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The Contender
Con (against)
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Joshua's invasion of Jericho was anti-Jewish

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/17/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 415 times Debate No: 65281
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
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The Pro position, (mine) is that Joshua, being an Ephriaimite destroyed Jericho unilaterally. As always my main source is the Bible. But this time I reserve the right to use history as well. Con is welcome to use any source and good luck.


Joshua was one of the greatest generals of all time. As such he understood the threat of a Jericho left behind his army. Joshua lacked the time and the manpower to pacify. Therefore Joshua made the hard decision to utterly destroy Jericho. It was a cold calculated act devoid of mercy. But was it justified?

Pro says Joshua did not have the right:

1 He did not have the legal right
2 He did not have the religious right
3 He did not have the moral right
4 He did not have the military right
5 He did not have the political right
6 He did not even have the right of redemption


Challenge accepted. Please present your case.
Debate Round No. 1


The main reason why ancient emperors, kings, potentates and dictators sought divine status was that when their followers were order to kill, the followers were relieved of guilt because GOD told them to do it.


DavidMGold forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Right of Redemption

Jericho was one of the oldest cities on earth by the time of Joshua. It was a great city before Abram was born. Since it was not a possession of Abram's before Joshua there can be no Right of Redemption. This leaves only one way for Joshua to argue that he had the right to destroy Jericho. It was to argue that God had commanded him to do what he did. There were no broken treaties. There was no prior ownership. Joshua had won no legal court order.

So Joshua's only argument must be that God commanded him to destroy the city of Jericho.

The problem with the 'God told me to do it' argument is that the command must follow strict moral guidelines. If the action(s) of the person(s) don't follow the strict moral guidelines then the argument that 'God commanded' fails.

Take a look at the moral dilemma-

The moral argument is that Jericho was destroyed because the people of Jericho were wicked. And yet Joshua does not kill Rahab the harlot. Not only was Rahab a harlot but she was a traitor. This person Rahab was morally bankrupted if ever a person was. And yet Joshua accepted Rahab into the nation of ancient Israel.
Joshua did not destroy the city of Jericho because of moral corruption.

Take a look at the military dilemma-

The military argument is that Joshua could not allow Jericho to be in the rear of his army and Joshua did not have the time and/or manpower to pacify Jericho.

Let me ask you a series of questions here audience-

Didn't the Children of Israel just come from spending forty years in the wilderness? And before that didn't the Children of Israel just come from spending several hundred years in the land of Egypt? And before they entered Egypt weren't their numbers around seventy, (that is literally 70 people)?

There was never any hurry. God never gets in a hurry. It is impossible for God to get in a hurry because God already knows everything and is already prepared for everything. God is not in a hurry. God is never in a hurry.

God didn't get in a hurry just because Joshua was in a hurry. Joshua was short on time and manpower. God is never short on time or manpower. Joshua was only going to command the army of Israel for a few years-


The great I AM has all the time.

There are two reasons why God did not command Joshua to utterly destroy the city of Jericho-

1 Joshua's actions violated the 10 Commandments
2 There was no need to hurry


Opening Statement

I will argue against the proposition "Joshua's invasion of Jericho was anti-Jewish" given that it was commanded by Yahweh in the Torah as written by Moses rendering this claim both false and absurd. I believe that Joshua was justified in his siege of Jericho and the destruction of the city along with all who inhabitated the city.

Assertion 1 - Pro's assertion that no legal right existed can be stricken from the debate given the Torah (the law) commanded it and he has failed to demonstrate any other law in the ancient world that would legally forbid it.

Assertion 2 - Pro's second assertion that he did not have the "religious right" would again be completely negated by the fact that Joshua's siege and destruction of Jericho complied with command of the Torah thus it can be stricken from the debate as well.

Assertion 3 - Pro's third assertion that Joshua didn't have the moral right is the one I consider the most pertinent to this debate and I will argue he did have the moral right as the Torah outlined the exceptionally evil and abhorrent practices and customs of the Canaanites.

Assertion 4 - Pro's fourth assertion that Joshua did not have the military right has yet to be argued, but I would argue from the Torah that if you accept Yahweh's guidance and commands, it was requisite to follow his clear instructions noting the numerical superiority (Deuteronomy 7:1, Deuteronomy 7:17, Deuteronomy 7:22-24) warning that a failure to comply with his instructions would led to their corrupting the Israelites and their own destruction. Jericho was a necessary target from which you would need to take in order to advance into the land of Canaan. It was strongly fortified (Joshua 2:5-15). I see nothing in ancient warfare of the time that would validate this assertion. John Wenham notes, "Ancient armies in this territory did not hold captives. They defeated them totally."

Assertion 5 - Pro's fifth assertion that Joshua had no political right should be stricken from the debate because politics itself arguably wouldn't go past Aristotle's politika and at any rate, the origin of the state can be found in the development of warfare.

Assertion 6 - Pro's last assertion is a straw man considering Joshua never claimed to be redeeming or retaking the fortress of Jericho, however, considering the covenant God made with Abraham and the promise of the land of Canaan, you could argue he was redeeming that promise (Genesis 17:8).

Justification - Severe Punishment for Extreme Sin

I would contend that God patiently waited (Genesis 15:16) before giving the Israelites the command to enter Canaan and destroy them, because they were exceptional in their evil and their many abominations became so great that their destruction was warranted. They were an abhorrent manifestation of evil and the analogy I would use loosely is they were on the moral scale of a Nazi Germany although I'm not making any comparison other than wickedness of the two. I'm always amazed by the condemnation of this instruction to utterly destroy the Canaanites because it always begs the important question - why?

In Leviticus, chapter 18, we find some of the abominations that cause such as incest, adultery, homosexuality, beastality, and child sacrifice for which even "the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants." The response would be to say these sins, or at least carnal sins, are not enough to justify the destruction of the people.

The Canaanites also drew first blood. The Amalekites, a Canaanite tribe, attacked them while they were travelling in the wilderness (Exodus 7:8-14). They would continue attacking the Israelites picking off the weak and the weary stragglers, which would be the women, children, and elderly (Numbers 14:45, Deuteronomy 25:17-19). They sought te destruction of the Israelites (Deuteronomy 23:3-4).

You also must gauge warfare in this time and I offer this example - "The Neo-Assyrian annals of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) take pleasure in describing the flaying of live victims, the impaling of others on poles, and the heaped up bodies for show. They boast of how the king mounded bodies and placed heads into piles; the king bragged of gouging out troops" eyes and cutting off their ears and limbs, followed by his displaying their heads all around a city."

Ritual Child Sacrifice - A Measure of Sadistic Wickedness

The Canaanites would ritually take their first born child to the idol they created placing the child in the arms stretched out and would proceed to destroy the child in most heinous manner by burning him or her alive by fire (Deuteronomy 18:10). This was an every day religious practice of the Canaanites (Leviticus 18:21). John Wenham said, "Molech sacrifices were offered especially in con"nection with vows and solemn promises, and children were sacrificed as the harshest and most binding pledge of the sanctity of a promise. It is not surprising that the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna), where Molech worship was practised in the days of Manasseh, should have provided the Jewish image of hell."

"Molech was portrayed as a man with the head of a bull standing upright with his arms outstretched. Inside his stomach was a fire, and children would be placed in his arms for burning. Molech required that you sacrifice your firstborn son to him in order to ensure the blessings of the gods. Infants and children as old as four were offered up to him. If you built a house, you were to lay one of your sacrificed children as the cornerstone to the building to ensure that the gods blessed the house and family all of its days. If someone wanted to guarantee a victory in battle, they could sacrifice one of their children to ensure the gods fought on their behalf (Judg. 11:30-40; 2 Kgs. 3: 26-27)." This provides some insight into the scope and magnitude.


Claim: The moral argument is that Jericho was destroyed because the people of Jericho were wicked. And yet Joshua does not kill Rahab the harlot. Not only was Rahab a harlot but she was a traitor. This person Rahab was morally bankrupted if ever a person was. And yet Joshua accepted Rahab into the nation of ancient Israel.

Response: "...charge that Rahab would "sell out her own city in order to save her own skin," she simply realized that God was with the Israelites, and she aligned herself with reality. Rahab is no more "selling out" than those Germans disenchanted with Hitler who joined the Allied cause. Rahab's embracing Yahweh and finding salvation illustrates the theme of Exodus 34:6: Yahweh's gracious, compassionate character extends salvation to all and relents from judging, whether Canaanite or?much to Jonah's dismay?Ninevite (Jon. 4:2) or those from any "nation" that "turns from its evil" (Jer. 18:7?8). Yahweh desires that the wicked turn rather than die (Ezek. 18:31?32; 33:11). And when Israel and Judah reached a point of no moral and spiritual return ("until there was no remedy"), God judged them severely (2 Chron. 36:16; cp. 2 Kings 18:11?12; 1 Chron. 5:23)." Of course my opponent is neglecting the extreme idolotarous worship of the Canaanites of human sacrifices including their own children, ritual prostitution whereby people would go to a temple to have sex with male and female priests (prostitutes) and so forth. Also, "...Rahab was in charge of what was likely the fortress tavern or hostel " not a brothel " even if prostitutes sometimes ran these taverns."

Claim: There are two reasons why God did not command Joshua to utterly destroy the city of Jericho- Joshua's actions violated the 10 Commandments There was no need to hurry.

Response: Thou shall not murder did not prohibit warfare nor executing God's judgement on the Canaanites nor did it preclude self-defense or capital punishment. Hurry or haste? You mentioned their 40 years of wandering...this charge has no merit. And it begs: why wait any longer?
Debate Round No. 3


Con wants Pro to give an ancient law prohibiting the actions of Joshua. Here you go Con-

The Code of Hammurabi:
Law #15 If anyone take a male or female slave of the court, or a male or female slave of a freed man, outside the city gates, he shall be put to death.

Joshua disenfranchised the court in Jericho and the freemen of Jericho of their property, namely slaves. The Code of Hammurabi says that Joshua should be put to death for this act.

Law #22 If anyone is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to death.

Joshua stole the property and the lives of all Jericho except for the life of Rahab and her family. The Code of Hammurabi says that Joshua if caught is to be put to death.

Law #196 If a man destroy the eye of another man, they shall destroy his eye. If one break a man's bone, they shall break his bone. If one destroy the eye of a freeman or break the bone of a freeman he shall pay one mana of silver. If one destroy the eye of a man's slave or break a bone of a man's slave he shall pay one-half his price.

The Code of Hammurabi say that it is time for Joshua to pay.

Now for the real issue:
Joshua could not claim to be God because the tribe of Judah was to strong and to intelligent for Joshua to get away with such a claim. Most of the adults of the tribe of Judah had firsthand knowledge of Moses, therefore Joshua could not even claim to be in direct contact with God. Only Moses could claim that.

So how was Joshua going to solve the problem of persuading the tribe of Judah to commit the atrocities of Jericho?

Joshua would claim that the Angel of the LORD told him to do it.

Is it possible that the Angel of the LORD told Joshua to commit genocide?

Pro's answer is YES.

Yes the Angel of the LORD is all about genocide. That is the reason why the Angel of the LORD has his/her/its being. The Angel of the LORD did command Joshua to commit genocide within the ancient walls of Jericho.

Now why would the Angel of the LORD want to kill every living being in Jericho?

Because Our Lord and Savior was coming from within the very gates of Jericho. The Angel of the LORD is the sworn enemy of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The Angel of the LORD will stop at nothing to murder Jesus of Nazareth. And short of that the Angel of the LORD would kill everyone else.


Final Rebuttals

The Code of Hammurabi? Pro's argument that Joshua's siege and destruction of the city of Jericho was a violation of the Code of Hammurabi exposes how he fundamentally fails to understand, just as he attempted to do with the Ten Commandments, that the prohibition was against individuals committing murder and cannot be construed as a total prohibition on killing in warfare, in self-defense, or in carrying out execution. I addressed this attempt but was limited (character limitation) at the end of the previous round.

The argument also fails historically meaning that he would be condemning Hammurabi himself considering his conquests and mass expansion of Babylonia by conquering cities and states such as Isin, Larsa, Eshnunna, Kish, Lagash, Nippur, Borsippa, Ur, Uruk, Umma, Adab, and Eridu. He also conquered peoples to the northeast such as the Elamites, Gutians and Kassites. He conquered states to the West including the Levant and the Kingdom of Mari. Of course being the victor he would seize the wealth of those he conquered and captives became slaves for the empire. If he'd properly place the law in context it applied to the civil society of the Babylonians instead of ridiculously conflating it to apply everywhere in the ancient world and being universal in it's application even though nothing in it precludes warfare, conquest, spoils, etc. It wasn't unusual for most of the men to be killed although a portion were taken as slaves and sometimes blinded and relegated to working grindstones or carrying water.

Finally, it fails more miserably in it's application when you consider that before the fall of Jericho to the Israelites, the Babylonian Empire was in rapid decline following the passing of Hammurabi and the reign of his successor Samsu-iluna. In the end, Babylon was sacked and fell to the Hittite Empire. So the Code of Hammurabi no longer existed any way. To end, I will show some laws from the Torah that are similar to the ones he posted from the Code of Hammurabi. Exodus 21:16 - "Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death." Exodus 22:7 - "If a man gives to his neighbor money or goods to keep safe, and it is stolen from the man's house, then, if the thief is found, he shall pay double."

Exodus 21:22-27 - "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye's sake. And if he smite out his manservant's tooth, or his maidservant's tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake." So does the dead ruler of Babylon need to be put to death or be made to pay? You're clearly misconstruing to level an absurd charge.

Genocide by the Angel of the Lord? I would much prefer to debate an atheist on this topic because my opponent harbors some rather bizarre and unsupportable theological beliefs that are entirely of his own creation. I have argued that the destruction of the Canaanites was necessary because of the extreme circumstances of their evil practices, systematic corruption, and utter depravity despite God giving them centuries to alter course and avoid judgement. In this instance Joshua was a servant of the Yahweh. My opponent cannot produce anything Jesus Christ said that contradicted this command written by Moses in the Torah as received by Yahweh.


My opponent has failed to defend the primary topic that Joshua, clearly being Jewish, was being "anti-Jewish" by laying siege to Jericho as instructed. It is patently absurd and he didn't attempt an argument or defense. I have refuted his assertion that he lacked a legal right in this round and point out he did have the legal right under the Torah. He failed on the assertion on Joshua lacking a religious right. He hasn't made a clearly coherent argument on moral right but he did charge it is genocide, but failed to address my moral arguments for it as explained in the previous round or it being moral on the grounds that it was at Yahweh's command as a punishment for exceeding sin and abomination. He failed in his assertion to that he didn't have a military right only referencing that Joshua was "in a hurry" without explaining why tat would be the case or how that contradicts a "military right." He failed in his assertion that Joshua lacked a political right. And his last assertion was a straw man of sorts but it failed given that the land was promised to Abraham and his descendants therefore you could very well argue it was being redeemed.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by DavidMGold 1 year ago
TryingToBeOpenMinded, I'd pose just the opposite. The excavations have fairly confirmed the biblical account.
Posted by TryingToBeOpenMinded 1 year ago
How can you rely on the bible when it's not considered a reliable historical document. For example, historians have proven that the Battle of Jericho did not occur as stated in the bible.
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