Numbers 33:56
Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.
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(56) Moreover it shall come to pass . . . —Better, And it shall come to pass that, as I have thought (or, determined) to do unto them, so will I do unto you. It must be borne in mind that the idolatrous inhabitants of Canaan were never wholly exterminated, and the pernicious influence which they exercised was felt throughout the whole of the history of the Israelites until the judgments threatened against them were finally executed in the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities.

Numbers 33:56. I shall do unto you as I thought to do unto them — Make you their slaves; or rather, you shall flee before them, and be expelled the land, as they should have been.

33:50-56 Now that they were to pass over Jordan, they were entering again into temptation to follow idols; and they are threatened that, if they spared either the idols or the idolaters, their sin would certainly be their punishment. They would foster vipers in their own bosoms. The remnant of the Canaanites, if they made any peace with them, though but for a time, would be pricks in their eyes, and thorns in their sides. We must expect trouble and affliction from whatever sin we indulge; that which we are willing should tempt us, will vex us. It was intended that the Canaanites should be put out of the land; but if the Israelites learned their wicked ways, they also would be put out. Let us hear this and fear. If we do not drive out sin, sin will drive us out. If we are not the death of our lusts, our lusts will be the death of our souls.The expulsion of the Canaanites and the destruction of their monuments of idolatry had been already enjoined (see the marginal references); and Numbers 33:54 is substantially a repetition from Exodus 26:53-55. But the solemn warning of Numbers 33:55-56 is new. A call for it had been furnished by their past transgressions in the matter of Baal-peor, and by their imperfect fulfillment, at the first, of Moses' orders in the Midianite war. 55. But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you—No associations were to be formed with the inhabitants; otherwise, "if ye let remain, they will be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides"—that is, they would prove troublesome and dangerous neighbors, enticing to idolatry, and consequently depriving you of the divine favor and blessing. The neglect of the counsel against union with the idolatrous inhabitants became fatal to them. This earnest admonition given to the Israelites in their peculiar circumstances conveys a salutary lesson to us to allow no lurking habits of sin to remain in us. That spiritual enemy must be eradicated from our nature; otherwise it will be ruinous to our present peace and future salvation. No text from Poole on this verse.

Moreover, it shall come to pass,.... This being the case, they suffering the Canaanites to dwell among them, and they mingling with them, learning their works, and serving their gods: that

I shall do unto you as I thought I should do unto them; deliver them up into the hands of their enemies, who should carry them captive into other lands.

Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.
Verse 56. - I shaft do unto you as I thought to do unto them, i.e., I shall execute by other hands upon you the sentence of dispossession which ye shall have refused to execute upon the Canaanites. The threat (although in fact fulfilled) does not necessarily involve any prophecy, since to settle down among the remnants of the heathen was a course of action which would obviously and for many reasons commend itself to the Israelites. Indolence and cowardice were consulted by such a policy as much as the natural feelings of pity towards vanquished and apparently harmless foes. The command to extirpate was certainly justified in this case (if it could be in any) by the unhappy consequences of its neglect. Israel being what he was, and so little severed in anything but religion from the ancient heathen, his only chance of future happiness lay in keeping himself from any contact with them. On the morality of the command itself, see on the passages referred to, and on the slaughter of the Midianites. As a fact, the extirpation of the conquered did not offend the moral sense of the Jews then any more than it did that of our heathen Saxon ancestors. Where both races could not dwell in security, it was a matter of course that the weaker was destroyed. Such a command was therefore justified at that time by the end to be attained, because it was not contrary to the moral law as then revealed, or to the moral sense as then educated. Being in itself a lawful proceeding, it was made a religious proceeding, and taken out of the category of selfish violence by being made a direct command of God. Numbers 33:56The command to divide the land by lot among the families is partly a verbal repetition of Numbers 26:53-56. וגו לו יצא אל־אשׁר: literally, "into that, whither the lot comes out to him, shall be to him" (i.e., to each family); in other words, it is to receive that portion of land to which the lot that comes out of the urn shall point it. "According to the tribes of your fathers:" see at Numbers 26:55. - The command closes in Numbers 33:55, Numbers 33:56, with the threat, that if they did not exterminate the Canaanites, not only would such as were left become "thorns in their eyes and stings in their sides," i.e., inflict the most painful injuries upon them, and make war upon them in the land; but Jehovah would also do the very same things to the Israelites that He had intended to do to the Canaanites, i.e., drive them out of the land and destroy them. This threat is repeated by Joshua in his last address to the assembled congregation (Joshua 23:13).
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