February 14, 2013

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people say that the bible is a tool of oppressors and tyranny. But this is the opposite of the truth. To the contrary, the bible is written for and by oppressed people.

Here are some examples of the bible standing up for the weakest members of society (pretty unique stuff in ancient literature). Notice the theme that goes throughout the Old Testament (notice that it is not just in one book but the whole OT) regarding caring for the three groups of people who suffered the greatest in ancient societies – the widow, the orphans and the strangers (those of other nationalities and races within the midst of Israel).

Exodus 22:22-23 22 “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.

Deuteronomy 10:18-19 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.

Deuteronomy 24:17-22 17 Do not deprive the stranger or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. 18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this. 19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.

Deuteronomy 26:12 12 When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.
Deuteronomy 27:19 19 “Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the stranger, the fatherless or the widow.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

Psalm 146:9 9 The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

Isaiah 1:17 17 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

Jeremiah 7:5-7 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever.

Jeremiah 22:3 3 This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

Zechariah 7:10 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.’

And in the New Testament, the theme gets even more pronounced with Jesus (God incarnate) personally helping widows (Luke 7), orphans (luke 18) and strangers (Mark 7).

The Apostle James sums up the whole Christian religion this way:

James 1:27 – 2:1 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
So. When you trash the Bible keep in mind that your attacks are lies (YES I used the word lie because I really believe it). The bible is not a friend of the slave owner or the oppressor. It is a friend of the slave and the oppressed.

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