Deuteronomy chapter 20:15-20, NIV – These verses show cities inside the land promised to Israelites, these cities are not to be destroyed. Instructions to Israelites on how they were to carry out holy war are clearly stated. Holy war authorized in God’s name, every instruction was to be followed according to God’s wish and to glorify Him. Israelites are expected not to leave anything that has breath alive, apart from trees that provide them with food. They are expected to destroy everything for God’s glory. One wonders how a loving God can allow that to happen to his people but God did not want Israelites’ moral values to be defiled by people living within the promised land.
Israelites had to follow God’s command, because of the agreement they had with God. If they keep the covenant they will be blessed and if they fail to do so, they will be punished. Obedience is completely tested in Deuteronomy 20:15-20, NIV – if Israelites do not obey, consequences will follow. Also, one can observe that there is a call for common worship and one place to fellowship. In this chapter, one feels that what Israelites were being commanded to do was against moral and ethical values. God’s covenant with Israelites is a two-way relationship, whereby He will bless them if they keep the promise and subsequently, curse them if they do not.
The book of Job revolves around success, pain, and uprightness. Wisdom enables one to make better decisions when faced with difficult situations. Ecclesiastes’ wisdom demands one to follow God’s law as required. Job 12:6, NIV – tents of destroyers prosper and those who provoke God are secure. This makes what God commanded Israelites right (Rudy, n.d). Though destroying everything which has breath is morally wrong, in Deuteronomy, Israelites must keep God’s command despite the fact that what they are expected to do is wrong. According to Job, despite success being related to following God’s commandment, is also related to wickedness (Rudy, n.d.). A tradition of wisdom found in Job and Ecclesiastes cannot be compared with history in giving guidelines on what is morally right about how humans can work together in order to have a successful coexistence despite their differences.
Traditions of Wisdom in Job and Ecclesiastes make a two-way theology found in Deuteronomy difficult because, one has to follow God’s commandments as required while considering issues of uprightness, pain, and success. Considering what is morally right, destroying everything that has breath is killing. Also, from the ten commandments, killing is a wrong act punishable by death. However, in Deuteronomy history, God commands Israelites to destroy everything that has breath. If they fail to follow, they will be cursed, hence the question of righteousness, suffering, and success arises. The reason for the events taking place in Deuteronomy 20:15-20, NIV is to prevent Israelites from being contaminated by the other communities living in the promised land. Despite what they are commanded to do being morally wrong, it will lead to their prosperity and righteousness and they will have obeyed God’s command.
Jeremiah’s prophecy about Jerusalem’s seventy years of suffering triggers Daniel into prayer and fasting to prompt God about his promise of bringing back his people. Gabriel’s goal is to let Daniel get what seventy years means and how God will end the period with endless uprightness. Daniel’s experience brings a clear understanding of Deuteronomy’s history. One is able to understand the final times and how God promotes the Israelites and crown them to become rulers of the earth (Nel, 2013). Therefore, it is important to follow God’s command no matter what it requires because, in the end, He will elevate one to success for His glory to be manifested.
Nel, M. (2013). Daniel 9 as part of an apocalyptic book? Verbum et Ecclesia, 34(1), 1-8.
Rudy. D. (n.d.). Prosperity, suffering, and righteousness in the wisdom literature of the old Testament. Xenos. Web.