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July 30, 2018 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Eikev

At the start of this week’s Torah portion Moses tells the Hebrews that God will “cast out [the Canaanites] little by little” (Deut. 7:22). Drazin and Wagner explain that ultimately the Israelites will “control Canaan and be its majority population” and eventually the Canaanites will “cease to exist.”

Did this actually happen? Probably so, although this took hundreds of years. If you look at the book of Jeremiah (focusing on the end of the Jewish kingdom) I am not sure there are any references at all to non-Jewish idolaters; instead, the prophet condemns Jewish behavior. The book of Kings (which covers the entire First Temple period) condemns Jewish misbehavior and makes it clear that the Jewish kingdoms’ primary enemies were Assyria and Babylonia, not groups closer to home. So it appears that if Canaanites existed at all at this time, they were so small and/or assimilated into the Jewish population as to be not worth mentioning.

Assuming I am right about this, does this prove anything about the Torah’s truth and/or Divinity? On the one hand, you could argue that the Torah’s prophecies were proven correct. On the other hand, you could argue that the Torah’s truth is evidence that it was written AFTER the Canaanites were wiped out in order to conform to historical reality. So the same facts could be read two different ways.

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