultural practices vs short-term profiteering, equitable distribution of wealth within society, internal unity to resist invasion, and fair trade practices.
And YHVH’s covenant with Israel addresses all these conditions, providing protection for those who follow his regulations.
I like watching the unfolding of the mysteries in the British show Death In Paradise because they have highly complex plots. Very popular – 13 seasons now if I remember correctly. The revelation of the perpetrator(s) at the end is always supported by the clues provided at the beginning so the astute observer has a chance of figuring it out before having it laid out. Solving the puzzle is one of the most captivating features of the show.
“And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan…And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. And they came unto the brook [that they named] “of Eshcol” and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.
The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence.” (Numbers 13)
The astute reader who knows the earlier setup will pick up the clues.
- the children of Anak
- one cluster of grapes – corresponding to 100-300 pounds, is gigantic!
We should recognize that naming the place where the grapes were found is not a random remark, it is loaded with meaning. The spies did not go to the brook “of Eschol”. Seriously, you were thinking they had a map with place names and everything? The spies left behind the name because of the cluster of grapes they discovered there.
Moses is using the literary device “flashback” to previous history to make an important point. For people who know the history, that is. What was it about Eschol that made the nation of Israel associate him with the huge bunch of grapes? Eschol was the Amorite made famous by his and his two brothers’ confederation with Abraham about 400 years previously.
Putting all the clues together, we understand that the grapes’ huge size reminded them of Abraham’s huge Amorite friend. Another example of the inclusion of all nations into God’s kingdom. This deduction is proven as the text continues.
“And they returned from searching of the land after forty days…and shewed them the fruit of the land…and said…this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless…
- we saw…Amorites [from most ancient times]…
- all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
- And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants:
and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” (Numbers 13:17-33)
As described more fully in the posts Days of Noah, the descendants of Anak are neck biters for sucking blood from the jugular vein. There is a metabolic reason behind this practice by hybrid humans – a genetic abnormality leading to the need for consuming blood products and metabolic components not produced naturally or in sufficient quantities. This is known to occur in humans (as well as zombies).
Honestly, most of us are civilians who think we are safe if we stay out of any conflict, but that’s just wishful thinking. Twice as many civilians as military personnel were killed in World War II. Civilians are defenseless. Combatants are supplied with weapons and other resources and are surrounded by other soldiers who have their backs. Think about it before becoming a draft dodger in spiritual warfare.
The use of volunteers explains why reclaiming God’s kingdom is taking so long. It’s much harder to recruit volunteers than to conscript slaves as the Adversary does.
For example, at the start of WWII the Germans were successful in their surprise blitzkrieg of France by feeding methamphetamine to their soldiers to keep them up and marching for days and nights on end.
And as biblical history narrows its focus from the scattered Hebrews in Genesis to the Israelite leadership establishing a government in Exodus-Deuteronomy to Joshua leading an invasion of the land, notice how war against evil changes. God’s people transition from the Hebrews being mainly on the defensive in Genesis to the Israelites unmistakably going on the offensive.
This can be explained, at baseline, by the exponentially rising population of all nations, including the Hebrews, pushing the bounds of available resources and providing manpower for ever larger armies and R&D for weaponry. As empires expand, pacifists simply disappear.
And here is where Bible antagonists run riot.
And Richard Dawkins is arguably the most jealous, proud, unjust, control-freak, hypocritical antagonist in his fictional rewrite of the Abrahamic God. Not to mention either a gross liar or utterly uneducated on the topic on which he promotes such hatred.
Richard Dawkins enjoys the freedom of speech in a country that has been at war for over a century fighting and killing the enemies of free speech.
Is there any evidence that the initial wars served a purpose besides giving Richard Dawkins the power to say anything he wants without so much as that inconvenience of having to back it up with evidence? Like peace and prosperity?
Or a massive reduction in genocide?
And how much of our War Against Terror is to prevent one’s own ethnicity from being “wiped off the face of the earth?” Remember the Holocaust, anyone? Anyone?
And just who is bloodthirsty??
- 65% of American adults…3 out of 5 people admit to playing on a daily basis…
- The average gamer is 34 years old, owns a house and has children…
- Guys love playing video games…its only natural…
- 56% of the most frequent gamers play multiplayer games..
- 35% of multiplayer gamers prefer shooter games.
I started thinking about who video games find it permissible to kill in large numbers. The focus is not on the big evil central antagonists which heroes must defeat to save the day. Instead I am examining the generic grunts of AAA Games and trying to figure out who is permitted to die at a hero’s hands without opening them up to moral judgement…
The one enemy that it is always permissible to kill is one that is standing in the way of your goals…Video game…players have been trained since the 80’s to shoot… just any given living organism that has become an obstacle…
Do we not understand that the roles of lawgiver, judge, and king include protecting the subjects of the government from internal as well as external oppression?
“The LORD…hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times…
- Thou shalt not see a fierce people…
- thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation…
For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.” (Isaiah 33)
And what the Covenant between YHVH and his people uniquely provides is protection of his subjects from themselves. As a psychiatric NP, I encounter this situation in addictions ranging from carbs to crack to criminality.
“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do….For I delight in the law of God [or the planned diet or rehab or graduating from school or keeping a job or staying married] after the inward man: But I see another [natural] law in my [physical] members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin [irresistible drives to eat the ice cream against my better judgment, cozy up to the co-worker allowing to reach the point of no return from adultery] which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:19-25)
A good story like Huckleberry Finn is true to human nature, a better story like Game of Thrones is true to historical facts, and the best stories are true documentaries.
But don’t fail to see the forest for the trees. Don’t let the fascinating details obscure the overriding theme in every single account, which is the how the current Melchizedek “in the Order of” regardless of his tribal descent, delivers God’s people from the Adversary.
Judges / Rulers / Deliverers
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people [resurrection] be.”(Genesis 49:10)
However, Judah’s lineage temporarily lost its qualification to rule for ten generations because Judah had bastard, i.e. incestuous, heirs by his daughter-in-law.
“A bastard…to his tenth generation shall…not enter into the congregation of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 23:2)
From Matthew 1:
Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar his daughter-in-law, ergo incest / bastards
- and Phares the bastard was born in Canaan and entered Egypt with his father Judah
- Esrom begat
- Aram begat
- Aminadab 4th generation in Egypt, left Egypt as an old man during the Exodus
- Naasson young man, prince of the tribe of Judah, leading his contingent of warriors which included Caleb, one of only two of the original adult emigres to enter Canaan because of his great faith and courage
- Salmon m. Rachab and begat
- Booz m. Ruth begat
- Obed begat
- Jesse begat
- David the king
Throughout those ten generations the incestuously corrupted genetics were sorted out through meiosis and leadership development was passed down through epigenetics.
After the death of Moses, Joshua from the tribe of Ephraim, became the general. Being a member of Joseph’s family, Joshua would have, like Moses, obtained leadership training through his connections with the Egyptian government. This probably explains Moses’ choice of Joshua as his minister as well.
“Now after the death of Moses…the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying…arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. (Joshua 1)
As detailed in the post The Promised Land, these boundaries are
- South from the [Sinai] wilderness, Gaza
- Northern extent of Lebanon Mountains, the country of Lebanon not existing at this time. Clearly the entirety of the mountainous area is meant to be taken over since the Canaanites, who were to be utterly dispossessed, controlled this area at this time.
- East even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites / Syria
- West at the Mediterranean.
During the early days of battle between the sons of Abraham and the sons of Canaan for possession of the penultimate Central Intelligence Area, the key players for control banded together.
- Jabin king of Hazor north, going south to
- Jobab king of Madon,
- the king of Shimron in valley of Jezreel
- the king of Achshaph,
- the kings that were on Bashan / the Golan Heights
- the kings on the plains south of Chinneroth / Lake Galilee
- the kings in the Jordan valley
- the kings west of Megiddo on the coast of the Mediterranean
- the Canaanite in Ashtaroth
- the Canaanite in Jaffa with a layer of destruction at this time preserved in archeological remains, just north of the Philistine territory established at this time with coastal cities from Ashdod to Gaza.
- the Amorite east of the Jordan circling back north
- the Hittite in Kadesh, just north of Hazor, in which the bedraggled remnants of the once-but-no-longer-mighty people group lived, like the Comanches beaten into a reservation
- the Perizzite possibly around Bethel
- the Jebusite in Jebus / Jerusalem in the central mountains
- the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh ending back in the north of Hazor in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains, encircling the enemy.
And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many…And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms.” (Joshua 11:1-10)
and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand, and they slew of them in Bezek 10,000 men. And they found Adoni-bezek / my lord/god who works through me scatters like lightning in Bezek: and…and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.
And Adonibezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table [treated like dogs, scrambling and fighting each other for bones to suck, being mocked and kicked out of the way]
as I have done, so God hath requited me.
And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron...and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai…the three sons of [the giant] Anak…” (Judges 1)
Ironically, the social peace brought about by following God’s ways, which by natural law allows prosperity, by human nature relaxes one’s reliance on God, promotes a prideful conviction of achievement by one’s one efforts with a sense of entitlement and results in a cycle of domestic violence on a grand scale.
“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and…forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed…the gods of the people that were round about them…
- the Canaanites,
And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods…Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel:
And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.” (Judges 2)
At first glance it appears that the LORD God is taking out his anger on his children, doesn’t it?
Don’t mix up the LORD’s ways with our ways.
“Bargaining is an integral part of most Middle Eastern cultures…The key to being good at bargaining is understanding what purpose it serves – it is not about money… – but more about building relationships.”
When God “delivered” and “sold” his people to the enemy he was engaging in negotiations like those transacted by Chamberlain with Hitler to minimize the damage to his people!
Despite God’s people rejecting him, he never rejects them, but stays on the sideline waiting for his people to return to him after they’re hurting enough to call out for his help.
“For the LORD thy God is a merciful God); he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.” (Deuteronomy 4:31)
The reader is encouraged to enjoy the exciting details provided in the entire book of Judges.