The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.
Genocide or Hyperbole? Another Look at the Conquest Narrative in Joshua
The references in Joshua 10 and 11 to the extermination of the Canaanites pose a problem for believers, and not just because they are used by atheists to justify their assertion that the God of the Old Testament is a “tribal, vicious, genocidal deity” that no civilised person should respect, much less worship. There is a problem arising from the fact that in the later chapters of Joshua and the early chapters of Judges, we see clear Biblical evidence that far from being wiped off the face of the Earth, the Canaanites were in fact alive and providing considerable opposition to the Israelites. While some Biblical contradictions are the product of a tendentious reading of the text that ignores context and genre, a literal reading of Joshua 10-11 stands in marked tension with the later chapters of Joshua and Judges. This tension in the text itself, let alone the moral problem of exterminating innocent children, is one which requires attention.
The Canaanites and the Justice of God
The God of Israel is sometimes criticized as being a cruel God for instructing Israel to destroy utterly the inhabitants of Canaan as they entered the Promised Land. Superficially, this criticism may appear to be justified. The searching question is asked, Is this the manner of a loving and compassionate God? Surprisingly to many, the answer must be, Yes, it is, and the discoveries of archaeologists show us why the Canaanites had to be destroyed.
Were The Black Races Cursed by God?
It is a common myth that the Bible, specifically in Genesis 9, condones the enslavement of the African races, and implies that the black races are inferior. Genesis 9 was used in the days of the black slave trade by supposed Christians who wished to justify their horrible treatment of African peoples. However, their interpretation of this passage was a flagrant misuse of Scripture, a misuse of Scripture that unfortunately continues to this day in some quarters. This incorrect interpretation has caused much tragedy and suffering among the African races, and we need to put it to rest immediately. Following an immoral incident involving Ham and perhaps his son Canaan, Genesis 9 describes how Canaan is cursed by Noah:
Canaanite Theology Smashed
An analysis of the surrounding religious beliefs of the early Canaanite tribes at the time of the Exodus indicates that the one true God chose to reveal Himself in language which clearly alluded to the surrounding theological ideas. It has been shown that ‘El’ was the name of the most powerful Canaanite god in the plurality of deities which the Canaanites worshipped¹. The characteristics of Yahweh God of Israel are almost identical to the language of the day used to describe the Canaanite deity ‘El’². For example, ‘El’ married the prostitute Asarte, as Yahweh married the prostitute Israel (Hosea 3:1); and most noteworthy of all ‘El’ sacrificed his own son³. Significantly, ‘El’ is one of the titles which God uses for Himself in His word. Arthur Gibson points out that the name ‘Yahweh’ has similarities with the Amorite god Ya-Wi, and the Ugarit god Yahaninu⁴. So here is clear evidence that God reveals Himself in the language of the day in order to demonstrate, by the very fact of His evident superiority, that these other deities to whom He alludes did not exist; Yahweh was the true ‘El’. Those gods with similar names were nothing compared to the true Yahweh El.
Laish and the Manner of the Zidonians
The Israelites having made this successful inroad into the land of Canaan, divided it amongst the Tribes. But the Canaanites, though panic-struck at their first approach, soon began to take heart, and the covetous policy of Israel (a policy which dictated attention to present pecuniary profits, no matter at what eventual cost to the great moral interests of the Commonwealth) had satisfied itself with making them tributaries, contrary to the command of God, that they should be driven out (Exodus 23:31); and, accordingly, they were suffered, as it was promised, to become thorns in Israel’s side, always vexing, often resisting, and sometimes oppressing them for many years together.
Facts Christians Should Know About The Bible’s “Canaanite Genocide"
[In Deuteronomy 20:17], God commanded the ancient Israelites to “utterly destroy” the Canaanites, among other peoples. And the disappearance of the the latter group from history suggested some truth to the story.
The descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham. Migrating from their original home, they seem to have reached the Persian Gulf, and to have there sojourned for some time. They thence “spread to the west, across the mountain chain of Lebanon to the very edge of the Mediterranean Sea, occupying all the land which later became Palestine, also to the north-west as far as the mountain chain of Taurus. This group was very numerous, and broken up into a great many peoples, as we can judge from the list of nations (Genesis 10), the ‘sons of Canaan.’” Six different tribes are mentioned in Exodus 3:8, 17; 23:23; 33:2; 34:11. In Exodus 13:5 the “Perizzites” are omitted. The “Girgashites” are mentioned in addition to the foregoing in Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 3:10.
kā ́nan, kā ́nan-īts (כּנען, kena‛an; Χαναάν, Chanaán):