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And it came to pass when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan heard of this—in the hill country and in the Shephelah and on all the shore of the Great Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite— Bible

“beyond the Jordan.” In this case, west of the Jordan River.

“the Shephelah.” The “lowlands” just west of the hill-country of Judah and Israel (which is east of the coastal plain of the Mediterranean Sea). The word means “lowlands” or we might say, “foothills,” and the name “Shephelah” (lowlands) is given from the perspective of the higher “hill-country” to the east.

“shore of the Great Sea.” This referred to the coastal plain, the shore of the Mediterranean Sea (the Mediterranean Sea was sometimes called “the Great Sea” in the Old Testament).

“the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.” All of these tribes are actually “Canaanites.” Genesis tells us that “Canaan became the father of Sidon (his firstborn)[thus the Phoenicians], Heth [thus the Hittites], the Jebusite, the Amorite, the Girgashite, the Hivite, the Arkite, the Sinite, the Arvadite, the Zemarite, and the Hamathite” (Gen. 10:15-18). The only name in the list in Joshua that cannot be traced to Canaan the son of Noah is the Perizzites.

“Perizzite.” The Bible mentions the Perizzites in the land of Israel as early as the time of Abraham (Gen. 13:7), and as late as after the Babylonian Captivity, although the reference to Perizzites in Ezra may have been a historic reference since it is in a list of the native people in the Promised Land before Joshua’s conquest (Ezra 9:1-2; cp. Exod. 34:11; Deut. 7:1). According to the Book of Joshua, the Perizzites were in the hill country of Judah and Ephraim (Joshua 11:3, 17:15), and they were still in the land at the time of Solomon, who put them to forced labor (1 Kings 9:10-21). Nothing is known of their origin. It has been suggested that the name “Perizzites” means something like “country people,” “rural people,” so they may be offshoots from other people groups who started out by living in rural areas, or they could be an amalgam from different people groups and who started to associate and build a clan soon after the flood, certainly as early as Abraham. It is also possible that they have no stated human origin because they were, at least in part, part of the Nephilim, the fallen race created by demons (see commentary on Gen. 6:4). That may be the reason that the hill country of Ephraim was known as “the land of the Perizzites and of the Rephaim” (Josh. 17:15).


Commentary for: Joshua 9:1