The idol sacrifices in high places (Ezek 20:28-20:29)

“I had brought them

Into the land

That I swore

To give them.

Then wherever they saw

Any high hill

Or any leafy tree,

There they offered

Their sacrifices.

They presented

The provocation

Of their offering.

There they sent up

Their pleasing odors.

There they poured out

Their drink offerings.

I said to them.

What is the high place

To which you go?

It is called Bamah

To this day.”

Now Yahweh reminded them, via Ezekiel, that when he brought them into the land that he swore to give to their ancestors, they ran to every high hill or leafy tree. There they set up altars of sacrifice. They provoked Yahweh with their sacrifices. They presented their offerings with sweet smelling incense and drink offerings. This may have been some sort of Canaanite or Egyptian fertility rite, since they had not given up their old ways. There is a play on words as Yahweh wanted to know what this high place was called. Bamah meant a high place of worship that had been used by the Canaanites, but still existed at the time of Ezekiel.

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The symbolic history of Jerusalem (Ezek 16:1-16:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Make known

To Jerusalem

Her abominations!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh God

To Jerusalem.

Your origin,

Your birth

Were in the land

Of the Canaanites.

Your father was

An Amorite.

Your mother was

A Hittite.’”

Once again, Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. This time, it was about the origins and symbolic history of Jerusalem. The context was a berating of Jerusalem and her abominations. Unlike most stories of Israel that talk about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or the Egyptian experience under Moses, this history of Jerusalem starts with the Canaanites. This has led many to believe that there may be some validity to this history. Of course, this is specifically aimed at the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They were Canaanites whose mother was a Hittite with their father an Amorite. The Amorites were an ancient Syrian tribe with a Semitic language that also lived in Canaan from about 1700 BCE. From a biblical perspective based on Genesis, chapter 10, they were the descendants of Canaan and Ham. Amorite and Canaanite were interchangeable. They were definitely there before the Moses-Joshua experience. The Hittites were another Canaanite group that seemed to be friendly in many of the Genesis stories.

Yahweh destroys the harbor at Tyre (Isa 23:5-23:11)

“When the report comes to Egypt,

They will be in anguish

Over the report about Tyre.

Cross over to Tarshish!

Wail!

O inhabitants of the coast!

Is this your exultant city?

Its origin is from days of old.

Its feet carried her to settle far away.

Who has planned this against Tyre?

They were the bestower of crowns.

Their merchants were princes.

Their traders were the honored of the earth.

Yahweh of hosts has planned it.

He wanted to defile

The pride of all glory.

He wanted to shame

All the honored of the earth.

Cross over to your own land!

O ships of Tarshish!

This is a harbor no more!

He has stretched out his hand

Over the sea.

He has shaken the kingdoms.

Yahweh has given command

Concerning Canaan

To destroy its fortresses.”

Isaiah then proclaims the effects of the destruction of the ports at Sidon and Tyre. Their commercial trading partners, especially Egypt, were upset. So too were the people of Tarshish, the precious metal producing people, and all the shipping ports along the Mediterranean coast line. Tyre was a great ancient city with many merchant princes who had bestowed crowns on others. Their important people were renowned and honored everywhere. Who planned this destruction? Why it was Yahweh of hosts who wanted to bring down these proud inhabitants of this seaport. He has stretched out his angry hand over the sea. He has shaken these kingdoms. He has given his command to the Canaanites to destroy the various fortresses. The harbor is no more so that there is no sense in coming here.

The Canaanites (Wis 12:8-12:11)

“But even these you spared,

Since they were but mortals.

You sent wasps

As forerunners of your army.

They were to destroy them

Little by little.

You were not unable

To give the ungodly

Into the hands of the righteous in battle.

You were able to destroy them

With one blow

By dread wild beasts.

You were also able to destroy them

With your stern word.

But judging them

Little by little

You gave them an opportunity to repent.

You were not unaware

That their origin was evil.

You were not unaware

That their wickedness was inborn.

You were not unaware

That their way of thinking

Would never change.

They were an accursed race

From the beginning.

It was not through fear of any one

That you left them unpunished

For their sins.”

This section on the Canaanites is loosely based on Exodus, chapter 23 and applied to all the inhabitants prior to the Israelite takeover, not just the Canaanites. The Israelites are called the righteous (δικαίοις), while the original inhabitants of this land are called the ungodly (ἀσεβεῖς). Some people were spared since they were fellow human beings. However, he had sent wasps, hornets, or pestilence before the Israelite army attacked in order to destroy them, little by little. Not all the ungodly were handed over to the Israelites in battle, even though God had the ability to destroy them with one blow or one word. Instead he gave them time to repent (μετανοίας) with this gradual takeover. These ungodly inhabitants were evil with inborn wickedness. They would never change or repent since they were an accursed seed or race. God did not let their sins go unpunished because of fear of anyone. There is a definite prejudice against the former inhabitants of the Promised Land, before the Israelites arrived. Yahweh wanted them all destroyed, but some persisted.

The sons of Joseph told to clear the forests (Josh 17:14-17:18)

“The tribe of Joseph spoke to Joshua. ‘Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance, since we are a numerous people, whom all along Yahweh has blessed?’ Joshua said to them. ‘If you are a numerous people, go up to the forest. There clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you. The tribe of Joseph said. ‘The hill country is not enough for us. Yet all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-shean with its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel.’ Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh. ‘You are indeed a numerous people and have great power. You shall not have one lot only, but the hill country shall be yours. Although it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. Thus you shall drive out the Canaanites, although they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.”

Although they got a lot of land, the Josephites still complained about not enough land. Joshua tells them to clear the mountains and get rid of the Canaanites, who seem to be still around, despite the great defeats.

The coalition against Israel (Josh 9:1-9:2)

“Now when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan in the hill country and in the lowland all along the coast of the Great Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, heard of this, they gathered together with one accord to fight Joshua and Israel.”

This is the classic list of usual suspect enemies that goes back to Genesis. These six groups seem to be the mortal enemies of Israel. The Hittites were the descendants of Heth, a Canaanite tribe near Hebron. The Amorites were the mountain dwellers in Canaan as opposed to the Canaanites, who were the low land inhabitants. The Perizzites were the village dwellers in Canaan on both sides of the Jordan. The Hivites were the descendants of Ham and lived in western Canaan. The Jebusites were the descendants of Jebus and lived around the area of Jerusalem.