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Weighing the evidence

What happened on Oct. 8 tells us a lot about the Israel-Hamas war

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There are different kinds of evidence. Our American judicial system is built around this acknowledgment. When you think about it, criminals don’t leave calling cards. So there have to be indirect ways of ascertaining guilt and innocence, otherwise few wrongdoers would be brought to justice.

Varieties of relevant information include the following: forensic, ballistic, DNA, expert testimony, eyewitnesses, circumstantial evidence. All must be weighed with care.

You didn’t see your dog walk through the house after a good frolic in the mud. But you did see muddy paw prints on the kitchen floor, so you reasonably inferred it.

Bert of Sesame Street fame makes a batch of cookies, posting a sign, “Save for party.” He comes by later and there are only fragments on the plate. He has good reason to suspect Ernie: No one else lives in the house; Ernie is known to crave cookies; Ernie has pilfered Bert’s cookies in the past; Ernie has crumbs on his mouth.

By and large, if you were present at the scene in question, you have a stronger case than the man who was not present. This is God’s argument to Job when the latter complains of the unfairness of the way the world is run:

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know!” (Job 38:4-5, NKJV).

Solomon was not present when a certain baby was born who became the subject of a custody dispute. He had no direct evidence. What was he to do when two women entered his courtroom, both claiming to be the mother? He finally reached the right judgment by indirect inference. He observed which of the women had a heart for the child. She is the one who would rather give up her claim than agree to sawing the infant in two as a kind of “fairness.” Solomon proclaims without hesitation: “Give the child to this woman; she is the mother.”

Friendships everywhere have been strained by the Israel-Hamas nightmare. We are either pro-Israel or pro-Hamas cheerleaders. I myself have been going back and forth with a friend for months, both of us flinging evidence at each other from history and logic, from this expert’s book and that expert’s book.

But another kind of evidence strongly persuades me, of a sort that started taking shape as early as Oct. 8, and that now reaches a crescendo from Ivy League campuses. It is a species of evidence that Christ Himself urges for our consideration:

“You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16).

Christ here is warning against false prophets and leaders. They come “in sheep’s clothing,” posing as righteous and compassionate and on the side of the oppressed, “but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (verse 15).

A true prophet of justice does not on Oct. 8 call for the death of the nation massacred on Oct. 7. There is your tip-off to who is right. Such a counterintuitive and upside-down response serves to show true colors—in the same way that the impostor mother in Solomon’s courtroom showed her true colors when gleefully preferring the slicing asunder of the baby to the thought that the other woman should be pleased.

If there is any question as to how God regards Oct. 7, an end-times scenario of uncanny similarity offers fearful food for thought:

“In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. … On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls’” (Ezekiel 38:8-11).

Massacres of quiet and peaceful people who dwell safely in dwellings without walls will not be lightly judged by God.

Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine. Her columns have been compiled into three books including Won’t Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. Andrée resides near Philadelphia.


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