Were seven nations really destroyed by the Israelites in the land of Canaan?
by Robert Randle
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It has been presumed that the Israelites defeated seven major powers or nations in the land of Canaan before they could possess it, but is this really the case? There were certainly military battles in which the 12 tribes were successful, for the most part, but they did not utterly defeat or drive out all the inhabitants of the land as they were supposed to. In fact, some of these very nations were left intact to test Israel, whether they would follow God’s Law or not.
Genesis 15: 18-21
On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given [will give??] this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates- the Kenites (Cp. Judges 4: 11), Kenezzites, Kadmonites, Hittites [Hivites-Cp. 34: 2a??], Perizzites, Rephaim [Cp. 14: 5b; in Ashteroth Karnaim], Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
Exodus 23: 23
For My Angel will go before you and bring you in to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites and the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off.
NOTE: SEE Joshua 11: 3.
Deuteronomy 7: 1
When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you.
Joshua 24: 11
Then you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho. And the men of Jericho fought against you- also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I delivered them into your hand.
Judges 1: 8
Now the children of Judah fought against Jerusalem [the Jebusites??] and took it; they struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire.
And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who dwelt in the mountains, in the South [NEGEB], and in the lowland [Valley or plains??]. Then Judah went against the Canaanites who dwelt in Hebron (now the name of Hebron was formerly Kirjath Arba.) And they killed Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. From there they went against the inhabitants of Debir. (The name of Debir was formerly Kirjath Sepher.)
And Judah went with his brother Simeon, and they attacked the Canaanites who inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. So the name of the city was called Hormah. Also Judah took Gaza with its territory, Ashkelon with its territory, and Ekron with its territory.
So the LORD was with Judah. And they drove out the mountaineers [who were they??] but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the lowlands, because they had chariots of iron.
But the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem; so the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day (Cp. Joshua 15: 63).
However, Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in the land.
Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; so the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them [to this day??].
Nor did Ephraim drive out the inhabitants of Kitron or the inhabitants of Nahalol; so the Canaanites dwelt among them, and were put under tribute.
Nor did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Acco or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob. So the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.
Nor did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh of the inhabitants of Beth Anath; but they dwell among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land. Nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath were put under tribute to them.
And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountains, for they would not allow them to come down to the valley. And the Amorites were determined to dwell in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim; yet when the strength of the house of Joseph [not Dan??] increased, they were put under tribute. Now the boundary of the Amorites was from the Ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela, and upward.
*3: 1a, 3*
Now these are the nations which the LORD left, that He might test [prove] Israel by them, namely, five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwell in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath (Cp. Joshua 13: 1-6).
Thus the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And they took their daughters to be wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods (Cp. Ezra 9: 1-2).
2 Chronicles 8: 7-8
All the people who were left of the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, who were not of Israel- that is, their descendants who were left in the land after them, whom the children of Israel did not destroy- from these Solomon raised forced labor, as it is to this day.
2 Kings 23: 27
And the LORD said, “I will also remove Judah from my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’ “
*Deuteronomy 29: 27*
Therefore, the anger of the LORD burned against that land, to bring upon it every curse which is written in this book; and the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger and in fury and in great wrath, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.
NOTE: Very significant because it seems to suggest a later period for the writing during either the Babylonian/Assyrian captivity or afterward (Cp. 2 Kings 23: 26-27; 24: 2-4, 20a). Due to Israel's continual rebellion and idolatry the LORD caused them to be removed as captives of war, first the 10 Northern tribes into Assyria and then the 2 remaining Southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin are taken to Babylon from the very land that He promised them as an inheritance.
Acts 13: 19
And when He [God] had destroyed “seven” nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment (Cp. Deuteronomy 7: 1).
To reiterate: Rav Shaul’s [Apostle Paul] discourse at the Pisidian Antioch synagogue, although symbolically meaningful [the number “seven”], nonetheless the Scriptures [TANAKH] do not reveal those specific nations were completely driven out before the Israelites but on the contrary, lived among them and their children intermarried; proving to be snare throughout their generations.
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Interesting. It makes me want to know the significance and/or symbolism of the nations that were (semi) conquered.