In a Situation of Annihilation Every Person is Individually Judged by God
Additional instances where God’s righteous judgments of annihilation were interrupted from the pronounced course of justice because, evidently, every individual person (man, woman, or child, Israelite or non-Israelite) is judged by God.
The Gibeonites, for example, who were included among the nations of the Promised Land wherein, by decree, everything that breathed had to be totally annihilated (Deut. 20:16-18), escaped the stroke of God’s pronouncement by a cunningly devised plan. Surrender was not an option, neither was conversion, because of the fullness of the Gibeonite’s iniquities in the sight of God (Gen. 15:16). I repeat, there was no divinely provided means of mercy because these nations were more wicked than any other nation in the world (Deut. 20:16-18, Deut. 9:4-5, Lev. 18:24-30, 20:22-27, Deut. 18:9-14), and yet… the Gibeonites found mercy! How? They disguised themselves to be from a distant nation for fear of the God of Israel, and in so doing they tricked the Israelites to make a league with them (Josh. 9). Their faith is evident, and no different than Rahab’s, when the Gibeonites said:
“From a very far country thy servants are come because of the Name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of Him, and all that He did in Egypt, and all that He did to the two Kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon King of Heshbon, and to Og King of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth…we are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us.” - Josh. 9:9-11
The Gibeonites spoke to Joshua at another time, saying, “it was certainly told thy servants, how that the LORD thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the Land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the Land from before you, therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing” (Josh. 9:24). Because the Israelites were unable to break their oath of league with the Gibeonites, and by provision via the sovereignty of God, this nation of people found mercy to surrender and convert to Judaism (but they were justly required to be servants to the Israelites from generation to generation because of their wicked sins which God meant to punish them for).
Now consider this carefully, my reader. The words of the Gibeonites were no different than the words of Rahab, a citizen of the condemned City, Jericho, which was a part of the Promised Land as well. Jericho was targeted by the very same pronouncements of total annihilation, but Rahab and her family found escape and sanctuary according to the sovereign provision of God! How? She betrayed her countrymen for fear of the Israelites the same way the Gibeonites did, only without deceiving the Israelites. Instead, she cunningly deceived the citizens of Jericho. Rahab’s faith is evident in her confession when she received the two Israelite spies, saying,
“I know that the LORD hath given you the Land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the Land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two Kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side of Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” – Josh. 9:9-11
This is Rahab, the mother of Jesus (Matt. 1:5)! This is Rahab, the famed and justified believer of the doomed City, Jericho, of whom it was spoken to affirm her exemplary faith-found-righteousness: “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” (James 2:25). Hallelujah! God spared the righteous.
Evidently, and mysteriously, the sovereignty of God provided a means to escape the pronouncement of total annihilation when and if anyone fit the description; namely, the one described by the LORD when speaking of the son of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, saying, “in him is there found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the House of Jerohoam” (1 Kings 14:13). Indeed, some good thing toward the LORD was found in Rahab and the Gibeonites! In these cases God’s righteous judgment of annihilation was interrupted from its pronounced course to slay, and justly so. Even though depth of explanation was not provided, the unspoken commentary is not open to human imagination. God did, does, and will always do exactly as He has testified and exemplified in and of Himself, and He is the Unchangeable Good. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Indeed.
Therefore, in other places, like that of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), thorough examination is exemplified. Notably, Sapphira did not die for the sins of Ananias, her husband. She was questioned as an individual separate from Ananias to ensure there was personal guilt committed in the matter. With these words, Peter examined Sapphira after her husband had already died (and she knew nothing of it):
“Tell me whether ye sold the Land for so much? And she said, Yes, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost…” - Acts 5:8-10
This demonstration of morality concerning each individual’s right to due process was first written in the Law. God authored the Law, and by nature He effortlessly keeps it. The Law is His mind, the thought-process of His justice and judgment, the desires of His heart and soul. The Law is the perfect expression of God’s Moral Personality. So, what does the Law teach? In reference to rumor of a crime worthy of death, the Law stated, “And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: Then…they die” (Deut. 17:4-5). Certainly, God did not break His own Laws nor did He function contrary to His own Moral Personality when, throughout the centuries, He pronounced and executed various decrees of total annihilation upon Families, Cities, and Nations. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right” (Gen. 18:25)? Indeed, He shall, even with “all the earth” and not just the Nation of Israel!
“He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment:
a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.” – Deut. 32:4
With all things considered, we know that when the wives and or children of Korah, Dathan, Achan, Saul, the hypothetical or actual idolatrous Israelite Cities, and the various unpardonable non-Israelites Cities and Nations (Num. 16:26-32, Josh, 7:24-26, 2 Sam. 21:9, 14, Deut. 13:1-18, Ex. 17:13-16, 1 Sam. 15:2-3, 18, Deut. 20:16-18, Gen. 15:16) were individually judged by God and found guilty for the death that they suffered. We know that the judgment of total annihilation did not lack a meticulous examination of each and every individual, person by person, till all were found guilty. We know that God would have either pardoned the targeted City or Nation, or extracted the righteous individual from the target, and in the case of all the infant children that died in these scenarios, God knows what they would have done had they grown to age, and therefore their suffering of death was justly made possible by the use of divine foresight. Therefore, all in all, the LORD God of Israel was and is just and right, calculated and caring, and His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him!