The Holy War (2)
Sung Psalm 20 (a war Psalm!)
Read Deuteronomy 20 (Battle regulations)
The first fifteen verses of this chapter relate to cities and countries outside Canaan which principles were actually only applied in the time of David when the nation of Israel actually became a small empire, a picture of the conquest of the Gospel. These verses did not apply to the conquest of Canaan whereas verses sixteen to twenty cover the seven year war for the promised land.
Concerning the people, the six peoples mentioned, some would have fled, some escaped the battles, a few converted e.g. Rahab’s family and the rest were killed.
No prisoners were to be taken—why? Because any spared would pollute God’s people with their pagan practices and second their cup of iniquity was full (Gen.15:16). These people practiced incest, child sacrifice, bestiality among other things. God is sovereign over land and people.
Verses nineteen and twenty concerns wise use of the trees.
The principles of Holy warfare (c.f. secular wars):
- Battle of faith
- Sin brings defeat (Ai)
- Priestly leadership (trumpets, Psalm singing, ark)
- Dismissals (e.g. Gideon)
- Officers to bravely lead (office bearers!)
- Siege (II Cor.10:4)
- Devotion to destruction (Canaanites, sword of Christ’s mouth)
- Laws of plunder (reward for soldiers)
Perhaps most importantly: God, the divine warrior, through Christ fights for his people, as David well knew (I Sam.17:47), and if God spared not his Son in his battle to redeem creation and consume sin (Heb.12:29), why should he spare the Canaanites?