Reflections on an Unpleasant Topic in the Old Testament
While the old testament contains multiple “unpleasant” topics for modern readers of the Bible, most likely none are as serious as the question of YHWH’s commanded destruction of the Canaanites. To say the point bluntly, YHWH’s commands to Israel in Deuteronomy 7:1–2 sound suspiciously like genocide: “You must devote them to complete destruction” (Deut. 7:1–2, ESV). The people of Israel followed those instructions when they conquered Jericho (Josh. 6:20–21).