Friday, November 2, 2007

The Failed Land Promise

The Failed Land Promise

If you have reached this website, chances are you were directed here by reading the book Why I Became an Atheist by John W Loftus. The website linked to was formerly a blog called “Tekton on Trial”. I had started this blog to expose the fallacious apologetics of Tekton Ministries and its founder Mr. James Patrick Holding. I thought that some of his fallacious apologetics were in need of a critique and that his behavior, character, and vile antics were in need of exposing as well. I had hoped to shame him for his extreme egoism, his vile and nasty abuse towards people who took views that he didn’t agree with, particularly skeptics and infidels, and his appalling hypocrisy as well as dishonesty and other ethically questionable behavior. I came to conclude that Mr. Holding is a vile and evil man and I see no point trying to further shame him or his acolytes into apologizing for horrendous misbehavior. I have decided, frankly, that he is no longer worth the time to critique, be it his silly arguments or his atrocious behavior. That doesn’t mean that I will never write a critique of anything he says ever again nor does it mean that I will not ever respond to anything he has written, such as a critique of anything I write but I see no point in dignifying his unethical antics or his frankly evil character.

This being the case, I have closed the blog and it is no longer functional as of this writing. But since my friend John has linked to this website, I am going to keep up the essay on the failed land promise but with some editing and some improvements. I have it on the blog in the meantime but in the future I plan on transferring this essay on the failed land promise over to my own webpage on the Secular Web. In fact, I plan to make this essay on the failed land promise a part of a much larger essay on failed prophecies in general. I am still in the process of researching two other prophecies that I believe failed, namely the promise of an eternal throne to David and his descendents as well as the promise of an eternal sacrificial system. When I am able to have it done, I will transfer the failed land promise essay over to my own personal page on the Secular Web and I will include a link redirecting visitors of the defunct blog to my own personal page where readers may read the article on the failed land promise essay. After that, when I update the essay, readers will be taken to the essay containing the more detailed and broader argument considering the three failed prophecies of the land promise, the eternal dynastic throne for David as well as the eternal sacrificial system.

I hope to eventually close and delete this blog and so I will attempt to convince the editors at Prometheus Books to edit Loftus’ book in future editions so that they will not have to be redirected to my webpage by having been directed here first. I will announce editorial changes that have been made; including updates of this particular piece that you are reading that will announce the changes as they are being made. The first edition of this book, however, when readers click on the link to this blog should automatically be redirected to the Secular Web page where the new essay will be hosted. Readers should be delighted to know that other essays and projects are in the works and among them is a detailed critique of the argument against any legendary embellishments of the Bible, as well as a detailed critique of Mr. Holding’s essay “The Impossible Faith”.

The next planned editorial change will be to redirect readers to the Secular Web and readers who enter in this website from Loftus book should be redirected to the webpage where the essay will be found. Until these editorial changes are made, I have reproduced the essay the “Failed Land Promise” in an updated form. Enjoy!


The Failed Land Promise

As a critic of the Bible and an opponent of biblical inerrancy, I believe that one example of biblical errancy is that of failed prophecy. Failed prophecies, discrepant narratives, errors of facts, and conflicts with modern science and history are the chief evidences that the Bible is not the inspired word of any divine being. One particular failed prophecy that I have studied in some depth is the failed land promise that Yahweh made to Abraham, Moses, and Joshua. This was the first debate that I studied between Tekton's president and Bible critic (and former minister-turned-atheist) Farrell Till of The Skeptical Review. Having studied the issue for some time and having read extra biblical works on the subject (Frank Moore Cross' excellent book From Epic to Canon's first chapter on kinship and covenants and a surprisingly fascinating book by Daniel Block called Gods of the Nations, I have come to conclude that the land promise has indeed failed and that Till is right and has the better of the argument. I had some doubts and unresolved questions regarding the details of the failed land promise but I have resolved these doubts and questions and I now understand why Till believes that the land promise failed and why I agree with him. It is my goal to explicate on the land promise as I understand it and why I believe that it really did fail.

My argument is as follows: the Hebrew god Yahweh promised that a specified region of land to Abraham would be taken over and possessed by the Hebrews, which included the conquer and destruction of seven nations (Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and the Jebusites). I will attempt to argue that this promise was fulfilled in Joshua 11: 6-5 and ending with the final fulfillment of the promise in Joshua 11: 23. I will argue that a good case can be made that in Joshua chapter 13, the promise failed but even if it did not, then Christians will, logically, have to conclude that the promise was fulfilled in Joshua 21: 43-45. Since Christians absolutely have to conclude that it was successfully fulfilled as described by verses 43-45 of Joshua 21, then Joshua 11: 6-5 directly contradicts Judges 3: 1-5 which explicitly names the seven people whom the Hebrews supposedly conquered in Joshua 11: 6-15 as not only alive and well but unconquered.


Before elaborating on what I consider to be the failure of this significant prophecy, a few observations are in order. Back when I was on friendlier terms with Tekton's president, he suggested to me that I could best understand the nature of relationship of Yahweh to the land and people by reading Daniel Block's book God of the Nations which argued for the land of Israel as a sort of divine grant, developing an interesting analogy with feudalism. I grant that Block's book is not the only book on the subject but I was told that it was one which would best give me a short yet scholarly understanding of the relationship. Indeed, it was a very interesting read and although I see no reason to dispute Block's chief thesis regarding the analogy of the land relationship with a feudal estate, there are some areas where I obviously disagree with Block. Block operates from an Evangelical perspective and I, from a secular/atheist perspective. I actually intend to study these concepts in greater detail but from the perspective of the Documentary Hypothesis or whatever modern day secular theory of the Pentateuch's origin is endorsed by critical Bible scholars as opposed to the spin doctors of biblical inerrancy. However, I did not see any explanation for the passages that elaborate on the discrepancies that I will elaborate on. I read the last chapter in Block's book, particularly about the concept of "divine abandonment".

The concept of "divine abandonment" doesn't explain the discrepancies that this article will attempt to identify. It seems to presuppose that the Hebrews originally did conquer the whole land, particularly as Joshua 21: 43-45 would have it and thus, "divine abandonment" as a concept might attempt to explain the failure of the Hebrews to hold onto the land that they had originally conquered but they would have to conquer the whole land in order for the covenant prophecy to be fulfilled. If they never conquered all of the land in the first place, then "divine abandonment" is irrelevant because such would only come into relevancy if the original promise to obtain the land was fulfilled in the first place and given that Yahweh originally promised that it would all be possessed, "divine abandonment" only comes into play after all the land that was promised is taken. This is how I understand it.

The Land Promise Prophecy

The land promise, as originally made, was part of a prophecy that the Hebrew god Yahweh made to Abraham in Genesis. It originated as part of the covenant that Yahweh made with Abram. In Genesis 15: 18-21, Yahweh made the following prophecy to Abram:
"18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates- 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites."


I have highlighted in bold the names listed in this prophecy because these are six nations (the prophecy would later include a seventh nation, the Hivites) whose land Yahweh is going to give to the descendents of Abram. This prophecy is stated, again, in Exodus and Deuteronomy, this time with the seventh nation included. In Exodus 23: 20-23, the following can be read:

"20Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21Be on your guard before him and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since My name is in him. 22But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. 23For My angel will go before you and bring you in to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will completely destroy them. "


Here, we read that, again, seven nations are to be conquered and Yahweh will not only send an angel before them, but this angel will go into the land of these nations, and Yahweh will completely destroy them. Deuteronomy 7: 1-2, states:


""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, 2and 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. "


Again, I have highlighted in bold the nations, this time, seven of them. They are the Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, Hittites, Hivites, Jebusites, and the Perizzites. Here, Yahweh explicitly says that the Hebrews, entering the land to possess it, and they shall utterly destroy these seven nations, greater and stronger, with whom they are to make no covenant with and show no favor to. In fact, I have underlined "seven nations" to make it so explicable as to be undeniable. Two more passages, this time from Joshua, will be examined. In Joshua 1: 1-6 states:


"Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' servant, saying, 2"Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. 3Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. 4From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. 5No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them."


Notice in this verse, that 1.) Yahweh made a promise to Moses, 2.) the extent of the land promise, from Lebanon, to the Euphrates, all of the land of the Hittites and to the Great Sea will be part of it, and, for emphasis, 3.) that Yahweh will be with them and they will not fail and because of this, no man will be able to stand before them all the days of their life and that this land was sworn to their fathers which began with and included Abram. In Joshua 3: 9-11 states:

"9Then Joshua said to the sons of Israel, "Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God."10Joshua said, "By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, and the Jebusite."


In this passage, Joshua says to the Hebrews that Yahweh will dispossess the land from these seven nations that I have highlighted in bold. Yahweh will dispossess them from the land, not that he might if the Hebrews are good but that it is inevitable that he will.

Conditional or Unconditional?

Many Christians think that this was all conditional; as long as the Hebrews did what Yahweh required of them, that they would possess the land and Yahweh would make good on his promise but if they failed, Yahweh would not do it anymore and would see no reason to make good on his word. But is this land promise conditional or unconditional? Unfortunately for Christian inerrantists, it is indeed, unconditional. Want evidence? If so, then good, because I intend to provide it! In Deuteronomy 9: 3-7, it is stated:


" 3"Know therefore today that it is the LORD your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the LORD has spoken to you. 4Do not say in your heart when the LORD your God has driven them out before you, 'Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,' but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is dispossessing them before you. 5It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people. 7Remember, do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you arrived at this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD."


If Christians are honest, they will admit that it is not because of the righteousness of the Hebrews that they are being allowed to possess the land. It is because 1.) these nations are wicked that Yahweh is going to drive them out and, 2.) this is in fulfillment to the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This establishes that the fulfillment of the promise is unconditional and it has to happen, and therefore, it cannot be argued that the Hebrews could've done anything to affect the fulfillment of the prophecy; they couldn't have and it had to be fulfilled no matter what because Yahweh promised it would be to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob due to the wickedness of the other nations. If Christians are honest, they will have to argue that prophetic fulfillment is unconditional and must be fulfilled.

The Fulfillment: Seven Nations are Completely Destroyed

The fulfillment of this promise to take the land and destroy the seven nations is the entirety of Joshua 11. It is worth quoting in full:


"1Then it came about, when Jabin king of Hazor heard of it, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon and to the king of Shimron and to the king of Achshaph,2and to the kings who were of the north in the hill country, and in the Arabah--south of Chinneroth and in the lowland and on the heights of Dor on the west-- 3to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Jebusite in the hill country, and the Hivite at the foot of Hermon in the land of Mizpeh. 4They came out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. 5So all of these kings having agreed to meet, came and encamped together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel. 6Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow at this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire." 7So Joshua and all the people of war with him came upon them suddenly by the waters of Merom, and attacked them. 8The LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, so that they defeated them, and pursued them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim and the valley of Mizpeh to the east; and they struck them until no survivor was left to them.
"9Joshua did to them as the LORD had told him; he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire. 10Then Joshua turned back at that time, and captured Hazor and struck its king with the sword; for Hazor formerly was the head of all these kingdoms. 11They struck every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them; there was no one left who breathed. And he burned Hazor with fire.

12Joshua captured all the cities of these kings, and all their kings, and he struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed them; just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded. 13However, Israel did not burn any cities that stood on their mounds, except Hazor alone, which Joshua burned. 14All the spoil of these cities and the cattle, the sons of Israel took as their plunder; but they struck every man with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them. They left no one who breathed. 15Just as the LORD had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses. 16Thus Joshua took all that land: the hill country and all the Negev, all that land of Goshen, the lowland, the Arabah, the hill country of Israel and its lowland 17from Mount Halak, that rises toward Seir, even as far as Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon at the foot of Mount Hermon. And he captured all their kings and struck them down and put them to death.

18Joshua waged war a long time with all these kings. 19There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle. 20For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. 21Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. 22There were no Anakim left in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some remained. 23So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war."


Several things should be noted about this: in verses 3, the seven nations came and conspired with the kings listed in verses 1 and 2. All of these kings, their armies, and all of the people of these kings, including the seven nations conspired to fight Israel. Yahweh tells Joshua not to be afraid of them, because Yahweh will deliver all of the kings in verses 1-3, including the seven nations, their armies, and their people, slain before Israel. Joshua and his army came upon them and attacked them in verse 7 and defeated them and pursued them until no survivor was left to them in verse 8. Verses 9, 11, and 12 argue that all of these kings, the cities of these kings, and utterly destroyed. In verse 14, all of the spoil and cattle of these cities were taken as plunder but every man was killed until they were all completely destroyed. The Hebrews left none who breathed and Joshua left nothing undone that Yahweh had commanded Moses, thus fulfilling the prophetic passages earlier in Deuteronomy where not only seven nations are dispossessed but they are utterly destroyed and no one is left breathing or alive in any of them, people included, and not just the kings of these seven nations. Verse 23 wraps it up by saying that Joshua took the whole land, according to all that Yahweh had spoken unto Moses.

Or...Was the Promise Unfulfilled?

In Joshua 13, however, there is a problem. In verses 1-5, the following can be read:

"1When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the LORD said to him, "You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over. 2 This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites: 3 from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite (the territory of the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron—that of the Avvites) 4 from the south, all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek, the region of the Amorites, 5 the area of the Gebalites ; and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath."


There are a number of problems here. First of all, how could there still be "very large areas of land to be taken over" if in Joshua 11: 23, Joshua took "the whole land, according to all Yahweh had spoken to Moses? How could this be? The regions of the Philistines and the Geshurites (from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Keron on the north) are all counted as Canaanite territory, and all the land of the Canaanites, and all of Lebanon, and the region of the Amorites would've been part of the "whole land" that Joshua took, especially if in verse 15 of Joshua 11, Joshua " left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses". If Joshua took the "whole land" according to all that Yahweh had spoken about to Moses, there would be no land left.

Yet, there is the land of the Canaanites, which was taken as one of seven nations that Yahweh said would've been taken by Joshua and the Hebrews, there is the region of the Amorites, which was taken as one of the seven nations that Yahweh said would've been taken by Joshua and the Hebrews as well. In Joshua 11, verse 16-17, it reads: "16Thus Joshua took all that land: the hill country and all the Negev, all that land of Goshen, the lowland, the Arabah, the hill country of Israel and its lowland 17from Mount Halak, that rises toward Seir, even as far as Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon at the foot of Mount Hermon." If I am not mistaken, the Canaanite territories, of which the regions of the Philistines and Gershurites are located, were within in the geographical boundaries of 16, and Lebanon in verse 17 was taken as well. The Canaanites were one of seven nations that Yahweh would help the Hebrews to conquer and utterly destroy and so the "whole land", particularly verses 16-17 of chapter 11, would be included. If not, why not? If I am mistaken, how so?


In order to show that there is no discrepancy here, Christians must do two things to make a plausible case:


1.) Argue that chapter 11, verse 23 does not mean "the whole land" in the sense of the geographic totality of the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, but is restricted in some sense. Perhaps Christians will argue that the "whole land" and "all" that Yahweh had spoken to Moses about, were hyperbolic and not to be taken literally. If that's the case, there should be textual evidence to support this, and not just the presumption of biblical inerrancy.


2.) Explain why it is that the Canaanites and the Amorites, having been destroyed in the previous chapter are not only alive and well but are part of the land yet to be taken. Why it is that the Canaanites and the Amorites, being two of the seven nations to be destroyed by the Hebrews, with their destruction detailed in Joshua 11, are still around even though it was promised by Yahweh that all seven nations were to be destroyed? Why would Yahweh promise to destroy the seven nations and leave two of them behind? Wouldn’t that nullify the promise that he been making over and over again?

The Promise Had to be Fulfilled!

If Christians don't believe that the entirety of the land promise was fulfilled in chapter 11, especially in verse 23, there is another verse which conclusively shows that the land promise had to be fulfilled! This is in Joshua 21: 43-45, where the following can be read:


" 43So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. 44And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and not one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand. 45Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass."


This is, to me, inescapable proof that the land promise was meant to be understood as being fulfilled in all details. In verse 43, here, Yahweh gave all the land which he swore to give to their fathers and they possessed it. All of it! Yahweh gave them rest like he promised to their fathers, and not one of the Hebrews' enemies stood before them and Yahweh delivered these enemies into their land. Most significantly, not one of the good promises that Yahweh made failed, and all of them came to pass. The only honest thing any Christian can do is agreed that this verse teaches that the land promise was fulfilled in its totality and there was no territory left over. I don't see how it's possible to conclude otherwise from these verses!


If any readers are still not convinced, more evidence relating to the destruction of the seven nations and its inescapable fulfillment can be provided. I provide it here, from Joshua 24:1-28:


1Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel and for their heads and their judges and their officers; and they presented themselves before God. 2Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods.3Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River, and led him through all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants and gave him Isaac.4To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau, and to Esau I gave Mount Seir to possess it; but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt. 5Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt by what I did in its midst; and afterward I brought you out. 6I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea; and Egypt pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea.

7”’But when they cried out to the LORD, He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them and covered them; and your own eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness for a long time. 8Then I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived beyond the Jordan, and they fought with you; and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land when I destroyed them before you. 9Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel, and he sent and summoned Balaam the son of Beor to curse you.


10”'But I was not willing to listen to Balaam. So he had to bless you, and I delivered you from his hand. 11You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho; and the citizens of Jericho fought against you, and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Girgashite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Thus I gave them into your hand. 12Then I sent the hornet before you and it drove out the two kings of the Amorites from before you, but not by your sword or your bow.


13”'I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you have lived in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant’. 14Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

16The people answered and said, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; 17for the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did these great signs in our sight and preserved us through all the way in which we went and among all the peoples through whose midst we passed.18The LORD drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites who lived in the land. We also will serve the LORD, for He is our God."19Then Joshua said to the people, "You will not be able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins.


20"If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you after He has done good to you."21The people said to Joshua, "No, but we will serve the LORD." 22Joshua said to the people, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen for yourselves the LORD, to serve Him." And they said, "We are witnesses." 23"Now therefore, put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel." 24The people said to Joshua, "We will serve the LORD our God and we will obey His voice."


25So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. 26And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. 27Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be for a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD which He spoke to us; thus it shall be for a witness against you, so that you do not deny your God." 28Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to his inheritance”

.

This passage from Joshua 24 makes it clear that the seven nations were indeed destroyed. The Amorites where completely destroyed, as shown by the bold highlighted verse 8, then the seven nations were destroyed as shown by the bold highlighted verse 11, and then finally the land was given to them, thus showing that, again, the promise was fulfilled as in Joshua 11. So the land promise was fulfilled in all of its details as Joshua 21:43-45 makes crystal clear.

But it's Impossible and Here's Why...

Joshua 21: 43-45 is clear proof that the land promise was fulfilled in its totality. Even if the conclusion of chapter 11 of Joshua, which is verse 23, cannot apply to the land promise in its totality, this verse must mean that the land promise in its complete and utter totality was fulfilled. What this would also mean, by necessity, is that the promise to utterly destroy the seven nations would be fulfilled as in Joshua 11. We have just seen inescapable evidence of this from Joshua 24: 1-28, so the destruction of the seven nations and the totality of the land are necessarily included in Joshua 21: 43-45. Verses 43-45 of Joshua 21, then, would necessarily conclude that the seven nations (the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the and Jebusites), their kings, their land, their cattle, their people, and their cities. The promise to completely and utterly destroy these seven nations, their kings, land, people, and their cities would have to be necessarily fulfilled in verse 43-45 of Joshua 21. This has to be granted or the promise is a failure and verses 43-45 are describing something not true and one has to believe that verses 43-45 are part of the inerrant word of God.


But at last, it's impossible for the totality of the fulfillment to have occurred exactly as verses 43-45 of Joshua 21 states it did. In Judges 3: 1-6, the following can be read:


"1Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan; 2only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly). 3These nations are: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. 4They were for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers through Moses. 5The sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; 6and they took their daughters for themselves as wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods."


Well, what do we have here? According to Judges, chapter 3, nations are left to test Israel and after Joshua died! All of the Canaanites and the Hivites! But the Canaanites and the Hivites were two of the seven nations to be destroyed! What's more is that in verse five, we read that the sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites! I thought these nations were destroyed! Remember Deuteronomy 7: 1-2? It states:


""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, 2and 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."


These nations were supposed to be destroyed! We saw this in chapter 11 of Joshua. Let's recap here:


"1Then it came about, when Jabin king of Hazor heard of it, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon and to the king of Shimron and to the king of Achshaph,2and to the kings who were of the north in the hill country, and in the Arabah--south of Chinneroth and in the lowland and on the heights of Dor on the west-- 3to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Jebusite in the hill country, and the Hivite at the foot of Hermon in the land of Mizpeh. 4They came out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. 5So all of these kings having agreed to meet, came and encamped together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.

6Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow at this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire." 7So Joshua and all the people of war with him came upon them suddenly by the waters of Merom, and attacked them. 8The LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, so that they defeated them, and pursued them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim and the valley of Mizpeh to the east; and they struck them until no survivor was left to them.

"9Joshua did to them as the LORD had told him; he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire. 10Then Joshua turned back at that time, and captured Hazor and struck its king with the sword; for Hazor formerly was the head of all these kingdoms. 11They struck every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them; there was no one left who breathed. And he burned Hazor with fire. 12Joshua captured all the cities of these kings, and all their kings, and he struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed them; just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded. 13However, Israel did not burn any cities that stood on their mounds, except Hazor alone, which Joshua burned. 14All the spoil of these cities and the cattle, the sons of Israel took as their plunder; but they struck every man with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them. They left no one who breathed. 15Just as the LORD had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses.

16Thus Joshua took all that land: the hill country and all the Negev, all that land of Goshen, the lowland, the Arabah, the hill country of Israel and its lowland 17from Mount Halak, that rises toward Seir, even as far as Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon at the foot of Mount Hermon. And he captured all their kings and struck them down and put them to death. 18Joshua waged war a long time with all these kings. 19There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle. 20For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. 21Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. 22There were no Anakim left in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some remained. 23So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war."


And to erase any doubt, let's recall Joshua 21: verses 43-44. What does it say? Oh yes, here it is:

"43So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. 44And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and not one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand. 45Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass."


And the final nail in the coffin, proof that Joshua 21: 43-45 included the destruction of the seven nations and possession of the land? Here it is:


“1Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel and for their heads and their judges and their officers; and they presented themselves before God. 2Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods.3Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River, and led him through all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants and gave him Isaac.4To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau, and to Esau I gave Mount Seir to possess it; but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt. 5Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt by what I did in its midst; and afterward I brought you out. 6I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea; and Egypt pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea.

7”’But when they cried out to the LORD, He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them and covered them; and your own eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness for a long time.8Then I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived beyond the Jordan, and they fought with you; and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land when I destroyed them before you. 9Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel, and he sent and summoned Balaam the son of Beor to curse you.


10”'But I was not willing to listen to Balaam. So he had to bless you, and I delivered you from his hand. 11You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho; and the citizens of Jericho fought against you, and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Girgashite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Thus I gave them into your hand. 12Then I sent the hornet before you and it drove out the two kings of the Amorites from before you, but not by your sword or your bow.


13”'I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you have lived in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant’. 14Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

16The people answered and said, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; 17for the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did these great signs in our sight and preserved us through all the way in which we went and among all the peoples through whose midst we passed.18The LORD drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites who lived in the land. We also will serve the LORD, for He is our God."19Then Joshua said to the people, "You will not be able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins.


20"If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you after He has done good to you."21The people said to Joshua, "No, but we will serve the LORD." 22Joshua said to the people, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen for yourselves the LORD, to serve Him." And they said, "We are witnesses." 23"Now therefore, put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel." 24The people said to Joshua, "We will serve the LORD our God and we will obey His voice."


25So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. 26And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. 27Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be for a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD which He spoke to us; thus it shall be for a witness against you, so that you do not deny your God." 28Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to his inheritance”

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If this is the case, then how is it possible that Judges 3: 1-6 describes these exact seven nations as being left behind so Yahweh could test the Hebrews? How is it possible that the "sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites" if these people were destroyed in chapter 11 and the land promise was fulfilled in its totality in Joshua 21: 43-45. I have a hint for Christians; it's not possible! Thus we have a clear and explicit contradiction here! Judges 3: 1-6 contradicts Joshua 11 and 21: 43-45. I don't see how this contradiction is deniable!

Conclusion

I have striven to show that there are discrepant accounts concerning the land promise. In Genesis, Exodus, and Deuteronomy, there are clear passages stating a land promise that Yahweh made to Abraham and to Moses. This land promise included various regions and seven nations. I have taken the time to highlight in bold the seven nations that are supposed to be utterly destroyed. I have argued for a discrepancy between Joshua 11 and Joshua 13: 1-5 but even if there is no discrepancy here, there is definitely a discrepancy between Joshua 21:43-45 and Judges 3: 1-6. Joshua 21: 43-45 makes it utterly impossible to conclude otherwise in my opinion. These passages (Joshua 11 and Judges 3: 1-6) are discrepant accounts of whether the promise was fulfilled or not. Joshua 11 and 21: 43-45 says that it was fulfilled and Judges 3: 1-6 negates that possibility. Christians can take their pick, there are two sets of passages that are discrepant in regards to whether the land promise was fulfilled or not. The first set of passages includes Joshua 11 and Joshua 13: 1-5 and the second set of passages includes Joshua 21: 43-45 and Judges 3: 1-6. If Christians deny the first set, they are stuck with explaining how Joshua 21: 43-45 doesn't contradict Judges 3: 1-6. I have come to conclude that Joshua 13: 1-5 and Judges 3: 1-6 are passages that contradict Joshua 11 and Joshua 21: 43-45. Either way, the land promise failed. The land promise failed because Yahweh doesn't exist!