Reporters Disparage Bible with Fake History
In a rush to discredit the Bible, certain reporters failed to research all that the Bible says about Canaanites.
The Bible says such-and-such, but what REALLY happened, according to ‘science’, is this-and-that. Reporters sometimes fill in this boilerplate with the latest published findings of new research. In a recent case, Science Daily teases with a set-up about the Canaanites: “But who were they and what ultimately happened to them? Were they annihilated like the Bible says?” You know what’s coming next:
Now, researchers who’ve sequenced the first ancient Canaanite genomes along with genomes representing people from modern-day Lebanon have new information to help answer those questions. DNA evidence reported in the American Journal of Human Genetics on July 27 shows that the Canaanites did not just disappear. Instead, they survived and are the ancestors of the people now living in modern-day Lebanon.
“We found that the Canaanites were a mixture of local people who settled in farming villages during the Neolithic period and eastern migrants who arrived in the region about 5,000 years ago,” said Marc Haber of The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom. “The present-day Lebanese are likely to be direct descendants of the Canaanites, but they have in addition a small proportion of Eurasian ancestry that may have arrived via conquests by distant populations such as the Assyrians, Persians, or Macedonians.”
Basically, the Bible is wrong. That’s the message. Notice how other sites echo this press release from Cell Press uncritically:
- “Bronze Age DNA helps unravel true fate of biblical Canaanites” (Andy Coghlan at New Scientist). Notice his emphasis on “true” fate from science, as opposed to what the Bible says. He continues, “After comparing the Canaanite DNA with that from 99 living Lebanese volunteers, the team found that almost 90 per cent of present day Lebanese DNA is shared with the Canaanites, suggesting that biblical reports of their annihilation were greatly exaggerated.“
- “No archaeological evidence for the widespread destruction of Canaanite settlements described in the Bible has yet been identified, and many scholars believe that the Israelites, who appear around the beginning of the Iron Age, may have originally been Canaanites.” (National Geographic)
- “Canaanites Live: DNA Reveals Fate of Biblical People” (Stephanie Pappas at Live Science). “In part because the Canaanites kept their records on easily degradable papyrus rather than clay, little is known about their side of the story. But now, ancient DNA reveals that the Canaanites were the descendants of Stone Age settlers and the ancestors of the Lebanese.” The suggestion is that the Bible is not trustworthy. Pappas would apparently prefer to interview a Canaanite to find out his side of the story, and would consider that more authoritative than the Bible.
None of these articles cite a specific Bible reference. They assume that the Bible says Israel wiped out all trace of the Canaanites. Instead, ‘science’ shows that their DNA lives on in the modern Lebanese. Q.E.D. The Bible goofed.
In the Pentateuch, God did indeed order Israel to exterminate the Canaanites. Too bad the reporters didn’t get beyond Deuteronomy into Joshua, Judges, Kings and Chronicles. The sad history the Bible unfolds in detail is that, just as God had warned through Moses and the prophets, Israel disobeyed and did not drive the Canaanites out of the land. And just as the prophets had warned, those idol-worshipers became thorns and snares to the people God had called to Himself to be a holy people, separate from the nations, heirs of the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Another frequent misconception is that Israel was ordered to burn and destroy everything in Canaan. That is false even from the days of Moses, who told the Israelites that they would be living in cities they had not built, using vineyards they had not planted, and enjoying a good land of milk and honey. God said he would drive out the inhabitants gradually, not all at once (Exodus 23:29-30). Only in a few cases, like Jericho, were they ordered to destroy everything and everybody. And contrary to what National Geographic says, Biblical archaeologists like Dr Bryant Wood have found conclusive evidence that is exactly what happened at Jericho in the time of Joshua.
A misreading of Joshua might seem to suggest widespread destruction of many cities. There were some great victories in the beginning, but the book of Joshua closes with a listing of vast areas that still needed conquering. And the book of Judges shows the Israelites losing faith, becoming unable to drive out the inhabitants of many of the Canaanite cities. It took many years for Israel to conquer the Jebusites inhabiting Jerusalem, till David finally captured the city. And the Gibeonites made a league with Joshua by subterfuge, with an oath, allowing them to live in the land as servants. God honored that oath and punished King Saul many years later for having violated it.
In short, the Bible depicts Israel living alongside the Canaanites, never being able to drive them all out, and undoubtedly intermarrying with them at times—something the Bible discouraged, but permitted for captive women (e.g., Rahab the harlot, who rescued the two Israelite spies at Jericho, and ended up in the lineage of Messiah). It should not be surprising that Canaanite traits (if one accepts the genetic testing at face value) live on in today’s Lebanese.
Once again, secular reporters published fake news, fake history, and fake Bible. David Klinghoffer came to pretty much the same conclusion at Evolution News & Science Today, complaining about “culturally illiterate science reporters” using the study to “slap [the] Bible around.”
Let’s briefly address the matter of God ordering the extermination of the Canaanites. The main thing is that God is sovereign. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; He gives life, and who can stop him from taking it? Who is going to tell God He is wrong? That is utter folly. He is the standard. Even so, God destroyed many of the Canaanites himself without Joshua’s army having to do it all. He sent hornets (Exodus 23:28), hailstones (Joshua 10:11), and other natural disasters against them. He turned some of the city-states against each other, so they killed themselves. And the Canaanites were evil. They burned their children in the fire to idols. They worshiped the creature rather than the Creator. Their ‘worship’ included all kinds of sexual perversions, as happened at Baal-Peor. In His wisdom, God knew what neighbors like this would do to His people. He warned and warned, but they lusted after the gods of the Canaanites anyway. So Israel became just as corrupt and evil as the nations He had ordered Israel to drive out. Look at the stories of Ahab and Jezebel, Athaliah, Ahaz, and Manasseh. The northern 10 tribes became so corrupt early on, that after nearly 3 centuries of rebellion, God finally sent the Assyrians to take them captive, never to return (except for some who had migrated to Judah).
God had a unique plan for Israel: to carve out, from all the nations, a people for His own possession, to whom He would teach His laws (e.g., the Ten Commandments), inspire written Scripture for them, and give birth to Messiah for the world (Romans 3). It called for unique and special orders. God’s order to Israel to wipe out the Canaanites was like cancer surgery, in order to save the body of humanity. The good news is that, in spite of Israel’s failings, God succeeded in bringing salvation to the world through His Son, Jesus Christ. Now that the debt of sin was paid on the cross of Christ, anyone who calls on His name, be they Lebanese, Canaanite, Hittite, Jebusite, or Afghan, can receive God’s grace by faith.