Ask the rabbi

  • Halacha
  • Christianity and Islam

Jews murdering prophets


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tammuz 2, 5780
Dear Rabbi, I have heard both Christians and Muslims claim that Jews killed the Prophets. They even quote the Torah and or the Tanakh to prove their views. They claim since the Jews killed their own Prophets, this discredits Judaism and the Rabbis and the Jews for having rejected Jesus and/or Muhammad, and believe the Jews wanted to kill them. Therefore Jews can not be believed as far as who is a Prophet, since they admit that King Ahav killed the prophets of Elijah, King Yoash killed Zechariah and King Menashe killed Isaiah. I am asking this question not because I agree with the claims of Christianity and Islam. I am asking what the Jewish response to these claims, that there were Jews that sinned in Biblical times and worshipped other gods and worshipped the Golden Calf.
Yes, there are sins mentioned in the Bible, and they are there precisely to teach us what not to do. "Judaism is perfect, Jews are not", in fact, nobody is. I'm sure you are aware that there always were bad people, especially in the primitive world (e.g. see the Codex of Hammurabi…), and especially kings in the era of dictator monarchs, where there was very little accountability, if at all (except for in Israel, where we had prophets, who were sometimes targeted by kings for that very reason!). The Jews were also the only people in the ancient world who ever were honest in writing history, stressing even the shortcomings of their leaders (including Moses and David), thousands of years before democracy, and that accountability, transparency and "check and balance system" is our "fault", for which several prophets paid for, with their lives. Also, the Jews were the only ones in the ancient world who were not (!) 100% paganist, and always criticized the few who acted like everyone else at the time, and served idols. It's unfair & even comical to criticize (instead of admiring) the only nation at the time who was not (!) idolatrous, for having, punishing and criticizing that minority of idolaters! The fact that several prophets were murdered over a 3,300 year history (not in the Torah as your friends claimed, but in the Prophets), doesn't mean that all, or most, or even 1% were killed, and surely has nothing to do with murder of people who aren’t prophets or who are false prophets… The U.S.A. has had, in just 250 years, more than 30 presidential assassination attempts, but it's absurd to deduct from this that Americans are murderers, and should not be trusted to vote who is worthy of the presidency… If you want to put things in an honest, objective and non-anachronistic perspective, I suggest you simply take a look at the Jews in your personal country (wherever you live), and you will find that they have much less (!) murderers and idolaters (including trinity believers) than the general population, and that is in every country of the world in every era of history! That's a pretty good accomplishment, and speaks for itself. Even today in Israel, where Jews comprise 80% of the population, by far the vast majority (!) of the murderers are from the non-Jewish 20%!
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