Many wonder how God could have ordered the people of Israel to destroy the Canaanites. Is it not wrong to kill? How could a just God command that an entire group of people be exterminated?
God did command that the residents of Canaan be destroyed (Deut. 20:16-18). Although many seem to have the idea that this action happened all at once and the people in the land had no opportunity to change. This belief, while common, is wrong. In Deut. 20:10-11 we are told, “When thou drawest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. 11 And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that are found therein shall become tributary unto thee, and shall serve thee.”
Not only did people such as the Canaanites have an opportunity to do what was right, they had been exposed to the righteous lives of many patriarchs such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Though they had many chances to change, they chose sin—the most terrible type of sin. Corruption had reached a point where the people sacrificed their after-birth children to pagan idols (Deut. 12:31).
Sin had reached a point where it was like a cancer—the land had to be purged of evil so Israel could be used to bring Jesus the Messiah into the world. Other nations and peoples that became so wicked God had to destroy them include Tyre, Babylon, and Nineveh).
Find the truth about God and become a New Testament Christian. Find out more about New Testament Christianity by running some Internet searches for “church of Christ” and “churches of Christ.” You may also want to visit http://www.abiblecommentary.com for Bible study information.
Remember, in order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Bible baptism is by immersion only (“burial,” Rom. 6:4), and once it is done, heaven puts that person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3). After proper baptism a person has their sins forgiven (Acts 2:38).