Cruelty In The Bible?
God really tell them to exterminate seven nations?
THE CLAIMED CRUELTY:
After the Exodus he ordered the Israelites to exterminate
the men, women, and children of seven nations and steal their land (Deuteronomy
Should evil be stopped? Should evil be
punished? Or should those who do evil be allowed to continue? What do you think?
If there is justice... yes, those who do evil should be stopped and punished...
whether they are individuals or nations.
So... what does Deuteronomy
When the Lord
your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears
away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites
and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven
nations greater and stronger than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them
before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall
make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. - Deuteronomy 7:1-2
is telling Israel; to go into the land that was generally known as Canaan, and
He will clear away the nations that are living in that land, using the Israelite
to utterly destroy them. Why does God do that? The answer in in Deuteronomy 9
in which God makes it clear that He is not giving Israel; this l;and because they
are such good (righteous) people, but because the people living there are wicked.:
Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has
driven them out before you, "Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought
me in to possess this land," but it is because of the wickedness of these
nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. It is not for your righteousness
or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land,
but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is
driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the Lord swore
to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
then, it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving
you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people. - Deuteronomy
God makes His point very clear with repetition.
This has nothing to do with you Israel. You have done nothing to deserve
this land. You are not righteous. He is doing this because the people who live
there are so wicked and must receive what is due them for their wickedness. Evil
must be punished, and the time has come for this evil to be punished.
500 years before this God told Abraham that the people living in what
would be Canaan were evil, and their wickedness would increase. They were evil
people, but God was going to wait, giving them over 500 years to change their
ways. What incredible grace and mercy!
said to Abram, Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers
in a land that is not theirs, [Egypt] where
they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge
the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.
As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good
old age. Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity
of the Amorite is not yet complete. - Genesis 15:13-16
tells Abraham exactly what will happen, giving him a summary of what is coming.
The Amorites were the major tribe living in what would be Canaan, and God reveals
that they are evil, and that their wickedness will not decrease, but will grow.
They will have 500 years to change their ways, but they won't.
So was God's
plan to utterly destroy the people living in the land of Canaan cruel or harsh?
at all. It was incredibly merciful. They were wicked. In His incredible patience,
love and mercy God had given them over 500 years to change their ways, but they
had only grown more wicked. And while God was giving them time to change their
ways, the Israelites were waiting... held in captivity as slaves in Egypt.
God's patience comes to end. It's been a long, long time and the only change has
been that they gotten worse. It is time to bring the evil to an end. The evil
must be utterly destroyed, and God plans to use Israel. But notice in Deuteronomy
7:1-2, those evil nations are much stronger and more powerful than Israel. It
is God who will bring victory. Israel cannot take any credit for defeating them.
God is not cruel, He was incredibly patient, full of grace and mercy. And the
final judgment, utter destruction, was the just and fair consequence of their
Next example: He killed King Davids
baby because of Davids adultery with Bathsheba (II Samuel 12:13-18);
here to learn what God was doing...