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Djiril
July 30th, 2008, 07:52 PM
So I went to a bar mitzvah service on Saturday.
The Torah portion the Bar Mitzvah boy chose was one I have read at least twice. It is one of the more disturbing parts of the Torah where the Hebrews commit genocide against the Midianites (the Brick Testament version is here (http://www.thebricktestament.com/the_wilderness/massacre_of_the_midianites/nm31_01p25_16p31_02.html)). Now in the past I have not really noticed how this is different from the other genocides committed in this section of the Torah, but the Bar Mitzvah pointed out in his speech what I had missed. The Midianites are Moses' wife's people (http://www.thebricktestament.com/exodus/moses_marries_a_midianite/ex02_16a.html).
These folks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG0a9WFkgzU).

Now I the Torah talks about Moses' father-in-law Jethro traveling with the Hebrews through the desert, so he and his family were not in the massacre. The Wikipedia page on Jethro in rabbinic literature (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jethro_in_Rabbinic_Literature) (and I'm sure some rabbi somewhere is saying "This is why women shouldn't study Torah!") talks about conflicting interpretations of Jethro's religious and cultural allegiances:

It is further said (Exodus Rabba l.c.) that Jethro, having remarked that the worship of an idol was foolish, abandoned it.[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jethro_in_Rabbinic_Literature#cite_note-5) The Midianites therefore excommunicated him, and none would keep his flocks; so that his daughters were compelled to tend them and were ill-treated by the shepherds.[7] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jethro_in_Rabbinic_Literature#cite_note-6) This, however, is in conflict with another statement, to the effect that Jethro gave his daughter Zipporah (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipporah) to Moses (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses) on condition that their first son should be brought up in the worship of idols, and that Moses swore to respect this condition (Mek. l.c.; Yalk., Ex. 169).[8] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jethro_in_Rabbinic_Literature#cite_note-7)
Whether Jethro went to the wilderness before or after the Torah (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torah) was given, and consequently what it was that induced him to go to the wilderness, are disputed points among the ancient rabbis (Zeb. 116a; Yer. Meg. i. 11; Mek. l.c.).[9] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jethro_in_Rabbinic_Literature#cite_note-8) According to some, it was the giving of the Torah; according to others, the crossing of the Red Sea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passage_of_the_Red_Sea) dry-shod, or the falling of the manna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manna).[10] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jethro_in_Rabbinic_Literature#cite_note-9)
Either way, one has to wonder what Jethro and Zipporah thought about seeing the entire civilization they came from destroyed.

MariThorn
July 31st, 2008, 09:58 AM
It took me some time this morning to track down a really good site on the entire Midianite affair mentioned in your posting. At first, I was going to type my own reply, but it would have been a bit confusing. I found a really good site that I'm going to attempt to post here for you to read, and anyone else who is interested, that deals with this particular branch of the Midianites.
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/midian.html

I say branch, because not all of the clans of Midian were involved in this Biblical record. I think if you read the site, it is long, but good, that you will have a better idea as to what happened and why it did. All in all, it is a good posting, and I enjoyed getting my little grey cells working this morning.

I am editing this, after looking up the current meaning of genocide, as per the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Article 2, I have to say that what the nation of Israel did to this particular branch of Midianites would today be considered genocide. I do have to state though that in their day and time the concept of genocide didn't exist, and nations were not given to humanitarian thought. I still believe that if a nation decided to wipe out say Pennsylvania with a plague, that the rest of the United States would attack them. Perhaps we wouldn't completely wipe them out, as this goes against the UN, but we would definitely retaliate. This is always a difficulty when we read documents and try to apply todays morals and philosophies to a historical or religious event in the past. It is hard sometimes for us to accept that these things happened, and to reason that a moralistic religion ie Christianity, Judaism, or Islam derives from this background.

David19
July 31st, 2008, 11:55 AM
So I went to a bar mitzvah service on Saturday.
The Torah portion the Bar Mitzvah boy chose was one I have read at least twice. It is one of the more disturbing parts of the Torah where the Hebrews commit genocide against the Midianites (the Brick Testament version is here (http://www.thebricktestament.com/the_wilderness/massacre_of_the_midianites/nm31_01p25_16p31_02.html)). Now in the past I have not really noticed how this is different from the other genocides committed in this section of the Torah, but the Bar Mitzvah pointed out in his speech what I had missed. The Midianites are Moses' wife's people (http://www.thebricktestament.com/exodus/moses_marries_a_midianite/ex02_16a.html)[/URL].
[url=These folks]http://youtube.com/watch?v=oG0a9WFkgzU (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipporah).

Now I the Torah talks about Moses' father-in-law Jethro traveling with the Hebrews through the desert, so he and his family were not in the massacre. The Wikipedia page on Jethro in rabbinic literature (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jethro_in_Rabbinic_Literature) (and I'm sure some rabbi somewhere is saying "This is why women shouldn't study Torah!") talks about conflicting interpretations of Jethro's religious and cultural allegiances:

Either way, one has to wonder what Jethro and Zipporah thought about seeing the entire civilization they came from destroyed.

This may be OT, but, that Youtube link, you linked too, is broken.

David19
July 31st, 2008, 11:55 AM
It took me some time this morning to track down a really good site on the entire Midianite affair mentioned in your posting. At first, I was going to type my own reply, but it would have been a bit confusing. I found a really good site that I'm going to attempt to post here for you to read, and anyone else who is interested, that deals with this particular branch of the Midianites.
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/midian.html

I say branch, because not all of the clans of Midian were involved in this Biblical record. This wasn't genocide, as Midianites are mentioned in historical documents all the way up to the time of Mohammed. I think if you read the site, it is long, but good, that you will have a better idea as to what happened and why it did. If an enemy country did that to the United States today, then I would have to say we would retaliate in kind. Your talking a quarter of the population struck down with a plague that came from the attack from the Midianite and Moabite women. If any country today were to lose a quarter of its population it would be catastrophic. Just my two cents. All in all, it is a good posting, and I enjoyed getting my little grey cells working this morning.

Thanks for that interesting site, and link :).

Philosophia
July 31st, 2008, 08:46 PM
Here are some more links on Midianites:

http://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/m/midianites.html

http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/midianite.html

http://www.lexiline.com/lexiline/midianites.htm

http://www.rationalchristianity.net/numbers31.html

http://www.carm.org/diff/Num_31_17.htm

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?letter=M&artid=585

Atheos
August 25th, 2008, 10:20 PM
This wasn't genocide, as Midianites are mentioned in historical documents all the way up to the time of Mohammed. .

Of course it was not genocide. It was not genocide either when Hitler decided to kill 4 million Jews, as they are mentioned all the way until now.

David19
August 28th, 2008, 09:36 PM
Of course it was not genocide. It was not genocide either when Hitler decided to kill 4 million Jews, as they are mentioned all the way until now.

Try 6 million Jews, and, while I'm defending the massacre of the Midianites, I think it, probably, was a bit different then, especially, if the Midianites were attacking the Jews (the Jews were never a threat to the Germans in Nazi Germany, and the people in Darfur aren't a threat to the Sudanese government, etc, so, I'd say, you can't really compare them to the Midianite massacre).

MariThorn
August 29th, 2008, 10:01 AM
I have edited my post. The site posted still is a good site when seeking information on what occurred.

Marithorn