Biblical Record that Teaches the Extermination of Canaanite Phoenician People

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Hate of Phoenician Canaanite religion by Bible writers was said to have been a result of the infestation of pagan worship into Judaism. Queen Jezebel of Israel (a Phoenician Princess) was said to have been among those responsible for that abomination.

Were these teachings really inspired by a loving God or where they simply human prejudices of the writers of the text? Also, did God create the Israelites only in his own image not all humankind?

These questions are open for the readers to determine as to where does the will of God end and the will of humans begin, in the light of their understanding of God and faith. This is not an invitation for discussions on the subject.

Here are the Biblical quotes or teachings presented as is without comments.

In Deuteronomy it is promised to people of Israel a new land after the escape from Egypt. Yahweh enunciates also the rules to which Israel will have to be concerned during the conquest of Canaan: extermination, destructions, reduction in slavery, tributes awaiting for the vanquished.

Only fruit trees will be save 20:19 "When you shall besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy the trees of it by wielding an axe against them; for you may eat of them, and you shall not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of you?" (Deuteronomy 20:19).

Deuteronomy 7

The extermination order

7:1When Yahweh your God shall bring you into the land where you go to possess it, and shall cast out many nations before you, 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 you; 7:2and when Yahweh your God shall deliver them up before you, and you shall strike them; then you shall utterly destroy them: you shall make no covenant with them, nor show mercy to them;

No mixed weddings with the Canaanites

7:3neither shall you make marriages with them; your daughter you shall not give to his son, nor his daughter shall you take to your son.

Destroy the religious culture of Canaan people

7:5But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their engraved images with fire.

No pity for the Canaanites

7:16You shall consume all the peoples who Yahweh your God shall deliver to you; your eye shall not pity them...

Deuteronomy 12

Destruction of every sacred object or place of Canaan people

12:2You shall surely destroy all the places in which the nations that you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains, and on the hills, and under every green tree: 12:3and you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and burn their Asherim with fire; and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods; and you shall destroy their name out of that place.

Deuteronomy 20

The city surrenders: Payment of tributes

20:10When you draw near to a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace to it. 20:11It shall be, if it make you answer of peace, and open to you, then it shall be, that all the people who are found therein shall become tributary to you, and shall serve you.

The city resists: Extermination of males and booty (women, children and cattle)

20:12If it will make no peace with you, but will make war against you, then you shall besiege it: 20:13and when Yahweh your God delivers it into your hand, you shall strike every male of it with the edge of the sword: 20:14but the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil of it, shall you take for a prey to yourself; and you shall eat the spoil of your enemies, which Yahweh your God has given you.

For the people of Canaan: complete extermination

20:15Thus shall you do to all the cities which are very far off from you, which are not of the cities of these nations. 20:16But of the cities of these peoples, that Yahweh your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes; 20:17but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; as Yahweh your God has commanded you...

Unjust Justification!

The justification or the "dispensation" and push to exterminate Canaanites may have manifested itself in the ridiculous theological thought that God created the Israelites only in his own image not all humankind. The subject is briefly discussed here by John Hartung Ph.D.

According to the distinction made in the Talmud between adam and other terms for humans, the original conceptualization appears to have been that the god of the Israelites created them in his own image. This explains how it could be the case that their god created man (adam) in his own image while other people (non-adam) were simultaneously alive east of Eden in the land of Nod -- where Cain went after killing Abel, found a wife, and founded a city (Genesis 4:16-24). The word adam is not used for man when referring to persons in Nod (Genesis 4:23).

In fact, the most frequently used biblical Hebrew words for man/men are 'iysh and 'enowsh, occurring 428 times in the Torah. All occurrences of man being created in the image of god occur as adam, but people who were conquered by the Israelites are not referred to as adam, with the exception of two passages which also involve cattle. These exceptions are rhetorically questioned in the Talmud, where the Sages explain that "This is used in opposition to cattle," by which they meant, "In contrast to cattle, idolaters also may be described as adam (men)" (parentheses in original, Kerithoth 6b, Yebamoth 61a).

A strained and self-serving defense of these passages is presented by the 20th-century editors/translators of the Soncino Press edition of the Talmud, asserting that the restricted use of adam only applies within the context of ritual defilement, and that distinguishing "gentiles," "heathens" and "idolaters" as not in the category of adam, "loses all harshness when it is remembered that it is simply a Talmudic idiom denoting 'inhuman,' and that its author was Rabbi Simeon, who had been so bitterly persecuted by the Romans" (Baba Mezia 114b, p. 651, n. 7).

There are a number of difficulties with this explanation. Among them is the fact that Rabbi Simeon, son of Yohai, was among the most authoritative, most cited (over 700 times just within the Talmud), and most respected Sages of Judaism; rabbis at large accepted and promulgated his view on this point; non-Jews are referred to as not fully human in contexts other than ritual defilement; and designating one's victims as "inhuman" is not "simply an idiom" -- on the contrary, such designation has been a critically important propaganda accomplishment for most of the world's most immoral military enterprises and by in-groups of all stripes. Aldous Huxley said it succinctly on the eve of World War II (1937, p. 101): "The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that the other set is human. By robbing them of their personality, he puts them outside the pale of moral obligation."

This does not mean to say that Jews of the present day and age entertain such hateful teachings, especially since they are among peoples of the world who were most persecuted and dehumanized in the 20th century.

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