By Theodore Shoebat
The genocide of the Canaanites was justified. The objection against the Hebrews’ killing of them is a common one, and here is a way you can refute it.
Here is a video I made illustrating and explaining as to why the Canaanites needed to be destroyed:
A frequent objection against the killing is, “Why would the Canaanites be killed for being pagans if they never knew about God to begin with?”
The truth is that the Canaanites did know about God but later rejected Him. We know this from Genesis 14 where it speaks about a Canaanite ruler named Melchizedek, who was not only the king of Jerusalem (Salem), but a high priest of the Lord:
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. (Genesis 14:18)
Since a Canaanite king of such a major city as Jerusalem worshipped and served God, the other Canaanites would have definitely known about God.
Therefore, the Canaanites weren’t always pagans, but initially believers in God who gradually degenerated into paganism.
God knew of this degeneracy, and gave them over four hundred years to repent, for He declared to Abraham:
Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. (Genesis 15:13-15)
For the time during the life of Abraham, his immediate family, and the four hundred years of slavery for all of his descendants, God was awaiting patiently for the Canaanites to return to the true religion of Noah.
Not only this, But God used the plagues He inflicted against Egypt as away of evangelizing to the whole world, including the Canaanites.
Therefore, the Canaanites were not only given time to repent, but evidence for the truth of God. But by the time the Hebrews arrived to Canaan, only a few of the Canaanites were righteous enough to convert to the true Faith.
Rahab the Harlot and her family were amongst the small remnant of Canaanites who chose the correct path, while the rest rejected the miracles of God and remained in darkness. Rahab herself affirmed that her decision was done on account of the miracles of God against Egypt:
For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. (Joshua 2:10)
After all of the miracles and all of the time given to them, there was no excuse for the Canaanites to reject God. The majority of the Canaanites were evil and hateful toward God enough that they were beyond correction, and needed to be killed.
Not only did they want to remain in their false religion, but in all of the demonic rituals that came along with it, and that included human sacrifice, cannibalism, homosexuality, and beastiality. The Book of Wisdom describes the cannibalistic and heathen rituals of the Canaanites, and deems them rightfully as what justified their extermination:
You hated the people who lived in your holy land long ago, because they did horrible things: they practiced magic and conducted unholy worship; they killed children without mercy and ate the flesh and blood of human beings. They were initiated into secret rituals in which parents murdered their own defenseless children. It was your will for our ancestors to destroy these people, so that the land which you consider the most precious of all lands would be a suitable home for your people. (Wisdom 12:3-7)
With such evils, and with such hatred toward God, the Canaanites merited their own destruction.
We find within the Israelites a just nature, for when they had already made their presence in Canaan, they would in time make a league with certain Hivites, a race of Canaanite, from Gibeon, which they vowed never to break. The princes of Israel made this declaration on their league with the Hivites:
We have sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them. This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them. (Joshua 9:19-20)
The Hebrews had let them be “hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation”, (Joshua 9:21) but this did not stop Joshua, the leader of Israel, from protecting the Hivites from the same Canaanite tyrant, Adonizedek, after he declared to the kings of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon (Joshua 10:3) to “smite Gibeon: for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.” (Joshua 10:4)
The Hivites were instilled with fear by the tyrant Adonizedek and his confederacy, and called for Joshua to
Slack not thy hand from thy servants, come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us. (Joshua 10:6)
Did Joshua simply ignore the cry of the helpless Hivites, since they were but mere servants, or because they were Canaanites? Certainly not.
Joshua immediately marched with his army toward Adonizedek and his league of despots, and even God supported him, saying “Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.” (Joshua 10:8)
The battle commenced in Gibeon where these Hivites lived, with Israel attaining the victory. When it was over, Joshua proclaimed before Israel, in one of the most profound moments in history
Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel. (Joshua 10:12-13)
It must be stated, especially to those who see the conquest of Canaan as immoral, that this most memorable event happened not for Israel’s own defense, but for the defense of helpless Canaanites.
When Saul was king, he slaughtered numerous of the Hivites of Gibeon (or Gibeonites) in his zealotry for Israel. (II Samuel 21:2) But this zeal of Israelite superiority was not honored by God, but punished by the Lord, by a famine. David asked God for its reason, was told:
It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. (II Samuel 21:1)
The story of the Gibeonites not only shows the love of God, but His superiority over the despotic religion of the Canaanites. They worshipped the sun by sacrificing human life to it, and the moon as well, but God stopped both to illustrate His power, and to show His love for the Canaanites.
Israel was willing to make peace with any of the Canaanites, but it was only the Hivites of Gibeon who had done so, as Scripture witnesses:
There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle. (Joshua 11:19)
Besides Rahab and her family, and the Hivites, there were other Canaanites who went to God as a result of the miracles of God done through the Hebrews.
There was Araunah the Jebusite, on whose land David was commanded by God to build an altar and make a sacrifice to appease the anger of God.
As we read in Samuel:
And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
And David spake unto the Lord when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.
And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite.
And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded.
And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground.
And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people.
And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.
All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee.
And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel. (2 Samuel 24:16-25)
It was to a Canaanite that Christ said, “O woman, great is thy faith” (Matthew 15:28).
Most beautifully, Christ is a “high priest after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 5:10), and therefore, the Church is of the order of a holy Canaanite.
The story of Joshua fighting the Canaanites is not one of brutality, but nobleness and the drive to fight evil. We as Christians must fight evil. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO GET OUR NEW 2-DISK DVD SPECIAL ON WHY WE MUST BECOME MILITANT AND COMBAT SATAN AND ISLAM.