The atrocities of Joshua

(Joel Headley, "Sacred Heroes")

"When the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them." Deuteronomy 7:2

"But of the cities of these peoples which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them . . . just as the LORD your God has commanded you" Deuteronomy 20:16-17

"Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys." 1 Samuel 15:3

It is needless to go into a defense of what some call the atrocities of Joshua, in slaying women and children as well as warriors; in short, making a clean sweep of the inhabitants.

The Lord ordered it, and that is enough.

We may be sure that, whether He obliterates a nation by war, or blots out the entire race with a flood—He has good reasons for it, although He may not choose to give them.

The extinction of one race by another, and the occupation of its land, is one of the common things in the history of the world. And whether it is done by the swift process of the sword, or by gradual demise, or the introduction of disease and vice—the principle and the fact remain the same.

The Lord ordered it, and that is enough.

"They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys." Joshua 6:21

"They took the city, its king and its villages, and put them to the sword. Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron. So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded." Joshua 10:39-40