Violence in the Bible and the Odyssey

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Acts of violence are prevalent in both the Bible and the Odyssey, and the reasons behind them are for very different purposes. In the bible, violence is used in moral battles as God repeatedly uses violence against sinners and His opponents to show the reader what is the correct way of living, and establish morality whereas in the Odyssey, violence is conveyed more often as a necessary and commonplace mode of revenge by someone who has been wronged, which causes many characters to commit acts of “righteous revenge.” However, when looking at the reasons for the acts of revenge by both Poseidon and Odysseus, one can see how these acts are much more products of petty human traits like personal pride and hurt feelings than of righteousness and justice. In the story of the Exodus in the bible, Moses is given the task of freeing the people of Israel from the oppression of the Pharaoh in Egypt. The Pharaoh scoffs at Moses’ command to let his people go, and does not honor the authority of Moses’ “God” even after Moses threatens the Pharaoh by telling him of the impending, God-driven plagues against Egypt if he does not heed to Moses’s instructions. Especially when the plagues start to descend upon Egypt killing many around the Pharaoh, one starts to wonder why he is still so proud and stubborn. To explain, God reveals to Moses that he repeatedly “harden(s) Pharaoh’s heart, that I may multiply My signs and marvels in the land of Egypt.”(Ex 7.13) Here God explains his seemingly counterintuitive plan. He continues to harden the Pharaoh’s heart over and over again in an effort to make God’s power increasingly prevalent and obvious. If Pharaoh had given up at the first sign of trouble, which one probably would have if suddenly his nation’s rivers ran red with blood and his villages were overrun with frogs and disgusting insects, God’s strength wouldn’t have been exhibited as

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