Monday, October 19, 2015

Sins Of The Fathers (3)

Farrell Till continues his rebuttal of David Ariel's evasions:


The lengthy section that Ariel skipped over has been snipped.

ARIEL
First I maintain that when David made his speech "I alone 

sinned" it was David's opinion and plea which any righteous 
monarch would use before his God.

TILL
YOU maintain this, but in this forum we like to see arguments 
to support what one maintains. Such arguments are 
conspicuously absent in your replies. Please understand that 
argumentation by asserting, question begging, and special 
pleading is frowned upon in this forum.

Is it your contention that David was wrong when he said that 
he ALONE had sinned? Furthermore, David asked a question: 
"What have these sheep done?" If David was not the only one 
who had sinned, then state specifically what the "sheep" had 
done and support your answer with textual evidence.

By the way, I hope you will study this posting to take notice 
of how a serious debater will take his opponent's material 
and reply to it point by point.


ARIEL

A king is supposed to take responsibility for his leadership.

TILL
Does that mean he is supposed to lie? Did David lie when he said 
that he ALONE had sinned? Would you agree that "what have 
these sheep done?" was a rhetorical question? If so, what does 
that imply about the meaning of David's statement?

ARIEL

But, we don't see the text validating David's claim as far as 
God is concerned.

TILL
Was the question rhetorical? If so, would that not be validation 
of David's statement that he ALONE had sinned.

As for textual validation, I certainly don't see the text validating 
what you are claiming. Could you give us that textual validation?

ARIEL

God or his prophet is not recorded as having agreed with 
David's  premise that he alone sinned.

TILL
It doesn't? When "the word of Yahweh came to Gad" (2 Sam. 
24:11)  to tell him to go rebuke David, Yahweh told Gad to go 
to David  and offer him three things, one of which David was 
to choose,  so that Yahweh could do it "unto thee" (v:12). I 
have quoted  the KJV here to emphasize that Yahweh clearly 
said that the  punishment that David chose would be done to 
David (thee).  Yahweh mentioned nothing about the people 
and the sins that  you are alleging they had committed. 
Furthermore, when Gad  went to David, Gad said nothing 
about the people either.

ARIEL

In fact, the text states that God relented on His own BEFORE 
David even uttered his plea.

TILL
So what? How does that prove that Yahweh didn't punish 70,000 
people for something that David ALONE had done? You like 
analogies, so let's look at one. Suppose that an absolute dictator 
is angered by an act that X does. The dictator then begins 
killing people who had nothing to do with what X had done. 
After the dictator has massacred 70,000 people he stops the 
killing, at which time X says that he alone had done wrong and 
asks the dictator, "What did the seventy thousand who have 
been killed do?" Would the fact that the dictator had stopped the 
killing before X expressed disapproval mean that the dictator 
was really a nice guy? Would the fact that the dictator had 
stopped the killing prior to X's complaint prove that the seventy 
thousand were not killed for something that they didn't do?

ARIEL

This shows that God did not need David's confession or reasoning 
to end the plague. Such reasoning apparently had nothing to 
do with the decision.

TILL
But the fact that, as this tale is told, Yahweh stopped the plague 
before David's confession would in no way alter the fact that 
Yahweh  had killed 70,000 people for something that David had 
done.  Your task is to show that the 70,000 were killed for sins 
they  had  done. If this was the case, where does the text state 
what  you are  claiming?

ARIEL

I did not discuss if a tax would have helped. Either way it 
isn't relevant to our case's main thrust. The text of Exodus 30 
states " so that there will not be a plague among them when 
counting them. The text thereby expresses clearly that it is the 
counting that is the basis for the plague.

TILL
You need to sharpen your interpretative skills. If the counting 
was the basis for the plague, then why didn't Yahweh send a 
plague? The census (counting) took place, but no plague was 
sent, and that was because the tax was paid (Ex. 38:25). 
Obviously, then, the text was saying that the tax should be 
paid so that there would be no plague. Yahweh was, in other
words warning, that if they did not pay a half-shekel tax for 
every male counted, a plague would be sent. Since they paid 
the tax, no plague was sent, even though the counting took 
place.

ARIEL

Furthermore, the verse never says that the punishment for 
doing so is plague (for if you do this bad thing such and 
such then the punishment is such and such) like the Bible 
says in other verses about other sins. It rather says passively 
"so that there will not be a plague" as if to say "don't risk 
the chance of this danger".

TILL
Well, I just explained how that your interpretation just won't 
work. If the mere act of counting would cause a plague to 
be sent, then the census at this time would have caused a 
plague. No plague, however, occurred even though the census 
was taken, so obviously the statement meant that the
half-shekel tax had to be paid or else a plague would be sent 
against the people. If upon entering a theater you saw a sign 
that said, "Please don't smoke when you enter the theater so 
that you won't be removed," would you understand this to 
mean that if you entered the theater, you would be removed, 
or would you understand it to mean that if you smoked after
entering, you would be removed?

Well, heck, why don't we just look at an example from the very 
same chapter of Exodus.

Exodus 30:20 When they [Aaron and his sons] go into the tent 
of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to 
make an offering by fire to Yahweh, they shall wash with water, 
so that they may not die.
21 They shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they may 

not die: it shall be a perpetual ordinance for them, for him and 
for his descendants throughout their generations.

Surely you can see that the act of going into the tabernacle or 
going near the altar would not bring death to the priests. It would 
have been the act of entering the tabernacle and approaching 
the altar without washing their feet and hands that would have 
brought death to them. In the same way, the act of taking the 
census would not have caused a plague, because the census
was taken and no plague occurred. The warning was that if the 
males didn't pay the half-shekel tax after being counted, a 
plague would be sent.

ARIEL

The text of I Chronicles 21:3 quotes general Yoav "Why should 
this be a source of guilt for Israel?" The text gives us a clear clue 
here. The count was not to be a source of "sin" for Israel but a 
source of "guilt". There lies the difference.

TILL
Or rather there lies the quibble. How could there have been 
"guilt" unless there had been an offense or "sin" first?

ARIEL

Yoav was not concerned about a vicarious sin or a direct sin. 
He was concerned with the legal concept of guilty vs. not guilty. 
He knew that Israel had already sinned as proven by the text 
of II Samuel 24:1 "The anger of God again flared against Israel....
Go count the people". This shows that anger had flared even 
before the count.

TILL
Well, let's fill in the ellipsis to see what you left out.

The anger of the Lord again flared up against Israel; AND 
HE INCITED DAVID AGAINST THEM, saying, "Go number 
Israel and Judah.

Your spin on this makes the situation even worse. Yahweh 
had his feathers ruffled about something that isn't specified, 
and he incited David to number the people. This makes the 
census Yahweh's doing, which he achieved through the orders 
of the king, but then he punished 70,000 people for
something that he and David were responsible for.

I'll ask again, whatever happened to the principle decreed in 
Deuteronomy 24:16?

Parents shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall 
children be put to death for their parents; only for their 
own crimes may persons be put to death.

ARIEL

Yoav was worried that the sins that until now had not brought 
punishment and were mercifully ruled to be "not guilty" would 
now become a "guilty" verdict as a result of the effects of the 
count.

TILL
Let's look at the parallel text in 1 Chronicles 21.

21:3 But Joab said, "May Yahweh increase the number of his 
people a hundredfold! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them 
my lord's servants? Why then should my lord require this? 
Why should he bring guilt on Israel?"

I will repeat that nothing was ever said in either account of this 
incident to explain why there was some sin involved in taking a 
census, but the way the story was told, the writers apparently 
understood that there was a sin involved. The text above proves 
nothing except that Joab thought that taking the census would 
be wrong and that he also thought that Yahweh might blame 
the people if a census were taken.   There is nothing at all 
unusual in this idea, because we are talking about a time when 
people thought that their gods often put the blame for sin on those 
who had not committed the sin. After all of this has been said, 
stubborn facts still remain unexplained. David took a census 
and then afterwards realized that he had sinned. A prophet was 
sent to offer David his choice of three punishments. David chose 
to let Yahweh decide the punishment. Yahweh selected to send a 
plague that left David unharmed but killed 70,000 people
who had had nothing to do with ordering the census. David said 
that he ALONE had sinned and rhetorically asked, "What have 
these sheep done?"

Put it all together and you have an example of people being 
killed for the offense of another, something that clearly violated 
Deuteronomy 24:16.

ARIEL

Finally, the text of the Torah shows us that Kings could not just 
do as they pleased in ancient Israel. The Bible says that a king 
is to be bound by the rules of the Torah like any ordinary citizen 
and more so; to quote Deut 17:14-20 "......to observe all the 
words of this Torah and these decrees, to perform them, so that 
his heart does not become haughty over his brethren and not 
turn from the commandment right or left so that he will prolong 
years....". The people have the right to reject the king's 
command  if it violates the law.

TILL
How could the people have "rejected" the king's order to be
counted when that order was being carried out by the king's
chief general and the army he commanded?

1 Samuel 24:4 But the king's word prevailed against Joab 
and the commanders of the army. So Joab AND THE 
COMMANDERS OF THE ARMY went out from the presence 
of the king to take a census of the people of Israel.
5 They crossed the Jordan, and began from Aroer and from 

the city that is in the middle of the valley, toward Gad and 
on to Jazer.

I could just see some Israelite peasant saying to Joab and 
his troops, "No, I won't let you count me; it just isn't right." 
In the first place, how could someone keep the army from 
counting him and the members of his family?

ARIEL

In conclusion I still maintain the above textual information 
shows:

1) Israel was already sinful.

TILL
If that is the case, they should have been punished for
whatever these sins were and not for something that David
commanded and his army executed.

ARIEL

2) A census made the nation vulnerable to being considered 
guilty for those other sins.

TILL
I showed above how the text in question will prove only that
Joab thought that if a sin was involved in taking a census,
his all-loving Yahweh might hold the people responsible. The
text says nothing about other sins of the people. Any way you
look at it, your god Yahweh had some glaring character flaws.
If I didn't like something that my children had done but let the
matter go without punishment, what kind of person would I be
if the next week my wife did something to offend me, and I
then said to my children, "Well, your mother has ticked me
off, so now you're going to have to pay for what you did last
week"?

ARIEL

3) King David's plea "I alone" was not a relevant factor as 
far as God was concerned. King David's plea of "I alone" did 
not make it so simply because the Bible records the plea.

TILL
And your textual support for this is what? As I asked before,
did David lie when he said that he ALONE had sinned? If you
say he did, I have another text to quote that will create another
contradiction in the Tanakh.

ARIEL

4) Kings in Israel did not have authority to act against the 
Torah.

TILL
Well, okay, I'll just jump ahead and show that if David acted
"against the Torah" in this matter, then there is another
contradiction in the Tanakh.

1 Kings 15:4 Nevertheless for David's sake Yahweh his God 
gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, 
and establishing Jerusalem;
5 because David did what was right in the sight of Yahweh, 

and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded 
him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the 
Hittite.

Uriah wasn't involved in the census in any way because he was 
already dead, so if David acted against the Torah in taking the 
census, the writer of 1 Kings erred in saying that David never 
turned aside from anything that Yahweh had commanded him 
all the days of his life except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

ARIEL

Therefore, your assertion that people were killed for David's 
sin is false. They were killed for their own sins even though 
David's actions helped bring those sins under focus. Since 
the people could have protested, they shared the problem.

TILL
All three of these points have been rebutted above. I hope
you will try to answer them this time instead of skipping to
the end of this reply and making some general, unsupported
comments (assertions).

ARIEL

You should rather find a case where Peter stole and God 
imprisoned Paul for the theft or Peter ate pork and Paul 
was lashed for it.You have yet to present such a case.

TILL
What about a case where a man committed adultery that
resulted in the birth of a child whom Yahweh then killed?
Would that suffice?

ARIEL

I await your rebuttal.

TILL
You have my rebuttal. Now I'm waiting to see if you answer
my points or just skip over them.

I'll reply to your aside about the famine in a third part.

Farrell Till

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