His nation could not mix with the cursed Canaanite peoples lest they lose their identity and turn away from the Living God. Regrettably, Israel disobeyed this command many times over the centuries, yet the Lord remained faithful. At times, He took steps to ensure the people were protected from their own sin, including disciplining the nation harshly when they strayed into idolatry.
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Therefore, the Lord put them to death and brought forth children through Judah and his Jewish daughter-in-law, Tamar. On the other hand, God permitted Salmon to marry Rahab, a Canaanite woman, and produce children in the line of Christ.
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In a word, faith. While the sons of Shua are clearly shown to be evil unbelieving men in Genesis 38, the Bible says Rahab was a woman of faith Heb By faith, God redeems those under the curse, as Paul says:. Forthcoming Meetings. The book of Joshua contains the record of one of the most remarkable military campaigns of history. The invasion of Canaan by the Children of Israel was the climax of events that had taken place over the previous forty years, and followed the defeat of two powerful monarchs, Sihon and Og, whose kingdoms were situated on territory east of the Jordan.
It should not be forgotten, however, that this victory was not the result of the military prowess of Israel alone. The Lord had promised in His charge to Joshua, "Go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said to Moses" Josh 1. The map overleaf shows that the population of Canaan was made up of a number of peoples. They were ruled by kings some of whom are mentioned in the book of Joshua, such as the king of Jericho 2.
Although they may be regarded as kingdoms that were of no great size, they nevertheless were formidable foes particularly when they formed alliances. These were all "greater and mightier" than Israel Deut 7. Lest Israel felt that it was because of their righteousness that the Lord would give them the Land they are reminded that "for the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee" Deut 9.
The religion of the Canaanites is not specifically stated but there is enough evidence to show that Baal was the main deity. Baal Lord of the Earth was a "deity" whose voice was thunder. It was thought that he opened the sluice gates and poured rain upon the earth to give life.
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In the dry months between the rains it was believed that he died and came to life again in the autumn when the rains returned. Around this there were elaborate rituals in temples where, under an organised priesthood, every dark art was performed. Together with this there was immorality and obscenity based on rites which were associated with their teaching on sex and fertility.
Among these "goddesses" of fertility were Anath, Asgerah, and Astarte. It is sad to note that after the conquest of Canaan Israel adopted these "deities". They "did evil in the sight of the Lord" when "they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth" Judg 2. The horror of their practices is clearly expressed by the Lord. The reader of today must not imagine that the cities of Canaan were similar to the cities of today. They were very much smaller in size.
Their population is calculated to have averaged about 1, Many years later Jerusalem is reckoned to have had an area of 13 acres. Israel entered Canaan by crossing the river Jordan, which the Lord opened up for them as He had opened the Red Sea at the beginning of their journey from Egypt Josh How impressive must have been the sight as the priests carried the Ark to the banks of the river, and as their feet touched the Jordan the waters were cut off allowing the people to cross over "on dry ground" Josh 3.
This was a very public demonstration that the Lord was at work. Joshua, who had first commanded the armies of Israel forty years earlier when they met Amalek Ex He was one of the twelve who had spied out the Land before Israel refused to enter, despite the fact that he and Caleb urged them to go Num The city of Jericho barred the way by which Israel would enter the Land.
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The remarkable victory Josh 6 should have taught them that victory was certain when they obeyed the Lord. This triumph must have reminded many of them of the disastrous advice of the spies to their fathers, that Canaan was too heavily fortified to be conquered. There were three phases to the campaign, the first being the attack on Jericho and Ai which, as both these cities were situated in the centre of Canaan, effectively divided the enemy armies.
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There followed an attack on the south, after the conclusion of which Joshua struck north. This campaign commenced with the fall of Jericho and the sad initial attempt to capture Ai. The sin of Achan, when he took the spoil of battle for himself Josh 7. Although Ai fell to them it was not the triumph that had been at Jericho when the walls fell down without military action to bring this about.
Alliance of Israel with the Gibeonites who claimed that they had come from a far country, but really were inhabitants of Canaan. This was a failure on the part of Israel. They did not ask guidance of the Lord 9.