“KILL THEM! KILL THEM ALL!”
That doesn’t sound like Jesus to me.
“Feed them! Feed them all!”
Now that sounds like Jesus, and presumably his Father, whom he said he reflected: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!” (John 14:8)
But “Kill them” is pretty much what the Bible says God told Joshua to do to Canaanites when Jews invaded what is now Israel.
“Destroy every living thing” (Deuteronomy 20:16 NLT).
Moses explained why:
“This will prevent the people of the land from teaching you to imitate their detestable customs in the worship of their gods” (Deuteronomy 20:18).
Well that’s true enough. It’s hard to imitate a dead guy for any length of time.
Fact is, as the Bible tells it, the Jews didn’t kill all the Canaanites. And in time the Jews adopted Canaan’s pagan gods, which some scholars speculate featured temple prostitution and child sacrifice. Both practices certainly qualify as “detestable.” But detestable enough to justify wiping out an entire race?
Christians who think for themselves struggle with this story. A few responses:
- Believe it. Argue that God’s ways are higher than our ways.
- File it under “Pending.” Plan to discuss it with God in the next life.
- Doubt it. Argue that the anonymous writer much have gotten the history wrong, or some editor messed it up royally.
Care to weigh in on this?
My pastor will be preaching a sermon about this on Sunday. Better him than me.
His sermon will get posted online. I’d be happy to share the link once it becomes available next week, for any who would like to see it.