Genghis (Chingis) Khan, Mongol Emperor and The Bible: A Comparison in Morality
Temujin is Proclaimed 'Genghis Khan' in 1206 - Genghis Khan Mongolian King of Kings
The History of Genghis Khan, Mongolian Hero
Who Was Genghis (or Chingis) Khan?
Temujin, the boy who would become Chingis Khan ~ legendary Mongolian Khan; the great Mongolian Conqueror ~ was born in or around the 1160s, the son of Yesugai, tribal Mongol leader of the 'Kiyats', and his wife Ho'elun.
Both of his parents were high status individuals, from leading tribal families.
The Mongols led a nomadic life, living in tent-like 'gers' (or 'yurts') and travelling on ponies.
When Temujin was around nine years old, his father found a ten-year-old bride for him ~ Borte ~ from amongst his maternal cousins.
He would live with his betrothed's family until he could marry, at age 12. Arranged marriages were allegiences ~ very necessary in times of almost continuous tribal warfare.
Very shortly thereafter, on the return journey, Yesugai ba'atur, Temujin's father, was murdered ~ poisoned by a rival tribe.
Temuijin was considered too young to inherit leadership of the Kiyat people, so he and his family were rejected and left unprotected, poor and hungry.
1) Orkhon Valley, Mongolia. 2) 'Ger' or 'Yurt'
'Secret History Of The Mongols' / 'The Mongols'
Book: 'The Mongols in History' - By Bertold Spuler
History: Genghis Khan of the Mongols Nation
But Temujin was couragous, ambitious and intelligent. By the age of 20, after marrying Borte, killing his half-brother in a dispute, escaping prison after being captured, and generally showing his strength, ability and fighting worth, he managed to take back leadership of the Kiyats.
His military prowess resulted in him subduing the enemies within his tribe ~ as well as those without.
He gradually overwhelmed more and more local tribes, to form a ' Mongol confederacy'. In the year 1206, this united tribal group acknowledged Temujin as their 'Universal Ruler' ~ their 'Genghis Khan' / 'Chingis Khan'.
Chingis Khan was a very able leader and a gifted planner of battles. For thirty years he carried out his campaigns and, by the end of his life, he had subdued and united twelve million square miles of land with its peoples. This had meant much bloodshed, when whole cities were destroyed, but this was the way life was led in that time and place.
Tribal lords wanted power and control. It was a time of cruelty, bloodshed and battle. But, once under the rule of Chingis Khan, it was also a time of settled order.
The tribal battles and bloodshed ~ of which Chingis was, of course, a part ~ came to an end once he took control. He was not just an able soldier, he was also an able ruler.
Temujin ~ Chingis, or Genghis, Khan ~ had been aware of the precarious and dangerous nature of Mongol life, at least since the death of his father, when he and his family were also left to die ~ by their own people.
Certainly he knew it by the time his best friend ~ indeed, his 'blood-brother, Jamuka ~ had become his chief enemy, had captured some of his generals and then had boiled them alive!
This knowledge was re-inforced when his young wife had been kidnapped, carried off and probably raped. Violence breeds violence ~ and a desire for revenge.
Temujin may have appeared to have been cruel, but he was a man of his time ~ and a far more able and successful one than any of either his allies or his enemies.
The Mongolian Conqueror, the Emperor Temujin ~ the 'Genghis Khan' ~ died in 1227. His burial place remains unknown.
Genghis Khan History
What Does Genghis Khan Have To Do with the Bible?
Is Genghis Khan in the Bible?
No Genghis cannot be found within the pages of the Bible ~ and yet ...
When I was reading some Biblical quotes, they suddenly reminded me of my reading about Genghis Khan. This surprised me, and I decided to check the subject out.
This article is the result of my findings.
(Quotes have been credited. Article Copyright Tricia Mason. All Rights reserved.)
Chingis Khan: 'Rule .. by .. Happiness'
The Holy Bible
The Bible - Ravished and Kidnapped Girls
Young girls kidnappped and raped?
In the Bible?
On the orders of God?!
* * *
The Bible is supposed to be the word of God ~ either inspired, or even dictated, by 'Him'.
The God of the Bible is worshipped.
There are hymns, where it is chanted that 'God is love'.
The Bible should not condone the kidnap and rape of girls and women,
... should it?
~ Yet it does!
Bible: Women Taken 'In Broad Daylight'
Have we fully comprehended Judges 21?
The Israelites decided that a fitting punishment, for not attending their assembly, was to stab to death an entire community.
Consider ~ they took swords to everyone; every man, woman and child. This would include pregnant women, tiny babies, toddlers, children, young couples, elderly people, the sick, every single person!
But no! Not every single person. All of the innocent young virgin girls were left alive, watching this massacre happen before their very eyes. Their mothers, their baby sisters, their grandparents ~ all slit open with a sword. Their fathers and brothers would be trying to save them, when they, too, were slaughtered.
After witnessing the carnage, the girls were dragged from the corpses of their loved-ones and forcibly taken away and given to strange men, to be raped!
But there were not enough girls to satisfy all of the Benjaminite men.
So, those who had no woman to rape, went and hid in the bushes until some girls came past. They then ambushed them and kidnapped them for their own use.
There were marriages, it seems, but did the traumatised girls have any say in the matter? ~ No!
This is in God's book; this was carried out by God's people; this was done in God's name.
Judges 21: Girls Kidnapped
The Benjaminites had become separate from the other tribes of Israel, and the others had vowed never to allow their daughters to marry a Benjaminite.
They also vowed that any who did not assemble before the Lord, at their special tribal meetings, should be killed. They realised, on the occasion described in this story, that no-one from Jabesh Gilead was present.
So the Israelites sent 12,000 of the bravest men to Jabesh Gilead, with instructions to kill everyone there ~ men, women and children, except for the virgin girls.
"10. So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children. 11. This is what you are to do, they said. Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin." ~ 'Holy Bible' ~ NIV
In Jabeshgilead, four hundred young virgins were discovered ~ and they were brought back to camp.
Then the tribes in question made peace with the Benjaminites, who joined them and were given the kidnapped girls as a gift ~ but there were not enough girls to go round all of the men.
The elders wondered how they might find some more girls to give to the Benjaminite men, because their own women had been wiped out, and the Benjaminites needed to produce heirs. (They had sworn not to give them their own daughters).
Then they rememberered that there was soon going to be an annual feast to God, in Shiloh, and, if the Benjaminites hid in the vineyards, until the girls came along the road, they could each jump out and kidnap one of the girls, and take her home to make her his wife.
When the brothers and fathers complained, the others would put it right with them.
Ghengis Khan: 'My Calling is High'
Yuan Emperor Album - 14th Century Portrait of Genghis Khan (Temujin)
What did Genghis Khan say about Kidnap and Rape?
What did the evil Genghis Khan say about kidnapping and raping women?
Are his attitudes more, or less, 'moral' than those found in the Holy Bible?
~ ~ ~
After rescuing his own young wife, who had been carried off and raped, he announced specific laws on this subject:
These laws forbade both the kidnapping of women and the selling of woman into marriage.
Thus, women could not, legally, be raped ~ either as a result of kidnap, or of forced marriage.
Rape and kidnap were actively encouraged by certain Bible stories ~ supposedly condoned by God, himself!
So, who is the more moral leader?
Genghis Khan: Pleasure in Conquering
Genghis Khan Books: 'The Secret History of the Mongols'
The Cruelty of the Khan
There are many stories about Genghis Khan and the cruelty of his army.
Here is one, which I found on the website 'anusha.com' ...
In 1221, when Genghis and his men were riding across the lands of Central Asia, they came across a citadel, built high on a hill. It was inhabited by an Afghan tribe. These were the people of the town of Bamiyan.
When this tribe refused to surrender to the Khan, he first had their water supply cut off, and then killed everyone in the fort ~ the tribal leader and every man, woman and child; not a soul was left alive ~ not even the animals.
An alternative version is found on 'mainlesson.com' ...
Here, Chingis's grandson is mortally wounded by an arrow and the boy's mother insists that everyone in the town should be killed, particularly the children ~ even the unborn babies ~ since she had lost her own child.
Map of Genghis Khan's Empire at His death
Genghis Khan - Mongol Emperor; Universal King
Genghis Khan - Battle of the Indus
Murder of every man, woman and child
The thought of Genghis Khan and his armies, entering settlements, and destroying every living soul is unbelievably horrific. It really is!
But, is it very different from the stories we read in the Bible?
At Baniyan, Chingis Khan and his men apparently killed every single person and animal in the citadel, regardless of age or status.
But, then, at Jabesh Gilead, the Israelites 'put to the sword all those living there, including the women and children ...every male and every woman who is not a virgin'. The Bible proudly tells us so.
The website 'mainlesson.com' claims that, when the Mongols attacked and destroyed towns, the young women were usually captured and given to the men, as spoils of war.
This goes against Genghis Khan's rules about the treatment of women, but, even if true, it is only the equivalent of what is described in the Bible.
Bible: 'Infants dashed to pieces ..'
Genghis / Chingis Khan with Three of his Four Sons
Even the Animals!
When I read that the Mongols killed everyone in the citadel of Baniyam ~ the tribal leader and every man, woman and child, and even the animals ~ it reminded me of another story that I had heard!
It is a story found in the Bible ~ in 1 Samuel 15.
Here, Samuel tells Saul that God is going to punish the Amalekites, and that he will use Saul to do this. Saul is told: "Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys." (NIV)
So Saul attacked the Amalekites He took their king alive, but totally destroyed all of his people with the sword. He also spared the best of the sheep and cattle. God was not pleased. Samuel asked Saul: "Why did you not obey the LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder?" God was angry, not because the suckling babies had been ripped apart with a sword, but because some animals had been left alive!
'The Flail od God'
When Chingis Khan was at war with the Khwarezmians, he promised that towns which surrendered would be spared, but those which resisted, would be annihilated.
Thus he made clear that his power had to be acknowledged as supreme and that, provided his supremacy was acknowledged, his take-over could be peaceful.
He usually kept his word. Only where there was resistance, or where his own people were hurt, did he seek revenge.
But isn't this similar to Deuteronomy 20:10-14?
"When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labour and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies" (NIV ~ UK)
Note, once again, that the women and children are classed as 'plunder' and that they are given, by God, to the armed men, for their own use. This would have included slavery and rape.
Bible: Kidnap the Virgin Girls. Destroy the Suckling Babies
Ghengis Khan Temujin
Cruel at times.
Yes, the Chingis Khan and the Mongols could be brutal ~ but so could others. Remember, his father was murdered, when he was just a child; his mother was abandoned, by their own tribe, and left to fend for herself and her children, when she was widowed; his wife was kidnapped and raped, when they were teenagers; his best friend betrayed him, and murdered his men, in a horrendously brutal fashion. Temujin became hard and cruel at times, but life was hard and cruel at times.
And the Bible is cruel at times.
In the Bible, God is described as very cruel at times. This is because, as with the Mongols and their enemies, the Bible contains stories of ancient, unciivilised tribes. These were people for whom violence was a way of life. It was a case of kill or capture your enemies and rivals, before they killed or captured you. There was rivalry over power, land, food, women to produce heirs, etc, etc.
Women left with a tribe could increase their number; women kidnapped from a tribe could increase your number. That is why they were taken. The morality of murder and rape did not come into it, where enemies were concerned ~ and any rival was a potential enemy.
Saul's Army Killed The Children and Babies of Amalek
Book: God's killings in the Bible
Bible Stories About God?
These were not stories about God; they were stories of how a belief in God could give a people confidence, unity, strength and power. The Israelites believed that God was on their side ~ that they were his chosen people.
This does not mean that they were God's chosen people; it simply means that they believed it and that it benefiited them to do so.
Their leaders may or may not have believed, but were probably too superstitious to doubt. Most tribes would have had their gods and goddesses ~ their 'good luck' amulets ~ and the Israelites were no different.
There is no good reason to believe that the Israelites knew anything about God, or the existence of God ~ or that their Scriptures contained (or contain) any spiritual truth. It is simply a set of beliefs and ideas and stories that an ancient tribe had evolved
Book: 'Drunk With Blood: God's killings in the Bible'
Quotes from Chingis Khan
"I will rule them by fixed laws, that rest and happiness shall prevail in the world."
"With Heaven's aid I have conquered .. a huge empire.
"All who surrender will be spared; whoever does not surrender but opposed with struggle and dissension, shall be annihilated."
"As my calling is high, the obligations incumbent upon me are also heavy; and I fear that in my ruling there may be something wanting"
"The pleasure and joy of man lies in treading down the rebel and conquering the enemy .."
"I am the Flail of God. If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon You."
"Heaven has appointed me to rule all the nations, for hitherto there has been no order upon the steppes."
"A man's greatest work is to break his enemies, to drive them before him ... to hear the weeping of those who cherished them."
"Be of one mind and one faith, that you may conquer your enemies and lead long and happy lives."
Spirituality and Genghis Khan
Like the Israelites, the Mongols would have had their religious beliefs and superstitions.
Their religious practices might be termed 'shamanism', but they also belived in a celestial supreme god ~ 'Mongke Koko Tengri'.
Their shaman may have helped them in battle, or helped them to hunt food, for example.
Interestingly, when Temujin became Chingis Khan, he not only took on the role of an earthly leader, but also of a spiritual leader.
As 'universal ruler', he also became the representative on Earth of 'the 'Eternal Blue Sky' ~ 'Mongke Koko Tengri'. In effect, he became divine, and his destiny was to govern the entire world.
Religious zeal and self belief, encouraged by his 'divinity' and his destiny, may have helped Chingis Khan to realise so much of his success.
The website 'biography.com' states that: 'Religious tolerance was practiced in the Mongol Empire, but to defy the Great Khan was equal to defying the will of God'. It goes on to say that Chingis Khan claimed: "I am the flail of God. If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you."'
We can see a correspondence, here, with the Bible. The Israelites believed that they were God's chosen people and, in a way, so did the Mongols. Indeed, there is something almost Messianic about Chingis Khan's belief that he is the 'Flail of God'. Comparisons could be drawn with some statements credited to Jesus.
It was considered that 'To defy the Great Khan was equal to defying the will of God' ~ and, again, something similar could be said about Jesus. He, too, was considered to be divine: God incarnate, or the representative of God on Earth.
Visions of God
Books: Genghis Khan and the Mongols
Laud and Condemnation
God, as described in the Bible, can be cruel and vengeful ~ as well as, sometimes, fair.
Chingis Khan, as described in many history books, can be cruel and vengeful ~ as well as, sometimes, fair.
God, as described in the Bible, is lauded.
Chingis Khan is abhored and condemned for his evil cruelty.
There are many examples of Chingis Khan's cruelty that I have not touched upon here, but, equally, there are many examples of God's supposed cruelty that I have not touched upon, either.
I think that the Mongols and the Israelites were tribal peoples of their time and place. It is difficult to judge them, because they lived according to their culture, knowledge, beliefs and experiences.
Both believed that they were favoured by God on High. We might condemn a lot of their behaviour, today, but, realistically, it is too late to use hindsight now.
What we can do, though, is acknowledge that the stories, which they claimed were about 'God', were really tales of folklore. God did not kill Amalekite babies, or encourage rape, or any of the other horrors ascribed to him. This is mythology.
I am agnostic. I have no idea whether or not there is some kind of power behind the universe, which we might, possibly, label 'God'. But if there is, I am convinced that s/he would not be the petty, cruel and vengeful being, described in the Hebrew Scriptures / Old Testament.
However, if God were, indeed, like that, then I would have to question why anyone would praise him, and call him a good and loving father. After all, Christians don't heap praise on Chingis Khan ~ they are often the first to criticise and condemn him. Yet his actions are similar to those of the God of the Bible.
Furthermore, many Christians do actually believe that God is, indeed, like that ~ yet still they worship and praise him, and try to convert others to their belief that this is truth.
Many believe that God really did slaughter babies, children, elderly, sickly, etc, etc, and that he encouraged kidnap, slavery and rape. And they seem to believe that he was right to do so!
Michelangelo's Vision of God - Sistine Chapel
Great Khan's Coin Minted Afghanistan - AD 1221
Genghis Khan and The Bible - Conclusion
Genghis Khan and God ~ as described in the 'Old Testament', that is ~ morally comparible?
Who was the more moral of these two characters, as described by stories and histories?
Since we can show that Chingis Khan carried out similar atrocities to those described in the Bible, and since Christians condemn Chingis Khan, specifically because of those atrocities, then it is not morally wrong for said Christians to condone the cruel behaviour of God, as described in the Bible?
At least Chingis Khan condemned the kidnap, rape and forced marriage of women and girls!
The Bible does not!
'God' and Genghis - morally comparible?
Mongols - Books: Spuler and Phillips
My Related Articles - Hubs:
Genghis Khan and his Sons
Hubs on 'Dubious Stories From Scripture' From 'Liftandsoar'
Another Hub; Another View of Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan Books - Mongol Movies
Novel: Genghis and the Mongols
Mongols the movie: Mongols film / Mongols video / Mongols DVD
DVD. 2008.Language: Mongolian with English subtitles. At 2nd May 2012, one hundred and twenty-one Amazon customer reviews. Average score: 4.3 out of 5 stars. Sixty-nine reviewers gave it 5 stars.