In lieu of an abstract, below is the essay's first paragraph.
"In the Old Testament, there are a number of books that contain violent stories that may shock the casual reader. Some of these stories seem to encourage not only the slaughtering of enemy armies, but also the murder of innocent civilians. The book of Joshua, in particular, contains a number of such tales. In chapters six through eleven of this book, God instructs Joshua and his followers to obliterate dozens of enemy armies, and subsequently orders them to lay their towns to waste. Joshua and his followers put to death men, women, children, and livestock by the “edge of the sword.” Biblical scholars refer to this process of systematic destruction, in which all those who oppose the Lord are laid to waste, as the herem. Many readers find this concept to be highly disturbing; some feel it runs counter to Christian and Jewish beliefs. They question why the loving and merciful Lord would command his followers to carry out these gruesome acts."
"Joshua 6:15-21: Exploring the Deeper Meaning of the Herem,"
Verbum: Vol. 4
, Article 11.
Available at: http://fisherpub.sjfc.edu/verbum/vol4/iss1/11