This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Peaceful warrior

In Yahweh Is a Warrior: The Theology of Warfare in Ancient Israel (Herald Press, 1980), Millard C. Lind refutes Charlie Kraybill (“Yahweh Has Always Been a Peacenik,” Oct. 23). “Yahweh is a warrior” (Ex. 15:3) is among the earliest writings in the Bible, not “a literary character created by the scribes.” Yahweh greatly preceded them.

Lind sees God’s victory over Egypt’s army as the founding event of Israel’s existence. There was no human action or battle. God would fight for them; they only needed to be still (Ex. 14:14). In entering the land, God had promised Abraham that God’s angel would go ahead of them and wipe out the tribes (Ex. 23:23). They only needed to trust and obey God. Had they done that, there would have been no need of judges. God was king.

Summarizing warfare in the patriarchal period, Lind writes, “It should be no surprise that a few traditions of violence are found.” And “most of these traditions are pacifistic.”

Walter Smeltzer
West Peoria, Ill.

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