On Genesis, Part 25: The Vanquished

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On Genesis, Part 25: The Vanquished

In our last presentation in this Genesis commentary we had discussed The Victories of Abraham and how, with Yahweh God as his Shield, as we read in the opening verse of this 15th chapter of Genesis, the patriarch was able to overcome the kings of Elam and Mesopotamia, to rescue his nephew Lot and recover his estate, to gain the blessings of Melchizedek the king of Salem, and also to overcome the king of Sodom and dispense of his goods without having profitted from the Sodomites. That in itself should also be an example to us, as Sodom is once again prevalent in our society today. [I know, it is a pun, but it is an appropriate pun.] All of these things were personal victories for Abram, which were made possible only because he had been granted the mercy and favor of Yahweh God.

Doing that, Yahweh had once again made several additional promises and an unconditional and one-sided covenant with Abram, where Yahweh had placed all the burden of fulfillment on Himself, while requiring nothing of Abram. This is made evident where it is described that His essence had passed through the pieces of dead sacrificial animals in the manner in which ancient covenants had been made. We had established that this was a binding covenant and described its significance from several ancient sources. The first of these was a letter of official business by an official in the government of ancient Mari in what is now Syria. While the letter itself is difficult to date, Mari is generally said to have flourished from about 2900 to 1759 BC, so the letter probably predates the time of Abram. Then we cited an oath given to be made by soldiers of the ancient Hittite empire, which thrived for several centuries beginning shortly after the time of Abram. Then, after citing a recollection of oaths described in Homer’s Iliad, which recounts events from about the beginning of the 12th century BC, we cited a Hittite treaty which is dated to the 14th century BC, and finally, an event from Scripture which is recorded in Jeremiah chapter 34, which described men of Judah who had bound themselves to an oath in the same manner which Yahweh had done here in Genesis chapter 15. All of these witnesses together serve to prove that our interpretation of this chapter is certain: that the covenant which Yahweh gave to Abram, that his seed which would come from his own loins would become a people as numerous as the stars and ultimately inherit the earth, is absolutely unconditional and shall indeed be fulfilled on those same terms, “as it is written.” When Yahweh instructed Abram to do something, Abram had acted only because he believed that Yahweh would do these things for him, and he was successful in all of his endeavors.

Then, after Yahweh had passed through the pieces of the sacrificial animals in order to bind Himself to the covenant with Abram, He made an additional promise which we did not present completely. He opened the additional promise with the words “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates…” and next, after the point where we had stopped, He named at least most of the tribes which had inhabited that land at that time, whose land He would give to Abram. These tribes were ultimately to be vanquished. For one reason or another, more complete details in that regard are not given until later writings of Moses, at the time when the children of Israel had grown into a significant nation and had been commanded to exterminate them all or drive them out of the land. While Abram could not have foreseen all of these things himself, the promise that his descendants would have their land makes it apparent that they would be removed.

This promise was not sealed in the covenant which Yahweh had made with Abram, because it was made thereafter, which is evident where, after the burning lamp passed through the sacrificial animals, we read in verse 18 of this chapter that “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram…” But while it is clear that Yahweh God shall ultimately also keep this promise, it is later revealed that its fulfillment was conditional, although the conditions were not placed on Abram himself. Yahweh will eventually fulfill it unconditionally for Abram, as it was also given without condition, but in the meantime it was passed on to the children of Israel after they came out of Egypt, and they had only received it with certain conditions, if they were to keep it.

For this, where the children of Israel had finished their years of wandering in the wilderness we read from Numbers chapter 33: “50 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, 51 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; 52 Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: 53 And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. 54 And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man's inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit. 55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. 56 Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.” Now as the rest of the Scriptures fully relate, the ancient Canaanites did indeed become pricks and thorns and vexed the children of Israel, and they still do to this very day. Ultimately, as it is revealed anew in the Gospel of Christ, the plan of Yahweh God has not changed in spite of the failures of men, and His enemies shall indeed be vanquished.

So the unconditional promises to Abram shall be fulfilled, and to a great degree they have been fulfilled, even before the time of Christ. However the children of Israel shall not properly possess their inheritance and destroy their enemies until they fulfill their own obedience to Yahweh their God, as Paul of Tarsus had also written in 2 Corinthians chapter 10 where he had encouraged them not to walk according to the flesh, but to walk “5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” This is our challenge today, and we shall only overcome Sodom and the kings of the east when we achieve our own submission to our God. Here it is evident that Yahweh shall convey lessons to the men of Abram’s seed until those men choose to be like Abram, and obey Him for the same reasons that Abram had, because Abram trusted that God could keep His promises, and therefore he acted accordingly. Doing that, he became a friend of God, as we read in Isaiah chapter 41: “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.”

On account of the sin of Adam, in Genesis chapter 4 it is recorded that Yahweh had told Cain, speaking of Abel, that “7… unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” It may be surmised from the records of ancient history found in the inscriptions of the Near East that in nearly all of the ancient Adamic nations, the Genesis chapter 10 nations which we have discussed here, it was elements of the vanquished which had often ruled over the sons of Noah, whether in the form of the Nephilim kings of the great cities of the 3rd millennium BC or the Canaanite empires of the 2nd millennium BC, or in some other manner, such as the ancient pagan priesthoods to which the people had surrendered themselves. But from the call of Abram, the descendants of the children of Israel have had a destiny for which they would destroy all of the enemies of Yahweh God, only if they are obedient to His Will. As Paul also explained in chapter 4 of his epistle to the Hebrews, “9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” So Christians once again have an opportunity to enter into that rest, once their obedience is fulfilled and their enemies can then be destroyed. The hurdles may seem overwhelming, but Abram himself overcame the armies of four great kings with only 300 men, and stands as our first example of the victories which a man may have when he seeks to be a friend of God, if that man is of God in the first place.

So we resume with the final verses of Genesis chapter 15:

18 In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

As we have said, in the way in which it is presented here it is apparent that this covenant is an additional promise which is supplemental to the earlier promises for which Yahweh had bound Himself by passing through the pieces of the sacrificial animals. Yahweh must fulfill the earlier promises unconditionally, but the manner in which this promise is fulfilled is not yet revealed. It is, however, evident in two statements made in the unconditional promises given earlier in the chapter. The first is that Abram’s seed would come out of captivity “with great substance”, in verses 13 and 14, and the second is in the statement that “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full”, in verse 16. This also gives us insight into the reason for which all ten of the tribes mentioned here must be vanquished. Surely all of these tribes were committing the same iniquity, which is evident throughout the later Scriptures.

Perhaps the Amorites were singled out here because at this very time, it is another branch of Amorites who were in the process of establishing an empire centered in Babylon, as we have already discussed in Part 23 of this commentary, The Wild West. The Amorites had established themselves in Babylon by around 1894 BC, only about 14 years before the call of Abram. While the empire was short-lived after the death of Hammurabi in the 18th century BC, Babylon continued to remain a notable Amorite city for many centuries under the subsequent empires of the Kassites, Elamites and Assyrians.

Now the inhabitants of this land, who would ultimately be vanquished, are named explicitly:

19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

Here ten groups are named, and in modern Bible commentaries and lexicons there have been many innovative commentators who attempt to define them as something other than actual tribes of people, which is absurd in the context in which these names appear. These are indeed tribes of people, and for some reason not yet given, they do not please God and therefore they are vanquished, even if it is not yet evident, and they will ultimately be destroyed and replaced.

The primary example here are the Kenites, a name which may also mean a smith and for that reason these Kenites are often said to be smiths here. Then later in Scripture, Heber the Kenite, a near descendant of Hobab, which was another name for Jethro the father-in-law of Moses, is frequently said by the same commentators to have been of a tribe of Kenites. However Jethro was a Midianite by race, as he was described at the first, in Numbers chapter 10 and even earlier in the book of Exodus. So how could his sons have been Kenites? To the contrary, in the narrative where she is mentioned in Judges chapter 4, Heber’s wife Jael was adept with a hammer and had one on hand, and in that fact it becomes evident that Heber, who was a Midianite, must have been a smith by trade. Such commentators who make these Kenites to be smiths, and Heber to be a Kenite, have turned the truth completely inside-out.

In this list of ten tribes, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites, as well as the Rephaim, are all tribes which are identifiable as distinct tribes elsewhere in Scripture. Additionally, the Canaanites, Hittites and Amorites are well known and identifiable as distinct tribes from the inscriptions discovered in archaeology. For example, in an Egyptian inscription dating to the time of Amen-hotep II, who was a pharaoh of the late 15th century BC, we read that 640 Canaanites were taken as captives among others in the booty which was brought back to Egypt after a military campaign in Canaan. [1] But here, nine other tribes are distinguished from the Canaanites, and therefore the Canaanites could not have been named simply because they lived in the land of Canaan, because the text here attests that people from all ten of these tribes were living in the land of Canaan.

Then, to imagine that the term Kenites merely referred to vocational smiths here, we must ask where are the butchers, the bakers, the millers, the weavers, the planters, the shepherds, the carpenters, and even the farriers and the coopers, along with many other occupations, because why would only one occupation out of so many even be named here? And does that mean that individual tribes had no smiths among themselves? Does it mean that all the men wanting to be smiths abandoned their kith and kin to go have a part with a mixed group of alien tradesmen? If that were the case, no king could ensure his own military defense, and that in turn is contrary to all Near Eastern history. The Kenites here were not smiths, although some of them may have been smiths. Rather, they were a tribe of people, of whom Cain himself must have been the eponymous ancestor.

There were still Kenites surviving in the days of King Saul, the first king of Israel, and long after that. Saul had warned certain Kenites to depart before the slaughter of the Amalekites, as it is recorded in 1 Samuel chapter 15. Saul was not warning Amalekite smiths, but a distinct tribe of people who were living in the land of the Amalekites. Then later, in chapter 27, it is recorded that David made war against aliens in the south of Judah, which included “the south of the Kenites.” There it is evident that the “cities of the Kenites” mentioned once again even later, in 1 Samuel chapter 30, were in the south of Judah, which is near to the land of Edom.

So even much later in history, as it is described in Ezekiel chapter 35, and as it is evident in later historical records through the Hellenistic period and the time of the New Testament, after the deportations of Israel and Judah the Edomites had migrated out of ancient Edom, northwards into the southern and coastal portions of the lands of Israel and Judah. Then according to Flavius Josephus in his Antiquities of the Judaeans, in the time of the high priests John Hyrcanus and Alexander Janneus, who ruled in Jerusalem during the period from about 125 to 76 BC, these Hasmonean high priests conquered all of the surrounding Edomites and other Canaanites and forcibly converted them all to Judaism [2]. Both Strabo of Cappadocia and Paul of Tarsus corroborate these facts by describing the resulting circumstances in Judaea at the time of Christ [3, 4].

So when the Romans came, Herod the Edomite allied himself to Rome against his Judaean overlords, by whom he and his family had been employed since his father was an influential Edomite. Then when the Hasmonaeans were defeated, Herod, having been a traitor and with the assistance of some bribes, was rewarded the office of King of Judaea under the Romans, through which the Edomites eventually took over the administration of the temple as well as the province. In part, Josephus had written that “… because Herod did exact what is required of him from Galilee before the others, he was in the greatest favor with Cassius, for he thought it a part of prudence to cultivate a friendship with the Romans, and to gain their goodwill at the expense of others.” [5]

For that reason, because a remnant of the people of the “cities of the Kenites” were mixed among them in much earlier times, Christ was able to justly tell His adversaries that they were responsible for the blood of all the prophets, “from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple”, as it is recorded in Luke chapter 11 and in Matthew chapter 23. In order for Christ to have honestly made that statement, His adversaries must have been descended from Cain, at least in part, because by no other means could they have been held responsible for the blood of Abel. Therefore the Gospel of Christ is consistent with the interpretation here of Kenites as descendants of Cain. Where Christ told His adversaries that the blood of Abel was upon their generation, the Greek word is γενεά, a word which means race, and that is how the translators of the King James Version would have understood the word generation in the early 17th century.

Sometimes it seems that modern so-called “Bible scholars” exist in order to prevent men from the truth, rather than teaching it.

Furthermore, the fact that these Canaanite tribes had an inclination to race-mix with their neighbors in the name of peace and prosperity is evident in the words of Hamor, who was apparently the king of Shechem, and whose son had already defiled Jacob’s daughter Dinah. When that happened, Hamor went to Jacob attempting to make an agreement, where we read: “6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. 7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done. 8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. 9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. 10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.” While Jacob’s answer is not recorded, his sons were angered and took matters into their own hands.

This same phenomenon is evident in ancient Canaanite treaties which were made not long after the time of Jacob. In a treaty between the treaty between the Hittite king Suppiluliumas and the Hurrian king Kurtiwaza which we also discussed in another context in our previous commentary on this chapter, The Victories of Abraham, we read in part: “If (on the other hand) you, Kurtiwaza, the prince, and (you), the Hurrians, fulfill this treaty and (this) oath, may these gods protect you, Kurtiwaza, together with your wife, the daughter of the Hatti land, her children and her children's children, and also (you), the Hurrians, together with your wives, your children, and your children's children and together with your country….” [6] So here we see that the Hurrian king was married to a Hittite princess, and this is also evident in treaties between the Hittites and the Egyptians. The exchanges of foreign princesses as wives for kings was common in the ancient world, and was for the purpose of building ties of familial relations for the development of friendship and trade between the nations. In that same treaty with Kurtiwaza, the Hittite king had invoked all of the gods of the surrounding nations, another reflection of that same phenomenon, as if all the gods should be amenable to him.

In an article on the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II, who was born near the end of the 14th century BC, we read: “Ramses II’s long life – he lived between 90 and 96 years – gave him ample opportunity to marry wives and beget children. He had over 200 wives and concubines and over 100 children, many of whom he outlived. His first and perhaps favorite wife was Nefertari, to whom he dedicated one of the temples at Abu Simbel. Diplomacy also played a role in some of his marriages, a common practice in the New Kingdom. Ramses II married one, and possibly two, Hittite princesses following the drafting of the Egyptian-Hittite peace treaty in 1258 BCE.” [7] Much earlier, in the 15th century BC, pharaoh Thutmose III was “known to have at least three foreign wives, Menwi, Merti, and Menhet, who were buried together.” These were esteemed to have been Hurrian, or perhaps of some other Canaanite clan. [8] So race-mixing for the purposes of trade and diplomacy was practised far beyond the records in Scripture concerning Hamor of Shechem.

[1 Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3rd edition, James Pritchard, editor, 1969, Harvard University Press, pp. 245-246; 2 Antiquities of the Judaeans, Flavius Josephus, Book 13, line 257 ff. And line 393 ff.; 3 Geography, Strabo, 16.2.34; 4 Romans, chapter 9, verses 1-13; 5 Antiquities, Josephus, Book 14, line 274; 6 Ancient Near Eastern Texts, pp. 205-206; 7 What was Ramses II’s family like?, Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/question/What-was-Ramses-Iis-family-like, accessed August 11th, 2023; 8 Thutmose III, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thutmose_III, accessed August 11th, 2023.]

We have discussed the Kenites, and that leaves nine other tribes listed here, which are the Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaims, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites. For contextual reasons, we shall not discuss these in the order in which they are listed, but we shall discuss them all.

Of these nine tribes, although Canaanites are listed separately, four others of them are branches of the Canaanites, found in the list of those descended from Canaan in Genesis chapter 10. They are the Hittites, the Amorites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites. As we read in Genesis chapter 10: “15 And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, 16 And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, 17 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, 18 And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.”

We have already discussed the more notable of these at length, the Hittites and the Amorites, in our presentation of part 16 of this commentary and The Curse of Canaan. Not all of these Canaanites lived in the land of Canaan being given to Abram. Many of them, and even a majority of at least some of these tribes, had lived outside of its bounds. Here it shall suffice to say that the Hittites, as it is explained later in Genesis in the words of Rebecca, are the descendants of Heth, the second son of Canaan mentioned in Genesis chapter 10. The Hittites had a kingdom, and later an empire, centered in central in Anatolia. The Amorites had occupied portions of Mesopotamia including Babylon, but their original settlements seem to have been on the northern Mediterranean coast of the Levant, which we have also described. We identified the Hamathites and Arvadites with cities in the north of that same area. As for the Sinites, for my part I have dismissed their identification with a fortress in Lebanon in a place named named Mount Sinna which was mentioned by the Greek geographer Strabo of Cappadocia [9]. We also explained that the Jebusites are the Canaanite tribe which occupied Jerusalem, but we do not know if that is certain at this early time, and that the Hivites, which is properly a reference to the Horites, occupied the area around Mount Seir in the land which was later Edom, but also had a larger presence in the northern portion of Mesopotamia, where they rose to become the Mittani Kingdom and empire over the centuries following the time of the life of Abram. So records of the Horites are also abundant in archaeology. But evidently there were not enough of them in Canaan to merit a mention at this time.

So here in Genesis chapter 15, it is evident that certain portions of many of these Genesis chapter 10 Canaanite tribes did have a significant presence in the land of Canaan, whether or not they maintained any connections to the governments, leaders or citizens of their own historical tribes who occupied other areas outside of this region. But as for the more general reference to Canaanites apart from the other Canaanite tribes mentioned here in this passage of Genesis, we would interpret that primarily as a reference to the Sidonians. As it says in Genesis chapter 10, Sidon was the firstborn son of Canaan, and evidently he retained the name of Canaan, although sometimes in Scripture we find references to the Sidonians, which is more of a geographical label pertaining the the city on the coast of the Levant which bore his name. The Sidonians are not mentioned here separately, because they retained the name of Canaan, and I have not yet seen that name Sidonians to describe the entire tribe in the records of the Egyptians, Hittites, Amorites or Hurrians which have thus far been discovered by archaeologists. So in that sense, Genesis chapter 10 is also of utmost importance, as it identifies which tribes are of Canaan, which tribes were not of Adam at all, and why they were rejected by Yahweh God, for which reason they would ultimately be vanquished.

[9 Geography, Strabo, Book 16, paragraph 18.]

Where this same list of Canaanite tribes is next mentioned in Scripture, we read in Exodus chapter 3, in the words of Yahweh to Moses, “7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites [Horites], and the Jebusites.”

Then in Deuteronomy chapter 7, we read: “1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites [Horites], and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: 3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.”

We should not make contentions over the differences in these lists, that one accursed people is mentioned in one place, and not in another. For example, even if the Rephaim mentioned here in Genesis chapter 15 are not mentioned in Exodus chapter 3 or Deuteronomy chapter 7, it becomes manifest later in Scripture that there were certain Rephaim in the land in the time of David, such as the giants, Goliath and his brethren, who are destroyed at that time, according to accounts recorded in 2 Samuel chapter 21 and 1 Chronicles chapter 20. So there were still Rephaim in the land, and they were still considered accursed although they were not mentioned in every list of those who were to be vanquished. Likewise, another group of the Nephilim, the Anakim, were treated in that same manner. If a group is included once, in one of these lists, then we should know that they are always among the vanquished even if they do not appear in all of these lists.

But before we discuss the Rephaim at greater length, we shall discuss three others of the ten tribes listed here, which are the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites and the Perizzites. Because none of these tribes are mentioned up to this point in Scripture, and as we have already stated earlier, the popular commentaries and lexicons seek to define the terms Kenizzites, Perizzites and Kadmonites as if they describe the circumstances of certain people, rather than being names of certain tribes. But if the other seven of these names belong to tribes, as we have yet to discuss the Rephaim, then these three names are also certainly the names of tribes. Ostensibly, however, these tribes were not of Canaan, and they were not a portion of any of the other Adamic patriarchs listed in Genesis chapter 10.

Under the divine inspiration of Yahweh, Moses had written out the genealogies of the nations of Genesis chapter 10 for good reason, so that the children of Israel of his time could know who was of Yahweh, and who was not. But Moses wrote the most complete list of the vanquished here in Genesis chapter 15, so that the children of Israel could know more precisely the nature of their enemies. There were many people of the Nephilim who were not of Yahweh, and they are evident in Scripture, and also in the ancient inscriptions, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh which we have already cited elsewhere in this context. The Kenites and the Rephaim mentioned here are not of Yahweh, and by this we know that they have a presence in the land of Canaan. They were also present throughout the wider world, but the Scripture is only concerned with Abram and the children of Israel and their own immediate, local environment. While they are not mentioned in subsequent writings of Moses, they are indeed found in later Scriptures, as we have already explained of the Kenites, and will explain of the Rephaim below. Other Canaanite tribes which do not appear here are mentioned later, as we have already spoken concerning the Horites, or Hurrians. Although they are not mentioned in Genesis chapter 15, the Hurrians, or Hivites, where they are mentioned later, are also accounted among the vanquished.

As a digression, the fact that Cain is not of Yahweh, and therefore not a true son of Adam, is revealed indirectly in the Gospel of Christ. This we read in John chapter 8: “39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.” Later in that same chapter of the Gospel of John, it is revealed explicitly in verse 44 that Cain was a son of the devil, but that verse has always been mistranslated, even by myself although I have recently realized and corrected my error. As the Judaeans had sought to kill Christ, likewise Cain sought to kill Abel, in spite of the fact that he was asked “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?”, and then told “unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” For that reason the apostle John had written in his first epistle that “14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” Cain could not have had the same spirit which Yahweh bestowed upon Adam, as he killed his brother even after speaking to God. The Judaeans were descendants of Abraham, but many of them were Edomites and therefore they were not truly of God, because Esau had taken wives of the vanquished. For this reason, his mother Rebecca had lamented the value of her own life, as it is recorded in the final verse of Genesis chapter 27, by crying “… I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?”

Returning to our discussion of the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites and the Perizzites: The definition in the original Strong’s Concordance for Kenizzite (# 7074) is “patronym from 7073; a Kenizzite or descendant of Kenaz”. This has caused confusion for some readers, since there are several men named Kenaz in Scripture. Strong’s defines קנז or qenaz as hunter, so it is no wonder that it was a popular name. So in the list of the sons of Esau found in Genesis chapter 36, there is a Kenaz, and later, among the children of Israel in the Exodus, in Numbers chapter 13 there are selected twelve men from among the tribes, who would survey the land of Canaan, and we read of “6 Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.” But later this Caleb is called a Kenezite, where it is spelled slightly different in the King James Version but it is the same Hebrew word, in Numbers chapter 32 and Joshua chapter 14. However it is clear in Scripture that Caleb was of Judah, and in Joshua chapter 15 we read of the taking of a city in Palestine: “14 And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak. 15 And he went up thence to the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjathsepher. 16 And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife. 17 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.” In that relationship, it is clearly evident that Caleb was also the son of a man of Judah named Kenaz. So in spite of the confusion on the part of many surface readers of Scripture, Caleb should not be associated with the Kenizzites here in Genesis chapter 15, as he was of the tribe of Judah and the son of a man named Kenaz.

These Kenizzites may have descended from a Canaanite named Kenaz, or even from one of the Nephilim with that name, but we shall never really know, because they disappear from the records here, and after this point they are no longer mentioned in Scripture. There may be one or more of several reasons for this. As we have seen in our discussions of ancient history throughout this commentary, people move, and many early tribes migrated in search of better lands or in order to remain independent of their encroaching neighbors. Other tribes were also absorbed by their more numerous neighbors, or diminished in war or famine. Before the Exodus, Palestine suffered both wars and famines, the very reason Jacob went to Egypt in the first place. We have already cited an inscription which described a military expedition into Canaan by Amen-hotep II which was after the Exodus, but before the Israelites had invaded Canaan, as they were evidently still wandering in the desert for forty years at the time of that expedition.

The original Strong’s Concordance defines Kadmonites (# 6935) as “ancient, i.e. aboriginal”, and relates it to a word קדמוני or qadmoniy (# 6931) which is defined as “(of time) anterior or (of place) oriental”. We must agree with that definition, as many tribes in Canaan lived towards the east of the land, especially along the Euphrates River, and they were never identified in that manner. But like the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites are also not mentioned again in Scripture, so this is all that we may learn of them. Gesenius also gives the same etymology as Strong’s for the meaning of Kadmonite, but neglects to connect the name of this tribe to any particular sense of the word, and Brown-Driver-Briggs does the same. [10, 11] I have not mentioned these sources in relation to the meaning of Kenizzites because they do not conflict with Strong’s definition.

Next to discuss are the Perizzites, a name which Strong’s defines (# 6522) as “inhabitant of the open country”, relating it to the Hebrew word פרזי or peraziy (# 6521) which is defined as rustic, a word which the King James Version often, but not necessarily correctly, had translated as village (i.e. Judges 5:7, 11; Habakkuk 3:14). In their definition of Perizzite, the Brown-Driver-Briggs lexicon admits that the connection of the term to rustics or a rural population is possible, but not certain, and says that the word is used “of ancient inhabitants of Canaan” [12]. But in our opinion, Gesenius goes off the trail in his definition of the term, defining it as “belonging to a village”, which is contrary to how the label here is used in subsequent Scriptures. [13]

Unlike the Kenizzites and Kadmonites, the Perizzites are often mentioned in later Scriptures, in seventeen different verses and as late as Nehemiah chapter 9. In all of these places, they are a tribe mentioned along with and distinguished from other tribes. For example, we read in Joshua chapter 17: “13 Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out. 14 And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto? 15 And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.” Here it is evident that the Perizzites are not inhabiting open villages, but rather live in the mountainous woods. The Perizzites were called Perizzites no matter where they lived, so the name cannot describe the circumstances of where they lived. Later, in 1 Kings chapter 9, we read “20 And all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which were not of the children of Israel, 21 Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day.” So the Perizzites were always a tribe distinguished from the other vanquished tribes.

So we must consider these terms, Kenizzite, Kadmonite and Perizzite, to be names of tribes, as are all of the names in this list of ten nations, even if they were not used by the tribes themselves. As we have seen with the Zuzim of Genesis chapter 14, who were also found in Canaan but not mentioned here, it is evident that the Hebrews often labelled other tribes or individuals by their own peculiar names. Those names were also often particularly descriptive, as Zuzim apparently means “roving creatures”. All of these tribes were very likely of the Nephilim, since if they were ancient and aboriginal from the perspective of Genesis chapter 15, then they must have existed before the Canaanites came into the area with the division of tongues described in Genesis chapter 11. If they were descended from Canaan along with the five tribes of the Canaanites who are mentioned here, then Noah should have included them in Genesis chapter 10, but he did not so they could not have been related. As we have asserted, the purpose of this list, and of the genealogies of Genesis chapter 10, is so that the children of Israel going into the land of Canaan could understand the nature of their adversaries and be able to identify them. That these three tribes were of the Nephilim may also help to further explain their company in the presence of the Kenites and the Rephaim, as they were all evidently outside of the region of the flood of Noah and survived the flood here in Canaan.

[10 Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, translated by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Baker Books, 1979, p. 724; 11 The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, Hendrickson Publishers, 2021, p. 870; ibid., pp. 826-827; 13 Gesenius, p. 689.]

Finally, the last of these Genesis chapter 15 tribes to discuss are the Rephaim, and as it is very often in the King James Version, the word Rephaims is an English form of a word which is already plural in Hebrew, Rephaim, so I would rather avoid adding that final ‘s’ because it is redundant. The Hebrew word translated as Rephaim is a plural form of רפא or rapha (# 7497), which is defined by Strong’s as being “from 7495 in the sense of invigorating; a giant”, and in turn, the word at 7495 is also רפא or rapha, a verb which is defined as “a primitive root; properly to mend (by stitching), i.e. figuratively to cure.” The definition of this last term is credible, as there are several other related words which are used in a manner which supports it, although it can hardly be understood how it can mean giant describing a man in a physical sense. The definitions from Gesenius agree with Strong’s for # 7495, and they elaborate, stressing the meaning of giant for # 7497, without adding any further information as to how this is credible.

The Brown-Driver-Briggs lexicon defines the entry for rapha at 7495 as “darn, mend, repair, pacify … to heal”, and also as a substantive or noun “healer, physician”. But it relates the word rapha which Strong’s listed at 7497 to a similar group of related words found in entries in Strong’s listed from # 7503 through perhaps 7510, the most significant of which is # 7503, רפה or rephah, which Strong’s defined as “a primitive root; to slacken…” The difference in spelling between the verb which means to mend and that which means to slacken is the final letter, an aleph rather than a he, or רפא rather than רפה. So the Brown-Driver-Briggs lexicon offer a more elaborate definition of רפה or rephah (7503) which includes examples such as to sink down, to relax, withdraw, to weaken or enfeeble, or to abandon or forsake. To this they refer the reader in their entry for rapha (# 7497) which in the plural is translated as Rephaim here. A related word, spelled precisely the same as the plural form here, is רפאים or rephaim (# 7596), which is defined as “sunken, powerless ones”, and that is more credible than Strong’s which has “properly lax, i.e. figuratively a ghost (as dead; in plural only)”, because it is more complete where Strong’s failed to make proper associations for the meaning of the term.

So evidently, the word Rephaim is very much a synonym of the word Nephilim, which means fallen ones. But another aspect of the meaning of Rephaim seems to have been missed in all three of our source lexicons, although it is not apparent until much later in Scripture. The occurrences of the word giants in Genesis and Numbers are all translated from the Hebrew form of the word Nephilim, which we would assert means fallen ones. Then, at least in the King James Version, where giants are mentioned frequently in the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua, the word is always from the Hebrew form of the word for Rephaim, which seems to be closer to # 7503 or sunken ones rather than from # 7495 or healers, since even when they are not yet dead, they are nonetheless vanquished.

However, on several occasions in each of 2 Samuel chapter 21 and 1 Chronicles chapter 20 there are references to several of the Rephaim who were described as having been “sons of the giant” or “born to the giant”, where the singular form רפא or rapha appears as a proper name, Rapha, and there it is evident that the word Rephaim is a patronym formed from this name which belonged to a particular individual. This evokes the use of the term Anakim, which is also a plural form used as a patronym for the descendants of Anak. As it is described in Numbers chapter 13 where there are several references to the children, or sons of Anak, who were dwelling in what would later become the land of Judah. So when Caleb and the men with him had surveyed the land, they returned to Moses and reported, in part, that “32 … The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. 33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” Where we read giants twice in that passage, the Hebrew word is Nephilim, so Anak was a prominent Nephilim and his descendants were later called Anakim, a word which appears nine times in Deuteronomy and Joshua. We would assert that in a similar manner, there must have once been a notable Nephilim named Rapha, and his descendants were called Rephaim, after his name. Otherwise, Rephaim is also only a synonym for Nephilim, after the meaning attributed to the word in Brown-Driver-Briggs.

[14 Gesenius, pp. 775-776; 15 The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, pp. 951-952.]

So these are the vanquished, and now we can understand their true nature. If the Canaanites were wont to make treaties and intermarry with their neighbors, they have already been neighbors to the Rephaim, the Anakim, the Kenites, even the Zuzim, the “roving creatures”, for well over 600 years since the division of the nations in the days of Peleg. Without a doubt, by this time they are commingled to a great extent, even though, to a great extent, they had retained their patriarchal identities.

In the end, the children of Israel had failed to exterminate the vanquished, and if they had done so, perhaps Canaan would only have been a starting point. But because they failed, which was inevitable, today we await Yahshua Christ, who has promised to do so Himself. Instead the children of Israel had turned to sin, and Paul explained that Joshua had offered them rest – if indeed they destroyed the vanquished then they would have had rest, but as we have already said, Paul also explained that Christians today can still expect that rest, once the enemies are finally destroyed, in Hebrews chapters 3 and 4. In the meantime, as the apostle Jude explained in his brief epistle, “12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” The vanquished were among Christians then, and they have once again infiltrated Christian society today.


Yahweh willing, we shall return with Genesis chapter 16 in the near future.

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