Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Why Did God Call For The Extermination Of The Canaanite People?

God commanded His people, the Israelites, to exterminate "whole peoples"-the Canaanites in particular. God issued this command not because He is cruel and vindictive, but because the Canaanites were so horribly evil, oppressive, and cancerous to society that-as with a human cancer-the only option was complete removal. To not "excise" the gangrenous Canaanites would amount to dooming Israel and all the righteous of the earth to suffer a slow death (see Deuteronomy 20:16-18). The Canaanites regularly burned their children in worship of false gods, engaged in sex with animals, and practiced all kinds of loathsome vices (see Leviticus 18:21, 23-24; 20:3).

The Canaanites had plenty of time to repent. The biblical pattern-indeed, God's promise-is that when nations repent, God withholds judgement (see Jeremiah 18:7-8). The principle is clearly illustrated for us in the case of Nineveh (Jonah 3).

The Canaanites were not acting blindly. They had heard of the God of the Israelites and knew what was expected of them, but they defied Him and continued in their sinful ways. They were ripe for judgement. God, as the absolutely sovereign Ruler over affairs of life and death, maintains the right to take life when circumstances call for it.

Ron Rhodes, 5-Minute Apologetics for Today, p. 44


  1. Agreed. And yet this is one of the most commonly cited "proofs" that God is "cruel". Sad.

  2. I've shared this post.

  3. Bible Haters will try to use the argument that God called for the rape of the midianite virgin damsels in Numbers 31. Even though that's not what the texts says. Nowhere in that passage does God tell the Israelites to rape the girls. Remember in Numbers 25 the Moabite women seduced Israel to commit whoredom and Idolatry through their wiles. This caused a great plague to break out in Israel. This is what I want to ask the bible skeptics, what would you have asked Israel to do. Kill the virgin girls? Leave them alone in the land to starve to death?