The Old Testament is chock full of military conquests of god’s chosen people over nonbelievers and polytheists. The Book of Joshua is a prime example. Joshua was commander of one such pre-crusades crusade. He sacks Jericho, saving a lone inhabitant: a prostitute. He then approaches Ai and suffers a humiliating defeat. Not wishing to lose favor with his men, Joshua stones one of his own men, a thief who’s blamed for the defeat, and makes a second attempt to take Ai, scoring a narrow victory over the Canaanites. Upon approaching the next city, Gibeon, Joshua takes note of the city’s size. Fearful of the pending campaign against Gibeon, Joshua hastily signs a peace treaty with two undercover Gibeonites, without first asking god’s permission. Joshua then realizes that he just signed a peace treaty with the people god commanded him to kill. Upon realizing what happened, five other surrounding kings send their armies to attack Gibeon. Joshua is having none of this, and he disregards god’s commandment to kill the Gibeonites and makes a commandment of his own…to god:
Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
God Should’ve been pissed at what Joshua had done. But Joshua pretty much said, “to hell with god’s commandments! Hey, god! It’s about time you did something for me! I command you to make the sun stand still long enough for us to defend the Gibeonites!”
And god listened! God stopped the sun in the high sky for an entire day, allowing Joshua’s army to defeat the five kings.
After the victory, Joshua again disobeys god. Although he ultimately conquers Gibeon, he takes its inhabitants as slaves instead of killing them, despite god being pretty clear that he wanted Joshua to kill them all. It’s a small crime, I guess, considering that Joshua spends the rest of the book murdering every man, woman, child, and goat he comes across.
The moral of this story is
unrestrained and indiscriminate killing is ok…I mean, it’s that god’s a pushover. Even if you explicitly break one of his commandments, he’ll do anything you ask of him if you just demand it hard enough. Prayer’s for wimps. So if you want something, man up and demand that god give it to you! Even if it’s something as incredible as stopping the movements of celestial bodies.