“On that day,
Their strong cities will be
Like the deserted places of the Hivites,
Like the deserted places of the Amorites.
They deserted them
Because of the children of Israel.
Now there will be desolation.”
On this day of destruction, the strong cities of the north would be deserted like the former places of the Hivites and the Amorites. The Hivites were one of the northern tribes that lived in Canaan, supposedly the Semitic descendants of Ham, the son of Noah. The Amorites were southern Canaanites, before Judah took over. However, the Amorites were more spread out into Mesopotamia and into Syria. Within the biblical literature Amorites and Canaanites are sometimes interchangeable. Anyway, after the takeover of Canaan at the time of Joshua, their cities were deserted because the children of Israel left them in ruins. The same thing was now going to happen to the northern Israelites.
“All the people who were left of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, were not of the people of Israel. Their descendants were still left in the land, since the Israelites had not destroyed them. These, Solomon conscripted for forced labor, as it is still the case today. But of the people of Israel, King Solomon made no slaves for his work. They were soldiers, and his officers, the commanders of his chariots and cavalry. These were the chief officers of King Solomon, two hundred and fifty of them, who exercised authority over the people.”
Once again, this is based on 1 Kings, chapter 9, with a few minor exceptions. Notice that the newly conscripted peoples the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, are the old list of enemies from the time of Abraham. In fact, this biblical author points out that they are still slaves in forced labor even today. Thus the prejudice against the lowly slaves was justified by calling them the enemies of 800 to 1,000 years earlier. Notice the slight nuance change here from 1 Kings. Here it is the people not destroyed, while in 1 Kings, these people were not able to be destroyed. None of the Israelites became slaves. However, in 1 Kings, chapter 5, there is a statement that 30,000 people from all of Israel were conscripted to work. 10,000 of them worked a month in Lebanon and then they had 2 months off. That text seems to indicate that they were Israelites. Here it seems to indicate that the Israelites were the soldiers, officials, commanders, and captains of his chariots and cavalry. That may be so. However, there seems to be only 250 Israelite officials for all this slave labor which is a lot less than the 3,600 mentioned earlier in chapter 2 of this book.
“Canaan became the father of Sidon his first-born, Heth, and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites.”
Canaan was the fourth son of Ham. Canaan became the name of the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the eastern desert, with Lebanon to the north and the wilderness on the south. Canaan was the primary enemy of the biblical authors. Canaan had many sons. (1) Sidon or Zidon had a northern city named after him, a great Phoenician port that is now a city in Lebanon. (2) Heth was the forerunner of the Hittites, a powerful group in the 3rd millennium BCE, but still around in the 2nd and 1st millennium BCE. Canaan also had a whole bunch of people descendent from him. The (3) Jebusites were descendent from Jebus, the third son of Canaan. They seemed to have settled around what is now Jerusalem. The (4) Amorites were the descendents of the 4th son of Canaan, Emer. They lived in the southern area, south of the Dead Sea. Quite often they are referred to as the Canaanites. The north east (5) Girgashites lived around the Sea of Galilee and were only rarely mentioned, about 7 times, in the biblical literature. The (6) Hivites were living in northwest and central Canaan at the time of the invasion of Canaan. The (7) Arkites seem to have settled in the northern town of Arka, somehow connected to Sidon. The (8) Sinites, the (9) Arvadites, the (10) Zemarites, and the (11) Hamathites seem to be obscure groups that are not mentioned elsewhere in biblical literature, except here and in Genesis, chapter 10. Note that Canaan’s children will become the enemies of these biblical authors. The names of the individual children are not mentioned here, but just the groups that came out of them.
“Now these are the nations that Yahweh left, to test all those in Israel who had no experience of any war in Canaan. It was only that successive generations of Israelites might know war, to teach those who had no experience of it before. The five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as the Lebo-hamath. They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of Yahweh, which he commanded their ancestors by Moses. So the Israelites lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. They took their daughters as wives for themselves, and their own daughters they gave to their sons. They worshipped their gods.”
Once again we have the traditional enemies that came be found as far back as Genesis, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The Israelites needed to learn about war and so they were tested. Yahweh let these 6 groups remain. However, 2 new groups were added, the Philistines and the Sidonians. The Israelites were not following Yahweh’s law because they intermarried with these other groups and worshipped their gods, a very serious transgression.
“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.