Why Did God Order The Killing Of Women And Children?

Why did God sometimes command the armies of Israel to destroy women and children when subduing their enemies?

Note that God only gave such instructions concerning some cities (Deuteronomy 20:16-18). Sometimes God told them to keep all the women and children alive (Deuteronomy 20:13-14).

This seems to be a huge stumbling-block to many. How could a God of love do such a terrible thing?

Until hearing a modern-day account of a four-year-old girl who had been sexually abused, I also had trouble understanding it. Then I understood that it could have been an absolute necessity -- much like a compassionate surgeon amputating an arm because of gangrene.

It seems this young girl, who had been terribly abused herself, could not be trusted to be around other children, because she would sexually abuse them.

The Bible clearly states that the peoples destroyed by Israel were guilty of gross sexual sins (Leviticus 18:6-27, especially note 24 & 27). As we have seen in our present day, sexually transmitted diseases run rampant like a plague in a permissive society -- think of AIDS.

God, in order to keep His Word, and send the Messiah through the people of Israel, had to maintain a pure seed in Israel. He could not allow the people of Israel to be corrupted and destroyed by these sexually-perverted people who were then living in the land.

Viewed in light of the above facts, it becomes clear that God's order to destroy a few cities, including women and children, was in fact a necessary, and even merciful judgment when viewed from the standpoint of the whole human race. Some had to die in order that many might be saved.

There is much we do not understand -- about many things. We should give God the benefit of the doubt, and not accuse Him of wrong so quickly. If we want to know what God is like we can look at Jesus Christ in the pages of the New Testament in the Bible, which tells us that Jesus perfectly showed what God is like (John 14:7).

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