Joshua and Violence (Part 5): Show them No Mercy by Matt Lynch

From the archives: Joshua and Violence (Part 5) – Show them No Mercy by Matt Lynch

Josiah and the LawJoshua and Violence (Part 5): Show them No Mercy by Matt Lynch from the Theological Miscellany blog archives, discusses the Canaanites and their ‘total destruction’ in the Book of Joshua. He writes:

“In his 2003 essay on Joshua in the book Show Them No Mercy, Tremper Longman III draws an enlightening yet disturbing comparison between the extremist ideology of Osama bin Laden and that expressed in the herem (total) texts of Deuteronomy and Joshua:

  • Both believed in the idea of sacred space occupied by ‘infidels,’ in the case of bin Laden it was the presence of Westerners in Saudi Arabia
  • Both believed that their acts were ‘holy war’ blessed and sanctioned by God
  • Both were intent on destroying every last person, without consideration of age or status.[1]

Yikes! If we were exposed to these parallels outside of Scripture, many of us would want nothing to do with the deity in question. But what do we do when the God of Scripture authorizes indiscriminate killing of all ages and stages, including animals? Moreover, what do we do when he even anticipates the inclination toward mercy, and forbids it?

Read the rest at:

Joshua and Violence (Part 5 of 7) by Matt Lynch on the Theological Miscellany blog.