Did God act in fits of rage to destroy 70, 000 Israelites?
Those sentences which are colored in orange are from Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati book Satyarth Prakash (The Light of Truth) and those which are colored in black are Jerry Thomas’s response.
"So the lord sent pestilence upon Israel and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men." (21:14.)C. Look at the strange doings of this Christian God! On the house of Israel that He blessed so often and for whose welfare He has been exerting Himself day and night He sends pestilence in a fit of rage and destroys 70,000 men. Some poet has said, "He that is pleased in one moment and displeased in the next, in other words, whose pleasure and displeasure are momentary, is to be feared even when pleased." This is but too true of the Christian God.
Answer: As usual, Maharishi twists the Holy Bible to impose his erroneous and pathetic interpretations.
Maharishi who quotes a part of the text would hide the rest of the text lest the readers know that this was the Judgment of God up on Israel as accepted by none other than King David of Israel for his misdeeds.
1 Chronicles 21:7-4– And God was displeased with this thing; THEREFORE He struck Israel. So David said to God, "I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing; but now, I pray, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly." Then the LORD spoke to Gad, David's seer, saying, "Go and tell David, saying, 'Thus says the LORD: "I offer you three [things]; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do [it] to you." ‘“So Gad came to David and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Choose for yourself, either three years of famine, or three months to be defeated by your foes with the sword of your enemies overtaking [you], or else for three days the sword of the LORD–the plague in the land, with the angel [fn] of the LORD destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.' Now consider what answer I should take back to Him who sent me." And David said to Gad, "I am in great distress. Please let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies [are] very great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man." SO the LORD sent a plague upon Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell.
Thus we see that this is because of the disobedience of the King of Israel who was the representative for the nation.
Further, this was even foretold in the Law of Moses itself.
Deuteronomy 28:15-21 "But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: "Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country. "Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. "Cursed shall be the fruit of your body and the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. "Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you [be] when you go out. "The LORD will send on you cursing, confusion, and rebuke in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, because of the wickedness of your doings in which you have forsaken Me. The LORD will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess.
In other words, it is very evident that the LORD God of the Bible acted as per His already given commandment and not per ‘fits of rage’. Only those who are ignorant of the Holy Bible would argue that this event as per ‘fits of rage.’
So Maharishi’s erroneous attempt to portray God of the Holy Bible as a God who acts according to His whims and fancies is proved wrong. God of the Holy Bible acts per His covenant with the people.