After laboring at length to try to put spins on terms like "drive out," "defeat," "subdue," "cast out," etc. that would make them mean that Yahweh didn't really want to destroy totally the Canaanite nations but just wanted to make them "migrate" to other lands, Mr. Miller turned in the section below to a quote-the-authorities apologetic method in support of his position. As I go through each of the quotations, I ask readers to keep in mind what I pointed out earlier: there is no religious belief for which a proponent of that belief cannot find books and articles that agree with it. Hence, the fact that Mr. Miller was able to quote below authors who agree with his position is no more of an indication that his position is true than if a Muslim should support his belief in an Islam doctrine by quoting authors who also accept that doctrinal belief. Whether what an author says in a book or article is true or not must be determined by logical argumentation, and we will see that Mr. Miller usually falls short in this aspect of his "apologetics."
I have already pointed out that Canaanites were still in the land as late as the reign of Solomon. Their presence means only that the Israelites didn't do what Yahweh had presumably commanded. That command, as we have noted numerous times now, was to destroy totally the Canaanites (Deut. 7:2) and to leave none of them alive to breathe (Deut. 20:16; Josh. 10:40; Josh. 11:12-15), so the presence of Canaanites in the land years after the alleged conquest could mean only that the Israelites did not do as Yahweh had commanded them, but it would in no way prove that Yahweh really didn't want the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanite nations. I have a simple question for Mr. Miller, which I really don't expect him to answer: If Yahweh didn't want the Israelites to kill the Canaanites, why did he command them to destroy them TOTALLY, as the passages that I cited immediately above plainly show that he did?
I certainly don't think that a god named Yahweh had any involvement at all in Israelite affairs and their battles with the Canaanites, any more than I believe that a god named Chemosh was involved in Moabite affairs as king Mesha claimed in the inscription on the Moabite Stone, but for the sake of argument let's assume that the god Yahweh does exist and that in biblical times, he had selected the Israelites to be his "chosen people" (Deut. 7:6) above "all the peoples on the face of the earth." With that assumption, we can determine that if he commanded the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe, as passages that we have repeatedly quoted plainly say (Deut. 7:1-2; 20:16-17; Josh. 10:40; 11:10-12,14-15), then he would have been displeased with the Israelite failure to carry out the command. We can conclude this by Yahweh's reaction when king Saul disobeyed his command to destroy totally the Amalekites and to spare none of them, including children and infants and livestock (1 Sam. 15:1-3). When Saul kept just one Amalekite alive, i. e., their king, and the best of their livestock, Yahweh threw a tantrum, sent the prophet Samuel to reprimand Saul and to hack king Agag to pieces (1 Sam. 15:10-33). If Yahweh was this angry about the Israelite failure to destroy totally the Amalekites, as he had commanded them, why should we not think that he was also angry at the Israelite failure to destroy totally the Canaanites? Mr. Miller evidently wants to see the lingering presence of Canaanites in the land as an indication that Yahweh had been merciful toward them, but I assume everyone noticed that he neither cited nor quoted any scripture that so claimed. I, however, have quoted or cited where Yahweh ordered the Israelites to show no mercy to the Canaanites (Deut. 7:2,16). As Mr. Miller pursues his attempt to make Yahweh Mr. Nice Guy, notice that he consistently fails to support this claim with biblical citations.
It is? So we are supposed to believe that the omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent Yahweh from whom all principles of objective morality emanate had no control over the situation, and so he was compelled to issue a "culture-focused judgment" on the Canaanites? If we can believe the New Testament, Jesus of Nazareth was willing to buck the cultural customs and practices of his time to teach higher principles of morality. In his personal ministry, he wasn't reluctant to say, "You have heard it said... but I say to you" (Matt. 5:21-22,27-28,35-45), so if Jesus was willing to swim against the cultural tide to propose higher principles of morality, we have to wonder why Yahweh--if he was really the omniscient, omnipotent creator of the universe and the source of objective morality--couldn't have said to the Israelites, "Other tribes and nations may barbarically kill entire populations of people of other ethnic origins, but I expect higher moral conduct from you." I said that "we" have to wonder, but apparently Mr. Miller doesn't wonder about this. He seems to think that it was just hunky-dory for the creator of the universe to issue a "culture-focused judgment" for one ethnic group to destroy toally other ethnic groups. This is the kind of silliness that inerrantists have to resort to in order to defend the morality of the barbaric god Yahweh.
I will make a quick observation here and then move quickly to Mr. Miller's population estimate. He is still trying to find a mass Canaanite "migration" from their land, which he justifies by repeating his claim of "an international fear of Israel at the time." In this assumption, he is still begging the question of biblical accuracy in its claims that news of Israelite feats spread like wildfire throughout Canaan and other regions and evoked fear in all of the people. I addressed the unlikeliness of that assumption earlier in this section of Part Five, so there is no need to rehash it here. Instead, I will go to Miller's population estimate.
I have said before that both Robert Turkel and Glenn Miller show an appalling lack of biblical knowledge for two laymen who aspire to be biblical apologists, and it is just such comments as the one above that I see over and over in their articles that lead me to the conclusion that their biblical knowledge is deplorably superficial. Mr. Miller inconsistently acknowledges below much of what I am going to say here, but I need to introduce it now in order to respond properly to his unscipturally low population estimate above. In Deut. 7:1-2, Yahweh ordered the Israelites to destroy totally seven nations in Canaan--the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites--described as being "larger and stronger than you." The KJV said that they were "greater and mightier" than the Israelites. In "The Population Claims," I analyzed the Israelite census figures in the book of Numbers to show that the Hebrews who were in the exodus and wilderness wanderings would have numbered 2.5 to 3 million if those census figures were accurate. As we will soon see, Mr. Miller fixed the exodus population at 1.6 million, so to give him the advangage, I am going to accept his estimate, because if the seven nations in Canaan were "stronger and larger" than the Israelites, that would mean that the seven-nation population would have totaled 11.2 million if we interpret Deuteronomy 7:2 to mean that each Canaanite nation was "stronger and larger" than Israel. If we interpret it to mean that the seven nations were collectively "stronger and larger" than Israel, that would mean that there was at that time a population of more than 1.6 million Canaanites. Either way, the total population killed by the Israelites would have numbered substantially more than the 70,000 that Mr. Miller arrived at above, but again, for the sake of argument, let's accept his 70,000 estimate. Does he seriously expect us to assume that the total destruction of 70,000 people would have been morally right?
Joshua 12, which Mr. Miller cited above as a proof text, was a summation chapter of the battles that had been described in the previous chapters. That the population of all of the cities ruled by the kings listed in Joshua 12 were totally destroyed is evident from repeated references in the battle descriptions to their "utter destruction."
I could continue this and list the passages that claim that the populations of cities ruled by some of the other kings were totally destroyed, but the last example that I cited says something that dashes more water onto Mr. Miller's attempt to justify the Yahwistic massacres of the Canaanites on the grounds that the populations involved were small, as if massacring civilian populations in time of war is morally all right as long as it isn't overdone. Notice that the last example cited says that the Israelites took the city [Hebron] and its villages and totally destroyed everyone. Mr. Miller simplistically counted all the kings in Joshua 12, found that they totaled 31, and then assumed that this meant that the Israelites had captured only 31 towns. He then assumed an average population of just over 2,000 per city and concluded that there would have been only about 70,000 people in the cities ruled by the kings in Joshua 12, but if he would read the Bible a little more carefully before he presumes to write apologetic articles, he might notice things like what I just pointed out. The kings of the Canaanite cities didn't just rule over the cities they were in, but they also had their satellite villages, as Joshua 10:36-37, cited above, noted about Hebron. Here are some more biblical passages that made reference to the satellite villages of Canaanite cities.
Numbers 21:25 Israel captured all the cities of the Amorites and occupied them, including Heshbon and all its surrounding settlements.
Numbers 21:32 After Moses had sent spies to Jazer, the Israelites captured its surrounding settlements and drove out the Amorites who were there.
Numbers 32:42 And Nobah captured Kenath and its surrounding settlements and called it Nobah after himself.
After the conquest of Canaan, Joshua distributed the captured cities to the tribes of Israel. If Mr. Miller will read the chapters that described this distribution, he will see that the cities were counted after the listings and then the writer(s) added that the villages of these cities were also allocated to the tribes designated.
Joshua 15:21 The towns belonging to the tribe of the people of Judah in the extreme South, toward the boundary of Edom, were Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 22 Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 23 Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 24 Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, 25 Hazor-hadattah, Kerioth-hezron (that is, Hazor), 26 Amam, Shema, Moladah, 27 Hazar-gaddah, Heshmon, Beth-pelet, 28 Hazar-shual, Beer-sheba, Biziothiah, 29 Baalah, Iim, Ezem, 30 Eltolad, Chesil, Hormah, 31 Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, 32 Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain, and Rimmon: in all, twenty-nine towns, with their villages.
The writer of this passage apparently couldn't count, because there were actually 36 towns in this list. Inerrantists will say that the writer meant that there were 29 towns and that some of the others listed were "their villages," but the broader context of this chapter indicates otherwise.
Joshua 15:42 Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 43 Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 44 Keilah, Aczib and Mareshah--nine towns and their villages.
A count of the towns listed here will show that there are nine of them, just as the text says, so "their villages" would mean that in addition to the towns, there were villages that belonged to the towns listed.
Joshua 15:55 Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, 56 Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, 57 Kain, Gibeah and Timnah--ten towns and their villages.
A count of this list will show that there were ten towns listed, just as the text said, so "their villages" would be settlements in addition to the towns.
There are other examples of towns listed in which the writer's count was off by one or two, but for the most part, the listings conform to the author's count. In addition to the lists, there are references in this chapter to single towns "with their villages."
Joshua 15:45 Ekron, with its surrounding settlements and villages; 46 west of Ekron, all that were in the vicinity of Ashdod, together with their villages; 47 Ashdod, its surrounding settlements and villages; and Gaza, its settlements and villages, as far as the Wadi of Egypt and the coastline of the Great Sea.
The battle accounts in Joshua show very clearly that the towns conquered had "surrounding settlements" or satellite villages that were also taken in the conquest. Hence, Mr. Miller's population estimate is seriously flawed, because he estimated--without giving any grounds for the estimate--that the cities captured numbered only about 2,000 in population, but he didn't provide for the "surrounding settlements" and "villages" that were also captured. As noted above in reference to Hebron (Joshua 10:36-37), the Israelites "took the city and put it to the sword, together with its king, its villages and everyone in it" and "totally destroyed it" and left no survivors." From Hebron, they went to Debir, attacked it, captured the king, the city, and all its villages, and then totally destroy everyone and left no survivors (vs:38-39). If the Israelites massacred the populations in Hebron's and Debir's satellite villages, why can't we assume that when biblical texts say that the Israelites totally destroyed everyone and left no survivors in such and such cities, they did the same to the villages that belonged to those cities?
Mr. Miller presumes to tell us that there was nothing immoral about the Yahwistic massacres in Canaan because of a comparatively sparse population--as if killing 70,000 people is nothing to be morally concerned about--but in so arguing, he shows that he is not only morally challenged but that his knowledge of what the Bible says about the alleged Israelite conquests is deplorably superficial. If, for example, the populations of those cities were as sparse as Mr. Miller claims, perhaps he can explain the numerical description of the allied army of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites under the leadership of Jabin, which Joshua "utterly destroyed" in Joshua 11.
Joshua 11:4 They [the army just described] came out, with all their troops, a great army, in number like the sand on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. 5 All these kings joined their forces, and came and camped together at the waters of Merom, to fight with Israel.
I had always thought that when Yahweh promised that he would make the descendants of Abraham "as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sand that is on the seashore" (Gen. 22:17), he meant that these descendants would become too numerous to count, which he, in fact, said when renewing this promise to Jacob (Gen. 32:12), but now I know that this was just a figure of speech that meant no more than 70,000. At any rate, if Mr. Miller is going to get his population claim off the ground, he will have to explain how cities that contained no more than 70,000 in population could have been in nations that were "stronger and larger" than the 2.5 to 3 million (or 1.6 million according to Miller) Israelites. More than that, however, he will have to explain the morality of totally destroying even a population of 70,000.
I will say again that I am very glad that my
standards of morality are higher than Mr.
Later, in this section of Part Seven, I will return to Mr. Miller's claim that the population of Canaanite cities averaged only 2,000 and show that the textual evidence disputes this estimate.
But this 70,000 is against a base of close to 2 million people! (Israel was approximately 1.6 million at the time, and these nations are said to be 'more numerous' than Israel in a number of places--e.g. Deut 7.1,7.)
I noted above that Mr. Miller would refer to the same population texts that I was referring to at the time, so now that he has introduced this passage too, I can say more about textual inconsistencies in the Bible. As I have noted before, the census figures in the book of Numbers require the estimate that Israel's total population at the time of the exodus was somewhere between 2.5 and 3 million people. I have no idea where Mr. Miller got his "base of close to 2 million people," which I will talk about later, but for now I want to notice a textual inconsistency in Mr. Miller's proof text cited above. In speaking to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 1:10, Moses said that Yahweh had "multiplied" them so that "you are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude," but in one of the verses that Mr. Miller cited above, Moses indicated that the Israelites were few in number.
Deuteronomy 7:6 For you are a people holy to Yahweh your God. Yahweh your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. 7 Yahweh did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.
So one biblical passage says that the Israelites were as numerous as the stars of heaven, but another says that Yahweh didn't choose them to be his "treasured possession" because of their number, because they were "the fewest of all peoples." When confronted with a biblical discrepancy, inerrantists will always find a way to quibble around it, so they will argue that the Israelites at the time of the exodus and wilderness wanderings were as numerous as the stars of heaven but at the time when Yahweh chose their ancestors to be his chosen people, they were "the fewest of all peoples." This quibble, however, doesn't consider the audience that Moses was speaking to, which was the Israelite nation preparing to cross into Canaan. Throughout his speeches to them, he addressed them as you, you, you, and in the text just quoted, Moses said to this audience, you were the fewest of all peoples.
As for what the Deuteronomist meant when he referred to seven nations in Canaan that were "stronger and larger," I personally think that his intention was to say that the seven nations in Canaan were individually "stronger and larger" than Israel. There were some battles in which the Israelites fought just one of those nations, as in the cases of the battles with the Amorites under the leadership of kings Shihon and Eglon already discussed earlier, so unless the Amorites had outnumbered the Israelites, there would have been nothing exceptional about an army of 600,000 defeating the army of a nation whose total population would have been less than the size of Israel's army. If we accept Mr. Miller's population estimate of 1.6 million for the nation of Israel and assume that the population base of all of Canaan was just 2 million, that would have made the average population of a Canaanite nation just 285,000 (2 million ÷ 7 = 285,714), so in a battle with just one of these Canaanite armies, the Israelites would have outnumbered the entire Amorite or Hivite or Hittite population by over two to one. With that kind of numerical advantage, the Israelites wouldn't have needed Yahweh to fight on their side, so it seems likely that when the Deuteronomist said that the seven nations in Canaan were "stronger and larger" than Israel, he meant that each of the nations was larger.
While I am still on this point, I will note another likely discrepancy in the biblical text. If, as Mr. Miller claimed above, the base population of Canaan was 2 million people, then we have to assume that those two million people were able to keep the wild-animal population under control so that the animals didn't become "too numerous for them" (Deut. 7:22), so why wouldn't 1.6 million Israelites have been able to keep a reasonable check on the population of wild animals so that Yahweh wouldn't have had to let them possess the land "little by little" in order to keep the wild animals from "multiply[ing]" against them? Of course, if we accept a more reasonable estimate of Israel's population based on the census figures in the book of Numbers, there would have been at least 2.5 Israelites to control the animal population. In order for the "little-by-little" text to be inerrant, Mr. Miller's estimation of a "base population" of two million Canaanites would have to be wrong, so the only alternative for a biblical inerrantist would be to say that "stronger and larger" in Deuteronomy 7:1 meant that each of the Canaanite nations was larger than the 2.5 to 3 million Israelites. This would allow for a Canaanite population of more than 17 million Canaanites that was able to control the wild animal populations, which just 2.5 million Israelites could not have been able to do if Yahweh had given them all of Canaan "quickly" as Deuteronomy 9:3 said that he would do.
The larger population estimate, however, would put in a very unfavorable light a god who would have ordered the total destruction of 17 million people. My goodness, that would make the Yahwistic massacres of the Canaanites numerically worse than the Nazi holocaust of the 1930s and 1940s, but that isn't my problem. It's a problem for Mr. Miller and everyone else who argues that the Bible is inerrant.
This amounts to approximately 3.5% of the 'target population'. [sic]
What Mr. Miller meant here was that the 70,000, which he estimated to be the total population of the cities ruled by the 31 kings listed in Joshua 12, would have been only 3.5% of his "base population" estimate of two million Canaanites overall, but I just showed good reasons why we should think that the Bible claimed a much higher Canaanite population of at least 17 million, and before that I showed that the 31 kings "destroyed" in Joshua 12 ruled over surrounding settlements or satellite villages as well as the cities in the list. Hence, his population estimate of just 70,000 that these kings ruled over is undoubtedly far below what the biblical data would indicate.
For the sake of argument, however, let's just accept Mr. Miller's population estimate. What would have been moral about killing 70,000 people so that their land and towns could be occupied by the invading Israelites who had not worked to build the towns or plant the fields and vineyards in the land? According to biblical accounts, ancestors of the Israelites had voluntarily left Canaan over four centuries earlier (Genesis 46), so any claims that they had to the land would have been dubious indeed. Mr. Miller, then, still confronts the need to justify the morality of killing even 70,000 people in order to gain access to the land, fields, vineyards, wells, and towns.
The Israelites were specifically told to execute those who remained in the cities (Deut 20.16) and those who hid in the Land--and therefore did not migrate out--Deut 7.20.
Once again, we see Mr. Miller distorting the obvious meanings of biblical texts in order to force them into preconceived molds that he thinks can morally justify the Yahwistic massacres. The best way to show his distortion of the texts is to examine them in their entirety.
Deuteronomy 20:10 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 Yahweh 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 Yahweh 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.
These verses lead up to the verse that Mr. Miller cited above, and as the last verse quoted shows, they gave instructions on how the Israelites were to deal with distant cities and their inhabitants, i. e., cities and people located outside of the Canaanite nations. The next verse is the one that Mr. Miller cited above, and it clearly shows that the Israelites were commanded to deal differently with cities located within the Canaanite nations.
Deuteronomy 20:16 However, in the cities of the nations Yahweh your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy them--the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites--as Yahweh your God has commanded you.
This doesn't say one word about killing only those Canaanites who refused to high tail it out of the country and "migrate" somewhere else. It simply says that those who lived in "the cities of the nations" that Yahweh was giving to the Israelites "as an inheritance" were to be completely destroyed and not one in them was to be left alive to breathe.
Here now is the second passage that Mr. Miller cited to try to prove that Yahweh was Mr. Nice guy, who ordered the killing only of those who hid within Canaan and refused to "migrate" somewhere else.
Deuteronomy 7:20 Moreover, Yahweh your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished.
Mr. Miller wants this verse to mean that Yahweh was saying that if any Canaanites tried to hide instead of "migrating" to some other land, the Israelites were to kill them, but the broader context of this passage, which has already been analyzed and reanalyzed, does not support this distorted interpretation.
Deuteronomy 7:1 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. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.
As noted now more times than I can remember, this text shows that terms like "driving out," "delivering over," "defeating," etc. were used in the sense of totally destroying, and the continuation of this chapter shows that
Deuteronomy 7:16 You must destroy all the peoples Yahweh your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you. 17 You may say to yourselves, "These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?" 18 But do not be afraid of them; remember well what Yahweh your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. 19 You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which Yahweh your God brought you out. Yahweh your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear. 20 Moreover, Yahweh your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished.
Obviously the passage was not saying what Mr. Miller tried to distort it to mean, but, to the contrary, it was ordering the total destruction of the Canaanites. If entire populations of Canaanite cities and towns were being massacred, including even women and children, quite naturally some would try to hide to escape death, but the "proof text" that Mr. Miller cited was saying that no Canaanites would be able to hide, because Yahweh would send a "hornet," already interpreted as some kind of torment or pestilence, to flush them out to ensure that they would also be killed.
The Old Testament clearly states that the god Yahweh ordered the total massacre of the Canaanite nations, and there is just no way for Mr. Miller to distort these texts to make them not mean what they clearly say.
Granted the Israelites were less than thorough in their warfare, but this small percentage is a bit ridiculous! This doesn't seem like serious genocide to me--what's going on here?
Well, as I have repeatedly shown, the book of Joshua claims over and over that the Israelites destroyed totally the people in the cities they conquered and that they left none alive to breathe. That sounds rather "thorough" to me. Mr. Miller is trying to capitalize on textual inconsistencies in the Bible, because after saying that the Israelites had taken all the land that Yahweh had promised to give to them, the book of Joshua later said, especially in Joshua 13, and chapters 1 and 2 in Judges that the Israelites did not take all of the land and drive out all of the nations that Yahweh had commanded them to. In this section of the "Goofy Gaffe Exchanges" with Robert Turkel, I explicated this inconsistency in detail to show that it was an X not X (P and ~P) contradiction in the Bible. Readers can go there to see the full explication of this argument, but for convenience, I am quoting below the essence of it, which will be sufficient to show that the Bible is an unreliable source to quote in support of a position like the one Mr. Miller is trying to defend.
Skippy in second round: We have shown that the formula is not "X" versus "not X", [sic] but "X plus Y" (giving land plus fulfilling conditions) versus "X plus Z" (giving land plus not fulfilling conditions).
Skippy [Turkel] has shown no such thing. He can't even recognize the difference in apples and oranges. When I say that the Bible says X and not X (or P and ~P), I'm not talking about what was said in the original land promise but what the books of Joshua and Judges said about the fulfillment of the promise. First, Joshua claimed that the Israelites had been given all the land that Yahweh had promised.
Joshua 21:43 So Yahweh gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. 44 Yahweh gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; Yahweh delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 Not a word failed of any good thing which Yahweh had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.
This passage is clear enough that even Skippy should be able to understand it. The passage flatly says that Yahweh had given to Israel all the land that he had sworn to their fathers to give to them and that they took possession of it and dwelt in it. It even explicitly says that "not a word failed of any good thing which Yahweh had spoken to the house of Israel." It then went on to say that "all came to pass."
Yet we read something entirely different in another passage.
Joshua 13:1 Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And Yahweh said to him: "You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed...."
Skippy, being Skippy, will probably try to argue that the statement in Joshua 13:1 was made before the one in Joshua 21, and so at the time of Joshua 13, the Israelites had not taken all of the land but had done so in Joshua 21. Notice, however, that 13:1 was said when Joshua was "old, advanced in years." What we have, then, is a typical problem of inconsistencies that resulted from the patchwork method that was used in putting the hexateuch together from different documents and/or traditions. That this is the explanation for why a text about Joshua's "advanced" years would have preceded one about his earlier years is evident from a statement in chapter 23. The chapters following Joshua 13 recorded the dividing of the land among the tribes, and it was in this context that the claim was made that "Yahweh gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers," but after two more chapters that described the division of the land, this statement was made about Joshua's age.
Joshua 23:1 Now it came to pass, a long time after Yahweh had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua was old, advanced in age. 2 And Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers, and said to them: "I am old, advanced in age...."
The text in Joshua 21, which said that Yahweh had given to the Israelites all the land he had sworn to their father to give to them, also said that "Yahweh gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers" (v:44), so after the time that it was claimed that Yahweh had given to the Israelites all the land he had promised them, it was said two chapters later that "a long time after Yahweh had given rest to Israel" Joshua was "old, advanced in age," so at the time of the claim in Joshua 21:43 that Yahweh had given all the land promised to the Israelites, Joshua was younger but later became old and advanced in years. Hence, the reference in 13:1 to the "much land" that remained to be possessed could not have chronologically preceded the claim in 21:43 that all of the land promised had been given to the Israelites, because in 13:1 Joshua was old and advanced in age, but in 21:43, he wasn't yet old and advanced in years but became so "a long time after" this. In 21:43, however, before Joshua was old and advanced in years, it was said that Yahweh gave to the Israelites all the land he had promised to their fathers and that they possessed it and dwelt in it.
Clearly, then, we have a case of X and not X (or P and ~P), because one text says X (Yahweh gave the Israelites all the land he had promised them) but another text says not X (Yahweh did not give the Israelites all the land he had promised them). So this is not a matter of X (giving the land) plus Y (keeping the land), as Skippy is trying to claim, but both X and not X (P and ~P) pertain to the giving of the land and not to the keeping of it. One text says that Yahweh had given to the Israelites all the land he had promised, and that they possessed it and dwelt in it, and the other text says that all the land had not been given to the Israelites. This is a clear case of X and not X (P and ~P), so Skippy has not explained this contradiction.
In case Skippy still wants to quibble that Joshua 13:1 (the not X text) was written before 21:43 (the X text), I will point out that even if he could establish this, he would still have the same X and not X problem, because the book of Judges claimed that the Israelites could not take all of the land.
Judges 1:19 And Yahweh was with Judah. And they drove out the mountaineers, but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the lowland, because they had chariots of iron.
Furthermore, Joshua 21:44 said that "there stood not a man of all their enemies before them," and the next verse says that "not a word failed of any good thing which Yahweh had spoken to the house of Israel" but that "all came to pass." One of the good things that Yahweh promised was that the Israelites would drive out all the nations in Canaan (Deut. 7:1-2; 9:20-24), but Judges is filled with examples of where the Israelites had been unable to drive out the original inhabitants of the land.
Judges 1:21 But the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem; so the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.
Judges 1:27 However, Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land.
Judges 3:1-3 Now these are the nations which Yahweh left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan 2 (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it), 3 namely, five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath. 4 And they were left, that He might test Israel by them, to know whether they would obey the commandments of Yahweh, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.
We see a lot of retrospective rationalization in the last passage, but these texts clearly contradict Joshua 21:43ff, which claimed that everything Yahweh had promised to the Israelites had been fulfilled at that time, but one of Yahweh's promises was that he would drive out all of the nations in Canaan and that not a man would be able to stand against them. Judges 3:1-3 claims that this didn't happen. Some nations did stand against the Israelites.
Without even addressing this inconsistency, then, Mr. Miller is trying to make the Yahwistic commands to destroy totally the Canaanite nations mean only that the ones living in the cities or "cultural centers" were to be killed but that the others were to be forced to "migrate" out of the country, but he has yet to produce a single biblical passage that says that Yahweh wanted only the cultural leaders to be killed and the others to be forced into migrating. If he knew of any passage in the Bible that supports this view, he would surely have cited it.
As for his claim that "this small percentage is a bit ridiculous"--meaning his unsupported assertion that the Israelites actually killed only about 3.5% of the Canaanites--by his own "base population" estimate of Canaan, these 3.5% would have been 70,000, so what principle of morality is guiding him when he says that "this small percentage is a bit ridiculous"? He talks as if killing 70,000 people would be nothing just as long as a tribal god had ordered it.
He went on to say that this doesn't "seem like serious genocide" to him, but I will address this later on when he tries to quibble that what the Israelites did to the Canaanites wasn't "technically genocide."
I will wrap up this point with a recommendation that readers go to this section of Part Five of my land-promise replies to Robert Turkel to see where I analyzed in detail Joshua 11-12 to show that the the places captured in chapter 11 and the 31 kings listed in chapter 12, whom the Israelites allegedly killed and possessed their land, were from all parts of the so-called promised land, from Kadesh Barnea in the extreme south to "Greater Sidon" in Lebanon, which would have been in the north, and from the Salt [Dead] Sea in the east to the Mediterranean coast in the west. This section will show that accounts of these conquests, such as Joshua 10:40-42, 11:11-12,14-15, and 11:22 explicitly state that the Israelites totally destroyed these places and their inhabitants and left none alive to breathe, so the first part of the book of Joshua clearly claims that the Israelites conquered Canaan from the extreme south to the north and from the east to the west, as far as the Mediterranean sea, and exterminated the Canaanite populations in these locations. Mr. Miller conveniently wants to ignore all of these passages to try to make his readers believe that later passages in Joshua and Judges, which spoke of Canaanite groups that still inhabited the land, somehow meant that Yahweh didn't really command the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites, but all he has done is call attention to a glaring inconsistency in the Bible that Robert Turkel was never able to resolve. Maybe Mr. Miller would like to try his hand at resolving it.
Meanwhile readers should keep in mind all of the passages I have quoted and requoted and cited and recited that plainly said that Yahweh had ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites and leave none of them alive to breathe. Try as he may, Mr. Miller will never be able to make these passages mean that Yahweh just wanted the Israelites to force them to "migrate" to other lands.
Let's put a few facts together:
And I have shown repeatedly that expressions like "drive out," "cast out," "defeat," "subdue," and such like were consistently used in broaders contexts that showed that they were being used interchangeably with terms like "destroy" and "wipe out." Just recently, the new president of Iran called for Arabs to wipe Israel off the map. I suppose that Mr. Miller thinks that this was only a call to make the Israelis "migrate" to other places.
Why doesn't Mr. Miller ever quote or even cite passages that would show that Yahweh meant that the Canaanites were to be forced to "migrate" and that only those who refused to do so were to be "executed"? Well, he doesn't because he can't. As I have shown over and over and over, Mr. Miller's frequent references to terms like "drive out," "cast out," "subdue," etc. were consistently used in contexts that show they were intended to mean "destroy," and not just "destroy" but destroy to the extent that none were to be left alive to breathe. I defy Mr. Miller to produce a passage that would show that Mr. Miller's spin on these passages is the correct one and that they meant only that Yahweh wanted the Israelites to force the Canaanites to "migrate" to other lands.
For the sake of argument, let's just assume that despite having said that the Israelites were to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe, Yahweh meant only that those who refused to "migrate" out of the land were to be killed. What would be moral about ordering people to abandon their homes, fields, vineyards, wells, etc., which they had worked to build and maintain, and go to another land? Let's suppose that the United States should try to end the fiasco in Iraq by ordering all of the people to leave and go to other countries with the warning that those who stayed would be killed. If such an order were issued, would Mr. Miller defend the morality of killing those who stayed in Iraq?
If Mr. Miller says, "Well, the United States is not God," he will be begging the question of "God's" involvement in the Israelite invasion of Canaan. If Robert Turkel reads this and says, "Till"s problem is that God didn't kiss his patoot," aside from ignoring a legitimate moral issue, he too will be begging the same question.
No, they were told to pursue them and kill them within the land of Canaan. I have already shown in this section of Part Five that the Israelites consistently pursued the Canaanites when they turned and fled, so those who want to see how explicit the book of Joshua was about this can click the link and read that section. In fact, the Israelites were specifically commanded in Joshua 10:18-19 to pursue and "smite" the Canaanites who had fled from them. I know of no text that says that Yahweh told the Israelites "to hunt the Canaanites down 'throughout the uttermost reaches of the earth' and kill them," but how does that in any way remove the fact that Yahweh explicitly commanded the Israelites (in passages that I have quoted and quoted and quoted) to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe. If that was the charge given to the Israelites, that was what they were expected to do, so why would Yahweh have said to them, "Now if you don't destroy totally the Canaanites in their land, I expect you to hunt them down throughout the uttermost reaches of the earth and kill them there"? In ordering king Saul to destroy totally the Amalekites and to spare none of them--not even children and babies--Yahweh didn't go on to say, "Now if you don't kill all of the Amalakites when you invade their land, I want you to pursue them 'throughout the uttermost reaches of the earth and kill them there.'" He obviously expected Saul to obey his command and kill all of the Amalekites when he invaded their land, so in the same way, Yahweh would have expected the Israelites to do exactly what he had commanded in reference to the Canaanites. There is a hermeneutic principle known as the law of exclusion, which recognizes that specific commands that stated what was to be done didn't have to go on to stipulate what was not to be done. When, for example, Yahweh ordered Moses to make the ark of the covenant from acacia wood (Ex. 25:10), he didn't have to go on and say, "Don't make it of oak or hickory or willow or cedar or sycamore, etc., etc., etc.," because in stipulating the kind of wood that was to be used, all other woods were excluded. Likewise, when Yahweh said that the ark was to be two and a half cubits in length, he didn't have to say, "Don't make it just two cubits in length or three cubits in length, etc., etc., etc.," because the specification of the dimensions would have automatically excluded all others. Mr. Miller seems not to understand this hermeneutic principle, because he is laboring hard to mitigate Yahweh's orders to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe, but he is failing miserably to make the command to destroy totally mean only to expel from the land. The Bible says what it says, and nothing that Mr. Miller can say will change that.
Migrated to a city in a foreign land? Even Mr. Miller has estimated the Canaanite "base population" at two million. What foreign city could have absorbed that many refugees? What foreign cities [plural] were within a range that two million refugees could have fled to them? What foreign cities would have even allowed such numbers of refugees to come into their cities?
I seriously doubt that Joshua and Judges contain accurate historical accounts of the conquest of Canaan, but for the sake of argument, I will assume that those accounts are accurate. Mr. Miller has been laboring hard to put the blame on the Canaanites for what happened to them in the biblical accounts. Darn it, if those Canaanites had just packed up and left their country, he is saying, none of this would have happened to them, but in so arguing, he is showing that he has an incredibly naive grasp of reality. What inhabitants of national territory have just abandoned their homes and land to go somewhere else when outsiders were encroaching on their homeland. Native populations in Afghanistan, Persia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Eastern Europe didn't abandon their land and homes with the advancement of Genghis Khan's advancing Mongol army. They stayed and fought. They lost, but that is just one of the stark realities of war. The most powerful armies usually win, so if the Israelites did indeed enter into Canaan and conquer it, they succeeded because of their military superiority and not because they had a god named Yahweh fighting for them. If the Canaanites stayed and fought against them, they did no more than what other peoples confronting outside invaders would have done. The fact that Mr. Miller is trying to blame the Canaanites for what they Bible says happened to them shows just how desperate he is to defend an ancient collection of superstitious writings.
I have tried to give Mr. Miller the benefit of doubt and assume his sincerity, but the more I see him so blatantly distorting scriptures like the one he just cited, the more I wonder if I am not giving him more benefit than he is entitled to. Notice that he cited only the 18th verse of Deuteronomy 20, but a look at the two verses that preceded it will clearly show that the spin that Mr. Miller is trying to put on his proof text is a distortion of its obviously intended meaning.
Deuteronomy 20:16 However, in the cities of the nations Yahweh your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy them--the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites--as Yahweh your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against Yahweh your God.
The verse that Mr. Miller cited above does indeed claim a concern that the Israelites could be influenced by the Canaanites to worship other gods, but the passage certainly doesn't say that the Israelites were to prevent this from happening by "removing them from the land" by forced immigration to other lands. The text clearly states that the Israelites were to keep the Canaanites from influencing them to worship their gods by completely destroying the Canaanites and not leav[ing] alive anything that breathes.
I have cited and quoted and cited and quoted passage after passage that clearly stated that the god Yahweh ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanite nations, and some of those passages, like the one just quoted, were equally clear in saying that the Israelites were to destroy the Canaanites so that the Israelites wouldn't be enticed into worshiping their gods.
Deuteronomy 7:1 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. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. 3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 4 for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord's anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you.
In our culture, we practice religious freedom, but Yahweh apparently wasn't so tolerant. He ordered that those who didn't worship him be killed so that they could not influence others to practice their religion, but this and the text quoted above it says absolutely nothing about removing the influence of other gods by forcing the Canaanites who worshiped them to "migrate" to other lands. They clearly said that the worship of other gods was to be prevented by killing those who worshiped them. Indeed, the Israelites were even ordered to kill members of their own families if they worshiped other gods.
Deuteronomy 13:6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. 9 You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from Yahweh your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again. 12 If you hear it said about one of the towns Yahweh your God is giving you to live in 13 that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods you have not known), 14 then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, 15 you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. 16 Gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to Yahweh your God. It is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt.
Mr. Miller's attempt to make Yahweh a nice guy, who just wanted to force those who worshiped other gods to "migrate" to other lands, is patently contrary to the plain teachings of the Bible. Yahweh's way was to kill those who didn't worship him, and the passage just quoted is not the only one in the Bible where the massacre of those who worshiped other gods was ordered.
Deuteronomy 17:2 If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns Yahweh gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of Yahweh your God in violation of his covenant, 3 and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky, 4 and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, 5 take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death. 6 On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. 7 The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. You must purge the evil from among you.
If Yahweh was the good guy that Mr. Miller is trying to paint him, who just wanted to rid the land of idol worship by forcing its practitioners to "migrate" to other lands, why didn't Yahweh just order the exile of Jews who turned to "false worship" instead of commanding that they be killed? Well, that is not hard at all to answer. Death was the Hebrew way of dealing with those who violated what they thought their god Yahweh wanted, so Mr. Miller's attempt to make his readers believe that this god really didn't want the Canaanites killed but just wanted them forced out of the land is clearly contrary to what the Bible plainly says.
I had another reason for quoting these passages where Yahweh ordered the killing of Jews who worshiped gods other than Yahweh, and that reason will soon become apparent.
The "strong suggestion" is only rationalization on Mr. Miller's part. I have shown over and over and over and over that his spin on the Yahwistic commands to destroy totally the Canaanites just isn't so. There is no need for me to recite or requote again the passages that clearly dispute what Mr. Miller is trying to dupe his readers into believing.
Before we look at Mr. Miller's distortion of the biblical passages he quoted below, I will just ask him to explain to us how "this understanding" makes perfect sense of all of the passages I have quoted where the writers had Yahweh clearly ordering the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe and also explain to us how "this understanding" makes perfect sense of all of the passages I quoted and requoted and requoted in the book of Joshua, which say that the Israelites did totally destroy the Canaanites and left none of them alive to breathe AS YAHWEH THE GOD OF ISRAEL HAD COMMANDED Josh. 10:40; Josh. 11:10-12,15).
So now let's look at the passages that Mr. Miller thinks that "this understanding" makes perfect sense of.
Leviticus 18.24-29 "`Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, 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. 26 But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27 for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. 28 And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you. 29 Everyone who does any of these detestable things -- such persons must be cut off from their people (also Lev 20.22).
I must interrupt here to comment on the last sentence in Mr. Miller's proof text, which said that everyone who did "any of these detestable things" would be "cut off from their people." I have shown already in this section of Part Five that "cut off" in Hebrew meant to kill. That section explicated the very passage that Mr. Miller is now quoting as a proof text, and to see that "vomit out" did not mean expulsion from the land but rather death, all we need to do is look at the broader context of the passage.
Leviticus 20:1 Yahweh said to Moses, 2 "Say to the Israelites: 'Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech must be put to death. The people of the community are to stone him. 3 I will set my face against that man and I will cut him off from his people; for by giving his children to Molech, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. 4 If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech and they fail to put him to death, 5 I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molech.
Notice that "put to death" and "cut off from his people" were used interchangeably here, as in the other examples that I pointed out in Part Five linked to above, so to the Hebrews "cut off" meant "put to death," just as "drive out," "cast out," "subdue," etc. were at times used interchangeable with destroy. Other sections of the broader context of Leviticus show that "cut off" meant "put to death."
Leviticus 20:6 "'I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.... 27 A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.'"
Inerrantists will grab any straw in sight, so Mr. Miller may argue that the persons who "turned to mediums and spiritists" were to be "cut off" or expelled from the land but that the mediums or spiritists were to be put to death, but this quibble won't work. As I noted in the section of Part Five linked to above, parallel offenses or "detestable deeds" were condemned in both Leviticus 18 and 20. In chapter 18, they were just identified as "do nots" after which the writer said, "Everyone who does any of these detestable things--such persons must be cut off from their people," but in chapter 20 most of the same offenses (incest, adultery, beastiality, child sacrifices, etc.) were listed and the death penalty decreed for them with the exception of the two places noted above where "cuf off" was used synonymously with "put to death." Elsewhere, Yahweh had commanded the Israelites to keep the sabbath and had fixed death as the penalty for those who didn't. In giving the command, he used "put to death" and "cut off" interchangeably.
Exodus 31:14 "'Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people. 15 For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to Yahweh. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death.
Obviously, then, "cut off" to the Hebrews meant put to death, so if the Levitical writer followed up his list of "detestable things" by saying that the people who did these things would be "vomited out of the land" (v:28), he was using "cut off" to mean put to death, just as other writers in the various passages I have quoted and quoted and quoted used terms like "drive out," "cast out," "subdue," etc. to mean totally destroy.
As I continue through this section of Mr. Miller's article, I will be showing that Yahweh decreed death to those who worshiped idols, so Mr. Miller's attempt to make "vomit out" mean "expulsion" is just another distortion of the intended meaning of a proof text that he has cited. This will become very evident as I continue.
Yes, but that "standard," was that both the individuals and the nations that did these things were to be "cut off," and as I showed above, "cut off" was a Hebrew expression that meant "put to death." Hence, Mr. Miller has found nothing in Leviticus 18 to prove his assertion that Yahweh didn't really want to kill the Canaanites; he just wanted to force them to "migrate" to other lands.
He didn't intend to annihilate them (when they later 'went pagan'),
Of course, he didn't. That was why he decreed in Deuteronomy 13 and 17, quoted above, that even beloved family members were to be stoned to death if they worshiped other gods and why he said in Mr. Miller's own proof texts in Leviticus 18 and 20 that those who did such "detestable things" as offer child sacrifices, commit adultery and incest, engage in beastiality, etc. were to be "cut off/put to death." He pronounced these sentences because he "didn't intend to annihilate them when they later 'went pagan.'" I think we can all see that.
What Mr. Miller needs to do is find passages that unquestionably say that Yahweh wanted Israelites who turned to the "detestable" practices of paganism to be banished from the country, and he has not yet done that.
but he warned them of 'expulsion from the Land' in the same way He did the Canaanites!
Uh, just where did biblical writers say that Yahweh only wanted the Israelites to "expel" Canaanites from the land? Where did biblical writers say that Yahweh wanted Israelites who engaged in "detestable" practices of the Canaanites to be expelled from the land? I have shown where Yahweh clearly and unequivocally commanded the Israelites to totally destroy the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe, and I have shown where Yahweh commanded that those Israelites who engaged in the "detestable" practices of the Canaanites be put to death, so now it is time for Mr. Miller to show us that Yahweh didn't really mean all of this but that he only meant that both Canaanites and Israelites who engaged in "detestable" practices were to be expelled from the country.
For this comparison to work in the verse, the punishment ("vomit") must mean expulsion.
I showed above that (1) "vomit out" was used interchangeably with "cut off" and (2) "cut off" was used interchangeably with "put to death"; hence, the only "comparison" that will work in Mr. Miller's own proof text is to recognize that "vomit out" meant to put to death.
If not, why not?
But was it the same way?
Mr. Miller can't make an assertion true by just shouting it in bold print. He must show that the Bible absolutely and unequivocally said that Yahweh only wanted to expel from the land Canaanites and Israelites who engaged in "detestable practices," and so far, he hasn't even come close to doing that. I, on the other hand, have cited passage after passage that very clearly said that those who engaged in these activities were to be "cut off/put to death."
Readers have now seen why I quoted above the two texts from Deuteronomy, which ordered Jews to kill close relatives who were found to be worshiping other gods and even to destroy completely villages that were found to have worshipers of other gods in them. Mr. Miller wants his readers to believe that Yahweh would merely "vomit" idol worshipers out of the land in the sense of expelling them to other places, but clearly the two passages in Deuteronomy don't say that. They ordered the killing of those who worshiped other gods. Hence, we have to conclude that vomit in Leviticus 20 was being used in the same sense that "drive out," "cast out," "subdue," etc. were used in the passages that I have quoted over and over. Their interchangeable use with words like destroy and expressions like leave none alive to breathe clarified them to mean that Yahweh was ordering the annihilation of the Canaanites. The reference in Mr. Miller's proof text to "vomiting out" must have therefore been used in the same sense; otherwise, Miller's proof text contradicts the two passages in Deuteronomy.
Not only were the warnings that God gave Israel about covenant treachery the flip-side of what they were to enjoy in Canaan (e.g. houses and vineyards given to others -- Deut 28.30-33), but the actual experience of Judah before her "expulsion" to Babylonia was essentially the same.
I will interrupt here to point out that the Bible claims that so-called "expulsion" from the "promised land" had occurred long before the Babylonian captivity. After years of subjugation to Assyria, Israelites in the northern kingdom (Israel) were deported to Assyria and "the cities of the Medes" in 722 BC (2 Kings 17:3-6). These became the famous "lost tribes of Israel," whose exact fate has never been accurately determined probably because they were assimilated into the local populations. The Assyrians repopulated Samaria with people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Seph-arvaim (2 Kings 17:24). All this happened more than 100 years before the Babylonian sacking of Jerusalem and the subsequent captivity of the Judeans.
Before either of these captivities, the Israelites were continually doing "that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh," but their punishment was not to be "vomited out" of the land in the sense that Mr. Miller is assigning to this term. They were "punished" in different ways. Judges 3:7-8 says that the Israelites "did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh," and so he "sold them into the hand of Cushan-rish-a-thaim, king of Mesopotamia" for eight years. Judges 3:12-14 says that the Israelites "again did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh," who then put them into servitude to Eglon the king of Moab for 18 years. Judges 4:1-4 says that the Israelites "again did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh," who somehow sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Hazor, whom Joshua had killed a generation earlier (Josh. 11:1,10-11), and so the tales of "evil in the sight of Yahweh" went on and on and on ad nauseam. These were just subjugations through occupation of their land by foreign powers, but the people were not deported or expelled from the land because of having done "that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh," and what has apparently never even crossed Mr. Miller's mind, even though he mentioned earlier a "culture-focused judgment" to try to justify the Yahwistic commands to destroy totally the Canaanites, is that in biblical times, all tribes and nations in the Near East believed that calamities and misfortunes were the result of having displeased the national gods. In the examples just cited from Judges, the Israelites would never even have considered the possibility that they had been subjugated to Mesopotamia, Moab, and Hazor for no other reason but the military superiority of those nations at that particular time. No, to their primitive, superstitious way of thinking, if something calamitous had happened to them, the reason for it had to be that they had "done that which was evil" in the sight of their god.
There are numerous examples of this primitive superstition that I could cite. In the inscription on the Moabite Stone, king Mesha said that "Omri king of Israel... oppressed Moab many days, because Chemosh was angry with his land." Like his Israelite contemporaries just across the way, Mesha thought that oppression of his country by an outside power had to mean that Moab's god was angry with the land. In 2 Samuel 21:1-9, a tale was told of a three-year famine in the land, which caused David to "seek the face of Yahweh." It just didn't occur to David that climatic conditions, through no fault of anybody, were causing the famine. To his primitive way of thinking, if a calamity like this had happened, it had to be because of something that had angered the Hebrew god Yahweh. Sure enough, when David "sought the face of Yahweh," this god told him [snicker, snicker] that the famine was due to Saul's treatment of the Gibeonites. Although Saul's mistreatment of the Gibeonites would have happened years before this time, to David's angry-god mentality, he apparently didn't wonder at all why Yahweh had waited so long to punish the land with a famine. A calamity had fallen upon the land, and calamities come from angry gods, so David wanted to find out what Yahweh was upset about. As this superstitious yarn was spun, the Gibeonites demanded that seven of Saul's male descendants be put to death, and David decreed that this be done.
This is the sort of ancient, superstitious nonsense that Mr. Miller is trying to defend, but it apparently never occurs to him that "punishments" like exiling were all in the minds of biblical writers who constantly looked for "culture-focused judgments" to explain why tragedies, disasters, and such like would happen to Yahweh's "chosen people." The problems with Mr. Miller's spin on the "vomit-out" passage cited in Leviticus is that (1) he gives it a meaning that conflicts with other passages that clearly say that the same offenses banned in Leviticus 18 were to be punished by death and (2) he ignores the many biblical passages that indicate that "cut off" to Hebrews meant "put to death."
When Judah had begun to practice the same cruel and destructive practices of the Canannites [sic]--including child sacrifice (Is 57:5; 2 Kgs 17.17), ritual prostitution (Jer 13.27), cultic homosexual prostitutes (I Kgs 15.12; 22.46; 2 Kgs 23.7), and widespread social violence (cf. Ezek 45.9; Is 59.6-10)--God judged them to be expelled from the Land. He sent the Babylonians to 'drive them out'. [sic] They were supposed to obey God and go into exile--the prophets told the people to surrender to 'dispossession' to avoid being killed!
Well, "God" certainly took his good sweet time "driving out" the Judeans who "began" to engage in the "same destructive practices of the Canaanites," didn't he? Isaiah was an 8th-century BC prophet, who lived 150 years before "God" judged the Judeans "to be expelled from the land," so what would the two passages in his book have to do with when the Judeans "began" to engage in the destructive practices of the Canaanites? The reference in 2 Kings 17:17 was to what Israelites in the northern kingdom were doing in the late 8th century BC, when the Assyrians, as mentioned above, took control of the kingdom and exiled them to Assyrian and Mede cities, so there is certainly nothing in this text to support Mr. Miller's claim that Yahweh "expelled" the people of Judah from the land when they began to engage in "destructive" Canaanite practices. The text in Jeremiah certainly referred to the captivity of the Judeans, but, duh, this book was written by a "prophet" who lived at the time when the captivity occurred, and so he had the advantage of writing after the fact so that he could conveniently affix blame wherever he wanted to put it. He did attribute the captivity to "your adulteries and lustful neighings, your shameless prostitution" (Jer. 13:27), but since when did the Judeans of Jeremiah's time have a monopoly on adultery, lust, and prostitution? If "God" expelled from their lands everyone who engaged in such activities, he would have long ago run out of places to expel them to.
Mr. Miller just can't seem to understand the ancient Semitic mind (which his partner in apologetic crime, Robert Turkel, talks about so much), which always felt the need to find reasons for the misfortunes that happened from time to time. We hear in our time the saying shit happens, which although crude, nevertheless expresses an obvious truth: rotten luck is just a part of life. Just recently, our nation has experienced a series of tragic hurricanes that have left parts of the country devastated. Although we have fundamentalist preachers--counterparts of the Hebrew prophets--who are blaming the destruction of New Orleans on the evils of homosexuality and sexual promiscuity in this city, more rational people will recognize that... well, shit just happens. There have always been earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, droughts, volcanic eruptions, and other natural disasters, and there always will be as long as the world stands. Nations have always risen and fallen and will continue to rise and fall as long as nations exist. There are no angry gods up there pulling strings to make these things happen. Shit happens, but neither the Hebrew prophets nor Mr. Miller could recognize this truth.
There is no need to look at the other scriptures that Mr. Miller misapplied above, because it is easy to show that what he claims as the reason for the Judean captivity in Babylon is not what the Bible says was the reason for it. Mr. Miller says that "God" expelled the Judeans from the land when they began to engage in the "destructive practices" of the Canaanites, but the Bible put the blame for the captivity on king Manasseh, who had "shed innocent blood till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another" (2 Kings 21:6). Even though Manasseh's grandson Josiah became the most righteous of all of the kings of Israel and Judah (2 Kings 23:25) and instituted far-reaching religious reforms, Judah was soon overrun by Nebuchadnezzar, who sacked Jerusalem and took many of the Judeans into captivity. The writer of 2 Kings, however, did not say that Yahweh expelled the Judeans from the land because they had begun to engage in the "detestable practices" of the Canaanites; he said that the captivity happened because of the evil of king Manasseh, who had died 45 years before Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians.
2 Kings 23:25 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to Yahweh as he did--with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses. 26 Nevertheless, Yahweh did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to provoke him to anger. 27 So Yahweh said, "I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, 'There shall my Name be.'"
After Jerusalem had fallen to Nebuchadnezzar, the writer of 2 Kings repeated the charge that Yahweh had caused it to happen because of the atrocities committed by Manasseh.
2 Kings 24:3 During Jehoiakim's reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. But then he changed his mind and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. 2 Yahweh sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him. He sent them to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of Yahweh proclaimed by his servants the prophets. 3 Surely these things happened to Judah according to the Lord's command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, 4 including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and Yahweh was not willing to forgive.
What we have, then, is Glenn Miller vs. the Bible. Miller says that Yahweh expelled the Judeans from the land when they "began" to engage in "the detestable practices" of the Canaanites, but the Bible says that Yahweh sent the Judeans into Babylonian captivity because of the "innocent blood" with which Manasseh had filled Jerusalem. Even if the texts quoted above, which flatly contradict Mr. Miller's claim, were not in the Bible, we could determine that Yahweh didn't expel Israelites from the land when they began to engage in the "detestable practices" of the Canaanites, because from the very beginning of the Israelite nation, they practiced idolatry, just like the other nations in that part of the world. When Moses was on Mt. Sinai chatting with Yahweh, the Israelites persuaded Aaron to make a golden calf for them to worship (Ex. 32:15-24), but Yahweh didn't withhold from them the land, which they had not yet reached; he just killed 3,000 of them (Ex. 32:27-28) and led them on to the promised land. Idolatrous events continued throughout the wilderness years. They worshiped Baal at Peor (Num. 25), but Yahweh still didn't withhold the land from them; he just killed 24 thousand of them (Num. 25:8-9) and led them on to the promised land. After they had entered the land, they engaged in extensive idol worship.
Judges 10:6 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of Yahweh. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook Yahweh and no longer served him, 7 he became angry with them....
And because the Israelites forsook Yahweh and no longer served him, he became angry with them and expelled them from the land. Is that what happened? Not at all.
Judges 10:6 And because the Israelites forsook Yahweh and no longer served him, 7 he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, 8 who that year shattered and crushed them. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead, the land of the Amorites.
So Yahweh didn't expel the Israelites from the land when they began to engage in the "detestable practices" of the Canaanites; he let the Philistines and the Amorites oppress them within their land. Mr. Miller's claim that Yahweh didn't want to kill anybody but just wanted to expel idolaters from the land of Canaan just doesn't agree with what the Bible plainly says.Miller:
Jeremiah 38.17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, "This is what the LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: `If you surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, your life will be spared and this city will not be burned down; you and your family will live. 18 But if you will not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be handed over to the Babylonians and they will burn it down; you yourself will not escape from their hands.'"
Jeremiah 38.2 "This is what the LORD says: `Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes over to the Babylonians will live. He will escape with his life; he will live.' 3 And this is what the LORD says: `This city will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.'"
Jeremiah 21.8 "Furthermore, tell the people, `This is what the LORD says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. 9 Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; he will escape with his life. 10 I have determined to do this city harm and not good, declares the LORD. It will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.'
If the residents of Judah had surrendered to the Babylonians, they would have simply been deported (read: "expelled from the Land"!) to Babylon--just like the Northern Kingdom had been 'migrated forcibly' to other lands.
Mr. Miller is trying hard to make destroy totally and leave no one alive to breathe to mean only "to expel from the land," but the biblical accounts of the forcible "migration" of the Israelites in the northern kingdom just don't support the spin he is trying to put onto those accounts. The Bible indicates quite clearly that the Israelites in the northern kingdom didn't just wave white flags and surrender to the Assyrians; they resisted the invasions of their land.
2 Kings 17:7 All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against Yahweh their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods 8 and followed the practices of the nations Yahweh had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. 9 The Israelites secretly did things against Yahweh their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns. 10 They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. 11 At every high place they burned incense, as the nations whom Yahweh had driven out before them had done. They did wicked things that provoked Yahweh to anger. 12 They worshiped idols, though Yahweh had said, "You shall not do this." 13 Yahweh warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: "Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets." 14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who did not trust in Yahweh their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although Yahweh had ordered them, "Do not do as they do," and they did the things Yahweh had forbidden them to do. 16 They forsook all the commands of Yahweh their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. 17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of Yahweh, provoking him to anger. 18 So Yahweh was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left....
All of the idolatrous practices described here didn't happen overnight. As far back as the reign of Solomon, shrines were built to other gods (1 Kings 11:6-8), and long before the Assyrian captivity of the northern Israelites, repeated references were made to their kings who "did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh (1 Kings 15:25-26,33; 1 Kings 16:25,29). Solomon reigned over 200 years before the Assyrian captivity, and Nadab, Baasha, Omri, and Ahab—the kings of the northern kingdom referred to in the other references—reigned from 175 to 135 years before the Assyrians overthrew the northern kingdom, and they all practiced idolatry. Northern kings after them continued to engage in idolatry (2 Kings 3:1-3; 2 Kings 13:1-2; 2 Kings 15:18). The passage quoted above indicated that idolatry in the northern kingdom was practiced as far back as the breakup of the united kingdom following the reign of Solomon, because verse 16 said, "They [the Israelites in the northern kingdom] forsook all the commands of Yahweh their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves." This is a reference to the attempt of Jeroboam, the one whom Yahweh had personally chosen to be king of the northern kingdom (1 Kings 11:29-40), to keep his subjects from going to Jerusalem to worship. Hoping to achieve this, he made two golden calves and put them in Bethel and Dan, and declared that they were the gods who had led the Israelites out of Egypt (1 Kings 12:25-31). This happened early in Jeroboam's reign, which began around 922 BC, so 200 years before Mr. Miller claims that Yahweh "vomited" the Israelites of the northern kingdom out of the land for engaging in "detestable practices" of the Canaanites, idolatry had been long entrenched in the country. Furthermore, the continuation of 2 Kings 17, quoted above, which told of the Assyrian captivity of the northern kingdom, clearly said that the Judeans were also practicing idolatry.
2 Kings 17:18 So Yahweh was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, 19 and even Judah did not keep the ' commands of Yahweh their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced.
So both the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom had been practicing idolatry for centuries, but for some reason, Yahweh "vomited out of the land" only the people in the northern kingdom and let the Judeans remain in the land for 125 years before they were taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Mr. Miller thinks that the captivities happened because of idolatrous practices, but a more realistic interpretation of the events of that time will recognize that the writer(s) of the books of kings was simply engaging in scapegoating. The northern kingdom was overrun by the Assyrians and its people sent into captivity, so to the primitive mind of the author(s) of these books, something had to have displeased Yahweh. He fixed the blame on idolatrous practices in the northern kingdom but apparently didn't wonder why the Judeans, who were also engaging in idolatry, retained their land. Over a century later when Judah fell to Nebuchadnezzar, the writer(s) put the blame on the atrocities committed by Manasseh. That Assyria and Babylonia had been militarily superior to Israel and Judah just didn't occur to the writer(s). Yahweh's people had been taken captive, and blame had to be put somewhere. The idolatry of Israel and the atrocities of Manasseh respectively became the "explanations" of the captivities.
All of this happened during a tumultous period in Israelite history. Besides the hostility between Assyria and the northern kingdom, both Judah had to contend with an alliance between Syria and Israel. Judah suffered high casualties, which, of course, were attributed to king Ahaz's tolerance of idolatry.
2 Kings 28:1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of Yahweh. 2 He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and also made cast idols for worshiping the Baals. 3 He burned sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and sacrificed his sons in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations Yahweh had driven out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree. 5 Therefore Yahweh his God handed him over to the king of Aram. The Arameans [Syrians] defeated him and took many of his people as prisoners and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hands of the king of Israel, who inflicted heavy casualties on him. 6 In one day Pekah son of Remaliah killed a hundred and twenty thousand soldiers in Judah--because Judah had forsaken Yahweh, the God of their fathers.
The Israelites also took 200,000 Judeans back to the northern kingdom as captives (2 Chron. 28:8-15), but a prophet named Oded rebuked the Israelites for taking their "brethren" captive, so the Judeans were taken down to Jericho and released. Notice the inconsistency in the reasons that the biblical writers gave for the misfortunes of Israel and Judah. Both the Israelites and the Judeans were practicing idolatry, but the writers claimed that the Israelites were punished by being taken into Assyrian captivity, whereas the Judeans after being taken captive were released and allowed to return home. Regardless of what happened, the writers attributed it to the judgment of Yahweh. When the Israelites were taken into Assyrian captivity, this was punishment from Yahweh. When the Judeans were released after being taken captivity, this was also the will of Yahweh, even though the Judeans had been practicing idolatry just like the Israelites. Then 125 years later, when Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem, that too was a judgment from Yahweh, even though this time the captivity was punishment for atrocities committed by king Manasseh 45 years earlier. To biblical writers, whatever happened was decreed by the god Yahweh.
Mr. Miller has tried to take such rank inconsistencies as these and distort them into proving that Yahweh had only wanted the Canaanites to get out of the land and that if they had, they would not have been killed. He quoted above three texts from the book of Jeremiah to support his unfounded claim that the Canaanites would not have been killed had they surrendered to the Israelites and accepted forced migration to other lands, but as usual, Mr. Miller has quoted without considering what was said in other biblical texts. He quoted Jeremiah 21:8, 38:2, and 38:17, where the prophet told the people that those who surrendered to the Babylonians would escape with their lives, and from these verses, Mr. Miller arrived at the conclusion that the Canaanites would have escaped with their lives if they had only surrendered to the Israelites. First of all, Mr. Miller is again arguing from an assumption of biblical inerrancy. If Jeremiah said it, then it had to be true, but this non sequitur in Miller's "argument" is almost too absurd to warrant comment. He just cannot assume that if the lives of Judeans who surrendered to Babylonians in 597 BC were spared, then the lives of Canaanites 800 years earlier in entirely different circumstances would also have been spared if they had only surrendered. For one thing, Mr. Miller's assertion gives no consideration at all to what we have repeatedly noticed: the Israelites had allegedly been ordered by their god Yahweh to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe. As I have previously asked, how could the Israelites have obeyed this command and at the same time spared the lives of Canaanites who surrendered?
Besides that problem are biblical claims that Mr. Miller seems completely unaware of: First, the Judeans surrendered to the Babylonians only after they were starved into submission by a siege that lasted a year and a half.
Jeremiah 52:1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother's name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. 2 He did evil in the eyes of Yahweh, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3 It was because of Yahweh's anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence. Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4 So in the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. They camped outside the city and built siege works all around it. 5 The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. 6 By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat.
Second, some of the Judeans were killed by the Babylonians even though they had surrendered.
2 Chronicles 36:17 He [Yahweh] brought up against them [the Judeans] the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, old man or aged. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord's temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 They set fire to God's temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. 20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power.
So a "remnant," i. e., those who had "escaped from the sword," were taken to Babylon as captives, but others weren't so "lucky."
Jeremiah 52:24 The commander of the [babylonian] guard took as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank and the three doorkeepers. 25 Of those still in the city, he took the officer in charge of the fighting men, and seven royal advisers. He also took the secretary who was chief officer in charge of conscripting the people of the land and sixty of his men who were found in the city. 26 Nebuzaradan the commander took them all and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed. So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.
This captivity, by the way, was not the big deal that Mr. Miller later tried to make it when he referred to "considerable" numbers of captives who were taken to Babylon. The number of Judean captives taken to Babylon at this time was just 832, and the number of Jewish captives that Nebuchadnezzar took to Babylon altogether--on three different occasions--was only 4,600.
Jeremiah 52:28 This is the number of the people Nebuchadnezzar carried into exile: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews; 29 in Nebuchadnezzar's eighteenth year, 832 people from Jerusalem; 30 in his twenty-third year, 745 Jews taken into exile by Nebuzaradan the commander of the imperial guard. There were 4,600 people in all.
Biblical writers often fixed the size of Judean armies in the hundreds of thousands (2 Chron. 25:5; 2 Chron. 26:12-13), and when Pekah of Israel invaded Judah, he killed 120,000 "in one day" and, as noted earlier, took 200,000 captive (2 Chron. 28:6-8), yet somehow when the Judeans surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar after a siege of about 18 months, only 832 were taken captive. This certainly implies that the number who had been "killed with the sword" (2 Chron. 36:17) was substantial and that those who saved their lives by surrendering to the Babylonians weren't quite so many as Mr. Miller would have his readers believe.
Mr. Miller may counter that 2 Kings 24:14-16 claims that Nebuchadnezzar took 18,000 captives to Babylon after his first sacking of Jerusalem, but if he does, he will need to explain why the "inspired, inerrant word of God" said in the text quoted above from Jeremiah that 3,023 captives were taken to Babylon at this time, but the writer of 2 Kings said that 18,000 were taken. This inconsistency merely underscores what I have already noted several times in my replies to Mr. Miller: the Bible is just too inconsistent to consider it the final word on what happened in the matters that Miller has wagged into this discussion.
Whatever Mr. Miller may want to say about this inconsistency, there are good reasons to think that Jeremiah's account of how many captives were taken to Babylon is probably more accurate than the account in 2 Kings 24. For one thing, the numbers in Jeremiah were specific (3,023) as opposed to the round numbers in 2 Kings: 18,000 princes chief men, mighty men of valor, craftsmen, and smiths. We could hardly imagine that these all just happened to number 18,000, so it is more reasonable to think that 3,023 was an exact, official count obtained from Babylonian records (which I will say more about shortly). Second, this counting of the captives (Jeremiah 52:28-30) is missing from the Septuagint version, an indication that these numbers were added later, after the exile, possibly from Babylonian records.
This probability was addressed by Rodger C. Young in his article "When Did Jerusalem Fall?"
Jer 52:28–30 gives the number of captives taken by Nebuchadnezzar in his seventh, eighteenth, and twenty-third years. There is one thing certain about the counting of captives—the captives themselves are in no position to do it. Every king and pharaoh must have had an official assigned to this task, so that the number of those vanquished could be recorded on a stela or in the annals glorifying the king’s exploits. Thus the list of captives in Jer 52:28–30 could not have originated in a Judean record—it came from the official records of Nebuchadnezzar.
Biblical writers were prone to hyperbole, so we see over and over again references to improbably high enemy casualties, such as the 120,000 Judeans that Peka of Israel killed in one day, armies of unlikely size, such as the million-man army of Zerah the Ethiopian (2 Chron. 14:9-15), which king Asa with Yahweh's help defeated. The claim of 18,000 captives taken to Babylon in 2 Kings 24 is far more unlikely than the more realistic number given in Jeremiah 52:29. Despite Mr. Miller's apparent belief, stated below, that nations like Assyria and Babylonia had the "resources and structure to move huge populations around," herding 18,000 captives some 650 miles from Jerusalem to Babylon would have been no easy task, so Jeremiah's 3,023 would be easier to believe.
The sudden switch in Jeremiah 52:28-30 from nonaccession years to accession years is another indication that someone added these verses from a source that used different chronology from what Jeremiah had used throughout his book. The reigns of kings were calculated in some societies from the actual time that they assumed power, whereas others calculated the reigns from the beginning of their calendar year. Nebuchadnezzar succeeded his father in August 605 BC, but the Babylonians calculated reigns from the month of Nisan, which came some seven months later. In terms of accession years, used by Jeremiah and other biblical writers, the first year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign began in August 605 BC, but to the Babylonians, his first year did not begin until Nisan 1, 604 BC.
As just noted, Jeremiah and other biblical writers counted reigns in terms of acession years, so to biblical writers, Nebuchadnezzar's first defeat of Jerusalem occurred in his eighth year and his second defeat in his 19th year.
2 Kings 24:10 At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, 11 and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city while his officers were besieging it. 12 Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his attendants, his nobles and his officials all surrendered to him. In the eighth year of the reign of the king of Babylon, he took Jehoiachin prisoner.
2 Kings 25:8 On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 52:12 On the tenth day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.
The writer of Kings said that Nebuzaradan came to Jerusalem on the seventh day of the fifth month, whereas Jeremiah said that it was the 10th day of the fifth month. This is just one of those biblical inconsistencies for which no satisfactory solution has yet been found, but otherwise the two writers agreed on the date. It happened in the 19th year of king Nebuchadnezzar. Both writers were using accession years, because to the Babylonians, as we will soon notice, this was the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar.
Analyzing the chronology in Jeremiah and 2 Kings would take too much time, but those who take the time to check it will find that Jeremiah consistently used accession-year chronology until "he" came to 52:28-30, where the numbers of the captives were given. Let's look at it again.
Jeremiah 52:28 This is the number of the people Nebuchadnezzar carried into exile: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews; 29 in Nebuchadnezzar's eighteenth year, 832 people from Jerusalem; 30 in his twenty-third year, 745 Jews taken into exile by Nebuzaradan the commander of the imperial guard. There were 4,600 people in all.
At this point a switch was made from accession years to nonaccession years, because the first captivity occurred in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar according to 2 Kings 24:12. Rather than considering this an error, it should be looked upon as different ways of calculating regnal years. The writer of 2 Kings and Jeremiah, up until this point, used accession years, but suddenly the text in Jeremiah switched to nonaccession years. Hence, Nebuchadnezzar's eight year became his seventh, and his 19th year became his 18th. A comparison of 2 Kings 25 and Jeremiah 52 will show that they are so similar in content and wording that common sense tells us that both writers used the same source. However, the information about the number of captives taken from Jerusalem is not in 2 Kings 25, and the 52nd chapter of Jeremiah, which had used accession-year chronology up to this point, suddenly shifted to nonaccesion years. Then immediately after these three verses, Jeremiah 52 switched back to accession years.
Heremiah 52:31 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah and freed him from prison on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month.
The writer of 2 Kings gave the same year for this event.
2 Kings 25:27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin from prison on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month.
One writer said that this happened on the 25th day of the month, and the other said that it was the 27th day, but the year is the same. The most sensible explanation for the sudden change to nonaccession years in 52:28-30 is that these verses were added by another writer some time later, and he used nonaccession years instead of accession years. This switch would indicate that whoever this writer was, he was relying on a Babylonian source for his information. Further indication of a nonbiblical source, possibly Babylonian, for this information about the number of captives is found in the reference to the 745 Jews that were taken captive in the 23rd year of Nebuchadnezzar, a claim that is found no where else in the Bible, even though both 2 Kings 25 and 2 Chronicles 36 mentioned the taking of captives on the other two occasions. Although this theory of a Babylonian source for the captive counts cannot be proven conclusively, these variations, if nothing else, are sufficient to show sensible readers that the Bible is too unreliable to settle matters as facilely as Mr. Miller tries to do when he cites a passage and then moves on as if the mere citing of a text is sufficient to settle any matters in dispute.
This is basically the same motif--'migrate or be executed'. [sic] The number of people actually killed in the attacks of Babylonia would have been small, but the number transplanted out of the Land would have been considerable.
This is another indication that Mr. Miler's knowledge of the Bible is much too superficial for him to be playing the role of apologist. I just showed that after Jerusalem surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar only 832 were taken as captives to Babylon and that only 4,600 were taken captive in all three of Nebuchadnezzar's excursions into Judah, which covered a period of 15 years, from the eighth year of his reign (2 Kings 24:12) to his 23rd year (Jer. 52:30). Is that Mr. Miller's idea of "considerable"? I also noted above that when Pekah of Israel invaded Judah, he killed 120,000 "in one day" and took 200,000 captive, so by using Mr. Miller's "logic," I could prove that by choosing to stand and fight, the Judeans would have increased their chances of surviving the invasion of a foreign army.
It is interesting to note that the Assyrians 'drove out' Israel and used the deportation/transplantation strategy to basically 'annihilate' a culture, without killing the mass of people--they knew that a dispossessed people would be assimilated into larger social groups, as basically happened with some of the northern ten tribes.
It is even more interesting to note that Mr. Miller's analogy is false, because he is comparing apples to oranges. What the Assyrians did in 722 BC, when they took Israelites in the northern kingdom into captivity, cannot be analogized with what the Israelites did to the Canaanites 700 years earlier, because there is no record of any god telling the Assyrians what to do after defeating the northern kingdom, whereas biblical passage after biblical passage that I have quoted repeatedly ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe. The Assyrians certainly did "annihilate" the Israelite culture by sending its people into captivity, but how does that prove that Yahweh didn't mean what he said when he allegedly ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe? Furthermore, there are records, both biblical and nonbiblical, of the Assyrian and Babylonian deportations of Israelites and Judeans. Can Mr. Miller cite any records that say that Canaanites were "dispossessed" by being deported to other countries?
Mr. Miller's long, drawn-out attempts to make Yahweh's orders to destroy totally the Canaanites not to mean totally destroy but only forced "migration" is a tacit admission that he knows that genocide is morally wrong, and I will show later that, despite Mr. Miller's efforts to whitewash the word genocide, what Yahweh allegedly commanded the Israelites to do was a command to exterminate entire ethnic groups, and that, as we will see, was genocide.
The Assyrians did this routinely (HAP:601,638), as did the Egyptians (ECIAT:168), and the Babylonians practiced a modified version of it. Deportation as a has been documented as early as the 3rd Dynasty of Ur, 2112-2004 BC (AM:367n33). So ZPEB: s.v. "exile":
The deportation of communities was usually practiced in the ancient world for political reasons, frequently to destroy the power of a nation considered an enemy..."
And it was also done to secure slave labor. Mr. Miller mustn't forget that. Passages that I quoted above about the Babylonian captivity specifically noted this reason for taking captives.
1 Chronicles 36:20 He [Nebuchadnezzar] carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power.
There were, of course, political motives for deportation, but if the Assyrians, Egyptians, and Babylonians used deportation for political reasons, this would prove only that they were more humane than the Israelites who, as we have noticed over and over and over and over, routinely killed entire civilian populations and left none of them alive to breathe. The fact that the other nations may not have been so thorough and complete in their massacres of captured populations would in no way remove the fact that the Bible clearly claims that the Israelites did thoroughly and completely and totally destroy civilian populations and did so believing that they were doing what their god Yahweh wanted them to do.
It has been seen how the growing power of Assyria... not only became a real threat to the nations of Syria and Palestine, but exterminated some and deported their peoples, thus breaking their power.
And this does what to prove that biblical passages, which have already been quoted over and over, clearly stated that Yahweh ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe?
Notice that the above quote [sic] makes a similar distinction to my argument here--the nation is 'exterminated' but the people are 'deported'. [sic]
And where did Yahweh command the Israelites to exterminate the Canaanites through deportation? I have shown repeatedly where Yahweh commanded the Israelites to exterminate the Canaanites by totally destroying them and leaving none of them alive to breathe, but for some reason, Mr. Miller has neither cited nor quoted any passages where Yahweh unequivocally meant that "total destruction" and "leaving none of them alive to breathe" meant only that the Canaanites were to be "deported."
Interestingly, a dispossession of Canaanite population appears to be a more 'humane' way of reducing the international impact of an already internationally-despised culture, without having to kill the majority of the carriers of that culture.
Well, of course, that would have been a more humane way to get rid of the Canaanite culture, but Mr. Miller has yet to show that this was what the Yahwistic orders meant and that this was what the Israelites did to the Canaanites. I have repeatedly cited and quoted passages that said that the Israelites totally destroyed the Canaanites and left none of them alive to breathe, but Mr. Miller has yet to show us that the Bible says that the Israelites "deported" the Canaanites. His line of argumentation appears to be that the Assyrians and Babylonians sometimes rid lands of ethnic groups by deporting them to other regions; therefore, this must have been the way that the Israelites got rid of the Canaanites. He just doesn't seem to recognize non sequiturs.
From an 'execution/implementation' standpoint, in the case of Canaan, the deportation must occur before Israel showed up for battle;
I assume that everyone noticed that Mr. Miller didn't cite a single biblical example of where this was ever done, but I have cited and quoted passages that plainly said that the Israelites took city after city and totally destroyed the inhabitants and left none of them alive to breathe.
in the case of Judah, the 'migration' (initiated by surrender) would occur before Babylon actually attacked the city. [Babylon and Assyria could afford to do this--they had adequate resources and structures to move huge populations around.
As I showed above, after Nebuchadnezzar's first defeat of Jerusalem, he took only 3,023 captives back to Babylon, and after his second conquest of the city, he took just 832 captives. These were hardly the "huge populations" that Mr. Miller imagined above, an imagination that was no doubt due to his superficial knowledge of the Bible. As I also pointed out, when Pekah of Israel defeated Judah, he killed 120,000 "in one day" and took 200,000 captives back to Samaria, but when Babylon defeated Jerusalem, only the small numbers of captives mentioned above were taken. Mr. Miller is trying to put a spin onto the Yahwistic massacres that the Bible just won't support. Yahweh allegedly ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe, and no amount of talking about what Assyria, Babylonia, and Egypt did after defeating their enemies will make the Yahwistic orders to the Israelites not mean what they plainly said.
Post-wandering Israel would have had no such option.
Again Mr. Miller shows his deplorable ignorance of the Bible. I have now referred several times to Pekah of Israel's defeat of Judah, at which time he took 200,000 Judean captives back to Samaria. If Pekah did this, he must have had the "resources" and the "option" to do it. Only the intervention of the prophet Oded caused Pekah to return the captives to Judah.
2 Chronicles 28:6 In one day Pekah son of Remaliah killed a hundred and twenty thousand soldiers in Judah--because Judah had forsaken Yahweh, the God of their fathers. 7 Zicri, an Ephraimite warrior, killed Maaseiah the king's son, Azrikam the officer in charge of the palace, and Elkanah, second to the king. 8 The Israelites took captive from their kinsmen two hundred thousand wives, sons and daughters. They also took a great deal of plunder, which they carried back to Samaria. 9 But a prophet of Yahweh named Oded was there, and he went out to meet the army when it returned to Samaria. He said to them, "Because Yahweh, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand. But you have slaughtered them in a rage that reaches to heaven. 10 And now you intend to make the men and women of Judah and Jerusalem your slaves. But aren't you also guilty of sins against Yahweh your God? 11 Now listen to me! Send back your fellow countrymen you have taken as prisoners, for Yahweh's fierce anger rests on you." 12 Then some of the leaders in Ephraim--Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berekiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai--confronted those who were arriving from the war. 13 "You must not bring those prisoners here," they said, "or we will be guilty before Yahweh. Do you intend to add to our sin and guilt? For our guilt is already great, and his fierce anger rests on Israel." 14 So the soldiers gave up the prisoners and plunder in the presence of the officials and all the assembly. 15 The men designated by name took the prisoners, and from the plunder they clothed all who were naked. They provided them with clothes and sandals, food and drink, and healing balm. All those who were weak they put on donkeys. So they took them back to their fellow countrymen at Jericho, the City of Palms, and returned to Samaria.
Yahweh "gave" the Judeans into the hands of Pekah and let him kill 120,000 of them, but he was ticked off at the taking of 200,000 of them in slavery. Such is the silliness of the spins that biblical writers put on events of their time, but the reason why I quoted this passage was to show that Mr. Miller revealed only his ignorance of the Bible when he implied that Israel just didn't have the "options" to take captives in the way that Assyria, Egypt, and Babylonia could. The tale just quoted claims that Pekah of Israel took into the northern kingdom 50 times as many captives as Nebuchadnezzar took from Jerusalem to Babylon and allowed them to return to Judah only because a prophet convinced him that he had angered Yahweh by taking the captives out of Judah.
God used 'early warning' messages to the Canaanites to get large portions of them (apparently) to migrate north,
Apparently? What is Mr. Miller's basis for this assertion? Where does the Bible say or even imply that "large portions" of the Canaanites "migrat[ed] north"? I assume everyone is noticing that when Mr. Miller throws out an assertion like this, he never presents any evidence, either biblical or extrabiblical, to support it. For some time now, he has been obviously straining to make biblical passages completely unrelated to the Israelite conquest of Canaan agree with some preconceived idea that destroy totally and leave no one alive to breathe in Yahweh's commands pertaining to the Canaanites meant only to use "early warning messages to the Canaanites to get large portions of them (apparently) to migrate north."
and even gave the less-urban community more time--the "little by little" aspect of the conquest (cf. Deut 7.22).]
In this section of Part Five, I analyzed the little-by-little text to show that it contradicted Deuteronomy 9:3 in which Yahweh said that he would destroy the Canaanites and drive them out quickly, and earlier in this section, I showed that the little-by-little text, besides contradicting the "quickly" promise in Deuteronomy 9:3, was absurdly inconsistent with biblical population claims. The ostensible reason for Yahweh's saying that he would give the land to the Israelites "little by little," which Mr. Miller has now referred to several times, was that wild animals would multiply against them if they were given the land all at once, but census figures in the book of Numbers indicate that the Israelite population during the wilderness years had to be 2.5 to 3 million. Mr. Miller's estimate of the Canaanite population at this time was "a base" of just two million, so he needs to explain how the Canaanites were able to control wild animals with just a population of two million, but the Israelites with a larger population than this would not have been able to control them.
This is just another example of biblical silliness. In Part 15 of "Where's the Land?" I presented Robert Turkel with evidence of postexilic additions to the book of Deuteronomy (that was itself a late addition to the Pentateuch), which were apparently added to rationalize some obvious failures in Yahweh's land promises to the Israelites. The most sensible explanation for why one text would say that Yahweh would destroy the Canaanites and give their land to the Israelites quickly whereas another said that this would be done "little by little" is that the latter text was added as an explanation of why the Israelites had never gotten all of the land that Yahweh had presumably promised them.
From a 'regulation' standpoint, the Canaanite migration would have been much less regulated.
Where is Miller's proof that any such "Canaanite migration" ever occurred? If it did occur, why didn't the Bible refer to it?
The migrating peoples could essentially have had some choice over their destinations, be able to migrate without the harsh treatment of captors (not at all an insignificant benefit!), and generally settle closer to familiar lands/languages than occurred under captors. Although it would still be a 'forced' migration, there were many more 'humane' discretionary elements inherent in it.
Mr. Miller keeps talking about a Canaanite migration, which the Bible never referred to, but I assume everyone is noticing that he gives no evidence at all, either biblical or extrabiblical, that this "migration," which he has postulated as a solution to the problem of Yahwistic barbarism in the Old Testament, ever happened. As a matter of fact, if anyone who believes that the Bible is the "inspired, inerrant word of God," he will have to believe that no such migration ever did happen, because the Bible makes repeated references to Canaanites who remained in the land after the so-called conquest of Canaan.
Joshua 16:10 They [the Ephraimites] did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim but are required to do forced labor.
Joshua 17:12 Yet the Manassites were not able to occupy these towns, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that region. 13 However, when the Israelites grew stronger, they subjected the Canaanites to forced labor but did not drive them out completely.
Joshua 17:16 The people of Joseph replied, "The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have iron chariots, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezreel." 17 But Joshua said to the house of Joseph--to Ephraim and Manasseh--"You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment 18 but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have iron chariots and though they are strong, you can drive them out."
Judges 1:19 Yahweh was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had iron chariots.
I will interrupt here to point out more biblical absurdities. Even though Yahweh, as we have repeatedly noticed, promised to drive out and destroy quickly the Canaanites, the passages above show that many of the Canaanites were not driven out but continued to dwell with the Israelites until this day. Even more absurd is the inability of the men of Judah to drive out the people of the plains--even though Yahweh was "with" them--because the plains people had chariots of iron. Never mind that Joshua had promised that even though the Canaanites had chariots of iron, the Israelites would still drive them out. This, folks, is just some of the silliness that Mr. Miller is trying to defend.
There are other examples of Canaanites who remained in the land.
Judges 1:27 But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land. 28 When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely. 29 Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them. 30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, who remained among them; but they did subject them to forced labor. 31 Nor did Asher drive out those living in Acco or Sidon or Ahlab or Aczib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob, 32 and because of this the people of Asher lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land. 33 Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them. 34 The Amorites confined the Danites to the hill country, not allowing them to come down into the plain. 35 And the Amorites were determined also to hold out in Mount Heres, Aijalon and Shaalbim, but when the power of the house of Joseph increased, they too were pressed into forced labor.
Mr. Miller has postulated a "Canaanite migration" to northern lands as a solution to the many texts that speak of Yahwistic cruelty and barbarity, but this "migration" exists only in his mind, because the Bible says nothing about it. To the contrary, the Bible spoke of Canaanites who remained in the land because of the Israelite inability to drive them out. The passages quoted above, which are by no means all of the ones that told of Canaanites who remained in the land, claim that the Israelites eventually enslaved the Canaanites still left in the land, but if they were enslaved, then they did not "migrate" somewhere else as Mr. Miller wants his uncritical readers to believe.
Summary: The Israelites had been promised a specific area of land, since the time of Abraham. Most of the local indigenous peoples were either descendants of Abe or very familiar with the traditions of those people.
In his "summation," Mr. Miller is merely restating points that I have already replied to in detail, so I need only supply links back to the places where the assertions summarized here were refuted. In this section of Part Two, I showed that after the passage of centuries, descent from common ancestry would not have preserved Abrahamic traditions as perfectly as Mr. Miller would like for his readers to think. In our own country, we have people of Scandinavian, Germanic, and other ethnic descent, whose ancestors came here just a relatively short while ago compared to the number of years that separated Canaanites from Abraham and his immediate descendants, but how many of these people do you suppose are "very familiar" with the traditions of Norway, Sweden, Germany, etc?
This is just another straw that Mr. Miller is grabbing to try to explain away the atrocity of a god who would order the utter destruction of non-Hebraic people.
When the "time had come," God judged the Canaanites and decreed for them to be expelled from the Land. Their tenure was up--they were evicted.
They were? The texts just quoted above dispute this. Despite the many claims, noted earlier, that the Israelites totally destroyed the Canaanites and left none of them alive to breathe, later texts say that many Canaanites remained in the land because they were "determined" to keep their land, and the Israelites were unable to expel them. Just where, then, does the Bible speak of this "eviction" of Canaanites that Mr. Miller is claiming?
New tenants were moving in. The Canaanites were given decades and decades of notice--in many ways and at different times.
Mr. Miller seems to be referring here to his claim in Part Four that the Canaanites had had a "long exposure to truth," which should have made them know better than to engage in their "detestable practices" and to resist the Israelite invasion. I rebutted all of Mr. Miller's points at that time, so there is no need for me to rehash them here. In this section of Part Five, I also addressed his claim that news of the Israelite coming spread rapidly, and so the Canaanites had no excuse for not knowing what their fate would be if they resisted.
Besides the assumption of biblical inerrancy in the unlikely claim that news of every little thing the Israelites did spread immediately to the Canaanite nations, I will use a modern example to show the flaw in Mr. Miller's reasoning. Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, warning after warning was given that it was going to happen, so the invasion was no surprise to anybody. If U. S. troops had totally destroyed Iraqi civilian populations as cities were captured and had left none of them alive to breathe, would Mr. Miller think that this was morally acceptable because the Iraqis who stayed and were killed should have heeded the warnings and left their country?
And they understood clearly--all the records we have of their understanding of their plight is totally in line with the Land-Grant of YHWH.
And what records are these? The biblical claims that the Israelites were the chosen people of Yahweh and the Canaanites weren't? The biblical claims that a god named Yahweh appeared to Abraham and promised to give him and his descendants all of the land of Canaan? The biblical claim that news of the Israelite coming had reached the Canaanite nations immediately after the crossing of the Red Sea?
I have addressed all of these and shown them to be completely dependent on the historical accuracy and inerrancy of the Bible, but I have shown several reasons why a person who believes in biblical inerrancy is hopelessly naive.
So aside from what the Bible says, what is Mr. Miller's evidence that the Canaanites "understood clearly" that the god Yahweh had given their land to the Israelites?
With the 'eviction notice' published, the Canaanites could decide to either vacate the premises peacefully or deal with military force.
Where does even the Bible claim that if the Canaanites had vacated the premises peacefully, they would have been spared? I assume again that everyone is noticing that Mr. Miller is stringing together assertion after assertion for which he doesn't give even a shred of evidence, either biblical or extrabiblical.
Again, let's assume for the sake of argument that Mr. Miller's claim is historically accurate and that an "eviction notice" was published, which the Canaanites knew all about. Where is the morality in ordering people to leave land that they had worked, fields and vineyards that they had planted, and houses and cities that they had built so that another ethnic group could move in and take them over?
If they vacated peacefully, they could choose their locations, mode of travel, and not have to deal with unpleasant military overseers.
And just where did Mr. Miller get all of this? Even if we assume its inerrancy, where does the Bible say that if the Canaanites had vacated peacefully, they could have chosen "their locations and modes of travel."
When I started answering Mr. Miller's article, I had a great deal of respect for him, but after now having taken the article apart bit by bit, much of that respect has diminished, because I have seen too much biblical ignorance and too many distortions of scriptures and crass assertions in his devious attempt to make gullible readers who, being more biblically ignorant than he is, think Mr. Miller is right and that the god Yahweh acted morally in ordering the extermination of the Canaanites.
And the Bible clearly claims that the god Yahweh did order the extermination of the Canaanites. No amount of rationalization by Mr. Miller or anyone else can remove that fact.
If they choose [sic] to challenge Israel's God and His expressed intentions, then they did so with complete knowledge of His power--as displayed in Egypt.
As prointed out before, Mr. Miller is arguing from an assumption of biblical inerrancy. If the Bible says that news of Yahweh's power displayed on behalf of the Israelites had spread quickly into Moab, Edom, Philistia--which didn't even exist at the time--and Canaan, then, by golly, that has to be true. To spare readers from a rehashing of my rebuttal of this claim, I will link them again to this section of Part Five, so that those who want to can go there to see Mr. Miller's assertion completely dismantled.
Even though they were the 'scourge' of the earth at that time--by international consensus--
This is more argumentation by assertion, which I have already rebutted in this section of Part Four. Mr. Miller has filled his articles with unsupported assertions like this one, which, unfortunately, many gullible readers will uncritically accept.
To what I have already said, I will add a modern example. "International consensus" would no doubt condemn the policies of the North Korean government. Would this consensus justify going into that country and indiscriminantly massacring the civilian population. Mr. Miller's task all along has been to show the moral correctness of Yahweh's commands to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe, but instead of doing this, he has laid down smoke screens about alleged international condemnation of the Canaanites and imaginary intentions to force them to migrate to other lands, but he has said exactly nothing by way of logical argumentation that would show that Yahweh's extermination commands were morally right.
No, I am sure he didn't. His desire not to annihilate the Canaanites was no doubt the reason for the following commands.
Deuteronomy 7:1 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. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.
Deuteronomy 20:16 However, in the cities of the nations Yahweh your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy them--the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites--as Yahweh your God has commanded you.
And Yahweh's desire not to annihiliate the Canaanites was no doubt the reason why (so the Bible claims) that the Israelites totally destroyed Canaanite populations as Yahweh the God of Israel had commanded (Josh. 10:40; Josh. 11:10-12,14-15).
Now it is Mr. Miller's turn. Let him cite or quote texts that say that Yahweh did not want to annihilate the Canaanites.
His expressed intentions were to move them away from His people.
And just where did Yahweh "express" those intentions? I assume everyone is noticing that Mr. Miller continues to assert without supporting his assertions with biblical or extrabiblical evidence.
He gave them ample opportunity to leave peacefully before Israel arrived,
My links to Part Four and this section of Part Five show that this assertion is based on an unrealistic assumption that the Bible was inerrant in its claims that news about Israelite ventures during the exodus and wilderness wanderings spread almost simultaneously to Edom, Moab, Canaan, and nonexistent Philistia.
and even allowed the bulk of the 'less institutionalized' to have a little longer.
A little longer? I have shown in this section of Part Five that Canaanites were still in the land 480 years after the exodus, when Solomon conscripted them as forced laborers to work on the temple (1 Kings 9:20), so that wasn't exactly just a "little longer." By the "less institutionalized," I assume that Mr. Miller is arguing--or rather asserting--that those who were "allowed" to remain "a little longer" were Canaanites who were not steeped in the "culture" that Yahweh wanted to destroy, but the passages that I quoted above were quite clear in saying that these Canaanites were still in the land because the Israelites were unable to drive them out.
His people were not instructed to hunt them down in neighboring nations at all.
No, they weren't, because as I showed above, the Israelites had been commanded to destroy them totally in the land of Canaan and to leave none of them alive to breathe. Earlier in this section of Part Five, I quoted and analyzed passages where the Israelites pursued and totally destroyed the Canaanites who turned and ran.
In this matter, Mr. Miller has been flagrantly arguing from silence. He knows of no biblical passage that commanded the Israelites to pursue the Canaanites into other lands and kill them there, so he argues from this silence that Yahweh wanted the Canaanites who fled to other lands to be left alone. It apparently hasn't occurred to him that there are no commands to pursue Canaanites into other lands because the Hebrews thought that it was their god's intention to kill them in their own land before they had the chance to flee.
Israel was severely restricted in the Conquest. They were not allowed to be simple 'land grabbers' or 'wealth seekers' or 'self-righteous' or 'land scorchers' or 'international empire builders' or 'captive-abusive'. [sic]
Part Five in almost its entirety dismantled point by point all of these "limitations" that Mr. Miller seems to believe that Yahweh very graciously placed on the Israelites, so there is no need to rehash them here. For example, Mr. Miller seemed to think that Yahweh was Mr. Nice Guy because he had commanded the Israelites not to destroy fruit trees during the conquest (Deut. 20:19), but I showed from the broader context that the reason for this "limitation" was a perfectly sensible one: fruit trees would supply the Israelites with food. The link above will show readers that selfish motives were behind all of the "limitations" that Mr. Miller talked about in that part of his article.
As for whether "land grabbing" was involved in Yahweh's land promise, let's just let the Bible speak for itself. Notice the parts emphasized in bold print.
Joshua 1:1 After the death of Moses the servant of Yahweh, Yahweh said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide:
2 "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them--to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates--all the Hittite country--to the Great Sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.
That certainly sounds like land-grabbing to me, and so does this.
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.
The longer I go in dismantling Mr. Miller's article, the more I wonder about just how much reading he has done in the Bible.
At the same time, they were to eliminate the threat of Canaanite destructive influence (both spiritual and physical) if called upon.
Mr. Miller is now engaging in special pleading. He is claiming that Canaanite culture was "destructively" bad but that Hebrew culture was good. I would like to see him explain to us what was so good about a culture that engaged in the massacres of entire civilian populations and sometimes even slaughtered the livestock in captured cities. Furthermore, if the Canaanite culture was so "destructive," how was it able to survive and flourish as long as it did?
And God allowed no double standards. When Israel began to look like 'Canaanites', [sic] God judged them in the same way... and 'vomited' them from the Land as well. This expulsion was also accompanied by the harsh measures of warfare faced by the Canaanites.
This was one of the last points that I dismantled above, so there is no need to rehash my rebuttal points here. I clearly showed that "vomited" was used in Mr. Miller's "proof text" in an obvious sense of killing or destroying.
The punishment of the Amorites/Canaanites was thus one of 'deportation'--not one of genocide.
Notice again that Mr. Miller is repeating an assertion for which he has yet to offer any supporting evidence, either biblical or extrabiblical. I have quoted and quoted and quoted and quoted passage after passage after passage where biblical writers claimed that Yahweh ordered the Israelites to destroy totally the Canaanites and to leave none of them alive to breathe, but he has yet to cite a single passage where Yahweh told the Israelites that his intention toward the Canaanites was to force them to "migrate" to other lands. If this was so clearly Yahweh's intention, why can't Mr. Miller show us where that intention was stated in the Bible?
At this point, Mr. Miller turned to a discussion
of "other principles" that "shed some
light on the situation," so this calls for yet a seventh part. Go
to Part Seven.