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Holy War

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When discussing violence in the Old Testament it is important to discuss the concept of Holy War. This lesson does not suggest that Christians are soldiers first and nothing else since Christians are also called to be peacemakers. However, this lesson does put forward the idea that God is fighting a holy war. That is, God is seeking to promote blessing for all people by eliminating evil everywhere. The final enemy is death itself, and God is resolute on destroying evil and death. Holy war is a complex set of ideas that should be interpreted in light of the entire corpus of scripture.


The Promised Land: Holy War


I. Eleven Characteristics

A. No standing army

B. No pay for soldiers

C. No spoil / plunder

D. Only for conquest / defense of Promised Land

E. Only at Yahweh's call

F. Only through a prophet

G. Yahweh does the fighting

H. Religious undertaking (fasting / self-denial)

I. Total annihilation of the enemy

J. Violator becomes enemy

K. Exceptions / mutations possible


II. Holy War Theme in the New Testament


III. Significance to the Defeat at Ai

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