We are living in a brutal age when concern for others, especially the innocent and helpless is almost absent from daily living; however, even non-religious people are horrified at the numerous beheadings of journalists, aid workers, tourists, and prisoners by Muslim terrorists. Nevertheless, beheadings have not always been an expression of hatred and terror but of war and judicial edict.
In fact, brutality as punishment goes back to the famous 18th century B.C. Code of Hammurabi and it may be worthwhile to note that Ham was the King of Babylon–near Baghdad, Iraq. The Hammurabi punishment for theft was the cutting off of a finger or a hand. A man’s lower lip was cut off if he kissed a married woman. Defamation was punished by cutting out the tongue. If a house collapsed killing the owner because the builder did not make it strong enough, the builder was put to death. Adultery was punished with the death of both parties by drowning, but if the husband was willing to pardon his wife, she was spared. Death was the penalty for hiding a slave. Pretty tough laws. The Mosaic code of the Hebrew nation was much more lenient.
Decapitation has been used since the beginning of time as proved by incidents recorded in the Bible. The thinking person knows that just because something is recorded in the Bible does not mean the act is recommended. The first incident in ancient literature is in Judges 5:26 (about 1250 B.C.) when an enemy of Israel, Canaanite commander Sisera, was killed. An Israeli woman drove a nail through his head while he was sleeping, then beheaded him. The message: don’t mess with Jewish women.
For centuries heads have been used for messages for proving a death, for collecting a ransom, for punishment. Ancient Greeks sent messages to dead relatives and friends by giving a message to a slave, then cutting off his head. If the Greeks forgot something, they sent another decapitated slave as a P.S.
In I Sam. 17:49-51 young David accepted Goliath’s challenge and David succeeded in knocking him down and out with his sling shot. David then took his sword and beheaded him before he could regain consciousness and carried the head to King Saul as proof of his accomplishment. David also collected on the king’s promise to give his daughter in marriage. David took Goliath’s head and got the girl’s hand.
In I Sam 31:8, 9 Saul, Israel’s first king, was found slain on the battlefield where he was beheaded by the Philistines. His body was nailed to the city wall and his head was displayed in the pagan temple of Dagon. That was the Philistines’ way of saying, “Our god is bigger than your God.” However, after about 3,500 years, most of my readers never heard of Dagon.
The New Testament reveals how John the Baptist was beheaded because he preached against King Herod taking his brother’s wife. Not much chance of modern preachers getting beheaded since most don’t do any confronting of anyone for anything at any time.
Muslims are to be blamed for originating things such as making female sexual mutilation a religious observance, temporary marriages, the burka, modern terrorism, and their fanatical religion but beheadings cannot be laid at their feet. However, they are using the gruesome practice to strike terror in everyone, friends and foes. They are saying: “Don’t mess with us. We are invincible. You will end up like this.”
ISIS uses a small, dull knife to produce a terror effect rather than a sharp sword or, better yet, an automatic rifle that would be quicker and far less messy. The American-trained Iraqi army fled from the horror of the bold, brash, beheading bandits. And there may be something of the area’s ancient culture that promotes decapitation since there are Assyrian (Nineveh–Iraq) carvings showing the king removing a victim’s head almost 3000 years ago. Since television was not available at the time, the butchers used stone wall carvings to depict their King, Sennerachib, using a short knife to saw off the head of a kneeling prisoner. All that’s missing is a cell phone camera to send the images to the world.
The Assyrians were adept at warfare using the latest in iron weapons, battering rams, three-man chariots, horse-drawn tanks, etc. They purposely sought to terrify their opponents by gouging out eyes, ripping out tongues, cutting off ears, noses, sex organs; skinning them alive, and beheading. Soldiers competed with each other as to who could acquire the most heads. Children were tortured and their flesh was sliced off and fed to wolves, dogs, etc. Now you know why Jonah was not too excited about preaching to them. He didn’t want God to spare them.
Beheading of prisoners was also done in Egypt as drawings show Pharaoh Ramses II grabbing prisoners representing three rival countries, a Syrian, Nubian, and Libyan by their hair bringing their necks up to a good angle for the ax he’s holding–whop goes the head.
However, for Islam, it is much more than using terror to terrorize their enemies and keep their followers on the reservation. Beheading is a religious duty as they follow the clear teaching in Sarah 8:12 of the Koran: “I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger.” That does not reflect a “personal struggle with evil” or self-defense. It is a command to behead unbelievers. Muslims read this as a “divine” command and carry it out with gusto.
President Obama absolved Muslims of grotesque killings by saying on national television, that “ISIL is not Islamic.” Of course, he was wrong which seems to be a habit especially when Islam is an issue. After all, the terrorists say they are Muslims, attend mosques, dress like Muslims, pray toward Mecca like Muslims, talk like Muslims, raise their children to be Muslims, so of course, they are Muslims. It is embarrassing to have the leader of the free world make such a stupid statement. Everyone knows he is being politically correct, i.e. dishonest.
After British aid worker David Haines became the third Western hostage to be decapitated by Muslim terrorists, Britain’s immigration minister made a point of visiting a London mosque and declared that the beheadings “had nothing to do with Islam.” However, sane, honest, informed people know it had everything to do with Islam.
After a lady was beheaded in Oklahoma, President Obama sent a reprehensive to the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, the mosque where the beheader, Alton Nolen, attended. Obama sent a special message thanking them for their “service.” That alone is enough to require his impeachment.
No, Muslims did not originate beheadings but they have made it front page news and proved to all honest people that they are brutish, brash, bloody barbarians.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.