One thing is for sure … the Bible is not child friendly. Actually, if you really know the book, Old and New, you will have to admit that small children must not have been much a part of the culture. The first humans were the first parents, Adam and Eve, not the first children so I imagine they have no good childhood memories. Well actually they have none since they never were children. Their kids, Cain and Abel come on the scene pretty much full grown. No pleasant times frolicing in the Garden of Eden.
They actually show up just in time to have Cain murder his brother and get himself booted out of the Garden by God afraid of those who do not exist killing him, go figure. Seth comes along, pretty much fully grown too. We certainly get no hint that this family every had picnics, hugs or good memories of being glad they had each other. The grown kids marry, who knows who, must be sisters that were not worth mentioning who also only show up as full grown women having babies by brothers. Ewwwwwww, but that's the alternative since they had no girls or boys next door to get their attention. There was no next door. Incest was a necessary thing, so say literalists, until they got enough human beings on the planet to marry mere cousins and then people you ever figured you were not related to, but were.
The main heroes of the Old Testament were adults, who in some cases were given remarkable birth and childhood myths to show how great an adult they really were. Often stories from previous or surrounding cultures were borrowed for the baby to show what an amazing adult he was. You know, Abe Lincoln was never really a kid until he was a famous adult. Then we find he was so darn honest as a kid, studied by the light of one lone candle by night but did succeed in not being born of a virgin as we might not have taken that all that seriously. You never heard that the child called George Washington, "could not tell a lie," until he was famous. No one waits at the hospital for famous baby to be born. The stories of remarkable children always come when the adult becomes remarkable. After all, remarkable adults must have had remarkable childrens. This is how Moses, David and Jesus are depicted, but any idea that we are seeing the lives of real children is illusionary. Amazing adults are pretty ordinary kids I would imagine, unless you are Bible Times adults.
We read about grown armies killing "men, women and children," but that's just a sanity problem and incidental to the great exloits of Israel obeying the Loving Heavenly Father. Sometimes the children get killed in the womb or special attention is paid to the fact that their heads were smashed against the wall. Nice touch there. Sometimes they get sacrificed as in the case or near case of Abraham and Isaac. Great story of childhood ala Bible times. Even though it worked out ok, according to the script, I imagine Isaac was no longer interested in following Dad into the hills for weekend campouts. He prolly wondered what nonesense Dad was into now and passing choosing rather to hid under the table until Dad fell sleep
Here are some of the Bible's greatest childhood hits …
Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beat him with the rod [skeptre], he shall not die.
– Proverbs 23:13 (AV)
This is really good to know. Beating them was fine and dandy and it does not say spank. It says beat with a rod! Hit with a stick. Bash with a hoe. Smash with a skeptre. The reason is because "it will not kill them." Whew … good news there.
Execute stubborn kids
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son … Then his father and his mother … bring him out into the elders of his city … And he dies .
– Deuteronomy 21: 18-21 (AV)
Whoa! Excellent! No attempt to encourage or find out why this might be occurring in the child's life. Prolly is the parents beating him all the time with rods, knowing full well he will not die. He might be mentally ill, but we can attribute that to demons and not take any personal responsibility. The Bible is not big on understanding how one way of being leads to other ways of being or how abuse leads to mental illness. It's all about Dad. It's all about the parents. It's really never about the kids.
Kids killed for mocking hero
Some small boys came out of the city and jeered at [the prophet Elisha], saying, "Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!" And … he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys.
– II Kings 2: 23-24 (RSV)
Well that should teach them. Of course the kids were making fun of Elisha's boss who was taken up in a fiery chariot and thought Elisha should give it a try. I sense they were skeptical the first rapture happened. At least, they seem not to have been convinced so as not to make fun of the man who took over after the boss left rather abruptly.
God orders child sacrifice
God did tempt Abraham, … And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, who thou lovest … and offer him there for a burnt offering …
– Genesis 22: 1-2 (AV)
Oh I know, God did not really mean it. He was just joshin Abe, but in those days, God's did not Josh. If you asked God if he loved children, like WC Fields, He would have said, "If they are properly cooked." Kids just had no value and certainly did not say in the fantascies of their adult parents.
Daughter: a burnt offering
Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return … will be the Lord's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering . " … and the Lord gave them into his hands …. When Jephthah returned to his home …, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! And he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.
– Judges 11: 30-32, 34, 39 (NIV)
So in come his sweetie, Biblical Ipod blaring and pow! "Sorry Sarah, I had a chat with God and told him if I got to win as a Bible man needs to win … well … just follow me. Of course, Mom just said, "Sarah, do as your father says. Love ya!" Later that night as Jephthah and Mrs. J held each other gently in bed, the both thought back on how the Lord had blessed them even though it had been a difficult day.
I have always been inspired and informed by these two examples of what it was like being a young Bible Times girl.
Woman must marry rapist
If a man [meets] a virgin who is not committed to be married and rapes her … He must marry the girl … He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
– Deuteronomy 22: 28-29 (NIV)
A marriage literally made in heaven! "Ok, I raped you. You want to kill me. You must marry me … me who raped you and we are stuck forever or they will cut both our heads off.
Virgin women are war booty
"Have you allowed all the women to live?" he [Moses] asked them …. "Now … kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourself every girl who has never slept with a man."
– Numbers 31: 1-18 (NIV)
"So you like women do you …. you do, you look! Ok, check out these sweet things _________. and enjoy boys. "I, the Lord, through my Servant Moses, the most meek man on the planet, decree it." Uh huh.
Lets see … New Testament kids that got into the story …
There would be demon possessed ones that Jesus heals. There would be kids that were dead that Jesus and few of the skilled Apostles resurrected, and of course Jesus himself, who had an amazing birth because he was an amazing adult. We have some great stories of Jesus killing some of his playmates for mocking him, but those books did not make the cut. Oh yes, we have the infants slaughtered by Herod as Mary and family slipped out of town smirking "I know something you do not know," at her neighbors with small children. I know some adults were called "children of the Devil," so that counts I suppose and false churches were called whores but those would be older kids.
No, kids do not make out so good in the Bible. They are used, abused, disowned, fried, burnt, slapped, kicked, hit, beat, sacrificed, speared, sold, ateen, ignored, marginalized and mauled. The famous ones that make it to adulthood get delievered, Angelic choirs, Kingdoms and babes galore. They got visited by Wise Men, who survived their own children intact but left home as soon as they could, which is why there were called Wise Men. Bible Times were something no kid in his right mind would ever wish to return to. I'm sorry that babies were born in cultures where Bible Times parents were so ignorant of what to do next they just asked the Priests.
There are some kids in this world today who sadly do live in Bible Times. Their parents read the Bible and faithfully follow it's loving guidelines for childrearing and interpersonal family communications. These kids learn that all they need is "the rod of correction," or be told, "because we said so that's why." The often hear, "God is not going to be happy with you," or "you might go to hell for that Johnny." Every week they get to hear the Minister remind parent and child that they must bring up that kid in the way he "should" go, should be relative to whatever the Preacher thinks they should be, so that "when they are old, they will not depart from it. " Of course most depart long before they are old just to recover and get their minds back in tact. There are American Bible Times Talibanic parents who are soaked in the childrearing techniques of the Bible (see the list above) every week or most every month. God said it, we practice it, that does it for us. Of course, when the child grows up a bit, they will walk and should.
Go get a concordance, or topical Bible and look up "snuggle, kiss, blowbelly," a boo ", picnic, swimming, hugs, vacation, free time, love you mom, love you dad, sports, college, education, free thinking, respect, reading, children's literature, Goldilocks, quiet time, caress, self esteem, mental health, smiling, mommy, daddy, bedtime, stuffed animals, puppets, cook out, fishing, zoo, did I say "blowbellies?" …. oh you know, the good words.