Wrath of Chemosh Too Much for Yahweh, Area Deity Says

The city of Mesha, the Moabite king, was under siege by the Israelites, and things were getting desperate. The Israelites, for their part, had already called on their god, Yahweh, for his assistance, and had received instructions from his prophet, Elisha. They were to dig trenches around their camp into which Yahweh would send a flood of water from the nearby highlands. The afternoon sunlight would reflect off the surface of this water in such a way as to make it appear as blood to the Moabites upon their walls, as though the Israelites and their Edomite allies had turned upon and slain one another–thus luring the Moabite warriors out from the protection of their city to mop up the survivors and thereby break the siege.

The ruse worked. Mesha himself led his troops out of the gate and toward the Israelite armies–only to find them in full force! Surging from their camp the invaders pushed the Moabites back upon their own walls, slaughtering many before they could escape back into the city. It would seem that everything was proceeding according to Yahweh’s well-laid plans. But the Israelites weren’t the only ancient Semites who knew how to curry divine favor.

The Israelites’ cousins, the Moabites, worshiped as their national god Chemosh. Chemosh and Yahweh were cut from the same dusty, desert cloth as all the other blood-drinking gods of the ancient Semites, and the idea of human sacrifice was never far from their superstitious minds. Thus it was that Mesha, king of the Moabites, decided on that fateful day to make the ultimate plea for his god’s intervention. He took his son and would-be successor and slew him upon an altar atop the walls of his besieged city, in the sight of the armies of Israel.

The effect of this horrendous act brought to naught Elisha’s over-confident “prophecy” (calling it “only a trifle”) that Yahweh would give Israel victory over Moab. As the blood of Mesha’s heir splattered and ran in rivulets down the walls before them, the Israelite warriors gazed on in awe at the display of pious gore. They had been marching through this foreign land for days, razing it as they went, knowing all along that they were fighting and destroying in the name of a national deity called Yahweh–and knowing just as certainly that this was not Yahweh’s territory.

Mesha’s violent plea was apparently answered in the superstitious dread it invoked in the alienated Israelite soldiery. They had surely earned the wrath of Chemosh, whose land they had been trampling and whose people they had been slaying for days on end–and now this people’s king had offered up his own son, the crown prince, to implore this baleful deity to act against them! What terror must have gripped their demon-haunted hearts!

Crying out in fear, some of their number cast their spears into the dust and bolted. Others quickly followed, and the besieging army rapidly began to melt away under the momentum of its collapsing morale. Then the city gates opened, unleashing a furious stream of vengeful Moabite warriors, now emboldened by a divinely mandated rage to pursue the enemies of their god. And pursue them they did. The wrath of Chemosh fell upon the foreign invaders like a consuming fire–they were driven before him like chaff and were broken under the boots of his holy warriors until not one remained in Moab. Chemosh had prevailed over Yahweh, and his victory was decisive.

Mesha went on to complete his campaign against Israel, wresting several cities from them in the process and making great the name of his god, Chemosh. His boasts of such exploits he inscribed in stone for posterity–an artifact that remains to this day, known to us as the Mesha Stele or Moabite Stone.

But the story of the victory of Chemosh over Yahweh is not merely a national myth exclusive to the engraved propaganda of a Moabite king. It can be found in the Bible.

Elisha: Just Another False Prophet

The account can be read, if one feels the inclination, in 2 Kings 3. To be sure, it is one of the more interesting Bible passages (which is probably why most Armstrongists have never heard of it, not even as a “difficult scripture” to be rationalized). It unmistakably identifies Elisha as a false prophet, whose initially unremarkable prediction (how hard is it to predict that a besieged city will fall?) utterly failed. Note that, at the outset, this “prophet” made a prediction that any shrewd military analyst could have made. The Moabites had been pushed back to their capital city, where they were holed up with their king and besieged by a coalition of Israelite and Edomite forces who had just routed 700 of their soldiers and sent them scurrying back behind the walls.

Is it any wonder Elisha said it would be “a trifle” for the already conquering alliance to accomplish final victory over the cornered Moabites? He didn’t need divine revelation to come to that conclusion. But, like self-styled “prophets” everywhere, Elisha’s supposed access to revelation did not insure him against being surprised by actual events. He did not anticipate what Mesha would do. Who could have? This is forgivable for a military analyst, even a shrewd one, but it is a significant failure for one claiming to be a “prophet.” It means nothing less than the fact that Elisha was not a prophet at all.

The belief in prophets is just as much superstitious nonsense as the belief in human sacrifice as a petition to desert gods. But the superstitions themselves are powerful things, since the people who hold them often do so intensely, and this implies a powerful influence over their actions. It is this power that Mesha wielded inadvertently when he endeavored to arouse his god with an offering of human blood. As Thulsa Doom once explained to a brash, young Cimmerian, “Steel isn’t strong, boy. Flesh is stronger.” And Mesha’s gambit of flesh over steel was successful because the ancient Israelites, like all Semitic peoples of the time, were not monotheists.

My God Can Beat Up Your God–Usually

We moderns, acclimated as we are to the monotheistic mindset, read into much of the Bible the theological shading we have inherited; however, the people discussed in its pages were not moderns and would have read these accounts (had they access to them) much differently. The ancient Semites of Elisha’s time were henotheists–that is to say, they believed in national gods. The Israelites worshiped Yahweh, but did not discount the existence of other national gods like Chemosh. In other words, they believed in Chemosh, but did not worship him, because he wasn’t their god.

Strict monotheism would not come on the scene until much later, likely first developing through monolatry, as the priests of the Israelite Yahwist cult attempted to outdo the game-changing, monotheistic polemics of their counterparts in the priests of Marduk and Assur (of Babylon and Assyria, respectively). The sections of the Bible that appear to advocate for Yahweh as the one true god (ba’al–“lord”, or elohim–“divine being “) can be explained by such priestly machinations. Among the laity, however, it is far from unreasonable to assume that traditional superstition reigned over cutting-edge theology. And, indeed, this assumption is attested in scriptures referring to the polytheistic tendencies of the Israelite people–often inspiring great consternation among the priestly class and the kings they were able to win over to their Yahwist cause.

This brief review of the religious history of the region inhabited by the ancient Semites reveals quite a more complicated (and more “pagan”) picture of Israelite worship of Yahweh than Armstrongism allows. It is into this byzantine milieu of polytheistic traditions and theological rivalry that the Israelite soldiers found themselves thrown when they confronted Mesha’s sacrifice. Theologically speaking, the region was on the cusp of a paradigm shift toward monolatry, but henotheism, deeply rooted as it was, reigned supreme–certainly in the minds of the soldiery, who were not theologians.

In The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism, Regina M. Schwartz writes:

Making Yahwism the defining feature of Israel’s collective identity seems to have come rather late in the long process of biblical composition, late enough to fail to completely eradicate the traces of polytheism found throughout the Bible.

So we’ve explained Yahweh’s failure to live up to Elisha’s fond predictions: he wasn’t the only game in town. He was just the national deity of a superstitious people who had coalesced within a henotheistic culture of city-states, each with its own patron god or gods, and in which human sacrifice was thought to be a powerful fetish. But where did Yahweh come from then, if he wasn’t considered the “one true god” from the beginning?

That, an interesting story on its own, will be revealed in an upcoming installment of The Pagan Origins of Everything. Stay tuned!

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16 thoughts on “Wrath of Chemosh Too Much for Yahweh, Area Deity Says

  1. how does the deity with an obvious sense of humor (IE: the platypus) not get a good hearty-yahweh-laugh out of watching some ignorant pagans worship a carving?

    Funny you should say that. Have a read of Isaiah 44:13-20? I’d say there’s a fair sense of humour expressed there in reference to idol worship. Insecure? I think you’ve totally missed the point.

  2. Overall, this post seems to misrepresent Elisha’s prophecy. I guess that’s why you have conveniently not quoted it. The “trifle” Elisha referred to was the provision of water for the animals. And how is it you conclude he prophesied the fall of an already sieged city? Where did that come from? The passage refers to the destruction of multiple cities of the Moabites until only one was left – which would seem to indicate the siege occurred after Elisha’s prophecy was made. Also, Ellisha’s specific prophecy was that the Moabites would be given into the Israelite’s hands. You seem to be interpreting “and there is great wrath against Israel” to mean the battle went against Israel – but that phrase could mean many things. For example, it could mean that Edom refused at that point to continue to fight with Israel. Do you have other historical evidence to support your interpretation? Or is it just convenient for you?

    • “I guess that’s why you have conveniently not quoted it.”

      Says you. But you don’t quote it either. Is that convenient, or what?

      “he “trifle” Elisha referred to was the provision of water for the animals.”

      Yes, it could be interpreted that way; but this, itself, is a trifle. It doesn’t alter one bit the fact that Elisha’s prophecy failed.

      “And how is it you conclude he prophesied the fall of an already sieged city? Where did that come from? The passage refers to the destruction of multiple cities of the Moabites until only one was left – which would seem to indicate the siege occurred after Elisha’s prophecy was made.”

      Yeah? I’ll quote the prophecy for you: “This is an easy thing for the Lord; he will also hand Moab over to you. You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town…” That didn’t happen. Simple as that. In fact, the Israelites were driven out of Moab and Mesha took several Israelite cities instead. Where do you get the idea that this isn’t the case?

      “For example, it could mean that Edom refused at that point to continue to fight with Israel. Do you have other historical evidence to support your interpretation? Or is it just convenient for you?”

      I suggest you read the article: the Mesha Stele confirms what the Bible indicates–that Israel was routed by Mesha and his forces. As for your hypothesis that Edom withdrew, there is no indication in the scripture that this is the case. Given all the facts, the most reasonable explanation of “great wrath” is given in the article. The prophecy of Elisha clearly failed, and it is also clear from several other lines of evidence that pre-Exilic Israelites believed in the existence of other gods besides their own official national deity. Monotheism is a human invention–and it was developed from the pagan pantheons that preceded it and informed it.

      All the “misrepresentation” here is being done by you, as is to be expected. And by the way, it does no good for you to pretend like these are just interpretations of my own that I am slinging around irresponsibly, since they aren’t my interpretations. For more information on the many ways “great wrath” can be interpreted, one is invited to consult the work of biblical scholars like Penchansky, Montgomery, Burns, Robinson, Gray, etc. This problem, while new to Armstrongists, has been through the wringer of biblical scholarship. No one, it should be noted, comes to the conclusions that you have suggested. All agree that Israel was driven away, either in the way described in the article, or because of a plague, etc. Only the means are somewhat controversial, not the outcome.

  3. Yes, insecure is the right way to put it, apparently (notwithstanding short’s ignorant protestation). Post-Exilic Israel witnessed a proliferation of Yahwist priests who were attempting to eradicate the worship of other gods from popular religion. This is the reason for the anti-idol polemics one finds in such passages as Shortfriction refers to. They are a brazenly dishonest caricature of how idols were used (i.e., they weren’t worshiped as gods themselves, but were set up as focus points for veneration of the gods they portrayed). All of this was merely the insecure propaganda of an official Judean cult against all the others extant at the time, in a culture that was slowly turning toward monotheistic ideas (from the top down, of course).

  4. Also the phrase, “before me” has an interesting etymology, especially when one considers other verses referring to other gods as though they actually existed–for example, elohim, as a divine council of general “Canaanite” origin and with Yahweh as one of its members. A more literal translation of “before me” would put it, “to my face,” which Penchansky explains this way:

    The key phrase “before me” might be best understood as “in my presence,” and has the further sense of “in my presence to perform a religious activity such as sacrifice or worship.” The language strictly prohibits bringing other gods around when Yahweh is worshiped. It does not prohibit having other gods or worshiping them in some other place.

  5. “Praying for Failure? – Armstrongism’s Love/Hate Relationship with America”

    This looks really interesting. It got into the RSS feed, but the link doesn’t go anywhere.

    Will this be on tap soon?

  6. I suggest you read the article: the Mesha Stele confirms what the Bible indicates–that Israel was routed by Mesha and his forces. As for your hypothesis that Edom withdrew, there is no indication in the scripture that this is the case.

    Does the Mesha Stele confirm that for that battle? I read the Stele (well, a translation I could find online) but couldn’t find how historians confirm that the account on the Stele is the parallel of the account in 2 Kings.

    And before you tell me to read the article, how about you read it yourself, and my comment, before answering me. In your article it said:

    It unmistakably identifies Elisha as a false prophet, whose initially unremarkable prediction (how hard is it to predict that a besieged city will fall?) utterly failed.

    To which I posed the question:

    And how is it you conclude he prophesied the fall of an already sieged city? Where did that come from?

    And you replied:

    Yeah? I’ll quote the prophecy for you: “This is an easy thing for the Lord; he will also hand Moab over to you. You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town…” That didn’t happen. Simple as that.

    …which might be perfectly valid points, but not the answer to my question. I’m confident you aren’t confusing fortified with besieged – but what are you doing? You say these are not just interpretations of your own – fine. But I am curious, which is why I asked, as to where this came from.

    As I said, I actually read the Stele before commenting and was trying to work out how the connection is made historically between these two accounts. This is not a rhetorical question. And I did some research on it but didn’t find an answer.

    I would agree that many of the Israelites involved in the battle may well have believed in Chemosh, as you put it in the article. My disagreement is with the thesis that this account shows a failure to “completely eradicate the traces of polytheism” in later revision.

    I will absolutely concede that my suggestion of a possible interpretation of the wrath against Israel in entirely my own interpretation. But that is not the same as misrepresentation. If the scholars you list have historical evidence to support the interpretation that you present then, fine; but that is what I wanted to know – is that historically supported?

  7. Your question regarding the connection historians draw between the Mesha Stele and the Biblical account of the revolt of Moab under Mesha (2 Kings 3) is trivial. It is explained in the Wikipedia article. Such a connection is far more “historically supported” than any alternative explanation for why the Mesha Stele should mention the same events involving the same people and happening at the same time as those in 2 Kings 3. Like I said, this is trivial.

    As for your other complaint, I do apologize for answering a different question from the one you asked. I most likely thought that you were asking the question I answered, though, since that was the main point of the article.

    To answer your question, How do I know the prophecy was referring to an already besieged city?, I don’t know, but these vague passages could certainly be interpreted that way. As Penchansky has it in Twilight of the Gods:

    When instructed in this battle to overtake Moab’s capital city, Elisha gave strategic advice to the soldiers besieging the city… After the strategic instruction, Elisha predicted an Israelite victory: “This is only a trifle [etc.]” (2 Kings 3:18-19)… This victory probably would have taken place had Mesha, in extremis, not slaughtered his son.

    I can also see it being interpreted to mean that the prediction was given before the siege, as the armies were marching through Edom. The account isn’t clear on that question. Either way, though, it makes no difference to the thesis: Elijah’s so-called prophecy failed, and it did so because the Israelite (Canaanite) religion was pagan (i.e., polytheistic/henotheistic), it’s national god (and now, yours) derived from local pagan stock. This much is clear.

  8. So, I read the wikipedia article (again) and I didn’t think it explained much – other than to mention the apparent discrepancy with regard to who was Omri’s son. I found another site (http://www.christiananswers.net/q-abr/abr-a019.html) that explained it better, as it broke down the years of the kings’ reigns to show both accounts must be referring to the same rebellion by Mesha. I had been thinking that perhaps there was more than one conflict between Mesha and Israel – after all, there is no mention of the sacrifice of Mesha’s son in the Mesha Stele. Still, having looked more into the dating they seem to match up, so I guess he was just a little embarrassed about that.

    As for the failure of Elisha’s prophecy, I still don’t think it is clear cut. You quoted the key section above. I notice that some translations use “attack” instead of “overthrow”. At first I thought that was probably irrelevant, anyway, because it says that Moab would be given into their hand. But if your rendition of the change of heart between the sacrifice of Mesha’s son and Israel’s subsequent defeat is accurate, it suggests the prophecy may not be the failure, but Israel’s conduct – particularly if “attack” is an accurate translation. God may have made it possible for Israel to defeat Moab, but Israel failed to do their part and keep fighting.

    Like I said, I agree that many of the Israelites would have believed Chemosh was a god with real powers – after all, the chapter begins by making the point that Jehoram clung to the sin of Jereboam – who incited Israel to follow false gods. So it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Israel were defeated because of their failure to believe in Yahweh.

    The details of the scattering of rocks on the fields and felling of trees is interesting to me, too, because if I recall correctly these were both forbidden acts in war. Deuteronomy 20:19 might be what I’m thinking of in relation to trees; I thought there was one about not ruining farm land, too – but I’m not sure. Although these acts were specified in Elisha’s prophecy, I wonder whether it may have had any bearing on the final outcome.

    So, in answer to your closing points in your last comment, I don’t think there is a clear-cut failure of Elisha’s prophecy, and I don’t agree that Israel religion had pagan origins. While there are certainly a lot of parallels with the religious practices of other nations, there are notable distinctions, too. Food and health laws spring to mind as examples. I’m sure you’ll have a challenge for that claim.

    • “other than to mention the apparent discrepancy with regard to who was Omri’s son.”

      Apparent? Christ. Yes, it mentioned that–and its “apparent” refutation, as you well know.

      It also did explain the connection:

      The inscription has strong consistency with the historical events recorded in the Bible. The events, names, and places mentioned in the Mesha Stele correspond to those mentioned in the Bible. For example, Mesha is recorded as the King of Moab in 2 Kings 3:4: “Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and he had to deliver to the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams.”[6] Kemosh is mentioned in numerous places in the Bible as the national god of Moab (1 Kings 11:33, Numbers 21:29 etc.).[7] The reign of Omri, King of Israel, is chronicled in 1 Kings 16,[8] and the inscription records many places and territories (Nebo, Gad, etc.) that also appear in the Bible.

      I’ll grant you your source is more thorough in that regard, but you make it sound like I directed you to a source that only argued against the connection. Not very honest of you.

      “Still, having looked more into the dating they seem to match up, so I guess he was just a little embarrassed about that.”

      It’s possible the story of sacrifice is apocryphal. Biblical authors are known for making shit up, after all. But it probably isn’t true in this case. There is great precedent in that area and period for the sacrificing of a first-born child as a response to a siege.

      “God may have made it possible for Israel to defeat Moab, but Israel failed to do their part and keep fighting.”

      Isn’t that convenient? It’s a slippery slope, though. By the same logic I could say, “God may have made it possible for Israel to defeat Moab, but Israel failed to do their part by losing the war.” For a god who wanted to make its predictions come true, and had the power to make it so, it would have been a “trifle” to have prevented the thing that stopped the fighting. Are you then conceding that Yahweh just didn’t foresee what would happen? That’s a strange concession for one who is defending Yahweh’s prophetic power. If you say, “Well, maybe he was testing their faith,” that still doesn’t extricate you from the dilemma of a failed prophecy on the one hand and a useless (or deceptive) prophecy on the other. All you’re doing is throwing out ad hoc excuses for what is clearly a failed prediction. They don’t stick.

      “So it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Israel were defeated because of their failure to believe in Yahweh.”

      More excuses. It may be suitable at this juncture to point out that nothing in the prediction mentions these conditions you are imagining in ad hoc fashion, after the fact of predictive failure. The prophecy says, in no uncertain terms, unconditionally, “You will take Moab.” Didn’t happen. Face it. The prediction failed. It doesn’t help you to whine, “Oh, what he meant was, if everything goes as planned, my predictions will come true.” That only supports my position, not yours. And it’s a “just so” story anyway, concocted to protect your all-powerful god from falsification.

      “Although these acts were specified in Elisha’s prophecy, I wonder whether it may have had any bearing on the final outcome.”

      No, it just has a bearing on Biblical consistency.

      “I don’t think there is a clear-cut failure of Elisha’s prophecy”

      So, it would have succeeded if only Yahweh had planned better? Besides, how would you know? What would it look like if the prophecy had failed? In other words, what would it take to convince you of a “clear-cut failure” of prophecy? Nothing would convince you of that, right? Be honest. You will rationalize and fall back on just so stories until the bitter end. There’s a better way to account for the facts and cope with your cognitive dissonance, you know.

      “I don’t agree that Israel religion had pagan origins.”

      So, let’s just get down to brass tacks here. What this means is that you believe, against all the physical evidence, that Israel got its religion from a cosmic source, that it was beamed down, fully-formed, from the stars and into the brains of the patriarchs. Now, do you have any evidence for that? Can you even support that claim with a single argument? No. All the evidence and valid arguments are on this side. And it gets worse: the burden of proof is on you! The fact of pagan origins is the default position. There is no claim here. Certainly not an extraordinary one. To put the burden of proof on those who insist that the Israelite religion came from earth is patently absurd. You’ve got your assumptions backwards if you think it should be assumed that Israelite religion was revealed by god and proved that it wasn’t. Anyone making claims of revelation bears the burden of proof. So, where’s your evidence? I’ve got plenty on my side, to be sure.

      “Food and health laws spring to mind as examples.”

      Nonsense. Food taboos are older than the hills the Ancient Hebrews dwelt in before they coalesced into a nation out of disparate Canaanite tribes, and health laws? Really? Are you so sure you want to make the assertion that only the Hebrews ever made any attempt at dealing with issues of public health–and that this was because they were privy to revelatory knowledge on such matters? I welcome you to support that extraordinary claim, as the burden of proof is on you. You can start by explaining why the Jews fared no better at resisting superstitious ideas about health and medicine than did any other group (in fact, it appears they were far worse than the more rational Hellenes). Did Yahweh’s supposed revelation of scientific thought just fail to impress them, or is it in fact true that a magical potion will both reveal and kill an adulteress (etc.), as they were taught by Yahweh? Good luck.

  9. I’ll grant you your source is more thorough in that regard, but you make it sound like I directed you to a source that only argued against the connection. Not very honest of you.

    I’m not quite sure what you mean, but I wasn’t trying to make it sound like anything in particular, other than that I hadn’t found the answer I was looking for in the Wikipedia article. The section you quoted didn’t, and still doesn’t, answer my question – but that doesn’t mean you have an agenda. It might mean you don’t understand what I was trying to confirm for myself (whether the specific conflict described in the Steele is the same specific conflict described in 2 Kings 3).

    Regarding all your points about my apparent cognitive dissonance, it is about what I expected you to have to say. We are coming from entirely different starting points. Unfortunately you still don’t understand the relevance of that.

    As for your points about the absence of evidence for what I believe, we have discussed this before and got nowhere. Every piece of evidence has alternative explanations, but that doesn’t make it “not evidence”. It is abundantly clear that IF God exists He isn’t in the habit of directly revealing himself. Given the way non-belief is decried in the Bible, (“The fool has said in his heart there is no God”) this seems strange, doesn’t it? But IF God exists, expects us to believe in Him and isn’t making His existence obvious by actually saying hello now and then, it would be silly for us to believe there would be some piece of physical evidence any of us could show to any one else and say, “Aha! See, I told you so.” I examined evidence, have my reasons for what I believe and you don’t accept any of them. And that’s fine, I understand your reasons. I just think you’re wrong, and no matter how much I try to explain my reasons for thinking you’re wrong, you don’t even entertain them. So let’s move on from that.

    • “Every piece of evidence has alternative explanations, but that doesn’t make it “not evidence”.”

      Yes, but merely stating this tautology (“evidence is evidence”) does not excuse you from arguing for those “explanations” that you wish to have me take seriously. Surely you’re not suggesting that one should be able to “explain” evidence just any way he wants to and have it be taken seriously. You have failed to support your so-called explanations of the evidence in favor of your beliefs. So are you conceding that?

      “no matter how much I try to explain my reasons for thinking you’re wrong, you don’t even entertain them.”

      If by not entertaining them you mean refuting them, then yes, you’re right. Because that’s exactly what has happened here. You have argued for your position and I have defeated those arguments. Now you want to get away with claiming that I just don’t understand. When will you stop being a liar?

      “We are coming from entirely different starting points. Unfortunately you still don’t understand the relevance of that.”

      This is idiotic. Did you forget that I was a staunch Armstrongist for most of my life? I know intimately the “starting point” you’re coming from because it’s the same one I’m coming from. The difference is I am all grown up now and you’re still thinking like a child. And debating like one.

      “But IF God exists, expects us to believe in Him and isn’t making His existence obvious by actually saying hello now and then, it would be silly for us to believe there would be some piece of physical evidence any of us could show to any one else and say, “Aha! See, I told you so.””

      Yes. IF IF IF IF IF IF! That’s the big “if”. Care to argue for it? The hiddenness of God is just another ad hoc fairy tale. It’s bullshit. It can’t be verified or falsified. It’s just a hedge to protect your position when you can’t argue for it validly. Can it, will you? After all, the God of the Bible never hid from anyone. He romped around performing miracles on a whim, manufacturing global cataclysms, hanging out with people, dropping firebombs on desert towns, writing on walls, talking through donkeys, knocking up young virgins, etc. And now he’s hiding? Pretty convenient. Of course, there’s no way to support this theory except to argue in circles. And that, if you don’t know, is not valid. And if you argue invalidly you don’t get to claim that you have supported your position (but that you are just coming from a different “starting point”) and therefore your position has not been refuted. That’s patent nonsense! Stop being such a sophist! Grow a pair!

      Now, will you concede that Elisha’s “prophecy” failed? No? Then I’ll ask you again. What would it take to convince you that a prophecy failed? What would it take? This is not a rhetorical question. What would it take? If the answer is that nothing would convince you, then you are not interested in truth. And you’ll just have to admit that.

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