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Deuteronomy 7:1

Context
The Dispossession of Nonvassals

7:1 When the Lord your God brings you to the land that you are going to occupy and forces out many nations before you – Hittites, 1  Girgashites, 2  Amorites, 3  Canaanites, 4  Perizzites, 5  Hivites, 6  and Jebusites, 7  seven 8  nations more numerous and powerful than you –

1 sn Hittites. The center of Hittite power was in Anatolia (central modern Turkey). In the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200 b.c.) they were at their zenith, establishing outposts and colonies near and far. Some elements were obviously in Canaan at the time of the Conquest (1400-1350 b.c.).

2 sn Girgashites. These cannot be ethnically identified and are unknown outside the OT. They usually appear in such lists only when the intention is to have seven groups in all (see also the note on the word “seven” later in this verse).

3 sn Amorites. Originally from the upper Euphrates region (Amurru), the Amorites appear to have migrated into Canaan beginning in 2200 b.c. or thereabouts.

4 sn Canaanites. These were the indigenous peoples of the land, going back to the beginning of recorded history (ca. 3000 b.c.). The OT identifies them as descendants of Ham (Gen 10:6), the only Hamites to have settled north and east of Egypt.

5 sn Perizzites. This is probably a subgroup of Canaanites (Gen 13:7; 34:30).

6 sn Hivites. These are usually thought to be the same as the Hurrians, a people well-known in ancient Near Eastern texts. They are likely identical to the Horites (see note on the term “Horites” in Deut 2:12).

7 sn Jebusites. These inhabited the hill country, particularly in and about Jerusalem (cf. Num 13:29; Josh 15:8; 2 Sam 5:6; 24:16).

8 sn Seven. This is an ideal number in the OT, one symbolizing fullness or completeness. Therefore, the intent of the text here is not to be precise and list all of Israel’s enemies but simply to state that Israel will have a full complement of foes to deal with. For other lists of Canaanites, some with fewer than seven peoples, see Exod 3:8; 13:5; 23:23, 28; 33:2; 34:11; Deut 20:17; Josh 3:10; 9:1; 24:11. Moreover, the “Table of Nations” (Gen 10:15-19) suggests that all of these (possibly excepting the Perizzites) were offspring of Canaan and therefore Canaanites.



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