William F Henness [email@example.com]
One of the worse stories found in the Bible is in Num. 31. Twelve thousand armed men, under Moses' leadership, attacked the Midianites. They killed all the males and burned all their dwellings. But they saved all the females alive, until Moses heard about it. Moses promptly commanded all the male children be killed, but all the females were spared who had not had intercourse.
"Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the female children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." (Num. 31:17,18)
Now these females were not all children, for in verse 35, it gives the number of virgins.
"And thirty and two thousand persons in all, of WOMEN that had not known man by lying with him." (v. 35)
Now, my question is, how did the soldiers determine the virgins from the non virgins? By a physical exam? There is no other way. Little girl babies and very young girls would naturally be assumed to be virgins, but v. 18 says "but all the female children, that have not known a man by lying with him," then there were the virgin women (v.35.)
Try to visualize the event. Some of the young girls would be kicking and screaming as two or three young soldiers held her down and visually checked for an intact hymen. Perhaps some finger probing was necessary. If they found not a hymen, they would promptly cut her throat or run a spear through her. They found 32,000 virgin children and women.
I think that this physical check would cause sexual arousal in most of the soldiers, however after several hundred checks it probably didn't.
What about the little girls, or big girls, who had fallen and ruptured their hymen? They were killed on the spot, because it looked like they had had intercourse.
Webster's says; "hymen, the thin mucous membrane that USUALLY covers part of the opening of the vagina in a virgin." Pretty gruesome event.
There were regulations for prisoners in wartime also.
"And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire for her, that thou wouldest have her as thy wife, then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; ... and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go where she will. But thou shalt not sell her at all for money; thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her." (Deut. 21:11-14)
The next time you read the account in Num. 31:17,18,35, try to imagine the scene, then multiply that by 31,999 and you have the entire picture. Also See: GOD is a Sexist and In the Name of the LORD
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)