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Why Were 7 Nations Driven Out Before the Israelites?



Which Were These Seven Nations?

Why Did God Cast Out These Nations and Commanded Them to be Utterly Destroyed?

Were All the Seven Nations Destroyed?


When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you go to possess it, and casts out many nations before you, the Hittite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than you; and when the LORD your God delivers them up before you, and you strike them; then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them, nor show mercy to them. Deuteronomy 7:1-2

When God led Israel into the Promised Land, He commanded them to drive out seven greater and mightier nations inhabiting the place. In addition, the Israelites must destroy them utterly, and show no mercy nor make any covenant with them.


Why was God so severe with these nations? Let us first take a look at the 7 nations that God commanded the Israelites to destroy.


Which Were These Seven Nations?


1. Hittite

First mention of Hittite in the Bible was when Abraham bought a piece of land to bury his wife Sarah from a Hittite in the land of Canaan. Since Abraham first spoke to the sons of Heth about this proposal, it is believed that Hittite is a descendent of Heth. Heth is the second son of Canaan, the son of Ham .

And Canaan begat Sidon his first born, and Heth, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgashite, and the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, and the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. Genesis 10:15-18

2. Girgashite

Little was mentioned about Girgashite in the Bible, except that Girgashite is one of the sons of Canaan, the son of Ham. According to Jewish Midrash tradition, the Girgashites may have left Canaan when they heard Israel coming and went to Africa. This might explain why little was mentioned about them in the rest of the Bible..


3. Amorite

Amorite is also a son of Canaan, the son of Ham. This name means "highlanders", or "hillman". On the early Babylonian monuments, all Syria, including Palestine, is known as "the land of the Amorites." The five kings of the Amorites were defeated with great slaughter by Joshua (Joshua 10:10 ).


4. Canaanite

Canaanite refers to a group of people residing in the Land of Canaan. They were also mostly descendants of Canaan the son of Ham, even though it was not specifically mentioned which son(s) of Canaan were their fathers.


5. Perizzite

Perizzite is one of the nations that Joshua fought with and defeated when Israelites entered the Promised Land. However, unlike the other nations, its name was not listed as one of the sons of Canaan, the son of Ham. However, apparently they were not utterly destroyed as God commanded Judah to slew the Perizzites and Canaanites in Bezek after the death of Joshua (Judges 1:4-5).


6. Hivite

Hivite is also a son of Canaan, the son of Ham. The name "Hivite" is interpreted as "midlanders" or "villagers".


7. Jebusite

Jebusite is also a son of Canaan, the son of Ham. The Jebusites were inhabitants of Jerusalem, which was called "Jebus" at that time. The children of Israel were not able to totally remove them, and they therefore dwelt in Jerusalem together (Joshua 15:63). When David defeated the city of Jebus, he made Jerusalem the capital of Israel. (2 Samuel 5-10)



Why Did God Cast Out These Nations and Commanded Them to be Utterly Destroyed?


Although not written in the Bible, it was recorded in other Jewish literature that after the Flood, God divided the land among the three sons of Noah. Shem was given the middle portion, Ham the southern portion, and Japheth the northern portion. The Land of Canaan belongs to Shem, but Canaan the son of Ham took it by force. Since Abraham is a descendent of Shem, God commanded his descendants the Israelites to cast them out and take back the Land.


It was also recorded that the Canaanites were very wicked people. They worshipped idols and practiced child sacrifice. In addition, when Moses sent 12 men to spy the Land of Canaan, they reported that the people there were of a great stature, and there were also giants there, in front of whom the Israelites were like grasshoppers (Numbers 13:32-33). Their description resembles the Bible's description of Nephilims which were born from the intermarriage between sons of God and the daughters of man. In the Book of Enoch, it was recorded that God was displeased, and commanded the Nephilims to be utterly destroyed.


Were All the Seven Nations Destroyed?


Apparently not, as some of these nations were still mentioned in later parts of the Bible. In fact, it was recorded in the Book of Judges that, the sons of Israel dwelt among these nations, got married with them and worshipped their gods, which eventually led to their downfall.

And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites. And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. Judges 4:5-6
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