Rom 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Rom 1:19  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

Rom 1:20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Rom 1:21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Rom 1:22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,


This is an issue that people frequently bring up, especially if they are ones who are determined Bible scoffers or critics, or if they profess atheism, or if they are “haters of God,” etc. And they bring up this issue for the emotional fuel and propaganda it gives them as they go about denouncing and criticizing God and the Bible. In accordance with this they will say things like, “The God of the Bible is nothing more than a bloodthirsty God, for he demands the killing of innocent people.’ Or ‘Look at what God told Israel to do to the people of the land. He told them to kill everyone, even women and children. This is appalling! This is unthinkable and an offense to decency and morality! It is nothing but barbaric, and it is a slaughterhouse religion.’ However it is not only Bible scoffers, etc., who bring up this issue. It also gets asked about by folks who not only do believe the Bible, but who also are justified in God’s sight having believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as their all sufficient Saviour. And they ask about it because it just puzzles them as to why God would have had Israel do this.


Rom 1:26  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

Rom 1:27  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Rom 1:28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;


Well when it comes to dealing with this issue the first thing that we need to recognize, (and that people need to honestly acknowledge), is that God did not always have Israel completely destroy their and His enemies. The Old Testament is not full of accounts of God telling Israel to completely destroy others. In other words there are only a limited number of times that God instructed Israel to completely destroy a people, including women and children. Therefore it was not the norm, or the rule, by any means. Instead it was ‘an exception to the rule,’ to use that expression. Wherefore this means that there had to be some ‘special reason’ why it was that on certain occasions, and in connection with certain peoples, God had Israel completely destroy others. And there was a ‘special reason.’ But before looking at the ‘special reason,’ it is important to briefly note what God’s norm, or rule, was in “time past” when it came to dealing with His and Israel’s enemies. And from what Paul says, for example in Acts 14:15–17 and Acts 17:24–28, it is evident that God was not merciless by nature towards any of the nations in “time past.” Instead God not only mercifully put up with them as His enemies, but He also mercifully and graciously made full provision for them to respond positively to Him and to His nation Israel.


Act 14:15  And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

Act 14:16  Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.

Act 14:17  Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.


Therefore whatever reason God had for having Israel completely destroy some particular peoples/nations, (especially during the time of the conquest of their promised land), it was not because God was ruthless, merciless, bloodthirsty, or anything of the kind. It had to be for another reason entirely. Moreover this other reason had to also include the fact that these particular peoples/nations had already spurned God’s mercy and goodness to them, and that in spurning it they had chosen to become something that was so offensive and so rebellious against God, and was also so detrimental not only to Israel but to others as well, that it demanded their complete destruction. And this is exactly what was the case with the peoples/nations that God had Israel completely destroy, especially during the time of the conquest of the land. Though it goes beyond the capacity of this email to deal with this subject in detail, I will just say that any honest and thorough examination of what God says in Genesis through Joshua about the nations of the land of Canaan will make one aware of the fact that those nations were not just ‘any old nations’ by any means. Rather they were nations of a particular kind.


Act 17:24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

Act 17:25  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

Act 17:26  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

Act 17:27  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:


For they in particular had willingly sided, so to speak, with the Adversary in both his overall plan of evil and in his specific policy of evil at that time. And in so doing they had given themselves over not only unto the establishment of extremely wicked, abominable, and vile idolatry and living, but they had also given themselves over to determined opposition to God’s repossession of the earth and to the establishment of His kingdom on it. And, once again, they had done all of this having first spurned God’s merciful forbearance towards them, and having repudiated involving themselves in His plan and purpose. Moreover they also ignored and rejected God’s warnings to them concerning what they were doing, and how that it would result in them being cursed of Him. So then when the time came for Israel to enter their promised land, and for the conquest of the land to begin, the nations of Canaan were not innocent peoples at all. And even with this being the case, and before the actual conquest began, God in accordance with being “slow to anger” and “merciful and gracious” and “longsuffering” made one final provision for the peoples of Canaan to respond positively to Him before He smote them with the curse that He had foretold them that they fully deserved. Yet but for the exception of a few, they refused.


Rom 3:22  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Rom 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Rom 3:24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Rom 3:25  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Rom 3:26  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.


Wherefore God told Israel to completely destroy them as described, and for the reasons belonging to their persistent “abominations” that He also described. So, once again, the nations of Canaan were not innocent peoples, nor peoples with whom God was not merciful or longsuffering. Rather they were the exact opposite. And with respect to the destroying of their children; though this took place, God naturally dealt with them as He says that He deals with any that He does not yet hold accountable for responding positively to the truth of Him. Hence though such “children” died physically, they did not share in the spiritual death of the ones that were fully accountable in God’s sight. Now this is just the gist of the kind of things that someone needs to honestly deal with when it comes to properly understanding the issue of God having had Israel completely destroy the nations of Canaan, or any other peoples. Yet even by honestly dealing with just the gist of these things, it is enough to show that the chargers and claims of Bible scoffers and the like are false and unjust.


Keith Blades

Enjoy The Bible Ministries


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