Thursday, November 19, 2015

Zealous Homicides Praised in Sacred Scripture

There are two examples of homicide praised in the Hebrew scriptures (the Old Testament) of men avenging God for sacrilege, false worship and immorality.

The first that comes to mind is from today's reading from the Novus Ordo Mass: 1 Maccabees 2:15-29. Mattathias slayed the Jew who, went up to offer false worship, according to the dictates of the civil law.
The other that comes to mind is the one mentioned at the end of the Maccabees passage: Phinees who drove the fornicators through the groin in the very act of their sacrilegious fornication: Numbers 25:1-13.

1 Maccabees 2:15-29 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
15 And they that were sent from king Antiochus came thither, to compel them that were fled into the city of Modin, to sacrifice, and to burn incense, and to depart from the law of God.
16 And many of the people of Israel consented, and came to them: but Mathathias and his sons stood firm.
17 And they that were sent from Antiochus, answering, said to Mathathias: Thou art a ruler, and an honourable, and great man in this city, and adorned with sons, and brethren.
18 Therefore come thou first, and obey the king's commandment, as all nations have done, and the men of Juda, and they that remain in Jerusalem: and thou, and thy sons, shall be in the number of the king's friends, and enriched with gold, and silver, and many presents.
19 Then Mathathias answered, and said with a loud voice: Although all nations obey king Antiochus, so as to depart every man from the service of the law of his fathers, and consent to his commandments:
20 I and my sons, and my brethren will obey the law of our fathers.
21 God be merciful unto us: it is not profitable for us to forsake the law, and the justices of God:
22 We will not hearken to the words of king Antiochus, neither will we sacrifice, and transgress the commandments of our law, to go another way.
23 Now as he left off speaking these words, there came a certain Jew in the sight of all to sacrifice to the idols upon the altar in the city of Modin, according to the king's commandment.
24 And Mathathias saw and was grieved, and his reins trembled, and his wrath was kindled according to the judgment of the law, and running upon him he slew him upon the altar:
25 Moreover the man whom king Antiochus had sent, who compelled them to sacrifice, he slew at the same time, and pulled down the altar.
26 And shewed zeal for the law, as Phinees did by Zamri the son of Salomi.
27 And Mathathias cried out in the city with a loud voice, saying: Every one that hath zeal for the law, and maintaineth the testament, let him follow me.
28 So he, and his sons fled into the mountains, and left all that they had in the city.
29 Then many that sought after judgment, and justice, went down into the desert:

Numbers 25:1-13
25 And Israel at that time abode in Settim, and the people committed fornication with the daughters of Moab,
Who called them to their sacrifices. And they ate of them, and adored their gods.
And Israel was initiated to Beelphegor: upon which the Lord being angry,
Said to Moses: Take all the princes of the people, and hang them up on gibbets against the sun: that my fury may be turned away from Israel.
And Moses said to the judges of Israel: Let every man kill his neighbours, that have been initiated to Beelphegor.
And behold one of the children of Israel went in before his brethren to a harlot of Madian, in the sight of Moses, and of all the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle.
And when Phinees the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest saw it, he rose up from the midst; of the multitude, and taking a dagger,
Went in after the Israelite into the brothel house, and thrust both of them through together, to wit, the man and the woman in the genital parts. And the scourge ceased from the children of Israel:
And there were slain four and twenty thousand men.
10 And the Lord said to Moses:
11 Phinees the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned away my wrath from the children of Israel: because he was moved with my zeal against them, that I myself might not destroy the children of Israel in my zeal.
12 Therefore say to him: Behold I give him the peace of my covenant,
13 And the covenant of the priesthood for ever shall be both to him and his seed, because he hath been zealous for his God, and hath made atonement for the wickedness of the children of Israel.
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