Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
De 7:1-26. All Communion with the Nations Forbidden.
1. the Hittites—This people were descended from Heth, the second son of Canaan (Ge 10:15), and occupied the mountainous region about Hebron, in the south of Palestine.
the Girgashites—supposed by some to be the same as the Gergesenes (Mt 8:28), who lay to the east of Lake Gennesareth; but they are placed on the west of Jordan (Jos 24:11), and others take them for a branch of the large family of the Hivites, as they are omitted in nine out of ten places where the tribes of Canaan are enumerated; in the tenth they are mentioned, while the Hivites are not.
the Amorites—descended from the fourth son of Canaan. They occupied, besides their conquest on the Moabite territory, extensive settlements west of the Dead Sea, in the mountains.
the Canaanites—located in Ph�nicia, particularly about Tyre and Sidon, and being sprung from the oldest branch of the family of Canaan, bore his name.
the Perizzites—that is, villagers, a tribe who were dispersed throughout the country and lived in unwalled towns.
the Hivites—who dwelt about Ebal and Gerizim, extending towards Hermon. They are supposed to be the same as the Avims.
the Jebusites—resided about Jerusalem and the adjacent country.
seven nations greater and mightier than thou—Ten were formerly mentioned (Ge 15:19-21). But in the lapse of near five hundred years, it cannot be surprising that some of them had been extinguished in the many intestine feuds that prevailed among those warlike tribes. It is more than probable that some, stationed on the east of Jordan, had fallen under the victorious arms of the Israelites.
And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
2-6. thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them—This relentless doom of extermination which God denounced against those tribes of Canaan cannot be reconciled with the attributes of the divine character, except on the assumption that their gross idolatry and enormous wickedness left no reasonable hope of their repentance and amendment. If they were to be swept away like the antediluvians or the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, as incorrigible sinners who had filled up the measure of their iniquities, it mattered not to them in what way the judgment was inflicted; and God, as the Sovereign Disposer, had a right to employ any instruments that pleased Him for executing His judgments. Some think that they were to be exterminated as unprincipled usurpers of a country which God had assigned to the posterity of Eber and which had been occupied ages before by wandering shepherds of that race, till, on the migration of Jacob's family into Egypt through the pressure of famine, the Canaanites overspread the whole land, though they had no legitimate claim to it, and endeavored to retain possession of it by force. In this view their expulsion was just and proper. The strict prohibition against contracting any alliances with such infamous idolaters was a prudential rule, founded on the experience that "evil communications corrupt good manners" [1Co 15:33], and its importance or necessity was attested by the unhappy examples of Solomon and others in the subsequent history of Israel.
Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
5. thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, &c.—The removal of the temples, altars, and everything that had been enlisted in the service, or might tend to perpetuate the remembrance, of Canaanite idolatry, was likewise highly expedient for preserving the Israelites from all risk of contamination. It was imitated by the Scottish Reformers, and although many ardent lovers of architecture and the fine arts have anathematized their proceedings as vandalism, yet there was profound wisdom in the favorite maxim of Knox—"pull down the nests, and the rooks will disappear."
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
6-10. For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God—that is, set apart to the service of God, or chosen to execute the important purposes of His providence. Their selection to this high destiny was neither on account of their numerical amount (for, till after the death of Joseph, they were but a handful of people); nor because of their extraordinary merits (for they had often pursued a most perverse and unworthy conduct); but it was in consequence of the covenant or promise made with their pious forefathers; and the motives that led to that special act were such as tended not only to vindicate God's wisdom, but to illustrate His glory in diffusing the best and most precious blessings to all mankind.
The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.
Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.
11-26. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day—In the covenant into which God entered with Israel, He promised to bestow upon them a variety of blessings so long as they continued obedient to Him as their heavenly King. He pledged His veracity that His infinite perfections would be exerted for this purpose, as well as for delivering them from every evil to which, as a people, they would be exposed. That people accordingly were truly happy as a nation, and found every promise which the faithful God made to them amply fulfilled, so long as they adhered to that obedience which was required of them. See a beautiful illustration of this in Ps 144:12-15.
Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:
And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
15. the evil diseases of Egypt—(See Ex 15:26). Besides those with which Pharaoh and his subjects were visited, Egypt has always been dreadfully scourged with diseases. The testimony of Moses is confirmed by the reports of many modern writers, who tell us that, notwithstanding its equal temperature and sereneness, that country has some indigenous maladies which are very malignant, such as ophthalmia, dysentery, smallpox, and the plague.
And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.
If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?
Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;
The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid.
Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.
20. Moreover the Lord thy God will send the hornet among them—(See on Jos 24:12 [and Ex 23:28]).
Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.
And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.
22. lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee—(See on Ex 23:29). The omnipotence of their Almighty Ruler could have given them possession of the promised land at once. But, the unburied corpses of the enemy and the portions of the country that might have been left desolate for a while, would have drawn an influx of dangerous beasts. This evil would be prevented by a progressive conquest and by the use of ordinary means, which God would bless.
But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.
And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them.
The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.
Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.