War in Deuteronomy
Deuteron chapter twenty should be read as a rhetorical or historical text. Though this topic has been widely discussed for many years, someone has yet to convince everyone that one way of viewing the text Is correct and the other Incorrect. Throughout this research paper we will discuss the text found In Deuteron chapter twenty along with surrounding text viewed through both the rhetorical lens as well as the historical lens.
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The surrounding text that we will analyze is chapters even and thirteen of Deuteron.
Chapter seven discusses the Israelites expectations for separating from the idolatrous nations. Chapter thirteen informs the Israelites what they are supposed to do when enticed to follow false gods by three different accounts of influence. In Deuteron chapter seven, God commands the Israelites to practice complete separation from the Idolatrous nations of the Hitters, Geographies, Amorists, Canniest, Pretzels, Helves, and Jubilees-?all of which reside in the Promised Land they are preparing to enter.
Although these nations are stronger than Israel, God Insists that he will deliver these nations to the Israelites and they will destroy them completely, make no treaty with them, and destroy them. Following In verse four, God stresses that the Israelites are not to intermarry with any of these nations because doing so would allow them to turn the children of Israelite away from Him to serve other god. In result of such an occasion, God’s anger would drive him to destroy the Israelites.
The Israelites were told to basically attack the idolatry of these nations t the origin by destroying all of their altars and idols because they were the chosen ones to be God’s special possession which they were to treasure. In verses nine and ten, it is stated that God is God and will continue being God for all eternity to those who love him. However, to those who do not love God he will destroy. The middle of Deuteron chapter seven, verses 11-15 talks about how God’s people are to remember the covenant of love He has made with his people for He will keep the covenant If his people follow these laws.
Up to verse sixteen, this scripture states that f His people follow the laws they will be blessed in numerous ways through crops, offspring, livestock, and disease such as what they experienced in Egypt. The closing of chapter seven of Deuteron is used to discuss that the Israelites are not to be intimidated by the strength of the other nations which they are to drive out, but to remember what God had done to Pharaoh in Egypt.
God continues to overemphasized that He will deliver all of these nations along with their kings to the Israelites so that they may destroy them and the record of their existence. In the final two verses of his chapter, God instructs the Israelites they are not to covet anything the gods of these nations possess such as the gold and silver and not to bring any of their possessions Into their own household. In Deuteron chapter thirteen God addresses the destiny of those who practice Idolatry or entice others to practice Idolatry.
The chapter begins with God stating that If anyone Is to experience an event that would cause them to feel the urge to worship other gods that the words of that sort to refrain from partaking in the suggestion of worshipping other gods because he very situation is a test from the Lord our God to find out if they love him with all their heart and soul-?the prophet who tried to turn them away from the Lord shall be put to death.
Starting in chapter six and continuing through chapter eleven God tells his people that even if a family member was to entice them to follow other gods not only were they to be ignored, but they were also to be given no pity nor be spared, or pitied. This relative, or closest friend was to be immediately put to death by the hand of the family member who was being misled. By doing this, the killed enticer was to river as an example so that such an evil thing would not happen again.
Deuteron thirteen closes with a final situation of dealing with the people of a town who are misled into idolatry by wicked man. In this situation, the Israelites are to investigate the situation thoroughly, and if the situation is proven true, they are to kill everyone of that city. The city should become a ruin for the remainder of time and never rebuilt. The possessions of that city were also to be left as ruined and not be found in the hands of His people.
This chapter is closed with the statement from God hat he will turn from his fierce anger and have compassion on his people if they do as they are told. Deuteron chapter twenty is a series of directions that concern war in general and the process of which the Israelites were to takeover and destroy particular cities. “The instructions in this chapter are peculiar to Deuteron. As the people of God, Israel was not a warlike nation; they were rather to abstain from warfare, and as a general rule to cultivate the arts of peace.
But they had before them at this time the prospect of a serious and protracted conflict before they could occupy the land which God had assigned to them; and they might in future years have to go to war to maintain their independence and repel aggression. In view of this, instructions are here given regarding the conducting of military service” (Alexander, n. D. ). In verses one through four of this chapter, the Israelites are commanded to refrain from feeling afraid, panicked, or terrified of armies greater than theirs because the God who brought them from Egypt will be with them.
Verse four states that the Lord their God will fight for them against their enemies to give them victory. Verses five through nine are accounts in which the officers of the army will ask for anyone who has built a new house and not yet lived in it, anyone who planted a new vineyard and not yet enjoyed it, anyone who pledged to a woman and not yet married her, or anyone who is afraid or fainthearted to go home. Following this, verses ten through twenty are directions concerning the taking over of the false nations.
When the Israelites march to attack a city that is far from them-?not of a nearby nation-?they are to first offer peace. If the city accepts this offer, the people of he town shall be made servants and work for the Israelites. However, if the town is not willing to surrender, the Israelites were to kill every man in the city, and take the women, children, livestock, and everything else in the city as plunder for themselves. On the other hand, when approaching a nation within the Promised Land, the Israelites are to immediately destroy anything that breathes without offering peace to them first.
The Israelites are instructed to do so to avoid being taught to follow their detestable ways of worshipping other gods and sinning against the Lord their God. God then commands His people to refrain from destroying any fruit bearing trees in Historical Analysis There are quite a few accounts in these chapters that lead to the idea that the text in Deuteron chapter twenty should be read historically. When the God of Love is commanding his people to annihilate and slaughter living people, there is obviously going to be controversy.
The main controversy seems to lie between groups who cannot agree whether the text in Deuteron chapter twenty should be read historically or rhetorically. A sub category of controversy in chapter twenty, noted as Case 1 & Case 2 by biblical scholar Gordon J. Wham, is the discussion of why the nations within the Promised Land were not offered peace before being destroyed and the nations outside of the Promised Land were offered peace before being destroyed (Wham, n. D. ). In chapter twenty, why would our God tell his people to annihilate and destroy a nation not leaving anything alive that breathes?
Aren’t humans God’s own creation? When these particular verses are read independently God does in fact come across as contradicting Himself and failing to practice what He preaches. However, when read in context, we are able to see that God is by no means going against the sixth commandment, Mimi shall not murder,” but He is actually sticking to His word Just as He said He would. If we take a look into some of Deuteron chapter twenty’s surrounding scripture we come across some eye opening information.
For example, in Deuteron 7:9-10 scripture reads, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. But those ho hate him will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him. ” This verse shows us God’s reasoning behind why He wants the Israelites to destroy them. This reference takes away from the sting of the idea that God wants us to kill people, and therefore, allows us to interpret this text as historical.
It is also suggested by Reverend C. Clearance, a biblical scholar, that the reasoning why the nations within the Promised Land were not offered peace before being destroyed is because they had already had their day of grace in Genesis 1 5:16 ND that they should be overcome by destruction lest they continue to pollute the land (Clearance, n. D. ). Another example is found in Deuteron 13. Biblical scholars Reverend J. Orr, Reverend D. Davies, and Reverend R. M. Edgar point out that in verse 14, which states, “then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly.