After dozens of major media outlets published stories last week gleefully citing a scientific report claiming to “disprove” the Biblical account of the Canaanite people, at least one mainstream site has been forced to issue a retraction as it quickly became clear that the “debunking” was itself a hoax.
The story first broke after an archaeological research team published a scientific paper on July 27 proving that today’s modern-day Lebanese are the genetic descendents of the ancient Canaanite people. Using DNA extracted from two skeletons found in Sidon, Lebanon, the study traced the migration of the Canaanites from the land of Israel to Lebanon and concluded that their findings disproved the Biblical account in which God commands the Israelites to destroy the pagan people.
In the towns of the latter peoples, however, which Hashem your God is giving you as a heritage, you shall not let a soul remain alive. No, you must proscribe them—the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites—as Hashem your God has commanded you. Deuteronomy 20:16
Mainstream media immediately seized on the story, publishing such “gotcha” headlines as “Study disproves the Bible’s suggestion that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out” (The Telegraph), “The Bible was WRONG: Civilisation God ordered to be KILLED still live and kicking” (Express), “New DNA study casts doubt on Bible claim” (Mother Nature Network), and dozens more. None of the stories’ authors bothered to check their Bibles first.
Breaking Israel News immediately investigated the veracity of the anti-Bible claim. After consulting rabbis – and the Bible itself – BIN published a story revealing that the “debunking” was little more than anti-religious media bias chomping at the bit.
Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific author and end-of-days expert, explained to Breaking Israel News that, contrary to the media’s claims, the story actually proves the Bible’s accuracy.
“Despite the Torah commandment, even in Biblical times, the Canaanites were not wiped out,” Rabbi Winston said. He was able to point to several Bible verses which state this explicitly.
When the Israelites became stronger, they imposed tribute on the Canaanites; but they did not dispossess them. Joshua 17:12
“The Israelites were permitted to make deals with them, allowing them to remain in the land as slaves. And if they fled outside of Israel, there was no requirement to chase them down,” the rabbi continued. In fact, the Book of Judges states that the Canaanites “persisted in dwelling in this region” – precisely the claim made by the DNA study.
The Breaking Israel News story was picked up by several other media outlets, including Christian Breaking News. Archaeology website Ancient Origins cited BIN’s report to raise questions on the claims of the DNA study, and a number of other Bible-conscious sites published similar stories.
A few days after running its original story, British news outlet The Telegraph publicly acknowledged its mistake, adding a correction beneath its article reading, “The original version of this story erroneously said the Bible claimed the Canaanites were wiped. However, elsewhere in the Bible, it says the elimination was not successful.”
Similarly, Science website added a disclaimer beneath its own article which stated that its version of the story and headline “have been updated to reflect that in the Bible, God ordered the destruction of the Canaanites, but that some cities and people may have survived.”
In the Christian Post, author and radio personality Michael Brown said it best, writing of the shameful misreporting, ”You don’t need to be a Bible scholar to figure this out. You don’t even need to read the Hebrew language. Any English Bible will do. The story is forthright and clear.
“The headlines should have read, ‘DNA Confirms the Bible.'”