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Why Did God Tell Joshua To Kill The Canaanites?

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by mANTIGER, May 27, 2013.

  1. I was raised a Christian and have always tried to be a good person. I consider Jesus the be the perfect example of how to be good, Jesus would never hurt anyone. However recently an atheist friend told me God was cruel and unloving and used examples from the old testament to prove it. In the old testament God tells Joshua to kill all the Canaanites, including women and children. I have two questions:

    1. Why did God tell Joshua to kill the Canaanites, including innocent children who hadn't done anything? Killing children for the actions of their parents is unjust.

    2. Why didn't God use his omnipotence to teleport the Canaanites away, or send angels down to demonstrate his power so they would live the way he wanted? Didn't he have the power to do these things or did he chose the most violent solution to his problem?

    I hope you can give me some counter arguments to tell my friend, I have been feeling down lately because my faith is very important to me.
  2. Yes our God is a loving God-HOWEVER; WE are in HIS garden and are HIS creation-ALL of us-not just the 'Jews' or 'Christians'

    First you must look at the origin of humankind in Genesis as well as the Deluge AKA: 'Noah's Flood' to begin to deal with the issue at hand. God cleanses/ purges wickedness: He separates the lambs from the goats, the wheat from the tares, good fruit from the bad. And the next cleansing will be when Jesus Christ returns.

    So to address you question-the Canaanites where brought forth from the seed of Adam through Noah and had strayed from the ways of God as did many peoples that came from the loins of Noah's sons. They had the opportunity to follow the LORD and chose not too...

    Thus, when Gos chose the people the 'Hebrews' to be His shining example 'set on a hill'; God chose to purge the people in the 'Land of Milk and Honey'/ 'The Promised Land' for the Hebrews/ Jews. That was the task appointed unto Joshua-God used Joshua to purge the promised land for the 'chosen sons of Israel'.

    The next purge will be worldwide and much more ghastly....in my opinion. And mankind has been sufficiently warned from our loving God: "REPENT! For the Kingdom of Heaven IS at hand!"

    As Christians; part of the message is to warn of Christ's pending return and final purge of this earth.
  3. This is too complex a subject for me to dig into in the few minutes before I have to go to work, but your atheist friend makes a logical argument from an atheist perspective. He does not, however, understand what God's design for creation is. It is God's creation which He designed for His purposes, and we must understand what He does with it from that perspective.
  4. I see it quite differently: While the Hebrews were still getting God's fuller instructions about the Ten Commandments and the laws for a Hebrew nation (probably while still camped around Sinai), God through Jesus (the 'Angel' in the earlier chapters 20~23) had this proposition to the Hebrews concerning Canaan:

    Clearly, they did not listen well.

    * destroy=hâmam
    A primitive root (compare H1949, H1993); properly to put in commotion; by implication to disturb, drive, destroy: - break, consume, crush, destroy, discomfit, trouble, vex.

    In verse 29, God says "drive them out" again to repeat His meaning.
  5. The real question is: why do we receive the grace to live? the soul that sins, it shall die.
  6. Hi Mantiger.

    Don't expect an atheist to judge God fairly. Expect half truths and biasedness. You will answer this question only to face a million more like it. The problem / difference is at his and your core. Ie the heart. A Christian knows that God is good and impartial (Psalms 136:1, Acts 10:34). The God haters judge God as evil no matter what the event.

    The most common example would be the Egyptians and the murder of all the first born.

    Biased God hater = God is all powerful + God killed the firstborn + God plagued innocent people = God is evil.
    Unbiased Christian = God is all powerful + God killed the firstborn + God plagued innocent people + God warned them many times + God sent plagues at increasing levels of severity + All the babies and children go straight to heaven + God relents from sending calamity (Jonah 4:2) = God is good.

    Another common atheist attack on God is quoting Numbers 31, the war with the Midianites. Many Christians do likewise. They say they only like God of the NT and not the God of the OT. The thing is, God has not changed. We just need to pass judgement with all the facts...duh? If we read Numbers 25 we better grasp the reason for Numbers 31.

    Now lets look closer at your Joshua example. The Jews have miraculously escaped Egypt (albeit they all died in the desert and needed time to regain strength :oops:). Knowledge of how God is ''with them'' has spread everywhere!!!! They are miraculously lead to Jericho over a dry Jordan river. There is now NO doubt that God is with them. The Canaanite lady in Jericho that helps them believes firmly that God has given them the land of the Canaanites. Now it should be painfully obvious to all that whoever stands in the way of the Jews, opposes God. Do you honestly think the Jews were beyond reason and negotiation? They are a God-fearing people! They have good morals. They live by good laws. Any God-fearing nation would welcome them with open arms! Hence, if God gave them an order to destroy Jericho, it was and is because the people of Jericho and whomever else did not submit to God's will. The fact that God had to literally help and protect the Jews should be an obvious answer to all Christians. God chose the Jews for a reason. Nobody was going to kill their bloodline and only those whose father is the devil would oppose them.

    Now atheists harp on the ''God is so bad'' nonsense because they see a God who kills. Newsflash, everyone is going to die. We have no control over that date. But we do have control over where we go when we do die. God does not send anyone to hell unless they fully reject Him / there is no hope of them ever submitting to Him. God loves everyone. God wanted the Canaanites to get on peacefully with the Jews. Are you really that surprised to hear God haters stop at 'God kills'? I am not. The devil did exactly the same with Jesus. Jump, angels will catch you...he purposely avoided using the scripture saying you must not tempt God....hence explain to the atheists that they cannot take one scripture, or one chapter and ignore the entire bible.

    Literal answers would be to 1. Only unjust if the kids go to hell. Fortunately God is good and intelligent not evil and dumb. 2. Because that's what life on earth is all about! submit to God and His will or don't. Don't confuse an evil earth with heaven!
  7. The LOve of God!
  8. We will have to go back to the original comeent from God to answer your question. Before I say anything, I want you to remember that today's liberal seeker thinks God is mean and blood thirsty and will not accept the thought that God would kill anyone much less a whole nation. The call from God went first to Moses.


    Deuteronomy 7:1-2
    King James Version (KJV)
    "When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them".

    Deut. 20:15-18
    "Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations. But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee: That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the Lord your God."

    First, the Promised Land belonged to God before the Canaanites established temporary residency there. It had always been his plan to give this land to the descendants of Abraham: "In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here" (Gen 15:16a). The Lord did not take from the Canaanites that which was "theirs"—he reclaimed that which was his according to his foreordained purposes.

    Second, the Canaanites lived in wicked rebellion against the will and purposes of God. The Lord had predicted that Abraham's descendants would claim the land when "the sin of the Amorites" reached its "full measure" (Gen 15:16b). This "full measure" of sin was attained by the Canaanites in the generation leading to the Jewish conquest.
    Moses warned his people about these sins they would encounter upon entering the Promised Land: "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead" (Deut 18:10-11).

    He stated that anyone who practices such sins is "detestable to the Lord," and explained that "because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you" (v. 12). Those who were conquered by Joshua and his armies were not innocent victims, but wicked sinners who received the judgment their transgressions had warranted.


    Me thinks you have been watching to much Star Trek.
    The blood retribution practiced by ancient tribal culture required the Jewish armies to destroy not only the soldiers of their enemies, but their families as well. This was the normal way of life in that day. So long as one member of a family remained, that person was bound by cultural law to attempt retribution against the enemies of his people. Such unrest and hostility would have persisted throughout the nation's history, with no possibility of peace in the land. What appears to be genocide was actually the way wars were typically prosecuted.
    God does not change. But his purposes are fulfilled in different ways at different times in redemptive history. Justice required retribution against the sinful Canaanite civilization. And his salvation plan required a purified nation through whom he could bring the Messiah of all mankind. When Christ came, Joshua's leadership of conflict and conquest was fulfilled.
    KingJ likes this.
  9. mANTIGER,
    There is a long list of possible answers for your question but since you're dealing with a man of the world and his Spiritual Eyes are still closed, almost all of them will fall on deaf ears. Where you might be able to open a conversation is in the area of Archeology. It has been almost forever since I dug into this but what was found in the digs is that the people of Canaan were riddled with STDs. They, being an unholy people they engaged in sex with their children and their livestock. As you can surmise, this will deal with both issues. He did not want the Jews to inter marry with these and if God placed them elsewhere, the problem still needed a solution and almost daily grew worse.

    Engage him in conversation but do your best to steer it into the Spiritual Realm. God bless.
    Major and Dirtyrottensinner say Amen and like this.
  10. Thanks for the replies everyone, you have told me a lot I didn't know.

    I now understand that the Canaanites were doing bad sins. What I don't understand is why God couldn't have persuaded the Canaanites to stop sinning without using violence, after all he is omnipotent. I also don't understand why God wanted the baby Canaanites killed, why didn't he tell Joshua to adopt them?

    If God is omnipotent he could have 'purged' the promised land without violence. Why did he chose to use violence?

    I accept that we can't understand God's will, but it would be wrong to just blindly obey him. Wouldn't it be more moral for a Christian to disobey God with good intentions than to obey God for selfish reasons such as getting into heaven?
  11. Throwing out my opinion here. as th1bill said, the canaanites were sinners, and as according to him they found they had STD's ( probably a lot of the children too )
    Lets say God cleansed them of their disease, and told them to sin no more.
    also keeping in mind what happened to the city of Sodom ( would that have been any better? )
    The canaanites would eventually fall back into sin, the problem isn't solved.
    And as Rusty stated if you look at proper translations he told them to ''Drive them out''
    So that is slightly less barbaric than your friend made it out to be.

  12. Well; you can try to debate God-and you can chose to disobey God. People do it all the time. See....look at how the world has become.

    I on the other hand have no place to question or ask God 'why' since I am His creation. Should God chose to enlighten me through His Word-so be it. Thank you LORD. Forgive me a sinner oh God.

    Who says God didn't warn them>>>>>maybe they chose to disobey God too......? Just saying. Just because it is NOT in the Bible, doesn't mean it didn't happen. BUT since we rely on the scripture-we have to blindly follow what God has given us in faith and choice.

    We can't preach speculation as fact; but in the nature of God-Jesus Christ; I would hedge my bets that the Canaanites had their chance to repent and refused to do so. God punished the nation of Israel for sin; what make anybody else so special?
  13. One other possibility over looked and so far not mentioned, is the continual corruption of pure human DNA through the Nephilim. When we read of complete cities and whole populations destroyed by Gods command and hand, then you have to consider this possibility and plausible explanation.
    Mr. Darby likes this.
  14. Does God, who is Holy, do evil? Disobedience to God is never the moral choice by definition of morality unless we believe that God is not Holy. The question you are asking is a complicated one. I can offer one possible insight into God's purpose, but remember we are finite minds looking out and trying to comprehend the infinite. Consider what would happen if your hand got caught in on of those tree shredders. Would you rather lose your hand, or allow your body to be pulled through? I could be wrong, but I believe that is the choice Joshua was given. Either cut off a part that is being pulled to Hell for the sake of the body, or watch as the entire body is pulled through.

    Honestly, don't stand toe to toe and argue with your Atheist friend. This is rarely productive. They don't believe in the Bible, and so any understanding we have of God is also not going to be believed. Instead, simply live as an example. Don't fight the internet-fueled logic. Instead, demonstrate a better way to love.
    Major likes this.
  15. I think the point here is being missed by miles.
    God told Joshua to wipe out/drive out the Canaanites because there was absolutely no way
    to coexist with them. If you understand the culture of those peoples at that time, thievery and murder were
    common practice. Even discounting the fact that they were diseased devil worshippers, how does one
    live next to people who will steal your livestock and crops at every opportunity and kill you for complaining?
    To have any sort of peace you must remove the source of conflict.
    th1bill and Major say Amen and like this.
  16. Correct!

    Romans 1:18 applies to them as well to all others............

    "For the wrath of God is reavealed from heaven against ALL unrighteousness and ungodliness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness because that which may be known of God is manifest IN THEM for God hath showed it unto them"!!!

    In order to express His nature of holiness, truth and justice, He must punish sin. Since sin personally offends God, no one should be surprised that sin makes God angry. To deny the anger of God is to reject the necessity of Christ's reconciling work on the cross. God's wrath is revealed both in nature and in the Scriptures.
  17. Hello Banarenth!! I have not heard anything from you in awhile. Good to know you are still reading posts.
  18. Agricola, Please, please....please do not go into an explination of the "Nephilim". We have been there many times and it always closes a thread.
    Rusty and Dirtyrottensinner say Amen and like this.

  19. Read, yes. I check in periodically, but I rarely have had the free time to dedicate to responding. Since I'm finished with school and nothing else has claimed my time (for now), I may be a bit more active here and there.

  20. I intentionally chose to bypass the reference. It would be out of place in this topic, and I've never quite understood why it is always such a controversial topic. It always seems to turn into a conspiracy/Illuminati/bigfoot discussion for some reason.
    Rusty likes this.

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