Under the Law of Moses, God explained that bloodshed, such as murder, pollutes the land, and only the bloodshed of the guilty cleanses the land.
People often refer to “the God of the Old Testament” as being cold, vindictive, and harsh. One reason they typically cite is the numerous “death penalty” punishments GOD gave for various offenses.
What these people often fail to acknowledge is what the individuals or nations were guilty of which drew GOD’s judgment.
We previously established that, under the Law of Moses, GOD prescribed the death penalty for murder. As it turns out, GOD explained why such extreme measures were necessary:
33 So you shall not defile with murder the land in which you dwell; for blood defiles the land, and there is no atonement for the land from the blood shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. 34 Therefore do not defile the land on which you dwell and on which I shall pitch My tabernacle among you; for I am the Lord who tabernacles among the children of Israel.’”Numbers 35:33-34 OSB
From GOD’s perspective, shedding blood pollutes the ground on which that blood falls, and the only way to remove that pollution is to, in essence, pour out the blood of the one who caused the original bloodshed.
Serious problems ensued when justice was not promptly served so as to cleanse the land of bloodshed. In fact, it was this very thing that eventually brought the hammer down upon Judah through GOD’s servant, Nebuchadnezzar:
9 They did not listen. Manasseh led them astray in order to do what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, more than the nations that the Lord removed from the face of the sons of Israel. 10 The Lord spoke by the hand of his servants the prophets, saying, 11 “Because, as much as Manasseh, the king of Judah, did these evil abominations more than all that the Amorites who were earlier did, and caused Judah to sin by their images, 12 it shall not be so. Thus, says the Lord the God of Israel: ‘Look, I bring evil on Jerusalem and on Judah, so that both of his ears of all who hear will tingle. 13 I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measure of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab. I will leave Jerusalem behind, just as an alabaster box is left behind—left behind and overturned on its face. 14 I will push away the remnant of my inheritance, and I will give them over into the hands of their enemies. They will become plunder and spoil for all their enemies. 15 Because, as he did evil in my eyes, and they were provoking me to anger from the days when their fathers were led out of Egypt until this day.’ ” 16 And indeed, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood until it filled Jerusalem from gate to gate besides from his sins, concerning which he had caused Judah to sin, to do evil in the eyes of the Lord.4 Kingdoms [2 Kings] 21:9-16 LES
Although this Principle was firstly and primarily scoped for Israel when governed by the Law of Moses, GOD does not change.
From the beginning, GOD has viewed bloodshed as evil. That will never change; it’s a universal principle.
Likewise, the remedy will never change: the bloodshed of the guilty cleanses the land.
Because these truths are not limited to a time period or covenant, so also we can conclude that GOD’s view of justice and His intervention in the “cleanup” when justice is abdicated for too long.
He rules the nations with a rod of iron. It doesn’t feel good when He strikes you with it. Don’t test Him.