Through literary apologetics, this four-part series examines one of the more difficult passages in which to reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the God of love, namely Numbers 31:13-18, which records the mass killing of Midianites including baby boys. As mentioned before, I find this particular passage abhorrent; however, after researching the cultural context, I do recognize that the blame is on the parents of the orphaned boys, not on God or Moses. It is not my intent to treat this subject matter lightly, or even make you like this passage. My only hope is for others who struggle with this passage to see God’s mercy in the situation.
Each part of this series includes excerpts from the literary apologetics novel, Prophecy of the Heir, which covers these events. Please note that Prophecy of the Heir is written as a fantasy novel from the viewpoints of angels and demons, predominately Michael the archangel’s. For your convenience, I have created a brief glossary of terms which will open in a new window, allowing you to switch back and forth at your leisure.
Historical Background: The Israelites had been wandering around the wilderness for the past 400 years. They are now ready to receive the land that God has promised them, but to several countries lie in the way. They have written to the kings of these lands requesting save passage, and vowing to neither eat from their crops, nor drink from the wells. Two of the kings refused, and launched an army against them. Both armies were defeated. When the third king, Balak, heard of this, he summoned a sorcerer from Babylon to put a curse on the Israelites, ensuring they would be slaughtered in the battle he prepared to launch against them. In part one of this series, we saw how Balaam was warned by the Angel of the Lord to not curse the Israelites, to which he reluctantly agreed. In part two, we saw Balaam leave with the king’s men, and again encounter the Angel of the Lord who suspected Balaam would not honor his word. Though he was prepared to kill Balaam, he spared him on the condition that Balaam speak only what God allowed him to. In part three, we saw how Balaam blessed the Israelites instead of cursing them, which led to Balak dismissing him without pay. Infuriated, Balaam set out to meet with the Midianites who had encouraged Balak to hire him with a plan that will result in the Israelites being as good as cursed.
Part Four: The Advice of Balaam
“Is the House of Jacov fully accounted for?” Michael asked, looking up from the scroll he just received.
Gavriel nodded. “Save for a group who went into the Moabite town of Peor for supplies.” Continue reading Why Did God Kill the Midianite Boys in Numbers 31? Part Four.