Does God sanction violence and vengeance against others?
The book of Numbers tells us that God commanded Moses to “take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites” (Num 31), because they had cursed
Questions for Reflection:
How should we understand the meaning of God’s command in the OT to commit what appears to be genocide, motivated by vengeance, given what Jesus commands in the New Testament?
In what sense is Num 31 still valid for Christians today? How does your interpretation intersect with your view of the Bible’s authority and nature (inspiration, inerrancy, etc.)
If you agree with the first perspective above (God is always just in taking life and commanding the taking of it), how do you explain Jesus’ non-violence against the apparent violence of God in the OT? Furthermore, how would a God who commands violence be understood as a God of love and mercy?
If you agree with the second position, in what way is the Old Testament still relevant for us today?