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 – 7:2 and he 9 delivers them over to you and you attack them, you must utterly annihilate 10 them. Make no treaty 11 with them and show them no mercy! 7:3 You must not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 7:4 for they will turn your sons away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the Lord will erupt against you and he will quickly destroy you. 7:5 Instead, this is what you must do to them: You must tear down their altars, shatter their sacred pillars, 12 cut down their sacred Asherah poles, 13 and burn up their idols. 7:6 For you are a people holy 14 to the Lord your God. He 15 has chosen you to be his people, prized 16 above all others on the face of the earth.
1 sn Hittites. The center of Hittite power was in Anatolia (central modern Turkey). In the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200
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
4 sn Canaanites. These were the indigenous peoples of the land, going back to the beginning of recorded history (ca. 3000
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).
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.
9 tn Heb “the
10 tn In the Hebrew text the infinitive absolute before the finite verb emphasizes the statement. The imperfect has an obligatory nuance here. Cf. ASV “shalt (must NRSV) utterly destroy them”; CEV “must destroy them without mercy.”
11 tn Heb “covenant” (so NASB, NRSV); TEV “alliance.”
12 sn Sacred pillars. The Hebrew word (מַצֵּבֹת, matsevot) denotes a standing pillar, usually made of stone. Its purpose was to mark the presence of a shrine or altar thought to have been visited by deity. Though sometimes associated with pure worship of the
13 sn Sacred Asherah poles. A leading deity of the Canaanite pantheon was Asherah, wife/sister of El and goddess of fertility. She was commonly worshiped at shrines in or near groves of evergreen trees, or, failing that, at places marked by wooden poles (Hebrew אֲשֵׁרִים [’asherim], as here). They were to be burned or cut down (Deut 12:3; 16:21; Judg 6:25, 28, 30; 2 Kgs 18:4).
14 tn That is, “set apart.”
15 tn Heb “the
16 tn Or “treasured” (so NIV, NRSV); NLT “his own special treasure.” The Hebrew term סְגֻלָּה (sÿgullah) describes Israel as God’s choice people, those whom he elected and who are most precious to him (cf. Exod 19:4-6; Deut 14:2; 26:18; 1 Chr 29:3; Ps 135:4; Eccl 2:8 Mal 3:17). See E. Carpenter, NIDOTTE 3:224.