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Biblical Genocide 1




Ethnic Cleansing - the planned deliberate removal from a specific territory persons of a particular ethnic group, by force or intimidation, in order to render that area ethnically homogenous. (1993 UN Commission via Wikipedia)


Genocide -  the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. Genocide can be considered a subset of ethnic cleansing, in this case through murder.  (Wikipedia)



"Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a God".

  ~ Beilby Porteus, British Clergyman




Sihon, King of Heshbon (Deut. 2: 30 - 35)


"But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day (v. 30)... And the LORD our God gave him over to us, and we defeated him and his sons and all his people. And we captured all his cities at that time and devoted to destruction every city, men, women, and children.  We left no survivors.  Only the livestock we took as spoil for ourselves, with the plunder of the cities that we captured." (vs. 33 - 35)



Og, the king of Bashan (Deut. 3: 3 - 7)


"So the LORD our God gave into our hand Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people, and we struck him down until he had no survivor left.  And we took all his cities at that time - there was not a city that we did not take from them - sixty cities, the whole region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. (vs. 3 - 4)... And we devoted them to destruction, as we did to Sihon the king of Heshbon, devoting to destruction every city, men, women, and children.  But all the livestock and the spoil of the cities we took as our plunder." (vs. 6 - 7)





Entire cities with children and pregnant women are being killed.  The term "devoted to destruction" is often seen in the OT during these battles.  The ESV commentary notes that "Since God is the victor, the spoils belong to him and not to Israel, hence their destruction as an act of devotion to God".  The killing of women, children and the unborn is an act of devotion?  Entire cultures are being wiped out ("sixty cities"). God demands this type of devotion?  Refusing to obey has already cost Israel 40 years wandering before these acts.  One could see how this would absolve a soldier's resistance to kill helpless children, infants, and pregnant women - God ordered me to do it.  Recall the Nazi's defense - I was under orders, everyone was doing it.


In one case, even if the people desired not to fight, but to let Israel pass by (Deut. 2: 26 - 29) God hardened king Sihon's heart so he would have to fight, knowing that a massacre would take place.  God is interfering in the free will of the king, thereby sentencing him and his entire people to death? Is not God thus responsible for this genocide? Is it not more rational that the writer(s) of this narrative wanted to justify the killing and wrote this into the story?


Ken Pulliam - Grasping at Straws Part One: Evangelicals Defend Genocide