Fighting at God’s command

Last updated on February 6, 2024

“Just as the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses.” (Joshua 11:15)

Through many long chapters, the book of Joshua reports on kings being conquered, cities being destroyed and citizens being killed. This raises big questions. Why did Joshua murder seven tribes? Does God really approve of one nation killing another?
No, not in a general sense. But this was a special situation. The peoples who lived in the land of Canaan were exceptionally wicked. God had waited four generations until “their iniquity was complete” (see Genesis 15:16). When that time had come, the Israelites were instructed to carry out God’s judgment and kill them.

Thus it is stated in verse 20:
“For it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the Lord commanded Moses.” (Joshua 11:20)
Joshua was not acting out of hatred or purely political interests. He was obeying the command the Lord God had given him.
What does it evoke in you that God allows so many people to be killed because they oppose Him? Does that fit the image you have of God?

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