Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thoughts on the Conquest of Canaan

Reading through Joshua, and commentary on it from here. Commenting on the Israelite conquest of the Promised Land and the total destruction of its inhabitants, Hamilton writes:

"If one follows the inner logic of the theology of the Bible, the destruction of the peoples of the land is not unjust. Because of their wickedness (Deut. 9:5), Yahweh commands Israel to place them under the ban lest their idolatry be contagious (20:16-18). Just as Yahweh making himself known was the most significant thing about the destruction of Egypt, so also the demonstration of Yahweh's holiness is the most significant thing about the ban on the Canaanites. The conquest will be seen as a brutal, uncivilized, merciless atrocity only if we reject what the first five chapters of Joshua proclaim: that Yahweh is glorifying himself in the salvation of Israel wrought through the judgment they visit on the peoples of the land. Yahweh is showing astonishing mercy to Israel, and he is not clearing the guilty of the land (cf. Ex. 34:6-7)." (kindle location 3350; see also this from Fred Butler)

I want to make two comments, and y'all can discuss amongst yourselves.
1) If the Torah is true, then (per the above quote) we shouldn't object to the conquest of Canaan.
2) If it's not true, then we really shouldn't object to the conquest of Canaan.


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