Deuteronomy 2:23
And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, the Caphtorims, which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.)
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(23) The Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, the Caphtorims . . . destroyed.—“In Hazerim” should apparently be rendered “in villages.” It does not occur elsewhere as a proper name; it is plural in form, and is found in this sense in some other places. “Azzah,” i.e., Gaza. The Caphtorim: comp. Amos 9:7 : “The Philistines from Caphtor.” (See Genesis 10:14.) Some make the country of Caphtor to be Cyprus or Crete. But at least this statement makes Philistia the scene of a conquest, and the Philistines of the time of Joshua would thus appear to be a mixed race.

Deuteronomy 2:23. And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim — This is another instance of God’s disposal of countries unto what people he pleases. The Avims are mentioned Joshua 13:3, as the ancient inhabitants of Palestine. The Caphtorims — A people akin to, or a branch of, the Philistines, so called, probably, from their founder, who settled in Caphtor, a country in or about Egypt, see Genesis 10:14. By producing these instances of God’s displacing one people, and settling another in their stead, Moses designed to strengthen the faith of the Israelites in the divine promise of giving them the victory over all their enemies, and settling them in the land of Canaan.

2:8-23 We have the origin of the Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites. Moses also gives an instance older than any of these; the Caphtorims drove the Avims out of their country. These revolutions show what uncertain things wordly possessions are. It was so of old, and ever will be so. Families decline, and from them estates are transferred to families that increase; so little continuance is there in these things. This is recorded to encourage the children of Israel. If the providence of God has done this for Moabites and Ammonites, much more would his promise do it for Israel, his peculiar people. Cautions are given not to meddle with Moabites and Ammonites. Even wicked men must not be wronged. God gives and preserves outward blessings to wicked men; these are not the best things, he has better in store for his own children.The Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah - Read (Gaza, of which Azzah is the Hebrew form. "Hazerim" is not strictly a proper name, but means "villages," or "enclosures," probably such as are still common in the East. The Avims are no doubt identical with the Avites of Joshua 13:3, and were doubtless a scattered remnant of a people conquered by the Caphtorim (Genesis 10:14 note) and living in their "enclosures" in the neighborhood of Gerar. The word, which means "ruins," seems itself expressive of their fallen state. 19-37. when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them—The Ammonites, being kindred to the Moabites, were, from regard to the memory of their common ancestor, to remain undisturbed by the Israelites. The territory of this people had been directly north from that of Moab. It extended as far as the Jabbok, having been taken by them from a number of small Canaanitish tribes, namely, the Zamzummins, a bullying, presumptuous band of giants, as their name indicates; and the Avims, the aborigines of the district extending from Hazerim or Hazeroth (El Hudhera) even unto Azzah (Gaza), but of which they had been dispossessed by the Caphtorim (Philistines), who came out of Caphtor (Lower Egypt) and settled in the western coast of Palestine. The limits of the Ammonites were now compressed; but they still possessed the mountainous region beyond the Jabbok (Jos 11:2). What a strange insight does this parenthesis of four verses give into the early history of Palestine! How many successive wars of conquest had swept over its early state—what changes of dynasty among the Canaanitish tribes had taken place long prior to the transactions recorded in this history! Caphtorims, a people akin to the Philistines, Genesis 10:14, and confederate with them in this enterprise, and so dwelling together, and by degrees were probably united together by marriages or other ways, and became one people, the Caphtorims being at last swallowed up in the Philistines. See Jeremiah 47:4 Amos 9:7.

Caphtor is by the learned thought to be Cappadocia; whither these people might make an expedition out of Egypt, either because of the report of the great riches of part of that country, which drew others thither from places equally remote, or after the manner of those ancient times, or for some other reason now unknown.

And the Avim, which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah,.... The same with the Avites, who appear to have inhabited some part of the land of the Philistines, in which Azzah or Gaza was, which was one of the five lordships of the Philistines, Joshua 13:3. The word Hazerim signifies courts, and a learned man (e) interprets it of tents or huts placed in a square or circular form, so as to have an area in the middle; and in such the Avim may be supposed to dwell, while in Palestine, as far as Gaza:

the Caphtorim, which came from out of Caphtor, destroyed them; according to the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, and the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, these were Cappadocians, that came out of Cappadocia; but it seems manifest that they were originally of Egypt, see Genesis 10:14 and Bochart (f) thinks they went from thence into that part of Cappadocia that was near Colchis; but things not answering their expectations, they returned, and drove out the Avim from their country:

and dwelt in their stead; See Gill on Jeremiah 47:4, Amos 9:7. Though it seems as if they were not utterly destroyed, but some escaped into Assyria, and settled there, where was a place called Ava from them; and from whence they were sent by the king of Assyria to repeople the cities of Samaria, after the captivity of the ten tribes; see 2 Kings 17:24. Now these several instances are observed to encourage the children of Israel to hope and believe that they should be able to dispossess the Canaanites, and inherit their land; such dispossessions having been very frequent, when it was the will of God they should take place.

(e) Clayton's Chronology of the Hebrew Bible, p. 65. (f) Phaleg. l. 4. c. 32. col. 291, 292.

And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, the Caphtorims, which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.)
Verse 23. - So also the Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor (Genesis 10:14), probably the island of Crete (Ritter, 3:262), drove out the Avim, a Canaanitish race, who dwelt in villages (Hazerim, חֲצֵרִים) as far as Gaza (Azzah), and took possession of their land; though it would appear some of them still remained among the Philistines (who were Caphtorites, Amos 9:7; Jeremiah 47:4), and were among the tribes not subdued by the Israelites under Joshua (Joshua 13:3). These Caphtorim were, like the Israelites, immigrants, who drove out the original occupants of the country; and on this account, probably, are referred to by Moses here. "This is so often repeated, to possess the minds of the Israelites with a sense of God's providence, which rules everywhere; displacing one people, and settling another in their stead, and fixing their bounds, also, which they shall not pass without leave" (Patrick). Deuteronomy 2:23As the Horites had been exterminated by the Edomites, so were the Avvaeans (Avvim), who dwelt in farms (villages) at the south-west corner of Canaan, as far as Gaza, driven out of their possessions and exterminated by the Caphtorites, who sprang from Caphtor (see at Genesis 10:14), although, according to Joshua 13:3, some remnants of them were to be found among the Philistines even at that time. This notice appears to be attached to the foregoing remarks simply on account of the substantial analogy between them, without there being any intention to imply that the Israelites were to assume the same attitude towards the Caphtorites, who afterwards rose up in the persons of the Philistines, as towards the descendants of Esau and Lot.
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