Shit My Bible Says: Chariots of Iron

The book of Judges starts out with Judah finishing the job of conquering the promised land and wiping out its current inhabitants. At first, all goes well (“When Judah attacked, the LORD gave the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands, and they struck down ten thousand men at Bezek.”).

But then (Judges 1:19):

19 The LORD was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron.

Stupid iron chariots, with their stupid stronger-than-God-ness! They’re always foiling God’s plans!

Maybe this is why we don’t see miracles like the parting of the Red Sea or the sun standing still anymore: there are too many iron chariots around, in the form of cars and trucks, so God can’t do his stuff anymore.

Anyway, this verse is the namesake of a wiki, a podcast, and I don’t know what all else.

2 thoughts on “Shit My Bible Says: Chariots of Iron”

  1. I’m guessing this is a not-adequately-redacted relic of the primitive henotheism out of which monotheistic Judaism grew, post-Exile. Yahweh is a local tribal god, and he doesn’t always quite have the mojo to trounce Baal or whomever the god of the folks next door is.


    1. Yeah, henotheism shows quite clearly in a number of passages (I like the bit where Gideon’s father asks, well, if Baal is as powerful as all that, why does he need humans to fight his battles?).

      In this case, though, I suspect it’s simply that Yahweh wasn’t seen as omnipotent yet, the way he is today: this wasn’t a cosmic god who could snap his fingers and bring galactic clusters into existence; he was a 16-hit-die superhero who could be thwarted by sufficiently-advanced technology like iron.


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