Micah 6:7, Did God Command Child Sacrifice? Part II of II

Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? –Micah 6:7

//Yesterday, I presented a few verses that seem to indicate that at one time, Israel sacrificed children to God. Indeed, child sacrifice seems to have been considered the highest form of sacrifice. In today’s verse, Micah, an 8th-century prophet, wonders if he should sacrifice his children to God.

In time, however, child sacrifice went out of fashion. It began to be considered barbaric, surely abhorred by God. That sort of cruelty belongs only to pagan gods, which Deuteronomy condemns, instructing Israel not to worship God in the manner of other nations, because “they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:31). Jeremiah multiple times condemns child sacrifice, instruction surely intended to raise Israel to a higher standard … for why would he bother condemning that which was not practiced in Israel? Indeed, the books of the Kings explains that the reason God sent the Assyrians to conquer Israel is because Israel was sacrificing children (See the story of King Manasseh).

So, Israel should earn our respect not because they never sacrificed children to their god, but because they recognized before many of their neighboring nations what a horrid thing it was to do … and quickly rose above it.

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2 Comments

  1. I was in a discussion/chat with an atheist about this very thing recently. I had no explanation, and went searching for some answers. In the book God or Godless, which is a debate between an Christian and an atheist, this question is debated- specifically about Exodus 22:29-30. I feel the Christian, and you failed to adequately answer the question. I think the simplest answer is in the text- does God actually say kill your firstborn? Or do we infer this from the text? Or did God mean that we dedicate? Looking through all the translations of this text, I never see God actually say sacrifice- and even if he did, does sacrifice mean literal killing or dedication? Set apart for God’s use? I think this lines up a better answer than child killing simply went out of fashion.

  2. Pastor Psalms

    I can’t imagine God asking Isreal to sacrifice their children to Him.
    God while giving His statutes to Isreal in the Bible book of numbers strictly gives punishment for anyone who kills a fellow man, stating that any man who does such is guilty of the blood of that man.
    In the case of Abel and Cain, God is angry with Cain because the blood of his brother whom he killed is crying out to Him(God) I want to categorically state that when the word sacrifice is used it simply means “dedicate” not “kill”

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