Every year the Shia Muslims make pilgrimage to one of their main religious sites in Iraq. And it is quite a sad spectacle to behold indeed.
A goulish / gastly site of folks beating themselves, whipping themselves, and cutting themselves till blood flows. Many have inflicted themselves with serious injury as a result.
While Islam has not been around since ancient times, [ 7th century], horrible and dispicable practices similar to what was just described were engaged in by heathen cultures.
A notable account of this is the confrontation between Elijah, the prophet of the Lord, and the false prophets of Baal .
When the prophets of Baal failed to bring about a response from their idol-god to meet the challenge put to them by Elijah, here is how they reacted:
"And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them."
The prophets of Baal prophesied and called out all day long. But there was never any response from their idol-god Baal.
But when the prophet Elijah of the God of Israel cried out unto the Lord, -the fire fell. And consumed the sacrifice, as well as the false prophets of Baal.
This practice of self-abuse was widespread in the heathen cultures around Israel:
" For relatives or friends to cut or beat themselves even to free blood-flowing, especially in the violence of grief in mourning for their dead, was a widely prevalent custom among ancient peoples,..." Eager, George B. , ISBE , volume II, p. 770, -1939, Eerdmans.
This is how Israel was instructed:
"You are children of the Lord your God: you shall not cut yourselves, or make any baldness, [shave], between your eyes for the dead."-Deut.14:1
"You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead nor print any marks upon you..."-Lev. 19:28.
Aside from the serious physical injuries resulting from such practices, a clear main reason why Israelis were commanded not to engage in such is because those practices-
"...carried with them inevitably ideas and associations distinctly heathen in character..."-Eager.
The Hebrew word in Leviticus 19:28 having to do with self-inflicted "cuttings" or injury is seret,
Recent headline from WorldNetdaily:
Now back to the "cuttings".
"And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the nations of the earth be gathered together against it."-Zech. 12:3
The same Hebrew word used in regards to those who suffer great injury by cutting themselves is also used here.
In the Hebrew this verse more accurately means that those who burden themselves, [or mess with Jerusalem], will "cut themselves" in pieces.
Do themselves great injury and harm.
Just last week PM Netanyahu declared that Jerusalem would never again be divided, and would always be the capital of Israel.
Our own U.S. State Dept. issued a statement , not in support of our ally Israel, but in opposition.
The French FM also made strong derogatory statements against Netanyahu and Jerusalem.
Figuritively speaking, world leaders and diplomats are "whipping themselves, beating themselves, and lashing themselves, because they are so unwilling to acknowledge and recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.
They are bent on seeing Jerusalem split apart, and Israel itself tore and "cut in pieces" to accomodate "another" Palestinian state,-
and that, in the heart of Judea and Samaria.
All their high-falootin diplomatic schemes will ultimately fail. But the sad part is that in the process, these leaders will bring much suffering and harm to their own citizens and nations.