Devarim: The promised lands

The Horim had formerly inhabited Seir [=Edom], but the descendants of Esau dispossessed them, destroying them and settling in their place, as Israel has done in the land that the LORD gave them as a possession. (Deut. 2:12)

On its way to Canaan, Israel is admonished to avoid warfare as it passes through through the regions of Edom, Moab and Ammon.  Genesis tells of the ancestors of these peoples in the stories of Esau and Lot.  Here, we are told that their descendants were also given their land by God through a divinely ordained conquest that displaced former inhabitants.

Apparently, the biblical writers saw this as the way ethnic groups got land.  It was not a unique arrangement for Israel.   Similarly, the prophet Amos reminds Israel that each nation also had its own “exodus”: “Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans  from Kir?” (9:7)

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