Enjoy the use of the spoil of your enemy…

rak hanashim vhatof vhabheima vchol asher yihiyeh bair kol shelalah tavoz lach vachalta et shelal oyvecha asher natan Adonai eloheha lach

You may, however, take as your booty the women, the children, the livestock, and everything in the town -all its spoil- and enjoy the use of the spoil of your enemy, which the Eternal your G-d gives you.

This is quite a disturbing and sexist verse. I understand that some sexist guys (occasionally those who go to my school) think of women as accessories and so think it obvious that they fall under the category of booty to be taken. Also, not that I’m in favor of them being killed instead, kids are the future and should not be treated as valuable items for trade or work. But G-d isn’t so much giving you the city, He’s offering an opportunity to get it. If G-d knocks down the walls and delivers you the city on a platter, then by all means go ahead because G-d seems to be only concerned with your pleasure here. But if you have to fight for it, even if you know you’ll win, then it is you, the armed forces, who have given it to Israel, even if G-d helped. G-d won’t give you something for nothing, but if you help,  He’s happy to help. So G-d isn’t giving the town to you, He’s helping you get it. So this little verse is here in part, because G-d knows that people are less afraid if they have something to work for.  And so less people are going to turn tail and run if they have something to look forward to, and you might actually be able to win a war by following G-d’s rules.

By me, with help from G-d

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1 Comment

  1. It’s difficult to read these words in the 21st century. These words are from ancient times. Remember, even in the US, woman were disenfranchised until relatively recently. As horrific as it sounds, the world back then was run entirely by men ( much as Saudi Arabia today). The children would probably grow to be slaves. For interest, watch “The Vikings” on TV. The world it depicts will help put this text into context.

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