Bryan Fischer Explains the 4th Amendment

It’s really quite amusing to me listening to the David Barton types trying to find some connection between the Constitution and the Bible. Bryan Fischer delivered a ridiculous screed claiming that the basis of the 4th Amendment is the “inviolability of the home,” which is found in Joshua 7. Here’s the video:


And here is the entire chapter of Joshua 7:

But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things[a]; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri,[b] the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.

2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, “Go up and spy out the region.” So the men went up and spied out Ai.

3 When they returned to Joshua, they said, “Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there.” 4 So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, 5 who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.

6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! 8 Pardon your servant, Lord. What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?”

10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.

13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.

14 “‘In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe the Lord chooses shall come forward clan by clan; the clan the Lord chooses shall come forward family by family; and the family the Lord chooses shall come forward man by man. 15 Whoever is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the Lord and has done an outrageous thing in Israel!’”

16 Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was chosen. 17 The clans of Judah came forward, and the Zerahites were chosen. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was chosen. 18 Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was chosen.

19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and honor him. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia,[c] two hundred shekels[d] of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels,[e] I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. 23 They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the Lord.

24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.”

Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor[f] ever since.

This must be what David Barton keeps talking about when he claims that the founders copied passages of the constitution “word for word” out of the Bible. That obviously is the basis for the 4th Amendment, amirite?

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  • kevinalexander

    The fourth amendment bars unreasonable searches. So, if the LORD tells you that someone is hiding gold or silver or beautiful robes then it’s OK to get them back and also to kill him.

    And his kids.

  • leskimopie

    God is so passive-aggressive (and also full on aggressive), maybe let them know your magic God armor doesn’t work BEFORE they attack? Or did he just want to throw away some more of his “chosen people”s lives away?

    Seriously the ‘Jewish desert storm’ of them reclaiming Israel had tons and tons of God murdering his own people in large swaths. He’s like a stereotypical action movie villain, “You’ve failed me for the last time Archan! for this you and your whole family shall be killed, now the rest of you, find Bond and kill him!”

    Also, straight up myth language in the last part. ” And that’s why there’s that pile of rocks over there, children.”

  • Chiroptera

    So warrants are issued on the basis of what a lottery system tells us about the identities the likely perpetrators? Wow! I learn something new about the US legal system every day!

  • John Pieret

    Wait a minute … instead of “Moses” (wasn’t he dead by then?) just searching everyone’s premises, they had a way that suspect parties could be identified … some priest would reach into a bag and pull out a colored stone and identify the suspect for questioning.

    Of course! How could I have missed the source of the Fourth Amendment in that?

  • stever

    Maybe you were using the wrong edition of the wrong translation. Of course, these guys are masturbating with a sack of macadamias, so we shouldn’t expect them to make sense.

    BTW: A force of 3000 has thirty-six KIA and flees in disarray? Probably yet another of the Babble’s notorious mistranslations.

  • I take it the fifth amendment didn’t come from the Bible, then?

  • lofgren

    I was expecting at least a passage expressing similar fears to those reflected by the fourth amendment, like maybe a false accusation, or Pharaoh sprinkling some crack dust on his political enemies. There are some stories in the bible that, if they are not the inspiration for our constitution, are at least rooted in the same concerns. But this claim just makes no sense. I can only guess that Fischer’s rationale is that Joshua only searched Achan’s tent after he had been identified by a witness (in this case, “God,” if that even is his real name, although a good defense attorney could probably rip that testimony to shreds) through a process that roughly resembles a lineup, rather than having his army simply search every tent in the camp for the stolen items. That’s a pretty weak case, though, and I defy Fischer to cite any rabbi or scholar who expressed that understanding of the importance of this passage before the concept of illegal searches had been publicized elsewhere.

    stever, my (limited) understanding of the spear-and-shield fighting methods that would have been in use at this time is that it was pretty easy to tell when your army had been beaten. Holding the line was so crucial to victory that as soon as it was broken you were better off fleeing and regrouping than trying to continue the fight. Even an army of 3000 could be routed by the deaths of 36 if they were the right 36.

  • matty1

    Well I don’t know about anyone else but I’m convinced. Did you also know that the story of Onan is word for word source for the right to an attorney and the date of Presidential elections is based on the phrase “Ahab begat Jehu”?

  • slc1

    Re lofgren @ #7

    I don’t know about that:

    Saul, who hast thy thousands slain,

    Welcome to thy friends again!

    David his ten thousands slew,

    Ten thousand praises are his due!

  • That’ll teach him to plunder more efficiently than the others.

    I thought the whole concept of plunder was theft from conquered people.

    Fischer’s story also explains why whenever a person is convicted of theft his whole family is killed and set on fire.

  • For once I think Fischer is right. Stories like that could certainly explain why the writers of the Constitution kept the Bible entirely out of the document.

  • uzza

    If I was Bryan Fischer I’d be careful about throwing around verses like

    “I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.”