The Good Book Blog
The Canaanite destruction is the major ethical problem in the Old Testament. How can we serve a God who commanded genocide? As we saw in the previous posts on Midian, Amalek, and the Canaanites, the individuals and families who follow YHWH and become part of Israel are on one extreme of a spectrum (the Caleb end), while those who attack Israel are located on the other extreme (the Amalek end). The groups place themselves on the spectrum by means of their treatment of Israel and their attitude toward YHWH. A nation like Edom that neither helped nor attacked Israel would be near the middle of the spectrum, incurring YHWH’s displeasure but not a divine command for extermination. Although a nation like Midian might be placed on the Amalek end of the spectrum, individuals and families from Midian could turn to follow YHWH and place themselves on the Caleb end of the spectrum. In the case of Egypt, an entire nation could move on the spectrum, depending on their attitude toward Israel.