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Go to Bible: Deuteronomy 7
“the Hittite and the Girgashite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.” All of these tribes except the Perizzites are descended from Ham’s son Caanan, and are thus included when the word “Canaanites” is used in its wider sense (and even then the Perizzites might be generally included as inhabitants of the land of Canaan). Genesis 10 says, “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). By the time of Deuteronomy and the Book of Joshua, these tribes had become quite large, as Deuteronomy 7:1 says.
“Perizzite.” A tribe of unknown origin in that by the time of Joshua lived in the hill country of Judah and Ephraim. See commentary on Joshua 9:1.(top)
“devote them to complete destruction.” The Canaanite nations had been genetically corrupted by Nephilim, and could not be godly or redeemed. They had to be destroyed. This is also stated in places such as Deuteronomy 20:16-18. [For information on the Nephilim, see commentary on Genesis 6:2 and Genesis 6:4].(top)
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“break down their altars and dash their standing-stones in pieces.” God has no tolerance for idols. They are harmful in many different ways. They take away focus and worship from the one true God, which hurts a person’s relationship with God and can cost them salvation and everlasting life, or rewards in the future kingdom.
Furthermore, the worship that idols are given attracts demons. Demons crave worship, and are attracted to items that receive worship whether or not what is being worshipped was designed to be worshipped or not. For example, an idol, image of a god, or an amulet or something that supposedly has inherent power to protect, bring good fortune, etc., is designed to be worshipped or venerated, whereas “regular items” are certainly not designed for that purpose. But if a person begins to worship or venerate a “regular object” for some reason, and attributes invisible power to that object and give it special attention (which is veneration), say a “lucky hat” or something, that veneration can attract a demon, and demons always work to destroy people’s lives, and they can work. There is nothing good or redeeming in an idol, they are to be destroyed, something God says often in the Bible (cp. Exod. 23:24; 34:13; Num. 33:52; Deut. 7:5, 25; 12:2-3). Godly kings like Josiah obeyed the command of Yahweh (2 Kings 23:6-15). Idols and images of gods often are quite valuable because they can be made from valuable material such as gold, silver, precious stones, or even valuable or beautiful wood, or those valuable things can be part of the object. The wise believer who knows how the spirit world works does not hesitate to destroy those idols and objects of veneration because no amount of worldly wealth or beauty is worth hurting one’s relationship with God and giving demons access to one’s life because those demons only cause terrible harm.
[[For more on standing-stones, see commentary on Gen. 28:18. For more on the coming kingdom of Christ on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth.” For more on rewards in Christ’s future kingdom, see commentary on 2 Cor. 5:10, “good or worthless”].(top)
“your God has chosen you.” There was only going to be one Messiah, Savior, and Son of God, and he had to come through one genealogical line, and God, for His reasons, chose that line to be through the nation of Israel. This fact defines what God means by setting His love on Israel (Deut. 7:7). In this context, to “love” means to give special care and attention. God is love, and He loves every person, but for His purposes, some people get more protection and care than others, which can be described as His “love” for them. Once God decided to bring the Messiah through Israel, the Devil especially focused on them and they were subject to spiritual pressure and attacks that other nations were not, and thus if the Messiah was going to be born at all, Israel needed God’s special attention and support.(top)
“set his love.” See commentary on Deuteronomy 7:6.(top)
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“your eye must not pity them.” A Semitic idiom that means, “you are not to pity them.” In the culture, the “eye” reflected the character or attitude of the person, so for a person’s eye to pity someone was for the person to have an attitude of pity, which would then lead to having mercy and sparing the people. God’s command seems harsh, but God knew the hearts of the Canaanites, and we know the history of Israel. Israel did not obey God and thus did not destroy all the Canaanites. But the Canaanites did not become thankful and so convert to believing in Yahweh. Instead the Canaanites led the Israelites into idol worship which led to misery and slavery for Israel and certainly everlasting death for many Israelites, who favored Baal and the other Canaanite gods over Yahweh and thus did not attain salvation. [For more on idioms involving the eye, see commentary on Proverbs 22:9].(top)
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“burn the carved images of their gods.” Most idols and images of gods were made from wood or stone and could be burned in a fire. Much of the stone in Israel is limestone and is reduced to powder when it is heated very hot, and also the ancients used to take the harder stone, such as basalt or granite and heat it up and then pour water on it to break it up. [For more on what God said about idols, see commentary on Deut. 7:5].(top)
“a thing devoted to destruction.” If a person stole something that had been “devoted” for destruction, then that person became devoted to destruction as well. This is what happened to Achan and his family (Josh. 7:1-26; cp. Josh. 6:18). [For more on things “devoted” to Yahweh and devoted to destruction, see commentary on Josh. 6:17].
“detest, yes, detest it...abhor, yes, abhor.” Deuteronomy 7:26 uses a double polyptoton for emphasis. The figure of speech polyptoton is when a word occurs in two different forms set against each other for emphasis. In this case, the Hebrew words translated “detest” and “abhor” each occur first as an infinite and then as an imperative verb, thus the Hebrew more literally reads something such as, “you are to detest, detest! You are to abhor, abhor! [For the English translation of doubling the verb with “yes” between them, see commentary on Genesis 2:16].(top)