Will you kindly tell me whether you think a book could be Divine revelation which provided that a man might steal a woman, rob her of her virtue, and then turn her out in the world without any sort of recompence?–I decline to answer the question in that form.
Do you know that Deut. 21:11-14, does preach that?–No, it does not.
I will read it to you: "When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife, then shalt thou bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; and she shall put the raiment of her captivity off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month; and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife; and it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her." Don’t that say exactly what I say?–No.
Do you hold that to be divine revelation which provides that a man may buy a servant, keep him for seven years, and if he cannot buy himself off at the end of that time, to bore his ear with an awl. Do you hold that to be divine revelation?–Yes.
Do you hold it to be a divine revelation that of people who are not of the Jewish race, the Jews may buy bondmen and bondwoman, and take them as an inheritance and have them in possession for ever?–Yes.
Do you hold it to be divine revelation that a man might beat his slave, and if that his slave live for three days after the beating, then the master shall escape his punishment?–I object to the term "slave" with its modern associations.
Then I will substitute "servant". May a man buy a servant and beat him, and if the servant does not die in two days the master shall escape punishment?–The law of Moses provided that, and I believe the law of Moses to be divine.
Do you believe that David never did anything that was wrong?–No I do not believe that.
Do you think that the text which says that he always did that which was right in God’s eyes is divine revelation?–Allow me to read it to you. That is said with qualification.
What are you going to read?–I Kings 15:5. "David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite."
But it says in 14:8; "Yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart to do that only which was right in mine eyes. "–Yes, that is correct.
Do you think it is true?–I do.
Do you think it is true that David did keep all God’s commandments and follow Him with all his heart?– Yes, with the exception mentioned in the 8th verse.
I ask you whether in the 14th of 1st of Kings, and 8th verse, there is any exception made –No.
Then is the 8th verse true or not?–It is true of the general tenor of David’s life.
Was David a liar?–David sometimes said that which was not true.
Was he a murderer?–No, except in the case in question.
In how many cases within a few hundred had David murdered?–Only in the one case of Uriah the Hittite.
Did not David murder many others?–There was a great difference in those cases. To kill is not to murder, if God commands.
Was not David a thief?–No.
Did he not take property which did not belong to him?–In a certain sense, yes; in a certain sense, no. I can explain the difference if you will allow me.
Then with these slight exceptions David did keep all God’s commandments murdering, stealing, lying and adultery–this being the description of a man after God’s own heart? Is stealing a wife, while her husband is fighting for the thief, good or bad?–Bad.
Is murdering men good or bad?–Bad.
Is stealing property good or bad?–Bad.
Did David do all that? No.
Do you mean to say that when he was sheltered by the king of Gath he did not commit murder and robbery?–I mean to say that the law of God in the case in question authorised what David did, and, therefore, it was neither murder nor robbery.
Will you kindly tell me who authorised David to kill the subjects of the king by whom he was sheltered? –There was a general law under which Israel took possession of Canaan, and that was that nothing should be left alive. The Canaanitish nations were sunk in wickedness, and God had given them over to destruction.
Do you think God sanctioned men seeking shelter and protection from people they meant to exterminate?–As they were only in the position of savages or animals, the action was not of the character you impute to it.
Then the killing of savages is not in your judgment immoral?–Not if commanded by God.
Do you think there could be a divine revelation which commanded people to kill other people against whom they had no cause of offence?–They had offended against God.
Do you think there could be a divine revelation which enjoined any people to kill all the males of the nation and all women who were mothers or wives?–I do.
Do you think there could be a divine revelation which alleges that when mercy was shown, God was angry with the merciful?–Give me the case you refer to.
Do you think there is such a case as that?–I decline to answer the question in that form.
Do you mean to deny that, more than once, there were cases in which the Jews spared the people they went against, and God’s displeasure was kindled against them?–I admit there are such cases.
You admit they destroyed people they had no quarrel against?–Yes.
And you think that is good?–Yes, under the circumstances.
Should you think it good for to-day?–If God commanded me I would do it.
You had better take care whom you try it on!–No fear; If God gives me a commission, I shall be able to execute it.
Don’t you hold that under any circumstances war by a people against another with whom they have no cause of quarrel, is monstrous, cruel, and merciless? If God has not commanded it, Yes.
Do you think God’s commands can make a bad thing a good thing?–No.
Yet you deem all God’s commandments good?–There is a difference between God and man as to what is good and what is bad. God has a right to do with his own property as he likes.
You hold that God may make a man good by torturing him?–I had not that thought.-(Time called.)
The CHAIRMAN: It is becoming necessary that I must ask you to maintain better order. That is to say, to do justice to the speakers, let them have the argument between themselves. You can judge, moreover, when you have the printed discussion if there has been any mistake. I am speaking to the few who occasionally interrupt. I judge the body of the meeting will be on my side during the remaining hour.