Friday, 28 July 2017

The children of Israel did not wipe out the Canaanites

A number of news outlets are today breathlessly reporting headlines like:

Then they proceed to note that in the Bible, God commanded the Israelities to execute his judgment on the inhabitants of Canaan for their wickedness, and destroy them.

For the sake of this blog post, let us assume for the sake of argument that there are people alive today with DNA indicating that they are descendents of Caananites of that time. Let us assume also that under the terms the command, there could not be a single person left who has this DNA (e.g. someone's twin who lived outside of the land, instead of in it, or a single person who escaped the massacre), etc. Does their existence disprove the Bible?

On the contrary, it proves the poor standards of Biblical literacy and editing in the contemporary press. The Bible not only records that God gave this command.... it also records that the Israelites only partially kept it, leaving many from various different Canaanite tribes alive, still living in the land.

Judges chapter 1, especially from verses 19-35, is the main record of that, with quite some detail. 2 Chronicles 8:7 is another example. Many places also record the continue existence of the Jebusites among the Israelites in the time of David, 500 years later.

As I read the comments on pieces like these, there's much glee: look, we disproved the Bible! Aren't we clever!

No: all you proved is that, despite being so eager to disprove the Bible, you haven't yet troubled yourself to read it. The ignorance is widespread, and wilful. Welcome to the modern West. We think we're the most advanced, sophisticated people who ever lived. Apparently you can be educated enough to be an expert in genetics, publish papers, write the accompanying press releases together with their "clever" PR angle, get it published in newspapers .... and nobody will spot the glaring error.

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