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Was there a genocide of the Canaanites?


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#21 Fortigurn

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 04:02 AM

Yes, although a skeptic would argue that Amalekites were left because Saul didn't complete the genocide commanded.


But then he bears the unfortunate burden of having to prove firstly that the language used should not be read according to its literary background, and secondly that the language should be read in an entirely different way.

God commands Joshua to (hyperbolically) destroy all - Joshua defeats the Canaanites, kills their kings, burns their cities and is said to have done as God commanded even though many Canaanites survived and regrouped.


Actually Israel is said elsewhere not to have done as God commanded; we're told repeatedly that they failed to drive out these Canaanites, or failed to overcome these Canaanites.

God commands Saul to (hyperbolically) destroy Amalek - Joshua defeats the Amalekites, keeps their king alive, takes their goods and is said to have NOT done as God commands, again many Amalekites survive.


But the thing which was not done as God commanded in this case was destruction of the cattle, not destruction of the people. He wasn't condemned for not having wiped out every last Amalekite.

The difference between the two has nothing to do with the completeness of the supposed genocide - it's to do with not listening to what God wants and instead taking prisoners and spoil for yourself.


I agree with that, I just don't see how it affects the proposed reading.

#22 Davvers

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 05:25 AM

I agree with that, I just don't see how it affects the proposed reading.

It just helps to reconcile one victory with survivors which is commended with another victory with survivors that is not - that's all - doesn't affect the proposed reading

D

#23 Mercia2

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 02:48 PM

Yes, although a skeptic would argue that Amalekites were left because Saul didn't complete the genocide commanded.

Is it surely not plainly obvious that above sentance should read.... that doubts were left because Saul didn't complete the total eradication of them as commanded.
"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#24 Mercia2

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 02:51 PM

And we would also add that layer of understanding to the incident, but we'd do so without denying that it was still an account of what happened, written in a style commensurate with the age.

I used to believe that as well but how does that stack up with the Word of God elsewhere which is clearly purely metaphorical, i.e "eat my flesh and drink my blood", these things are said to teach us something about reading moral absurdities literally, i.e that we shouldnt. Yes, there may have been a genocide of Amalak, but no I do not believe God commanded it in the literal sense, I believe He commanded Saul to eradicate the doubts of his mind.
"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#25 Mercia2

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 02:54 PM

The more you dig I believe you will find intentional absurdites in the literal sense which will force you to abandon it entirely for the spiritual sense. Genesis creation account is one good example, only this process can take years. But I will be happy to be proven wrong. I might be wrong because any society that practises child sacrifice should be destroyed.

Edited by Mercia2, 23 December 2010 - 03:00 PM.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#26 Juliashmoolia

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 05:36 PM

Your methodology is that whenever the literal interpretation makes god look nasty, then one is free to interpret text as figurative/metaphoric/hyperbolic.


That isn't true. Interpretations other than the literal are not simply an easy get out, and they cannot be applied arbitrarily.



Of course they’re not simply an easy get out - no doubt to you they’re much more than that. Some of you now claim the creation story in Genesis is metaphoric, for example. It’s easier and more convenient to view it as a metaphor and avoid the tricky questions that the literal interpretation raises altogether. But I accept these aren’t the reasons you would give for why you’ve changed to the figurative view - nevertheless you can’t escape that it does allow you to avoid some tricky questions.

In this case they are not being applied arbitrarily.


I agree. It’s being applied out of necessity and with good reason. The necessity being that to view it as literal would not be in accordance with god’s self-claimed loving character. And the reason being there are contradictions further on that come in handy to support the idea that its hyperbole.

The text is being treated as academics treat any other analogous Ancient Near Eastern text.


Most people throughout history who have read the bible aren’t academics and wouldn't have a hope of knowing this. How are they supposed to know that ANE’s text is prone to exaggeration?

You are free to present a rational and evidence based argument as to why this text should be treated uniquely, instead of according to standard academic practice.


I don’t think it should be treated uniquely. I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be taken literally, just like lots of the stories in the bible. That there are contradictions further on is unfortunate, but no reason to treat it anything other than literal.

It was clear when Jesus was telling a parable, so why can’t god state here that it’s not literal and that he’s exaggerating. Especially when he knows not doing so is going to lead so many people astray.

(And if that also makes god look nasty, then simply refer to handy escape clause - god knows everything, we don't, therefore even his apparent nasty actions can be called good)


If you see anyone here doing that, do let me know.

Why doesn’t it say somewhere that it’s not meant to be taken literally?


For exactly the same reason that the Hittites, Assyrians, and Egyptians didn't need to 'say somewhere that it's not meant to be taken literally'. They understood their own language and literary forms. It's not their problem if you don't.


God was in control of what was and what wasn’t written in the book. But he failed to specify which all the non-literal parts. So naturally, people read it literally and conclude he’s a brute.

If it was never intended, why has god been quite content to have people stop believing, for the small crime of having no idea that it wasn’t meant to be taken literally?


What people choose to believe on the basis of their own lack of knowledge is their own business. It's not God's fault that He left a record saying 'Actually they weren't all destroyed', and people read it as saying 'Oh, this means they were all destroyed!'.


The record he left does not say ‘actually they weren’t all destroyed’. If your astute enough to pick up that there are contradictuions, you're still left with the task of trying to work out who is telling the truth. Is it wrong to conclude that because god commanded them to completely destroy them and the record says they were completely destroyed then this must be what happened?

I don’t think that it’s obvious that it’s hyperbole and lots of people over the ages haven’t thought it obvious that it’s hyperbole.


If you had any relevant academic credentials, and if you had made a rational case on the basis of actual evidence, with appropriate reference to the standard scholarly literature on the subject, your opinion would be worth taking seriously. You don't; it isn't. As for 'lots of people over the ages haven’t thought it obvious that it’s hyperbole', so what? That is not an argument for or against the interpretation presented here, it's just indicative of what a lot of people thought.


God knew a lot of people would think that. He knew a lot of people would come to the conclusion that he’s a genocidal maniac (and who would blame them?) Should we expect God to exaggerate and use hyperbole? If he doesn't want any to perish, why obsfucate the truth?

I mean, why did god even need to use hyperbole? What would be the problem with just telling it like it is, without exaggerating? People have stopped believing because of this account - why did he deliberately mislead them? What’s wrong with just being honest about what happened?


If you read the thread, you'll find all those questions answered.


Can you point me to the answer as to why god needed to use hyperbole to deliberately obfuscate the issue.

In particular you will find that the record does not mislead, and that it is honest about what happened. It tells it like it was; it tells us the Canaanites were not all destroyed.


It doesn’t tell it like it was, because it says:
‘they completely destroyed it and everyone in it’
‘he left no survivors’
‘until they exterminated them’

If they weren’t all destroyed then the passage would read something like this:
‘they pretty much completely destroyed it and nearly everyone in it’
‘he left a few survivors’
‘until they all but exterminated them’

We are told this repeatedly in the record, in language which is not complex. Choosing to ignore those statements and interpret other statements as literal, is simply not intellectually honest.


If it was ‘not complex’, like you claim, I doubt we would be having this conversation.

How are those who don’t have access to ‘relevant scholarly literature’ or know the ‘ANE contexts’ etc, to know which account is correct?

‘they completely destroyed it and everyone in it’, ‘he left no survivors’ and ‘until they exterminated them’ is very unambiguous. It was an act of genocide – how can anyone be at fault for concluding this?
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#27 Juliashmoolia

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 05:58 PM

Hi Julia. :)

Fort's made a substantive reply which covers the points I would have made. I will make a few comments however.

If one simply chose to interpret parts of the Bible as non-literal / parabolic / hyperbolic solely to get away from a disturbing conclusion arising from the literal reading, then there may be some validity to what you say. However, the main motivation which I pointed out was that there is a flat-out contradiction between Josh 10-11 which describe the total extermination of the Caananites by Joshua's army, and the later chapters of Joshua and Judges which describe those exact areas as being populated by Caananites who posed a problem for Israel. Either one assumes the compilers of Joshua and Judges were incapable of recognising a contradiction within the space of a few chapters, or something else is going on in the text. This tension has been noted for some time by Biblical scholars - it is hardly new.


Why would god write it like that? Why would he deliberately want people upon reading it to conclude that he commanded genocide? Why be hyperbolic? Why not just tell it without exaggerating so that people who haven’t access to the ‘scholarly’ stuff or who aren’t educated don’t get the wrong message?

Not all the Bible is meant to be interpreted literally, and one does not need to be an OT / NT scholar to perceive this. However, what ANE scholarship has shown is that this motif of hyperbole was quite common in the world in which the ancient Israelites lived. They were aware of it, and they used it. Once again, we need to remember that the Bible was originally written not for 21st century people, but those who lived anywhere between 2000 to 3500 years ago. We simply can't expect to read the Bible with modern eyes, fail to understand a subtle point because we interpret a parabolic or hyperbolic statement as literal, then declare that the God of the Bible is morally repugnant because of a failure to recognise that principle.


It’s not about failing to recognise principles here Ken. It’s a failure to ever imagine that god would exaggerate and flat out mislead.

God knew it was going to be read with modern eyes and that lots of people would not have the tools to understand his ‘subtle’ ‘hyperbolic’ double speak. It’s a deliberate obfuscation of the issue. And if his intention is to save his creation and he doesn’t want any to perish, why do that?

I don't want to trivialise the issue of death and war - it is ugly. Again, failure to appreciate the context can lead to problems. I don't know whether you've read any of Glenn Miller's works (he's a well-respected Christian apologist who takes honest doubters and critics quite seriously). His papers on genocide are complementary to this - let me know what you think of them. You can find them here and here.


Thanks - I read both articles, they are interesting.

If you're the reading type, then I'd recommend these two books to get a handle on the issue of the ANE background to the Bible with respect to interpretation and inspiration:

* The Lost World of Genesis One
* Inspiration and Incarnation

Ken


It’s Christmas so I’m kinda short on cash. But even if I were rich, if god can’t write it properly in the first place I’m sure not going to pay money to someone else in order to try to understand what god could have explained properly in the first place. Sorry.
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#28 Huldah

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 01:04 AM

God isn't a solo-scripturist, and he didn't write it. People did. People from other times and cultures, and in other languages.

Edited by Huldah, 24 December 2010 - 01:04 AM.

"But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4.14

#29 Mercia2

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 04:18 AM

Of course they’re not simply an easy get out - no doubt to you they’re much more than that. Some of you now claim the creation story in Genesis is metaphoric

Metaphoric is not less important it is more important, it is just tranferring/replacing the meaning. Is it more important that we learn how to effectivly commit genocide or how to effectivly remove doubts and stumbling blocks in our mind that bring us closer to God? If, as I believe the creation account is a prophecy of mankind spiritually evolving over 7000 years, would that be less important to us or beneficial and edifying than scientifically knowing God created the world in seven literal days? If you do not care about spiritual matters, then yes, in both of the above examples a literal reading serves to satisfy some idle curiousity but little more (I expect to learn how God really created the world in the future but not now), and in the first example above it is used by many literalist Jews and Christians to justify a modern genocide of Palestinians. Or the less spoken Christadelphian belief that God is literally going to call us to kill all atheists with a literal sword upon Christs return.

Edited by Mercia2, 24 December 2010 - 04:41 AM.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#30 Mercia2

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 04:20 AM

Why would god write it like that? Why would he deliberately want people upon reading it to conclude that he commanded genocide?

Because the immature are only motivated by fear and reward and only respect strength and violence. Many Russians and arab regimesw are still on this level which is why they love their Quran and brutal leaders.

Edited by Mercia2, 24 December 2010 - 04:26 AM.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#31 Mercia2

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 04:27 AM

God knew a lot of people would think that. He knew a lot of people would come to the conclusion that he’s a genocidal maniac (and who would blame them?)


Then they were all tested, and failed.
I blame them. It means you have to accomadate a moral justification for genocide rather than accomodate the idea the Bible is actually a spiritual book and that it is telling us something else.

Edited by Mercia2, 24 December 2010 - 04:44 AM.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#32 Mark Taunton

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 07:58 AM

Ken, I'm sorry to have to say it, but you have made some serious mistakes in this thread, beginning very early on.

The references in Joshua 10 and 11 in which the Israelites utterly exterminate the Caananites pose a problem for believers, and not just because they are used by atheists such as Richard Dawkins to justify their assertion that the God of the OT 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 Caananites were in fact alive and kicking. I have little time for those who talk of Biblical contradictions as they are often the product of a tendentious reading of the text that ignores context and genre, but there is little doubt that a literal reading of Joshua 10-11 is flatly rejected by 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.

Joshua 10 and 11 – in somewhat stereotypical language – reports the utter extermination of a number of Caananite cities:

Even that last statement of yours is not actually true (for a reason I give below), but it is at least closer to the truth than your first. The record does not make the generalisation you made at the outset, but is much more specific:

Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Makkedah to Libnah, and fought against Libnah. The LORD gave it also with its king into the hands of Israel, and he struck it and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor in it. Thus he did to its king just as he had done to the king of Jericho. And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Libnah to Lachish, and they camped by it and fought against it. The LORD gave Lachish into the hands of Israel; and he captured it on the second day, and struck it and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, according to all that he had done to Libnah.

Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish, and Joshua defeated him and his people until he had left him no survivor. And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Lachish to Eglon, and they camped by it and fought against it. They captured it on that day and struck it with the edge of the sword; and he utterly destroyed that day every person who was in it, according to all that he had done to Lachish.

Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron, and they fought against it. They captured it and struck it and its king and all its cities and all the persons who were in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor, according to all that he had done to Eglon. And he utterly destroyed it and every person who was in it.

Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to Debir, and they fought against it.He captured it and its king and all its cities, and they struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed every person who was in it. He left no survivor. Just as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and its king, as he had also done to Libnah and its king. Thus Joshua struck all the land, the hill country and the Negev and the lowland and the slopes and all their kings. He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded.


(emphasis added by me)

Note how in the above description, the phrase "all the land" is immediately qualified as to what it means. It does not cover the entirety of the promised land, but only a specific area of it, the territory which was allotted to Judah.

Additionally, it is important to note that these are not all actually Canaanite cities in any case. Hebron, Lachish and Eglon were ruled by Amorite kings, as Joshua 10:5 & 12 make plain.

Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow at this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire." So Joshua and all the people of war with him came upon them suddenly by the waters of Merom, and attacked them. The LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, so that they defeated them, and pursued them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim and the valley of Mizpeh to the east; and they struck them until no survivor was left to them. Joshua did to them as the LORD had told him; he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire.

Then Joshua turned back at that time, and captured Hazor and struck its king with the sword; for Hazor formerly was the head of all these kingdoms. They struck every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them; there was no one left who breathed. And he burned Hazor with fire. Joshua captured all the cities of these kings, and all their kings, and he struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed them; just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded. However, Israel did not burn any cities that stood on their mounds, except Hazor alone, which Joshua burned. All the spoil of these cities and the cattle, the sons of Israel took as their plunder; but they struck every man with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them. They left no one who breathed. <2>

If one reads these verses as plain narrative, then they do claim that the Israelites exterminated the Caananites.

No they don't. I highlighted the critical words. The record does not claim that Joshua exterminated the Canaanites in their entirety, only that he exterminated the kings and inhabitants of particular cities and areas which are identified, which represent only part of the resident population of the promised land at that time. Besides that, there is the fact that some of the enemy nations also occupied lands beyond the boundaries of the promised land itself. Thus, although many cities in the land were indeed made completely devoid of their former inhabitants - exactly as the record says, no hyperbole need be supposed - it does not follow that this constituted total genocide for those particular ethnic groups, such that any later scriptural mention of them in particular places implies a contradiction.

The problem not only is the moral dimension of whether this is genocidal behaviour, but the contradiction with the rest of Joshua and Judges which plainly refer to a strong Caananite presence in the areas which Joshua 10 and 11 claim were utterly destroyed:

Josh 15:63 - Now as for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the sons of Judah could not drive them out; so the Jebusites live with the sons of Judah at Jerusalem until this day.

That is an incorrect interpretation. As above, Jebusites are not classed scripturally as Canaanites, although they are descended from Canaan. This is clear from the following scriptures, amongst others:

Gen 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
Ex 3:17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.
Ex 23:23 For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
Nu 13:29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.
De 7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;

Numbers 13:29 is particularly pertinent because it indicates the geographical distinctions involved, and Deu 7:1 shows directly that the Jebusites and Canaanites, with the five other groups, were considered as separate nations.

Furthermore, when one reads the opening chapters of Judges, one is struck by the fact that those Caananites which according to a literal reading of Joshua 10-11 had been utterly destroyed were very much alive and kicking. The NZ theologian and philosopher Matt Flannagan notes:

The problem is that chapters fifteen to seventeen record that the Canaanites were, in fact, not literally wiped out. Over and over the text affirms that the land was still occupied by the Canaanites, who remain heavily armed and deeply entrenched in the cities. Astute readers will note that these are the same regions and the same cities that Joshua was said to have "destroyed all who breathed", left "no survivors" in just a few chapters earlier. <3>

The opening chapters of Judges do not describe a land whose inhabitants had largely been exterminated as one would imagine from reading Josh 10-11 as straightforward narrative. Judges 1v29 is representative of this fact:

Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer; so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.

That is another basic mistake. The earliest section of Judges is not sequential with the Joshua account, as Flannagan implies, but overlaps chronologically with it. This is obvious from the text, in that within the account of Judah's conquest of his allotted territory is recorded the fearless action of Caleb, the same man who with Joshua and the ten faithless spies was sent to explore and report back concerning the promised land.

Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer; so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.

Compare this with Josh 10v33:

Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish, and Joshua defeated him and his people until he had left him no survivor.

In short, the areas of Canaan which Joshua 10-11 state had been left with no survivors were very much filled with Caananites. A literal reading of Josh 10-11 leaves one with the moral question of whether utter extermination of the Caananites is indeed genocide, while the later passages in Joshua and Judges when read as narrative appear to contradict Josh 10-11.

No, not so. Comparing Judges 1:29 with Joshua 10:33 reveals no contradiction at all, not even an "apparent" one. We are told that Joshua defeated Horam king of Gezer and his people, not at Gezer itself, but at Lachish, where he and his army came up in support of the besiged city. The record makes no mention of Joshua going to Gezer and attacking it and the remaining inhabitants; indeed the very next verse rather tells that having destroyed Lachish, he moved on to Eglon.

In any case, as I said earlier, Lachish was not a Canaanite city, but an Amorite one. Gezer on the other hand was a Canaanite city (Joshua 16:10).

This all illuminates the fact that we ought to read and consider the scriptures with at least as much care and attention to detail as we might give to the words of those who pass (in some cases, evidently, incorrect) comment upon them.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 24 December 2010 - 09:47 AM.


#33 Mercia2

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 06:43 PM

It was clear when Jesus was telling a parable, so why can’t god state here that it’s not literal and that he’s exaggerating. Especially when he knows not doing so is going to lead so many people astray.

If you read your Bible carefully you will see Jesus and the apostles refer to many sections of the Old Testament that it is assumed is literal, metaphorically. Paul quotes the prophecies of Egypt when he talks about natural man, so already we have Egypt representing the natural man and Israel the spiritual, we have the apostles referring to a part of Genesis in which what appears a story of a birth is intended to have its meaning not in any literal act of childbirth but what this allorgorically represents. Open your eyes their are clues everywhere. The Bible is a riddle, the literal sense is intended to deceive, to offend, because God is trying to teach us something about how we percieve others *(internally), as with His Word.
"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#34 Mercia2

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 06:54 PM

Especially when he knows not doing so is going to lead so many people astray.

You are one of those literalists who are walking away. You have been tested and you have failed. Now open your eyes, His followers walk away because like you they cannot see past the literalism......

"I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” 52The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” 59He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” 61But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”


6:66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.


Because of what? Because like you they cannot see past the literalism = whole Bible. Also the above obviously refers to the Catholic mass idea of literal magic bread instead of the simple spiritual truth that the words of Christ is the bread we consume that gives us eternal life.
"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#35 Fortigurn

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 04:37 AM

Lots of irrelevant stuff and avoidance of the issue


I see you haven't bothered to address anything I wrote, so I can make this brief.

1. Stop making the claim that people are only advancing this interpretation in order to contrive an escape from an ethical dilemma, and claiming further that people are deliberately asserting a reason for this interpretatoin other than the real reason. Your claim is false, and has been proved false. Repeating this claim will result in your posts being moderated.

2. As has already been demonstrated more than once, no one reading the text needs to be an academic in order to understand the text as written; no one needs to be an academic or to know anything whatever about the ANE in order to understand that the Canaanites (inhabitants of Canaan), were not wiped out. No one needs any such knowledge to figure out that repeated references to the continued existence of the Canaanites, and repeated references to the Canaanites attacking the Israelites susequently, and repeated references to the fact that the Canaanites were not entirely destroyed, prove that the earlier references must be understood other than literally. Furthermore, no statement was made to the effect that 'ANE’s text is prone to exaggeration'.

3. You have advanced no reason for taking the text literally. Let me know when you have a rational and coherent argument which takes into account the relevant scholarly commentary concerning the literary and cultural background. I note that you have claimed you agree that the text should be read as any other ANE text, but at the same time you are refusing to do so and accusing those who do of an apologetic agenda. You need to make up your mind as to what your argument is; should these texts be read in their ANE context or not? You're trying to argue both at present, which is illustrative of the incoherence of your case.

4. As proved previously, the text already demonstrates repeatedly that the phrases in question are not to be taken literally; no one can be led astray by the passages which say repeatedly that the Canaanites were still around after the campaigns of Joshua.

5. You have provided no evidence yet that anyone reading the passages which say repeatedly that the Canaanites were still around after the campaigns of Joshua, understand them as actually saying that the Canaanites were completely wiped out. Do let me know when you have such evidence.

6. It is completely false to say 'The record he left does not say ‘actually they weren’t all destroyed’'; in fact the text says this repeatedly, in terms which do not obfucate in any way whatsoever. Your statement is not simply untrue, it is deliberately untrue. This is not intellectually or morally honest.

7. No it wouldn't be wrong to conclude that because god commanded them to completely destroy them and the record says they were completely destroyed then this must be what happened. But the record does not say that they were completely destroyed. You're deliberately reading some texts as literal and some texts as non-literal. Yet you insist that all the texts should be read literally. Your argument is not only deliberately contrived for a polemic purpose (and thus not intellectually honest), it isn't even self-consistent, let alone rational. Your argument is simply an incoherent rant without a shred of integrity, either intellectual or moral.

8. Do provide a list of ten people throughout history who interpreted these passages as saying that the Canaanites were all wiped out: Joshua 16:10; 17:12-13, Judges 1:1-10, 17, 27 -33; 3:1-5. Show me how each of the ten people you chooose interpeted each of these passages.

9. You wrote:

If they weren’t all destroyed then the passage would read something like this:
‘they pretty much completely destroyed it and nearly everyone in it’
‘he left a few survivors’
‘until they all but exterminated them’


In other words, what we read in passages such as Joshua 16:10; 17:12-13, Judges 1:1-10, 17, 27 -33; 3:1-5. :thank:

10. We're not having this conversation because the issue is complex, we're having this conversation because you are reading the text with an agenda and deliberately ignoring all evidence contrary to your argument.

#36 Fortigurn

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 04:44 AM

Why would god write it like that? Why would he deliberately want people upon reading it to conclude that he commanded genocide? Why be hyperbolic? Why not just tell it without exaggerating so that people who haven’t access to the ‘scholarly’ stuff or who aren’t educated don’t get the wrong message?


I'm not Ken, but I can well understand him preferring to use his time more constructively than to answer obtuse posts which don't address anything he wrote.

1. The reason why it was written like that has already been explained. You have failed to address this even once.
2. God did not deliberately want people reading it to conclude that He commanded genocide; this is a false claim.
3. No access to 'scholarly stuff' or special education is needed in order to get the right message.
4. God did not 'exaggerate and flat out mislead'.
5. God did know it was going to be read with modern eyes, and He also gave people an absolutely transparent method of understanding that the text was not intended to be taken literally, a method which required no scholarship or special learning whatsoever.
6. You don't have to pay money to anyone in order to understand what God explained in transparent detail in Joshua 16:10; 17:12-13, Judges 1:1-10, 17, 27 -33; 3:1-5.

#37 Fortigurn

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 04:46 AM

Mark, you are catastrophically not helping. Please read the relevant posts with care before charging against windmills. It grows extremely tiresome, and you have added absolutely nothing whatsoever to the thread.

#38 Fortigurn

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 07:08 AM


5. God did know it was going to be read with modern eyes, and He also gave people an absolutely transparent method of understanding that the text was not intended to be taken literally, a method which required no scholarship or special learning whatsoever.


This is the problem, Fortigurn, you are second guessing God.


Am I really? Please read Joshua 16:10; 17:12-13, Judges 1:1-10, 17, 27 -33; 3:1-5 and tell me if it's second guessing God to say that these passages are saying that the Canaanites were all destroyed, or if they weren't all destroyed, because that's what I'm referring to in point 5 that you quoted.

The modern scholars and because you hold them in high esteem - God's Word is given second place to their opinion, hence the opinion that what is written in the scriptures isn't fact - the transparent method is their opinion.


This is complete nonsense. The transparent method I'm talking about is right there in God's word, namely Joshua 16:10; 17:12-13, Judges 1:1-10, 17, 27 -33; 3:1-5.

So now we have Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and on we go - we are now up to Joshua, which again, we have brethren saying we shouldn't believe what the Word of God says - because "scholarship" assumes differently.


This is utterly false. No one has said we shouldn't believe what the Word of God says. On the contrary, they are saying we most definitely should. I believe what Joshua 16:10; 17:12-13, Judges 1:1-10, 17, 27 -33; 3:1-5 say, do you?

Edited by Fortigurn, 27 December 2010 - 07:08 AM.


#39 Fortigurn

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 07:46 AM

You are second guessing God - you are saying although His Word reads in a way - you don't believe it, and God didn't mean us to read it in that way - how do you know?


I have just explained that I am not second guessing God, and I have explained the passages of Scripture on which I base this; Joshua 16:10; 17:12-13, Judges 1:1-10, 17, 27 -33; 3:1-5. Please tell if it's second guessing God to say that these passages are saying that the Canaanites were all destroyed, or if they weren't all destroyed.

Rather a fruitless exercise isn't it ... what does God really mean ... :shrug:


Read Joshua 16:10; 17:12-13, Judges 1:1-10, 17, 27 -33; 3:1-5 and you'll find out. I did. :book:

Part of this paves the way for putting Genesis and other books of the Bible in the realms of "God really didn't mean what he has allowed to be written" ... the several authors quoted in this thread by Ken, their emphasis is on Theistic Evolution.


Completely untrue. No one here is saying anything like 'God really didn't mean what he has allowed to be written'. On the contrary, we are saying He did mean what He allowed to be written.

This all rather reminds me of those who frequent the "feel good" religious book stores ... in the end - what does one really believe?


I believe Joshua 16:10; 17:12-13, Judges 1:1-10, 17, 27 -33; 3:1-5. Do you?

#40 Mercia2

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 08:08 AM

You are second guessing God - you are saying although His Word reads in a way - you don't believe it, and God didn't mean us to read it in that way - how do you know?

Kay, there are many very obvious examples in Gods Word that more than imply we are to read it this way. Only that for somereason, as blatent as they are, when we read them our minds tend to avoid the lesson/implications of what they are telling us. Ask yourself, why did Jesus say in John 6:61, "does this offend you"? That is to say, Gods Word spoken literally? "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" and was the literal interpretation correct in any sense whatsoever? The answer is no, the meaning is purely in representation. But look at the implication of what the chapter therefore reveals.

1 God/Jesus knows the literal sense offends (it is intended to), but that all the meaning is in the spiritual meaning of those words, not the literal sense at all.

2. There is almost identical imagery in the Old Testament prophecies that talk of offensive ideas of cannablism in the literal sense which also talk of eating the flesh of mighty men etc which I also contend have zero meaning in the literal sense (and that this is what Jesus was trying to teach us more broadly concerning Gods Word).

3. In John 6, this transition from a literal understanding of Gods Words to a allegorical/metaphoric is called "a hard teaching to understand" (reminds us of Jesus being asked how can a man literally enter his mothers womb to be born again), same context (they found it hard to transfer from a literal understanding to a metaphoric one) so much so that John 6 is telling us this transition causes a falling away.
"Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him."

Is this not almost prophetic of what is happening in the Christadelphian movement as well as on this thread for the very same reasons?

To all this you may reply that yes large parts of the OT are intended to be metaphoric and that is obvious? Only what has surprised me over the years is that parts that do not obviously read as such are also intended to be, including sections of Genesis which have all their meaning in the spiritual sense. The Bible is still a great undiscovered land in my opinion in this respect.

Edited by Mercia2, 27 December 2010 - 08:11 AM.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/




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