« AnteriorContinuar »
§ 297. Justice of the war AGAINst the cANAANITEs. 361
for it is permitted, by the natural law of nations, to a people, to inflict as many, and as great evils, upon an enemy, as shall be necessary to deter others from committing the like offence. The prevalent state of feeling among nations, whether it tend to kindness or to cruelty, will determine, how much is necessary to secure such an object. Nations anciently could not exhibit that humanity and forbearance in war, which are common among modern European nations, without running the risk of exposing themselves to every sort of injury, Num, 31: 14, 15. 2 Sam. 12:31. comp. 2 Sam. 10: 1–5. 11:1. Amos 1: 13. 2 Sam. 8: 2. comp. 2 K. 3:27. Amos 2: 1. For the most part, however, the Hebrews were comparatively mild and humane, 2 Sam. 8: 2. 1 K. 20: 30–43. 2 K. 6:21–23. 2 Chron. 28; 8.
§ 297. Justice of the WAR AGAINST THE CANAANITEs.
The cause of the expulsion of the Canaanites is stated in Gen. 15: 16. to have been the corruption of morals, which prevailed among them. God took it upon himself, in his providence, to punish this corruption, and, in the estimation of many persons, employed the Hebrews, as the instruments of his justice, and gave to them (Jus Belli,) the right of carrying on the war in question. But while this is conceded, viz. that God designed to punish the moral delinquencies of the Canaanites and gave to the Hebrews aus belli, it is still inquired, why God did not send the Hebrews against some other nations not less corrupt, as well as against the Canaanites, and why he chose to select the Hebrews, in preference to any other people. Something further, therefore, remains to be said.
Those, who maintain, that the Hebrews attacked the Canaanites with no other right or justice, than is common to other emigrating nations, who, in pursuit of new habitations, have expelled the people from the land, where their ancestors had anciently dwelt, say in effect, that they had no right or justice on their side at all. What they state in further defence of their opinions, viz. that the sentiment prevailed during the early period in question, that the nation, which, with the divine favour, and approbation, conquered another, did it justly, proves nothing, because the very chapter, (Judg. 11; 24.) % which they appeal, actually announ362 $297. Justice of the war against the cANAANITEs.
ces, on the part of the Israelites, a right of possession, in respect to the land of Canaan, altogether different, Judg. 1 1: 12–28. So that, though it be true, that they were in the habit of identifying success with justice, and of saying, that the nation, which conquered, was favoured of God and in the right, it is evident, in this case, they had other and more legitimate grounds for the war.
Further, if the Hebrews had attacked the Canaanites with the same right, that other emigrating nations have attacked those, who came in their way, i. e. with no right at all, they would not have spared the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, nor have asked of the Amorites a peaceable passage over the Jordan, Num. 20: 14–22. 21:4, 10–31. 22: 1–35. 31:3–54. Deut. 2:4–12, 16–37.
The truth is, that Abraham with his servants and his flocks had originally occupied the pastures of Canaan, and had virtually declared by the wells, which he dug, and the altars he erected, his right to the land, and his determination to hold it, Gen. 12: 5, 6, 8, 9. 21:25–30. comp. 13:4, 14, 18. 15:7, 13–21. 17: 8. This PATRIARch left the soil, to be occupied after his death, not to Ishmael, but to Isaac, who in turn, transmitted it to Jacob, to the exclusion of Esau. The Canaanites, it is true, were at that time in the land, (Gen. 12:6.) but they were few in number, and occupied only a small part of it. The patriarchs, therefore, had come into a fair and undeniable possession of this territory, and furthermore had occupied it, in their own persons, for two hundred and fifteen years; and Jacob and his sons, when they emigrated into Egypt, were so far from abdicating the country, or giving up their right to it, that they evidently went away, with a determination to return, Gen. 48: 4, 21, 22. 49: 1–26. comp. 1 Chron. 7:21, 24. During the abode of the Hebrews in Egypt, the Canaanites, who had increased in numbers, occupied the whole of the territory, and the Hebrews, who were thus excluded from their own soil, soon had evidence, that there was not the least prospect of their recovering it, except by an appeal to arms. It belonged to the Canaanites to make the first advances toward an amicable adjustment, but, as they declined it, they owed the consequences of the war, disastrous as they were, to the course which they themselves had pursued, Josh. 11: 19. 9: 3–26.
§ 297. Right of THE IsrAELITEs to PALESTINE. 363
Note. GENERAL view of the ARGUMENT, THAT PAlestiNE had FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL BEEN THE PRoPERTY of hebrew HERDSMEN, AND that the Israelites HAD A Right to claim. It Again from The CANAANITEs, on the GRound that They were UNLAwful possessors.
[As the propriety of Dr Jahn's conclusions in the above section depends essentially on the proof, which can be exhibited, that the Hebrews in fact originally possessed Palestine, and had not done any thing by way of relinquishing such possession, but on the contrary had in various ways asserted the continuance of their claim to said territory, it will be proper to give in this place a general view of the argument, which is gone into, to show that such was the case. The opinions of our author coincide in the main on this subject, with those of the ingenious writer of Commentaries on the Laws of Moses, and it will probably answer all the purpose for those, by whom this TRANslation will be read, if the statement of that writer, which forms the 31st Article of his Work, should be here inserted.]
[“From time immemorial, Palestine had been a land occupied by wandering Hebrew herdsmen, in which even Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, had exercised the right of proprietorship, traversing it with herds, without being in subjection to any one, or acknowledging the Canaanites as their masters. The Phoenicians, or Canaanites, were certainly not the original possessors, of this land, but had at first dwelt on the Red Sea, as Herodotus relates; with whom Justin and Abulfeda in so far coincide, as that the former says, that they had another country before they came to dwell on the Lake of Gennesareth, or Dead Sea; and the latter, that they first dwelt in Arabia. Moses is so far from contradicting Herodotus here, as has been commonly believed, that he rather expressly confirms his account, by twice saying in the history of Abraham, The Canaanites were then in the land, Gen. 12:6. and 13: 7. The word then, cannot imply that the contrary was the case in his own time; for then the Canaanites still dwelt in Palestine, and their expulsion only began under his successor, Joshua : so that he gives us clearly to understand, that there had formerly been a time when they dwelt not in that land, but somewhere else. But another relation which he gives in Gen. 36: 20–30 compared with Deut. 2: 12, 22. is still more decisive. He there describes an ancient people, that before the time of Edom, had dwelt in Seir, or
364 § 297. Right of the Israelites
as we now call it, Idumea, and whom, from their living in subterraneous caverns, he denominates Horites, or Troglodites. Of this nation, was that one of Esau's wives, mentioned Gen. 36: 2, 24. and as Moses elsewhere relates that Esau had three wives, two of Canaanitish descent, and the third a grand-daughter of Abraham, (Gen. 26:34, 35. and 28: 8, 9.) it evidently follows, that the Horites who of old inhabited Idumea, must have been Canaanites. Consequently the Canaanites originally dwelt in the region afterwards called Idumea, and on the Red Sea; but when they began to carry on the commerce of the world, for which they became so renowned in history, they migrated into Palestine, the situation of which was peculiarly advantageous for that purpose. It would appear, that at first they only established trading marts and factories, which could not but be very acceptable to the wandering hordes, because they gave them an opportunity of converting their superfluous produce into money, and of purchasing foreign commodities. By degrees, they spread themselves farther into the country, improved the lands, planted vineyards, and at last dispossessed the ancient inhabitants; just exactly as their descendants did at Carthage, who first asked for a hide-breadth of ground whereon to sit, and then by an artful explanation, got a bargain of as much room as was sufficient to build a city on, and in the end made themselves masters of the whole country. As early as Abraham's time, complaints were made of the herds not having sufficient room, from the Canaanites being then in the land, and crowding it. But this always went on farther and farther; and when the Israelites had for a time gone down to Egypt, the Canaanites at last appropriated to themselves the whole country. This land of their forefathers, and their nation, the Israelites had never given up to the Canaanites; and therefore they had a right to reclaim it, and to re-conquer it, by force. If they solicited from other nations a passage into Palestine, it was merely to come at their own property again: and when they passed the Jordan, and found the Canaanites in arms against them, the latter had no longer a legitimate cause to maintain, for they wanted to keep possession of the property of another people by force. “It cannot even be here objected, that the Israelites, by their descent into Egypt, had abandoned their right, or that they lost it by prescription. They went down to Egypt only for a time, on
To PALESTINE. 365
account of a famine; and it was with the hope and determination of returning again, as the divine promise given to Jacob, Gen. 46: 4. confirms. I do not here inquire into, or draw any conclusion from the divinity of the promise : it is sufficient for me that, whether true or false, Jacob gave out, that he had in a vision such a promise made him ; because it proves the certainty of his having it in view, and making no secret of it, that his posterity should one day go back to Palestine. Whether prescription holds among nations, the single case excepted, where possession goes back to times of which history gives no certain account, and where of course, in default of other deductions, prescription does interfere; and again, how long a period may be requisite to prescription in the law of nature and nations, (longer, no doubt, than in civil law) I will not here stop to inquire ; for prescription cannot operate at all where a people avow and maintain their rights with sufficient publicity; and this was done by the Israelites. Jacob went down into Egypt with a conviction that his descendants should, under the divine guidance, return to Palestine ; nor would he allow himself to be buried any where else than in his own hereditary sepulchre in Palestine, exacting from his son Joseph an oath for that purpose, (Gen. 47; 29–31.) And his burial was conducted with such solemnity, (Gen. 50: 7–13.) that the people in Palestine could not possibly entertain a doubt of the intention of the Israelites to return thither at some future period. But were the matter considered still as somewhat doubtful, because Moses does not expressly mention this as the reason of Jacob's desire to be carried thither ; on the occasion of the death of Joseph, it is placed in the clearest light. For he testifies to his brethren, his certain hope that God would re-conduct their posterity into Palestine; and therefore he desired not to be buried in Egypt, but begged that his body might, after the ancient Egyptian manner, remain uninterred, while they continued there, and be carried with the people at their general return into the promised land, and laid in the sepulchre of his fathers. Such was his anxiety on these points, that he made his brethren swear that they would carefully attend to them; and accordingly we find, that when he died, they did not bury him, but, as was not unusual among the Egyptians, let him remain embalmed in his coffin, until their descendents, at their departure for Palestine, carried his remains