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A Good Question But Not A Good Answer
Part Five
by Farrell Till

A reply to:

Good Question ...

by Glenn Miller




Till:
After straining at length to justify the Yahwistic massacres in the Old Testament by unsuccessfully depicting the Canaanites as morally reprobate, Mr. Miller turned in this section to attempts to mitigate the moral repugnance of Yahweh's commands to destroy totally and utterly the people in Canaan by arguing that "limitations" were included in the commands. We will see that these so-called "limitations" were actually common-sense instructions that the Israelites were to follow in order to secure maximum advantages in controlling and using the cities and land that they conquered. Those common-sense instructions did nothing to mitigate the fact that Yahweh, as the incidents were written into the Bible, clearly commanded the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave no one alive to breathe. The passages that state this were quoted so many times in the previous parts of this series that it isn't necessary to repeat them again.

Miller:
Were there any limits placed upon Israel in this venture, and what was the exact content of the orders?

First, I want to look at the limits placed on the Israelites--the boundary-statements. What limits did God place on these marching orders? How exhaustive was the command-set? What implications might we draw from these?

Till:
Well, ordering the Israelites to destroy totally the seven nations in Canaan (Deut. 7:1-2), to leave no one alive to breathe (Deut. 20:16-17), and to possess every place that the soles of their feet would tread upon (Josh. 1:3) sounds rather "exhaustive" to me. We will see where Mr. Miller tries to make a great deal out of passages where the Israelites were told not to destroy trees, vegetation, and city buildings, but these were nothing more than common-sense instructions for a people intent on grabbing the land of the Canaanites, living in houses that they didn't build, and eating the produce of fields and vineyards that they didn't plant. I don't need to quote the passages that said this, because Mr. Miller cites them below as mitigating "limitations" on the Israelites.

Miller:

  • Unlike the early Amorites, Israel was not supposed to destroy the cities and buildings (Deut 6.10ff). [The main exception was Hazor--the 'nerve center' of Canaanite culture and trade--cf. Joshua 11.10, ECIAT:94.]

Till:
Well, let's just look at the passage in Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 6:10 When Yahweh your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you--a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant--then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget Yahweh, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

What we have here is exactly what I described above. The cities, fields, vineyards, wells, etc. were spared as much as possible so that the Israelites could move in to occupy and use them. It was a purely selfish tactic, which didn't involve even a shred of compassion for the people who had built the cities and planted the crops and vineyards. The people were massacred and their property and posessions spared as much as possible. This is somewhat like military plans in recent years to build neutron bombs, which could be exploded above cities to kill the populations by radiation and leave the factories and buildings intact to be used after they were safe to be occupied. If Mr. Miller sees this as mitigating "limitations" on the Israelites, he must be looking hard for some way to justify the Yahwistic massacres.

Miller:

  • Unlike the Egyptians (ANET:239ff, for the campaigns of Thutmose III), they were not supposed to destroy the vegetation and the trees (Deut 20.19).

Till:
Mr. Miller gave no details on the military campaigns of Thutmose III, so it is hard to guess what he may have had in mind here. The campaigns of this pharaoh, however, were documented by a royal scribe whose records were later recorded on temple walls at Karnak. When Mr. Miller compares the military campaigns of the Israelites (as recorded in the Bible) to those of Thutmose III, he is comparing apples to oranges, because the battles that Thutmose fought were waged to preempt military conspiracies against him in the Levant or to quell attempts to avoid paying tribute, which he collected from nations as far away as Syria. In his military campaigns into the Levant, he had no intentions of letting his army stay there to live in the cities and use the crops and vineyards. He wanted either to eliminate threats to Egypt or to quell rebellions in cities loyal to him, after which he would return to Egypt; hence, his military tactics would have been entirely different from an invading people who wanted to grab the land and cities and then live there.

I might add before leaving Thutmose III behind that his military tactics were also different from the Israelites'. He spared the civilian populations.

The victorious army [at Meggido] took home 340 prisoners, 2041 mares, 191 foals, 6 stallions, 924 chariots, 200 suits of armor, 502 bows, 1929 cattle, 22,500 sheep, and the royal armor, chariot and tent-poles of the King of Megiddo. The city and citizens of Megiddo were spared.

It would seem then that Thutmose III and his army were more humanitarian than Yahweh's "chosen ones."

As for the Israelite policy of sparing trees, Mr. Miller conveniently cited a passage above without quoting it. If he had quoted it, readers could have easily seen why the Israelites were told not to destroy vegetation and trees.

Deuteronomy 20:19 When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees of the field people, that you should besiege them? 20 However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls.

The Israelites were told to protect trees not because they were the environmentalists of their day but because the fruit of the trees would be available to eat if they were spared. Notice, however, that this passage told the Israelites, in effect, that trees that bore no fruit--in other words trees that weren't particularly beneficial--could be cut down, so this was nothing more than a law intended to assure the Israelites of an adequate food supply.

This is as I noted above: the "limitations" that Mr. Miller is apparently trying to make into divinely decreed humanitarian restrictions were nothing more than common-sense plans for a people intent on grabbing land that wasn't theirs and using whatever had been built or planted on it by the previous owners. Readers should be suspicious of biblical inerrantists who merely cite without quoting, because the full context of the passages cited will often show that their meanings are being distorted.

Miller:

  • They were restricted from attacking Esau's land--Deut 2.4ff:

Give the people these orders: `You are about to pass through the territory of your brothers the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. 5 Do not provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land, not even enough to put your foot on. I have given Esau the hill country of Seir as his own. 6 You are to pay them in silver for the food you eat and the water you drink.'"

Till:
As this text shows, the "descendants of Esau" (Edomites) were ethnically related to the Israelites. Since Jacob and Esau were twin brothers, the Edomites were as ethnically close to Abraham as the Israelites were, so the Israelite attitude toward them would have been somewhat like the Nazi army's moving into the German-speaking Sudentenland, which was then a part of Czechoslovakia, in 1939. The infamous scorched-earth policy, which characterized the German invasions of other European countries, was not applied here, because the people of that area were ethnically related to the invaders. The same was true of Western Poland, known as the Polish Corridor, which had been formed from Prussia after World War I. Except for Jewish and Polish minorities, the people there were ethnically German primarily, so the invading Nazi army treated them as fellow countrymen who were being liberated.

Since the Edomites were ethnically related to the Israelites, who superstitiously believed that Yahweh had given them the land of Edom in the same way that he had given the Israelites Canaan, they would not have tried to take their land for fear of invoking the wrath of their god Yahweh. If Mr. Miller sees this as a mitigating "limitation" on the Israelites, he must be looking hard for mitigating limitations.

Miller:
[Notice that Esau 'got' that land the same way as Israel did--by conquest (Deut 2.12, 22; Josh 24.4).]

Till:
A look at Mr. Miller's proof texts cited above will confirm what I just said, i. e., the Israelites didn't try to take the land of Edom because they superstitiously believed that their god Yahweh had destroyed the original inhabitants there so that the Edomites could have the land.

Deuteronomy 2:12 (Horites used to live in Seir, but the descendants of Esau drove them out. They destroyed the Horites from before them and settled in their place, just as Israel did in the land Yahweh gave them as their possession.)

Deuteronomy 2:19 "When you come to the Ammonites, do not harass them or provoke them to war, for I will not give you possession of any land belonging to the Ammonites. I have given it as a possession to the descendants of Lot." (That too was considered a land of the Rephaites, who used to live there; but the Ammonites called them Zamzummites. 21 They were a people strong and numerous, and as tall as the Anakites. Yahweh destroyed them from before the Ammonites, who drove them out and settled in their place. 22 Yahweh had done the same for the descendants of Esau, who lived in Seir, when he destroyed the Horites from before them. They drove them out and have lived in their place to this day.

We have nothing here but ancient superstition. The Israelites believed that their god Yahweh had driven out/destroyed original inhabitants of lands occupied by descendants of Lot and Esau, and so they considered these lands to be hands off. Is this Mr. Miller's idea of mitigating "limitations"?

Keep in mind something that will become important later when we come to another one of Mr. Miller's quibbles: Drive out and destroy were used synonymously in both of the passages quoted above. In the first text, the descendants of Esau "drove out" the Horites, and in another example of parallel emphasis, which was a common Hebrew literary technique, the driving out was referred to as destroying. Likewise, the Ammonites "destroyed" the Raphaites [Zamzummites], and then the next sentence in another example of parallel emphasis referred to this destruction as driving them out.

Miller:

  • They were restricted from attacking Moab (Lot's descendants)--Deut 2.9:
  • Then the LORD said to me, "Do not harass the Moabites or provoke them to war, for I will not give you any part of their land. I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession."

Till:
What I said above applies to the Moabites too. These were descendants of Lot, through an incestuous relationship with his own daughter (as noticed earlier), so the Israelites thought that their god Yahweh had given the Moabites their land just as he was giving the Israelites the land of Canaan. Is this Mr. Miller's idea of mitigating "limitations"?

Miller:

  • They were restricted from attacking Ammon (Lot's descendants)--Deut 2.19:
When you come to the Ammonites, do not harass them or provoke them to war, for I will not give you possession of any land belonging to the Ammonites. I have given it as a possession to the descendants of Lot."

Till:
I have already commented above on the text that Mr. Miller quoted here. The Ammonites were presumably the descendants of their eponymous ancestor Ben-ammi, who was born of Lot's incestuous relationship with his daughter (Gen. 19:36-38), so the Israelites superstitiously believed that their god Yahweh had given the Ammonites their land. The Israelites would have thought that trying to take Ammonite land would incur the anger of their god Yahweh.

I will ask again if this is Mr. Miller's idea of mitigating "limitations." Nothing in these examples of favoritism that the Israelites showed to ethnically related tribes will remove the fact that Yahweh ordered the Israelites to go into Canaan and destroy totally the seven nations living there to the point of leaving no one alive to breathe.

Mr. Miller's attempt to find mitigating "limitations" in the fact that the Israelites left some tribes outside of Canaan alone could be compared to the doctrine of manifest destiny, which European settlers used as an excuse to grab from the native Americans all of their land from ocean to ocean. Along the way, there were some horrible massacres of natives, such as the Pequote massacre in 1637, the Sand Creek massacre in 1864, and the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890, among others. What Mr. Miller is now saying about the Yahwistic massacres would be parallel to someone's arguing that the massacres of native Americans by European settlers really wasn't so bad, because there were some tribes that they didn't massacre, and the European settlers didn't go into Mexico or Canada to massacre tribes living there. If an intruder broke into a home where a family of eight lived and murdered six of them, would Mr. Miller think that the murderer wasn't really such a bad guy, because he didn't kill two of the family members, or he didn't go next door and murder the family living there?

Miller:

  • They were never allowed to take the cultic objects--with the precious metals and stones--Deut 7.25f:
The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the LORD your God. 26 Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Utterly abhor and detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.

Till:
This passage was referring to the ancient custom that the Hebrews called cherem, which I discussed in this section of Part Three of this series. I recounted the story of Achan, whose entire family was stoned and burned with his livestock, because he had kept a Babylonian mantle and some precious metals that he had found in the sacking of Jericho. You see, all of the precious stuff was "devoted" to Yahweh, along with all of the people who were massacred. In the section just linked to, I quoted the Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, which gave a full explanation of how the custom called cherem required the Israelites to put all of the precious stuff into Yahweh's treasury, which, of course, meant that the priests were the ones who profited from it. Mr. Miller seems to see this restriction as some kind of virtuous "limitation," so I suppose that he hasn't considered even the possibility that it could have been only a "law" made by greedy priests who wanted to line their own pockets.

Miller:

  • They were required to offer peace to nations at a distance--Deut 20.10-16:

10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.

Till:
Now let me see if I have this right. When the Israelites attacked a city that was outside of the land-promise borders that Yahweh had presumably fixed, if the people in that city agreed to surrender and open their gates, they would be spared and then put to forced labor--and Mr. Miller considers this a virtuous limitation that Yahweh put onto the Israelites? If he thinks that enslaving people is commendable, he apparently wouldn't have much difficulty seeing virtue in just about any military ventures the Israelites engaged in. I would ask him, however, to explain, if he can, what was so virtuous about forcing people into slavery. Of course, if the people in those distant cities didn't surrender and open their gates, the Israelites were to kill all the men and then take the women, children, livestock, and everything else in the city as "plunder" for themselves. Mr. Miller sees virtue in this? If so, I am glad that my moral standards are on a higher plane than his.

All that aside, this whole matter of how the Israelites were to treat "distant cities" is irrelevant to what Mr. Miller is supposed to be doing, which is defending the Yahwistic command for the Israelites to destroy totally the people of the seven mighty nations in Canaan. What they may or may not have done to people outside that area would not prove or disprove Mr. Miller's claim that the massacres of the Canaanites was morally right.

Miller:

  • There were restrictions on how Israelite men treated female war captives (from distant nations)--Deut 12.10ff:

When you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

Till:
The passage that Mr. Miller quoted is not in Deuteronomy 12. He has apparently inverted the numbers, so the correct citation is Deuteronomy 21:10-14. Anyway, Mr. Miller's concepts of morality get worse the longer he goes. He seems to see high moral standards in a law that would permit soldiers to take captive women into their homes and then force them into marriage if they are "attracted" to them, or as the KJV and ASV say, if they have "a desire" for them. Nothing was said about the wishes of the women, but I can't imagine that a woman would be too thrilled about being forced into marriage with a captor who had been responsible for killing her parents. Likewise, I see no high moral standard in the last part of this law. If a captive woman forced into marriage didn't please her "husband," he could just "let her go wherever she wishes." Nothing was said about any obligations that the "husband" would have to see that she would be provided for after she was sent away.

Miller:

  • [Scholars have noted that this was an unparalleled benevolence toward women, in ANE warfare.]

Till:
I don't know what ANE customs of other nations Mr. Miller may have in mind, but if he wants to talk about "unparalleled benevolence," he will have to find something to praise besides forced marriages of captive women to the killers of their parents--within only one month after the massacres--because I certainly can't see anything even remotely noble about such a practice as this. If Robert Turkel should inject himself into this discussion--which he may do, since he obviously admires Mr. Miller's "apologetic" articles--he should keep in mind that saying that my problem is that "God" didn't kiss my patoot is not a satisfactory explanation. A satisfactory explanation would be one that (1) didn't beg the question of "God's" involvement in laws such as this one and that (2) showed that a law permitting the forced marriages of captive women to the killers of their parents is consistent with recognized moral principles. It certainly isn't a satisfactory explanation to claim that a law like this was "unparalleled" in terms of what was done in Ancient Near Eastern societies, because many of the customs of that time were appallingly barbaric. Wouldn't a reasonable person think that if an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent deity were actually directing the ancient Hebrew nation, the moral standards that he required of them would have been vastly superior to those of the barbaric nations around them?

I have repeatedly emphasized throughout this series that the Old Testament claims that Yahweh ordered the Israelites to destroy totally men, women, and children in the cities of Canaan and to leave no one alive to breathe, and Mr. Miller is supposed to be showing us that there was nothing immoral about Yahweh's commands to so destroy the Canaanite nations. Mr. Miller says that the law pertaining to captive women was "an unparalleled benevolence toward women in ANE warfare," but he is comparing the bad to the worse. Shouldn't we expect the god from whom Christians say that objective morality emanates to impose on his "chosen ones" a system of morality that was perfect rather than just "unparalleled" in terms of what other nations in those barbaric times may have done?

What Mr. Miller is doing could be compared to someone who would argue that a man who robbed a chain of convenience stores in city A and killed all of the clerks who worked in them isn't really a bad guy, because he had also robbed some stores in a distant city and didn't kill any of the clerks. The point is that Mr. Miller is supposed to be showing us that the massacres of the Canaanites were morally right, so references to what Israelites may have done in battles outside of Canaan are irrelevant (even though Israelite conduct in those places couldn't exactly be held up as examples to emulate).

Miller:
So, this obviously was not a war of unrestrained lust, greed for expensive goods, or even "empire-building"--God did not tolerate those attitudes.

Till:
Yahweh did, however, tolerate and even command that his "chosen ones" exterminate totally the people in the Canaanite nations. When Mr. Miller cites an allegedly "unparalled" attitude toward women captured in places outside of Canaan, this does not remove the facts that (1) the Israelites were commanded (Deut. 20:16-17) to destroy totally the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites and to leave no one alive to breathe and that (2) they allegedly executed those commands when they invaded Canaan (Josh. 10:40; Josh. 11:1-11,15). Mr. Miller is supposed to be showing us that there was nothing immoral about any of this, but instead he is arguing that the Israelites were really not too bad, because when they attacked cities outside of Canaan, they spared their trees and forced captive women into marriage instead of killing them. In so quibbling, of course, he is forgetting about the massacre of the Amalekites (1 Sam. 15:1-4) when Yahweh ordered the first king of Israel to destroy totally the Amalakite nation, which lived outside of Canaan, and to spare them not but to kill male and female, children and infants. Yahweh even threw in all of the Amalekite livestock for good measure and got his hackles up when the Israelites spared the best of the livestock (1 Sam. 15:10-15). Mr. Miller may defend this kind of barbarity, but I am glad to say that I don't.

Miller:
For example, in Joshua 7, an Israelite did take some of the expense [sic] idol pieces, and God held the entire community responsible for this breach.

Till:
Mr. Miller is referring to Achan's violation of the ancient custom of cherem, which I discussed at length in Part Three of this series to show that it amounted to a form of human sacrifice. Those who click the link above will see that all of the gold, silver, and other precious items were to be put into Yahweh's coffers, which, needless to say, the priests would have had control over, so this was nothing more than what we see in modern times where clerics live in luxury far better than their parishioners, whom they dupe into putting their money into the collection baskets.

In the case that Mr. Miller cited, as readers who click the link above will see, a man named Achan kept a Babylonian mantle and some gold and silver that he had found in the sacking of Jericho, where the Israelites slaughtered all of the inhabitants except for Rahab's family. For doing this, his entire family, along with all of his lifestock, were stoned and burned (Josh. 7:24-25). There is just nothing like Yahweh's high moral standards, is there? No wonder Mr. Miller is defending them.

Miller:
Second, I want to look at the exact content of the instructions. What exactly was ordered?

Till:
Anyone who doesn't know the answer to that question by now must not have been paying attention. Yahweh's instructions were to destroy totally the seven nations in Canaan (Deut. 7:1-2; Deut. 20:17) and to leave no one alive to breathe (Deut. 20:16). That is exactly what Yahweh ordered the Israelites to do, and it is exactly what the book of Joshua claims that the Israelites did (10:40; 11:8,10-12,14). There is just no spin that Mr. Miller can put onto these passages that would remove the fact that Yahweh presumably ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the people in seven nations, but let's take a look at Mr. Miller's attempts to whitewash these orders.

Miller:
What were the possible responses available to the Canaanites & Co.?

  • The first thing to notice is the wide range of words used to describe what YHWH/Israel was supposed to do the these nations.

Till:
In an apparent attempt to prove that Yahweh didn't order the Israelites to exterminate the Canaanites, Mr. Miller put together here a list of 16 different terms that were used to describe what Yahweh ordered the Israelites to do to them. I will reply to each term as it is introduced, so that when Mr. Miller takes these terms one by one and tries to twist them into meaning something besides total destruction, I can just refer readers back to where I have already answered his quibbles.

The word translated wipe out in the NIV, which Mr. Miller apparently relies on, was kachad, which meant "to destroy." Here are some examples of how the word was used in the Old Testament.

Exodus 9:13 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, 14 or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off [kachad] the earth.

2 Chronicles 32:21 And Yahweh sent an angel, who annihilated [kachad] all the fighting men and the leaders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king.

Job 15:27 "Though his face is covered with fat and his waist bulges with flesh, 28 he will inhabit ruined [kachad] towns and houses where no one lives, houses crumbling to rubble."

Job 4:7 "Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed [kachad]?"

So unless Mr. Miller can show us that annihilate, destroy, or wipe out didn't mean to annihilate, destroy, or wipe out, I can't see that he has a point.

Miller:

  • "throw them into confusion" (e.g. Ex 23.27)

Till:
We are still in the same text in which Yahweh, speaking through Moses [snicker, snicker], assured the Israelites that he would destroy or annihilate or wipe out the nations of Canaan, so it is unlikely that anything that he said in this context would mean anything different from his promise to destroy those nations. The Hebrew word for "throw into confusion" here in Mr. Miller's NIV was hamam, which was used as a synonym for destroy. Elsewhere it was translated consume or destroy and was, in fact, translated destroy in the KJV of the very text that Mr. Miller cited.

Esther 9:24 Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume [hamam] them, and to destroy them.

Deuteronomy 2:15 For indeed the hand of Yahweh was against them, to destroy [hamam] them from among the host, until they were consumed.

What we likely have here, then, is just a case of parallelism, common in Hebrew, in which emphasis was achieved by using synonyms to repeat the same idea. That can be seen in the broader context of the verses that Mr. Miller is citing.

Exodus 23:20 "See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. 22 If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. 23 My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out [kachad]. Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. 25 Worship Yahweh your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span. 27 "I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion [hamam] every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. 28 I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. 29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land. 31 "I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River. I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you.

Mr. Miller quibbles below about the meanings of "turning their backs" and "driving them out," so I will reserve comment on these terms until I get to where Mr. Miller tried to give them meanings that made the Israelites look downright virtuous. At this point, I will emphasize the case of parallelism that I identified above. In the first part of the text, Yahweh clearly said that he would destroy/consume the Israelites, and that is consistent with the passages we have now noticed several times where Yahweh ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanite nations and to leave in them no one alive to breathe, so if Mr. Miller believes that the Bible is inerrant, he needs to explain to us why he is now trying to make Yahweh's orders to the Israelites concerning the Canaanites to mean only that they were to drive them out so that they could migrate somewhere else. As I will show, one could certainly say that if the Israelites destroyed totally the Canaanites and left none of them alive to breathe, it could be correctly said that they had driven them out. If not, why not? If, however, they were simply driven out of the land in the sense of having been forcibly expelled, it could not be said that they had been totally destroyed to the point of none of them having been left alive to breathe. If not, why not?

That this parallel meaning was intended in the passage above can be seen in some of the other places that I emphasized in bold print. What, for example, would be the difference in demolishing the Canaanite idols and in breaking their sacred stones to pieces? If the Israelites demolished the idols, they would have broken the sacred stones into pieces, and if they broke the sacred stones into pieces, they would have demolished the idols. This is nothing more than an example of parallel emphasis that was used throughout the Old Testament. Likewise, if the Canaanites turned their backs and ran, they would have been driven out before the Israelites, but nothing in the text indicates that after the Canaanites turned and ran, they were not totally destroyed later. In fact, we will see examples later that show that this is exactly what happened after the Canaanites turned and ran. What Mr. Miller is trying to make into mitigating implications in Yahweh's command to destroy totally the Canaanites was really nothing more than a Hebraic way of emphasizing just how total the destruction was to be.

Miller:

  • "make them turn their backs and run" (e.g. Ex 23.27)

Till:
Since Mr. Miller uses the NIV, which gave the word hamam the meaning of "to throw into confusion," I am going to go with that and combine the ideas of throwing the Canaanites into confusion and "turning their backs on the Israelites and running from them." There is nothing at all in either term that would mean that the Israelites were not to destroy them totally and leave no one alive to breathe, because Yahweh [snicker, snicker] was describing in this passage how he would give the Israelites the land of Canaan through military conquest. There are examples in Joshua that claim that Canaanites turned and retreated from the Israelites, who pursued and slaughtered them.

  • When a coalition of Canaanite kings gathered to fight the Gibeonites who had deceived the Israelites into making a treaty with them, Joshua's forces routed them and chased them all the way from Bethhoron to Azek. The Israelites slaughtered them when Yahweh stopped the sun to prolong the day so that Joshua's forces could mop up the Canaanites (Josh. 10:1-14).
  • When Joshua was told that five Canaanite kings had fled from this battle and hidden in a cave, Joshua ordered his men to seal the cave with stones and then pursue and kill the soldiers who had been there with the kings. After Joshua's forces had destroyed them with "a great slaughter," he reopened the cave, humiliated the kings, killed them, and then hanged them in trees (Josh. 10:16-27).
  • When a coalition of Canaanites gathered by king Jabin of Hazor went out against the Israelites, the Israelites chased them "to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, until no survivors were left (Josh. 11:1-8).

Obviously, then, references to Canaanites who would be thrown into confusion and run from the Israelites didn't mean that Yahweh would suddenly turn into Mr. Nice Guy and let some of the Canaanites live to "migrate" to other places, because examples of when the Canaanites did turn and run were followed with claims that the Israelites pursued and killed them.

Miller:

  • "drive them out of your way" (e.g. Ex 23.28)

Till:
My comments above apply here too. The conquest stories in Joshua claim that when Yahweh did drive the Canaanites out of the way, the Israelites pursued and slaughtered them. Mr. Miller is looking hard for some way to mitigate the absurdity of a benevolent god's "chosen people" engaging in massive slaughters, but if the book of Joshua is inerrant, as Mr. Miller seems to believe, the Israelites took no mercy at all on the people living in the cities that they conquered. Notice the bold-print emphasis in the text quoted below.

Joshua 10:29 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it. 30 Yahweh also gave that city and its king into Israel's hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho. 31 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Libnah to Lachish; he took up positions against it and attacked it. 32 Yahweh handed Lachish over to Israel, and Joshua took it on the second day. The city and everyone in it he put to the sword, just as he had done to Libnah. 33 Meanwhile, Horam king of Gezer had come up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his army--until no survivors were left. 34 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Lachish to Eglon; they took up positions against it and attacked it. 35 They captured it that same day and put it to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it, just as they had done to Lachish. 36 Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it. 37 They took the city and put it to the sword, together with its king, its villages and everyone in it. They left no survivors. Just as at Eglon, they totally destroyed it and everyone in it. 38 Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned around and attacked Debir. 39 They took the city, its king and its villages, and put them to the sword. Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron. 40 So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as Yahweh, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua subdued them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon. 42 All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because Yahweh, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. 43 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.

Nothing that Mr. Miller can say will make passages like this one disappear, and there is no spin that he can put on expressions like "thrown into confusion" or "turn their backs and run" that will remove the fact that the Bible, which he believes is inerrant, clearly claims that Joshua's forces did exactly what Yahweh had commanded Moses: They destroyed totally the people they defeated and conquered and left no survivors, no one to breathe. I have looked through Mr. Miller's website, and he seems like a very decent person. He should be ashamed to debase himself to defend the ancient barbarity glorified in the Bible.

Miller:

Till:
The word translated struck down in this passage was nakah, which conveyed the sense of striking down in the sense of killing. I don't know why Mr. Miller went to Psalms to find an example of where this word was used, because it appeared many times in Joshua in the sense of striking down or killing the people that the Israelites fought in Canaan.

Joshua 8:21 For when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that smoke was going up from the city, they turned around and attacked the men of Ai. 22 The men of the ambush also came out of the city against them, so that they were caught in the middle, with Israelites on both sides. Israel cut them down [nakah], leaving them neither survivors nor fugitives.

Joshua 10:10 Yahweh threw them into confusion before Israel, who defeated them in a great victory at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down [nakah] all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, Yahweh hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.

Joshua 10:28 That day Joshua took Makkedah. He put [nakah] the city and its king to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it. He left no survivors. And he did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.

Joshua 10:30 Yahweh also gave that city and its king into Israel's hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to [nakah] the sword. He left no survivors there. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.

Joshua 10:32 Yahweh handed Lachish over to Israel, and Joshua took it on the second day. The city and everyone in it he put to [nakah] the sword, just as he had done to Libnah. 33 Meanwhile, Horam king of Gezer had come up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him [nakah] and his army--until no survivors were left.

Joshua 10:35 They captured it that same day and put it to [nakah] the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it, just as they had done to Lachish. 36 Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it. 37 They took the city and put it [nakah] to the sword, together with its king, its villages and everyone in it. They left no survivors. Just as at Eglon, they totally destroyed it and everyone in it.

I could give many more examples, but these are sufficient to show that when "struck down" and "put to [the sword]" were used in the Old Testament, they conveyed the sense of killing, so there is nothing in this word to support Mr. Miller's claim that Yahweh just wanted the Israelites to drive the Canaanites out of the land.

Miller:

Till:
The word translated dispossessed in this verse was yaresh, which conveyed the idea of driving out with the intention of possessing property. As I explained above, if the Israelites totally destroyed the Canaanites, they would have driven them out, and so this meaning would be consistent with the Yahwistic commands to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe, but if the Israelite just drove them out in the sense that they expelled them to another place, they would not have obeyed the command to destroy them totally and leave none of them alive to breathe. It is time, then, for Mr. Miller to tell us if he thinks that the Bible is inerrant. If he believes it is inerrant, then let him explain to us how the Bible is consistent if it says in one place that the Israelites totally destroyed the Canaanites but in another place says only that they displaced them to other locations.

Miller:

Till:
I addressed this above in my explication of Exodus 23:27-33, where I showed that "wiping out" or "cutting off" [translations of a word that meant "to annihilate or destroy"] was used in parallelisms with "driving out," which indicates that the writer's purpose was to emphasize that the Canaanites were to be destroyed totally, just as Yahweh had commanded the Israelites in various passages already noted several times. If Mr. Miller thinks that Yahweh meant only for the Israelites to "drive out" the Canaanites in the sense of expelling them to other locations, then he will have to explain how doing that would have constituted destroying them totally and leaving none of them alive to breathe. Does Mr. Miller believe that the Canaanites stopped breathing after the Israelites (according to his scenario) drove the Canaanites out of their former lands?

Miller:

Till:
There is no need to keep rehashing the same rebuttal point. I have shown above that the Bible claims that when the Canaanites fled from the Israelites, they were chased and put to the sword until there were no survivors. Understanding all of the references to driving or casting out the Canaanites before the Israelites can be harmonized with the texts that claim that the Israelites destroyed totally the people in Canaan and left none alive to breathe only if the driving-out and casting-out texts are interpreted to mean that when the Canaanites fled, they were pursued and killed. If these texts are interpreted to mean that the Canaanites fled in the sense of "migrating" to some other place, then Mr. Miller has a glaring textual inconsistency to explain.

Miller:

Till:
A look at this complete text will quickly show that "destroying" and "driving out" were intended to convey the same meaning.

But be assured today that Yahweh your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as Yahweh has promised you.

Mr. Miller probably couldn't have cited a passage more detrimental to his position, which is apparently that Yahweh's primary intention was to drive the Canaanites out to make them "migrate" to another land, but notice the words emphasized in bold print above. Yahweh first said that he would destroy the Canaanites, and then he said that when they were "subdued," the Israelites were to drive them out and annihilate them quickly. Hence, this verse clearly corroborates what I have been saying above. Yahweh clearly ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe, so when he referred to "driving them out," he meant that when the Canaanites were in retreat and disarray, the Israelites were to pursue and annihilate them. Otherwise, there is a glaring contradiction in the Bible that Mr. Miller will need to explain.

Miller:

  • "subdue them before you" (e.g. Deut 9.3)

Till:
I just quoted this verse above so that I could show that when Yahweh spoke of subduing the Canaanites, he meant that the Israelites were then to pursue them and annihilate them. Mr. Miller is obviously fighting a losing battle in his attempt to make the god Yahweh Mr. Nice Guy.

Miller:

Till:
As I explained above, Mr. Miller's own proof text clearly shows that, as the Old Testament was written, presumably by inspired men, Yahweh wanted the Canaanites annihilated, so the references to driving them out or casting them out or making them flee, etc., didn't mean that Yahweh wanted them driven into other lands, but as Deuteronomy 9:3 clearly states, the Israelites were to annihilate them after Yahweh had "subdued" them and "driven them out."

Miller:

  • "delivered them over to you" (e.g. Deut 7.2)

Till:
Does Mr. Miller read any of his proof texts before he cites them? Notice that the verse cited above is exactly parallel to Deuteronomy 9:3 in that it clearly says that when Yahweh had "delivered" the Canaanites to the Israelites, they were to destroy them totally.

Deuteronomy 7:1-2 When Yahweh your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations--the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you--2 and when Yahweh your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally.

What part of a command to destroy totally does Mr. Miller not understand? Did Mr. Miller even read the rest of this chapter? If so, why didn't he see the passage below?

7:22 Yahweh your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. 23 But Yahweh your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed. 24 He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them.

Destroy, destroy, destroy--time and time again that was the primary theme in passages that gave the Israelites instructions concerning how to deal with the Canaanites. Mr. Miller is shamelessly quibbling about expressions like "drive out" or "cast out" or "turn and run" or "subdue," but over and over, when these expressions were used, they appeared in contexts that clearly show that Yahweh expected annihilation and destruction of the Canaanites after they had been subdued or driven out. Notice that verse 23 above illustrates what I just said. Yahweh would (1) deliver them [the Canaanites] over to the Israelites and (2) throw them into great confusion, until (3) they are destroyed.

Another point is in order here. As I have been replying to Mr. Miller, I have pointed out inconsistencies and discrepancies in the biblical text, as in the case of references in the book of Jonah to a king in Nineveh before this city became the capital of Assyria, so it is time to point readers to another discrepancy. The first verse in the quotation immediately above conflicts with one that was quoted earlier. Let's juxtapose them to make the inconsistency so obvious that anyone should be able to see it.

Deuteronomy 7:22 Yahweh your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.

Deuteronomy 9:3 But be assured today that Yahweh your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as Yahweh has promised you.

Now which was it going to be? Was Yahweh going to drive them out little by little so that wild animals wouldn't multiply around the Israelites, or was he going to destroy them quickly? Inconsistencies like this should give reasonable readers pause to think about how reliable the biblical text can be when it has inconsistencies like this in it.

The same little-by-little statement was made in Exodus 23:29-30, and every time I read it I wonder why the 2.5 to 3 million Israelites wouldn't have been numerous enough to keep animal poplulations under control in a land area no larger than ancient Israel. The present day population of Israel is only 6.2 million, so are we supposed to believe that half that many people couldn't have kept wild animals from overpopulating if Yahweh had given the land to the Israelites all at once? Regardless, there is an inconsistency in the two texts quoted above. If Yahweh gave the land to the Israelites little by little, then he couldn't have given it to them quickly, and if he gave it to them quickly, he couldn't have given it to them little by little.

Miller:

Till:
This text has been quoted, analyzed, and reanalyzed, so there is no need to requote it here. It has Yahweh telling the Israelites that he will deliver the seven Canaanite nations to them so that they can defeat them, after which "you must destroy them totally." When Mr. Miller's proof texts are analyzed within their broader contexts, they consistently show that Yahweh ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites after they had been delivered, subdued, defeated, etc. I hate to impugn his motives, but I can see no reason why Mr. Miller is citing, without quoting, these texts except that he didn't expect his readers to take the time actually to read them, so he cited them hoping that they would just accept his word that they contained nothing but references to "delivering" or "subduing" or "defeating" the Canaanites with nothing said about killing them.

Miller:

Till:
Well, doesn't perish mean to die? When this verse is viewed in its entirety, it shows that Yahweh is directly intervening to cause the Canaanites to perish.

Deuteronomy 7:20 Moreover, Yahweh your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished.

So there is nothing in this verse that would promote a good-guy image for Yahweh. It is actually saying that if any Canaanites should succeed in hiding from the Israelites, Yahweh would send "the hornet," probably being used symbolically to represent some kind of divine pestilence, to make those who survived the Israelite battles to perish. Rather than conveying what Mr. Miller tried to make it mean, this verse was really saying that Yahweh was not going to let any of the Canaanites survive the Israelite onslaught.

Miller:

  • "give kings into your hands" (e.g. Deut 7.24)
  • "wipe out their names from under heaven" (e.g. Deut 7.24)

Till:
I have combined these two to show that the same text that says that the kings would be given into the hands of the Israelites went on to say that the Israelites were then to "wipe out their names from under heaven." How could this have been done unless those kings and their people were destroyed totally? Yahweh, for example, ordered the Israelites to "blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven" (Deut. 25:19), and we have already seen that this obviously meant that the Amalekites were to be destroyed totally (1 Sam. 15:1-3).

I also quoted above several passages that showed that when kings were given or delivered into the hands of the Israelites, they were killed, but apparently Mr. Miller's memory needs refreshing.

Joshua 8:21 For when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that smoke was going up from the city, they turned around and attacked the men of Ai. 22 The men of the ambush also came out of the city against them, so that they were caught in the middle, with Israelites on both sides. Israel cut them down, leaving them neither survivors nor fugitives. 23 But they took the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua. 24 When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. 25 Twelve thousand men and women fell that day--all the people of Ai. 26 For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed all who lived in Ai. 27 But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as Yahweh had instructed Joshua. 28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day. 29 He hung the king of Ai on a tree and left him there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered them to take his body from the tree and throw it down at the entrance of the city gate. And they raised a large pile of rocks over it, which remains to this day.

Joshua 10:16 Now the five kings had fled and hidden in the cave at Makkedah. 17 When Joshua was told that the five kings had been found hiding in the cave at Makkedah, 18 he said, "Roll large rocks up to the mouth of the cave, and post some men there to guard it. 19 But don't stop! Pursue your enemies, attack them from the rear and don't let them reach their cities, for the LORD your God has given them into your hand." 20 So Joshua and the Israelites destroyed them completely--almost to a man--but the few who were left reached their fortified cities. 21 The whole army then returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah, and no one uttered a word against the Israelites. 22 Joshua said, "Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me." 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave--the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. 24 When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, "Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings." So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks. 25 Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what Yahweh will do to all the enemies you are going to fight." 26 Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening.

As this passage continued, it told of the killing of the kings of Makkedah (Josh. 10:28), of Libnah (Josh. 10:30), of Hebron (Josh. 10:37), and of Debir (Josh. 10:38-39). The fact that Mr. Miller's proof text referred only to "giving" kings into the hands of the Israelites certainly didn't mean that Yahweh was ordering the Israelites to show mercy to them, because the same verse that Mr. Miller quoted said that the Israelites were to wipe out the names of these kings from under heaven, and the passages quoted and cited above claim that the Israelites did this by killing the kings that they captured.

Miller:
Notice that there is a huge difference (at first blush) between "annihilate" and "drive them out"!

Till:
And I have shown that there is no difference, because expressions like "drive out," "subdue," "defeat," etc. were consistently used in contexts that went on to say that after Canaanites were "subdued" or "defeated," they were killed, and contexts that referred to "driving out," went on to say that the Israelites pursued them until they were totally destroyed. I want to give Mr. Miller every benefit of doubt concerning his sincerity, but I find it hard to believe that he didn't notice how the complete contexts of passages he has been citing showed that utter destruction followed references to subduing, or defeating, or driving out.

Miller:
These seem almost contradictory.

Till:
Not at all, because, as I have shown, these terms were used in passages where the full contexts show that defeating, subduing, and driving out were followed by references to the total destruction of those Canaanites who were subdued or defeated or driven out.

Miller:
This warrants a closer look.

Till:
Not really. If Mr. Miller thinks that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant word of God, then he should accept what I have noted above: biblical accounts claim that the Israelites pursued Canaanites, who turned and ran after they had been defeated or subdued, and then killed them. There is just no way to whitewash the clarity with which so many biblical texts claim that Yahweh ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanite nations and to leave no one in them alive to breathe. This is one of the most repugnant aspects of the Bible, and there is just no way that Mr. Miller or anyone else can sugar-coat it.

Miller:
These words group into two categories: dispossession vs destruction. "Dispossession" would include the words like drive out, dispossess, take over possession of, thrust out, send away (33 occurrences).

Till:
Yes, and as I explained above, umpteen times, the full contexts of passages that referred to "dispossession" showed that terms for this were used in the sense of killing or destroying, so the Bible teaches that the Canaanites were to be dispossessed by destroying them totally.

Miller:
"Destruction" words would include annihilate, destroy, perish, and eliminate (11 occurrences). The Dispossession words would indicate that the population 'ran away'--migrated out of the Land prior to any encounter with the Israelites;

Till:
Actually, there are 13 references in the KJV to "destroying" the Canaanites, and four to the command to leave no one alive to breathe, which, of course, would be synonymous with "destroying." Anyway, as I showed earlier--repeatedly--killing the Canaanites would have had the effect of dispossessing them, so when viewed in that sense, there would be no inconsistency or contradiction--to use Mr. Miller's word--in the passages where Yahweh ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites and the ones where Yahweh spoke of "dispossessing" them, but if Mr. Miller is going to claim that the Israelites dispossessed the Canaanites only in the sense of expelling them to some other lands, then he will have a biblical discrepancy to explain.

That "dispossessing" was used in the sense of "destroy" is evident from passages whose context used both terms. There is one text in particular that is very clear about this.

Deuteronomy 31:1 So Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. 2 And he said to them, "I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go, and Yahweh has said to me, 'You shall not cross this Jordan.' 3 "It is Yaheh your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them.

Notice that destroy and dispossess were used interchangeabely here. The rest of the passage clearly shows that Yahweh's orders were for the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites.

Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, just as Yahweh has spoken. 4 "Yahweh will do to them just as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when He destroyed them.

As we will see below when I analyze the biblical texts that described the conquests of Amorites ruled by Sihon and Og, the Israelites destroyed totally everyone in the Amorite cities and towns, specifiically stating that men, women, and children were all killed (Deut. 2:24-35; Deut. 3:1-17).

5 "Yahweh will deliver them up before you, and you shall do to them according to all the commandments which I have commanded you.

Doing to them according to all the commandments that Yahweh had commanded the Israelites would have necessitated totally destroying all of the Canaanites (Deut. 7:2) and leaving none of them alive to breathe (Deut. 20:16-17).

6 "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for Yahweh your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you." 7 Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, "Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which Yahweh has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. 8 "Yahweh is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."

This passage spoke of Yahweh's "delivering up" the Canaanites and the Israelites' "dispossessing" them, both in contexts that were clear in conveying that this meant that the Canaanites were to be destroyed. Try as he may, Mr. Miller just cannot quibble his way around the obvious fact that the Old Testament teaches in language too clear to misunderstand that Yahweh ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe.

Besides the clarity of the passages just analyzed, there are others that used both terms [dispossess and destroy] in reference to the same Canaanites.

  • Numbers 21:21-34 described the Israelite conquest of the Amorite region ruled by king Sihon, and this description speaks of "striking him with the sword" and "possessing" his land. It speaks of taking all of the Amorite cities "in Heshbon" and of "a fire" that went out "from the city of Sihon" and "devoured the lords of the high places of the Arnon."
  • Verses 33-35 then turned to describing the region ruled by Og the king of Bashan. In speaking to Moses on that occasion, Yahweh told him to do to "all of his people and his land" as has been done to Sihon king of the Amorites "who dwelt at Heshbon." The last verse in this passage says that "they struck him and his sons and all his people, until there was none left him remaining, and they possessed his land.
  • Deuteronomy 2:24-35 also described the conquest of Amorite land ruled by Sihon, and this version of the battles claims that the Israelites "took all of his cities at that time and utterly destroyed every inhabited city, with the women and the little ones" and "left none remaining." Verse 31 says that the Israelites "began to possess" Sihon's land when these battles began, so the Israelite concept of "dispossessing" was to kill everyone in the land and then to possess it for themselves.
  • Deuteronomy 3:1-17 also described the conquest of Amorite land ruled by Sihon and Og. This text claims that Yahweh told Moses to do to Og and his people "as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon." Moses said in verse 3 that Yahweh "delivered" Og into the hands of the Israelites, who "struck him until none were left to him remaining." He went on to describe the conquest of 60 cities in "the region of Argob" in "the kingdom of Og in Bashan." Moses claimed that "we utterly destroyed them, as we did to Sihon, utterly destroying every inhabited city, with the women and the little ones." The text continued to tell of the destruction of all the Amorite cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, to Salecah and Edrei, "cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan." Verse 12, says that the Israelites took this land "in possession at that time," from Aroer, which is by the valley of Arnon, and half the hill country of Gilead, and the cities thereof. The passage went on to explain that the land and cities in this half of Gilead were given to the Reubenites and the Gadites and that the rest of Gilead was given to the half-tribe of Manasseh.

There is a reason why I emphasized all of the details above about the utter destruction of the people living in Gilead. As I noted immediately above, the land of Gilead was given to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, but another discription of this land claims that the taking of this land was an act of "dispossession."

Numbers 32:33 Then Moses gave to the Gadites, the Reubenites and the half-tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan--the whole land with its cities and the territory around them. 34 The Gadites built up Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, 35 Atroth Shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36 Beth Nimrah and Beth Haran as fortified cities, and built pens for their flocks. 37 And the Reubenites rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh and Kiriathaim, 38 as well as Nebo and Baal Meon (these names were changed) and Sibmah. They gave names to the cities they rebuilt. 39 The descendants of Makir son of Manasseh went to Gilead, captured it and drove out [dispossessed, KJV] the Amorites who were there. 40 So Moses gave Gilead to the Makirites, the descendants of Manasseh, and they settled there. 41 Jair, a descendant of Manasseh, captured their settlements and called them Havvoth Jair. 42 And Nobah captured Kenath and its surrounding settlements and called it Nobah after himself.

So if this passage and the other ones that described the Israelite battles and defeat of the Amorites in the kingdoms of Sihon and Og, then we have to conclude that the terms "driving out" and "dispossessing" were used not to mean that the Israelites just expelled the Amorites into other lands but that they drove them out and dispossessed them in the sense that they destroyed them totally.

If Mr. Miller still has doubts that "driving out" and "dispossessing" were terms used in the sense of "destroying," he should read Jephthah's message to the kings who were disputing the Israelite right to the land that was taken from the Amorites who had been ruled by king Sihon.

Judges 11:19-24 "Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, and said to him, 'Let us pass through your country to our own place.' 20 Sihon, however, did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. He mustered all his men and encamped at Jahaz and fought with Israel. 21 Then Yahweh, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his men into Israel's hands, and they defeated them. Israel took over all the land of the Amorites who lived in that country, 22 capturing all of it from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the desert to the Jordan. 23 Now since the Yahweh, the God of Israel, has driven [dispossessed, KJV] the Amorites out before his people Israel, what right have you to take it over? 24 Will you not take what your god Chemosh gives you? Likewise, whatever Yahweh our God has given us, we will possess."

Jephthah was obviously referring to the massacres of the Amorites described in the passages that I summarized above, but in describing the outcome of those battles, he said that Yahweh had "driven out" or "dispossessed" the Amorites, so here is more proof that "dispossession" in the biblical sense often conveyed the sense of taking ownership of land after the earlier owners had been killed. Mr. Miller's quibbles about terms like "drive out" or "subdue" or "dispossess" have no merit at all. The Bible clearly claims that the Israelites destroyed totally the peoples they conquered and "left nothing alive to breathe." He has yet to present anything that even remotely resembles a logical justification of those massacres.

Miller:

  • Destruction words would indicate the consequences for those who stayed behind.

Till:
I have shown above that this was clearly not the case. When the Canaanites fled from the Israelites they were pursued and totally destroyed, but for the sake of argument, let's just suppose that Yahweh's orders to destroy totally the Canaanites referred only to "the consequences for those who stayed behind." Where is the morality in acts of taking peoples land, homes, cities, vineyards, wells, etc. by force? Where is the morality in killing children and babies who by necessity would have had to remain with their parents who did choose to stay behind?

Miller:

  • What then is the mix of these two sets of words? The "Dispossession" words outnumber the "Destruction" words by 3-to-1!

Till:
But I have repeatedly shown that Mr. Miller has tried to distort the intended meaning of the "dispossession" words, because consideration of the complete contexts in which they were used clearly shows that they referred to acts of "driving out" or "subduing" or "dispossessing" through the total destruction of the Canaanite people.

Miller:

  • This would indicate that the dominant 'intended effect' was for the peoples in the Land to migrate somewhere else.

Till:
I analyzed enough passages above that anyone who really wants to see the truth about what the Bible teaches on this subject will have no difficulty seeing that the "intended effect" of Yahweh's commands was the utter destruction of the Canaanite people who were living in the land that the Israelites wanted to grab for themselves. Mr. Miller is straining to find some way to put a moral spin on the Yahwistic massacres and just can't find a way to do it.

Miller:

  • So, consider Deut 12.29: The LORD your God will cut off before you the nations you are about to invade and dispossess. But when you have driven them out and settled in their land, 30 and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, "How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same."

Till:
It's amazing how Mr. Miller can't seem to see what is right in front of his eyes. The very passage he quoted said that "(t)he LORD your God will cut off before you the nations you are about to invade and dispossess," but doesn't he know that "cut off" to the Hebrews meant "to kill"? The word used here was karath, which was used in the sense of "destroy" or "consume." That karath [cut off] meant to destroy or kill in Hebrew can be shown by looking at Mr. Miller's own quoted proof texts about "detestable things." He quoted Leviticus 18, which listed a whole array of abominations, many of them sexual acts that involved adultery, incest, and beastiality. After listing them, verse 29 warned that "Everyone who does any of these detestable things--such persons must be cut off from their people." Some have tried to make this mean only that the offenders would be cut off socially from Hebrew society, but that it didn't mean this can be seen when this passage is compared to chapter 20, which listed many of the same offenses and warned that those who did these things would be put to death (Lev. 20:1-16,20,27). In other words, Leviticus 18:8,29 said that anyone who had sexual relations with his father's wife must be "cut off from [his] people," but Leviticus 20:11 said that the one who committed this offense "must be put to death." Leviticus 18:20,29 said that the one who had sexual relations with his neighbor's wife must be "cut off from [his] people," but Leviticus 20:10 decreed death for the same offense. A comparison of these two chapters will show that "cut off" was the penalty ordered in chapter 18, whereas chapter 20 decreed death for the same offenses. It is rather evident then that "cut off" to the Hebrews meant death.

When the passage that Mr. Miller quoted above said that Yahweh would "cut off" the nations that the Israelites were about to invade and "dispossess," it obviously meant that they would be cut off in the sense that they would be killed. Even Mr. Miller's own proof text bears out that this was what "cut off" meant, because the verse went on to say, "when you have driven them out and settled in their land, and after they have been destroyed before you," be careful that you don't worship their gods, so the longer Mr. Miller goes, the more he proves himself that terms like "driving out" and "dispossessing" were just other ways of referring to the total destruction that the Bible claims that Yahweh had decreed for the Canaanites.

Miller:

  • Let's look at a few examples of the "dispossession" words.
    • From the garasl group ("drive out"):
      • Ex 23:28-30: I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way... But I will not drive them out in a single year,... Little by little I will drive them out before you"

Till:
I analyzed the full context of this passage earlier and compared it to other texts to show that "driving out" was used to convey the idea of dispossession by killing and showed that those other passages claim that when the Canaanites turned and ran, the Israelites pursued them and killed them. This rebuttal is already too long, so there is no need for me to rehash all of those comparisons here.

Miller:

      • Ex 23.31-33: "I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you. 32 Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods. 33 Do not let them live in your land,"
      • Ex 33.2: "I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites...."
      • Deut 33.27: " He will drive out your enemy before you, saying, `Destroy him!'"

Till:
Mr. Miller is doing nothing here but confirming what I have now pointed out umpteen times earlier. Expressions like "handing over," "delivering up," "subduing," "defeating," etc. in reference to the Canaanite nations were used to convey their destruction, so there is no need for me to repeat those rebuttals here. Even Mr. Miller's own proof texts betray his attempt to put a pretty face on the Yahwistic massacres, because the last text that he quoted above said that "(h)e [Yahweh] will drive out your enemy before you, saying, 'Destroy him! What part of "destroy" does Mr. Miller not understand? This text obviously shows that "driving out" the Canaanites was simply another way of saying that they were to be destroyed.

Miller:

  • [Notice that this word is used to describe the Pharoah [sic] 'driving out' the Israelites--obviously not annihilating them!--in Exodus 6.1: " "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country." and by Balak trying to drive Israel away in Numbers 22:6,11.]

Till:
Yes, the same word was used in reference to Pharaoh's "driving out" the Israelites, but there is a huge contextual difference in its usage here: the passage did not continue with any kind of indication that Pharaoh would drive the Israelites out by killing or destroying them, but I have analyzed passage after passage above to show that when Yahweh ordered the "driving out" or "defeating" or "subduing" of the Canaanites, he almost invariably went on to indicate that he meant for them to be destroyed totally. Mr. Miller seems not to understand that words in a language often have more than one meaning and that context is what determines how these words are being used. In English, for example, "take care of" often means "to attend to" or "provide for," but the term can be used in ways that give it a more sinister meaning. If a mobster upset by a former gang member who has been snitching on him should say to one of his underlings, "I expect you to take care of him." The underling certainly wouldn't think that the boss was telling him to provide for the needs of the snitch. He would know that he had just received orders to kill the snitch. Likewise, if the mob boss said to the underling, "I expect you to shut him up," he would know that he had just received orders to kill the snitch, even though "shut up" can be used in senses that have nothing to do with killing. If Mr. Miller will check a thesaurus, he will see that kill has various synonyms like waste, polish off, take for a ride, bump off, etc., all of which are terms that could be used in contexts that have nothing to do with killing. What Mr. Miller needs to do is find biblical passages in which "driving out" was used in reference to the Canaanites in contexts that clearly meant that the Israelites were simply expelling the Canaanites to relocate them in other lands, but he accomplishes nothing by citing passages like the one in reference to Pharaoh where "driving out" was used in a context entirely different from those that clearly indicated that driving out the Canaanites meant utterly destroying them.

As for Mr. Miller's second example above, I am not so sure that "drive out" in Numbers 22:6,11 merely mean to expel from the land.

Numbers 22:6 The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, "This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field." So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5 sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the River, in his native land. Balak said: "A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. 6 Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the country. For I know that those you bless are blessed, and those you curse are cursed...." 10 Balaam said to God, "Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent me this message: 11 'A people that has come out of Egypt covers the face of the land. Now come and put a curse on them for me. Perhaps then I will be able to fight them and drive them away.'"

Balak was superstitiously trying to hire Balaam to pronounce a curse on the Israelites, hoping that the curse would enable him to "defeat" and "drive out" the Israelites. Obvious reference was made to battlefield confrontation here, so just as the terms when used in reference to Israelites defeating and driving out Canaanites meant to destroy them totally, the same could be true here. There just isn't enough context to tell, but there is more than enough contexts to determine that "defeat" and "drive out" were used to mean the total destruction of the Canaanites.

Miller:

  • The yarasl group ("dispossess"):
    • Ex 24.34: "I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory,"

Till:
There are only 18 verses in Exodus 24, so I think that Mr. Miller inadvertently reversed the chapter and verse. Exodus 34:24 appears to be the verse Miller was citing, to which I need say nothing more than what I have already said umpteen times earlier: the expression "drive out" was used in various contexts where it obviously meant the complete destruction of the Canaanites.

Miller:

  • Num 33.52f: "drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. 53 Take possession of the land and settle in it,"
  • Deut 4.38: "to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today."
  • Deut 9.3,4,5: "And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly... After the LORD your God has driven them out before you... the LORD your God will drive them out before you"
  • Deut 11.23: "then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you."
  • Deut 18.12: "because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you."

Till:
What I have said and said and said and said earlier applies here too. There are too many contexts where "drive out" was obviously used in the sense of killing and destroying to accept the spin that Mr. Miller is trying to put onto it in passages that referred to "driving out" Canaanites. In fact, the broader context of one of the very passages that he cited above clearly shows that "drive out" was used in the sense of annihilate.

Deuteronomy 9:3 But be assured today that Yahweh your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as Yahweh has promised you.

Nothing has changed since I analyzed this verse earlier. First, the text said that Yahweh will destroy them. Then it said that he would "subdue" them and that the Israelites would "drive them out," and annihilate them. As I have now pointed out more times than I could estimate, the terms "defeat," "subdue," and "drive out" were used interchangeably over and over with words like "destroy" and "annihilate."

Miller:

  • The salah group ("send away")
    • Lev 18.24: "because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. 25 Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants."
    • Lev 20.23: "You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you."

Till:
Well, at least Mr. Miller has cited here two passages that haven't already been analyzed to death. Usage of the word shâlach was comparatively limited in Old Testament passages concerned with Israelite attacks on Canaanites, but when it was so used, it was translated "cast out" in the KJV, as in the two Levitical passages quoted above. The NIV, which Mr. Miller consistently quotes, translated it "drive out," so apparently it was a synonym to yaresh [drive out] when used in that sense, and I have already analyzed several passages where yaresh [drive out] was used in contexts that obviously meant that the Canaanites were "driven out" by totally destroying them. Despite the limited usage of shâlach in reference to Israelite attacks, there are enough other texts to show that this word could be used to mean casting out in the sense of exterminating. Mr. Miller cited the only two passages in the Pentateuch where this word was used in reference to the nations in Canaan, but there is a Psalm that uses it in reference to the "casting" out of the nations.

Psalm 44:1 We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago. 2 With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our fathers; you crushed the peoples and made our fathers flourish [shâlach].

I have found no reason why the NIV version translated shâlach to mean flourish, because other versions convey the sense of "casting out."

The KJV and NKJV, for example, used "cast out," but regardless of how it is translated, the broader context shows that it was being used in the same sense as yaresh [drive out] in the various passages analyzed above. Just as they were "driven out" in the sense of being totally destroyed, the Canaanites were "cast out" in the same way. The context of Psalm 44:1-2 bears that out, because it tells of Yahweh's having "driven out' [yaresh] the nations and "crushed the peoples." That certainly doesn't sound as if Yahweh had just "sent way" the Canaanites into other lands, and usage of shâlach in other places will show that it could convey the meaning of "casting out" in the sense of killing or destroying.

Jeremiah 15:1 Then Yahweh said to me: "Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away [shâlach] from my presence! Let them go! 2 And if they ask you, 'Where shall we go?' tell them, 'This is what Yahweh says: "'Those destined for death, to death; those for the sword, to the sword; those for starvation, to starvation; those for captivity, to captivity.' 3 "I will send four kinds of destroyers against them," declares Yahweh, "the sword to kill and the dogs to drag away and the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.

"Casting away" [shâlach] did at times convey the sense of death and destruction, so in view of the numerous passages analyzed earlier in which "defeat," "subdue," "drive away," "dispossess," etc. were used in contexts that conveyed the sense of killing and destroying the Canaanites, there is no reason to think that shâlach did not have this meaning in the two verses that Mr. Miller quoted above from Leviticus.

Jeremiah 28:15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, "Listen, Hananiah! Yahweh has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies. 16 Therefore, this is what Yahweh says: 'I am about to remove [shâlach] you from the face of the earth. This very year you are going to die, because you have preached rebellion against Yahweh.'" 17 In the seventh month of that same year, Hananiah the prophet died.

Here is a biblical example where the word shâlach was used in the sense of dying. In view of the numerous passages that referred to "wiping out," "defeating," "subduing," and "driving out" Canaanites by totally destroying them and leaving none of them alive to breathe, there is no reason at all to think that Mr. Miller's two verses in Leviticus that referred to "casting out the nations" didn't convey the same meaning.

Miller:
This is striking--it looks more like God is planning on "moving" a nation, than on "destroying a people"...

Till:
There is nothing at all "striking" about it for reasons that I have noted and noted and renoted above. If Mr. Miller wants to see something really stiking, he should read the numerous Old Testament passages that depicted Yahweh as a barbarous god who ordered the Israelites, over and over, to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave no one alive to breathe. Then he should compare the biblical passages that refer to the massacres of non-Hebraic people to the contemporary literature of surrounding nations, which like the Moabite Stone and inscriptions on pavement stones at the temple of Urta in Nimrud will show that people living in those times routinely massacred entire civilian populations after conquering cities, and thought that they were doing what their gods wanted them to do. Principles of morality have obviously evolved over the centuries, and although I doubt that he would ever admit it, Mr. Miller is trying to arrest its evolution and keep morality on the level of what it was in the primitive, superstitious era of biblical times.

Miller:
Let's see if the evidence continues to support this...

Till:
The "evidence" that we will see consists of quotations from authors, who, like Mr. Miller and almost all biblical inerrantists, lean over backwards to try to explain away the problem of Yahwistic immorality in the Old Testament.

Miller:
Notice in some of the above passages that 'destruction' images are mixed with 'dispossession' images. How can these be reconciled?!

Till:
I have shown above, repeatedly, how they can be reconciled as far as consistency is concerned. When a passage that speaks of "dispossession" or "driving out" or "casting out" goes on to speak of the utter destruction of those who were being "dispossessed," then we can know that "dispossession" was obviously being used as a euphemistic synonym for destruction. I showed above how terms like take care of, waste, polish off, bump off, etc., which usually convey no sense of killing can be used to mean kill. The context is what determines the meaning, and I have shown that Mr. Miller's "dispossession" words were used over and over in contexts that conveyed a sense of total destruction.

Miller:
The answer comes in recognizing the intent of the 'punishment'. [sic] God was destroying a culture and its carriers--not necessarily all the individuals in it. Roughly, it was the 'nations' that were destroyed, and it was the 'individuals' who were driven out. With the national and cultic centers destroyed (along with the staunchest, die-hard defenders of that culture inside those cities), the culture would simply dissipate and evaporate in the Land. As other cultures absorbed individual Canaanite families and groups, the Canaanite cultural depravity would not have had the critical mass to perpetuate itself. [Remember, Canaanite was a 'bad word' in the ANE.] The culture would have simply "died from starvation". [sic]

Till:
Mr. Miller has been citing passage after passage that used words like "defeat" or "drive out" or "cast out," etc. to try to support his claim that Yahweh didn't really want to destroy the Canaanites; he just wanted them to "migrate" to other lands. In everything that he said above, however, he didn't cite a single passage of scripture to support it. He simply asserted it. He could only assert this, of course, because he had no scriptural evidence to cite in support ot it.

His claim that any Canaanite remnants left in the land would be "absorbed" by other cultures is contrary to observable reality and biblical examples of Canaanite cultures that survived long after the Israelite conquest of the "promised land." Just look at the many Indian cultures in North and South America that still exist today despite the dominant European cultures that took the land of these tribes from them. In Southwestern France and Northern Spain, the Basque culture still exists centuries after their land was taken over by France and Spain. In Southern Turkey and Northern Iraq, the Kurdish culture still flourishes even though their land has been partitioned between two countries. The languages of the Kurds, Basques, Navajos, Mayans, etc. have also survived along with their cultural habits, so Mr. Miller's claim above is contrary to reality.

It is also contrary to what the Bible says about Canaanite groups that managed to survive long after the Israelite conquest. When David ordered a census, Joab including "the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites" in his tallies (2 Sam. 24:7). When Solomon began work on the temple, he conscripted several Canaanite groups as forced laborers.

1 Kings 9:20 All the people left from the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites (these peoples were not Israelites), 21 that is, their descendants remaining in the land, whom the Israelites could not exterminate --these Solomon conscripted for his slave labor force, as it is to this day.

These groups were apparently distinctive enough that they could be ethnically identified, so obviously they had not been "absorbed" into the Israelite culture even after almost five centuries. Even after the Babylonian captivity, the Bible spoke of Canaanite groups still in the land with whom the Israelites were intermarrying.

Ezra 9:1 After these things [offering of sacrifices by "the children of the captivity"] had been done, the leaders came to me and said, "The people of Israel, including the priests and the Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices, like those of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians and Amorites. 2 They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness."

So this passage is saying the opposite of what Mr. Miller claimed above. Instead of having been "absorbed" by the conquering culture, the Canaanite groups had managed to survive to the point of exercising negative influences on the Israelites. So much for Miller's first piece of "evidence," which in reality was nothing more than an unsupported assertion.

The Old Testament obviously taught in various places that Yahweh ordered the Israelites to destroy TOTALLY the Canaanites and to leave no one alive to breathe, and there is just no way that Mr. Miller can make the Old Testament not say what it plainly does say.

Miller:
And with Canaan, this might have been the only way to do this--cf. ECIAT:192-193:

"In Canaan, however, it was at once realized by the Egyptians that native political institutions could not be easily replaced, as they partook of a degree of sophistication (thanks to their origin among the Amorites of North Syria and Mesopotamia) comparable with that of Egypt itself."

The Canaanite culture was strong and proved to be powerful in working against Israel from within.

Till:
What Mr. Miller just said is completely contrary to what he had said before this. He first indicated that Yahweh just wanted to expel the Canaanites from the land to put an end to their culture, but now he is saying that the Canaanite culture "was strong and proved to be powerful in working against Israel from within." So which was it? Did the Israelites destroy the Canaanite culture by driving these people off to other lands, or did they find that their culture was too strong to get rid of?

Anyway, Mr. Miller conveniently neglected to mention here that the omniscient, omnipotent Yahweh presumably fought with the Israelites. This was claimed so many times in the Old Testament that space won't permit me to quote all of them.

Exodus 14:13 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance Yahweh will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 Yahweh will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Joshua 10:14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when Yahweh listened to a man. Surely Yahweh was fighting for Israel!

Joshua 10:42 All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because Yahweh, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

Joshua 23:3 You yourselves have seen everything Yahweh your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was Yahweh your God who fought for you.

I could drag this out indefinitely, but why bother? The Bible clearly teaches that Yahweh fought for the Israelites during their invasion of Canaan, so here is a simple question for Mr. Miller: if an omniscient, omnipotent deity fought for the Israelites, how were the Canaanites able to stand against them and survive? Doesn't Mr. Miller ever think before he posts such stuff as this to "explain" why some Canaanites managed to survive the Israelite onslaught? There is just no logical way to explain how finite Canaanites could have prevailed over an infinitely powerful deity fighting for the Israelites. That Mr. Miller would resort to such as this merely underscores just how desperate he is to find some way to defend the deplorable morality of the Hebrew god Yahweh.

Miller:
We have an interesting piece of data to support this approach, in the account of the "destruction" of the Amorite country of Og (Num 21.31ff):

After Moses had sent spies to Jazer, the Israelites captured its surrounding settlements and drove out the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan and his whole army marched out to meet them in battle at Edrei. 34 The LORD said to Moses, "Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you, with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon." 35 So they struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army, leaving them no survivors. And they took possession of his land.

Notice that the Amorites in the villages (i.e. surrounding settlements in v.32 were 'driven out'; but the royal bloodline and national army were destroyed in v.35).

Till:
How many times will I have to show Mr. Miller that when all biblical references to the defeat of Og king of Bashan are considered, they show that the Israelites completely destroyed these people and left none alive? Notice first of all that Mr. Miller's own proof text says that Yahweh told Moses to do to Og "what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites." Well, what did Moses do to Sihon?

Deuteronomy 2:26 From the desert of Kedemoth I sent messengers to Sihon king of Heshbon offering peace and saying, 27 "Let us pass through your country. We will stay on the main road; we will not turn aside to the right or to the left. 28 Sell us food to eat and water to drink for their price in silver. Only let us pass through on foot--29 as the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir, and the Moabites, who live in Ar, did for us--until we cross the Jordan into the land Yahweh our God is giving us." 30 But Sihon king of Heshbon refused to let us pass through. For Yahweh your God had made his spirit stubborn and his heart obstinate in order to give him into your hands, as he has now done. 31 Yahweh said to me, "See, I have begun to deliver Sihon and his country over to you. Now begin to conquer and possess his land." 32 When Sihon and all his army came out to meet us in battle at Jahaz, 33 Yahweh our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army. 34 At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them--men, women and children. We left no survivors.

I analyzed this passage earlier, and now here it is again for Mr. Miller to see. This account of the Israelite defeat of Amorite territory ruled by Sihon said that after defeating Sihon's army, the Israelites went to his towns, completely destroyed them, including women and children and "left no survivors," so if Yahweh told Moses to do to Og as he had done to Sihon and if Moses did as Yahweh had commanded, the Israelites would have totally destroyed those Amorites too. If not, why not?

This, however, isn't all the biblical evidence I have to show that the Israelites also destroyed totally the Amorites ruled over by king Og. The account of this battle in Deuteronomy is just as clear as the one quoted above about the total destruction of Sihon's subjects.

Deuteronomny 3:1 Next we turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan with his whole army marched out to meet us in battle at Edrei. 2 Yaheh said to me, "Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon." 3 So Yahweh our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors. 4 At that time we took all his cities. There was not one of the sixty cities that we did not take from them--the whole region of Argob, Og's kingdom in Bashan. 5 All these cities were fortified with high walls and with gates and bars, and there were also a great many unwalled villages. 6 We completely destroyed them, as we had done with Sihon king of Heshbon, destroying every city--men, women and children. 7 But all the livestock and the plunder from their cities we carried off for ourselves.

This account of the Israelite conquest of Og's territory clearly claims that after the Israelites had defeated Og's army, they turned to his cities, conquered them all, and destroyed every city--men, women, and children. The passage went on to say that the Israelites didn't destroy just the people who lived in the cities but turned and did the same to those who lived in "unwalled villages." So much for the "interesting piece of data" that Mr. Miller thought he had found in Numbers 31 "to support this approach," i. e., his claim that Yahweh's primary interest was to destroy the Amorite culture and not the Amorite people.

I just have to make a comment here. So many times, I have seen Christians refer to the websites of Mr. Miller and Robert Turkel as excellent sources of information to defend the Bible, but time and time again, I have found that both of these would-be apologists have only a superficial knowledge of the Bible. I recommend to both of them that they take the time to study--independently of what commentators think--the Bible itself enough to know what it says rather than depending so much on the "apologetic" works of writers whose primary goal is to present to their readers the traditional view that the Bible is "the inspired word of God." I don't want to believe that Mr. Miller has been intentionally dishonest. I prefer to believe that he does such things as cite his "interesting piece of data" above because he just doesn't know the Bible well enough to recognize that when text A says something, that account may well be incomplete and that other accounts of the same events may include information that shows, in this case, that Moses didn't just capture the towns and villages of king Og and then "drive out" or send its inhabitants to some other place but that he "drove them out" in the sense of totally destroying them.

Miller:
That this punishment was more 'national' shows up in the frequent mention of the word "nation(s)" in the passages, and the displacement image in Ps 44.2 is explicit: With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our fathers...

Till:
By coincidence, I quoted and analyzed Psalm 44:2 above and compared it to Jeremiah 15:1-3 and 28:15-17 to show that the word shâlach was sometimes used to convey the sense of "casting out" by killing or destroying. Mr. Miller continues to quibble against overwhelming evidence that the Old Testament in various places depicted Yahweh as a deity who ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave no one alive to breathe.

Miller:
Migration was not that big of a deal in that time period--the peoples are generally classified into the "mobile" terminological groups: pastoral nomadism, semi-nomadism, transhumance [sic] nomadism, etc. Migration and movement was a fact and way of life.

Till:
All of this is certainly true, but what is Mr. Miller's evidence that the Canaanites at any time during the period of the Israelite conquest of Canaan "migrated" to other lands? If he thinks that this actually happened in some cases, why doesn't he cite evidence, either biblical or extrabiblical, that it did happen? Well, the answer to that is simple. He didn't because he has no such evidence.

Besides the lack of evidence to support Mr. Miller's position here, there is another problem with it. He needs to give us some kind of logical rationale that would morally justify the invasion of another country by people who want to run the inhabitants out of their land so that their abandoned homes, buildings, fields, vineyards, wells, etc., which would have been acquired at a huge cost of human labor, could be appropriated by the invaders. Mr. Miller speaks of "driving out" the Canaanites as if this would not have been "that big of a deal," but I suspect that he would view the situation entirely differently if he should find himself in a situation where he was the one being driven off property that he had worked to acquire.

Miller:
With a little notice, whole tribes could migrate in days.

Till:
Yeah, right! The passages that I last quoted above spoke of the walled and fortified cities of the Amorites, so are we supposed to believe that the Amorites could have vacated these places and moved on within a matter of "days"? Furthermore, as I pointed out earlier, cities are built, vineyards grown, and wells dug at great expense in time and labor, so are we to think that people living in places so built would just up and leave because they had heard that some god called "Yahweh" wanted the Israelites to have their territory? Gods were as commonplace as dirt in those days, so what would be the likelihood that a people firmly entrenched in a territory would just pull up stakes and move on because they were hearing about some god called "Yahweh," who was helping the Israelites. Mr. Miller's line of "argumentation" at this point is showing an almost incredible naivity.

Miller:
The Canaanites had decades of notice--authenticated by the miracles of the Exodus--

Till:
Once again, Mr. Miller is assuming the historical accuracy [inerrancy] of the Old Testament, which spoke in several places of how word of what Yahweh had done for the Israelites had reached places like Moab, Edom, Jericho, etc. almost instantaneously, but there is no more reason to believe that this actually happened than there is to believe that exceptional claims in the Qur'an or the Book of Mormon are historically accurate. Let Mr. Miller first prove the existence of his god Yahweh, and then we can talk about the "decades" that the Canaanites allegedly had to high tail it out of their land.

Besides that problem, Mr. Miller needs to explain the morality of a god who would order and assist in "dispossessing" an entrenched people of the land and cities that they had worked to build. I own a house and property that I worked hard to acquire. What would be the morality of some god telling me that I had to pull up stakes, move on, and let someone else enjoy what I had worked to acquire. I don't heistate a moment to say that I am very glad that my standards of morality are significantly higher than Mr. Miller's.

Miller:
and any sane ones probably did leave before Israel got there.

Till:
Any sane ones probably did leave? What is Mr. Miller's evidence of this? I appreciate the way that he at least tries at time to support his claims with evidence, but the longer I work at replying to all of his points, the more I realize that his "apologetics" is just as superficial and simplistic as Robert Turkel's. He cited no evidence, biblical or extrabilbical, to support this claim for the simple reason that he has none.

Miller:
Abandoned city structures are common all over the ANE and Ancient Middle East from that period.

Till:
Well, of course, they are, and the cause of this was discussed in this section of Part Three of this series. The Ancient Near East at the time of many events mentioned in the Old Testament was experiencing unparalleled upheavals caused by dramatic climatic changes, which caused many people to abandon their former homes and move on to more friendly climates. When droughts were producing famines, the people affected by them had no choice except to abandon their land and homes and go elsewhere, but people didn't just pull up stakes and leave because of outsiders intruding on their territory. The natural inclination in that circumstance was to fight to protect their lands and homes, as the Amalekites, Amorites, and other Canaanites did in biblical stories we have already discussed. The migrations of that period also resulted in new ethnic groups moving in to occupied territories and taking land and cities by force when they could. In Part Three of this series, just before the section linked to above, I showed that the archaeological work of Joseph Callaway showed that some ancient cities in that area, like Jericho and Ai, had actually been destroyed long before the time that they were alleged overthrown by Joshua and his forces. The presence of such ruins and abandoned structures does nothing at all to support Mr. Miller's claim that the "sane" Canaanites got out while the getting was good. That proves only that the Israelites developed legends to explain the presence of those ruins.

Miller:
The amount of time God allowed to the residents to migrate was substantial--not only did they get the Exodus information quickly, they got the 40 years of wandering, and even after the Conquest begun [sic], the penetration into the villages and smaller districts was done 'little by little' (e.g. Deut 7.22), allowing even more time for simple villagers (and hence, not serious carriers of the culture--

Till:
Mr. Miller is now arguing as if it is an established fact that Yahweh's intentions toward the Canaanites was just to expel them to some other land, but I have presented overwhelming evidence that the intentions of the commands to the Israelites was to destroy the Canaanites totally and to leave none of them alive to breathe. As for the "quickness" with which the Canaanites received the news of the exodus, Mr. Miller introduced this claim in Part Four of this series, where I showed the absurdity of believing that the news of the Israelite crossing of the Red Sea could have reached Moab, Edom, Philistia (which didn't even exist then), and Canaan as quickly as the Bible claims. Mr. Miller's problem is that he continually argues from the assumption of biblical inerrancy. The fact is that modern archaeologists have seriously questioned the historicity of the Bible's claim of an exodus from Egypt and a subsequent 40-year period in the wilderness of Sinai, so to make his case, Mr. Miller is going to have to do more than parrot what the Bible says. As I have asked before, if Mr. Miller were debating a Muslim, would he allow his opponent to argue from the assumption that whatever the Qur'an says has to be true?

As for Mr. Miller's reference again to Deuteronomy 7:22 which said that Yahweh would drive out the Canaanite nations "little by little" so that the wild animals wouldn't take over the land, I have already shown that this text disagrees with Deuteronomy 9:3, where Yahweh said that he would drive the Canaanite nations out "quickly."

Deuteronomy 9:3 But be assured today that Yahweh your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as Yahweh has promised you.

As I asked before, which passage was right, the one that said that Yahweh would drive the nations out "little by little" or the one that said that he would drive them out "quickly"? They can't both be right, so this is just another example of inconsistency that readers should keep in mind when Mr. Miller tries to prove the Bible by quoting the Bible.

Miller:
[the penetration into the villages and smaller districts was done 'little by little' (e.g. Deut 7.22), allowing even more time for simple villagers (and hence, not serious carriers of the culture--] mainly perpetuated by the urban 'elite' of the walled cities) to move north.

Till:
I assume that everyone noticed that Mr. Miller cited no evidence, either biblical or extrabiblical, to show that people in "the villages and smaller districts" moved north. This is just something that he asserted, without supporting evidence, as he has been doing throughout his article. I quoted above the broader contexts of Deuteronomy 2:26-34 and 3:1-5, which described the Israelite conquests of the territories ruled by the Amorite kings Sihon and Og. These passages claim that the Israelites took all of their cities, towns, and "a great many unwalled villages," after which they completely destroyed them--men, women, and children and "left no survivors." A parallel description of the Israelite conquest of Sihon's territory in Numbers 21:25 told of taking all of "the surrounding settlements" and dwelling in them, but if the account in Deuteronomy 2:26-24 is accurate, as Mr. Miller surely believes, then the Israelites "completely destroyed them—men, women, and children and left no survivors." None of these texts said anything at all about the people in the "smaller districts" moving to the north. That scenario is just a figment of Mr. Miller's wishful thinking so that he can have a way to give some semblance of a reasonable explanation for Yahweh's commands to destroy totally the nations in Canaan.

That problem aside, Mr. Miller seems unaware that cultural changes almost always begin in cities and urban areas, whereas cultural traditions are more likely to be preserved in small towns, villages, and rural areas. To see this, one has only to look around at the differences in rural/small-town areas and urban centers here and elsewhere. The latter tend to be far more receptive to new ideas, whereas the former tend to stick to the old ways. Travelers, immigrants, and other outsiders go to cities in much greater numbers than to small towns and rural areas, so the people living in thinly populated regions have fewer reasons or opportunities to change their cultural habits, because people just aren't likely to adopt beliefs and lifestyles that they are never exposed to and may not even know exist. People living in urban areas, on the other hand, are constantly subjected to different cultural beliefs and habits, so they have to decide almost daily whether to keep what they have or adopt some of the foreign ways. This is why if one goes to so-called third-world countries, he will find acceptance of many modern ways in the cities but will think that time has stood still if he goes into villages that are relatively isolated from modern influences.

The survival of Native American cultures and languages illustrates how population density contributes to cultural change. If one wanted to study, say, the Navajo language and culture, he wouldn't go to Los Angeles, San Franciso, Chicago, or New york, where some of Navajo heritage no doubt live. He would go instead to the Navajo reservation in Arizona, where there are few towns of any size but over 200,000 Navajos living in hogans and small villages, preserving their language, songs, sandpainting and other art, jewelry, basketry, ritual ceremonies, etc. All of this survives in a rural part of the United States, because the people preserving this culture have less exposure to cultural modification than if they lived in heavily populated regions. In Central and South America, Indian cultures still survive in greater numbers than in North America, and that is because there are many more mountainous and jungle regions where they can live with minimal exposures to European cultures that transformed the Indian cultures in more densely populated parts of the continent. The present political situation in the United States bears out everything I have said above. We have a government that was put into place by a coalition of conservative rural cultures that favor fundamentalist religion, militaristic "patriotism," gun culture, anti-abortion, and subjugation of women, ideas that for the most part are minority views in urban areas. A map of the red and blue areas of the country without regard to state boundaries will show that people voted "blue" in urban areas like St. Louis, Kansas City, Miami, Denver, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Des Moines, Cincinnati, Dayton, Las Vegas, Memphis, Little Rock, and several others, although these urban areas are located in so-called "red states." Likewise, the rural areas of "blue states" like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, California, Oregon, Washington, etc. voted "red." Since the candidate who won shamelessly pushed a religiously conservative agenda, which he probably doesn't personally believe entirely, the most reasonable conclusion to reach from these results is what I said above. People who live in small towns and rural areas tend to be more socially and religiously conservative than those who live in urban areas, so Mr. Miller's claim that the corrupt Canaanite culture thrived only in urban areas and that expulsion to the "north" of Canaanites living in "small villages" and districts would have resulted in the destruction of their culture seems contrary to observable realities, because these Canaanites in all probability would have been more fixed in their religious and social thinking than those who lived in larger towns and cities.

It appears, then, that Mr. Miller is grasping any straw in sight to try to find some way to make his god Yahweh a palatable deity.

Miller:
Israel never was able to "sneak up on anyone"--information flow was simply too good (cf. Rahab--Josh 2.9ff; the kings of Joshua 5; the Gibeonites of Joshua 9; Balaam from Aram--Num 23.7 with 24.8).

Till:
Yes, we know that the Bible claims that news of the coming of the Israelites spread as swiftly as if they had had rapid means of communication like telegraphs, telephones, and radios, but we also know that the mere fact that the Bible says something is no guarantee that it is historically accurate. As I have been walking readers through Mr. Miller's long, drawn-out article, I have already given several examples of how biblical passages that he has used as proof texts are inconsistent with other parts of the Bible, so I am certainly not impressed when he argues that news of the Israelite exodus and wilderness ventures traveled rapidly to tribes and nations to the north with nothing to support that claim except that the Bible says so. Besides that problem, I ask everyone to notice that Mr. Miller has stated a universal negative above: Israel never was able to "sneak up on anyone." How does he know this? Even if we assume the historical accuracy of the five texts that he cited above, how would they prove that Israel never was able to sneak up on anyone?

The fact is that some accounts of Israelite attacks on Canaanites don't agree with Mr. Miller's universal negative.

Joshua 10:7 So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. 8 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them [the five Amorite kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon]; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you." 9 After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise.

If Joshua took these armies by surprise, wouldn't that mean that he had been able to "sneak up on them"? If not, why not?

Joshua 11:6 All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom, to fight against Israel. 6 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots." 7 So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them, 8 and Yahweh gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them all the way to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, until no survivors were left.

The word translated "suddenly" in this text is pith’om, the same word that was translated "by surprise" in the passage quoted above it, and it was so translated in the REB, GHB, CEV, NCV, ESV, HCSB, and the NAB, and the Jerusalem Bible says that Joshua "caught them unaware" by the Waters of Merom. Hence, we have two examples in Joshua where the Israelites were able to "sneak up on" Canaanite armies.

Tales of the Israelite conquest of Canaan continued into the book of Judges, where chapter 7 tells of Gideon's defeat of a Midianite/Amalekite army, which lay along the valley "like locusts for multitude" and "whose camels were without number as the sand is upon the seashore for multitude" (Judges 7:12). As this story was spun, after Gideon had sneaked into the enemy camp and overheard a man telling a dream that Gideon considered a good omen, he launched a suprise attack against this army and put it to flight with just 300 men.

Judges 7:13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. "I had a dream," he was saying. "A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed." 14 His friend responded, "This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands." 15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, "Get up! Yahweh has given the Midianite camp into your hands." 16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside. 17 "Watch me," he told them. "Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, 'For Yahweh and for Gideon.'" 19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, "A sword for Yahweh and for Gideon!" 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. 22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, Yahweh caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. 23 Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites. 24 Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah." So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they took the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah. 25 They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan.

So once again I have caught Mr. Miller claiming something that is contrary to biblical facts. Despite the unlikely biblical claim that news of the Israelite exploits spread like wildfire throughout the regions, there are some stories of surprise attacks that they launched on Canaanite armies. Readers should keep this in mind the next time they read something in Mr. Miller's articles that presumably solves a biblical discrepancy.

At this point, Mr. Miller shifted to a quote-the-authorities approach to try to prove his claim that Yahweh didn't really intend to destroy the Canaanites; he just wanted to expel them to other lands. He apparently doesn't realize an obvious fact that I have repeated several times in my replies to Robert Turkel, who has to be the chief guru of this method of "apologetics": there is no religious position for which an advocate of it cannot find books and articles by the dozens who agree with it. In the case of the issue now being discussed, the morality of the Hebrew god's commands to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe has long been a source of embarrassment to biblical apologists, so it is not at all surprising that Mr. Miller has been able to find books and articles that, like him, have tried to rationalize these atrocities into sensible moral principles. Mr. Miller, of course, goes on and on and on in his quotations of these "authorities," so to keep my replies from dragging out endlessly, I am going to post this fifth part and continue my replies in a sixth part, which I will link readers to after it is completed.  Go to Part Six.



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