Nearly 3,500 years ago, the nation of Israel faced a pandemic so deadly that it killed 23,000 men in a single day. That was 4% of the total population of Israel. All of those who contracted this disease did so by committing a capital crime, and the initial defeat of the disease was accomplished by sentencing all of the survivors to death. But that's not the end of the story.
The disease had been introduced into Israel intentionally. The Midianites had sent infected women into the camp of the Israelites to seduce Israeli men into sleeping with them and to transmit the disease to the men of Israel. This intentional use of a harmful biological agent was an act of war, and God instructed Israel to retaliate by declaring war against Midian. Of course, many of the Midianites were infected with the same disease that they had transmitted to the Israelites, so God gave the Israeli soldiers a specific set of instructions to prevent the disease from being reintroduced into the general population of the nation.
I gave a lesson on this episode in Israel's history as part of my Forgotten Battles of the Bible series. I've copied the outline here for those who would like to compare God's instructions to the way that our governments have responded to the coronavirus. God's solution to a deadly pandemic was to completely quarantine those who had been exposed to the disease, but many of our state and local governments in America have chosen to partially quarantine everyone. I don't know about you, but I'm inclined to think that God's solution is better.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
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"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)