Most news commentators are very careful NOT to condemn the Israeli Army killings in Gaza. Too much pressure from the American Israeli Lobby. And so we watch the ritual slaughter of the Palestinian men, women and children boxed in like cattle awaiting slaughter.
Today I heard one news outlet decry the 17 Israeli soldiers killed over the weekend. At the same time a single family of twenty-three Gazans was extinguished by a ‘precision’ strike by an Israeli missile.
The Bible, however, encourages such action. Smite thine enemy. Smite! Terrible word, but “God” commanded it. Must be good. Must be right. The Bible tells me so.
Here is what God commands about cities that refuse to submit to the Israelites: “Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you” (Deut. 20:17).
You and I know what “good” means. If you were a king or general and you ordered the genocide of those tribes—over ten million people, according to the Bible*—would you be considered good?
But you might say that this was wartime, and the rules were different. Yes it was wartime, but the Israelites were the invaders, displacing Canaanites from land they had occupied for centuries. God tells the Israelites to destroy the Amalekites: “Attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants” (1 Sam. 15:3).
What could the infants have possibly done to deserve death?
Moses tells the Israelites that they must kill all of the Midianites, with one exception: “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man” (Num. 31:17–18).
For the Bible says…