Did God command genocide in the Old Testament? If so, why?

That is, the deliberate murder of a large group, based upon their ethnicity or genetic makeup

Ezekiel 25:12 - 14

ESV - 12 Thus says the Lord God : Because Edom acted revengefully against the house of Judah and has grievously offended in taking vengeance on them. 13 Therefore thus says the Lord God, I will stretch out my hand against Edom and cut off from it man and beast. And I will make it desolate; from Teman even to Dedan they shall fall by the sword.

Clarify Share Report Asked October 29 2014 Mini pj edelman

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Mini Rob Standford
No, here's why.

First, let's define genocide. Genocide is the systemic destruction of a group of people because of their religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, etc.

Why did YHWH command the extermination of other nations? The Scriptures you gave and more provide the answer.

Deut. 9:4 "4 “Do not think in your heart, after the Lord your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out from before you."

Deut. 20:17-18 17 “..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,18 lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the Lord your God."

As we can see, YHWH commanded the destruction of other nations because of their wickedness. It was not because of their nationality or ethnicity. 

How wicked were other nations? History provides us with some info.

The Canaanites did many horrible things to their own people. Canaanite families often sold their own daughters into shrine prostitution with or without their consent. Shrine prostitution is where people had sex in worship of their gods. The Canaanites sacrificed their own children and their parents agreed with it. Canaanite priests burned them alive or cut their throats as the parents watched. 

The Babylonians built their empire on conquest. If they lacked resources, they just raided whatever city they could find and killed innocent civilians. Hammurabi did the same. He betrayed his allies by conquering them years later for no justifiable reason.

The Hittites emerged from an area where they had to wipe out civilizations in war to survive or they would get wiped out. Hittites would murder their own family to claim the Hittite throne. 1 king, Suppiluliuma, killed his brother when his father gave him the crown. He also exiled his wife so he could marry a Babylonian woman for power. Later, Egyptians (mother of Tutankhamen) wanted to take his son into Egypt and make him a ruler. He agreed, but his son died. Suppiluliuma accused the Egyptians of killing him without proof. The Egyptians denied it and Suppiluliuma went to war with Egypt as a result.

The Assyrians were very cruel and barbaric. Assyrian soldiers cut off the tongues of their captives so their screaming wouldn't be as loud when they were skinned alive. Torturers then used knives to make cuts on their bodies and peel off large chunks of skin.

Assyrians cut off their captives' heads, ears, noses, balls, gouge out their eyes, disembowel them, etc. They burned women, children, and babies alive. They took the heads and mounted them up in piles.

Assyrians impaled their captives on large spikes. It took days before they died a painful death from having the spikes go through internal organs. At times, the Assyrians shoved spikes through their lubricated rear ends so the spikes would pierce through their internal organs. Sometimes, the Assyrians cut off their hands and feet before impaling them.

The Assyrian ruler, Sennacherib, committed genocide. When he conquered a city, he completely wipe out all traces of it. He tried doing that to Babylon because the Babylonians rebelled against him. Shockingly, it backfired because the Assyrians thought he was out of his mind. They were very outraged. They understood the city of Babylon played an important role in the ancient world with its legacy and riches. His family was so outraged, they simply killed him.

The extermination of civilizations was common in the ancient near east. The difference is YHWH did it out of righteous judgment while other nations did it for sheer pleasure. 

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August 06 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Danny Hickman Believer in The Gospel Of Jesus Christ
I wish there was a way to settle this for all time, but I don't think that's going to happen. The scriptures are written in such a way as to ascribe to God the responsibility for all sorts of heinous happenings. War, genocide, slavery, polygamy, sins of a garden variety; it isn't said that he "commanded" anyone to marry more than one woman, or to enslave another person, but since he didn't put a stop to either of those horrible practices, it must mean that he didn't oppose them, and that they aren't that bad. (That kind of reasoning attempts to sully God's reputation. In many cases I believe it's purposeful.) 

It is, however, spelled out that he "commanded" his people to go to war and to, in many campaigns, kill everything and everybody. The main thing to remember about scripture is that it was written for mankind by God AND mankind. 

This question is to determine whether God has a dark side; let's stop ignoring the obvious! If it can be determined that God ordered his chosen people to kill the inhabitants of the land he had promised to their forefathers, then there are people who think that God has a dark side. They are wrong! FULL STOP! 

The scriptures tell us who God is. He doesn't have a dark side.

God is love (First John 4:8). (Love doesn't have a dark side (1 Cor 13)). "This is the message we have heard from him (Jesus) and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (1 Jn 1:5)

I could run out of ink (I've never known a Samsung tablet to run out of ink - lol, but you get my drift) listing scriptures that tell of God's love and goodness toward us. For every positive word written about him, someone will say 'Yeah, but what about him commanding his people to kill whole villages and towns?' 

It is a grave misunderstanding of the context of what is written. 

God wants it known that he is sovereign; that nothing happens for which he doesn't take full ownership. He has no need to deny anything! He is his own witness!

He created the world; he created mankind; he planted a garden and put the man in it; he gave the man the woman who gave the man fruit from a tree that he planted. He told them to eat not of that tree! He pronounced the penalty for transgressing his commandment before they ate.

God wants us to know him. He tells us who he is. He denies nothing about himself! Who do we believe? (That puts us back to square 1). 

God "commanding" bloodshed OF ANY KIND is the bible's way of saying 'with bloodshed, chaos, mayhem, whatever else we want to name, death and destruction, with it all, the buck stops with God!' It means if it happens it has been ordained by God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). A simpler way to put it is that God "appointed" those things, he arranged for them to happen. These chaotic events were predetermined to be necessary for a right development of God's creation. He gathered his people, trained them, and put them to the task he had for them. He's still doing the same thing today. 

The beauty of having a right understanding of God is to be able, because of his indwelling Spirit, to distinguish darkness from light; to be able to discern truth where lies have a dominant presence. 

I want to be on the record: if he had told me to pick up a sword and kill anyone, I would've had to endure the consequences of disobeying him; I know I couldn't have done it! He knows it too! He wouldn't have told me to do such a thing. He knows the hearts of the people whom he commands. (The scriptures prove I have this right). We are responsible for what is in our heart, and for our actions; he isn’t. 

Read the record; I haven't read a summary of events where it says 'And they killed women and children in abundance' or something like that. 
The record tells of God's determination for the inhabitants of the land because of their horrific nature and behavior. It ain't about what is in God's heart, but what is in ours. 

Trying to put God on the defensive is an empty wasted trick; he ain’t buying it!

April 01 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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