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A Modern Rabbi Supports Infanticide

Updated on November 2, 2017

How can land be Holy if you kill for it?

Land is not alive, people are alive and may be more or less holy.
Land is not alive, people are alive and may be more or less holy.

How could Joshua kill the Subservient women and children in Canaan?

A friend recommended your site. Please explain how Joshua could kill the SUBSERVIANT women and children in Canaan. The Lord ordered ALL killed. How can land be considered Holy if you kill for it? What is God like?

And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city (Jericho), both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. Joshua 6:21

See "Bible Atrocities." 1

Was Joshua justified?

Was Joshua justified in killing the women and children of Canaan?

See results

You want me to commit genocide, infanticide?


Avraham Greenbaum

There are many searching questions about God. But it is only fitting and proper that this should be so. Indeed, such questions enhance the greatness of God and show His exaltedness. God is so great and exalted that He is beyond our ability to understand Him. It is obviously impossible for us, with our limited human intelligence, to understand His ways. Inevitably there are things that baffle us, and this is only fitting. If God's ways were in accordance with the limits of our meager understanding, there would be no difference between His understanding and ours, and this is inconceivable.

Avraham Greenbaum
AZAMRA PO Box 50037
Jerusalem 91500 Israel

Where did Joshua get his direction?

Thank you. How do we know Joshua got his direction from God and was not just acting of himself? Do you agree killing subservient women and children is wrong and not to be copied?

Does faith justify genocide?


Avraham Greenbaum

Let me prefix my answer by letting you know that I was a hard-core secular sceptic and non-believer in Torah until the age of 25, and had to rethink everything I though as I successively gained access to and pondered the Hebrew scriptures and the explanations of the Torah sages in the original tongues. I have learned to accept on faith even what I do not understand, and over the years I have come to understand many of the things that I earlier accepted on faith. That has been my choice, and you are of course free to make yours.

1. See Exodus 23:33 and Deuteronomy 7:1-2 on the Torah commandments as to how to deal with the 7 Canaanite nations, who alone out of all the 70 Nations are singled out together with Amalek for destruction unless they accept the mastery of Israel and undertake to abide by the 7 Noahide Laws.

Note: Avraham Greenbaum never explains why anyone should accept the mastery of Israel.

We should not harm ourselves or another person. Avraham Greenbaum does not address whether we should copy Joshua in killing women and children.

2. For one who accepts the Hebrew Torah, it is inconceivable that Joshua, the servant of G-d, the righteous prophet and loyal attendant and disciple of Moses from his youth would do anything "from himself". The cited verses from Exodus and Deuteronomy on what to do with the Canaanites are the word of G-d that Moses received and handed to Joshua.

Note: Leave the stone age thinking of the Hebrew Torah behind and accept a God as depicted by Jesus. Jesus would not have harmed anyone.

3. As a mere student of the words of our sages, I do not "agree" or "disagree" with anything except on the foundation of what I have learned from our sages.

Note: Renounce sages who teach that killing people is acceptable.

4. All the Torah laws on warfare are expressed clearly by Rabbi Moses Maimonides (Rambam) in his Mishneh Torah law code, and you can read exactly what he says, including his detailed explanation of how the Canaanites were actually treated, in Volume 14 of that work, the concluding section, "Laws of Kings", Chapter 6, laws 1-6, which you can read in translation at the following link. In my view Rambam here provides the full Torah perspective on the questions you raise. (The link was deleted at the instruction of Hubpages).

Note: renounce the violence by man against man in the Torah or anywhere else.

Do you advocate killing people?

Thank you for your answer, however I do not understand it.
Let me try a simpler question.

Do you advocate killing people?

Men? Women? Children?

for your nation?

Are we all part of each other at some level?

Didn't Abraham marry a Canaanite as did many others? or Were the Hebrews and Canaanites related?

Avraham Greenbaum

Of course I don't advocate killing people. Do you?

Did Joshua advocate killing people?

Did Joshua?

Avraham Greenbaum

Why not examine chapter 20 of his book for some of his lessons on the subject?

Note, Mr. Greenbaum does not answer the question, but asks another question. Had he said, "Yes" he would be revealed as advocating violence in the name of God. That is Terrorism. Had he said, "No" he must renounce Joshua and his actions.

Did a covenant actually exist or did Joshua just claim to have one?

Thank you for your response. These questions are important to me and I appreciate your efforts. Other religious leaders simply ignore me and change the subject. They simply cannot answer. I am serious about these questions because I believe if they are addressed our relationships will be improved.

Chapter 20 Then the Lord spoke to Joshua.... Earlier, did the Lord actually tell Joshua to kill subservient women and children? How do you know? We were not there at the time. Today we do not know what happened. All we have is a claim that God said this or that. How may we judge this? I contend we must go inside ourselves and meditate on it. In the end we must decide what is right and wrong and not rely on someone else (or a book) to tell us. I am glad you do not personally advocate killing, but why did Joshua? Did a covenant actually exist or did Joshua just claim to have one?

Can't you just answer my questions directly?


Avraham Greenbaum

If you are serious about wanting authoritative answers about the line followed by Joshua in war you really ought to read the link I sent you in an earlier email and which I am giving you again below, as it gives the answers to your questions, and if what is contained there is not readily comprehensible to you, then I recommend seeking a local person with some Torah background to explain:

(The link was deleted on the instructions of Hubpages).

Did The Lord actually tell Joshua to kill all the Canaanites?

Thank you and I read the article in your link. This misses the question I asked. Did The Lord actually tell Joshua to kill all the Canaanites, men and women, young and old? Note this directive includes subservient women and children who had no say in events, no negotiations. How much of the population were women and children? 50%? 75%? Now do you understand the question?

Maimonides: a (misguided) medieval Jewish philosopher and astronomer.

Born 1135 - Died 1204 Anyone who advocates violence is misguided.
Born 1135 - Died 1204 Anyone who advocates violence is misguided.

What of Maimonides? He was not a witness, he lived in the 12th century.

Poor misguided man!
Poor misguided man!

Avraham Greenbaum

If you think your questions have been missed you clearly have not grasped Maimonides' meaning and if you wish to pursue the matter please find someone who is willing to explain his meaning to you and how all your questions are answered in what he writes.

Comment, why can't Mr. Greenbaum just answer the question himself?

Did The Lord actually tell Joshua to kill all the Canaanites?

Did The Lord actually tell Joshua to kill all the Canaanites, men and women, young and old? Yes or No

Avraham Greenbaum

No He did not, read Maimonides' words carefully

Read the Book of Joshua, not Maimonides.

Here is the Book of Joshua:

And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city (Jericho), both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. Joshua 6:21.

And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword. Joshua 10:11.

And there was no day like that before it or after it that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel. Joshua 10:14.

According to The Book of Joshua, did The Lord order Joshua to kill men, women and children? Yes/No?

Why should Canaanites accept the authority of Israel?

Prove Israel had the authority to kill children!
Prove Israel had the authority to kill children!

Avraham Greenbaum

God commanded Joshua to invite all the Canaanites to accept Israelite hegemony [authority especially between nations] and to live with them in peace. Joshua did so, the Girgashi fled, the Gibeonites accepted and all the other Canaanites refused and waged war against Israel as described in detail in the book of Joshua, and in that war Israel had already been commanded under Moses to destroy all the recalcitrant Canaanites. The latter were not subservient at all, they were murderous pagan idolators who refused to accept Israel in their midst.
As to the morality of God's instructions, if you do wish to challenge Him you are quite free to do so, and in the contemporary phrase, "Good luck with that one". I recommend you start by answering God's 49 questions to Job in the book of Job chapters 38 and onwards, and if you are successful, then question His wisdom.

The yes/no questions you ask are simplistic and deceptive, as if you are determined to prove a certain point and twist reality to fit in with it. You are entitled to believe whatever you want.
If you are so concerned about collateral damage to women and children that you would like to think of as innocent, why not start a campaign to inform the public about the collateral damage caused by the Allies in WWII when they bombed Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, etc. and while you are about it, collect information about the killings of innocent citizens in many other theaters of war until today.

I long ago renounced any violence against innocent people and I consider war a great folly. In the words of my teacher: Many of the misguided follies of primitive times such as child-sacrifice to Molech (Leviticus 20:2) have now disappeared. But the folly of war has still not been abolished. What kind of wisdom must the scientists possess in order to invent a wonderful weapon that can kill thousands of people at once! Is there anything more foolish than to kill so many people for nothing!

I wish you great success in your mission to persuade people to renounce violence, and I trust that you are working non-stop with all the different humans in the world who routinely use and support violence against one another.
I will be interested to know how your mission works with ISIS and other radical Islamic groups, to give just one example.
And what about getting all the descendants of the colonialists who routinely practiced indiscriminate violence and cruelty against their subjects in Africa, America, Asia, etc. to renounce and atone for all that violence and exploitation?
You will have a lot to keep you busy.

by the way, do you affiliate with any religion? Yes/No?
if yes, which one?

How delusional must we be to commit infanticide?


Distinguish among Canaanites, the bad leaders vs. innocent women and children.

Do not condemn children for the acts of adults.  At least half the population were innocent.
Do not condemn children for the acts of adults. At least half the population were innocent.

People who force their will on others have emotional problems.

We are all individuals with freewill. We each get to decide how we respond to people. Violence will always be in the world, the idea is to avoid it. I believe everyone will be held accountable for their own actions and Not the actions of anyone else. I believe we are all descended from one group of people and no one or no group is superior to another. People who try to force their will on others or dominate them have emotional problems. We could treat all this as a mental health issue.

Do not make heroes out of people who use violence. Move to avoid conflicts. I invite you to read and comment on some articles I have written. Some titles are: "Judge Not and you will not be judged," "Motion to Divide the Bible," "The Book of Joshua from a Christian Perspective", "How would Jesus see the Gettysburg Address?" if you Google the title you should find it. What religion does all this make me?

Joshua killed women and children who were subservient to their male masters. Perhaps 50% or more of the population were innocent and Joshua killed them anyway. Do not justify Joshua as a hero.

Paranoid much? No one is out to get you.

Seek help from a shrink.
Seek help from a shrink.

Avraham Greenbaum

So if someone is coming to kill you, do you think you are permitted to prevent them? And if there is no other way, do you think you are permitted to kill them?

Get smart, be alert and move if needed.

Violence exists in the world and always will. The trick is to get smart, be alert and move if needed. Most violence can be seen building up. There is always another way. For example the Quakers believe in non-violence but they are also against slavery. What did they do in the American Civil War? They got smart and started the underground railroad to move slaves to freedom. As individuals we are always free to move out of the way of danger.

A deeper question is how do you handle the loss of a loved one at the hands of an "evil" person. I believe all people are joined together at another level of existence. We are all part of one great whole. As you do to another you do to yourself. The "evil" person is like an immature child. If the child misbehaves, do you kill him..... No! There is no payback, no retribution, no retaliation. Eventually, not in this lifetime, the "evil" person will learn he is part of the whole and he is only hurting himself. This assumes there is an afterlife. If you do not believe in an afterlife this line of reasoning does not make sense.

I turn to "My Telepathic Experiences" as proof we are all of one body. As proof of an afterlife see, "Near Death Experiences and What They Mean." As you condemn you will be condemned, as you forgive you will be forgiven. Condemnation creates negative emotions within you, do not do it.

Avraham Greenbaum

Thank you.

Was it OK for Joshua to kill women and children?

Was it OK for Joshua to kill subservient women and children in Canaan?

See results


It is the history of the Rabbis to claim a divine right to invade, kill and take land. This is the covenant. When the Rabbis acknowledge they were wrong and do Not have a covenant they will obtain peace of mind. Their guilt will evaporate.


1. Some examples of the Lord committing atrocities.

EX 17:13 With the Lord's approval, Joshua mows down Amalek and his people.

EX 21:20-21 With the Lord's approval, a slave may be beaten to death with no punishment for the perpetrator as long as the slave doesn't die too quickly.

EX 32:27 "Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.

EX 32:27-29 With the Lord's approval, the Israelites slay 3000 men.

LE 26:29, DT 28:53, JE 19:9, EZ 5:8-10 As a punishment, the Lord will cause people to eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters and fathers and friends.

LE 27:29 Human sacrifice is condoned. (Note: An example is given in JG 11:30-39)


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    • Jay C OBrien profile imageAUTHOR

      Jay C OBrien 

      7 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Alianess, yes, evil does not exist with God. That is why we must work to avoid negative human emotions such as: Jealousy, Vengefulness, Wrathfulness, etc. These are Not the emotions of God, for God is Good. God is at Peace, Accepting, Forgiving, etc. All stories in the Bible which depict God as evil are Blasphemy. Now read the Bible with this in mind.

    • Ben716 profile image

      Alianess Benny Njuguna 

      7 months ago from Kenya

      God is not a God of chaos but I believe if we don't live according to God's will, we will be consumed by His holiness for evil does not exist in the presence of God.

    • Jay C OBrien profile imageAUTHOR

      Jay C OBrien 

      8 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Alianess: God is Not Wrathful and never has been. That is a human emotion which is not of God. God does not and never has used one nation to fight another for his cause (love, peace, charity, etc.)

      Teaching does not use violence. People have been the same since the beginning of Mankind. Some people may have used violence to force people into compliance, but that was the wrong approach as Violence only begets Violence.

    • Ben716 profile image

      Alianess Benny Njuguna 

      8 months ago from Kenya

      I read your article with interest. During the medieval age, God used one nation to get the attention of other nations who did not acknowledge His existence. Instead, they worshipped other gods. One thing which is a fact is if you don't acknowledge God then you are against Him. The repurcussions of bowing down to other idols invites God's wrath. Unlike today, during the ancient age the people who used to live at that time were more violent than the modern people. This means a different approach was required. It is not the case nowadays because humans have evolved a lot in their thinking pertaining to humanity.

      In those times violence was met by violence, an eye for an eye, because back then people were violent. Lastly, consider if you are not on God's side then you are against Him. God has said that He will not share His glory with idols. During that time it was an appropriate thing to do but God had a super plan through Jesus. God is not a violent God as many people think.

      So did God order Joshua to kill?


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