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Serving Jesus through discipleship

I Don’t Understand


Map showing the Kingdoms of Israel (blue) and ...

Map showing the Kingdoms of Israel (blue) and Judah (orange), ancient levant borders and ancient cities such as Urmomium and Jerash. The map shows the region in the 9th century BCE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The book of 1 Kings tells that in the days of Baasha, third king of the northern kingdom of Israel, the king made the people of that kingdom sin and provoked God to anger with their sins. The sin which provoked God so badly of course was the sin of idolatry (I believe that all sin is idolatry, but more on that later). So the LORD came to Jehu, son of Hanani, (a prophet) against Baasha saying, “Inasmuch as I exalted you from the dust and made you leader over my people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made my people Israel sin, provoking me to anger with their sins, behold I will consume Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Anyone of basha who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the field the birds of the heavens shall eat.”

What I don’t understand is why having dogs and birds eat your dead relatives is such a punishment. I don’t think the punishment is so bad in itself but I think the cultural implications make this a psychological punishment for both the king and his subjects. Can anyone offer any clarity on this?

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2 thoughts on “I Don’t Understand

  1. Paul Haber on said:

    Dogs and birds eating your dead relatives means they weren’t buried as prescribed in the Law. Besides, I wouldn’t want the animals to get a taste for human–while I’m around, anyway! 🙂

  2. I understand that not being buried according to the law might be a problem for some people, but when you are rebelling against the law giver would’t that mitigate the repulsiveness of the consequences. I mean if I am rebelling against you and your law, why would your withholding the benefits of the law from me bother me.
    Depending on the burial customs, are you sure that the animals didn’t pick peoples bines clean anyway? Out of sight, out of mind? Today we have a sealed vault and a sealed casket. Then?

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