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Conquest of Canaan


inquiringmind

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I know that children die in earthquakes and tsunamis, and other acts of God.

But I've never understood why God would tell Israelite soldiers to kill everything that breaths when they captured a Canaanite city.

Killing children is an act that would normally violate the human conscience, and harden the human heart.

(Many war veterans, wo only unintentionally killed children, come back hardened by their experiences.)

Why would God order them to do that?

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Good question, I wonder the same thing and don't know the answer. I do believe that genetics plays a roll in human behavior and all I can come up with is the idea that God wanted that genetic line elminated because of really wicked behaviors. I suspect that if we could look at what life was like in Cannan we might agree that it was merciful to kill them all and put them all out of their misery.

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Why would God order them to do that?

He didn't.

The Bible is an inspired book, and contains messages from God. However, it was written by men, and like everything written by human beings, it is imperfect and reflects their way of thinking. The Israelites may have wanted to acquire some real estate, or maybe they fought with the Canaanites for some other reason, but they justified their actions by claiming that God was on their side and commanded them to do it. This happens in every single war throughout human history, both sides claiming God is with them.

As it turns out, the Israelites didn't actually wipe out all the inhabitants of Canaan, whatever they claim God told them to do. Evidence shows that while some fighting may have gone on, much of the settlement was peaceful. Jericho was uninhabited at the time the Israelites are said to have arrived. They didn't need to march around the city for six days, and blow their ram's horns and shout on the seventh--there was nobody there to resist them!

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I know that children die in earthquakes and tsunamis, and other acts of God.

But I've never understood why God would tell Israelite soldiers to kill everything that breaths when they captured a Canaanite city.

Killing children is an act that would normally violate the human conscience, and harden the human heart.

(Many war veterans, wo only unintentionally killed children, come back hardened by their experiences.)

Why would God order them to do that?

My personal opinion is that whoever wrote that used God to justify their own atrocities, and that God had nothing to do with it. I could never worship a God who condoned or commanded genocide.

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To Semlogo, DH and nackhadlow: I respect your views and am open minded and willing to entertain the idea that you are right regarding the idea that God did not command the Israelites to kill the Canaanites but I'm curious to know what each of you thinks about the idea that God commanded Nephi to kill Laban. Is it not a similar thing?

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To Semlogo, DH and nackhadlow: I respect your views and am open minded and willing to entertain the idea that you are right regarding the idea that God did not command the Israelites to kill the Canaanites but I'm curious to know what each of you thinks about the idea that God commanded Nephi to kill Laban. Is it not a similar thing?

An entire nation of men, women, and small children, or a single antagonistic individual.

No. Not similar.

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An entire nation of men, women, and small children, or a single antagonistic individual.

No. Not similar.

I take it that you do not have a problem with the idea that God commanded Nephi to kill Laben?

The only thing that is not similar is the small children aspect. That's the only part that is perplexing. If god can have one wicked man killed he can have many wicked people killed. We can't say that murder is ok if its only one person.

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I know that children die in earthquakes and tsunamis, and other acts of God.

But I've never understood why God would tell Israelite soldiers to kill everything that breaths when they captured a Canaanite city.

Killing children is an act that would normally violate the human conscience, and harden the human heart.

(Many war veterans, wo only unintentionally killed children, come back hardened by their experiences.)

Why would God order them to do that?

The main reason for the command from God to completely destroy all of the Canaanites was to pure the promise land of the wicked, it isn't nice or politically correct, but it is was Christ will do when he returns to the Earth he will destroy every one and everything that is wicked when he cleans the world by fire. Remember that God was attempting to establish his Kingdom on the Earth at that time, through the tribes of Israel. He gave them there mission, they didn't fulfill there obligation , and because of it they were to be constantly tested and refined by the persecutions of those whom they did not destroy per God's command.

Till this day you have near constant conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis, all stemming from the failure of Israel to follow God's plan for them thousands of years ago.

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I think you'd find this paper interesting, from Dialogue: Violence in the Scriptures: Mormonism and the Cultural Theory of Rene Girard

And here's a response paper that specifically addresses an approach to the Nephi and Laban question:Rene Girard and Mormon Scripture: A Response

I read the second piece. I didn't like it. I don't think the Book of Mormon is inconvenient. I'm not frustrated by anything in it.

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I read the second piece. I didn't like it. I don't think the Book of Mormon is inconvenient. I'm not frustrated by anything in it.

It was inconvenient for me. Changing one's world-view, and splitting off from the religious traditions of my family as a result of what that book brought into my life were certainly not convenient.

Fortunately, convenience does not equal truth, or measure happiness.

Scripture should be inconvenient. Otherwise we wouldn't need it.

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To Semlogo, DH and nackhadlow: I respect your views and am open minded and willing to entertain the idea that you are right regarding the idea that God did not command the Israelites to kill the Canaanites but I'm curious to know what each of you thinks about the idea that God commanded Nephi to kill Laban. Is it not a similar thing?

I see a large difference between an army of men sticking their swords into cradles vs one wicked man being killed.

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The main reason for the command from God to completely destroy all of the Canaanites was to pure the promise land of the wicked, it isn't nice or politically correct, but it is was Christ will do when he returns to the Earth he will destroy every one and everything that is wicked when he cleans the world by fire. Remember that God was attempting to establish his Kingdom on the Earth at that time, through the tribes of Israel. He gave them there mission, they didn't fulfill there obligation , and because of it they were to be constantly tested and refined by the persecutions of those whom they did not destroy per God's command.

Till this day you have near constant conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis, all stemming from the failure of Israel to follow God's plan for them thousands of years ago.

I got the creeps reading that.

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It was inconvenient for me. Changing one's world-view, and splitting off from the religious traditions of my family as a result of what that book brought into my life were certainly not convenient.

Fortunately, convenience does not equal truth, or measure happiness.

Scripture should be inconvenient. Otherwise we wouldn't need it.

I respect that and find your view and experience interesting.

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I see a large difference between an army of men sticking their swords into cradles vs one wicked man being killed.

I too am perplexed by the killing of children. But the Book of Mormon teaches us that God is capable of commanding his servants to kill.

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I've never understood why God would tell Israelite soldiers to kill everything that breaths when they captured a Canaanite city.

Killing children is an act that would normally violate the human conscience, and harden the human heart.

...

Why would God order them to do that?

This question requires that we understand more than the Bible tells us explicitly about the Canaanites.

When Noah landed at/on Ararat, his families (Japeth, Shem, and Ham) scattered across the Afroeurasian continent. Ham went south to Africa, Japeth headed east, and Shem stuck around the "Middle East", settling in the area we now know as Israel.

Canaan, more-or-less the modern Israel, was headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ (by whatever name it went back then) with Shem as the High Priest of the Church and king of the region. He called his city "Salem" ("peace") and took the throne name Melchizedek ("king of Righteousness"). His people were a covenant people. God is really big on covenants, and He hates it when His people break theirs with him.

We see in Genesis just how badly the people of Canaan did break their covenants. (See the story of Abraham, Lot, and the angels.) So the conquest of Canaan by the descendants of Shem through Abraham and Jacob was divine retribution for their covenant breaking. This is not your question, however.

The Children of Israel were also a covenant people. Their covenant, entered into at the foot of Sinai, was the same one Shem and his people had made with God. This point is critical to understanding why God had them exterminate the Canaanites, men, women and children.

God had promised Abraham that his posterity would inherit Canaan, but not for 400 years because the iniquity of the Canaanites was not yet full. After the Egyptian period of Israelite history, Joshua led the Children of Israel into Canaan, God's "restored covenant people", His "chosen people" (the appropriate question is "chosen for what?"). They had proven themselves to be hard-hearted and stiff-necked during their forty-year trek through Sinai. It is my opinion that God required them to slaughter the Canaanites as an object lesson: if you break your covenant, as the Canaanites have fully done, this will be your (community) fate.

Their later history shows that they were about as wicked as their predecessors, and we see that God caused them to endure the same sort of punishments.

Lehi

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To Semlogo, DH and nackhadlow: I respect your views and am open minded and willing to entertain the idea that you are right regarding the idea that God did not command the Israelites to kill the Canaanites but I'm curious to know what each of you thinks about the idea that God commanded Nephi to kill Laban. Is it not a similar thing?

More direct evidence that the BofM is a 19th century book and no ancient history at all. Joseph Smith was raised in the atmosphere of biblical literalness. Virtually no religious person back then questioned the Bible as a history book. Therefore, "the Lord" did command the killing of the wicked Canaanites, repeatedly. And the OT asserts, repeatedly, that the cause of Israel's woes was their disobedience; they did not carry out "the Lord's" plan for conquest valiantly; they left the inhabitants of the land in their midst. Had the Israelites obeyed "the Lord" they would not have been later tempted by the gods and carnality of the Canaanite religions. So the case of Nephi and Laban is simply Israel and Canaan in miniature; and Nephi obeyed and was thus counted more valiant. The inference is unmistakable to anyone but an apologist who flinches in the presence of the terrible OT GOD....

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The only thing that is not similar is the small children aspect.

I disagree. Laban had not only actively tried to kill Nephi and his brothers, but likely would have attempted to act against them again, sending search parties to retrieve the plates and wipe out those who took them. Thus he had in his power the ability to destroy the work of God if he lived before it even got started.

Even if one could demonstrate that the men of the communities that were 'set apart' for genocide had participated themselves in attempting genocide against the Israelites, I don't think you can include the women automatically.

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The main reason for the command from God to completely destroy all of the Canaanites was to pure the promise land of the wicked, it isn't nice or politically correct, but it is was Christ will do when he returns to the Earth he will destroy every one and everything that is wicked when he cleans the world by fire. Remember that God was attempting to establish his Kingdom on the Earth at that time, through the tribes of Israel. He gave them there mission, they didn't fulfill there obligation , and because of it they were to be constantly tested and refined by the persecutions of those whom they did not destroy per God's command.

Till this day you have near constant conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis, all stemming from the failure of Israel to follow God's plan for them thousands of years ago.

Whoa! LDS Guy, you are one scary dude. That kink of thinking is what powers the Islamist terrorism of today. The LAST thing the world needs is a pack of fundie Mormons!...

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Whoa! LDS Guy, you are one scary dude. That kink of thinking is what powers the Islamist terrorism of today. The LAST thing the world needs is a pack of fundie Mormons!...

I disagree completely, hate is what powers Islam and there fundamentalist, I do not preach hate. I preach the Gospel and it's message that all who sin and do not repent will be destroyed at the time of the Second Coming. To me you are one scary dude because you cannot tell the difference between the two.

The commandment to the Israelites in the OT, is representative of this destruction that will happen on the Second Coming and there inability to follow the plan God gave them showed that mankind wasn't ready at that time, but it happening also told us that the time will come when all the wicked will be destroyed.

To not believe that the wicked will be destroyed is to pick and choose what parts of the Restored Gospel to follow, in my opinion it is better to follow it all, or follow none of it. Those who want to pick and choose suffer a fate far worse than those who completely reject it, for it is better to reject truth than try and change it to fit what we want it to be.

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thanks Lesellers.

You're welcome.

But, please, call me Lehi, as my mother-in-law does and as (thankfully) former Presidents Carter and Clinton did.

I like that answer. I didn't know Shem was Melchizedek.

We have two pieces of evidence that demonstrate this.

First, the genealogy of Shem-through-Abraham shows that Shem was still alive when Abraham paid tithes on the defeat of the kings. (In fact, Shem was still alive when Jacob was born, and long after Abraham had died.)

Second, in Doc&Cov 137, we read that "Shem [was] the great high priest", a title given elsewhere to Melchizedek.

Tying these together, we glean that Shem was the king of righteousness (Melchizedek), and the prince of peace (sovereign of Salem, later Jerusalem).

Lehi

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I disagree. Laban had not only actively tried to kill Nephi and his brothers, but likely would have attempted to act against them again, sending search parties to retrieve the plates and wipe out those who took them. Thus he had in his power the ability to destroy the work of God if he lived before it even got started.

Even if one could demonstrate that the men of the communities that were 'set apart' for genocide had participated themselves in attempting genocide against the Israelites, I don't think you can include the women automatically.

What do you conclude, did God command the genocide of the Canaanites or not? If not shouldn't the prophet change what is written? Why didn't Joseph Smith provide a better translation?

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