Deuteronomy 28 is a clear prophecy about the future. It predicts the long exile of the Jewish people, a history unparalleled (and thus unpredictable) by any other nation.
There's a famous atheist claim that this chapter is going in the Babylonian exile and if we can assume the Torah to have written after that exile, then no prophecy is at hand. Yet this is impossible for the following reasons
"Skeptics explain this chapter to be referring to the Babylonian exile which, according to their hypothesis the Torah was written after, so no prophecy is at hand.
The internal evidence shows otherwise as their explanation falls short on explaining a few phrases in the chapter that were exclusive only to the Roman exile:
(1) "The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, which will swoop down like the eagle—a nation whose language you do not understand," (verse 49) - Babylon is practically a neighboring country to Israel, thus no candidate for "a nation from afar, from the end of the earth". Some object because Jeremiah (5:15) uses the term "from afar" when describing Babylon's imminent invasion. But I beg to differ. While the term "from afar" might fly by -relatively- regarding Babylon, the term "from the end of the earth" is hardly an accurate description.
(2) Verse 68 describes that captives will be sold in Egypt as slaves. This only happened at the Roman exile. While Jews did descent to Egypt during the Babylonian captivity, they walked about as free men, who actually fled there just to escape the Babylonians [FOOTNOTE: Jeremiah 41:17-18 "And they set out, and stopped at Geruth Chimham near Bethlehem, intending to go to Egypt, because of the Chaldeans; for they were afraid of them, because Ishmael son of Nethaniah had killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land." ] , as Jeremiah describes. It would be extraordinary wild to suggest that slaves were sold in Egypt yet weren't recorded in the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah. Moreover, even if they were sold in small numbers, that wouldn't be enough to plunge the slave market-rate to close to nothing as the Torah describes "and you shall sell yourself as slaves and maidens but will find no buyer". The Roman exile included a major event of slaves being sold to Egyptians at such low prices. Indeed the transit of the slaves to Egypt was done through ships as the Torah describes in verse 68. [ FOOTNOTE: See Josephus in "the Jewish wars" vi, 9:2; Munter, Primordia Eccl. Africanae, pp. 85f.,113. History of Am Yisrael in Ancient Days (Hebrew, Devir), 1971, p.321. ]
(3) Deuteronomy 30:6 describes the redemption from the exile described just a chapter before. "Then the Lord your G-d will open up your heart and the hearts of your offspring to love the Lord your G-d with all your heart and soul, in order that you may live." This event has not happened after the Babylonian exile. The author, who according to Bible critics sealed the Torah quite deep into the Second Temple era, would have realized that this has not come into effect and would therefore not write that (or delete it, if it was written previously). So, obviously this redemption was intended on a future exile, i.e. the Roman exile. Whereas it is true that the Jews abandoned idol-worship since the Babylonian exile, they hardly "loved G-d with all their heart and soul" as the verse requires.
(4) The Jews are described to have painful stays at their enemy's land and constant travel as the verse puts it "Yet even among those nations you shall find no peace, nor shall your foot find a place to rest. The Lord will give you there an anguished heart and eyes that pine and a despondent spirit." (Verse 65) - whereas it is true that the Jews had a major spiritual downfall throughout the Babylonian exile, in the physical sense they were quite well off with major financial benefits (see Nehemiah 1:3) as well as relatively safe environments (besides for the Purim story with the threat from Haman). As a matter of fact, they were so comfortable that Ezra only managed to get 42,000 Jews to rise with him to the Land! It took at least 200 years (or if secular chronology used - 350 years) for Israel/Judea to regain its immense Jewish population (in the times of the Hasmonaim). Additionally, the Babylonian exile had no traveling ("nor shall your foot find place to rest") involved as it only lasted 70 years.
(5) Verse 36: "The Lord will drive you, and the king who has been set over you, to a nation unknown to you or your fathers" - if Babylon was intended, "a nation unknown to you and your fathers" is hardly an accurate description. Babylon was the first civilization ever to exist. Its name didn't leave the front-pages of every newsletter since the beginning of times. So what about that is "unknown" to us and our grandfathers? Even more baffling is that our very own lineage is traced to Babylon where our Patriarch Abraham came from. For Rome, no greater description is even possible. Rome was a city only established around 800 B.C.E. and an Empire only established right before its entry and occupancy of Judea. The most random nation even possible at the time would be Rome. Hence the description "a nation unknown to you not your fathers".
(6) Deuteronomy 30:7 is part of the description of the Redemption from this exile. It says: "and the Lord will place these curses that were put upon you unto your enemies who have persecuted you". This would have been very unintelligent for the human authors of the Bible (as Bible critics claim that the Torah was sealed only some 200 years into the Second Temple) to write. The enemies of the Jews (the Babylonians who were then under Persian rule) had nothing done to them by the Jewish Redemption (it was around 50 years earlier - at the very beginning of the exile, that the Babylonian were defeated to the Persians -as if that is considered the revenge of G-d on them-, and therefore couldn't have been the nation intended in verse 7 whose retribution comes only at the Redemption and in result of the Israelites repentance).
That's the internal evidence. But a look into history and a dose of logic will provide even stronger evidence that Deuteronomy 28 isn't limited to the Babylonian exile.
The chapter tells us that sins of the Jewish people in the Land will provoke G-d's judgment and the Land would dispose its inhabitants who will be led into exile. Now, the chapter doesn't explain whether this is limited to a one time deal (i.e. that after one exile the Jews will return and have the redemption), or it can happen twice or more. If it was a one time exile and redemption prophecy, then perhaps the Babylonian exile model could have been it and it wouldn't necessarily be future-prophecy but hindsight recording as bible critics suggest. But if more exiles and redemptions were possible, then the chapter could include the Roman exile. Meaning, because the chapter isn't limited to a specific time; it is merely when the Jews sin, no matter before or after an exile and redemption, they will -again- be exiled and ultimately redeemed once more.
So how are we going to know which intent the chapter had? Was it limited to the Babylonian exile or could it have included the Roman exile? Also, even if it could have included the Roman exile, who said it does? Well, perhaps a glance into history should help us determine.
The Jewish history phenomena in the past 2,000 years is one that is mind-boggling and unparalleled by any other nation in history, not close and not even slightly similar to Jewish history. Any natural explanation for it fails. So what can be behind it all? It is obviously the Divine plan that was ALREADY laid out to us clearly in Deuteronomy 28 - that if we sin, these and these curses will be the consequence. It was of no coincidence that the past 2,000 years of history fulfills a prophecy that bible critics claim is going on the Babylonian exile.
It would be extremely illogical to suggest that the Bible author wrote about the Babylonian exile in hindsight and "by chance" the same exact thing as recorded, with all its details, happened again hundreds of years later. And remember, this is not something that is expected to happen often or even occasionally, but rather something that hasn't happened in history to any other nation! Looking in hindsight, the fulfillment of the Roman exile reveals that Deut 28 intended that unnatural chunk of history. Do you really think that the Roman exile replicated the precise, unnatural, unpredictable, portrait of Deut 28 and yet had no connection with it?"
Thank you in advance and I look forward for a friendly and educational debate!
Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.
Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.
Ah yes; vague prophecy, the staple of religious nuts, astrologers, and fortune tellers the world over.
I would guess that those prophecies were known to every educated Jew, including the zealots who triggered the fatal uprising against Rome and then turned it into a complete disaster for the Jewish people. They deliberately burned Jerusalem's food stores, ensuring defeat. Are we looking at a supernatural process, or human actions shaped by belief in a supernatural process?
Mr. Algebe, thank you for your response.
There are two major issues with your response.
A) what it is based on
B) the actual argument
A) your response is based off a mistake in your history. Everyone agrees the Torah was written and finalized well before the uprising against Rome. So those zealots can predict nothing, for it was already predicts much before them.
B) the actions of uprising have zero reason to result in the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28. There were many uprising in history and yet none of them resulted in Deuteronomy 28. Allow me to clarify what Deuteronomy 28 predicted.
Although the overall message is the destruction of the land, which could easily be predicted, there are other prophecies which would be impossible to know them before hand (without supernatural powers...). That includes:
Few in number
Yet despite the above - maintaining Jewish identity
Preserving the Torah throughout the hardships.
This is the basic outline of the prophecies, I can provide sources and elaboration if needed.
Btw, I am wondering if you are Jewish.
I am not sure the story but as for prediction is as much as observe an matter going and conclude an consequence which in higher possibility backed with set of collection data.
Was this prophet made the prediction without the data, like he in different era or at the other end of the world?
are you Malaysian? with Karpal Singh as your avatar :D
No. I'm not Jewish. My grandfather was abandoned as a baby, and there's a rumor in the family that he was the illegitimate child of a English Jew and Scottish housemaid. But we have no proof of that, and I'm certainly not Jewish culturally.
I was suggesting that the zealots were aware of the prophecies and deliberately sought to fulfill them by ensuring the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, leading to the diaspora, followed by the eventual reconstitution of a cleansed Jewish nation.
First of all, there is no way that that was the intention of the zealots. The first hand historian Josephus records the fight at great length, and no where does he mention this opinion.
Second, even if they intended for the destruction to happen, they couldn't have intended that all the prophesied proceeding events will occur.
Josephus was outside of the city with the Romans.
"they couldn't have intended that all the prophesied proceeding events will occur."
It was fairly inevitable. If you were beseiged by the Romans and didn't surrender before the first strike of their battering ram, your fate was sealed. Massacre and dispersal into slavery.
Josephus started off as a leading general against the Romans when the zealot movement has already began. Additionally, the Talmud has the traditions from within the city wall, and indeed records many incidents of the time, yet it didn't mention anything of this zealot intentions.
But more importantly, the main astonishment is not from the destruction but from the proceeding exile, dispersion, persecution and identity. The exile wasn't inevitable but rather on the contrary. Only 100,000 Jews (about 1% of the population) are recorded to have been exiled into slavery. The exile only occurred about a hundred years later... Anyways, the exile wasn't a direct predictable result of the rebellion.. In fact, the Jews weren't the only ones who rebelled against Rome, yet they were the only FULL nation that was exiled. Purely astonishing prophecy!
I think the people who wrote Deuteronomy were blood thirsty.
Blood thirsty or not, there's some crazy prophecies in there!
I tend to not consider blood thirsty tyrants authorities on anything valuable to me.
Wow, I thought you were joking about the blood thirsty.. It seems that you're serious. So please explain who or what is blood thirsty? When I look in Deuteronomy 28 I see God warning his people to obey the laws and if not there will be consequences. What do you see in Deuteronomy 28?
Can you explain why I should give a shit what these tyrants said or did?
The author of this Torah somehow knew the future. There are two options, either he predicted it based on the laws of nature, which is an option we disqualified, or, he had supernatural powers. We have proved at length why it's the second option.
I disagree and remain unconvinced!
What do you disagree with, let's discuss! Reason with me. I thought you atheists portray yourselves as open minded and reasonable!
@Proud Jewish Boy:
"31 The Lord said to me, “See, I have begun to deliver Sihon and his country over to you. Now begin to conquer and possess his land.”
32 When Sihon and all his army came out to meet us in battle at Jahaz, 33 the Lord our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army. 34 At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed[c] them—men, women and children. We left no survivors. 35 But the livestock and the plunder from the towns we had captured we carried off for ourselves. 36 From Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge, and from the town in the gorge, even as far as Gilead, not one town was too strong for us. The Lord our God gave us all of them." -Deuteronomy2
Now, of what use is this bloodthirsty shit to me? I work as a nurse trying to heal people. I vote against bloodthirsty warmongers like Trump. I want a world where my children and grandchildren can experience a peaceful life. How does Deuteronomy help?
In sure you're aware of the concept of relative morality. So, if you are an atheist, how dare you view God in a negative way just bc he doesn't fit your standards of morality which is based off your emotions?! Who is to say that blood thirsty is a negative thing, if there's no God to tell us so? I can explain the idea of relative morality upon request.
Anyways, I believe that the "victims" of this annihilation will be/were compensated in the World to Come, which exactly the explanation of why bad things happen to good people...
I wrote in short bc this is a long topic, let me know if I need to elaborate.
This is a great example of what I think the real danger of religion is: that any injustice, any atrocity is acceptable; because the belief the victims will be somehow rewarded after their death.
This attribute seems to be universal across the world's major religions. I remember being shocked when I found it expressed in the Bhagavad Gita.
Yes, I agree with you: religion is dangerous, and had therefore caused much violence and death, including ruthless terrorist attacks. Yet despite this discomfort it doesn't logically refute the idea of religion, particularly a religion which has been proven i.e. Judaism.
My moral life is superior to the god of Deuteronomy and his creators.
First of all, your "morality" is nothing but satisfaction to your consciousness and thus relative. It is impossible to have higher morality than the creator of morality himself. I see no intellect in your previous statements, perhaps it is bc you are unaware of the relative vs absolute morality topic. I can enlighten you on the subject upon request.
Objective morality is a play on words. It is twisting definitions to suit your own purpose. Eithir we have to agree on your new definition of objective, which then destroys the definition of objective, or assume you simply do not understand what objective means.
No need to enlighten me. Yahweh is a war god conjured in the imaginations of bloodthirsty war mongers. Like father , like sons. I do not condone genocide, human sacrifice, or sexual slavery. That makes my moral compass better than YHWH and his savage sheep.
God wanted certain nations who as a whole promoted evil in the World to be annihilated. If he would allow exceptions to those few w/o possibly were righteous, then the commandment would crumble. He therefore in principle made the commandment without exceptions. Those who indeed were righteous or innocent, would get compensated in world to Come. The babies are not considered innocent, as they will ultimately grow up to become monsters. Similar to the children of terrorists who are far from innocent but are monsters-in-the-making...
PJb, you said, "Similar to the children of terrorists who are far from innocent but are monsters-in-the-making..."
I'm curious, what data can you provide to back up this assertion?
It's a very simple assertion. Parents educate their children. Terrorists educate their children about committing suicide in the name of Allah...
That does not answer the question I posed. What data have to to back this up? Does this happen with every child? Can you provide any studies that show this? Is it merely an assumption?
It is a logical assumption that says that MOST of the children will be terrorists.. Regarding the others, I have already posted..