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Biological Warfare

News headlines may make it seem so, but biological warfare is not just a modern-day phenomenon. Although humans now better understand the science of how it works, humanity has used it for a very long time e.g. in Europe during the 1300s, dead bodies of people who had died of the plague were catapulted into opposing forces' strongholds, and during the "Indian Wars" of the 1800s in North America, blankets that had been deliberately infected with smallpox were given to native Americans. Biological warfare is also found in The Bible.

Rat Anthrax and Smallpox

God used biological warfare on Pharoah's kingdom, while, amidst it all, the Israelites and their livestock, one way or another, were immunized. The two examples below are believed by some scientists to have been anthrax in Exodus 9:2-6, and smallpox and/or cowpox in Exodus 9:10-11. Note where Moses used ashes as a "fine powder" to distribute it.

"For if you refuse to let them go and still hold them, behold, the hand of The Lord [see Rock Of Ages] will fall with a very severe plague upon your cattle which are in the field, the horses, the asses, the camels, the herds, and the flocks. But The Lord will make a distinction between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt, so that nothing shall die of all that belongs to the people of Israel." And The Lord set a time, saying, "Tomorrow The Lord will do this thing in the land." And on the morrow The Lord did this thing; all the cattle of the Egyptians died, but of the cattle of the people of Israel not one died." (Exodus 9:2-6 RSV)

"And The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Take handfuls of ashes from the kiln, and let Moses throw them toward heaven in the sight of Pharaoh [see Who Was The Exodus Pharaoh?]. And it shall become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and become boils breaking out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt." So they took ashes from the kiln, and stood before Pharaoh, and Moses threw them toward heaven, and it became boils breaking out in sores on man and beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were upon the magicians and upon all the Egyptians." (Exodus 9:10-11 RSV)

Bubonic Plague

When the Philistines of Ashdod captured the Ark of The Covenant, God inflicted them with bubonic plague - a disease that is often spread by fleas on rats and mice. Infected humans develop enlarged lymph nodes in the armpits and groin, called "buboes," which many Bible versions translate as "tumors":

"The hand of The Lord was heavy upon the people of Ashdod, and He terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory ... And they said, "What is the guilt offering that we shall return to Him?" They answered, "Five golden tumors and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines; for the same plague was upon all of you and upon your lords. So you must make images of your tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will lighten His hand from off you and your gods and your land." (1 Samuel 5:6, 6:4-5 RSV)

Fact Finder: Is biological warfare included among the prophesied events of the end-times?
See The Seven Seals

This Week's Bible Quiz

1. Which has more chapters, Exodus or Genesis?

2. Which has more chapters, Joshua or Judges?

3. Which has more chapters, Isaiah or Jeremiah?

4. Which has more chapters, Daniel or Ezekiel?

5. Which has more chapters, Amos or Micah?

6. Which has more chapters, Matthew or Mark?

7. Which has more chapters, Luke or John?

8. Which has more chapters, Acts or Romans?

9. Which has more chapters, Galatians or Colossians?

10. Which has more chapters, Hebrews or Revelation?

For the answers to this October 23 2001 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page

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