Aside from the historicity of the Exodus, and the existence of the Davidic Kingdom, perhaps no other event in the Old Testament has been the source of more controversy than the Canaanite conquest under Joshua.

The “New Atheists” such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and others have pointed to God’s command for the “conquest” of Canaan as an example of the barbarity of God in the Old Testament, and therefore a top reason to deny His existence. Meanwhile other scholars such as Near Eastern archaeologist Israel Finkelstein, deny that the conquest ever happened in the first place. The Canaanite conquest under Joshua has important apologetic as well as historical repercussions, therefore it is a vitally important question in historical apologetics.

In the fall of 2018 Epic Archaeology participated in the Genocide in Scripture? Conference in Clarendon Hillls, IL, presented by our partner, Defender’s Media. The purpose of the conference was to present various views which Christian thinkers have given on the command God issued to Joshua and the Israelites to destroy and drive out the Canaanites living in the land, sparing no one.

The keynote speakers representing the four different views on this issue were: Clay Jones (Biola University), Paul Copan (Palm Beach Atlantic University), John Walton (Wheaton College), and Kenton Sparks (Eastern University). None of the speakers defended the idea that the divine command was a form of “genocide” which specifically pinpointed Canaanite ethnicity.

  • Clay Jones presented the view that the command was literal, not figurative or hyperbolic, and that it was based on sins that the Canaanites had committed, such as idolatry, child-sacrifice, prostitution and sexual immorality [1].
  • Paul Copan defended the thesis that the conquest was a real historical event, but the divine “herem” command was based on ancient Near Eastern hyperbole and exaggeration, often seen in inscriptions in found in Egypt and Assyria [2].
  • John Walton on the other hand, defended the thesis that the divine command to drive out the Canaanites was not based on sins per se, rather it was literary in nature and had to do with creating “sacred space” in the land (eretz) where God’s presence would dwell, as it does in the nation of Israel and the Tabernacle [3].
  • Kenton Sparks’ main thesis is that God would never have issued such a command to begin with and that the commands in the Pentateuch reflected the Old Testament author’s views, and not God’s. Sparks view represents the position of of many progressive Christians.

CONTEXT & CLARIFICATION

The most important hermeneutical principle when dealing with a biblical text (or any text for that matter) is CONTEXT. Context helps us to arrive at the objective meaning of a given text. There are several “layers” of contexts, such as the the linguistic, grammatical, cultural as well as historical contexts. In order for us to understand any text or passage, we first need to understand how it was to be understood by the original audience. Our goal is to reconstruct and/or understand the original author’s intended meaning. This is the goal of sound textual exegesis and the key to understanding the Old Testament.

In his insightful book, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible, Old Testament scholar, John Walton lists several principles and goals in ancient Near Eastern comparative studies of the Old Testament: He states:

“All elements must be understood in their own context as accurately as possible before cross-cultural comparisons are made (i.e. careful background study must precede comparative study).”  Additionally, “Students may study the history of the ancient Near East as a means of recovering knowledge of the events that shaped the lives of people in the ancient world. Students may study archaeology as a means of recovering the lifestyle reflected in the material culture of the ancient world” [4].

To these principles, we agree!

Comparative and contextual studies are indeed crucially important in helping understand the world of the Old and New Testament but there are other important factors as well [5]. One’s view of the nature of inspiration, inerrancy, as well as one’s underlying philosophy and philosophy of language also play key roles when approaching a given text. One of the dangers in going too far with comparative-historical studies is that the interpreter begins to view the biblical text as purely an artifact of the Near Eastern cultures in which they were written. This is one of several concerns in Walton’s methodology.

As far as the linguistic context is concerned – one of the key Hebrew words which all four Genocide in Scripture? Conference speakers (mentioned above) discussed and defined is the word – herem (“completely destroy” or “ban”) as it related to the ancient Canaanites. Was it literal? metaphorical? Or a combination of both? Of course, all of the scholars mentioned, have written book-length discussions on the usage of this word and all of the relevant theological, hermeneutical, and apologetic dimensions surrounding it, so I will not review that here.

What I would like to bring to focus on this question, is something mentioned by Walton above, and that is to, “…review the archaeology of the period under consideration” — to study the archaeology as a means of recovering the lifestyle and culture of the Canaanite period and of the Israelite conquest under Joshua. What have archaeologists actually discovered and learned about Canaanite culture? What actually happened during the conquest? Did the conquest occur exactly as the biblical writer records it? Can the archaeological and historical record cast light on this vitally important question for Old Testament studies, and apologetics?

One of the greatest contributions that archaeology has given to the biblical scholar as well as the apologist, is the ability to cast light and illumination on the biblical record, and affirm whether or not there is evidence for an event in question.

It is my hope that this article will bring additional context and clarification to this vitally important historical and apologetic question.

WHO WERE THE ANCIENT CANAANITES? 

The subject of the ancient Canaanites is vast, but the purpose of this article is to provide the Bible student with a general overview for a clarification of the Canaanite “genocide” question, and also provide insights and background for further apologetic and biblical study.

The first challenge confronting us is identifying who exactly the ancient Canaanites were. This is a vitally important question not only for understanding the conquest narratives in Joshua, but also in identifying ancient Israel in the Old Testament.

Ancient Israel, Canaan and the Canaanites: Who? What? When? Where?

According to OT scholar, Keith Schoville, Canaan,

“…derives from a personal name, as is indicated in the table of Nations (Noah’s descendants) listed after the flood narrative (Gen. 6-10, specifically vv. 15-18) Canaan begot Sidon his firstborn, and Heth; the Jebusite, the Amorite and the Girgashite; the Hivite, the Arkite, and the Sinite; the Arvadite, the Zemarite, and the Hamathite. Afterward the families of the Canaanites were dispersed (Gen. 10:15-18)” [6].

Additionally, the ancient Canaanites can also be identified in a variety of other ways:

  • A geographical & cultural description
  • A linguistic description — All people who spoke and/or wrote the Canaanite language (Akkadian and it’s derivatives; and/or Canaanite cuneiform, a form of Ugaritic)
  • The people in antiquity identified by other groups as Canaanites
  • The people who identified themselves as Canaanites.

Near Eastern archaeologist, Beth Alpert Nakhai, has given perhaps the best succinct definition of who the Canaanites were, for our purposes. She writes:

In the biblical imagination, Canaan was the Promised Land, its boundaries remembered in the Iron Age as indicated by Numbers 34:1-12 (and reiterated in Ezek 47:15—20, inter alia). The northern border of Moses’ Canaan, described in Num 34: 7—11, corresponded to the linguistic division between northern (Akkadian) and southern (West Semitic) dialects in the Bronze Age (Rainey 1996a: 11—12). Additional passages further delineated the territory, which scribes also described by reference to the six, seven or ten pre-Israelite nations living within it. These included in somewhat varying combinations Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites, Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Rephaim, and Girgashites (Gen. 15:19-21; Ex. 3:8; Deut 7:1; Josh 9:1—2; Judges 3:5, inter alia) [7]

So, from a combination of geographical, cultural and linguistic factors, we see that the ancient Canaanites were a distinct people group from the Israelites.

It was to these various people groups (i.e. – “the Canaanites”) mentioned above that God warned Israel while they were in Egypt:

Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods. Do not let them live in the land or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you. (Exodus 23:32-33)

Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same. “Do not make any idols. (Exodus 34:15-17)

The identity of the Canaanites and Israelites gets right to the heart of another major question in Near Eastern archaeology and Old Testament apologetics — and that is the origins of Israel, and whether or not they are actually Canaanites [8]. I will not elaborate on this debate here, but I will review a few of the various theories concerning Israel’s origins.

Many archaeologists working in the Near East today view Israel as emerging in approximately the 13th century B.C. in Palestine among the indigenous Canaanite population. Through the years this theory has evolved and changed with several variations, but the core idea, is essentially the same — that there was no military conquest, as it is outlined in the book of Joshua.

Non-Conquest Models of Israel’s Origins

  • The Peaceful Infiltration Model (also called the Traditio-Historical Model) – Albrecht Alt (1930’s)
  • The Peasant-Revolt Model – George Mendenhall (1960’s)
  • The Agricultural-Resettlement Model – Israel Finkelstein (1990’s-Present day)

The model that many ancient Near Eastern archaeologists working in Israel currently hold to is the the position of Near Eastern archaeologist, Israel Finkelstein – that ancient Israel emerged within Canaan as a result of the collapse of civilization sometime beginning in the Late Bronze Age. He writes:

The emergence of Israel was an outcome of the collapse of Canaanite culture, not its cause. And most of the Israeilites did not come from outside Canaan — they emerged from within it [9].

Egyptologist, James K. Hoffmeier states that: “Finkelstein’s work has been received by many as authoritative and representing the state of the art on the origins of Israel. In fact [William] Dever has gone so far in his praise of Finkelstein as to claim that his conclusions were ‘rapidly becoming a consensus’.” [10]

Finkelstein’s theories about ancient Israel are derived exclusively, if not primarily from archaeological surveys and fieldwork he has conducted in Israel’s highlands. His view of Old Testament history is quite skeptical, and he views the biblical account of the conquest as basically ideological in nature – an invention of “Deuteronomistic authors” of the late 7th century B.C..

The problem with Finkelstein’s view of the origins of Israel (among others), is that it doesn’t correspond to internal biblical chronology, but it also contradicts inscriptional and archaeological evidence which identifies and distinguishes Israel from its Canaanite neighbors (the Merneptah Stele, in particular. See image below).

The Merneptah Stele was discovered in 1896 by British archaeologist, William Flinders Petrie at ancient Thebes. It is 10 ft high and 5 ft wide and contains an inscription by the Pharaoh Merneptah who was the 13th son of Ramesses II. In the stele he lists all of the peoples that he has conquered – and mentions ancient Israel. It says “Israel is laid waste: his seed is no more” – The word has the determinative for a “people group” and indicates that Israel was established in Canaan at this time and that they were a tribal community – perfectly in keeping with the biblical description of Israel in the Judges period (the very likely time when this was inscribed)

Front and center in the debate on the origins of Israel, the historical Exodus and the Conquest, is chronology (see our previous article on chronology here).

Biblical Chronology and the Israelite Conquest

In his book, Israel in Egypt, Hoffmeier correctly points out: “Because the link the Bible makes with these events, the Exodus and Joshua materials are inseparable. Consequently, the events described in both books rise or fall together” [11].

For the sake of space we will only briefly touch on this as it relates to the origins of Israel generally, and the Canaanite conquest and the “herem” – destroy/remove command, specifically.

Currently among Evangelical OT scholars and archaeologists, there are two possible dates for the Exodus-Conquest.

  • The Late Date (13th Century)
  • The Early Date (15th Century)

These two dates are known generally as the “Early Date” and the “Late Date” respectively. The Late Date would place the biblical Exodus in the 13th Century in circa 1267 B.C. and the Conquest at 1220-30 B.C.. The Early Date, places the Exodus as having occurred in the 15th Century (approximately 1446 B.C.), and the conquest beginning in 1406 B.C.. Both views have strong proponents and as well as vocal detractors, and both have strengths and weaknesses.

It is our view at Epic Archaeology that the Exodus occurred during the 15th Century (1446 B.C.) during the reigns of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II, and subsequently that the Conquest led by Joshua began in 1406 B.C. during the Late Bronze I period — based on internal chronological considerations in the Old Testament text such as 1 Kings 6:1, as well as archaeological evidence from Jericho, Ai and Hazor during the Late Bronze I.

The Three Sequences or Phases of the Conquest in the Book of Joshua

According to the book of Joshua, the conquest took place in three distinct phases

  1. Gaining a foothold in the central hill country through the conquering and destroying of the well fortified Jericho and Ai, which guarded Jerusalem (Joshua 2-8).
  2. The alliance with the Gibeonites and the battle of Gibeon, followed by the defeat of the Canaanite coalition and the campaign against the territory later occupied by Judah (Joshua 9-10).
  3. A campaign in Galilee in the north which gained territory, but unlike that in Judah destroyed no fortified cities but Hazor (Joshua 11)[12]

According to a straightforward reading of the text, only three Canaanite cities (or fortresses), are said to have been completely destroyed and burned under Joshua – Jericho, Ai and Hazor. It is at this very point that the two different views of the timing of the Exodus-Conquest diverge and come into sharper focus.

Only in the 15th Century (during the Late Bronze I) do we find archaeological evidence for the destruction and burning of all three Canaanite sites during the Late Bronze I. I have personally taken part in the excavations at Ai located at Khirbet el-Maqatir nine miles north of Jerusalem. The site was positively identified by Near Eastern archaeologist, Dr. Bryant Wood. Khirbet el-Maqatir fulfills all of the geographical, biblical and archaeological requirements for a positive identification of the site [13]. For more on the biblical site of Ai see our previous aritlce here.

The author standing on the western chamber of the front gate in the Late Bronze I Canaanite fortress of Ai located at Khirbet el-Maqatir (2014)

THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE CANAANITES

Apart from the biblical text in the Old Testament, there are two other sources for understanding Canaanite culture and religion: historical inscriptions and archaeological remains. Two ancient sites where archaeologists have learned most about Canaanite beliefs and culture are located in Syria at the ancient sites of Ebla, Ugarit, in addition to others throughout Israel and the Levant.

Location of Ugarit in modern day Syria

Ugarit (Ras Shamra – “Fennel Head”)

In 1928 a Syrian farmer discovered a tomb located near the Mediterranean coastline. Beginning in 1929 through 1970 Ras Shamra (Ugarit) has been explored and excavated by a team of French archaeologists under the direction of Claude F.A. Schaeffer. Currently it is under threat of destruction by regional unrest, Islamic militants and looting. The site is still being supervised by French archaeologists under the directorship of Yves Calvet and Bassam Jamous.

The site of Ras Shamra (Ugarit)

Ugarit was an important Bronze Age port through which copper passed on its way from Cyprus into Mesopotamia. When it was mixed with tin, copper was a primary component for making bronze weapons and implements. Because of its geographical position Ugarit served as an important point of contact between the Hittites and Egyptians, as well as the Sumero-Akkadian empire. With the invention of iron and the coming of the Iron Age, bronze (and its major component, copper) lost its importance and Ugaritic influence disappeared.

In 1970, 120 clay tablets came to light, and twenty years later in 1990, 300 more tablets were discovered giving archaeologists a rare glimpse into ancient Canaanite culture and religion and illuminating the pages of the Old Testament. One of the most important discoveries from Ras Shamra were details of Canaanite religious myths and theology.

RELIGIOUS PRACTICES OF THE ANCIENT CANAANITES

Below is a list of the most important gods in the Canaanite pantheon, drawn from the Ugaritic literature [14].

The Canaanite Pantheon

  • Baal (Hadad) – Canaanite god of thunder and lightening (rain for fertility of crops and soil)
  • Yam – Canaanite god of the sea (the Hebrew word yãm which means, “sea” is related)
  • El – Canaanite patriarchal diety usually thought of with his spouse Athirath aka – Asherah or AstarteEl is also the generic Canaanite word for “god” which was originally ‘ilum and later became el – “the strong-powerful one”
  • Kotharwa-Khasis – Canaanite god of crafts/technology
  • Mot – Canaanite god of the underworld, death and sterility and barrenness
  • Anat – Canaanite goddess – sister of Baal

The Baal Cycle (or Baal Epic)

Perhaps one of the most important discoveries for understanding the Canaanites at the time of the Israelite Conquest under Joshua, is the Baal Epic (also known as the Baal Cycle). In the Baal Epic we can get an intimate glimpse into the relationships and interactions of the Canaanite gods mentioned above.

The Baal Epic recounts how the fertility god Baal (or Hadad) gained recognition as the supreme lord over all the earth, as well as the procurement of a great house or palace. The Baal Epic describes how Yam (the god of the sea), had a grand house and Baal did not. The two were rivals and engaged in violent war with each other. It appeared that the battle between Baal and Yam might end in a draw until Kathir-Khasis (god of arts & crafts), gave Baal two magical maces to attack his enemy. The maces gave Baal a distinct advantage and eventually supreme victory. While Baal was celebrating his sister Anat attacked all of his foes in order to exterminate them.

After some hesitation, El ordered that materials be gathered to provide a house for Baal. Cedars were brought as far away as Lebanon and other materials were gathered from remote places. In only seven days Kathir-Khasis built a house (or dwelling place) for Baal. After the house was completed Baal traveled from city to city claiming each one as part of his realm. He even sent messengers to the underworld to Mot (“death”) to inform him of his right to the throne. Mot, however, challenged Baal to meet him in the underworld and Baal reluctantly agreed to do so. As Baal was absent the earth and the land languished and the gods mourned. His ever faithful sister Anat, however, was busy seeking means of resurrecting Baal from the domain of Mot and the underworld. She was finally succeeded when she convinced the sun goddess who travels to the underworld each night to return Baal from the realm of the dead. Baal’s safe return to the domains above brought daylight, and bountiful rains [15].

Baal figurine discovered at Ugarit (Ras Shamra) – Louvre Museum, Paris

Canaanite cultic practices associated with Baal worship involved both male and female temple prostitutes. The temple would have been seen as a type of “house” for Baal and sexual encounters with temple prostitutes would have positive benefits for the success of crops as well as fertility in childbearing.

Canaanite Religious Influence on Israelite Monotheism

Evidence of Baal worship and influence has been found extensively throughout Israel and the Levant. From the 12th through the 6th Centuries B.C. in excavations at multiple sites in Israel, one of the most common cultic-religious artifacts are female fertility figurines (associated with Asherah, Astarte & Baal), in addition to bamot (“high places”), or altar sites. Many contemporary Near Eastern scholars, such as William Dever, Israel Finkelstein among others, believe that these cult objects are evidence of the folk religion of the Israelites from the Late Bronze through the Early Iron Age, and they are correct.

Like most cultures of the time, Israel was an agricultural based economy and so the fertility of crops and lands was of paramount importance. This may be one of the reasons why they became involved with the worship of Baal in general, and Asherah in particular.

Clay fertility figurines associated with Asherah/Baal discovered at Lachish and Jerusalem (6-7th Century B.C.)

Baal, Asherah and Old Testament Israel: Did YHWH have a “Consort?”

Asherah in Hebrew means, “happy” or “upright.” It appears 40 times in the Hebrew Bible typically in conjunction with the definite article “the.” The use of the definite article, however, does not rule out Asherah as referring to a personal name as well. There has been some discussion by contemporary scholars that the word may also refer to either a goddess or a category of godess (a type of goddess) [16].

Several years ago two inscriptions discovered on pithoi (large clay storage jars) caused quite a stir in the archaeological community. One inscription was discovered at Kuntillet Arjud (located in the NE Sinai peninsula), and a similar inscription was also discovered at Khirbet al-Qom in the West Bank in Israel (then ancient Judah). The inscriptions refer to “Yahweh and his Asherah.” A discussion arose among scholars as to the exact nature of Israelite worship and the close similarities and parallels to the Canaanite theology – i.e., the god El and his consort (or wife), Athirat [17].

Image depicting “Yahweh and his Asherah” on pithos storage jar discovered at Kuntillet ‘Arjud (Sinai)

What it does reveal, however, is exactly what the Biblical authors in the Old Testament stated was happening and had happened in Israel — that Canaanite gods and idolatry would cause Israel to stumble in her pure worship of Yahweh (Ex. 23:32-33). Archaeology does indeed affirm this in a major way.

“The Israelites did what was offensive to Yahweh; they ignored Yahweh their God and worshipped Baalim (plural of Baal) and Asherot (plural of Asherah) – Judges 3:7

In 1 Kings 18:19 the prophet Elijah asks Ahab to summon on Mt. Carmel “450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah – (Asherah here is associated with the god Baal). In 2 Kings 23:4Asherah is also associated with Baal during the religious reforms of King Josiah where he ordered the “objects made for Baal and Asherah to be removed from the Temple and burned.”

The Lord speaking through the prophet Jeremiah cried out to Judah:

“I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable. The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baalfollowing worthless idols” (Jeremiah 2:7-8).

Canaanite Child Sacrifice & Molech (Moloch) Worship 

The word Molech (also spelled Moloch) is a transliteration of the Hebrew word “m-l-k” which also means “king.” The meaning of the word has been debated by OT scholars. Two views have emerged on the exact meaning and reference of the word Moloch. One view sees the word as essentially referring to a type or kind of offering – a votive sacrifice, in order to fulfill a vow or covenant. The second view is that Molech is the name of a specific pagan deity to whom human sacrifices were made. In his book, Molech: A God of Human Sacrifice in the Old Testament, John Day argues that there was indeed a specific god named “Molech,” citing a god mlk from two Ugaritic serpent charms” [18]

The Old Testament also seems to suggest the second view is correct view. 1 Kings 11:7 states that, “Then Solomon built a high place (bamah) for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.”

In addition to the above mentioned passage, there are many references in the Old Testament to Moloch as referring to a specific deity (Leviticus 18:21; 2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31; 19:2-6, etc…).

Currently there is no direct archaeological evidence of any statues or images of Molech, however there is ample inscriptional evidence of child sacrifice during the time of ancient Israel. Perhaps one of the most infamous descriptions of Molech came from a Jewish rabbinic commentary in the 12th Century by a Rabbi-commentator named, Shlomo Itzhaki (also, Rashi). Commenting on Jeremiah 7:31 he stated:

Tophet is Moloch, which was made of brass; and they heated him from his lower parts; and his hands being stretched out, and made hot, they put the child between his hands, and it was burnt; when it vehemently cried out; but the priests beat a drum, that the father might not hear the voice of his son, and his heart might not be moved [19]

19th Century engraving depicting Molech as brazen altar into whose fire-hot arms children were placed

While it is difficult to say that this is exactly how child sacrifice to Molech occurred, there is good reason to trust the biblical accounts as being accurate. At desperate times even God’s chosen people the Israelites sacrificed their children to Molech.

SOME CONCLUSIONS & OBSERVATIONS

From this survey of the archaeological background of Joshua we can conclude that the material evidence affirms the viewpoints of Clay Jones as well as Paul Copan in their respective views on this difficult issue. We can also see that there is archaeological support for the book of Joshua with the destruction of three Canaanite cities, which indicate that the “Conquest” as it is understood, occurred in three Canaanite fortresses (Jericho, Ai and Hazor) in the Late Bronze Age.

For scholars like John Walton who defend the viewpoint that the reason why the Canaanites were driven from the land was not because of their sin – they must contend with passages in Judges and elsewhere in the OT, where the biblical writers and prophets excoriate Israel for failing to completely drive out the Canaanites from the land – the response by God clearly indicates that they were commanded to drive them out completely, lest they become a snare for idolatry.

The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’ ”~ (Judges 2:1-3)

The passages dealing with Canaanite sins and the command to Israel to completely drive them out are indeed difficult for modern readers of the Bible, yet history and archaeology show us that the Canaanites practiced gross idolatry, sexual immorality and child sacrifice – many of the very same sins of our modern culture.

In the words of philosopher, Paul Copan:

While we may stumble or be troubled when reading certain Old Testament texts, we can put them in proper perspective by looking in the right places. The ultimate resolution is found in God’s clarifying Word to us and the One who became flesh and lived among us, who died and rose again on our behalf. The God whom the New Atheists consider a monster is not just a holy God to be reckoned with but a loving, self-sacrificing God who invites us to be reconciled to him [20].

ENDNOTES 

[1]  For more, see, Clay Jones, “We Don’t Hate Sin, Therefore We Don’t Understand What Happened to the Canaanites: An Addendum to the ‘Divine Genocide’ Arguments,” in Philosophia Christi, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2009, and also his book, Why Does God Allow Evil? (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publications, 2017).

[2] For more, see, Paul Copan, Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 158-206. Specifically pg. 186.

[3] For more see John H. Walton, and Jonathan H. Walton, The Lost World of the Israelite Conquest: Covenant, Retribution and the Fate of the Canaanites (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2017).

[4] John H. Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), pp. 27-28 [emphasis mine].

[5] For example, see Normal L. Geisler’s, “Beware Philosophy: A Warning to Biblical Scholars. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 42/1 (March 1999), 3—19. See also Thomas A. Howe’s, Objectivity in Biblical Interpretation (Kindle Edition, 2012), and his “Towards a Thomistic Theory of Meaning” (Southern Evangelical Seminary, Unpublished Paper, 2012).

[6] Keith N. Schoville, “Canaanites” in Alfred J. Hoerth, Gerald L. Mattingly and Edwin M. Yamauchi, Eds., Peoples of the Old Testament World (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, pp.157-82.

[7] In her book, Archaeology and the Religions of Canaan & Israel (ASOR – American Schools of Oriential Research, 2008).

[8] See Alan R. Millard, “Were the Israelites Really Canaanites?” in Daniel I. Block, Editor, Israel: Ancient Kingdom or Late Invention? (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2008), pp. 156-68.

[9] Israel Finkelstein and Niel Asher Silberman, The Bible Unearthed (2002). For an opposite viewpoint see, Alan R. Millard’s, “Were the Israelites Really Canaanites?,” in Daniel I. Block, Editor, Israel: Ancient Kingdom or Late Invention? (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Academic), pp. 156-68.

[10] James K. Hoffmeier, Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authtenticity of the Exodus Tradition (Oxford University Press: New York, Oxford, 1996), pg. 3

[11] Ibid, pg. 25 [emphasis mine].

[12] as outlined by G. E. Wright and Floyd V. Filson, in The Westminster Historical Atlas of the Bible (Phildelphia: The Westminster Press, 1956), pg. 39

[13] For more see, Bryant Wood, “In Search of Joshua’s Ai,” in Richard S. Hess, Gerald A. Klingbeil, and Paul J. Ray Jr. Eds., Critical Issues in Early Israelite History (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 2008), pp. 205-240., also see his, “From Ramesses to Shiloh: Archaeological Discoveries Bearing on the Exodus-Judges Period,” in David M. Howard Jr., Michael A. Grisanti, Editors, Giving the Sense: Understanding and Using the Old Testament Historical Texts (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2003), pp. 256-82.

[14] For more see, John Day, Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan (London: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002), and Peter C. Craigie, Ugarit and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1983).

[15] As summarized by G.R. Driver in Canaanite Myths and Legends (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1956), and Charles F. Pfeifffer, Editor, The Wycliffe Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology (Peadbody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers, 1973).

[16] For instance, see Ellen White, “Asherah and the Asherim: Goddess or Cult Symbol? Exploring the Archaeological Evidence” (06/03/2018) https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-israel/asherah-and-the-asherim-goddess-or-cult-symbol/ (accessed 14 Oct 2018).

[17] For more details, see William Dever, Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), pp. 176–251., And, André Lemaire, “Who or What Was Yahweh’s Asherah?” Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 1984.

[18] John Day, Molech: A God of Human Sacrifice in the Old Testament (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

[19] See, “Rashi,” in the Jewish Encyclopedia. 

[20] Paul Copan, Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2011), p. 222.