Phil Johnson at Pyromaniacs (not the ID Philip Johnson) addresses the tough apologetics question of the conquest of the Promised Land, when the Israelites were commanded to kill all the inhabitants of the land. How can a loving God command the inhabitants of the land to be slaughtered? We are rightly offended by similar actions taken today: the holocaust, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia. So how do we answer this? See Truth and Apologetics for a good answer.
The basic answer I have given on this one is:
- This was a picture not of Israel’s righteousness but of God’s holy judgment on an exceedingly wicked group of people. We, likewise, are deserving of judgment.
- Even in the midst of the conquest there mercy was shown to at least one repentant inhabitant of the land: Rahab the prostitute, who is listed in the genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1:5).
- The command was limited in space and time and not repeated at any time afterward. Even during the conquest, the command was limited to hostile nations in a specific area. The Old Testament has plenty of counterexamples of commands to safeguard the rights of aliens.
- I don’t completely understand, but don’t have to.
Grace and Peace