In the next issue of Philosophia Christi, I will be revisiting the topic of Yahweh wars and the killing of the Canaanites. This article appears with two essays critical of the divine command to kill the Canaanites. This journal’s issue also contains articles discussing the topic of the moral status of Canaanite society and its religious practices as well as the alleged negative influence of religion. (To see abstracts of the articles, go here.)

The abstract for my article is as follows:

The divine command to kill the Canaanites is the most problematic of all Old Testament ethical issues. This article responds to challenges raised by Wes Morriston and Randal Rauser. It argues that biblical and extrabiblical evidence suggests that the Canaanites who were killed were combatants rather than noncombatants (“Scenario 1”) and that, given the profound moral corruption of Canaan, this divinely-directed act was just. Even if it turns out that noncombatants were directly targeted (“Scenario 2”), the overarching Old Testament narrative is directed toward the salvation of all nations–including the Canaanites.

My article is available here.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    57 replies to "Yahweh Wars and the Canaanites: Divinely-Mandated Genocide or Corporate Capital Punishment? Response to Critics"

    • JIm

      As I have thought though this subject which repells many a skeptic , here is what I see, and is my answer for now ….
      1. All of us are under the judgement of God, we are born sinners.
      If a person who comes into the age of accountability and dies without Christ, he will die in his sin.
      2. The caananites were given 400 years to repent, I liked the reference to SOdom and Gommorah above, the society must have been completley corrupt. We are given many years to repent, is God unjust for judging us when we die unrepentant?
      3. If you study that society, they were absolutly corrupt, and was under the judgement of God, Leviticus 18:1-30, they even offered their own children as sacrifices. [Its strange how those who cry out about this also support abortion, see any hypocracy there?]
      4. Another thought about the civilizations over there, and is still practiced today is that children are often used as combatants, what would you do if you were a soldier looking down the barrel of an Ak-47 being held by a 13 year old soldier? was God warning them about this? and telling them how to respond?
      5. The Hebrews had to be a pure race so the line of the Messiah would not be corrupted, the temptation to intermarry with the surviving cannanites was to great, and also the temptation for potential Idolitry, The Gentile women who would later be in the line of the Messiah were Converted befor marraige.
      6. God is the Potter, we are the clay, He is the Soviergn ruler, He does not answer to us, He calls all people to repent, and it is appointed unto man once to die, after this the judgement.
      7.Man puts himself in the “righteousness seat” and picks and chooses what he likes about God and refuses to thuroghly investigate what he doesnt understand, when I have a question about science, or car repair, or whatever, I read what the experts have written, ie a science book, or repair manuel. many of these skeptics ignore the commentaries and theology books written by hundreds of men who have thouhgt about these things. or they refuse every answer because the real problem is not an intellectual one, its a heart problem.
      8. I do not think that the command was completley carried out, some peoples surrendured, [Joshua] and were spared, some fled, others were spared, Numbers 31:18, the “little ones” v.17. can be interpreted as young, how old is young?
      9. if a child dies befor the age of accountability, he goes to Heaven, it may have been better for those children to die and be taken to Heaven than to later be infected by their apostate stepparents, the Jews who often drifted away from God.

    • #John1453

      Re post 52 by Jlm

      Your point 5 does not work as a justification for the killing of the nations, because the fact is that the line of the Messiah did not remain pure. In addition to the general descriptions of intermarriage in the Bible, there are three specific non-Jews listed in the geneology of Jesus through His mother Mary: Rahab the Canaanite, Ruth the Moabite, and Bathsheba the Hittite. If it factually the line of the Messiah did not remain pure, then it could not have been a necessary requirement that it remain pure. So your point 5 fails as a reason to justify the killing of the nations.


    • EricW

      Also re: point #5, it’s possible that a large number (perhaps even the majority?) of those who came out of Egypt, and hence stood at the foot of Sinai when the law was given and the covenant was offered and agreed to, were not descendants of Jacob, but were sympathetic Egyptians – i.e., the mixed multitude.

    • Henry

      Do we really want to allow the old rules or “law”s of the Old Testament, to remain in force? Remember, the God in the Old Testament mandated the death penalty for those who worked or collected food, on a Sabbath, etc…

      Perhaps it is better to say that the New Testament and Jesus intervened between us and that God, for us; and hope that the old laws are no longer in force.

      Which would mean that the laws of God have been changed.

    • Grant

      Hi all, I’d just like to add some truth here which is not directly related to the topic (my apologies for that). I noticed some commentaries here believe that Jesus is God (Yahweh or Jehovah) the following is worth reading and considering….

      Subject: The trinity explained simply

      The trinity teaches that God asked himself to go to earth to save mankind.
      Then he agreed with himself and volunteered himself to himself to offer himself.
      Then God impregnated a woman as himself, with himself.
      God prayed to himself and glorified himself repeatedly.
      God strengthened himself and talked to himself.
      Finally God forsook himself and sacrificed himself to prove his loyalty to himself.
      While dead he resurrected himself so he could exalt himself above himself.
      Then he sat at his own right hand and waited till he placed his enemies as a footstool
      Finally with Satan’s forces defeated, God would turn his kingdom over to himself
      That all things would become everything to himself.

      • Ed Kratz

        Hello, Grant. Thanks for your comments, although these don’t strike me as serious objections to the doctrines of the Incarnation and Trinity. Have you actually looked at defenses of the Incarnation and Trinity? I’ve written on the topic at my website, *Is the Trinity a Theological Blunder?* and *Did God Become a Jew?* Have a look and feel free to email through my website, and we can carry on the conversation—-if you’re truly interested.

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