How to defend people in Cannan Dying

How am I supposed to defend this to this guy? Perhaps comparing how the actions of other near eastern cultures were a lot worse at that time?

I was taught in my OT class this year that God used the Israelites to punish the Canaanites for their sins, but then used the Canaanites to punish the Israelites for their sins when they fell away from Him.

Historically there are lots of possibilities (“the Canaanites performed child sacrifice” / “all the cultures in that part of the world fought that way” / “it was necessary to protect the purity of the Messiah’s bloodlines” / “the god of the Old Testament is not the same as the God of the New Testament” / “Our understanding of God’s nature developed slowly over time”). None of these are satisfactory answers (and at least one of them is heretical). The real answer is “we don’t know.”

Anyway, you’re not going to convert this guy by arguing with him. In fact, you’re not going to convert him at all - “Man proposes, God disposes” as the Scripture says - it’s the work of the Holy Spirit to convict/convince/convert. You can only testify to your own faith and how it changes you, and perhaps to what you know of the faith of others as they have lived it in their lives.

That’s why what we do is called “apologetics” and not “debate club.” We are called to “give a reason for the faith that is in us” and to “teach . . . all that I have commanded you.” Not to win arguments.

I dunno. Its just I don’t read those killing and things and bother me. I think there’s a lot going on with this guy that I don’t know about.


Since there is a God, and He is good, and since you know he is invisible, powerful and the creator, (Rom 1:18ff) the question is not Why did God do such a bad thing? but Why, knowing that God is Good, do you think yourself qualified to judge him? See Job.

Perhaps when you have created a universe of your own and run it for a few thousand years, you might be qualified to have a discussion with Him about it.

There are two points that have helped me on this subject:

  1. God promised the lands of Canaan to Abraham in Genesis 12. Later in Genesis 15, God tells Abraham what will happen, and why. He says the Hebrews will go into exile in Egypt for 400 years, and then they will return and take the land. God says:

Gen 15.16 "In the fourth generation they will come back here, for until then the iniquity of the Amorites will not have reached its full extent."

In other words, God had already decided to punish the inhabitants of Canaan for their iniquity. He even gives them 400 more years to change their ways. When, after 400 years, the Canaanites have only sunk into worse sinfulness, they are finally punished. The Hebrews were just the tool for a punishment that the inhabitants had already earned by their sinfulness. (Compare Sodom and Gomorrah, where the people were killed, but the tool was fire, rather than other humans) The Jews were getting Canaan because God was punishing the inhabitants - not the other way round. Perhaps this explains the instructions that the inhabitants be slain.

  1. There is also biblical evidence that a considerable number of Canaanites remained in Canaan after the conquest in good numbers. So many of the accounts of total massacre are probably rhetorical anyway.

Axion brings up some good points. For myself, I would ask this person to show me where girls were raped. God gave clear instructions that if someone wanted one of the virgin girls, she had to be put aside for a time (to allow for mourning of her dead family), then had to undergo some other things, after which she would be MARRIED to the man that took her (she would have remained a virgin until after the marriage). If he later decided he didn’t want her, he couldn’t sell her, but could divorce her and send her away free. I would give specific scripture references, but all of my resource books are currently in storage (long story and way off topic).

In regard to the perspective of the 5 year old boy, if he had been spared, he certainly could have grown up with vengence on his mind, which could have led to further problems. However, God, in His mercy, could have taken these young children straight to heaven. The scriptures don’t tell us this, but they don’t deny this, either, so I don’t have a problem leaving it up to God’s mercy and perfect judgement.

Hope this helps!


What is your issue with all of these possibilities (one is heretical, true, but what about the others)?

There are a couple answers there that I consider plausible.

What’s funny is that argument is written on the assumption that in the Cananite culture killing children was considered a bad thing.

I read in “An Introduction to Biblical Archeology” by Howard P.Vo that the Cananites, regularly, and commonly, would sacrafice children, and use them to build the foundations of their house, and rampant sexuality was part of their religion.

So, they wanted to have a blatant disregard of human life and sexuality, so God let them have it.

Based primarily off some chapters from the book " A politically incorrect guide to the bible" by Robert Hutchinson ( or something), I provided this guy an extremely complex answer which will hopefully be satisfying.

In regards to the original question, I would simply ask the questioner to read the Bible.

  1. God instructed the Israelites to kill the Canaanites because, if allowed to live, the Canaanites would introduce paganism into the Israelite culture.

  2. In many instances, the Bible tells us that the Israelites sometimes did not eradicate the Canaanites. Instead they allowed the Canaanites to interact with them.

  3. In each of these instances, the Canaanites brought their pagan rites into the Israelite culture.

It seems that God instructed the Israelites to kill the Canaanites because God knew the Israelites were too weak and would succumb to the temptations of the pagan cultures.

I don’t have any issue with them, I just gave them as a few examples of the kinds of theories people have put forward. And, as I said, we really just don’t know. (Rom. 11:33-34)

Could you share your response with the rest of us; or is it personal?

I too am trying to defend this position.

Yes. Hold on.

Read the things on page 9 posted by my username on that website, the O.G… starting with my posts on July 17th.

Hi Snake,

I have downloaded “The Politically Incorrect Guide To The Bible” and will listen to it; it is over 8 hours in length but hopefully worth it.

As far as your reply goes I do have a sincere question (with no offense meant):

Why are you cursing throughout your writing while trying to defend the Faith?

I understand wanting to speak to your audience in a way they can relate to; but I couldn’t even make it through the first thread you referred me to, so I imagine others might have a problem too.


You’re right that its sort of contradictory to curse about writing while I’m trying to defend my faith. Anyways, if you’re looking for the best argument I had, it was on the 2nd to last page of the thread on that site. I wouldn’t reccomend reading through the whole thread because I actually knew a lot less when I started the thread, so looking back, I can see where I could have said different things or added moreThe primary reason I used sarcasm and swearing and joking is because that’s the way that I usually talk. I felt as though if I talked informally while still presenting valuable factual information the guy I was speaking to would be somewhat more interested. When I posted things other people wrote to answer his questions, he seemed somewhat uninterested. However, the “Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible” contained probably the best information I had sought yet, and because he’d be less likely to listen if I quoted it as a source, I sort of added a bit of “myself to it” (plagiarizing, yes) to make it seem as though I wrote it (for his sake), and therefore he would be more interested.


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