Do not let idolaters dwell in the Land of Israel

The Literal Commandment

When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. (Deuteronomy 7:1-2)

 

The literal commandment is that we should utterly destroy the seven nations that were present in the Land before the Israelites entered during the time of Joshua.

This commandment sets forth some specific details:

  • Time: "when the LORD your G-d brings you into the land"... "and you defeat them"
  • Place: "the land where you are entering to possess it"
  • People: the seven nations- "the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites", etc

 

The implication is clear: do not let the idolaters dwell in the Land of Israel.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

 

Pictures of Messiah

If we know, love, and worship the G-d of Israel, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the G-d who is Truth then how can we have any relationship with that which is utterly false and the idolaters who would embrace that falsehood?

G-d knew that any remnant of idolaters left in the Land would be a snare to the Israelites and that they should not be allowed to remain. The subsequent history of Israel during the time of the judges and the kings reveals this to be true. The prophets continually rail against the idolatry the Israelites fall into and announce beforehand G-d's coming judgment.

These commandments prohibiting idolatry picture Messiah by pointing to idols and telling us He is not like them and that, as His disciples, we can have no part in them nor can they remain in our Land.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah did not fulfill this commandment and expel any idolaters. Matthew's gospel records that a Canaanite woman came to the Lord and asked for mercy for her demon-possessed daughter. Not only did the Master not send her away, He actually healed her daughter. (Matthew 15:22-28)

This does not appear to constitute error or sin since the commandment refers to the time of Joshua and the Israelites entry into the Land. Indeed this is the traditional understanding and observance of this commandment.

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment is traditionally understood to refer to the seven nations that were in the Land at the time when Joshua and the Israelites entered it. Although the general concept of not letting idolaters dwell in the Land remains, most Jews recognize that idolatry will remain in the Land until the government changes from a secular-based framework to a Scriptural-based framework... or when Messiah comes.

 

Other Notes

This commandment to destroy the seven nations that were in the Land is repeated in Deuteronomy 20:17.

Those who live in the Land today are able to try to fulfill to this commandment and should not allow idolaters to dwell in the Land.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 58
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 4- Idolatry and Gentile Customs
  • Reference Exodus 23:33
  • Scripture Book Exodus
  • Chapter 23
  • Verse 33
  • English They shall not live in your land, because they will make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.
  • Hebrew לג לֹא יֵשְׁבוּ בְּאַרְצְךָ, פֶּן-יַחֲטִיאוּ אֹתְךָ לִי: כִּי תַעֲבֹד אֶת-אֱלֹהֵיהֶם, כִּי-יִהְיֶה לְךָ לְמוֹקֵשׁ. {פ}
  • Greek 33 καὶ οὐκ ἐγκαθήσονται ἐν τῇ γῇ σου, ἵνα μὴ ἁμαρτεῖν σε ποιήσωσιν πρός με· ἐὰν γὰρ δουλεύσῃς τοῖς θεοῖς αὐτῶν, οὗτοι ἔσονταί σοι πρόσκομμα.
  • Parashah 18- Mishpatim
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 94
  • Sef. Hach. Command Not to settle any idol-worshipper in our land
  • Category Idolatry
  • We can fullfill today Maybe

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