We are going through The Story at Central right now and this past weekend we covered Joshua and the city of Jericho. I had a few people ask me about how we reconcile God’s command for the Israelites to wipe everyone out. That includes women and children. Stop for a moment and actually imagine God asking you to carry out that order. Sound horrific? Hopefully it does. This leads us to a problem that any critical thinker who ponders this story has to wrestle with. What do we do with this story in light of what we see in Jesus?
We have a few obvious answers to this question:
- It is literal history and we must accept it as is.
- It is an allegory and is not to be taken literally in any way (as the early theologian Origen does)
- Something else is going on with this narrative that requires deeper interpretation.