And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelled on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that you might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
They served other gods - Possibly the "images," or teraphim, which we find their ancestor Laban calling "his gods" (see the marginal reference); and of which it would seem that there were, as Joshua spoke, some secret devotees among the people Joshua 24:14, Joshua 24:25. It is not stated that Abraham himself was an idolater, though his fathers were. Jewish tradition asserts that Abraham while in Ur of the Chaldees was persecuted for his abhorrence of idolatry, and hence, was called away by God from his native land. The reference in the text to the original state of those who were the forefathers of the nation, is made to show that they were no better than others: God chose them not for their excellences but of His own mere motion.
and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and which was now possessed by the two tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh:
and I destroyed them from before you; the kings, their forces, and the inhabitants of their countries; the history of which see in Numbers 21:10.And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. And I brought you] The third proof of God’s favour is here indicated; (a) the victory of the nation over the Amorites, and (b) the frustrating of Balaam’s purposed curse.
the land of the Amorites] For the meaning of this name see above, ch. Joshua 3:10. Tempted by the rich pasture lands east of the Jordan, a colony of the Amorities appears to have crossed it, and having driven the Moabites with great slaughter and the loss of many captives from the country south of the Jabbok (Numbers 21:26-29), they made the wide chasm of the Arnon file boundary of their territory. The Amorite chief Sihon made Heshbon his capital; while Og, of the giant race of the Rephaim, entrenched himself in the wonderful district called Argob, or “the stony.” See above, ch. Joshua 12:4.
and they fought with you] having refused the request of the Israelitish leader for a peaceful passage through their territory (Numbers 21:33).
I destroyed them from before you] Sihon himself, his sons, and all his people, were smitten with the sword, his walled towns were captured, and his numerous flocks and herds taken (Numbers 21:27-30), while Og was utterly routed, and his threescore cities fenced with high walls, gates and bars, besides unwalled towns a great many, fell into the hands of the Israelites (Numbers 21:33-35). Long afterwards the subjugation of these great kings, famous kings, mighty kings, was deemed worthy of being ranked with the deliverance from Egypt. See Psalm 135:10-12; Psalm 136:15-21.Verse 8. - And I brought you into the land of the Amorites (see Joshua 12:1-6; Numbers 21:21-35; Deuteronomy 2:32-36; Deuteronomy 3:1-17). Joshua 24:2-13); and then because of these divine acts he calls upon the people to renounce all idolatry, and to serve God the Lord alone (Joshua 24:14, Joshua 24:15). Jehovah is described as the "God of Israel" both at the commencement (Joshua 24:2) and also at the close of the whole transaction, in perfect accordance with the substance and object of the address, which is occupied throughout with the goodness conferred by God upon the race of Israel. The first practical proof of the grace of God towards Israel, was the calling of Abraham from his idolatrous associations, and his introduction to the land of Canaan, where the Lord so multiplied his seed, that Esau received the mountains of Seir for his family, whilst Jacob went into Egypt with his sons.
(Note: "He commences with their gratuitous training, by which God had precluded them from the possibility of boasting of any pre-eminence or merit. For God had bound them to himself by a closer bond, because when they were on an equality with others, He drew them to himself to be His own peculiar people, for no other reason than His own good pleasure. Moreover, in order that it may be clearly seen that they have nothing whereof to glory, he leads them back to their earliest origin, and relates how their fathers had dwelt in Chaldaea, worshipping idols in common with the rest, and with nothing to distinguish them from the crowd." - Calvin.)
The ancestors of Israel dwelt "from eternity," i.e., from time immemorial, on the other side of the stream (the Euphrates), viz., in Ur of the Chaldees, and then at Haran in Mesopotamia (Genesis 11:28, Genesis 11:31), namely Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor. Of Terah's three sons (Genesis 11:27), Nahor is mentioned as well as Abraham, because Rebekah, and her nieces Leah and Rachel, the tribe-mothers of Israel, were descended from him (Genesis 22:23; Genesis 29:10, Genesis 29:16.). And they (your fathers, Terah and his family) served other gods than Jehovah, who revealed himself to Abraham, and brought him from his father's house to Canaan. Nothing definite can be gathered from the expression "other gods," with reference to the gods worshipped by Terah and his family; nor is there anything further to be found respecting them throughout the whole of the Old Testament. We simply learn from Genesis 31:19, Genesis 31:34, that Laban had teraphim, i.e., penates, or household and oracular gods.
(Note: According to one tradition, Abraham was brought up in Sabaeism in his father's house (see Hottinger, Histor. Orient. p. 246, and Philo, in several passages of his works); and according to another, in the Targum Jonathan on Genesis 11:23, and in the later Rabbins, Abraham had to suffer persecution on account of his dislike to idolatry, and was obliged to leave his native land in consequence. But these traditions are both of them nothing more than conjectures by the later Rabbins.)
The question also, whether Abraham was an idolater before his call, which has been answered in different ways, cannot be determined with certainty. We may conjecture, however, that he was not deeply sunk in idolatry, though he had not remained entirely free from it in his father's house; and therefore that his call is not to be regarded as a reward for his righteousness before God, but as an act of free unmerited grace.
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