Back to Back Issues Page
Wordwise Insight, Issue #130
June 14, 2015


BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): Why did God order the total destruction of the Canaanites?

WORDWISE HYMNS: My Blog called Wordwise Hymns for you to check out!

DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION? See below for how to send it to us.


Are you finding Wordwise helpful? And do you have your own website? We would be delighted if you would provide a link on your site to ours. This will enable your friends to find us too! Check the page on the Wordwise website called "Link to Us," and follow the simple instructions. Click on Link to Us.

? ? ?

LIKE TO ASK A QUESTION? On a Bible topic or passage of Scripture? Or one about a hymn or gospel song? Click on Questions from You.


Kill the Canaanites

QUESTION: Why did God order the total destruction of the Canaanites?

ANSWER: When we come, in the Bible, to Israel's conquest of Canaan, we face an issue that has perplexed and disturbed many over the years. Long before the first battle–the attack on Jericho–God had ordered the total extermination of the Canaanite people, not only of the men of their armies, but of women and children too. "You shall drive them out [i.e. of their cities or possessed lands] and destroy them quickly" (Deut. 9:3). None were to be left in the land, living with the Israelites.

"Of the cities of these peoples which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the LORD your God has commanded you" (Deut. 20:16-17; cf. Josh. 6:17, 21; 8:26; 11:20).

These six groups, living within the boundaries of Canaan, were to be utterly exterminated. (A seventh group is included earlier, the Girgashites (Deut. 7:1), of whom little is known.) "When the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them, nor show mercy to them" (Deut. 7:2).

Critics have called the annihilation of the inhabitants of Canaan a primitive and barbaric act of murder, perpetrated on innocent lives. But it was hardly that, as we shall see. There are some factors it is helpful to keep in mind.

1) The Inspiration of the Scriptures If the Bible is the inspired Word of the living God (and it is, II Tim. 3:16), then we must not reject something in it simply because we don't understand it, or because it ...

(To read the remainder of this article, click on Kill the Canaanites.)


Come and Pay Us a Visit!

I have developed a blog that is called Wordwise Hymns. As the title suggests, it is about hymns, and church music in general.

But as many of you will know, a blog is especially designed to facilitate a conversation on its particular subject. Readers can easily post comments about what they see, and I'm able to reply. I hope you will take part in the discussion!

Through 2010, almanac entries dealt with what happened in hymn history on each day of the year. Beginning in 2011, I hope to analyze hymns from a biblical standpoint, linking to the material that has come before.

My hope is that the blog will add to the value of the website and this newsletter, and promote some profitable exchanges on the subject of sacred music.

What happened on this day in hymnology? To find out, click Wordwise Hymns.

Back to Back Issues Page