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re: did Moses disobey God in Deuteronomy 20?

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  • Dave Wave
    ... your original claim ... Midianite virgins to live. ... presents God acting ... First, I was trying to show that, IF YOU ASSUME GOD IS CONSISTENT, then the
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 19, 2007
      --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, "Robert M.
      Bowman, Jr." <faithhasitsreasons@...> wrote:
      > Dave,
      > Your most recent post made no attempt to salvage
      your original claim
      > that Moses had disobeyed God by allowing the
      Midianite virgins to live.
      > Instead, you attempted to argue that the Pentateuch
      presents God acting
      > in contradictory or inconsistent ways.

      First, I was trying to show that, IF YOU ASSUME GOD IS
      CONSISTENT, then the places where God acts
      inconsistent should be attributed to human error, and
      in the case of Moses, his own error of disobedience to
      the full extermination order in Deuteronomy 20.

      You then fail to appreciate your own belief that what
      God said in Deuteronomy 20 comes from his unchanging
      holy nature. Or maybe you think God isn't as mad at
      idoloters as long as they stay far away from Israel?
      Amorites who sacrifice kids on one side of the Jordan
      river are no less offensive to God's moral
      sensibilities than Amorites on the other side, are

      > Unless you have something new to add on this
      subject, I am declaring
      > this particular discussion closed.
      > In Christ's service,
      > Rob Bowman

      If you are looking for new material to add to this
      debate, I've got plenty.

      Since I'm trying to build a case that Moses disobeyed
      God by not killing everybody in a detestable nation,
      let's start with whether Joshua's choice to spare
      Rahab the harlot in the detestable city of Jericho
      constitutes a disobedience to the order for full
      extermination of corrupted people God gave Moses in
      Deuteronomy 20.

      Perhaps if you can admit that Joshua's reason for
      sparing Rahab was due solely to her helping them win
      the battle against Jericho, and not because Joshua
      felt she and the members of her household had more of
      a chance of reforming her detestable ways than any
      small child he massacred in Jericho, then you might
      find Moses' sparing of Midianite virgins for reasons
      stated nowhere in scripture to make his disobedience
      toward God in that matter a viable possibility.

      From Joshua 7:

      speaking of how extensively Joshua destroyed Jericho:
      21 And they utterly destroyed everything in the city,
      both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep
      and donkey, with the edge of the sword.

      Why did Joshua find it necessary to kill everybody?
      Probably because that's exactly what God wished to
      happen to the cites of the nations he was giving them
      for an inheritance, spoken of in Deuteronomy 20,
      right? Jericho is one of the cities in the promised
      land full of detestable people that pose a threat of
      corrupting the new Israelite residents, right?

      Again from Joshua 7:
      25 However, Rahab the harlot and her father's
      household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has
      lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid
      the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

      Why did Joshua spare one of these detestable people in
      this detestable city? Because she helped Israel
      succeed in attacking Jericho, no other reason is

      Yet God was very specific about full extermination in
      Deuteronomy 20:16

      15 "Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very
      far from you, which are not of the cities of these
      nations nearby.
      16 "Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD
      your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall
      not leave alive anything that breathes.
      17 "But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite
      and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the
      Hivite and the Jebusite, as the LORD your God has
      commanded you,

      Jericho was a city among the nations in the land God
      was giving them as an inheritance.

      Their detestable ways can be confirmed not just from
      Deuteronomy 20's broad-brushing claim, but from
      Joshua's choice to kill everybody in that city.

      Confirmation is found in modern scholarship, which
      agrees that the people of Jericho in the days of
      Joshua were your basic regular typical Canannites,
      thus preeminently qualified for full extermination by
      the exact words of Deuteronomy 20.

      As such, his choice to spare even a single person in
      any city of the nations in the land god was giving
      them as an inheritance, constitutes a violation of
      God's specific "leave nothing alive that breathes"
      command concerning these exact cities.

      When God says "leave nothing alive that breathes", we
      probably should suggests exceptions to his rules,
      should we?

      > But your argument for this claim
      > is without substance, since you assume that God must
      treat all perverse
      > peoples in the same way in order for him to be
      consistent. That is a
      > _non sequitur_, and therefore your argument fails.

      First, you have't explained why it's a non sequitur,
      when it is far from obvious that it is. If a doctor
      can completely excise cancers from two people, but
      only does this for one person, choosing to remove only
      half the cancer from the other, when in fact they are
      the same type of cancer, I charge him with being
      inconsistent. Is this a non-sequiter too?

      Second, you have not adequately addressed the problem
      of WHY Israel would completely exterminate SOME
      "detestable" tribes and not others. If God wished to
      kill every last Amorite in the promised land, because
      they might entice Israel to mimic their ways, God
      obviously isn't going to feel any better about the
      same detestable Amorites outside the promised land.
      Cancer is cancer is cancer. You don't just choose to
      remove some of it, when you can remove all of it.
      Otherwise you are inconsistent.

      Third, you argued in part that the tribes in the
      promised land needed full extermination because Israel
      would start living there. Well Israel also lived in
      various encampments near detestable peoples on their
      way to the promised land. Will you split hairs and
      argue that the question of whether to completely
      exterminate a perverse people depends on exactly how
      long Israel plans on being their next-door neighbors?
      How long must Israel decide to camp, before it becomes
      necessary to completely exterminate other tribes that
      might corrupt them? 3 days? Several years? Again,
      the mere fact that Israel was on the move and not
      ultimately settled before they hit the promised land
      doesn't suddenly mean God thinks the detestable sins
      of the Amorites (or whoever) deserve less punishment.

      Fourth, if you are so sure that these peoples engaged
      in beastility, child sacrifice, etc, then God would be
      just as angry at such nations for those violations of
      his moral will whether they were 2000 miles or 2000
      feet away from Israel. Their proximity to Israel is a
      non-issue when God thinks their their ways violate His
      absolute moral law, right?

      Fifth, surely you realize that the inconsistency of
      the Israelites applying their own laws in specific
      situations is noted by scholars, not just internet
      surfers? Yet you talk at me as if my position is
      completely ridiculous. I'll accept that if you'll
      just clarify that you also think anything that doesn't
      support conservative evangelical Christian viewpoints
      is thus "ridiculous".

      Fussy? Opinionated? Impossible to please? Perfect. Join Yahoo!'s user panel and lay it on us. http://surveylink.yahoo.com/gmrs/yahoo_panel_invite.asp?a=7
    • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
      Dave, You re manufacturing problems that don t exist. Obviously, the author of the Book of Joshua saw no contradiction between the general command to kill all
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 19, 2007

        You're manufacturing problems that don't exist. Obviously, the
        author of the Book of Joshua saw no contradiction between the
        general command to kill all the people and livestock in Jericho and
        the exception to allow Rahab and her family to survive. He reports
        both in the same immediate context. I don't see a contradiction here
        either. You are turning a general policy into an inflexible one that
        does not allow exceptions--and there's no good reason to do that
        except to create an artificial basis for criticizing the account.

        Rahab was spared because she showed faith in the LORD God by
        acknowledging that he was the true God and by offering aid to the
        Israelite spies.

        Please, don't bother continuing along these lines. I doubt anyone
        here takes this sort of hypercritical analysis seriously. I sure

        In Christ's service,
        Rob Bowman
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