The first episode of The Bible mini-series ended with the spies fighting it out in Jericho. Presumably, the next installment will begin with Rahab hiding the spies (Joshua 2:1) and the battle of Jericho.
If the series sees the destruction of Jericho through to the end, then everyone and everything in Jericho will be destroyed: babies included. This raises one of the thorniest questions in Scripture. After all, it is one thing to show Egyptian soldiers drowning in the Red Sea. But it is grasping the nettle, indeed, to graphically point out that all the children of Jericho died. Why did God order the execution of the three-year-olds?
If you click through to Scot McKnight’s post on this subject, you will see the kind of energy this question raises, as well as the wide range of explanations.
Justin Taylor addressed this topic in his post, How could God command genocide in the Old Testament? See also Trevin Wax’s post, Personal Reflections on the Canaanite Conquest). I won’t review all their thoughts. However, the point I would make is that apart from understanding the reality of corporation solidarity – the truth that people are “bound together,” the complete destruction of Jericho will make no sense.
I do not mean in any sense to minimize the solemness of the judgment of Canaan. It is so sobering to consider. My mind cannot put it all together. But surely part of our difficulty with the destruction of Jericho is that we are too individualistic in our thinking. Deep down many have bought into the idea that parents are islands distinct from their children. We believe that fathers should be able to make decisions apart from it affecting their families.
But we are not islands unto ourselves. It is just not how life works. The fact is, Jericho was in corporate solidarity. They were bound together. Together they faced judgment.
We might paraphrase John Donne:
No [parent] is an island, / Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
Of course, there are many, many other biblical examples of children being included in judgment. The world’s children were not put on the ark during the Genesis flood. Infants were not evacuated before the judgment of Sodom. Or, moving to the heart of the matter, the result of one man’s trespass was that the many were made sinners (Romans 5:18)!
The fact is, apart from understanding the truth that people are “bound together” in corporate solidarity, the destruction of all of Jericho, including children will make no sense. But then neither will life or the Bible. This is my point in Bound Together.
So, what’s your prediction? Do you think that the Bible series on the History Channel will make it clear that everything in Jericho was destroyed? If they do, will there be much resistance?
For more on this subject, Take the Bound Together Quiz. You don’t have to read the book to take the quiz. And you can be eligible for some great giveaways.