Holy War

Topics: Bible, Canaan, Old Testament Pages: 4 (1364 words) Published: April 17, 2010
Holy War Essay
Holy war. How can the word holy be put together with the word war? In the Old Testament though, holy war is presented in such a good light. You were going to war for Yahweh’s command. Holy war was only engaged when Yahweh summons Israel to war. Holy war was initiated when something became a threat to Israel’s loyalty to Yahweh or something became dangerous to Israelites faith. War and killing was what seemed necessary to protect Israelites from swaying towards the Canaanite religion. Holy war was only used for conquests or for the defense of the holy land. In Deuteronomy and the books of the period known as the Deuteronomistic History which includes Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1st and 2nd Samuel, and 1st and 2nd Kings, we read about a conflict between the Israelites and Canaanites which leads to the Conquest of Canaan. Being a conquest, its justified to call it a holy war. It is described as “Yahweh’s battle’s” in 1st Samuel chapter 25, verse 28. Never in the Old Testament is it referred to as a “holy war.” Because the Canaanites were occupying the land known as the “promised land,” the land meant for gods chosen people, the Israelites, to live on, Yahweh promised to Abraham’s descendents that they must be exterminated without mercy. He wanted all the Canaanites killed including the women and children. The Canaanites were placed “under ban” which meant they were sacrificed to Yahweh. It was though that if they allowed any Canaanite to live, they might cause religious corruption (Harris). One example is documented in the book of Joshua, when Israelite soldiers captured the city of Jericho and killed all men, women, children, and even livestock, all because they wanted to enforce the ban and gods orders. There were many provisions established to govern the execution of a holy war. First it is to be understood a holy war is a religious undertaking. In theory, there should be no casualties because Yahweh is doing the fighting. Also some basic...
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