One of the most challenging types of Scriptures to understand are those that deal with horrific violence. In this article, we will be looking at the worst type of violence - that of dashing children to pieces. These are shocking Bible verses that many do not know are in the Bible.
Anti-Christians like to take these verses and claim that God hates children and that He is a moral monster. Of course, many, if not most of these critics, support the brutal murder of babies in our day. About 125,000 babies per day are murdered around the world with various instruments of death and torture. Although we cannot know for sure, this probably exceeds the total amount of children killed in Israel’s 500 + year history before the Babylonian captivity. For a supporter of abortion to try and use these Scriptures against God to claim that God hates children is blatant hypocrisy.
Nevertheless, these Scriptures do exist. There are seven verses that specifically mention children being dashed to pieces. How are we to understand these verses?
The Bible is an honest book. It does not hide or cover up the Truth, even when that Truth is disturbing. With that in mind, just because something is mentioned in the Bible does not mean that God did it or even approved of it. The context must be examined carefully. [Also, keep in mind that terms like “children of Israel” are referring to the NATION of Israel, not to actual children.] Five of the seven references to children being dashed to their death are in prophetic books, one is in a historical book and one is in a poetic book. We will look at each of these verses specifically under general headings, but before we do, let’s see how God really feels about children. Does God hate children or does He love them?
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Gen. 1:28, NASB
When God created Adam and Eve, He wanted to have a large family, lots of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. He gave them an earth on which they were the only two humans. He wanted them to enjoy a large family as they populated the planet. That takes a love of children! God could have created a planet full of adults.
As for you, be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.” Gen. 9:7, NASB
When God had to restart humanity, He gave the same instructions to Noah and his family. God wanted an abundant population through the process of children growing to maturity and having children of their own.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Ps. 127:3, NASB
God did not view children as a nuisance or a problem but as a gift. They are one of the most precious gifts He gives.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine, Within your house, Your children like olive plants, Around your table. Behold, for so shall a man, Who fears the Lord be blessed. ps. 128:3-4, NASB
Again, we see that a large family - lots of little ‘olive plants’ - is a blessing from God.
For You created my innermost parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. Ps. 139:13-14, NASB
God even knows and loves children who have not yet been born.
Jesus is the perfect image or reflection of God [Heb. 1:3]. He came to show us in a practical way what God is really like. So how did Jesus feel about children?
And He called a child to Himself and set him among them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. So whoever will humble himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 18:2-4, NASB
Jesus honoured children as examples of what it took to enter His new Kingdom. We have to humble ourselves and become child-like [not childish!] to even know God. Adult pride doesn’t cut it.
Now they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for the little ones, saying, “Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” Luke 18:15-17, NASB
Jesus was upset when His disciples kept children from coming to see him. The disciples thought Jesus was too important to waste His time on children. Jesus made it perfectly clear to them [and to us] that children were important to Him and, therefore, to God.
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” Acts 2:38-39, NASB
Peter said that salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit was for both adults and children.
God loves children! He honours them. He likes large families. We could continue this theme with many other Scriptures. Any accusation that God hates children contradicts the plain teaching of both the Old and New Testaments.
When we know plain Bible verses teach that God loves children, we know that difficult or confusing Scriptures cannot be teaching God hates children. The Bible never contradicts itself.
Four of the seven verses about children being dashed to pieces against the rocks warn of what would happen in the future. They are not declarations of what God ordered or even wanted to happen. If you warn someone not to put their hand on a hot stove because they will burn themselves, you want to prevent that from happening. However, you know what will happen if they don’t listen.
And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child. 2 Kings 8:12, KJV
In our context, the king of Aram was seriously sick. He sent one of his men, Hazael, to the prophet Elisha to ask if he would recover. Elisha told Hazel to tell the king he would recover, although he knew the king would die. Then Elisha began to weep bitterly. In the verse above, Hazel asked why Elisha had gone into mourning. Elisha replied that he had foreseen that Hazael would become king of Aram, attack Israel and murder their children. Hazael did murder the current king, seize power and later attack Israel.
This is a prophetic prediction of what would happen, not a declaration of what Elisha or God wanted to happen. It is similar to Jesus grieving over Jerusalem because He foresaw its future destruction [Matt. 23:37-39].
O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help… Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. Hosea 13:9, 16, KJV
This also is a prophetic prediction of a future event, not a declaration of what Hosea or God wanted to happen. In fact, from verse 9, we can see that God wanted to prevent this from happening, but His offer of protection was refused because they would not abandon their evil ways. This was a warning to motivate them to change so that it would not happen.
Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains. Nahum 3:10, KJV
Here the prophet Nahum is using the example of what had happened in the Egyptian city of Thebes as a prediction of what would happen to Nineveh if they continued in their wicked, murderous ways. Again, this is a warning trying to motivate change to prevent this from happening.
Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. Is. 13:16, KJV
This is a prediction of the destruction of Babylon by the Medes. Babylon was a cruel nation that had taken Israel into captivity. They had committed the evil atrocities that were now being predicted as returning on them. And while, yes, God was planning on using the Medes as His instrument of judgment on the Babylonians, that does not mean that He approved of everything they would do. Also, it is essential to realize that God gave the Babylonians multiple opportunities to repent and avoid the coming judgment.
It would appear, from these verses, that in ancient warfare, children and women in captured cities were often brutally killed. It should be noted that in none of these cases was Israel the invading army. In two of them, Israel is the target of the atrocities.
This is the verse that is often quoted to try and make God appear as a ‘moral monster’. It is in the poetic book of Psalms.
Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. Ps. 137:9, KJV
There are many types of Psalms displaying every kind of emotion. If you take the time to read this Psalm, you will discover that it is not written from God’s perspective or His desires. It was written by a man who had experienced the invasion of the Babylonians and been carried off to a foreign country as a captive. He had witnessed the Babylonians dashing children against the rocks - perhaps even his own children. He is hurt, angry and wanting revenge.
This is a man in pain expressing himself to God, not God expressing His desires. What this teaches us is that no matter what we are feeling, we can come to God and express it. God isn’t offended or turned away by our raw emotions. He wants to comfort us and help us work through life issues no matter how painful they are.
The last two verses we will look at are perhaps the most difficult.
Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Betharbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children. Hosea 10:14, KJV
While pronouncing judgment on Israel, Hosea compares the total destruction that is coming to the destruction that they knew about when Shalman looted Betharbel. It uses a past event - not sanctioned by God - to motivate change so that it does not repeat in the future.
And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the Lord: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them. Jer. 13:14, KJV
Out of our seven verses, this is the only one in which God is speaking of something He will do - although He will use human agents.
We need to begin by recognizing the incredible wickedness of Judah and Israel. Adultery and murder were rampant. Deception, lying and stealing were the orders of the day. Abuse of the weak and helpless was commonplace. They even offered their children as burnt offerings to the hideous god Baal.
…and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I did not command nor speak of, nor did it ever enter My mind; Jer. 19:5 [Also see Jer. 32:35]
This child sacrifice by people who had voluntarily entered in a blood covenant with God was High Treason. God was their sovereign King to whom they had pledged allegiance. Every violation of the Law was an overt act of rebellion, and it continued to get more degraded and perverse as time went on. In mercy, God spent hundreds of years sending them prophets to warn them to repent, offering forgiveness and amnesty. Although they had a few short-term reforms, they continued on the steadily increasing path of rebellion and treason until they reached a point of no return. At that point, God refused to protect them any longer. Then the Assyrians [Israel] and the Babylonians [Judah] devastated the country with great carnage and atrocities.
Did God do this because He hated children? Is the charge that God hates children valid? No! He allowed it because there comes a time when evil must be judged and punished. Evil [sin] is a cancer that will grow and destroy worldwide humanity if it is not stopped. When it reaches a certain point, it must but limited, just like cancer must be destroyed to try to save the rest of the body.
We will all stand before God as individuals and be judged for every action, word, or thought we have had. Ultimately God cannot allow any evil to exist in the world, for it would continue to grow and destroy. At the Final Judgment, all evil people and demons - because that is how evil is expressed - will be quarantined forever in Hell.
However, it is important to realize that when evil reaches a certain ‘tipping point’ in a nation, culture or civilization judgment becomes more than individual. Then God must judge the entire nation, culture, or civilization to cut off evil from spreading exponentially. This often comes through war, famine, and/or plague. Many times it ends the nation, culture or civilization. Evil must then start over in a new place. Some have predicted that we are living in what will be known in the future as the end of Western Civilization, because of the great evils we are allowing and even promoting.
Christian people living in a judged culture may have to endure the consequences of living in such a culture. This in no way affects their relationship with God or eternal destination, just as evil people living in a Christian culture will enjoy the benefits of it, but it does not affect their eternal destination.
The war against evil and sin is not a game. Every human being - whether they realize it or not - is fighting on one side or the other. In fact, we are all born fighting on the side of evil. Only as we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour do we have the potential of fighting against true evil.
Also see, Did God Command Genocide?