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Driving Out the Canaanites

Summary:
On a recent episode of the Tom Woods Show, Gene Epstein debated Elliot Resnick on the question of whether the state of Israel should give up any territory to the Palestinians. Resnick offered a Biblical defense of Israel’s right to the land, to which Gene said something like (I’m paraphrasing): “As libertarians, we can’t justify the ancient Israelites taking land from the Canaanites whose only crime was to be in the wrong place.” (Incidentally, I am not trying to summarize the full positions of both men; click the link and listen to the debate if you are curious. They each said a whole lot more than the narrow exchange I’ve detailed above.) This is a very complex subject–involving, among other things, the notion of Original Sin–but the following passage that we

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On a recent episode of the Tom Woods Show, Gene Epstein debated Elliot Resnick on the question of whether the state of Israel should give up any territory to the Palestinians. Resnick offered a Biblical defense of Israel’s right to the land, to which Gene said something like (I’m paraphrasing): “As libertarians, we can’t justify the ancient Israelites taking land from the Canaanites whose only crime was to be in the wrong place.”

(Incidentally, I am not trying to summarize the full positions of both men; click the link and listen to the debate if you are curious. They each said a whole lot more than the narrow exchange I’ve detailed above.)

This is a very complex subject–involving, among other things, the notion of Original Sin–but the following passage that we covered in my Bible study tonight is relevant. It’s from Deuteronomy 18:

9“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering,e anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. 13You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, 14for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.

I added the bold to show that, in the eyes of the Lord, the nations being driven out of the Promised Land weren’t simply squatting. They were engaged in abominable practices, including sacrificing their newborns to the pagan god Molech.

(That foreign practice also sheds more light on the initially shocking episode when God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son–and then God stops him at the last moment.)

Robert Murphy
Christian, Austrian economist, and libertarian theorist. Research Prof at Texas Tech and author of *Choice*. Paul Krugman's worst nightmare.

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