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Tuesday, June 7 2011

Spoils Of War

The English word "spoil" originated from a Latin word, spolium, which meant to plunder by force. "Spoil" is used to translate a number of different Hebrew words that generally mean the same as the English word, but the Holy Bible differentiates between spoiling by righteous, lawful force and spoiling by mere violence - which in the Word of God means any violation of God's Law, regardless of how much "violence" is involved (see Violence).

The LORD commanded the Israelites to "spoil the Egyptians" in order to receive what was due to them for all of their years of slave labour. They forcefully took what they had a lawful right to obtain (the force in that case was provided directly by the LORD Himself, and "that Rock was Christ" 1 Corinthians 10:4 KJV).

"3:20 And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders [see also Plagues Of The Pharaohs: Past and Future] which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go. 3:21 And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty: 3:22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians." (Exodus 3:20-22 KJV)

On the other hand, spoiling by mere unrighteous violence (violation of God's Law) is nothing more than armed robbery - a criminal act.

"4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:1-4 KJV)

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy ... abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul"

There are many Biblical examples of spoils of war or battle. When Israel's daughter Dinah was "defiled," two of her brothers, Simeon and Levi, through a ruse, slaughtered and spoiled those responsible.

The Looting Of The Temple By The Romans

"34:25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. 34:26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. 34:27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. 34:28 They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, 34:29 And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house." (Genesis 34:25-29 KJV)

One of the last commands that the LORD gave to Moses (see also The Prophets: Moses) was to "avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites" because they had attempted to block Israel's journey to their promised land (see also Milk and Honey). That battle resulted in Israel taking a great amount of spoil.

"31:1 And the LORD [see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'] spake unto Moses, saying, 31:2 Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people." (Numbers 31:1-2 KJV)

"31:7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males. 31:8 And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword. 31:9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods. 31:10 And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire. 31:11 And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts." (Numbers 31:7-11 KJV)

A prime example of illegitimate spoil was that taken by Achan.

"7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel." (Joshua 7:1 KJV)

"7:20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: 7:21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. 7:23 And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD.

7:24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. 7:25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones." (Joshua 7:20-25 KJV)

When the Israelites proved themselves to be corrupt, the LORD permitted them to be defeated and spoiled. Just as the Romans later did in 70 AD (as illustrated; see also What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?), the Babylonians (see also What And Where Is Babylon Today?) were permitted to spoil Jerusalem and the Temple (with the exception of one key item - the Ark of the Covenant; see the Fact Finder question below).

"36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them [see Israelite Monarchy - The Southern Kingdom] by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: 36:16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. 36:17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. 36:18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. 36:19 And they burnt the house of God [see Jerusalem In Flames], and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.

36:20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: 36:21 To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah [see Jeremiah's Field], until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years." (2 Chronicles 36:15-21 KJV)

The legal principle of personal property rights and the basic human right of self defense were taught by Jesus Christ - in accordance with the Ten Commandments (see The By-The-Book Messiah) i.e. laws against coveting and theft of the property or life (murder itself is a form of theft) of other people.

"12:29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house." (Matthew 12:29 KJV)

The principle of spoiling by violence extends into living a genuine Christian life. Those who do violence (which means violation) to God's Law often do so to mislead, to spoil, Christ's people.

"2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit [see Is Your Religion Your Religion? and What's Your Angle?], after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Colossians 2:8 KJV)

"2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts [see Lethal Lust], which war against the soul" (1 Peter 2:11 KJV)

Fact Finder: How do we know that the Ark of The Covenant wasn't spoiled by the Babylonians when they plundered the Temple in 586 BC?
See Raiders Of The Lost Ark

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This Day In History, June 7

1099: The armies of the First Crusade (1096-99) reached Jerusalem.

1329: Robert the Bruce, who seized the Scottish throne in 1306, died. He was succeeded by David II.

1494: After the first discoveries by Christopher Columbus and others, the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed; Spain and Portugal agreed to divide "the New World" between them.

1498: Christopher Columbus departed on his third voyage of exploration to the New World.

1546: The Peace of Ardes ended the war between France and England.

1628: The Petition of Right, a major English constitutional document, became law after Royal Assent by Charles I.

1654: Louis XIV was crowned king of France.

1677: Olivier Moriel de la Durantaye claimed the Lake Huron to Lake Erie area for France.

1692: 1,600 people were killed and 3,000 were injured when an earthquake struck Port Royal, Jamaica.

1863: French troops captured Mexico City.

1886: Elzear-Alexandre Taschereau was appointed Canada's first cardinal by Pope Leo XIII.

1929: The Papal State was revived when the Vatican was established in Rome. It had not existed since 1870.

1939: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the parents of the present-day Queen Elizabeth I) crossed from Canada to the U.S. to become the first British monarchs to visit the former colonies.

1942: During the Second World War, Japanese forces occupied the U.S. islands of Attu and Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska.

1967: Day 3 of the "6 Day War" - Israeli forces took The Old City, thereby securing the entire city as Israel's capital.

1981: To stop (as it is now known, non-existent) Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction" (Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that has nuclear "weapons of mass destruction" - as proven by the later invasion of Iraq), Prime Minister Menachem Begin sent Israeli warplanes to bomb a French-built nuclear reactor that was only capable of generating electricity for Baghdad.

1991: Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted, sending a plume of ash 7 kilometers (over 4 miles) into the atmosphere.


Copyright © Wayne Blank