Dating the Pentateuch- Genesis and Ezra

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at
Mon Mar 13 08:38:41 EST 2000

Dear Banyai,
     As I wrote to Walter, all that Gen 13:7 ("At that time the Canaanites
and the Perizzites dwelt in the land") need imply is that it was written
when Canaanites did not dominate the landscape. Once Israel was controlling
the land, these words could have been written of the earlier time. The
words do not require that every single Canaanite was gone from the land at
the time they were inscribed.
     But your comment is noteworthy that Ezra 9:1 does not reflect the
historical situation at the time of Ezra in its mention of Canaanites,
Hittites, Jebusites, and so forth. A key phrase in 9:1 seems to be
LaK.:Na(:aNiY ("to the Canaanites") [pardon my transliteration, but I have
not seen a transliteration scheme for this web site: the period represents
degesh]. The NIV translates the relevant words in 9:1: "have not kept
themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable
practices, like those of the Canaanites, Hittites . . . . " So L in the key
phrase, which the NIV takes as "like those of the Canaanites," could
signify "in accordance with" (norm), or even "belonging to"
(possession)[Ronald J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, resp. sec. 274 and 270]. It
is not necessary to postulate a figurative use of the names Canaanite,
Hittite, and Jebusite here, for the verse can simply compare the practices
of foreign peoples at the time of Ezra with the infamous practices of the
earlier Canaanites, Hittites, and so forth. Perhaps that is what you meant.
by "figurative."


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