| It is interesting that everyone is so hung-up on the debate regarding who has official rights to The Land known historically as "The Land of Canaan."|
If we go back far enough, we discover the near Middle East was settled by descendants of Canaan, thus the region was referred to as "The Land of Canaan." Abraham was not of the line of Canaan. How was it then, that Abraham was given the Everlasting Covenant of the Land?
Who was Abraham? Was he an Arab, or was he a Jew? Actually, neither! Abraham arose from the ethnic background of the Chaldeans, arising out of ancient Sumer, descendants of Shem.
The Arab nations arose through the lines of: Abraham's nephew Lot, Abraham's son Ishmael, and through Esau the twin brother of Jacob. The Jews descended from Abraham, through the line of his promised son, Isaac, who fathered Jacob. In other words, both the Jews and the Arabs are able to trace their ethnic roots through Abraham back to the Shemite Chaldeans, the descendants of Shem.
Abraham, who brought along his nephew Lot, entered the Land of Canaan, in obedience to the L_RD who brought them out of Ur of the Chaldees, to the Land of Promise. However, Abraham did not claim this Covenant Land during his own lifetime. Both Lot and Abraham sojourned as foreigners among the Canaanites. The same was true for Isaac and Ishmael, neither of whom lay direct claim to Canaan during their lifetimes. In fact, neither did Esau or Jacob lay claim the Land in its entirety. All sojourned as strangers in The Land. It was not until forty years following the Exodus from Egypt, that under the leadership of Joshua, the Covenant Land was initially conquered and settled by the descendants of Jacob. Up to that juncture, the Canaanite tribes occupied Canaan, and the L_RD told them to drive out all the inhabitants of the Land.
The Philistines were not direct descendants of either Abraham or Lot, nor of Ishmael or Esau, but were from the tribes surrounding the Mediterranean. They were therefore not Shemite. In fact, the Philistines were from Caphtor, an Island in the Mediterranean, so were more closely related to the Phoenicians and Minoans, and had connections with those who settled Tyre and Zidon - the Lebanon link. The Philistines occupied much of the Gaza region of the Land, and at the time of the conquering of the Land by the Children of Israel, were never completely driven out, even under King David, although he managed to encorporate Gaza as part of the region called Judah. This failure to drive the Philistines totally out of the Land was in violation of the Word of the L_RD to Israel. Therefore, the L_RD had to deal with the Philistines Himself. Jeremiah 47:4. "Because of the day that cometh to spoil all the Philistines, and to cut off from Tyrus and Zidon every helper that remaineth: for the LORD will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor." This Scripture is a prophecy, and therefore will yet again come to fruition in dealing with the Palestinians.
But, are the Palestinians, Philistines? No! But, they are considered like the Philistines in that they are using Gaza as their terrorist stronghold, and they use gorilla-type terrorist tactics. However, the Palestinians have definite Arab ethnic roots, and themselves claim to be Arabs, making them Shemite in ethnic origin. Arafat claimed to be a Philistine (his tactics,) but he also claimed Arab ethnicity, but was born in Egypt.
However, there is an Arab-Canaanite connection through Esau, which the Palestinians now are claiming gives them Land-rights, because the Canaanites did inhabit the Land before Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob arrived. Genesis 26: 24-25 states: " And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah."
So, it is true that the Abrahamic ethnic background of Esau's descendants was blurred through Esau's marriage to two Canaanite wives. But, does this intermarriage qualify his descendants to take over Jacob's blessing bestowed upon him by Isaac, which was the passing down of the official inheritance of the Divine Abrahamic Covenant? Does the fact that Esau's children can claim ancestoral connection through Esau's wives who first occupied Canaan, give any qualification for them to inherit the Land?
Keep in mind, Esau intermarried with the Hittite wives before Isaac bequeathed the Abrahamic heritage blessing. This was a great grief to his parents. That is why, with Rebekah's help, Jacob tricked Isaac into blessing him, rather than Esau. However, Esau, in the eyes of the L_RD, had already disqualified himself by marrying outside of the Abrahamic Covenant line. So even though deceptive trickery was involved, G_d honoured the blessing bestowed upon Jacob, who up to that juncture was not yet married, and Isaac and Rebekah saw to it that Jacob chose wives from within the appropriate Shemitic Abrahamic line, thus preserving the right of his descendants to inherit the Abrahamic Covenant.
Such marriage restrictions remained stringent down through the generations. The Jews were exhorted by the L_RD, through the Mosaic Law, not to intermarry with the nations occupying Canaan, or with the nations surrounding them. They were to wipe-out the Canaanites in the Land; not to intermingle with, or to marry them! Intermarriage with any Canaanite, or other people-group, even if of an Abrahamic line not of the line of Promise, would obviously disqualify their descendants from participating in the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant. Any time there were Jews who intermarried, the L_RD commanded them to put away their foreign wives and their children, from among them. Only descendants of Abraham, through Isaac and Jacob, were to qualify.
After Isaac's blessing to Jacob, Esau took more wives. Genesis 36:2-3. "Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite; And Bashemath Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebajoth." He then took all his wives and children and dwelt in Edom. Genesis 36:8. "Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom." So, where should all the descendants of Esau, the twelve tribes of Esau, now call home? Edom is southern Jordan! Anyone stating they are a descendant of one of the sons of Esau should be desiring to live in Jordan, not taking over any portion of the Abrahamic Covenant Lands! It is interesting to note that the majority of the population of Jordan are Palestinian! So, a Palestinian State de facto already exists! Therefore, there is no need for another Palestinian State! The Islamic doctrine behind the Muslim desire to oust the Jews from Israel and form another Palestinian State, driving Israel out, stems from a variant of the understanding of the inheritance for the twelve sons of Esau! The L_RD Himself will take the Muslims to task for this error!
So, there are some Palestinians who claim descendancy from Esau. Some from the Philistines. Some from the Canaanites. Some from Ishmael. Who knows who they are for certain? The Palestinians appear to definitely be a mixed group of Arabic people, and some may indeed have these roots. However, none of these inherit the Covenant, regardless!
None of the Canaanites received an inheritance blessing from God by Divine Covenant. So, the Palestinians who claim to be descendants of either the Philistines or the Canaanites, are definitely excluding themselves from being pure descendants of Abraham, even if such descendancy could be proven, which now is pretty difficult.
The Divine Everlasting Covenant related to the Land of Canaan was promised only to the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, not through Ishmael or Esau. Therefore, the Palestinians have no basis upon which to lay claim to any portion of the Land of Canaan.
Does this mean there is no inheritance for the Arab descendants of Abraham? Actually, the Arabs of the line of Esau were also given a blessing by Isaac, which requires much land with resources and wealth. Genesis 27:38- 41. "And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck. And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob."
This blessing for Esau's descendants is yet to be totally fulfilled. However, the Land of Canaan is not their inheritance. Esau is not to lay claim to Jacob's Covenant inheritance. Rather, Esau has his own! And, we must be honest. Not all Arabs are direct descendants of Esau! Some are of Lot, and some of Ishmael. Therefore, it is apparent that not all Arabs are able to lay claim to Isaac's blessing for Esau!
And, what of the descendants of Lot? Lot did for a short while have his choice of sojourning in the plain, while Abraham dwelt in the mountains. Where are the mountains Abraham dwelt in? They are what we now call the West Bank area of Judea and Samaria! Lot was driven out because of the abominable sin of the people of the cities of the plain. Lot and his daughters became the progenitors of two branches of Arabs. These Arabs cannot claim direct descendancy from Abraham, although they are shirt-tail relatives. Abraham was not given the freedom to share the Covenant, even with his own nephew!
So, what of Ishmael, Abraham's son by Hagar, the bondwoman? Did Ishmael receive a blessing? Yes he did, even though he was the son of a lack of faith! Genesis 17:18-20. "And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year."
The Arab nations now occupy multiplied times more land than the Israelis! They have no need to oust Israel from any part of the former Land of Canaan! In fact, God is not pleased with their desire to take over Israel's Covenant inheritance. The Palestinians, even if they could prove their descendancy, cannot usurp G_d's Covenant of the Land with Jacob!
The Land is not to be possessed by "who was there first." Those who are descended from Esau's marriage with Canaanite wives, who were first in the Land, can no longer be properly identified, because the Canaanites were to be ousted permanently in compliance with G_d's decree when the children of Israel entered Canaan. So, even if the Palestinians could prove to actually be descended from the Canaanites, there would still be no contest!
No matter how we look at it, the Land of Canaan was given by Everlasting Covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
To believe and act otherwise will only lead to more animostites, wars, and unrest. But this does not need to be! The Palestinians must recognize their jealousy of Jacob is futile!
Jacob's inheritance is tiny! Let him have his inheritance. The Arab occupation includes all the lands surrounding the Land of Canaan, but not Canaan itself.
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About the Author
Maureen Metcalf is author of "The Final Schedule Revealed: In the Fall Feasts
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