Destruction In Deuteronomy

[26] And I sent messengers out of the

wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon king of

Heshbon with words of peace, saying: [27] ‘Let

me pass through thy land; I will go along by

the highway, I will neither turn unto the right

hand nor to the left. [28] Thou shalt sell me food

for money, that I may eat; and give me water

for money, that I may drink; only let me pass

through on my feet; (Deut 2:26-28)

[4] after he had smitten Sihon the king of

the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the

king of Bashan, who dwelt in Ashtaroth, at Edrei; (Deut 1:4)

Respond: The above verse is quoted by Moses, which explains the reason behind the attack. It was a peaceful treaty and a request as it reads in the verse. Moses requested Sihon to allow the sons of Israel to pass and in return they were ready to pay for the bread and water.

[30] But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let

us pass by him; for the Lord thy God hardened

his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that He

might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth

this day.

[31] And the Lord said unto me: ‘Behold,

I have begun to deliver up Sihon and his land

before thee; begin to possess his land.’ [32] Then

Sihon came out against us, he and all his people,

unto battle at Jahaz. [33] And the Lord our God

delivered him up before us; and we smote him,

and his sons, and all his people. [34] And we took

all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed

every city, the men, and the women, and the

little ones; we left none remaining; [35] only

the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves,

with the spoil of the cities which we had taken. (Deut 2:30-35)

3 Then we turned, and went up the way to

Bashan; and Og the king of Bashan came

out against us, he and all his people, unto battle

at Edrei. [2] And the Lord said unto me: ‘Fear

him not; for I have delivered him, and all his

people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou

shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon

king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon.’

[3] So the Lord our God delivered into our hand

Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people;

and we smote him until none was left to him

remaining. [4] And we took all his cities at that

time; there was not a city which we took not from

them; threescore cities, all the region of Argob,

the kingdom of Og in Bashan. [5] All these were

fortified cities, with high walls, gates, and bars;

beside the unwalled towns a great many. [6] And

we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon

king of Heshbon, utterly destroying every city,

the men, and the women, and the little ones.

[7] But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we

took for a prey unto ourselves. (Deut 3:3-7)

7 When the Lord thy God shall bring thee

into the land whither thou goest to possess

it, and shall cast out many nations before thee,

the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite,

and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the

Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater

and mightier than thou; [2] and when the Lord

thy God shall deliver them up before thee, and

thou shalt smite them; then thou shalt utterly

destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with

them, nor show mercy unto them; [3] neither

shalt thou make marriages with them: thy

daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor

his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. [4] For

he will turn away thy son from following Me,

that they may serve other gods; so will the anger

of the Lord be kindled against you, and He will

destroy thee quickly. [5] But thus shall ye deal

with them: ye shall break down their altars, and

dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their

Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. (Deut 7:1-5)

Respond: The entire city was put to the sword including the little ones. There is a catch to it; Moses says that the Lord has delivered Sihon and Og into his hands. This is the choice given to Moses, nowhere in the verse lord says to go and kill, it is the decision of Moses. So, why did Moses execute every life in Heshbon. Well, Moses doesn’t give any concrete reason for this but we can conclude with two incidents that happen before Moses’s birth.

[20] And the Lord

said: ‘Verily, the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is

great, and, verily, their sin is exceeding grievous.

[21] I will go down now, and see whether they

have done altogether according to the cry of

it, which is come unto Me; and if not, I will

know.’ [22] And the men turned from thence,

and went toward Sodom; but Abraham stood

yet before the Lord. [23] And Abraham drew

near, and said: ‘Wilt Thou indeed sweep away

the righteous with the wicked? [24] Peradventure

there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt Thou

indeed sweep away and not forgive the place for

the fifty righteous that are therein? [25] That be

far from Thee to do after this manner, to slay the

righteous with the wicked, that so the righteous

should be as the wicked; that be far from Thee;

shall not the Judge of all the earth do justly?’

[26] And the Lord said: ‘If I find in Sodom fifty

righteous within the city, then I will forgive all the

place for their sake.’ [27] And Abraham answered

and said: ‘Behold now, I have taken upon me to

speak unto the Lord, who am but dust and ashes.

[28] Peradventure there shall dack five of the fifty

righteous; wilt Thou destroy all the city for lack

of five?’ And He said: ‘I will not destroy it, if I

find there forty and five.’ [29] And he spoke unto

Him yet again, and said: ‘Peradventure there

shall be forty found there.’ And He said: ‘I will

not do it for the forty’s sake.’ [30] And he said:

‘Oh, let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak.

Peradventure there shall thirty be found there.’

And He said: ‘I will not do it, if I find thirty there.’

[31] And he said: ‘Behold now, I have taken upon

me to speak unto the Lord. Peradventure there

shall be twenty found there.’ And He said: ‘I will

not destroy it for the twenty’s sake.’ [32] And he

said: ‘Oh, let not the Lord be angry, and I will

speak yet but this once. Peradventure ten shall be

found there.’ And He said: ‘I will not destroy it for

the ten’s sake.’ [33] And the Lord went His way,

as soon as He had left off speaking to Abraham;

and Abraham returned unto his place. (Gen 18:20-33)

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah can answer the genocide done by Moses. The criteria for not destroying a city is well explained (Deut 18:24-32) that even 10 righteous people of the city can save the land from the wrath of God Almighty (Deut 18:32).

The second criterion is the flood that happened during Noah’s time.

[13] And God said unto Noah: ‘The end of

all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled

with violence through them; and, behold, I will

destroy them with the earth. (Gen 6:13)

God Almighty never intends to make a criterion that was made while destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. Ten righteous is enough to save the entire city. During the flood, entire earth was filled with violence (Gen 6:13) whereas, in case of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 18:20-33) the entire city was destroyed. This could be one possible explanation that Yahweh God intends not to leave any choice and destroys the earth with a Global Flood. The two incidents are clear that the entire human race was wiped out including infants or little ones.  

Returning to the main reason that why were the infants executed by Moses. The answer lies here

[10] 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. [12] And

if it will make no peace with thee, but will make

war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it.

[13] And when the Lord thy God delivereth it

into thy hand, thou shalt smite every male thereof

with the edge of the sword; [14] but the women,

and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is

in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou

take for a prey unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the

spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God

hath given thee. [15] Thus shalt thou do unto all

the cities which are very far off from thee, which

are not of the cities of these nations. [16] Howbeit

of the cities of these peoples, that the Lord thy

God giveth thee for an inheritance, thou shalt

save alive nothing that breatheth, [17] but thou

shalt utterly destroy them: the Hittite, and the

Amorite, the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, the

Hivite, and the Jebusite; as the Lord thy God

hath commanded thee; [18] that they teach you

not to do after all their abominations, which they

have done unto their gods, and so ye sin against

the Lord your God. (Deut 20:10-18)

Respond: When we read (Deut 20:10) the verse is clear to fight against the enemies offering peace treaty at the first place. This is read in the (Deut 2:26-28) when Moses offered peace and money for bread and water to Sihon the king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon.But the king was adamant to put up a fight (Deut 2:32). Moses fought only in self-defense by making a peaceful treaty same with Og the king of Bashan (Deut 3:1).So, why did Moses kill the infants??? If you read (Deut 20:10-14) the women and the little ones or infants are spared but there is a criteria that only the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; (Deut 20:17) should be wiped out including the infants. It was not the same when we read Sihon the king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon (Deut 2:26) who was offered the peace treaty initially. Therefore, when we look into the bigger picture Moses who authored the Torah, walks on the footstep of God Almighty who destroyed every living being on earth including infants. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the massive Global Flood did not guarantee the survival of any living creature including infants.

Now, people might question the biased nature of God and Moses that it’s ok to execute foreigners for they were idolaters and enemy of Israel. (Deut 20:10-18). A similar question can be asked regarding the Sons Of Israel when they made a golden calf and started to venerate it (Ex 32:1-6). Was Moses quite on this? Or did he punish the sons of Israel? Yes he did so. (Ex 32:25-28) the passage speaks about execution of both men and women although the word “man’ is used “and slay every man” so we assume that only men are slaughtered. But this includes women too; because (Gen 5:2) is clear on this passage that God Almighty created both man and woman and called them Adam or man or mankind. Therefore, based on this argument we can conclude that men and women from the tribe of Israel were slaughtered that day.

Analyzing, the above statement and evidence one can conclude that the God of Bible is not biased and neither Moses took side of wrong when it came for the children of Israel. He judged fairly whether it was a foreigner or Israelites.

(Whether the judicial precepts regarding foreigners were framed in a suitable manner?) (Objection 4)

Thomas Aquinas explains that a distinction was maintained with regard to the hostile cities. When the children of Israel took the cities, they executed the men who avenged against Yahweh God’s people while women and children were shown mercy. Whereas, the same fate was absent when it came for other neighboring cities, the entire city was put by the sword on account of their crimes, punished by God Almighty by the hands of the Israelites. For it is mentioned

5It is not because of your righteousness or uprightness of heart that you are going in to possess their land, but it is because of their wickedness that the LORD your God is driving out these nations before you, to keep the promise He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  (Deut 9:5)

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