Atheist's Attacks

Answering Humanist's Accusations Against the Bible

Christian Resources

Cruelty In The Bible?

Balak hires Balaam to unjustly curse Israel.
What is the appropriate punishment?

THE HUMANIST CLAIMED CRUELTY: In Numbers chapter 31, the Lord approves of these instructions that Moses gave to the Israelite soldiers about how to treat certain women and children captured in war: “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”

Free Atheist's Answers Book

This accusation of cruelty correctly quotes (except for a minor typo) Numbers 31:17-18.

The Problem:

To understand what was going on we need to go back to the plains of Moab and the history recorded in Numbers chapters 22 through 25.

Balak, the king of the Midianites, hires the evil prophet Balaam to curse Israel. Balak wants Israel destroyed. However, God would not allow Balaam to curse Israel. Instead, no matter how hard he tried, Balaam blessed Israel. This was not good for Balaam. He was to get a huge payment for cursing Israel, but now it appeared he would leave in disgrace and with no money.

Then Balaam came up with a way to curse Israel by getting them to bring God’s curse on themselves. Balaam told king Balak that the Midianites needed to seduce the people of Israel with pros-titutes and idolatry. This disobedience of God would result in Israel bringing a curse on themselves. Balak followed Balaam’s advice, and Israel fell into sin, worshiping Baal of Peor and committing fornica-tion with Midianite women. This resulted in the death of 24,000 people. (Numbers 25:1-12)

The humanist statement makes it seem as though Numbers 31:17-18 are general instructions for war. That is a false representa-tion of what is happening. Here again they are misrepresenting what scripture says. These are not general instructions for war, but specific instructions for how Israel is to deal with the Midianites who se-duced them into sin. This misrepresentation of scripture makes this claim invalid.

Why were young men, and women who were not virgins, targeted? They were the ones specifically and directly responsible for corrupting Israel. This was justice, and it ensured the end of the threat from the Midianites, preventing them from seducing Israel again.


Conclusion: Once again, we see that God is not cruel. His response to Midianite sexual and spiritual seduction was limited, just, and appropriate.

Next example: Isaiah 13:9,15-18 contains this message from God: “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger. . . . Every one that is found shall be thrust through. . . . Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes . . . and their wives ravished. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them. . . . [T]hey shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes will not spare children.”

Let's see what God is doing this time. Click here...


headlights coming

What you believe does not determine reality nor truth. That would make you god. But you ARE NOT god. You don't control the universe. You cannot change reality. Let's try an experiment. At about midnight stand in the middle of the road just around a corner where it is hard to be seen... at night, wearing all black. When headlights start lighting up the curve, just believe that whatever is coming does not exist. Stand firm, if you don't believe a vehicle is coming, then nothing is coming. You are perfectly safe... until reality hits.

You are now standing before Jesus. You are dead. It's judgment day. You don't want to believe it's Jesus and you will be judged. But it is. That's reality.

Judgment only takes a moment, the verdict is obvious, and you know it is correct. You are guilty. You've lied, stolen and sexually lusted after others (Matthew 5:28)... you have disobeyed God. Trusting Jesus is the only answer, but it's too late. You had your last chance just before you died.

You know it's no use to protest, but still you scream out, 'I didn't know!'

But you did know. All of creation declared God's glory, His invisible attributes, and His power. You have no excuse. You willingly rejected Jesus Christ (God).

Is this you? Are you saying, 'Hell isn't so bad, I'll be with my friends.' You know that's not true. There are no friends in hell. No beer... not even water to cool your lips. There is NOTHING good in hell.

So I beg you, consider these words. Trust Jesus as having paid your penalty for every way you've have rejected God. Trust Jeus to save you from hell and bring you into the presense of God.

Trust Jesus. Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. - Acts 16:31