The Goodness of a Loving God: More Hardened Hearts (Josh. 11:16-20)

As we’ve seen previously, Joshua and the Israelites conquered the promised land with very little regard to the people already living there. That, of course, is a little too kind. Joshua and the Israelites repeatedly wiped out whoever was in their way, including women and children. In Joshua 11 we are treated to another conquest, this time of the Northern Kingdoms. And once again they kill everyone:

10 At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. (Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms.) 11 Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed[a] them, not sparing anyone that breathed, and he burned Hazor itself.

12 Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded. 13 Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned. 14 The Israelites carried off for themselves all the plunder and livestock of these cities, but all the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed. 15 As the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.  (Josh. 11:10-15)

Wowzers. Yes, God did command Moses (and Joshua) to take the promised land and to pretty much kill everyone that stood in their way. What’s even more disturbing is that he deliberately violated the slaughtered’s free will so that the Israelites would have to murder them:

20 For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses. (Josh. 11:20)

This happened earlier in Exodus when God hardened Pharoah’s heart, which guaranteed the (innocent) first born of Egypt would die. Direct interference like this certainly gives some credence to the Calvinist doctrine of predestination.

As we’ve seen, Yahweh is nothing more than a tribal God. He’s petty, jealous, and vengeful. This account, the plagues from the Exodus, and the flood are incompatible with modern Christianity’s perfect loving God who wants all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). It takes some serious mental hoop jumping to reason otherwise.

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