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God’s Word for You

1 Chronicles 1:13-14 Doomed descendants of Ham

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, September 12, 2023

13 Canaan became the father of Sidon his firstborn and of the Hittites,

Sidon is a city, or a city-state, about 22 miles north of Tyre on the Mediterranean coastline. The Targum says that Canaan was the father of Bothniam (בותניאם) who built Sidon, but we will accept the record of the Bible’s text over the Targum.

For many centuries, the Bible was the only document to even mention the Hittites. Some critics even used this gap of knowledge as evidence that the Bible must contain fabrications and myths. But then in 1871 and later in 1906-1907, vast amounts of Hittite evidence began to be turned up from as far east as the Euphrates and as far northwest as Boghaz-koy in Turkey. At least ten thousand documents have been unearthed, vindicating Joshua’s reference to the entire fertile crescent as “the land of the Hittites” (Joshua 1:4).

The man’s name in this verse is actually Heth, whose family settled along the Halys River in central Turkey before 2200 BC, when they were overrun by an Indo-European (Japhethite?) group that simply took over as the Hittite ruling class and adopted the unusual Hittite dress (heavy coats and upturned shoes). Artwork depicts the Hittites as stocky with large prominent noses, retreating foreheads and frequently with thick lips. Later carvings from Carchemish show Hittites with long beards that are pleated or braided.

The Bible consistently shows the Hittites as owning and working fields. Abraham bought the field which contained the Cave of Macpelah from a Hittite named Ephron son of Zohar (Genesis 23:9) in order to bury his wife Sarah after her death.

14 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites,

These three tribes were also descended from Canaan, and were all still living in the land of Canaan when Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan in 1406 BC.

The city of Jebus was a small walled town on the southern end of Mount Moriah. This was the city that David’s soldiers captured. Later, David bought the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite above the city on a higher part of the mountain: the large flat rock there was where the altar of burnt offering was placed when David moved the tabernacle into the city. Some think that this is the same bedrock stone that is still visible in the Dome of the Rock.

The Amorites are a people which are known both in and outside the Bible. Related to the Akkadians, one of their early kings may have been Amraphel king of Shinar (Genesis 14:1). They occupied a large section of the fertile crescent, especially the north and east, with their capital at Haran. After a defeat by the Hittites, the Amorites spread out wherever they could, and may be responsible for one of the dynasties of Egypt.

Amorites were hill-country folks. The Amorites were ruled in Moses’ day by king Sihon, whose capital was in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan. Their territory at that time was not confined to the east of the Jordan, but included Mount Moriah itself (outside the Jebusite walls) and onto the plain of Mamre (Genesis 14:13), as well as cities that later belonged to the Philistines. Joshua 10:1-43 describes their territory in his time as including Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. Og was a giant whose iron bed was twelve feet long and six feet wide (nine cubits by four cubits, Deuteronomy 3:11).

The Girgashites are less well known to us. Tradition says that after their defeat by Joshua, a remnant fled to Africa.

The final goal of man is eternal life with God and enjoyment of God. Believers will have this in the resurrection and forever in heaven. Unbelievers lose this completely and achieve for themselves the opposite: eternal suffering and damnation. God commanded Joshua to destroy entire nations of people who were (1) unbelievers, (2) already judged on account of their persistent unbelief and complete rejection of the true God, and (3) a danger for God’s chosen people Israel since they would surely entice away the Israelites into the practices of their unbelief and then into unbelief itself. God confronted the unbelief of those people to make them a clear and terrible illustration of what unbelief brings. It means death and far worse than death. Unbelief is the only thing that causes damnation. Unbelief is a choice of sinful man, and those who persist in unbelief cannot be saved. It is perfectly and divinely just and right that God treats unbelief in this way.

On the other hand, it is altogether unfair and unjust for a sinner to be saved simply on account of having faith in the Son of God. This faith is itself a gift, and yet it is given to people who do not stop sinning. We fall to our knees and thank God for this unfairness. Without it we would be lost. But God was unfair to his Son, treating him as if he were guilty of our sins. He has been generous with his holy word, bringing us to faith through splashes of water and spoken words. But such words! His words bring life, understanding, repentance and turning away from temptation and sin and praise to God who saves us. His love and mercy endure forever.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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