Welcome back to my study/review of Genesis. If you missed the previous parts of this study, you can find them HERE.
17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”
We have several words/translations here to look at, with respect to meaning, so I will start with that to provide some points of reference for later.
After the section on translations, I will consult with the Bible Commentaries, and then do some research regarding the aforementioned tribes – to see if we can determine the outline of the territory which uses the tribes to mark boundaries. After that, and a look at a couple of maps, I will give a brief “legal” analysis of the claim to the land with a reference to the non-canon Book of Jubilees included. Buckle up.
“smoking” = עָשָׁן ʻâshân, aw-shawn’; from H6225; smoke, literally or figuratively (vapor, dust, anger):—smoke(-ing).
“fire pot / furnace” = תַּנּוּר tannûwr, tan-noor’; from H5216; a fire-pot:—furnace, oven.
“burning” = אֵשׁ ʼêsh, aysh; a primitive word; fire (literally or figuratively):—burning, fiery, fire, flaming, hot.
“lamp / torch” = לַפִּיד lappîyd, lap-peed’; or לַפִּד lappid; from an unused root probably meaning to shine; a flambeau, lamp or flame:—(fire-) brand, (burning) lamp, lightning, torch.
“covenant” = בְּרִית bᵉrîyth, ber-eeth’; from H1262 (in the sense of cutting [like H1254]); a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh):—confederacy, (con-) feder(-ate), covenant, league.
“Kenites” = קֵינִי Qêynîy, kay-nee’; or קִינִי Qîynîy; (1 Chronicles 2:55), patronymic from H7014; a Kenite or member of the tribe of Kajin:—Kenite.
“Kennizites” = קְנִזִּי Qᵉnizzîy, ken-iz-zee’; patronymic from H7073, a Kenizzite or descendant of Kenaz:—Kenezite, Kenizzites.
“Kadmonites” = קַדְמֹנִי Qadmônîy, kad-mo-nee’; the same as H6931; ancient, i.e. aboriginal; Kadmonite (collectively), the name of a tribe in Palestine:—Kadmonites.
“Hittites” = חִתִּי Chittîy, khit-tee’; patronymically from H2845; a Chittite, or descendant of Cheth:—Hittite, Hittities.
“Perizzites” = פְּרִזִּי Pᵉrizzîy, per-iz-zee’; for H6521; inhabitant of the open country; a Perizzite, one of the Canaanitish tribes:—Perizzite.
“Rephaim” = רָפָא râphâʼ, raw-faw’; or רָפָה râphâh; from H7495 in the sense of invigorating; a giant:—giant, Rapha, Rephaim(-s). See also H1051.
“Amorites” = אֱמֹרִי ʼĔmôrîy, em-o-ree’; probably a patronymic from an unused name derived from H559 in the sense of publicity, i.e. prominence; thus, a mountaineer; an Emorite, one of the Canaanitish tribes:—Amorite.
“Canaanites” = כְּנַעַנִי Kᵉnaʻanîy, ken-ah-an-ee’; patrial from H3667; a Kenaanite or inhabitant of Kenaan; by implication, a pedlar (the Canaanites standing for their neighbors the Ishmaelites, who conducted mercantile caravans):—Canaanite, merchant, trafficker.
“Girgashites” = גִּרְגָּשִׁיGirgâshîy, ghir-gaw-shee’; patrial from an unused name (of uncertain derivation); a Girgashite, one of the native tribes of Canaan:—Girgashite, Girgasite.
“Jebusites” = יְבוּסִי Yᵉbûwçîy, yeb-oo-see’; patrial from H2982; a Jebusite or inhabitant of Jebus:—Jebusite(-s).
In this section of verses, we see that the covenant ritual is completed. In verses 12-16, Abram fell into a deep sleep / trance wherein God told him of his own future and the future of his descendants. Here, he comes out of the trance, we have a smoking fire pot, a flaming torch, and God tells Abram again that He will give Abram the land. God describes the land in some detail – including its current occupants.
From Ellicott’s Bible Commentary:
(17) A smoking furnace.—The word really means the circular firepot which Orientals use in their houses to sit round for purposes of warmth. This one was wreathed in smoke, out of which shot “a burning lamp” (Heb., a torch of flame). For not two symbols, but only one, passed between the divided carcases. Abram had probably passed between them immediately after arranging them, and now Jehovah does the same. Fire is the recognised symbol of the Deity, as in the burning bush, the pillar of fire, the lightnings on Mount Sinai, &c.
From the Pulpit Commentary:
And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.Verse 17. – And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, – literally, and it was (i.e. this took place), the sun went down; less accurately, ἐπεὶ δὲ ὁ ἤλιιος ἐγένετο πρὸς δυσμὰς (LXX.), which was the state of matters in Ver. 12. Here the sun, which was then setting, is described as having set – and it was dark, – literally, and darkness was, i.e. a darkness that might be felt, as in Ver. 12; certainly not φλὸξ ἐγένετο (LXX.), as if there were another flame besides the one specified in the description – behold a smoking furnace, – the תַּנּוּר, or Oriental furnace, had the form of a cylindrical fire-pot (cf. Gesenius, p. 869; Keil inloco) – and a burning lamp – a lamp of fire, or fiery torch, emerging from the smoking stove: an emblem of the Divine presence (cf. Exodus 19:18) – that passed between those pieces – in ratification of the covenant.
I am not certain that “fire is the recognized symbol of the Deity” as stated in the notes here, however, it is true that God uses fire on a regular basis – including in these verses
Guzik’s Commentary goes into slight more detail regarding how God represents Himself in these verses – both are notably related to fire. These notes tell us that the manner of God’s presence here is consistent with the manner wherein God will appear later in the Bible.
b. God represents Himself by two emblems: a smoking oven and a burning torch.
i. The smoking oven reminds us of the pillar of cloud representing the presence of God (Exodus 13:21-22), the smoke on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:18), and the cloud of God’s Shekinah glory (1 Kings 8:10-12).
ii. The burning torch reminds us of the pillar of fire representing the presence of God (Exodus 13:21-22), of the burning bush displaying the presence of God before Moses (Exodus 3:4), and of the fire from heaven which sometimes consumed sacrifices God was well pleased with (1 Kings 18:38, 1 Chronicles 21:26, 2 Chronicles 7:1).
Following verse 17, we again return to the them of God telling Abram about the land that God plans to give to him. We see it described in the following verses as a covenant.
“covenant” = בְּרִיתbᵉrîyth, ber-eeth’; from H1262 (in the sense of cutting [like H1254]); a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh):—confederacy, (con-) feder(-ate), covenant, league.
Remember as you read that definition, that in verse 17, a flaming torched passed between the pieces.
18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,
Looking back at Ellicott’s notes again for verse 18:
(18) The Lord made a covenant.—Heb., Jehovah cut a covenant. Abram had divided the slaughtered animals, and Jehovah, by passing between them, made the whole act His own.
The river of Egypt.—That is, the Nile. In the Hebrew the Wady-el-Arish, on the southern border of Simeon, is always distinguished from the Nile. though the distinction is neglected in our version. Thus in Numbers 34:5; Joshua 15:4; Isaiah 27:12 (where alone an attempt is made at accuracy by translating stream), the Hebrew has, the torrent of Egypt, that is, a stream full after the rains, but dry during the rest of the year. For a description of these torrent-beds see Isaiah 57:5-6, where in Genesis 15:5 the word is translated valleys, and in Genesis 15:6 stream. The word used here signifies a river that flows constantly; and Abram’s posterity are to found a kingdom conterminous with the Nile and the Euphrates, that is, with Egypt and Babylonia. If these bounds are large and vague, we must also remember that they are limited by the names of the ten nations which follow. Between the Nile and the Euphrates, the territories of these ten tribes is alone definitely bestowed upon Abram.
I bolded the rough boundaries as described in verse 18 in the note above. As the note further mentions, though, the somewhat vague and large description is limited and made more specific, by the names of ten nations/peoples in the verses that follow.
- “Kenites” = קֵינִי Qêynîy, kay-nee’; or קִינִי Qîynîy; (1 Chronicles 2:55), patronymic from H7014; a Kenite or member of the tribe of Kajin:—Kenite.
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Kenites (/ˈkiːnaɪt/; Hebrew: קינים Qînîm, Hebrew pronunciation: [kiˈnim]) were a nomadic tribe in the ancient Levant. The Kenites were coppersmiths and metalworkers. They played an important role in the history of ancient Israel. One of the most recognized Kenites is Jethro, Moses‘ father-in-law, who was a shepherd and a priest in the land of Midian. Judges 1:16 says that Moses had a father-in-law who was a Kenite, but it is not clear from the passage if this refers to Jethro. Certain groups of Kenites settled among the Israelite population, including the descendants of Moses’ brother-in-law, although the Kenites descended from Rechab maintained a distinct, nomadic lifestyle for some time.
Kenite is a rendition of Hebrew קֵינִי Qeyniy. According to Gesenius, the name is derived from the name Cain (קַיִן Qayin). According to A. H. Sayce, the name ‘Kenite’ or Qéní, is identical to an Aramaic word meaning a smith, which in its turn is a cognate of Hebrew Qayin, with the meaning ‘a lance’.
According to the Kenite hypothesis, Yahweh was historically a Midian deity, and the association of Moses’ father-in-law with Midian reflects the historical adoption of the Midianite cult by the Hebrews. Moses apparently identified Jethro’s concept of God, Yahweh, with the Israelites’ God El Shaddai
Obviously, this last paragraph is not any small bit controversial (or offensive) depending on who you are. The Wiki section on the “Kenite hypothesis” linked above also includes a criticism section worth reading. I might do some more in-depth reading on this in the future, but for now, I just want to make you aware that the Kenites are largely remembered in academic circles because of this hypothesis.
The note above also tells us that the name Kenites derives from Cain. The problem with this hypothesis is that Cain and his descendants are said to have been destroyed by The Flood. Rather than be tied to Cain, the Kenites should be tied through a line of descent of one of Noah’s sons. The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 does not give us any clues about that, though.
One theory, regarding the origin of the Kenites, is that they are a race of people descending from Cain who survived The Flood. This view believes – by necessity – that The Flood was not global. It also usually holds that Cain was himself the product of sexual relations between Eve and the Serpent (“the Serpent Seed Theory.”) We have examined the Serpent Seed Theory in earlier verses and found it to be problematic in relationship with the text of Genesis. However, the theory does persist anyway. Arnold Murray, founder of The Shepherd’s Chapel, taught the Serpent Seed Doctrine to his congregants and he taught that the Kenites were the descendants of that line. He further taught that Judah was from the line of Seth while the Northern Kingdom, Israel, was “infiltrated” by the Kenites.
The more mainstream explanation for the Kenites is that they were a subset of the Midianites. HOWEVER… that is also a problematic explanation because the Midianites are believed to be descendants of Abraham through his son, Midian (Gen 25:2,4; 1 Chron. 1:32,33). Here we see that the Kenites are preceding Abram having any offspring at all.
As a result, we have something of a mystery here with the Kenites.
2. “Kennizites” = קְנִזִּי Qᵉnizzîy, ken-iz-zee’; patronymic from H7073, a Kenizzite or descendant of Kenaz:—Kenezite, Kenizzites.
It is commonly believed that the Kennizites were a subset of the Edomites. The Edomites, though, are believed to be the descendants of Esau – who is not yet born at the time of this covenant between God and Abram. And yet, here are the Kennizites mentioned in that covenant. We have another mystery.
3. “Kadmonites” = קַדְמֹנִי Qadmônîy, kad-mo-nee’; the same as H6931; ancient, i.e. aboriginal; Kadmonite (collectively), the name of a tribe in Palestine:—Kadmonites.
This is the only mention of these people in the Bible. Smith’s Bible Dictionary describes them as follows:
(Orientals), The, a people named in (Genesis 15:19) only; one of the nations who at that time occupied the land (Canaan) promised to the descendants of Abram. The name is probably a synonym for the Bene-Kedem –the “children of the East.”
4. “Hittites” = חִתִּי Chittîy, khit-tee’; patronymically from H2845; a Chittite, or descendant of Cheth:—Hittite, Hittities.
We finally have a group of people that we know a bit more about. From Wiki:
The Hittites (/ˈhɪtaɪts/) were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1680-1650 BCE. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under Šuppiluliuma I, when it encompassed an area that included most of Anatolia as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia.
Between the 15th and 13th centuries BC, the Empire of Hattusa, conventionally called the Hittite Empire, came into conflict with the New Kingdom of Egypt, the Middle Assyrian Empire and the empire of the Mitanni for control of the Near East. The Middle Assyrian Empire eventually emerged as the dominant power and annexed much of the Hittite Empire, while the remainder was sacked by Phrygian newcomers to the region. After c. 1180 BC, during the Late Bronze Age collapse, the Hittites splintered into several independent Syro-Hittite states, some of which survived until the eighth century BC before succumbing to the Neo-Assyrian Empire.
The Hittite language was a distinct member of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family, and along with the closely related Luwian language, is the oldest historically attested Indo-European language, referred to by its speakers as nešili “in the language of Nesa“. The Hittites called their country the Kingdom of Hattusa (Hatti in Akkadian), a name received from the Hattians, an earlier people who inhabited the region until the beginning of the second millennium BC and spoke an unrelated language known as Hattic. The conventional name “Hittites” is due to their initial identification with the Biblical Hittites in 19th century archaeology.
The history of the Hittite civilization is known mostly from cuneiform texts found in the area of their kingdom, and from diplomatic and commercial correspondence found in various archives in Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt and the Middle East, the decipherment of which was also a key event in the history of Indo-European studies.
The development of iron smelting was once attributed to the Hittites of Anatolia during the Late Bronze Age, with their success largely based on the advantages of a monopoly on ironworking at the time. But the view of such a “Hittite monopoly” has come under scrutiny and is no longer a scholarly consensus. As part of the Late-Bronze-Age/Early-Iron-Age, the Late Bronze Age collapse saw the slow, comparatively continuous spread of iron-working technology in the region. While there are some iron objects from Bronze Age Anatolia, the number is comparable to iron objects found in Egypt and other places during the period; and only a small number of these objects are weapons. Hittites did not use smelted iron, but rather meteorites. The Hittite military made successful use of chariots.
In classical times, ethnic Hittite dynasties survived in small kingdoms scattered around what is now Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. Lacking a unifying continuity, their descendants scattered and ultimately merged into the modern populations of the Levant, Turkey and Mesopotamia.
During the 1920s, interest in the Hittites increased with the founding of Turkey and attracted the attention of Turkish archaeologists such as Halet Çambel and Tahsin Özgüç. During this period, the new field of Hittitology also influenced the naming of Turkish institutions, such as the state-owned Etibank (“Hittite bank”), and the foundation of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, 200 kilometers west of the Hittite capital and housing the most comprehensive exhibition of Hittite art and artifacts in the world.
If we track the Hittites through the Genesis 10 “table of nations” then we see that they derive through the line of Canaan by his son, Heth (Gen. 10:15.)
5. “Perizzites” = פְּרִזִּי Pᵉrizzîy, per-iz-zee’; for H6521; inhabitant of the open country; a Perizzite, one of the Canaanitish tribes:—Perizzite.
Biblical mentions of Perizzites extend from the time of Abraham (Genesis 13:7) to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 9:1-2). According to Michael LeFebvre, Ezra’s reference to the Perizzites does not imply that a group still known as Perizzites existed in the land in Ezra’s time. It is instead to be understood as a literary reference by Ezra to passages such as Exodus 34:11-16 and Deuteronomy 7:1-5, which prohibited intermarriage with a variety of non-Israelite peoples, including Perizzites among others.
The time during which Perizzites were most in conflict with the Israelites seems to be the time of Joshua into the early period of the Judges.
According to the Book of Joshua, the Perizzites were in the hill country of Judah and Ephraim (Joshua 11:3, 17:14-15). According to 1 Kings 9:21, they were enslaved by Solomon.
According to Trevor Bryce, “The Perizzites cannot be linked to any peoples or lands known from extra-biblical sources.”
It is possible that their name had a generalized application: that is, it either referred to those who lived in villages (as opposed to being nomadic); or it referred to those whose origins were unknown; or Perizzite may refer to an amalgamation of several peoples.
The Canaanite tribe settled in the south of Canaan between Hor and Negev, although it is not mentioned in the genealogy in Gen. x. According to the Biblical references, Abraham, when he entered Canaan, found the Perizzites dwelling near the Canaanites (ib. xiii. 7), and God promised to destroy both these peoples (ib. xv. 20). Jacob reproved his sons because of the crime of Shechem, inasmuch as he feared the Perizzites and the Canaanites (ib. xxxiv. 30). Moses promised the Israelites to bring them unto the place of the Perizzites and the Amorites (Ex. xxx. 8); and at a later time the tribes of Simeon and Judah conquered the Canaanites and the Perizzites (Judges i. 4). The Perizzites were among the tribes that were not subjected to tribute by Solomon (I Kings ix. 20-22), while the complaint was brought to Ezra that the priests and the Levites would not separate themselves from the Perizzites and the other peoples of the land (Ezra ix. 1).
The view was formerly held that the Perizzites were a prehistoric tribe which became assimilated to the Canaanites when the Canaanites invaded Canaan; but the Perizzites are not mentioned in the genealogy. More recent commentators are of the opinion that the names “Perizi” and “Perazi” are identical, and that the Bible has included under the name “Perizzites” all stocks dwelling in unwalled towns.
We do not have a correlation between the Perizzites and the table of nations. However, given who they are surrounded by, it should be assumed that these people are from the line of Canaan. It might also be assumed that the term, Perizzites, describes them via where they dwell rather than names their family tribe.
6. “Rephaim” = רָפָא râphâʼ, raw-faw’; or רָפָה râphâh; from H7495 in the sense of invigorating; a giant:—giant, Rapha, Rephaim(-s). See also H1051.
We have talked a lot about the Rephaim in prior verses (and they will come up again repeatedly.) This tribe is described as “giants.”
7. “Amorites” = אֱמֹרִי ʼĔmôrîy, em-o-ree’; probably a patronymic from an unused name derived from H559 in the sense of publicity, i.e. prominence; thus, a mountaineer; an Emorite, one of the Canaanitish tribes:—Amorite.
We discussed the Amorites in a recent section of verses, also. They also seem to be a tribe of giants.
8. “Canaanites” = כְּנַעַנִי Kᵉnaʻanîy, ken-ah-an-ee’; patrial from H3667; a Kenaanite or inhabitant of Kenaan; by implication, a pedlar (the Canaanites standing for their neighbors the Ishmaelites, who conducted mercantile caravans):—Canaanite, merchant, trafficker.
This describes more generally the direct descendants of Canaan – the son of Ham. If Canaan had a lifespan somewhat equivalent to those born in his generation, and if the Masoretic Text is correct regarding the lifespans of his generation (the Septuagint disagrees as we have mentioned before) then Canaan may have still been alive at the time of Abram.
Canaan (/ˈkeɪnən/; Northwest Semitic: knaʿn; Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – Kenāʿan; Hebrew: כְּנַעַן – Kənáʿan, in pausa כְּנָעַן – Kənā́ʿan; Biblical Greek: Χανααν – Khanaan; Arabic: كَنْعَانُ – Kan‘ān) was a Semitic-speaking civilization and region in the Ancient Near East during the late 2nd millennium BC. The name “Canaan” appears throughout the Bible, where it corresponds to the Levant, in particular to the areas of the Southern Levant that provide the main setting of the narrative of the Bible: Phoenicia, Philistia, Israel, and other nations.
The word “Canaanites” serves as an ethnic catch-all term covering various indigenous populations—both settled and nomadic-pastoral groups—throughout the regions of the southern Levant or Canaan. It is by far the most frequently used ethnic term in the Bible. In the Book of Joshua, Canaanites are included in a list of nations to exterminate, and later described as a group which the Israelites had annihilated. Biblical scholar Mark Smith notes that archaeological data suggests “that the Israelite culture largely overlapped with and derived from Canaanite culture… In short, Israelite culture was largely Canaanite in nature.”:13–14 The name “Canaanites” is attested, many centuries later, as the endonym of the people later known to the Ancient Greeks from c. 500 BC as Phoenicians, and after the emigration of Canaanite-speakers to Carthage (founded in the 9th century BC), was also used as a self-designation by the Punics (chanani) of North Africa during Late Antiquity.
Canaan had significant geopolitical importance in the Late Bronze Age Amarna period (14th century BC) as the area where the spheres of interest of the Egyptian, Hittite, Mitanni and Assyrian Empires converged. Much of modern knowledge about Canaan stems from archaeological excavation in this area at sites such as Tel Hazor, Tel Megiddo, En Esur, and Gezer.
9. “Girgashites” = גִּרְגָּשִׁיGirgâshîy, ghir-gaw-shee’; patrial from an unused name (of uncertain derivation); a Girgashite, one of the native tribes of Canaan:—Girgashite, Girgasite.
The Girgashites are mentioned in the Table of Nations as descendants of Canaan. (Gen 10:16) Not a lot is known of them in the historical record. From Wiki:
Girgashites (Heb. גִּרְגָּשִׁי) are one of the tribes indigenous to the land of Canaan as mentioned in Gen. 15:21; Deut. 7:1; Josh. 3:10; Neh. 9:8. The Girgashites are also known as the fifth ethnic group that descended from Canaan (Gen. 10:16; i Chron. 1:14). Although the Girgashites are not referred to in the narrative of the wars of conquests, and their locality is not stated, they are named by Joshua among the peoples the Israelites dispossessed (24:11).
They have been uncertainly identified with the Qaraqisha, allies of the Hittites in their wars with Ramses ii. If that identification is correct the Girgashites would have been part of the southward migrations from Anatolia of peoples displaced by the fall of the Hittite empire ca. 1200 b.c.e. A personal name grgš appears in Ugaritic, but its connection with this people is unknown. The sibilant termination of the biblical name suggests a Hurrian origin.
10. “Jebusites” = יְבוּסִי Yᵉbûwçîy, yeb-oo-see’; patrial from H2982; a Jebusite or inhabitant of Jebus:—Jebusite(-s).
The Jebusites are mentioned as offspring of Canaan in Genesis 10:16. From Wiki:
The Jebusites (/ˈdʒɛbjəˌsaɪts/; Hebrew: יְבוּסִי, Modern:Yevūsī, Tiberian:YəḇūsīISO 259-3Ybusi) were, according to the books of Joshua and Samuel from the Hebrew Bible, a Canaanite tribe that inhabited Jerusalem, then called Jebus (Hebrew: יְבוּס) prior to the conquest initiated by Joshua (Joshua 11:3, Joshua 12:10) and completed by King David (2 Samuel 5:6–10), although a majority of scholars agree that the Book of Joshua holds little historical value for early Israel and most likely reflects a much later period. The Books of Kings as well as 1 Chronicles state that Jerusalem was known as Jebus prior to this event (1 Chronicles 11:4). The identification of Jebus with Jerusalem is sometimes disputed by scholars. According to some biblical chronologies, the city was conquered by King David in 1003 BCE.
As mentioned here, the identification with Jesusalem is disputed:
The identification of Jebus with Jerusalem has been disputed, principally by Niels Peter Lemche. Supporting his case, every non-biblical mention of Jerusalem found in the ancient Near East refers to the city as ‘Jerusalem’. An example of these records are the Amarna letters, several of which were written by the chieftain of Jerusalem Abdi-Heba and call Jerusalem either Urusalim (URU ú-ru-sa-lim) or Urušalim (URU ú-ru-ša10-lim) (1330s BCE). Also in the Amarna letters, it is called Beth-Shalem, the house of Shalem.
The Sumero-Akkadian name for Jerusalem, uru-salim, is variously etymologised to mean “foundation of [or: by] the god Shalim“: from Hebrew/Semitic yry, ‘to found, to lay a cornerstone’, and Shalim, the Canaanite god of the setting sun and the nether world, as well as of health and perfection.
There is no evidence of Jebus and the Jebusites outside of the Old Testament. Some scholars reckon Jebus to be a different place from Jerusalem; other scholars prefer to see the name of Jebus as a kind of pseudo-ethnic name without any historical background.
Theophilus G. Pinches has noted a reference to “Yabusu”, which he interpreted as an old form of Jebus, on a contract tablet that dates from 2200 BCE.
There even seems to be some contradiction within the Bible itself regarding an association between Jerusalem and Jebus – and the contradiction is largely tied to the section of verses relating to Melchizedek.
Jerusalem is referred to as Salem rather than Jebus in the passages of Genesis describing Melchizedek. According to Genesis, the ruler of Salem in the time of Abraham was Melchizedek (also Melchizedeq), and that as well as being a ruler, he was also a priest. The Mediæval French Rabbi Rashi believed that Melchizedek was another name for Shem, son of Noah, despite Abraham’s supposed descent from the line of Shem’s son Arphaxad. Later, Joshua is described as defeating a Jebusite king named Adonizedek. The first parts of their names mean king and lord, respectively, but though the zedek part can be translated as righteous (making the names my king is righteous and my lord is righteous). Scholars are uncertain, however, whether Melchizedek was himself intended in the Genesis account to be understood as a Jebusite, rather than a member of another group in charge of Jerusalem prior to the Jebusites.
Melchizedek, as a priest as well as king, was likely to have been associated with a sanctuary, probably dedicated to Zedek, and scholars suspect that the Temple of Solomon was simply a natural evolution of this sanctuary.
What can we take from this regarding the boundaries of the Promised Land?
Here we get a couple of different interpretations of where the mentioned tribes were located.
The ultimate “legal” claim for ownership by Abram’s descendants is 1) God sets the boundaries of nations as God sees fit and can give the land to whomever God wants, and 2) when the Table of Nations events were occurring, a) Canaan was cursed, and b) Canaan seized the land wrongfully in the first place.
The first is mentioned in Genesis in the section of verses involving Noah and Ham seeing his father naked. The second is mentioned in the non-canonical Book of Jubilees:
28. And Ham and his sons went into the land which he was to occupy, which he acquired as his portion in the land of the south. 1 29. And Canaan saw the land of Lebanon to the river of Egypt that it was very good, and he went not into the land of his inheritance to the west (that is to) the sea, 2 and he dwelt in the land of Lebanon, eastward and westward from the border of Jordan and from the border of the sea. 3 30. And Ham, his father, and Cush and Mizraim, his brothers, said unto him: “Thou hast settled in a land which. is not thine, and which did not fall to us by lot: do not do so; for if thou dost do so, thou and thy sons will fall in the land and (be) accursed through sedition; for by sedition ye have settled, and by sedition will thy children fall, and thou shalt be rooted out for ever. 31. Dwell not in the dwelling of Shem; for to Shem and to his sons did it come by their lot. 32. Cursed art thou, and cursed shalt thou be beyond all the sons of Noah, by the curse 4 by which we bound ourselves by an oath in the presence of the holy judge, 5 and in the presence of Noah our father.” 33. But he did not hearken unto them, and dwelt in the land of Lebanon from Hamath 6 to the entering of Egypt, 7 he and his sons until this day. 34. And for this reason that land is named Canaan. 35. And Japheth and his sons went towards the sea and dwelt in the land of their portion, and Madai saw the land of the sea and it did not please him, and he begged a (portion) from Elam and Asshur and Arpachshad,
The Book of Jubilees was found among the fragments of The Dead Sea Scrolls.
Between 1947 and 1956, approximately 15 Jubilees scrolls were found in five caves at Qumran, all written in Hebrew. The large number of manuscripts (more than for any biblical books except for Psalms, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Exodus, and Genesis, in descending order) indicates that Jubilees was widely used at Qumran. A comparison of the Qumran texts with the Ethiopic version, performed by James VanderKam, found that the Ethiopic was in most respects an accurate and literalistic translation
As with much of the non-canonical writing found among the DSS, there are now questions about what Second Temple Jews and early Christians believed. For Christians, in particular, it is an important point to know how Jesus and his disciples viewed these works. The Book of Jubilees is also argued to have influenced Islam.
Jan van Reeth argues that the Book of Jubilees had great influence on the formation of Islam. In the Book of Jubilees there is the very same concept of revelation as in Islam: God’s words and commandments are eternally written on celestial tablets. An angel reveals their content to a prophet (2, 1; 32, 21 f.). Abraham’s role in the Book of Jubilees corresponds to Abraham’s role in the Quran in more than one way.[example needed] The interpretation of biblical figures as prophets is also rooted in the Book of Jubilees. Also numerology, the emphasis on angels, and the symbolism of anniversaries found their way into Islam, such as the fact that many important events in the prophet’s biography as presented by Ibn Ishaq happen on the same date.
Etsuko Katsumata, comparing the Book of Jubilees and the Quran, notices significant differences, especially in Abraham’s role in the quranic narrative, concluding that “the Book of Jubilees contains no passages in which Abraham disparages idols, as in the other texts, using tactics to make it look as if an idol has destroyed other idols (like in the Quran). The Book of Jubilees contains none of this kind of attitude; Abraham simply and directly destroys idols by setting fire to them.” The quranic Abraham-narrative, according to Katsumata, contains passages other than those in the Book of Jubilees in which Abraham is involved in disputes about idolatry. Abraham in the Quran acts as a perserverant prophet with an active and confronting missionary character, especially to his father, who is throughout the narrative hostile towards his son. Abraham tries to convince local people, leader and a king while not leaving his homeland. In the Book of Jubilees Abraham’s role differs significantly; he has a favourable relationship to his father and leaves his home country after secretly burning down a temple.
On a topic like “the Promised Land” it feels as though there is always more to study and to learn. For today though, I will leave my notes here.
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