They are among the most troubling of Old Testament passages for contemporary minds. I am referring to verses like Deuteronomy 2:34 and I Samuel 15:2-3 in which God ordered every Amalekite and Canaanite man, woman, child, cow, goat, etc. etc. utterly destroyed.
Doesn’t sound like justice, does it? Well, maybe there’s more to these verses than is commonly assumed, especially when there is a lack of understanding of the ancient contexts in which they were composed.
The Colson Center’s Brook McIntyre digs deep into the facts about how ancient literature portrayed things like military victories, as well as the horrific truths about the pagan culture that was dominant in what the Old Testament referred to as the “Promised Land” for Israel: