The entry of Israel into the Promised Land, the land promised by The Lord. Divine genocide?
The Fall of Jericho. Score: Israelites1. Women and children 0
The Land of Milk and Honey becomes The Land of Blood and Guts.
Of course the goats were the least of the problems that the mother had to worry about. There were chickens, and the two elderly oxen to be gathered up as well. The children needed to be kept close also. In a war situation, with the invading soldiers wandering the countryside, and slaughtering any stray inhabitants they could find, the last thing she could allow was her golden headed boy, and her seven year old little daughter to go and play anywhere away from the house.
It was over two days since she had seen her husband. He had set out to visit the neighbouring farmstead. They had decided to invite the neighbours, who were quite elderly, to shelter in their farm, as the walls that surrounded their house were much stronger, and in better repair, than the crumbling remnants that gave little security to the old couple's dwelling. The younger farmer had suggested that he would help with the repair of the walls. But his offer was rebuffed.
"Who would ever attack us", he was told. "We have lived peaceably here for our entire lives. Nothing is going to happen to us now".
But that was before the strange nation had come to the land of Canaan. These people had wandered in from the desert, that stretched all the way to Egypt. Nobody really knew who they were. They were not a people who had been seen in Canaan in the memory of any of it's inhabitants.
Occasionally whole tribes of nomads had invaded the fertile valley by the Jordan river. They would trample the crops, maybe rape a few women, or take some of the children as slaves. Once the canaanites had to gather three chestloads of gold in order to make a particularly rapacious tribe move on. But these newcomers behaved very differently from any that had been there before.
They did rape, and they certainly laid waste to the fields. But they didn't take any prisoners, or make anyone a slave. Every time they captured a city, or pillaged a farm, everyone there was slaughtered. Men, women, and children, were always killed. Sure the women and girls might live long enough to be brutally violated first, but it was never long until their throats were slit, and they were lying in a bloody heap along with the previously murdered corpses of their husbands, fathers, and brothers.
It was a fat merchant from Jericho who first brought news of the invasion to the isolated farmstead. He might be fat, but his rotund face that might have been designed for laughter and jollity, was washed with tears as he related his story. He had only escaped because he was on a trip to his outlying farm when the hordes surrounded the city. When he saw the army of the strangers encamped around the town, he did not stay to enquire who they were. He fled straightaway on his camel to a neighbouring town.
Three days later, a few tattered refugees from Jericho arrived. The story they told put icicles of fear into the inhabitants of the town.
The Israelites,( for that was the name the savages went by), breached the walls of the city after a couple of days, and then they commenced a death dealing such as had never been seen before. Babies had their heads stamped on, or their infant brains dashed out against the mudbrick walls. Women had their throats slit, or their heads struck off, although rarely before they had been raped. Almost all the canaanites within the walls were brutally killed before the sun set on the blood soaked walls of the conquered city. Only the few that dragged their horrified bodies from the bloody ruins survived.
The Israelites had been shouting that not one should be spared, as their god had given over the entire land to them.
The fat merchant had fled the area. It was certain that the rest of the inhabitants of Canaan could expect the same treatment as the late residents of Jericho. He had some relatives among The Philistines. He intended to make his exiled home with them.
The young farmer and his wife were very fearful when they heard the account of the merchant. They had no camels to transport them and their two playful children to a safe refuge with The Philistines. They would have to stay put on their farm when the marauders came. Perhaps The Israelites might pass by their little compound. They might think it was too insignificant to attack. The young husband laid some sheaves of corn on the little shrine to Baal. Perhaps the power of their God would protect them from the blood mania of the god of the invader.
The merchant left them, to continue his journey to his safe exile.
The following morning they decided that the farmer would go to the neighbours, and bring them back to the relative security of the better fortified compound.
That had been two and a half days ago. The journey should have taken half a day. The young woman was getting very worried.
Getting the goats into the compound hadn't proved to be as difficult as she had feared. I think animals can sense when something is seriously amiss. In any case there was none of the usual milling indecisively outside the gate, or the hassle when one of the flock makes a break for freedom. They entered meekly into the enclosure. The two elderly oxen just plodded through the open gate.
The two children helped their mother to get the chickens in. That was easy. They just had to call "Chick, Chick, Chick", and scatter some corn around, and the food addicted birds just ran in, to have the gate shut immediately after them.
The children laughed when they saw the chickens running squawking into the farmyard. They always did. For some reason they had always found the antics of the farmyard birds endlessly amusing. Their mother smiled at their mirth. A brief shiver ran through her body at the thought that she might not be hearing them for much longer.
There was a hill just around, what we would call, two hundred yards from the farm. In the house the little family sat eating a mid afternoon meal of bread and some apples. Everything was silent, except for the occasional clucking of a chicken. The children were concentrating on their food, so there was no chatter from them. The woman was thinking of her absent spouse. They had been a love match. From the time they had met, ten years before when she was fifteen, neither of them had any interest in meeting any other person. They got married when she was sixteen. She loved his small farm almost as deeply as she loved her husband. The two children seemed to be just an extension of their happiness. She prayed silently to her God that her love would soon return. Almost three days now. That was way too long for a journey that should have only have taken six or seven hours.
Suddenly her reverie was disturbed by the distant sound of a horn, followed it seemed almost immediately, by the sounds of shouting, and marching feet.
The terror that had visited the rest of the country had come to their little farm. At that moment the woman knew that she would never see her handsome husband again.
She knew that whover was coming would be breasting the hill within a few minutes. There was probably no escape for either her or her children.
Instead of hiding under the table, or trying to take futile refuge in one of the outhouses, she suddenly felt an overwhelming need to see those men who were coming to murder them. Even her two babies were going to face them.
She put her left hand in the hand of her golden headed boy, and she took her seven year old girl in her other hand.
Together they climbed up onto the top of the flat roof to face what fate was to bring them.
Yeshua Bar Joseph was the first of the israelite troops to reach the top of the hill. When he looked down he saw a small farm compound. There were a few goats in a corner, and some chickens scraping at the dusty ground. From a shed came the mooing of bored sounding oxen.
On the flat roof of the farmhouse there was a young woman with two children. They looked like a boy and a girl. The three were just staring directly at him.
A smile that could only be described as evil spread itself over the features of Yeshua Bar Joseph.
"At least two to be raped here", he thought. "Three if I can keep out of sight of The Leviticus Priests".
Deuteronomy: Chapter Twenty.
16 However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.
17 Completely destroy[a] them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the LORD your God has commanded you.
Nothing much has changed.
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