Saturday, April 17, 2004

A time for war... 

Ah, all the news about the war in Iraq is so depressing. So what do I get in my daily Bible reading today? Words of joy? Words of peace? No, I get the laws of warfare laid out for the ancient Israelites in Deuteronomy 20. Actually it wasn't a bad thing, it was quite interesting. The chapter starts out with Moses saying that when Israel goes out to battle, they shouldn't worry because "Yahweh your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt is with you." Then he describes that when all the men gather for war, the officers will start sending folks home: those who just built a house, or planted a vineyard, or are engaged to be married. Go home and enjoy these things, they say. Ironic when compared to today, when soldiers in Iraq are having their tours of duty extended three months. But the Biblical standards just strike me as so right. Go home and enjoy some life before you go off to war. We can cut you young guys some slack. The rest of us can take care of things. Of course, under such a system, I would probably find my own middle-aged butt in Iraq, having already enjoyed the fruits of marriage and home ownership. But then again, if we had a system where every able-bodied person was called up to serve, maybe we'd be less likely to go to war.... Nah, humanity is just as stupid en masse as we are by their lonesome.