Deuteronomy 28:53 In the desperate straits to which the enemy siege reduces you, you will eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your own sons and daughters whom the LORD your God has given you. 54 Even the most refined and gentle of men among you will begrudge food to his own brother, to the wife whom he embraces, and to the last of his remaining children, 55 giving to none of them any of the flesh of his children whom he is eating, because nothing else remains to him, in the desperate straits to which the enemy siege will reduce you in all your towns. 56 She who is the most refined and gentle among you, so gentle and refined that she does not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground, will begrudge food to the husband whom she embraces, to her own son, and to her own daughter, 57 begrudging even the afterbirth that comes out from between her thighs, and the children that she bears, because she is eating them in secret for lack of anything else, in the desperate straits to which the enemy siege will reduce you in your towns. 58 If you do not diligently observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, fearing this glorious and awesome name, the LORD your God, 59 then the LORD will overwhelm both you and your offspring with severe and lasting afflictions and grievous and lasting maladies.
Wow. Just, wow. This is a warning God is giving to the Israelites before they set foot into the promised land. God has given them commandments and statutes to follow. The passage above is only a small portion of the lengthy list of consequences should the people fail to obey the Lord. If you just glanced over the passage, read it again. More slowly. Take in what is written here. It is horrific.
I may sound like a broken record to those of you who read this blog consistently, but the God I’m reading about here just doesn’t square with the God I read about in the New Testament, in the teachings of Jesus in particular as he instructs his disciples to refer to God as “Abba” – which means “Daddy”. Jesus reveals a God who is merciful and gracious to his people when they fall short of righteousness. The passage above reveals none of this. The graphic imagery of cannibalism as a result of siege, which is the result of unfaithfulness to God, is unimaginable. Yet much of what is written actually did come to pass, which you can read for yourself later in the Old Testament.
What are we to take from this passage? That’s hard to say. Mostly it just confuses me.
Lord, have mercy upon us sinners. For Jesus’ sake, withhold your wrath and accept us as your own beloved children. Amen.