Devarim–The Promised Lands

“Do not harass Moab or contend with them in battle, . . . because I have given Ar to the sons of Lot for a possession.” (Deut. 2:9)

On its way to Canaan, Israel is admonished to avoid warfare as it passes through the regions of Edom, Moab and Ammon.  These nations are descendants of Esau and Lot, close relatives of the biblical patriarchs.  Here in Deuteronomy, we are told that their descendants were also given their land by God in the same manner as the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: through a divinely ordained conquest that displaced former inhabitants.

This model of sanctioned conquest and settlement reflects a common belief in the biblical period about the divine apportioning of land to various ethnic groups.  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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