Fairy-Tale Brute Squads

Implicit throughout the conversations at What’s Wrong with the World and McGrew’s personal blog is that the command to kill every Canaanite is a problem of Israelite men, and not the Israelites in general. There is no talk of the women rounding up the infants and, say, drowning them. From what I have seen in the world men are much less likely to kill children (the smaller the children, the less likely) than women, and women are more likely to rejoice in the suffering of their enemies. When David comes back from killing Philistines, women dance in the streets and they get up King Saul’s nose by singing “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his tens of thousands!” David danced, too, of course; he was the man after God’s own heart.

In fact, what we find in the text is that the Israelite men (after witnessing one mind-blowing miracle of God after another!) have to repeatedly be told to kill the innocents; not only children, but women, cattle, and even other men. Repeatedly. Red Sea, Angel of Death, manna, water from the rock, column of fire and pillar of smoke…none of it matters at the moment of execution. They simply won’t do it. Again: Hundreds of years after the beginning of the conquest of Canaan, David still has Philistines to kill! Even today there are still Philistines, and they are still in Canaan.

This is curious because we are told that the reasons the authority of men–especially fathers and husbands–must not be recognized over wives and even their own children is because they are big bullies at heart; never more than a moment away from brutalizing everyone weaker than themselves.

Could have fooled me.

My blogging superior is fond of pointing out the foolishness of this notion that most modern women are at risk of most modern men; especially when compared to the brutality of previous eras. My own view is that, as a rule, most men have never been very brutal to most women under them; that they were not much different back then than men now. Men are deferential to women’s preferences now.

  • It was men who voted in Title IX.
  • It was men who voted in No Fault Divorce.
  • It was men who voted in women’s suffrage.
  • It was men who wrote romantic poetry that elevated women.
  • It was men who feared the tyranny of the petticoat
  • It was men who turned chivalry into servitude for women

To find brutish men you have to go all the way back to the days of the Early Church, where we find St. Paul instructing them: “Wives, beware an over-protective husband; lest he whip you.”, and, “Husbands, do not beat your wives like red-headed Philistines.”

Hold up: I just re-read Ephesians 5, and that is not the instruction or tone at all!

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Just to be sure, let me cross-reference this with 1 Peter 3…

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

What a different picture! What is being encouraged is action, and what is being discouraged is sloth. Interesting. It seems that–just as today–the men of the Early Church had to be warned off passivity; not raging beatdowns.[1]  The exhortation to fathers in Ephesians 6 is of the same positive bent:

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Yet an observer of the Church in the Western world has to say that what the Church teaches is schizophrenic. That on the one hand men–especially fathers and husbands–must always resist being too controlling; too protective; too demanding. On the other they are wholly responsible for, and must lead, their families. That false paradigm is bad enough, but what is worse is that “leading a family” is erroneously defined as doing what makes the followers happy. An impossible standard since we can only make ourselves happy, and since the sort of people who most need leading are the sort of people who are happier to go the wrong way.

So, where exactly are the records of men habitually brutalizing the women in their care? They are largely (though not completely) fantasy.


[1] As a bonus: Men engaged in the positive action of loving their wives are bulwarked against wrathful acts. Nourishing and cherishing abjure hating.

Conserving Rebellion in Canaan

I think I’ve demonstrated (at least somewhat) how God’s command to Sacrifice of the Canaanites indeed is tied into Christ’s story and how we should approach it. The centrality of Christ to all of God’s plans should be obvious, but these are humans we are dealing with, and worse: conservative-minded ones like myself.

Stick with me through the upcoming juke in conversation because I’m going to make a third course change before this post is done.

It has been said that Democrats are the party of sex, and Republicans are the party of money. There’s some truth pointed to in that statement. I would say that some of that truth is that–from a spiritual perspective–liberals tend more to lust, and conservatives to miserlinessLiberals cannot resist whatever is before them (finders keepers); while Conservatives resist restoration (losers weepers). What they have in common is a penchant to distort reality; to let their desires obscure their vision.

Examples of this are conservative men who either explicitly support, or demure from denouncing, female suffrage. It is better to them to keep their reputations as enlightened romantics than to be seen as barbaric patriarchs; even in the face of the wholesale death, destruction, fraud, and whoring of Western Civilization that has occurred since. Very few conservative women will even countenance the idea. The more common response is: “What makes so you special? We should just do what you say because you’re a man? Pfft! NEVER!” Even if they say they believe that God ordained public leadership for men, and even if they aren’t demonstrating and vandalizing businesses like the original suffragettes: It’s theirs now, you see.

Going back to look at McGrew’s problem with the clear commandment to kill all the city-dwelling[1] Canaanites during the conquest of Canaan, we see this same error. To her credit, she does wisely insist that the command was meant literally, and that the Bible says the Israelites did indeed kill Canaanites, even infants.[2] She mentions no problem with the Lord drowning every human on Earth. The killing of the first-born of the Egyptians doesn’t bother her. Sodom’s destruction is acceptable. She says explicitly that if the Lord Himself does these things then it is acceptable…but if God gives commands of authority to men, then she will have no truck with it. It must be a mistake, a lie, or otherwise false.

In the final analysis, McGrew’s objection to God’s command for the conquest of Canaan is nothing short of conserving rebellion. Finders keepers, losers weepers.

She’s not the only one among those who say they fight liberalism; nor am I immune from the temptation. How one can be so liberal as to reject clear bits of God’s Word piecemeal and yet still claim to fight liberalism is not hard to understand. We are not called to head out and take on liberalism in the first place. We’re to submit ourselves and those under us to Christ, and proclaim Him to those around us; that they might repent and make peace with Him before He returns to claim His promised kingdom. We don’t have to understand all the nuances of liberalism, or all the faults of Islam and other pagan beliefs. We just have to recognize Christ as Lord of our lives; the instructions of which are in His Word, and the evidence of which is all around us if we have eyes to see. He’ll lead us to the peoples and cities (and churches) that need to repent, or be destroyed.

[1] Get thee to the sticks, unless otherwise directed.

[2] Far from running from this, Christ prophecies another total destruction  to come within a parable which I’ve talked about before.

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

It’s identical to the manner of the conquest of Canaan. Notice that Jesus doesn’t mention the attacking King proposing terms of peace to the defender. The responsibility is on the defender to see that doom approaches, and to go out and submit himself and his city to the King–to make it Christ’s city before it is made desolate. Every man has a conscience to guide him; the law of God is written on our hearts; etc. 

The Sacrifice of the Canaanites

When a grim post at a downstairs blog such as mine gets hits from the ironically-named upstairs blog “What’s Wrong with the World”[1], I wonder if, in some small way, it is not a bit less wrong now than it was the day before.

If you follow the link to the comment and from there back the the original post, you’ll find another link to the actual argument under discussion. She writes:

I have no solution to the slaughter of the Canaanites. It’s that simple. I don’t know. As far as I can tell, the text of Old Testament Scripture indicates that God ordered the Israelites to kill children down to and including infants, and this is a problem. (Women as well, but at least one can conjecture that maybe all of the people from the age of reason on up had committed crimes worthy of death. Not the babies, though.) Prima facie, this is in direct conflict with the commandment to do no murder. Any attempt to answer the problem by saying that original sin means that no one is really innocent proves far too much, for it removes the rationale for regarding the killing of infants generally as murder.

There is no particular textual reason to take the problem passages to have been added later. It helps a little bit if one is not a strict inerrantist. But even then, what one is left with, at most, is something like, “Maybe God didn’t really order that, but my only reason for thinking that is that, as far as I can tell, it is completely incompatible with divine goodness. I’ll hope to have this clarified when I get to heaven.” One piece of good news, as far as it goes, is that there is nothing about the slaughter of the Canaanite children that is theologically necessary to the truth of Christianity. Unlike, say, the historical existence of Adam, the killing of Canaanite children is not woven into the warp and woof of Christian theology, doctrine, or ethics. Very much to the contrary.

And then she writes a whole bunch more that you don’t have to read because I’ve already quoted authoress McGrew sending herself astray…which I’ll come back to.

Let me state right away that the text is clear: The slaughter of the Canaanites was commanded by God. It’s not a translation issue. It’s not a euphemism. It’s not a parable. It’s not a myth. It is history, and the command to slaughter gentile (and Israelite) infants, children, and women is encountered multiple times in the OT testament. Here is the command from God; when the Israelites are instructed in how to conquer Canaan.

10 “When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. 11 And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. 12 But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. 13 And when the Lord your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword, 14 but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as plunder for yourselves. And you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the Lordyour God has given you. 15 Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here. 16 But in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, 17 but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord your God has commanded, 18 that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the Lord your God.

“Devote them to destruction”; as in “sacrifice them”. This passage has the context of an offering about it. The “Slaughter of the Canaanites” is a holy endeavor to its core, and in all its facets. It is a direct command from God. It cleanses the land of abominations. It preserves the Israelites from abomination. It performs the spiritual alchemy of turning abominable meat into a pure sacrifice worthy of the Most High God and gives even them a place to honor Him. It is also an opportunity for the Israelites to participate in God’s plan, and share in His holiness. I think even referring to is as the “Slaughter of the Canaanites” is a slander. I call it the Sacrifice of the Canaanites.

And it requires the shedding of innocent blood.

Children, especially infants, are innocent. However; they are not perfect. They are not sinless. They are not selfless, or even aware of others. They are not worthy and they have no worthy works. Innocent means they are not accountable; not that they do not offend, or that they are good. They are also signs of innocence, and that important for us and for our instruction.

It is upon this last that McGrew’s consternation turns. She thinks that if she knows anything, then she knows that infants are innocent. Alongside that, she thinks she knows that killing innocents is murder and always wrong; unless it is God himself actually doing the killing.[2] Lydia McGrew is wrong, and what follows is how we know she wrong.

She wrote:

One piece of good news, as far as it goes, is that there is nothing about the slaughter of the Canaanite children that is theologically necessary to the truth of Christianity. Unlike, say, the historical existence of Adam, the killing of Canaanite children is not woven into the warp and woof of Christian theology, doctrine, or ethics. Very much to the contrary.

It is bad to punish innocents, but punishment is not what God commanded. He commanded they be sacrificed. We’ll see this again later when the Lord of Hosts sends His only begotten Son to live as Himself and as us, and explicitly to be sacrificed to satisfy His own holiness, and for us and our salvation.

“Yes, but they were babies–”

Let me explain that you should shut up. Jesus is more than innocent. He is the Christ who chose to take on mere flesh. He is the only begotten Son of God. Unlike an untested infant, Jesus was tested in the refiner’s fire and found flawless, and a worker of many and marvelous good works; perfect as His Father in Heaven is perfect.  He is unique, flawless, utterly selfless, and very God of very God.

Did you ever wonder what it might be like to think about that? To not only think, but prepare the world for it? Since at least Adam, God has been planning  and moving to send His Son to be sacrificed to reconcile an adulterous people…humiliatingly, naked, painfully, on a cross, by Gentiles at the request of His own flesh and blood because they were cowards. That is INFINITELY more strange, startling, and inexplicable than the Sacrifice of the Canaanites by the Israelites.

Fretting over children sacrificed to a just and holy God who is the Lord of life is a mental walk in the park by comparison. Those who cannot see that have made idols of the flesh and their own wooden theologies, doctrines, ethics. That is to say: They’ve made idols of themselves, and that is very easy for us to do.

It gets back to the eye being the lamp of the whole body, and if our eye is dark (say, by being blasé about the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ) then the darkness in our body will be great. We will stupidly disconnect Him from other stories of sacrificed innocents, and from ourselves who are made innocent by His sacrifice, yet still die.

26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Weren’t they family; the descendants of Noah who alone survived God’s extinction of all other human life? Are innocents not valuable that God would abandon them in death? Isn’t taking up your cross doing what is distasteful and painful to follow God? Was Jesus not deadly serious (even when not literal) when He spoke of a sword? This is the lamp that should light your eyes.

There’s a lot more to say on the topic. I haven’t even touched on God having a soft-spot for those who intercede but which the Jews consistently refused to do, or the real reasons the Israelites balked at killing, or why they didn’t balk when they did kill, or why the prohibition against murder is more about the murderer being separated from God than the murdered being separated from life…lots of stuff.

[1]By the bye: The answer is “us”.

[2]Without getting too derailed: Suffice it to say that this is a foolish train of thought headed for God is Unjust station, and carrying murderous angels as passengers; among others.

They Want Differently: A Primer on Women’s Sin and Genius

It is well-known–at least among the blogs and commenters I read–that men and women want different things from the other. For example: Women tend to prioritize a man’s material resources, while men tend to prioritize a woman’s beauty. A man won’t care much about a woman’s resources, and women are less concerned with a man’s physique than the clothes and baubles upon it.

So far so good.

In line with this, these blogs and commenters recognize that one of the mistakes a man makes is thinking a women will like the same things men do, and thus will respond positively to the same behavior that he would prefer to receive. Men like respect, so the errant man breaks out the deference routine. He sits through the stupid rom-com; buys what she likes; lets her choose the restaurant; etc.

Still so far so good.

Further we go, and some of the same blogs and commenters will say that women make the same mistake. That–because women like authority and power–their headstrong and challenging behavior is a tactical blunder of the sort made by the man who unholsters deference to shoot himself in the foot.

This is wrong. Men and women are even more different than that. Women are headstrong and challenging because they want what they want and they don’t give a damn about the whys and whatfors. In the female soul desire is mainlined. They want differently than we men do. The typical desire of a typical man is weighed thus: “Can I get the goods without getting in trouble?” A woman says to herself, “How do I get the goods without getting in trouble?” While the difference in words is subtle to the ear; the meanings are widely separated. The thought of doing without is a secondary consideration at best. That’s just in the nature of a woman, and why they need a leader.

Now, try and imagine successive generations of women; each raised on more and more skewed diet of unmerited praise and affirmation, but without hearing “No” and without consequences. If you can’t imagine it, then go to the mall, or the office, or the DMV and open your bloody eyes.

So A power-play by a woman is not a misguided come-on. It’s a power-play. There could be a come-on mixed in, but the attempt at control is for its own sake; simply because she is driven to strive to be in control. The come-on (if there) is for him, but the power-play is for power.

Women who don’t want to be in control are a figment of the imagination. It’s their sin nature. The marriageable ones are those women who struggle against it. The honorable women are those who redirect their desires, and only ask themselves “How do I get The Good?”

You Can Win Both

In the comments of Dalrock’s post “Five Years of Keeping Her Happy Proves David Swindle is a Better Man Than You”, commenter Jeff asks a question. The eminent host quotes and responds:


Question again,

I have NOT done dread on my wife. However, I have started chuckling when she wants to argue something mundane, and when we do have a heated discussion and she concedes and says ” you’re right”, I will say “I know I am”. She has seen acting like an abused wife.

I have read how this is a feminist tactic to get husbands to submit. BUT I haven’t read how to deal with this, you know the down turned mouth and puppy eyes with the shoulders drooped looking down.

Do I ignore this?

Others have suggested ignoring it, and I don’t think that is bad advice. Much of this is a matter of style/taste. If I imagine my wife doing the same my own instinct would be something playful which sets a new frame. I might start walking past her with a mock serious look on my face, and then all of a sudden pull her into my arms from behind while laughing and kiss her on the neck. If you can imagine doing that with your wife as something fun/loving, then it would probably work well. Another possibility would be to suddenly take her hand and whisper conspiratorially; I just remembered! You have to see this incredible thing in the kitchen/living room/wherever (a room you aren’t in which is on the same floor)! Take her hand and urgently lead her into the other room, then pull her into you and declare “us!”. This is pretty goofy stuff, and may not be right for you. But it matches with the goofiness of the mock puppy dog look, and also resets the frame.

I’d be interested in Cane Caldo’s approach to the same question as well.

I agree very much that this is a matter of style and taste. Let us hasten to add that (as in anything) all styles and tastes are not equal, and some are better than others.

Jeff’s “I know I am” retort is acceptable in a repertoire for playful banter arguments, but will ultimately backfire on him in earnest arguments. She will be enforced in her notion that winning the argument, or simply being right, is the key to headship. I say enforced because women have this belief already. They are born with it, I think; or susceptible to it. Be assured: The next time she is right (whether Jeff is wrong or not), or Jeff is wrong (whether she is right or not) she will have the bit in her teeth, and Jeff will have a very smug mare on his hands. Dalrock’s suggestions are good for potentially disarming this wifely trapwork, but it would be better to not tempt her to set it. As Dalrock suggests: Just letting her stew in her admission that Jeff is right, is the better way to go. Stewing tough meat is a time-honored way of rendering it consumable.

Another response I favor is, “Then aren’t you lucky to be my wife.”, swiftly followed by a slap on her ass, and a kiss on the cheek.[1] This will communicate several things. I’m going to list them, but don’t let the reader be absorbed by the order in which they are listed.

  1. Her admission is heard and acknowledged. They’ll be no pretending by her later that she never said it. Women who are in a power struggle are often tempted to lie about such things if they don’t believe you paid attention. In their minds, if you didn’t pay attention, it didn’t count, and lying about things that don’t count is just like not lying. It’s not telling the truth, but it’s not lying lying. This is my experience.
  2. It communicates that your goodness (in this case, being right) benefits them both; that’s it’s not a tug of war. Right within a marriage is not a zero-sum game when the husband wins the wife loses. If the head of the family body wins, then the whole body is in order. Psalm 133 says: Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.” The image is of a priest being anointed, and that anointing oil flowing down from his head to his beard and down onto torso; anointing the whole body, and mountain rains that fill the rivers and make them flow into the valley below. Husbands and fathers are the priests and mountaintops of the family.
  3. The butt-slap communicates intimacy, and that you will not let an argument get in the way of enjoying the privileges of a husband just because she has (or is threatening) a bad mood. Providentially, it demonstrates both of those from a superior position. Her bad mood doesn’t get to dictate a bad mood from you, and she doesn’t get to dissuade you from wanting to tap that ass; as is a husband’s right.
  4. Life will go on, and an argument resolved no longer matters. The argument hasn’t consumed you even if it has her. And if it has, then this approach is a good way to toss it aside. As you should, because life really does go on, and you really do have better things to do than gloat to yourself about how you finally won an argument with a woman. Save that for your prayer time and thank God for your wife’s display of wisdom.
  5. You have left her an opening to be happy about the outcome of her husband being right instead of an occasion to her to reflect on “poor ol’ me”. Said more powerfully: You’ve created an expectation that she be happy about it, and that such repentance in an argument will not be the beginning of more reprobation from him. Wives greatly fear admitting their husbands are right will lead to an adult and never-ending version of “nanna-nanna-boo-boo”. They fear it because that’s what they would do.[2]  Happy wives are easier to sex up. Sexed-up wives are happier. (One sees how these things work together.)

The great upshot is: All those things are true. It’s not manipulation. It’s not merely changing the frame or perspective. Even if Jeff has to try at it, he’s not faking, but putting into practice these truths about the dynamics of marriage.

I hope that helps.

[1]If you’re uncomfortable with this, or fear her response: Then do it really fast before she can respond.

[2] Jeff, unfortunately, founded his wife’s fears in the short-term; though husbands are usually not given to carrying on about it. Regardless: Don’t do that.