Atheist's Attacks

Answering Humanist's Accusations Against the Bible

Christian Resources

Cruelty In The Bible?

Was God's punishment on Samaria unjust?

THE HUMANIST's CLAIMED CRUELTY: Hosea 13:16 describes a punishment from the Lord: “Samaria shall become desolate; for she bath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”

The answer is the same as for the previous accusation about "cruelty." In this case Hosea 13:16 is a prophecy about what will happen to Samaria, the Northern kingdom, if they don't change their ways. Verse two describes the problem:

And now they sin more and more,
And make for themselves molten images,
Idols skillfully made from their silver.

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As in every case we've looked at, God is being gracious and loving. He is warning them about what will happen. They have plenty of time to change their ways,. But, they don't.

Hosea was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom. (Following the reign of Solomon, Israel was divided into two parts: the Northern Kingdom, also known as Israel or Samaria. And the Southern Kingdom, also known as Judah.)

God is using Hosea to warn the Northern Kingdom that He is withdrawing His protection. The most powerful empire at that time was Assyria... and they were cruel, vicious, and murderous. Without God's protection Assyria would invade and destroy the Northern Kingdom.

Why was God withdrawing His protection... or another way to ask this question is: why was God withdrawing His blessing?

Read verse two in red above... the Northern Kingdom had turned away from God. They were deep into sin and were worshipping other Gods. So God gives them what the want... they can be protected by their "new" gods, who in reality are no gods at all. And God, through Hosea, even tells them in advance what will happen. They have plenty of time to change their ways. But, they don't. They have "rebelled against God" and want nothing to do with God. So God gives them what they want.

The result is that the Assyrians invade. The description of what would happen: "infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.” is a description of what the Assyrians would do, not what God did. The Assyrians were brutal. They killed everyone.

Once again we see that God is not cruel or unjust. He was protecting the Northern Kingdom from the brutality of the Assyrians, but the people of the Northern Kingdom did not want that protection. They turned against God. So God simply gave them what they wanted... He withdrew His protection. The punishment perfectly fit the offense.

Conclusion: God is not cruel, but just. Even today, if we as a nation turn away from God... rejecting God... God gives us what we want... leaving us on our own.

Next example: Deuteronomy 32:23-25 says that after the Israelites incited God’s jealousy by worshiping other gods, he vowed: “I will spend mine arrows upon them. . . . The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.”

What is God doing to Israel? Get the answer, click here.