The Book of Joshua | Part Five
According to the biblical book named after him, Joshua was the personally appointed successor to Moses (Deuteronomy 31:1–8; 34:9) and a charismatic warrior who led Israel in the conquest of Canaan after the Exodus from Egypt. After sending spies into Canaan to report on the enemy’s morale, Joshua led the Israelites in an invasion across the Jordan River. He took the important city of Jericho and then captured other towns in the north and south until most of Palestine was brought under Israelite control. He divided the conquered lands among the 12 tribes of Israel and then bade farewell to his people (Joshua 23), admonishing them to be loyal to the God of the covenant.
The destruction of the Canaanite tribes.
Who were the Canaanites?
Hittite: means terror or snatchers of strength, Uriah was a Hittite. Fear, discouragement, false reasoning thru earthly wisdom, which stops us repenting. In Gen28v8 Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan were evil in the eyes of his father ( his mother was not as sensitive having grown up around Laban) and took wives from the Hitites, Beeri and Basemath, Gen 26v34. If this was not enough to hurt his father, he went to Ishmael and took wives.
Hivites; vain, needless talking, vain thoughts unnecessary disputes. Collective dwellers. Shechem the rapist of Dinah. The Gibeonites that tricked Israel, Joshua 9v 7, repaying the guile shown by the sons of Jacob against Shechem.
Gergashites; dwellers in clay soil, to drag away in a circular motion, like chewing the cud, ie: repeated provocation, bestial lusts.
Canaanite; multiple cares, exploitive, railing against purity, merchants, bundle or pack, a servant to everyone.
Perizites; rude, careless no restraint, wilding, rural, also to go beyond set limits or boundaries of restrant.
Jebusites; trample down with effect to destruction.
Amorites: arrogant and boastful in their speech, always finding fault with others.
What did G-d think, Let’s get a description from G himself of the C, Deut12v28 to 31.
Where did these tribes come from?
Gen 9v 25,26,27, Ham (meaning Hot, rage, wrath (Deut 29v27) or Black, this would be of the personality not necessarily the skin. (gen 9v19)).
Ham was given Africa, Japheth Europe and Shem Asia, according to Abarbanal. So, what were the C doing in Asia? The Canaanites invaded the lower Levant in anticipation of the arrival of Abraham. The Impeder,(Stn) wanting to interrupt the possibility of tikkun and redemption is shown by the statement, that interrupts the narrative, “the Canaanite were in the land”. Rashi
See page 437 Beresheit commentary Gen 12v6, Lech Lecha Vol 1a.
The C ,the offspring of Ham, came to impede the offspring of Shem.
In Maimonides list of 613 mitzvot, 514 A Canaanite slave (Lev25v46), 596(Deut20v17) and 597(Deut20v16) “ Not to let any remain alive” and to utterly destroy the C.
Why was Canaan cursed?
Why was C cursed and not H? What G has blessed cannot be cursed, see Balaam Num 22v12.
The constant mentioning of Ham as the father of Canaan , (Gen 9v18 and 9 verse 22 and 10 verse 6) implied incest, according to R Shlomo Kluger.
In Lev 18v6, Lev20 v 11, sleeping with the father’s wife (who was of the line of Cain!), uncovers his father’s nakedness. Ham slept with his mother and when Noah found out or realised, he cursed C. See also, Hab 2v15 on drunk and nakedness. See Gen 9v22 Bereshiet comm. Page 302, Rav Shlomo Kluger. Vol 1a
Now contrast the sons. Shem led the way, doing the modest thing and covered nakedness and hid shame and G encouraged modesty in his offspring, Ham exposed nakedness and encouraged lewdness in his offspring. The blessing for Japheth will be expansion of his offspring, while learning Torah in the tents of Shem.
What is in a name? It is your destiny and status. Gen2v19, what the animals were called by Adam was its essence. Changing your name, with prayer and deep searching and thought, can change your destiny, A Midrashic interpretation by Rabbi Chaim Goldberg, Go out of your astrology! gen 17v5 supported by Radak, Chizuni Berachos 13a and Rashi.
Abrahams sign of the agreement and his new beginning was circumcision of the body and the heart. See also Jer4v4.
In Gen 18 v 23 to 32, Abraham bargained for the righteous in the 5 cities and G said if He finds 50, He would not destroy the whole for the sake of the righteous. That is, 10 righteous in each city, i.e. a minyan. When G said to destroy the cities of the Jordan valley, also known as the ‘oval’ or the ‘disk’,( now known as the salt sea), there was not enough righteous in all the cities to save them. (Daas Zekeinim). In Cli Yakar, page 411 note 827, if there were righteous within a nation or city that were generally known to be evil, regarding the destruction of the whole nation (ie the righteous with the evil), ”They (the righteous amongst the nation), did not protest enough”. Even going on to say that it is “reasonable that all are ensnared!”
What did the Canaanites represent?
As the patriarchs have traits and attributes, so the 7 nations seek to pass on their inherited pathological hatred of Jacob’s descendants, because they now can’t build a tower high enough to fight G-d. The C were a spiritual force with types of personalities as the different names mean differing negative traits. The tribes were the offspring of Canaan Gen 10v15. The fathers passed on those traits that their name and their actions show.
This was the inheritance of Ham thru C to the world.
Remember the world wants to make a name for itself. (see the tower of Babel),
The Romans had a saying, Nomen est Omen, that the name given to the child or thing was its destiny.
Now contrast this with A out of Shem. A didn’t want to make a name for himself and even married the wife of a dead brother (Levirate)! His name would be covered by another.
Abrahams desires for riches and pleasures of this world withered as he advanced further in to the holiness of G-d’s land., Beresheit comm, page 376. An overview of the Patriarchs Vol 1a.
Gen26v5. A called G master and accepted the yoke of the Kingship of G. Contrast A’s behaviour to the C behaviour in the land. In Deut 32v17 and ibid v21, “Idols are Demons….and non-gods”. Also Gen20v11 there is no fear of G in this place.
The land of Israel is sensitized by its elevation of purpose and so reacts.
Ramban wrote, “The holier the place is, the more desecrated it can become”.
Cain was forced out of the land by his actions, and from the presence of G, Gen 4v16.
In Lev 18 v 1 to 25, we see the lands reaction to the government of C.
So do not imitate them Lev 18v 26 to 30.
The seven nations were to be destroyed and their form of government, therefore No peace and no treaties.
But, utterly destroy them?
However, there were degrees of conduct of this genocide. In destruction G shows mercy even for the trees. Dead bodies, seemingly abandoned, had to be cared for by the nearest cities. This was no ‘Scorched Earth’ policy. Responsibility even during the chaos of war, was expected. See Deut20 v 19 and 20; Deut21 v 1 to 9.
Take away the power of the Canaanites over you and your future.
Why only males destroyed in remote areas? This takes away power and dominion from the nation and by submitting they would find favour, but not as allies, where they would have power to influence contrary to G.
What then is the meaning of, “you shall save none alive that breathes”, If G told them to destroy the C why the injunction to not intermarry? G-d knew that some would survive thru trickery or submission.
Reason given for not intermarrying? They will turn your children from Hashem. Duet 7 v11 and Jer 18v 7,8
If they did not repent when at war, they were to be destroyed Duet 20v 16,17.
So if David, the house of Joseph, Solomon let these people live, wasn’t it their form of Government, with its laws, business-conduct, society, education and most importantly, Religion; that was to be destroyed not necessarily the people?
So, their nationhood was to be taken away, so as not to teach the Jews. So that they had no power to influence. They were to be conquered and reduced.
Why didn’t G remove the C by his own action in anticipation of the coming of A?
Why not thru natural disasters, famines or sickness?
It is to make clear to humans that it is G that is doing it. Natural disasters could be attributed to idols or the displeasure of some entity or just a force like evolution. It will not be a clear statement. The same can be said of the disasters put on the Egyptians. If the clash between Moses and Pharaoh was not publicly declared. A Pantheon of gods may have been responsible.
The nations around clearly saw what G had done for the Jews, through Moses. Also by giving the commission to the Jews (for the destruction of the C), G was making it clear to the Jews, what he was going to do for them and for their future. Establishing them as His inheritance.
But why so violent? Why total destruction?
Deut 13v11, For the false prophet or dreamer sought to make you stray from being near to Hashem your G.
When Lot parted from A, G spoke to him showing that the presence of the unrighteous subsumes the closeness of G. Gen12v7, See Rashi, Bertinoro Akiedas Yitzak.
What does this mean for us today?
Duet 7v22, Little by little. This explains the warning for not intermarrying and this is how we are conduct our lives.
It is important to not go beyond what G-d has worked in us at the present. Thinking that we can live life unguarded and untested. Rather than ‘attacking Ai’ with no stock-take of our sins or anything unrepented, with disastrous effects and trying to advance in our lives too fast, “biting off more than we can chew”.
We can see how the little by little approach and how we must apply the principles seen in Jewish mitzvot and Halacha for Noahides, is where we start. Ex 22v20.
Idols of past desires are to be removed, so that even the gold is to be detested (Chareem) Deut 7v26.
Those who would be righteous must be separate and distinct.
The outside of a sealed wine bottle touched by a non- Jew cannot be used?!!! See www.dailyhalacha.com/m/halacha.aspx?id=3477.
The underlying issue is that an enactment was put in place in Talmudic times to prevent Yayin Nesech, wine used for idolatrous purposes. The Jew did not know whether the gentile serving you wine is not going to engage in idolatry. Rashi relayed that the main reason, originating in the Talmud, was “because of their daughters,” meaning that if you drink wine with a goy, you’ll soon become friends with him, and before you know it, your son will be married to his daughter, and the offspring of this union will not be Jewish.
So we look to the principle of separation from evil influences.
Today who is Canaan and how can we destroy these influences?
So, what do they represent for us? There is 7 things God hates, Proverbs 6 v 16 to 19. Sounds like the Canaanites, yes?
In this time of Elul, we must start with our own sphere of influence, ourselves, our core, according to Rabbi Shimeon Cowen. And not be like the people of Malachi who asked, “how have we offended G-d”?
But confronting our own egos who tell us that, ‘do we really need to repent?’
Malachi 2 v16 if you cover hatred like a garment. You are lying to yourself and G. It is a thin veil to your true feelings.
Righteousness cannot go out to influence our land unless we are First, right with our neighbours, then with our G.
Do we want Messiahs government to come hard, like Mal 3 infers? Our lives can affect the method of his coming.
A mature approach to our repentance, little by little, R Mizrachi relates to daily baby steps, if we sinned 90 times yesterday, 89 times today. Declare Victory!
So why does evil seem to reign?
The fisherman’s tale. A fisherman had the smallest and oldest boat, but his catch always sold the fastest. He had no ice or refrigeration, the catch was just put into a tank of water in the boat and he sold straight out of the boat on the dock. The trick was, he put a catfish amongst the catch! The catfish being territorial chased the catch around and around they had no rest. The catch were as vital and fresh as the moment they were caught. So it is with us. Evil is left in the world to keep us vital and fresh for the best usage of Hashem.
For use if time.
Page 30, points 4 and 7 , ‘Paths of the righteous gentile’.
If you are still not sure how to perform Teshuva, Deut 30 v 1 to 4. Reference to Noahides.
General reference to :
‘A dissertation on the destruction of the seven nations of Canaan’ Robert Jameson, 1793.
Big help from Ross Bearden, Esq.