Deuteronomy 20, The Promised Land & The Laws of War

Started by Shiranu, June 07, 2021, 06:33:30 PM

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Edit: The quote system REALLY is fucking up for me and formating the entire post really horribly. If it is too much, just lmk and I'll try to find a way to make it more legible.

(The verse I really have a question about is Deut 20: 15, but I will be addressing the parts leading up to it for context. I will put in bold the question if anyone is interested in the topic but doesn't want to read the whole thing.)

I am reading the Old Testament at the moment from a historian viewpoint, and I find chapter 20 of Deuteronomy to be quite interesting; for several chapters before it, "Moses" (in reality it was composed likely under the reign of King Joshua around 700 B.C.) is explaining the rules to live by and then begins to talk about conquering the land from the Canaanites and that they should not be welcome in the new kingdom of God.

It's in chapter 20 where he begins to describe the process of conquering these lands... to summarize the first section...

20: 1-4 ; Fear not their armies, for I the Lord am with you.
20 5-9 ; The scribes shale speak to the argument appealing to them that they have wives, kids and property they should attend, so lay down your arms and do not fight us.

It's in the 10th verse where it gets interesting...

Quote10And when you approach to a town to fight against it, proclaim peace upon it. 11And if it will answer you, 'Peace!', and it will open up to you, all the people who are found in it shall be Servants to you, paying taxes, and they shall work for you.

If the city asks for peace, they are to be your servants (slaves) and pay tribute to you... where have I heard that one before?

Quote from: Deuteronomy 20 13-14And if it will not make peace with you and it will make war with you, besiege it: 13And LORD JEHOVAH your God shall hand it over into your hands; kill all of its males by the mouth of the sword: 14Only women and little ones and livestock and all that is in the city and all the loot, pillage for yourself, and eat from the spoils of your enemies that LORD JEHOVAH your God has given to you. 1

If the opposing city does not surrender, all the men are to be killed by the sword, all women and children to be taken as slaves and the cities loot to be split amongst yourselves. You know... the moral thing to do.

Edit: For some reason the quote here, the most important part, keeps fucking up... so putting the verse in italics.

Deuteronomy 20:15 - So do to all the towns that are very distant from you that were not from towns of these nations.

This is where my question lies... does this not imply that God is saying to conquer all cities in this manner? That the kingdom should continue to expand indefinitely beyond the borders of Israel?

When it states to do this to all towns not of these nations, "these nations" are referring to the 7 nations of Canaan which occupied what Moses declared to be Israel; therefor is that not giving the blessing to continue expansion past the Promised Land?

To end off the Rules of War, "Moses" instructs the Israeli's how to deal with the nations of Canaan, the inhabitants of the land they are to call Israel...

Quote from: Deuteronomy 20: 16-1716Only from towns of these nations that LORD JEHOVAH your God gives to you as an inheritance, no breathing thing shall live: 17But certainly put them to the sword: the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Yebusites, as LORD JEHOVAH your God commanded you.

Of the inhabitants of the Holy Land that you find, you are to kill every last one; man, woman, children and even the livestock... and as for loot you are suppose to destroy it.

So I guess my two questions are this...

1. Am I wrong in interpreting verse 15 as justifying the territorial expansion of the Kingdom of Israel outside of the promised land?
2. If you showed Christians/Jews this verse and compared it to Muhammad's Laws of War, do you think they would realize that they are literally the same thing and all Muhammad did was take Biblical/Torah law and apply it to his kingdom?

As for a personal opinion... I find it funny that Christians and Jews justify that the Israeli's are the rightful rulers of Israel because the Bible gave it to them, without mentioning that the Bible explicitly says commit ethnic cleansing of all indigenous people so you can take it from them.
Every day is a good day to *remove from server* an autocrat.


Yeah, a bunch of different tribes that used to be referred to as 'Semitic peoples' and linked by a common language or dialects of that language. They fought each other all the time (and were periodically conquered by big dogs like Persians or Romans.) The sect of Jews that splintered off to become xtians were especially influenced by the pre-Islam Persian religion, Zoroastrianism. Some practitioners survive to this day.