The laws of war between the primitive peoples were terrible. Enemy armies would besiege a city for a year, two years, until the people were weakened by the lack of food and water. Their walls were then attacked and everything inside was burned. The men were killed with the sword and the princes and nobles, and anyone else who escaped from death were chained to the galleys to row till they died or sank with the ship. The king and generals would return, victorious, bringing with them the chained king, queen and their children, cars loaded with gold, silver, spices and all valuable things. Women were part of the booty for the soldiers and came behind everything. The glory of the king was proclaimed with songs and dances along the macabre procession. For the Roman general Pompeus returning from his conquests, two days were too few for the glorious procession. Before him were displayed the names of the nations he had conquered, and they were: Pontus, Armenia, Cappadocia, the Paphlagonia, Media, Colchida, the Hyberians, the Albanias, Syria, Sicily, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, PALESTINE, JUDEA, Arabia. There were a thousand castles, nine hundred cities and fortresses, eight hundred pirate ships conquered. There were eight million escudos, gold, silver, rings and jewels, besides what had been given to the soldiers. In this magnificent procession were the son of Tigranes, the king of the Jews, Aristobulus, the sister of Mitridates with five of her sons, some ladies from Scythia, the Hyberian and Albanian hostages, and of the king of the Comagenos, and numberless trophies. This was Pompeus’ third triumph. He had three great victories: the first one in Africa, the second one in Europe, and the third one in Asia. He conquered the world when he was under 34 years old. These were the laws of the wars of the peoples and of the Romans and Greeks.
We should expect that Jehovah, the king of glory and of holiness (Is. 42:8; Lev. 19:2) would creat something new, new laws, new principles that fitted in with his glory and holiness (Is. 57:15). Jehovah said: “Behold, the former things have come to pass, now I declare new things” (Is. 42:9). “I proclaim to you new things from this time, even hidden things which you have not known” (Is. 48:6). Let us learn about one of the new things announced by Jehovah:
Jehovah is the god of war, so he calls himself “The Lord of the Armies” (Ex. 15:3; 1 Sam. 17:45). Jehovah has a secret book with the names of the kings he hates, to battle against them. “Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of Jehovah” (Num. 21:14). In the secret book of Jehovah, the names of the seven Canaanite kings that the Israelites should destroy were certainly registered. “For it was of Jehovah to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that He might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as Jehovah had commanded Moses” (Josh. 11:20). In this book of the ones who were sworn to die were the Amalekites. “Jehovah has sworn; Jehovah will have war against Amalek from generation to generation” (Ex. 17:16). The angels of Jehovah are all of them warriors. An angel once killed 185,000 Assyrians (2 Kings 19:35). Jehovah himself promotes wars. Jehovah led the Syrian armies to victory over every kingdom until they got to Israel and captured them (Is. 8:7,8). Jehovah himself raised the Medes and Persian against the Chaldeans to totally destroy them (Is. 13:13-19).
Jehovah had the kingdom of Judah as his hammer and weapon of war. Jehovah planned to shatter the nations and their kings (Jer. 51:20). Jehovah’s Messiah was to rule over the kingdoms of this world with a rod of iron, shattering them all (Ps. 2:8,9). Jehovah, as a violent war god, established the laws of the wars for his people. He initially exhorted his people to not fear the enemy, even when they were less in number, for Jehovah went ahead of the army to guarantee the victory (Deut. 20:1-4). We read in the New Testament that God, the Father of Jesus Christ, never got involved in such wars (Acts 14:15,16). There were four instances when a man was disengaged from war: when he had built a house and had not dedicated it, when he had planted a vineyard and had not begun to use its fruit, and when he was engaged to a woman and had not married her, and finally the cowards and fainthearted, that they might not influence the other warriors (Deut. 20:5-8).
“When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace, and it shall come about, if it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then it shall be that all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you” (Deut. 20:10,11). “However if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. When Jehovah your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword. Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which Jehovah your God has given you” (Deut 2012-14).
In a brief analysis, this law was given by a god that was not partial to any one (Deut. 10:17). If the city accepted the offer of peace, it was put under bondage and had to pay taxes. If it did not, Jehovah delivered the city to be plundered, and all their men were slain.
Is this god a god of love as we read in 1 John 4:7,8?
It is easy to see that Jehovah gave a law to his people similar to the law of the barbarous people, of the cruel and tyrant conquerors.
When we compare it with the New Testament, the true plan of the true God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ was not to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), but to save every one in the entire universe (Mark 16:15,16).
In the Old Testament, the women, the virgins and the children were part of the spoil. That was a true market of human souls, as if they had no feelings. The laws of war of Jehovah were very inferior to those of men, who are not gods, as Jehovah calls himself, but savages and animals. What aggravates it is that John affirms in his Gospel that the love of God is so great, so vast, that he sent his only-begotten Son to save them and not to condemn them (John 3:16,17).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira