Project Genesis

Killing of Canaanite Children

I want to know if there is any source through which I can get information relating to the evil of the Canaanite nations.They used to sacrifice their children, etc. and of course their evil was to be destroyed but why was the commandment given to destroy the children and babies too? I cant think of any possible evil that small babies could do, an evil which is so severe that they are to be put to death.

I agree that on first glance it seems unethical to our eyes. However, it is axiomatic that Moses and Joshua are spokesmen for God, and that “good” and “evil” are defined by what God wants and doesn’t want, not by what I think. That is why Abraham did not hesitate to bind Isaac on the altar.

Therefore, if Joshua ordered their death, we must conclude that they were not innocent and our question should be, “why did they need to be killed?” rather than assuming that they were innocent. Same is true for the Midianites whom Moses commanded the Israelites to wipe out.

You write: “I can’t think of any possible evil that small babies could do.”

I can’t either, but that’s the difference between me and God. God is by definition inscrutable. I cannot understand God’s ways. Not even Moses could understand God’s ways, so how could I hope to? If everything God did seemed perfectly just, then I would feel that I understand Him. Therefore, my measure of Divine justice cannot by definition be my own opinion. I must have an external source. In this case, we have a system of prophesy that is our source. It is axiomatic that everything Moses commanded in the name of God is just. I do not need to know why. I do not fault you for asking – in fact, you should ask. But the lack of an answer should have no bearing on your belief. This is not to say that there is no answer. But I’m trying to help you refocus your question.

Perhaps the evil of the parents was so strong that it even affected the babies, or would effect them in the future. That is one approach.

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