186 – BRUTES 1
Jehovah was excessively severe with the peoples of old, and not only with the nations, but also with the individuals. At the exodus of Israel, he destroyed the armies of Pharaoh in the Red Sea, and with this feat he declared to have been glorified (Ex. 14:17). This way of being glorified reveals kind of a pleasure in the destruction of those he himself made evil, with his divine power (Ps. 105:23-25).Jehovah was disposed against all the nations, to destroy them. He was against the Ammonites (Ezek. 25:2-5), the Moabites (Ezek. 25:8-11), the Edomites, descendant of Esau, son of Isaac (Ezek. 25:12-14), the Philistines (Ezek. 25:15-17), against Tyre (Ezek. 26-27), and against Sidon (Ezek. 28:21-13). A thousand years after Moses, he still was against Egypt (Ezek. 29:1-9). He was disposed against the Assyrians (Is. 14:24-27), and against the Chaldeans of Babylon (Is. 21 and 13:17-22).All the prophecies directed to the ancient peoples were prophecies of destruction. Whoever reads the three Major Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, is amazed at the destructive fury of Jehovah, and asks why god was so hard with all the nations. The theological answer is, men were brutes, cruel, sinners, evil, disobedient, corrupt, murderous. God did not have any other way of dealing with them.
Let us look at the Assyrians, a people that took shape just after the Flood. And that was the people that destroyed the kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 17:20-21). They were a nation that practiced piracy, robbing the other peoples. They were cruel, and skinned their prisoners alive, or cut off their hands and feet, their noses, and ears, and tore out their eyes. They also pulled away their tongues. They beheaded the enemies’ warriors, and piled up their heads to create terror. The overcome generals were harnessed as animals, with a ring through their inferior lip. The ones they condemned to death were hanged or beheaded, entombed between walls or quartered. The Assyrians were barbarous, true killing machines. They were really brutes. I want all Christians to know that Jehovah used them to kill, oppress, and destroy. Isaiah declares this: “Now therefore, behold, Jehovah is about to bring on them the strong and abundant waters of the Euphrates, even the king of Assyria and all his glory; and it will rise up over all its channels and go over all its banks. Then it will sweep on into Judah” (Is. 8:7-8).The brutes were servants of Jehovah for evil. And, in order that the king of Assyria did not brag about his feats glorying in his victories, Jehovah said, “Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it? (Is. 10:12-15). The brute was not the king of Assyria!
Let us look at the king of Babylon. The Babylonians were even more barbarous than the Assyrians, and so overcame them and destroyed them. The Jews that were captured by Babylon declared, “We have submitted to Egypt and to Assyria to get enough bread” (Lam. 5:6). With this declaration, the Jews confess that both the Egyptian captivity and the Assyrian captivity were not as heavy. In Babylon slaves had dominion over the Jews (Lam. 5:8), who cried out, “Our skin has become as hot as an oven, because of the burning heat of famine. They ravished the women in Zion, the virgins in the cities of Judah” (Lam. 5:10-11). The Babylonians did not have any morals. Mylitta was the Goddess of Fertility, and the virgins offered their virginity to this goddess. The virgin went to the temple and there became available to the priests or strangers, who possessed them through payment. It was sacred prostitution. A married woman could go to the temple for a period, and there she offered herself to anyone who told her, in the name of Mylitta, “I desire you.” After the determined time, the woman returned to her home. Also, each family was obligated to give to the temple at least one daughter. And Nebuchadnezzar was one of the kings of Babylon, the cruelest and most powerful conqueror. The Babylonians or Chaldeans were cruel and libertine. Well, Jehovah said that Nebuchadnezzar was his servant, and so he was going to hand him all the nations of the world, saying that this brute, the king Nebuchadnezzar, was pleasing in his eyes (Jer. 27:5-6).
And more, Jehovah warranted that, if any nation did not bend their neck under the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, he himself, Jehovah, would destroy such a nation by the sword, by famine and by the pestilence (Jer. 27:8). The king of the lions, the strongest lion, and the king and lord of the brutes, is more brute than the brutes.
The Medes destroyed the Babylonians. The Medes were so cruel and brute that Isaiah says, “Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place at the fury of Jehovah of hosts in the day of His burning anger” (Is. 13:13). “Anyone who is found will be thrust through, and anyone who is captured will fall by the sword. Their little ones also will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished. Behold, I am going to stir up the Medes against them, who will not value silver or take pleasure in gold, and their bows will mow down the young men, they will not even have compassion on the fruit of the womb, nor will their eyes pity children. And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah” (Is. 13:15-19). Do you know what Jehovah said about these brutes, murderers of children from the laps of their mothers? “I have commanded My consecrated ones, I have even called My mighty warriors, my proudly exulting ones, to execute My anger” (Is. 13:3). The cruel and destructive Medes, killers of mothers with nursing babies, were sanctified of Jehovah when they killed. And why were they sanctified of Jehovah? This was because they were instruments of Jehovah to destroy Babylon. Jehovah uses brutes, and so he is the author of brutalities, for when David commanded Joab to take Uriah to the front of the battle, so that he would die by the hands of the sons of Ammon, Jehovah accused David to kill Uriah. In the same way, when he used those brute kings to destroy and to kill, it was Jehovah who killed and destroyed, and so they were not the brutes, but the one who was leading them was the brute.
The explanation that Jehovah killed and destroyed the brutes because there was no way out of it is not convincing. Jehovah cultivated the brutes in brutality, since they were his servants. One of the most brute was Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire. This king was a killer, and mercilessly executed the overcome adversaries, in a literal river of blood. On the war against the Massagetae, Cyrus killed the son of the queen Thomyris. This queen organized an army with which she destroyed Cyrus, and beheaded him, avenging herself. The painter Rubens, in 1622, painted a servant of Queen Thomyris bathing Cyrus’s head in blood, to fulfill the promise of vengeance for her son that was killed. Well, this bloody king declares that Jehovah has given him all the kingdoms of the earth (2 Chr. 36:23). And Jehovah calls Cyrus “anointed shepherd”, that is, “pastor” and “messiah” (Is. 44:28; 45:1). We can be thankful that God, the Father, has nothing to do with those brutes, as the apostle Paul says in Acts 14:16.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira