Jehovah and Jesus, part 3

I got a response on the same subject as the earlier email. It asked this: “How about a “Jehovah and Jesus, part 3”? I loved your justification for lex talionis, and I liked the two global and local parallels, but you’ve made some assertions that aren’t accurate, and ignored a whole body of contradictory evidence. E.g., ancient Israel didn’t just “defend and protect itself,” but waged offensive war, as commanded by Jehovah, to exterminate entire ethnic groups in the promised land (Deut. 20:16–20), and enslave other groups at a distance from the promised land (or kill the men, then take the women, children, livestock, and goods as plunder if the group wouldn’t accept the tribute arrangement) (Deut. 20:10–15). Did the Deuteronomists add this crap, or is this really what Jehovah said to do? And there are many more than “four events in scripture where Jehovah/Jesus directly cause the deaths of significant numbers of people.” You’ve got the Egyptian firstborn (Exo. 11:4–5; 12:29–30), the 3,000 Israelite idolaters killed by Levites at the Lord’s command (Exo. 32:25–29), Korah, Dathan, Abiram, their wives and children and “little ones,” and their 250 co-conspirators, plus 14,700 Israelity who complained about that (Num. 16), and multiple plagues sent upon the Israelites for their errors that are described as killing tens of thousands of them. Then there are additional punitive (not retributive) acts at the individual level like Jehovah killing Er for being “wicked” (Gen. 38:7), killing Onan for the use of coitus interruptus to avoid his Levirate marriage duty (Gen. 38:8–10), killing Uzzah for an apparently well-meaning attempt to prevent the Ark of the Covenant from falling off its cart (2 Sam. 6:1–7), and commanding others to kill the son of an Israelite mother and Egyptian father, who blasphemed (Lev. 24:10–16, 23) and kill a man who gathered wood on the Sabbath (Num. 15:32–36). Anyway, it was a depressing day working through this Old Testament material. I haven’t taken the time to review all of these incidents in the Restoration Edition, but I’m guessing they are largely if not completely similar. If they are accurate representations of God’s dealings then, of course, they are righteous acts. But one can’t help but admit that they don’t sound like the Jesus of the New Testament–who did not condemn an adulteress to death (John 8:1–11), even though as Jehovah he had commanded condemning adulterers to death (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22). Final thoughts?

I hadn’t intended to say anything further, but responded to his email as follows:

I wasn’t trying to be exhaustive. Just illustrative.
Ancient tribes were insular and violent. Affiliation with one led to prolonged violence against another. Consider the Talaban of Afghanistan today, as an example of how animosities were held, and violently acted upon. It was unsafe to harbor a refugee or a conquered foreign combatant.
Originally the Lord intended to have Israel occupy the lands of others gradually and peacefully, and He assumed the responsibility to move the other occupants out. He offered to remove them gradually, and without the need of any warfare by Israel:
“But if you shall indeed obey his voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy unto your enemies and an adversary unto your adversaries. For my angel shall go before you and bring you in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I will cut them off. You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works, but you shall utterly overthrow them and quite break down their images. And you shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. There shall nothing cast their young nor be barren in your land. The number of your days I will fulfill. I will send my fear before you, and will destroy all the people to whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs unto you. And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before you. I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beast of the field multiply against you. By little and little I will drive them out from before you, until you be increased and inherit the land.” RE Exo 13:23
But that arrangement required Israel to serve the Lord and not bow down to foreign gods. Israel did not accept the offer, and the cycles of violence that resulted were not what Jehovah offered, but what Israel required.
The biggest problem remains the vantage point of the question. We can hardly relate to the circumstances of primitive, violent cultures and what was required for the survival of Israel. Jehovah was playing the “long game” with them, and took them through the existing circumstances in the only manner possible with that population.
We are headed pretty much back into that same scene of continual violence, unless we change tracks. I read this account of events today in Portland a few minutes before seeing your email: “A large group of Antifa carrying shields and melee weapons attacked a group of Evangelical Christians congregating for a prayer and worship event at the waterfront in downtown Portland, Ore. Video recorded at the scene showed children and families running away as black-clad Antifa militants tore apart the sound equipment and assaulted attendees with pepper spray and projectiles.”