The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The land of the south.—Better, of the south country, or the Negeb. See Genesis 36:12, and also Numbers 13:17 of this Num. and Note.Numbers 14:25 note.
The Canaanites - i. e. those of the Phoenician race: the word is here used in its narrow sense: compare Genesis 10:15-18 note.
Hittites … dwell in the mountains—Their settlements were in the southern and mountainous part of Palestine (Ge 23:7).
the Canaanites dwell by the sea—The remnant of the original inhabitants, who had been dispossessed by the Philistines, were divided into two nomadic hordes—one settled eastward near the Jordan; the other westward, by the Mediterranean.The south, where we are to enter the land; and they who were so eager and fierce against us that they came into the wilderness to fight with us, will without doubt oppose us when we come close by their land, and are about to settle in their neighbourhood, the rather, to revenge themselves for their former loss and shame received by us. Therefore they mention them, though they were no Canaanites.
In the mountains, i.e. in the mountainous country in the south-east part of the land; so that you cannot enter there without great difficulty, both because of the noted strength and valour of those people, and because of the advantage they have from the mountains.
By the sea; not the midland sea, which is commonly understood by that expression, but the Salt or Dead Sea, as appears,
1. Because it is that sea which is next to Jordan, as here follows.
2. Because the Canaanites dwelt principally in those parts, and not near the midland sea. So these guard the entrance on the east side, as the others do on the south. Exodus 17:8; and friends to the Canaanites, they would no doubt oppose their passage into their land, as they did, Numbers 14:43; this is one difficulty in the way of possessing the land hinted at, others follow:
and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains; and guard the passes there; so that should they escape the Amalekites, or get the better of them, they would not be able to pass the mountains, being so well inhabited and defended; the Hittites seem to dwell about Mount Lebanon, Joshua 1:4; the Jebusites inhabited the mountains about Jerusalem, and that itself, which was called by them Jebus, and from which they were not dispossessed until the times of David, 1 Chronicles 11:4; and the Amorites were possessed of the mountain which was on the borders of the land, next to the place where Israel now were, Deuteronomy 1:20,
and the Canaanites dwell by the sea; these dwelt both on the east and on the west of the land, Joshua 11:3; so that the western Canaanites dwelt on the shore of the Mediterranean sea, which is often put for the west in Scripture; and the eastern Canaanites dwelt by the Dead sea, or by the sea of Tiberias, called sometimes the lake of Gennesaret, and seems the rather to be meant here by what follows:
and by the coast of Jordan; so that this river was not passable by them; for by all this they would suggest that all avenues and passes were stopped up, so that it was a vain thing to attempt entrance into the land, or to expect ever to possess it.The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)29. Apparently a parenthesis by the narrator or compiler, enumerating the inhabitants who occupied respectively (1) the Negeb, (2) the central hills of Palestine and (3) the western coast-lands, and the Jordan valley. See on Numbers 14:25.Verse 29. - The Amalekites. These descendants of Esau (see on Genesis 36:12) formed wild roving bands, which (like the Bedouins of the present day) infested rather than inhabited the whole country between Judaea and Egypt, including the Negeb. They are not numbered among the inhabitants of Canaan proper. The Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. It is not easy to say in what sense the word "Canaanites" is used here. At one time it is the name of one tribe amongst many, all descended from Canaan, the son of Ham, which dwelt in the land of promise; at another time it is apparently synonymous with "Amorites," or rather includes both them and the allied tribes (cf. e.g., Judges 1:9). It is possible, though far from certain, that "Canaanites" in this place may mean "Phoenicians," since Sidon was the first-born of Canaan (Genesis 10:15), and the northern portion of the maritime plain was certainly in their possession, and probably the upper part of the Ghor, or coast of Jordan. It would appear that the Philistines had not at this time made themselves masters of the plain, although they dwelt in some parts of it (see on Exodus 13:17). Numbers 13:24, from the bunch of grapes which was cut down there by the spies. This statement, of course, applies to the Israelites, and would therefore still hold good, even if the conjecture were a well-founded one, that this valley received its name originally from the Eshcol mentioned in Genesis 14:13, Genesis 14:24, as the terebinth grove did from Mamre the brother of Eshcol.
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