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According to Deuteronomy 7, God commands Israel to exterminate the indigenous population of Canaan. In The Command to Exterminate the Canaanites: Deuteronomy 7, Arie Versluis offers an analysis and evaluation of this command. Following an exegesis of the chapter, the historical background, possible motives and the place of the nations of Canaan in the Hebrew Bible are investigated.
The theme of religiously inspired violence continues to be a topic of interest. The present volume discusses the consequences of the command to exterminate the Canaanites for the Old Testament view of God and for the question whether the Bible legitimizes violence in the present. Finally, the author shows how he reads this text as a Christian theologian.
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Abstract

The end of Psalm 137 praises those who will seize Babylon’s children and dash them against the rocks. For modern Western readers, this text evokes feelings of aversion and rejection.

In this chapter, the author first describes some interpretive strategies in reception history for dealing with the horrible violence in this text. He focuses on more peaceful interpretations of the end of Psalm 137, on actualisations of the violence described, and on early sensitivity to the ethical problems the psalm raises. Second, the author explores whether we can make sense of Psalm 137:9 without simply allegorizing or rejecting it. He first investigates the psalm’s dating and context in the Psalter before addressing the violence itself. The contrast between Babylon and Zion and the desire for the restoration of justice both influence the strong language of the psalm. The little children are mentioned to underscore the message of the total destruction of Babylon’s future. Although the text is horrifying, it does not glorify violence, but is rather a victim’s cry to God. This chapter ends with a reflection on the use of Psalm 137 in prayer and liturgy today.

In: Violence in the Hebrew Bible
In: The Command to Exterminate the Canaanites: Deuteronomy 7
In: The Command to Exterminate the Canaanites: Deuteronomy 7
In: The Command to Exterminate the Canaanites: Deuteronomy 7
In: The Command to Exterminate the Canaanites: Deuteronomy 7
In: The Command to Exterminate the Canaanites: Deuteronomy 7
In: The Command to Exterminate the Canaanites: Deuteronomy 7
In: The Command to Exterminate the Canaanites: Deuteronomy 7