Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Is the God of Israel a Genocidal God?

Is the God of Israel a Genocidal God?
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Deut. 7:1-2 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; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

A question that has plagued believer and non-believer alike for eons. In Deuteronomy chapter seven G-d tells Israel to utterly wipe out certain people groups. So does this mean G-d promotes genocide or ethnic cleansing?

Verse one tells
Israel to totally destroy the Canaanite culture.

Why!? Doesn't this sound genocidal and a lot like ethnic cleansing? So why?! Because they were the consort of nations of the
Babel conspiracy headed up by Nimrod of Cush which he being the cousin of Canaan (Gen. 10:6-10a).

Collectively this litany of peoples made up what is referred to as the Canaanite Nations.

It is speculated and believed by most that these people were all related and somehow attached to the linage of
Hamm. Therefore they all stuck close together and had much in common between them in regards to language, religion and culture. The dastardly thing that made them so dangerous is their ambition to storm the heavens (Gen. 11:4-6).

In other words they wanted to be as gods, a tempting desire in us even before the fall (Gen. 3:5-6a).

Almost as if satan was trying to live vicariously through fallen man (Is.

Well, we all know how that turned out for the Canaanite Nations, they too were cast down (Gen. 11:7-9).

So their whole cultural disposition was fleshly, hedonistic, selfish and lustful of power and greedy for material things; all on the far end of the spectrum of Divine Holiness. The human race all being one at one time means everyone knew G-d and His Holy standards and expectations for man to live right before Him and the Canaanite Nations knew better and lived totally contrary, regardless. They knowingly and willingly disobeyed and rebelled against G-d and became fully and irreparably unrepentant, much like Lucifer and as a result had the potential to poison and corrupt and infect all mankind with their anti-Theocratic ways. G-d could not allow this to happen. Just as He lovingly kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden to keep them from eating of the tree of life after they had eaten of the tree of knowledge and therefore risk living in eternal sin, eternally separated from the Creator, so too G-d allowed unrepentant
Canaan to be destroyed by Israel.

There is a spiritual version of the drug L.S.D.

1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

L.S.D = Lust, Sin, Death

There is absolutely no redeeming cultural quality about the Canaanites that was worth preserving.

You know when you do things you know is wrong or will push your mother buttons and your mother said, "I've had enough!" Then you got a spanking or were sent to your room. Well, with mothers, so with G-d there is an imaginary container like a rain gauge and it's called "Wrath" and once it is filled with willfully unrepentant and unremorseful sin, G-d has had enough and no one can say it's not fair or the people did not know better or were not warned. Just as we know our mother’s expectations and she gives us several warnings before she declares that she has had enough, so too with G-d, from the beginnings people know His expectations (Torah) and through prophets and events ample warning and time to repent before G-d's Divine Wrath gauge is brimming to the top and about to overflow.

With the flood in Noah’s day, He gave people hundreds of years to repent and so too with many of the prophets, he gave pagan peoples more than enough time to repent and see the error of their ways, generations of time. So no one can say G-d is hasty and not fair. He is more than generous.

Nineveh of Jonah’s day was an example of a pagan people whom G-d gave plenty of time to repent and they did! Even through a reluctant prejudice messenger.  

So this is not divinely sanctioned genocide or ethnic cleansing, it's simply a G-d who has had enough and a wicked people who crossed the point of no return. Even an Infinite G-d has His limits and lines drawn in the sand no one should cross.

Through Scripture doesn't specifically say but, because I know what Scripture says about Holy YHWH's character, I can say with confidence certainly that these Canaanite Nations were not blindsided, but were given ample warning and time to repent.

YHWH will set the stage for these Canaanite Nations to fall and be destroyed and if
Israel would be obedient from not relating to them in anyway (v.2-3). YHWH will use the scourge of Judgment and destruction upon these nations.

The verse used the word "charam" translated destroy and actually means exterminate. "What about the women and children!?" "How can G-d allow innocent women and children and even animals be killed!?" G-d isn't the one and
Israel isn't the one doing the exterminating of the innocent. Then who is it!? The Canaanite Nations who knew better and yet continued to rebel without blushing or batting and eyelash and corrupted their children to be and do the same. Similarly to a drug addict who O.D.'s, it's not the heroines fault, it's not the drug pushers fault, it's not the addictions fault. It's the addicts fault. "What!? The addict can't help it!?" HE may be a slave to the addiction, but nothing is stopping him from seeking help for his addiction. And so nothing was stopping the Canaanite Nations from repenting. Continuing with their satanic and hedonistic religion and culture, they may not have wanted to admit their rebellious end. They may have actually have fooled themselves into believing they could overthrow G-d when in reality, like satan in denial, they knew their eventual end and the end of their women and children with them. The Canaanites themselves were alone are responsible for their own extermination and that of their own women and children.

Deut. 7:3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

II Cor.
6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Intermarriage with out the Gentile spouse converting leads to Israelite assimilation into the pagan Gentile culture and the spiritual and genetic
Israel will face slow extinction. Verse four confirms this.

This is sadly what happened to King Solomon when he married the myriad of gentile and pagan wives.

V.4 Unrepentant, smug and haughty Canaanite Nations were like a highly contagious fatal disease; a cancer that had to be cut out lest it irreparably infects the whole body. It is kill or be killed.

V.5 Like most diseases it can be transmitted through air or by touch and lest exotic remnants of such cultures remain like the forbidden fruit that is pleasing to the eye the temptation to get sucked in is too great and such artifacts and remnants of the culture needs to be destroyed as well. There is a mystic draw and allure to discover learn and try to revive a dead culture and religion. It is a case of curiosity killing the cat. It is a matter of the danger being guilty by association. It is like radioactivity, it corrupts and poisons objects around it and infects anyone who comes in contact with it.

Spiritually speaking seducing spirits attach themselves to physical and usually ritual objects and can influence the possessor of such items and produce even poltergeist type activity. The spirit realm is nothing to mess with or take lightly.

Above all else, bottom line G-d said destroy it. Why? Because He said so and Father knows best. This verse should bring to mind the consequence of disobedience with the story of Akin and the lost campaign against Ai.

If verses 1-5 of Deuteronomy 7 is summed up by the question "Why?!" The verses 6-16 of that same chapter is the answer because....

V.6 We are holy, chosen and special:

- Holy; meaning selected and set apart for a specific purpose and use and meaning.
Chosen; meaning to be selected to be tried and made distinguished.
- Special; meaning to be G-d's own private and prized possession.

This does not mean we are supreme or better than. This has absolutely nothing to do with racial supremacy. Because to be chosen, we (
Israel), had to chose and so we did at Mount Sinai.

To say the Torah is only for the Jews is ridiculous. When the Torah was given, yes, it was given to B'ney Yisrael, but remember, there was the mixed multitude that went out with them during the Exodus. (Exodus 12:38) The mixed multitude was there when the Torah was given. And they, like
Israel, agreed to obey and live by the Torah.

It is in my opinion (and some Sages will agree with me) that in the mixed multitude there was a representative from all the seventy nations of the world at that time. For everyone present, even the mixed multitude, said "Yes, we will obey!" (Ex. 19:8), Even BEFORE they heard all that was expected of them! Levi, who wasn't born yet, gave tithe to Melchizedek through Avraham (Heb. 7:1-5), so in like manner mankind agreed to obey the Torah through those ancestors who were at Sinai when the Torah was given. G-d does not have one rule book and or expectations for the Jews and another for the Gentiles. That is not what the Torah says (Exo.
12:49, Lev. 24:22, Num. 15:16. Acts 15:19-21).

We are Holy, Chosen and Special because we ourselves chose YHWH and Torah. We are Holy, Chosen and Special and used of G-d for His Honor and Glory.

V.7 G-d is on the side of the underdog, so HE and not man would get the glory and credit.

1 Cor. 1:27-29 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

V.8 G-d chose (
Israel) also because HE keeps all His promises and His end of the bargain even when we don't. HE is faithful even when we are not. Before the Mosaic covenant there was the Adamic, Noahtic and Abrahamic Covenant and He has kept them all even when we drop the ball.

V.9-16 Just as because He keeps His covenant even when the party He engages in such a covenant doesn't, does not mean we don't have to reap the repercussions of our breech of Covenantal contract. Deut. 27-28 is all about Covenantal stipulations.

Obedience = Blessing and Life

Disobedience = Curses and Death

Simple as that.

Bottom line is that G-d is Holy, Good and Just and if He condemns a people group to extinction, you know that there is a Holy, Good and Just reason and purpose behind it. Divine Genocide doesn't sit right with us because again you have the Infinite and Omniscient Holy G-d trying to be understood and comprehended by finite, fallen man.