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Why did Satan help Israel destroy the Canaanites?

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February 2020

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In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.   

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Why would Satan/Baal help the nation whom God had chosen to hopefully teach the world about himself, while destroying his own pagan nations?




My correspondent wonders why Satan would help Israel to conquer Canaan. 

He didn’t really want to, but he was trying to make the God of Love look like a destroyer.  And, judging by the popular view today, he was very successful. 

We need to see that it was not just Satan/Baal’s leading, but also the unconverted human nature of many of God’s nation which did this. 

Moses told them plainly:

    Deuteronomy 9:

5 Not for your righteousness, or for the uprightness of your heart, do you go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God does drive them out from before you [His way], and that He may perform the word which the LORD sware to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

6 Understand therefore, that the LORD your God gives you not this good land to possess it for your righteousness; for you are a stiffnecked [proud and rebellious] people. 7 Remember, and forget not, how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that you did depart out of the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD.

We do not seem to be aware of how easy it is to change our worship from the living God to Baal!  All it requires is to accept as a fact that God destroys His enemies, which includes the inhabitants of Canaan.  Then we are worshipping Baal, the god of force!!  Let’s read on to find out what God the Son actually told Israel what should happen when they invaded the Promised Land.  

This is what Moses had told them:

    Deuteronomy 7:

17 If you shall say in your heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? 18 You shall not be afraid of them: but shall well remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh, and to all Egypt;

19 the great temptations which your eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD your God brought you out [without you fighting at all]: so shall the LORD your God do to all the people of whom you are afraid. 

20 Moreover the LORD your God will send the Hornet [the Holy Spirit, His weapon of choice – with convicting power] among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from you, be [self-]destroyed. 21 You shall not be affrighted at them: for the LORD your God is among you, a mighty God and terrible [to those who reject Him].

22 And the LORD your God will put out those nations before you by little and little: you may not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon you. 23 But the LORD your God shall deliver them to you, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed [How?  He says, “My way are not your ways”.  Isaiah 55:8.]

24 And He shall deliver their kings into your hand, and you shall destroy their name [not their lives, but their history] from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before you, until you have destroyed them. 25 The graven images of their gods shall you burn with fire: you shall not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it to you, lest you be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. 26 Neither shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be a cursed thing like it: but you shall utterly detest it, and you shall utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing. 

But when Joshua summed up their activity at the end of his days, this is how he reported God’s activities:

    Joshua 24:

11 And you went over Jordan, and came to Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand. 12 And I sent the Hornet before you, which drove them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with your sword, nor with your bow [Joshua conveniently ignored that that’s what they used].

13 And I have given you a land for which you did not labour [cultivate], and cities which you built not, and you dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which you planted not do you eat. 14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood [the Euphrates river], and in Egypt; and serve you the LORD. 

 15 And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. 

16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods [yet they did, if not all the time, certainly most of it!] 

 So why would Satan help in this endeavour?

The very first thing we need to know is that Satan, the fallen angel, regards humans as just so much fodder to feed his ambitions.  He knows that we multiply faster than he can destroy us – he has not been able to annihilate even God’s small group of followers on earth!   But he keeps on trying because it hurts the Son of God who has created us all!  And now we number about eight billion!

 We are NOT Satan’s friends, or even his followers, we are his weapons.

 When it comes to his own portion of humanity, Satan has an even greater disdain for them than the Americans had for the African slaves of the 17th century, about 1619.  They regarded them as lower than the beasts and used them accordingly.  In like manner, Satan does this today with the many other religions, including the innumerable Pagans. (Today we might call them “Greenies” 😊.)


 So what he did during the invasion of Canaan was a very clever apparent change of tactics as he applauded the ways of the “chosen ones” (a very misleading and illegal term).  By backing them publicly he caused the name of God to be mis-represented entirely, as Jacob told his sons they had done when they lied and slaughtered the people of the city of Hamor and Shechem.  (Genesis 34:1-31.)

     {Patriarchs and Prophets 204.2-3}

The tarry of Jacob and his sons at Shechem ended in violence and bloodshed.  The one daughter of the household had been brought to shame and sorrow, two brothers were involved in the guilt of murder, a whole city had been given to ruin and slaughter, in retaliation for the lawless deed of one rash youth.  The beginning that led to results so terrible was the act of Jacob’s daughter, who “went out to see the daughters of the land,” thus venturing into association with the ungodly. 

He [or she] who seeks pleasure among those that fear not God is placing himself on Satan’s ground and inviting his temptations.  {PP 204.2}

 The treacherous cruelty of Simeon and Levi [the ancestor of the Levites] was not unprovoked; yet in their course toward the Shechemites they committed a grievous sin.  They had carefully concealed from Jacob their intentions, and the tidings of their revenge filled him with horror.  Heartsick at the deceit and violence of his sons, he only said, “Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land: ...  and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.”  [But it didn’t happen because the LORD protected him.]

 But the grief and abhorrence with which he regarded their bloody deed is shown by the words in which, nearly fifty years later, he referred to it, as he lay upon his deathbed in Egypt: “Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.  O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united....  Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel.” Genesis 49:5-7.  {PP 204.3}

 Instead of the Promised Land being a gift, the result of a promise, Satan made it out to be a reward for humanity’s own efforts!  In this he was so successful that both Moses and Joshua fell into his trap and really thought that the Prince of Peace and Love wanted them to slaughter men, women, children and animals in order to gain the land.

 Why would they do that?  Why should they listen to his temptations? 

Because even after we become Christians, we still retain human nature with its requirements and desires and memories of past experiences. In the new birth the disobedient carnal nature is removed and replaced with a new heart, but our humanity remains.  (Ezekiel 11:19-20.)  Jesus slept, hungered, sorrowed, with us and He felt the pull of the temptations on us.  (Matthew 4:1-11.)  And we often retain the desire for revenge!  Especially so if we can cover it with a cloak of righteousness!  Both Moses and Joshua had been well-trained in military matters and accepted the vision of Christ with a sword in His hand (Joshua 5:13-15), thinking it was going to be a military action.  They never asked Him what He wanted.  (They already knew what they should do but CHOSE a different path.  Not the Hornet’s way, but their own way.)

 It was something like when He sent an angel who appeared to Moses when he was on his way to Egypt and threatened him with death by a sword, if he did not circumcise his youngest son.  (Exodus 4:24-26.)

         {Patriarchs and Prophets 255.5}

On the way from Midian, Moses received a startling and terrible warning of the Lord’s displeasure.  An angel appeared to him in a threatening manner, as if he would immediately destroy him.  No explanation was given [he was expected to know from the Spirit’s previous “pricks”]; but Moses remembered that he had [deliberately] disregarded one of God’s requirements; yielding to the persuasion of his wife, he had neglected to perform the rite of circumcision upon their youngest son.

 [Yielding to persuasion by others is human, but NOT always sinful.

In this case it was like Adam’s sin – the report of it and its consequences would have been as drastic.] 

 He had failed to comply with the condition by which his child could be entitled to the blessings of God’s covenant with Israel; and such a neglect on the part of their chosen leader could not but lessen the force of the divine precepts upon the people.  Zipporah, fearing that her husband would be slain, performed the rite herself, and the angel then permitted Moses to pursue his journey. 

Why did the angel threaten him and his family?

 [Because] In his mission to Pharaoh, Moses was to be placed in a position of great peril; his life could be preserved only through the protection of holy angels.  But while living in neglect of a known [public] duty, he would not be secure; for he could not be shielded by the angels of God [in righteousness, and a sword would fall on them].  {PP 255.5}

 In the invasion of Canaan Satan willingly sacrificed a relatively small number of his fellow-rejecters in order to make many fear and hate God over the centuries since.  And to put the “cherry on top” he got God’s people to believe that lie also, and so they wrote about it as if it was the truth.  Jesus had to correct that as one of His missions while on earth. 

     Matthew 5:

21 [Jesus said,] You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not kill [which is one of the Ten Commandments]; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. [Yet the Old Testament is full of the records of slaughter by God’s people thinking they were doing God’s will and following His words.  This continued from the conquest of Canaan to the just retaliatory oppression of the Romans – a period of about 1,500 years, many generations.  And it has happened repeatedly in New Testament times as well, up to today!] 

So He changed or added to that:

22 But I say to you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [you are a fool], shall be in danger of the council [of men on a charge of slander]: but whosoever shall say, You fool [you are a neglecter of God and therefore are a lost soul], shall be in danger of hell fire [for he is judging his brother].

     [Notice that both the accusations are the same but said with different intentions.] 

 He continued:

        Matthew 5:

43 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbour, and hate your enemy [which is the Old Testament teaching].

 [This is an accurate assessment of what they (God’s followers in the Old Testament) said and did for over 1,000 years,

      but is it what He told them to do?  Jesus didn’t think so, for He said:]

 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you [which is the opposite of what was [is] being taught]; 45 that you may [really] be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust [without favour]

 Here He has shown us a new way to read and practise the Old Testament (the NEW Testament correct way of Christianity)!  Are you willing to turn the words of the Old Testament around to suit this teaching?  For that is what you will often have to do when you read it, for so much of it is tainted with men’s ideas!  They said it and did it, and then blamed God for telling them to do it!!

But did He?  Jesus used the Old Testament so where did He get His ideas from?

There He has just expanded the old way of reading the Bible into the new way, a most important step in religious training.



Hopefully now we should be able to see that reading the Bible is not straightforward.  The Son of man wants us to be “reasonable” when we listen to God the Spirit, and to ask Him for clearer explanations when we need them.  Don’t guess at the meaning, don’t accept another man’s interpretation of it, know it for yourself!


 Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.  Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. Recognition is not always given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.


Next query. To be discussed from 1st May 2020


Who is represented by the prodigal son, and what is a prodigal?


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