The events that occurred recently when the Israeli military enforced their naval blockade of Gaza reminded me how often innocent people become collateral damage during some armed conflict. Bystanders so far from the action as I am can’t be sure if those who died were innocent participants or not. Unfortunately, history seems to be repeating itself in Israel.
I’ve been told by some devout Christian friends who take history seriously that modern readers of the Bible should accept the Sacred Word literally. When I read the Old Testament, I always wondered what the non-Jewish historians had to say about the many victories that the Israelites recorded in their Sacred Scriptures.
What happened to those poor Egyptians that lost their firstborn children and suffered all those plagues when their Pharaoh wouldn’t let Moses and the Children of Israel leave the land of Goshen? And how did the Egyptian parents face losing their sons when they drowned in the Red Sea with their faithful horses and rickety chariots chasing Moses?
Did anyone mourn for the innocent inhabitants of Jericho when Joshua burned their city? The only family to escape that holocaust was that of a prostitute who hid Jewish spies (and who knows what else). “And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and ass with the edge of the sword.” Joshua Chapter 6, verse 21. Think about all that collateral damage!
As far as we know from the Old Testament in the Bible, no rockets were fired, no hostages were taken during that siege by either group. This land (a gift from Jehovah) is what the war in the Near East is all about today.
Do readers feel sorry for those who died at the hand of Sampson swinging the jaw bone of an ass? Do those folks who stand up against cruelty to animals ever say a word about Sampson burning the corn of his enemies by tying firebrands to the tails of the 300 foxes that he caught?
Was anyone shocked to learn that Sampson’s suicide bought down the house and killed so many Philistines? “So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.” Judges Chapter 16, verse 30. According to verse 27, “…there were upon the roof about 3,000 men and women…” About the same number of victims who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001!
Did anyone mourn for Goliath who was slain by David? Or the 450 prophets of Baal that Elijah slew to get even with Queen Jezebel? Or all those families of Daniel’s enemies who died in the lions’ den? The same place that Daniel had spent a night as a consequence of King Darius’ punishment? I think not.
Need I describe the fate of the conquered Syrians, Assyrians, Hittite, and other lesser known tribes who populated that hilly area from time to time? Bloody place to live, and still is.
I don’t know whom the US should back in the present conflict in ancient Palestine. Toss a coin, heads you are for the Muslims, tails you are for the Jews. But it is their struggle over that wasteland, nor ours. Must Americans become more involved? Must Christians launch a new crusade in the Middle East against the Muslims?
Let’s sincerely mourn the fallen on both sides and put on sackcloth and ashes and settle things once and for all by turning the other cheek. Life is short, and we’re dead a long time. Praise all the Gods for their precious gift of this fertile Earth that we humans seem bound and determined to destroy.