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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

VaEtchanan 45-7

And I begged

Deuteronomy 7:1-11

When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations‹the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you- and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy... But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him.

Deut. 7:1-2, 10 NIV

Why did they have to be so radical with the seven nations?

The Torah explains that the seven nations were very evil before the Eternal; they practised all kinds of abominable and horrifying things to honour their gods. But since the sons of Israel had received so much mercy from the Eternal and their hearts were soft, it was very difficult for them to execute the Eternal's judgement against these seven nations. Once and again the Eternal repeats that they have to destroy them completely without mercy. It must have been very painful to kill men, women and children with no mercy.

Verse 10 says that the Eternal destroys those who hate Him, and it's obvious that these seven nations hated the Eternal and that's the reason destruction came upon them. The evil spirits' influence was so strong that not even children could be spared. Besides all the people, every object and place of cult had to be destroyed completely.

However, the sons of Israel had permission to do so in the land that the Eternal had specified for them and against the peoples above mentioned one by one. Out of their boundaries, they couldn't do so.

There is no example in the Scriptures or the rest of the historical books of the Jewish people having imposed their religion upon other nations or territories. Judaism is not like other religions that have forced their beliefs upon others violently and aggressively.

There are only two instances in which the Jews have had to act violently, to defend themselves from attacks and death threats; and, in this case, to eliminate the seven nations who lived in the Eternal's land, the promised land.

The sons of Israel had no authorization to wage war against other nations, except against the seven well defined nations.

Be very careful not to interfere in your neighbour's area. If you haven't received authorization to correct others' bad behaviour, don't do it. You'll only be doing wrong, even though your motivation is love for truth and justice.

May the Eternal keep us from all evil.

Shabbat shalom,


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