Why Did God Command the Children of Israel to Kill Every Man, Woman, and Child in the Promised Land?
by R.C. Sproul Jr.
Among the countless nuggets of wisdom I have received over the years from my father is this bit of gold—when you are reading your Bible and you come across something that makes you uncomfortable, resist the temptation to simply move on to something else. Where the Bible makes us uncomfortable is precisely where we need to slow down. It is compelling evidence of a specific weakness. When our thoughts or feelings bristle under God’s Word, He is right and we wrong.
That said, it is understandable that so many would recoil from God’s command that every living person in Canaan be put to death as His people conquer the land. No mercy for those women and children, no compassion on the aged, God’s instructions were as clear as they were brutal.
Many outside the faith have planted their flag here, arguing that our God is immoral, monstrous. Many on the fringes of the faith perform sundry exegetical gymnastics to wiggle out from under the account. Many faithful believers are simply puzzled and embarrassed. The God we worship, however, the true and living God, did in fact give this command, and rightly so. If we would rightly worship Him, even here we would praise His name.
There are at least two reasons why God did this…
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