A chart inspired by the comments on my last post:
|Sodom & Gomorrah
|Primary Cause||Violence||Violence||Oppression &
|Possible Secondary Cause||Sexual immorality||Sexual immorality||Idolatry & hard-heartedness||Idolatry||?|
|Means of Destruction||Flood||Fire & brimstone||Ten plagues||War||Miraculous|
|Means of Escape||Ark||Feet||Blood & feet||Red cord, feet, & deception||Divine guidance
& human action
The primary cause in each case of divine genocide was unjust violence. There were definitely secondary issues, such as homosexuality, temple prostitution, hard heartedness, etc., but I don’t think those were named as causes.
The means of destruction was always at least partly divine. In the case of the Canaanites, God used the Israelites, but they were still assisted by direct divine intervention.
The means of escape were never solely divine. God always provided guidance and sometimes protection, but people were always partly responsible for their own safety. If Noah hadn’t built the ark, he would have died with the rest. If Lot hadn’t walked away from Sodom, if the Israelites hadn’t painted their lintels and crossed the Red Sea, if Rahab hadn’t hung the red cord, or the Jebusites deceived Joshua, they all would have died.
Remember one of the lessons of Lech Lecha: What happens to the fathers, happens also to the children.
(The destruction of the Canaanites doesn’t fit into this scheme as neatly as the other three do. For one thing, the Canaanites weren’t a single civilization, but multiple independent city-states with varying degrees of spiritual sickness. Some were allowed to leave if they were able, while some were to be completely wiped out, with no escape possible.)