ABC:1 Chronicles 16

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Verse 34

Jim Meritt of Infidels.org claims the Bible contradicts itself here and asks "Cruel, Unmerciful, Destructive, and Ferocious or Kind, Merciful, and Good"?[1]

Jeremiah 13:14 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.

1 Samuel 15:2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

1 Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalms 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

First of all, for a full explanation of how God could be justified in His destruction of the Canaanite nations and punishment of Israel, see 'Destruction of Canaanites where it is pointed out that both were being punished for widespread practice of the horrible crime of child sacrifice. Meritt in quoting Jeremiah 13:14 here ignores the fact that the Israelites were being so horribly punished by God for sacrificing their own children by burning them alive.

Jeremiah 7:30 For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.
31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.
32 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.
33 And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.
34 Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.

Jeremiah 32:34 But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.
35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

Concerning Amalek, God wanted to destroy the nation that had cowardly attacked the women and children of Israel. (Exodus 17:16)

Deuteronomy 25:17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;
18 How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.
19 Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.

Ultimately, the answer to this question of whether God is cruel or kind is both. God is cruel to the wicked and unrepentant and kind and merciful to those who turn from their wicked ways. This answer is reinforced throughout the whole Bible. Making this an Either/Or ignores the truth of the Bible.

Sources

  1. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.