An Enemy Called Violence Essay, Research Paper
An Enemy Called Violence
Even though the Hebrews believe God to be loving, he is not found pleasant in
all situations. God is helpful, rewarding, and caring in the Bible toward the people who
have faith in him; and is also known to be devastating, and at times overwhelming to
his opponents when God inflicts forces of violence. The force of violence plays a
major roll in Genesis and Exodus. Three main events in Genesis/Exodus come to mind
when discussing the privileges of God?s followers or the violence against God?s
opponents. God regrets his creation of mankind and exercises force against the
wicked and evil people by creating a flood to cover up his error. This error shows how
God relates to humans by making mistakes. God, however, finds Noah to be faithful
and spares his life to reward him. Joseph also finds favor in God?s eyes and is kept
safe through his hardship. The force is inflicted by Joseph?s brothers because they are
jealous of Joseph and it would be beneficial for them if he was out of the way. God
exercises force a second time in Exodus against the Pharaoh and Egypt, because God
cares about his faithful people and wishes to free them from the Pharaoh. His
intentions are also to show Egypt that he is real and is also extremely powerful.
One of the first forces of violence in biblical history is when God decides to
create a flood to destroy all of mankind to eliminate his error. It is believed that he
creates the flood by releasing the window of the heavens. He decides that the people
he created are evil and wicked, which originated in the Garden of Eden with Adam and
Eve. The people are not faithful and do not have a relationship with God. He regrets
created mankind, because they are the reason for corruption in his new world (Genesis
Noah and his family are the only humans that God wants to survive. God favors
Noah because he has proved himself to be a ritous man and God feels that his faith
should be rewarded (Genesis 6:9). God tells Noah to build a large ark for himself, his
wife, his three sons, his son?s wives, and two of every animal (Genesis 6:18). The ark?s
purpose is to keep them alive during the flood, while the rest of the animals and human
beings are deliberately destroyed.
God then seals the ark with his chosen survivors inside; and in turn, releases the
waters. The water falls violently for forty days and forty nights flooding the earth
(Genesis 7:12). After the water slowly dries, God tells Noah to lead his other
passengers off the ark to live on the earth again, to be successful, and to multiply
Out of appreciation, Noah builds an alter for God and presents the clean animals
as burnt offerings (Genesis 8:20). God is pleased with Noah once again and accepts
the offering. A covenant is then made privately by God promising to never destroy
every living creature in the world again, in return he wants assurance that the world will
have endurance. (Genesis 8:20). ? As long as the earth endures, seedtime and
harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease?(Genesis
8:22). Finally, he seals his covenant with a rainbow. Noah?s faith in God leads to the
survival of Noah and his family. Those who disappoint God with their wickedness and
their evil are destroyed.
Another force of violence found in Genesis is also inflicted many times upon the
life of Joseph. Joseph is his father?s favorite son, which creates hate and jealousy
toward Joseph from his own brothers and they are the source of his violent life. God
speaks to Joseph through dreams. He first dreams of his brothers? sheaves bowing
down to his sheaf. In his second dream, the moon , the sun, and the stars bow down to
him (Genesis 37:7). Joseph tells his brothers his dreams, and his confession offends
them and increases their anger against him. They believe that he is bragging, and that
their lives would be more significant to their father if Joseph was out of the way.
Joseph?s brothers conspire to kill him and then plan to blame it on the wild animals.
Instead, they decide to throw him into a pit without water. Their plans change again
when a group of Israelites wander by the pit and the brothers sell Joseph into Egyptian
slavery (Genesis 37:28). Joseph, however, is favored by God and is treated the best
possible way in all of his situations.
While in slavery, Joseph becomes his masters favorite slave because his master
believes that God was with Joseph. His master?s wife then begins to show interest in
Joseph. Joseph, having no interest in her, declines her every offer. She becomes
very angry and then falsely accuses Joseph of attacking her (Genesis 39:17). Despite
the accusation, Joseph is not put to death as slaves typically are. His punishment
consists of going to prison.
In prison, it does not take long before he becomes the chief jailer?s favorite
prisoner (Genesis 39:17). His favoritism is another gift from God to make the best out
of his situation. He soon gains the opportunity to interpret dreams. A cupbearer and a
baker are sent to prison and encounter strange, unexplainable dreams. When Joseph
hears the dreams, he anticipates the death of the baker and the freedom of the
cupbearer. When Joseph?s interpretations are proven correct, the cupbearer promises
to tell the Pharaoh about Joseph, but the cupbearer forgets and Joseph is left in prison.
The Pharaoh is told that Joseph interprets dreams two years later when he has
questions about one of his own unusual dreams (Genesis 4:25). When Joseph
interprets the Pharaoh?s dream with accuracy, the Pharaoh recognizes his talents and
makes him the second most powerful man in Egypt. Joseph?s faith, despite his
hardships, is rewarded by God by helping him through the treacherous times and
eventually leading him to his success and power in Egypt.
A third force of violence featured in Exodus of the Bible is when God inflicts the
ten plagues upon Egypt to answer their prayers that request freedom so they may
worship God freely. It begins when God calls to Moses through a burning bush asking
him to be his messenger. Moses, with the presence of God, is to go to the Pharaoh
and convince him to free the Israelites from Egypt (Exodus 3:10). Moses, along with
his brother Aaron as his interpreter, go to Egypt to approach the Pharaoh. They tell
him that God appeared to Moses and that they have proof.
Moses first tries to prove his word by throwing the staff of God to the ground.
The staff turns into a snake, but the Pharaoh is not convinced (Exodus 7:10). The
Pharaoh calls upon his sorcerers who perform a similar task as proof that Moses?
proclamation is wrong. Then, Moses tries a second time to convince the Pharaoh that
he is right and that God is true. He pours water from the Nile on the ground turning it
into blood (Exodus 4:9). The Pharaoh is still not convinced because he once again
calls upon his magicians to prove that Moses? proof can also be done with magic.
Since the Pharaoh is still not convinced, God takes a more violent approach to
prove that he is real and exceptionally powerful. He first turns the whole Nile into
blood, causing the Egyptians to dig for their own water. Since the Pharaoh?s heart
remains hardened, God then covers all of Egypt with frogs (Exodus 8:6), then with
gnats (Exodus 8:17), and then with flies (Exodus 8:24). The Pharaoh is still stubborn
and unconvinced, which then leads to the death of all the livestock throughout Egypt
(Exodus 9:6). Without response from the Pharaoh, God makes the people of Egypt
break out with festering boils (Exodus 9:10) and then God sends a treacherous hail and
thunder storm (Exodus 9:23). After the storm, God sends locusts over Egypt to eat
everything that is green. To again try to prove his reality, God puts Egypt into a dense
darkness for three days. Finally, God curses death upon every firstborn animal and
human being throughout the land (Exodus 12:29). Hearing the cries of his mourning
people, the Pharaoh is finally convinced, or gives in to God, and sets the Israelites and
their livestock free (Exodus 12:31).
The purpose of God?s ten plagues is not only to free the Hebrews, but also to
show God?s reality, strength, and power. Since the Pharaoh does not believe in God?s
existence, God does not treat the Pharaoh with kindness. God does not want the
Pharaoh to doubt his existence and is very determined, for the sake of his people, to be
the more powerful one. The Hebrews have faith and are rewarded with God?s
protection. Even though the ten plagues are acted thoroughly through out the land of
Egypt, God?s actions do not affect the Hebrews directly.
Violence changes the lives of many people in Genesis and Exodus. God
exercises the violence with a flood against evil to fix his mistake of creating mankind.
He rewards good by letting those who have trust in God survive. Joseph?s brothers
inflict violence against him by selling him into slavery, which effects the rest of his life.
Their purpose is to get rid of him so they can be favored by their father. God, however,
helps Joseph by again rewarding the good people for their faith. The force of violence
of the ten plagues against Egypt is inflicted by God to free the Hebrews, but most of all,
it is to prove God?s self to the Pharaoh. God is important in these three incidents of
violence because the rewards for faith and the consequences of his opponent?s actions
influence the way that the forces of violence are carried out.