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Chapter IX. The Canaanites.

91. The Hamitic invasion. We have treated thus far of the Aborigines of Canaan as represented on the one hand by the Nephilim and on the other hand by the Hittites and Hivites. We come now to a new race of people who took possession of the land towards the end of the Ancient Church, almost within historic times. The Nephilim were the monstrous remnant of the Antediluvians, who never accepted the Ancient Church. The Hittites and Hivites were the good remains of the Most Ancient Church, who, in the time of Noah, received the Doctrines of the Ancient Church and after untold ages became a strong nation. In the course of time the Ancient Church declined with them, as with other nations, and a race of foreign origin was permitted to take possession of the land.

Ham, like Shem and Japheth, was originally a race of gentiles who had been converted to the Ancient Church by the evangelistic zeal of the Church called Noah. Unlike his "brothers," however, Ham received the new doctrines more by the intellect than by the heart, making faith rather than charity the principal thing of the Church. Gradually his faith became faith alone, cloaking a life of arrogance, contempt of others, love of dominion and lusts of the flesh.

Such in the Ancient Church as were called "Ham,"—because they lived a life of all cupidities, merely prating that they could be saved by faith no matter how they lived,—appeared black to the ancients on account of the heat of their cupidities; hence they were called "Ham," (Heb. Cham, = burned, or black). AC 1063.

All archeological as well as Biblical evidence points to the banks of the lower Euphrates as the original home of the Hamitic race. It is here, in Chaldea and Babylonia, that we find the descendants of Cush, (the elder son of Ham), and his son, Nimrod, "the beginning of whose kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Akkad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." (Gen. 10:10.) Here, also, the tower of Babel was erected, and here the confusion of tongues took place, leading to the dispersion of the Hamitic race into various regions of the earth. Hence Cush went forth to settle Ethiopia, and Mizraim, the second son of Ham, to take possession of Egypt. Phut, the third son, became the ancestor of the Libyan race in northern Africa; and finally Canaan, the fourth and last son, left his ancestral home to emigrate into the land of Canaan,—which, however, was not named from him.

According to Herodotus, the Phoenicians, (who were preeminently Canaanites), "as they themselves say, formerly dwelt on the Erythraean Sea, [the Persian Gulf]. From thence they passed transversely across Syria, and now dwell there on the seashore." (Book VII.) Modern discoveries have thoroughly confirmed this statement by the "father of history." It appears that the original Canaanites were driven from their first homes on the northern shore of the Persian Gulf by the Semitic conquerors of Babylonia and Chaldea. Migrating across the Arabian Desert they settled first in the fertile lowlands to the south of what is now called the Dead Sea, where they founded the once prosperous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and at the northern end of the Sea the city of Jericho. Gradually they separated into various tribes. Under the name of Jebusites and Perizzites they took possession of the interior of the land, and under the name of Amorites they conquered the Jordan valley and the land of Bashan. Others, retaining the original name of Canaanites, spread along the plains of Esdraelon, Megiddo and Acre, and finally settled the whole sea-board of Syria, where they founded (or took possession of) the cities of Sidon and Tyre, and became ancestors of the powerful Phoenician nation. The aborigines were either exterminated by the Canaanitish conquerors or were assimilated with them; the Rephaim were exterminaetd, while the southern Hittites and Hivites were assimilated and in consequence are mentioned as "sons of Canaan" in Gen. 10:15-17, although ethnologically they were of a far more ancient stock.

Authorities differ as to the time when the Canaanites became masters of the land. According to the Egyptian records they did not exist there at the time of Amenemhat I. of the 12th dynasty, but when Abraham entered Palestine we are told that "the Canaanite dwelled then in the land," (Gen. 13:7). The Phoenicians themselves claimed a history of no less than 30000 years, but the founding of Tyre is now generally accepted as having taken place about 2750 B. C. Justin, in his extracts from the lost works of Pompeius Trogus, says that "the people of the Tyrians are descended from Phoenicians who, disquieted by an earthquake, left their first homes on the Dead Sea, and soon afterwards, settling on the nearest sea-coast, there built a town which they called Sidon, on account of the abundance of fish, for fish is called 'sidon' by the Phoenicians." It is now becoming apparent that the Phoenicians were not the actual founders of Sidon and Tyre, but simply took possession of these cities, in which, in earlier times, a much higher development of civilization had once flourished. (See Historians' History, Vol. II., p. 264.) This would explain the fact that Sidon and Tyre were once of the Ancient Church itself, whereas the Canaanitish conquerors, as far as known, were always a corrupt and degraded people.

92. General characteristics of the Canaanites. In the Writings of the New Church we are taught that Canaan, the son of Ham, signifies the worship which inevitably resulted from faith alone, a worship in externals without any internal charity and faith. (AC 1063, 1091.) The curse of Noah fell upon Canaan, and not upon his father, Ham, who was the original sinner, for the reason that faith, (Ham), even though it be faith alone, still "may become adjoined to charity," whereas the worship and life, (Canaan), resulting from faith alone, is necessarily corrupt, hypocritical, and damnable, because it is nothing but evil, having altogether turned itself away from the Lord. (AC 1093.)

Hence the Hamitic Canaanites, who to the-full practiced such corrupt worship and life, came to signify "all kinds of evils, (AC 1444), a signification that is abundantly confirmed by everything that is known about them.

The Canaanites were literally as well as spiritually an accursed race. Doomed to inevitable destruction by their cherished evils, they have gone down into history as one of the most degraded races of mankind, who well deserved the name of "low ones," by which they were stigmatized by the rest of the Ancient Church. (AC 2913.) For, as has been observed before, this people was named from a root signifying "to be low," whereas the land of Canaan was named from a root signifying "merchandise."

Cultivating the things of faith alone, without regard to charity, and placing the whole life of religion in mere rituals, the Canaanites never possessed the essential elements of national cohesion. "So far from showing the slightest tendency towards unity or concentration," says Maspero, "they were more hopelessly divided than any of the surrounding nations. Their mountains contained nearly as many states as there were valleys, while in the plains each town represented a separate government." (History of Egypt, Vol. IV., p. 183.) Each little district or settlement had its own special idol, and also its own "king" or sheik, and they were always at war with one another. No permanent bond existed between them, and such were their mutual jealousies that even the common danger from foreign invaders but seldom forced them into even temporary alliances. No wonder, then, that they were so easily conquered by the smaller but united forces of Israel!

Churches of our modern world present a very similar picture. Born of Ham, or faith alone, they have been destitute of mutual charity and cohesion ever since the days of Luther, Zwingli, and Henry VIII. Even the common danger from the Catholic Church could not induce them to subordinate their minor differences as to matters of dogma and ritual, but, dividing and subdividing on the smallest disputes, they became a sandy rope of almost innumerable sects, each anathematizing all the others, and all of them powerless at this day to resist the assaults of the Egypt of modern science, or the Assyria of modern philosophy. But the very fact of their hopeless division renders more easy the general victory of the new Israelite, the Newchurchman, over the Canaanites within himself.

Though condemned to utter extermination, remnants of the Canaanites were allowed to survive in various parts of the land for more than a thousand years, to continue as a source of infestation and seduction to the disobedient Israelites who were ever prone to "make covenants with the nations," marrying amongst them and "going a whoring" after their gods. The Philistines were never subdued, and the powerful Phoenicians were not even attacked, but the former again and again enslaved the Israelites, and the latter supplied to them queens such as Jezebel and her daughter, Athaliah, who led the people into idolatry. And besides these, remnants of Canaanitish tribes survived throughout the history of Israel in various parts of the land even after the final dispersion of the Jewish nation. Nay, traces of them are to be found to this day among the thieving and murderous fellahin in the remoter districts of the Holy Land.

On the Egyptian monuments the Canaanites are generally depicted as a tall and thin people, with high cheek bones, a brutal lower jaw, receding chins, thick lips, long noses slightly curved, slanting eyes, and foreheads artificially flattened in childhood as among the Flat-head Indians of North America. (Maspero, Vol. IV., p. 218.)

93. Their Religion. As known to history, the Religion of the Canaanites is one of the lowest and most revolting forms of idolatry, without a single redeeming feature of artistic beauty or symbolic imagery. All their divinities are importations from Babylon and Egypt, but horribly debased and caricatured, divested alike of the majestic strength of the Chaldean, and of the delicate grace and calm dignity of the Egyptian forms. Horrible monsters, gross, ugly, lascivious, and blood-thirsty, were worshipped as gods. The Trinity was represented as a being with one body and three heads,—quite in the style of orthodox Christianity. At the head of the Pantheon stood Baal, (Lord), with his female consort, Baaltis. The former was a sun-god who re-appears in glorified form in the Greek Apollo, (Hapaal). Baaltis was the goddess of the moon, and is depicted as a gaping pregnant she-wolf, with flaccid breasts hanging from all around her body. She, also, re-appears in nobler form in the Diana of the Ephesians.

Baal himself is represented under various repulsive types, which were known generally as Baalim, each tribe and each town having its own special Baal. As Baal-peor, (lord of the phallus), he was worshipped by the lascivious Moabites, while the faith-alone Philistines at Ekron adored him under the name of Beelzebub, (literally, the "the lord of flies"), or Belzebul, (the "lord of the dunghill"), though these were probably names of derision bestowed upon him by the Jews. Concerning him we learn that "the doctrine of Faith alone, which deprives man of all power in spiritual things, is like a man saying 'I have no more power than Belzebub, the god of Ekron,' who, according to the signification of his name, can only drive away flies." (TCR 630.) And, again, "the reason Beelzebub is called 'Satan,' in Matthew 12:24, and not the 'Devil,' is that by Beelzebub, who was the god of Ekron, is meant the god of all falsities; for if you translate the word Beelzebub, it is 'the lord of flies,' and flies signify falsities of the sensual man, thus falsities of every kind." (AE 740.)

As Moloch, (the "king"), Baal was figured with a human body and the head of a bull; in his outstretched arms he received the little children who rolled thence into a fiery furnace within his brazen statue. In general, he corresponds to "worship from the love of self and the love of the world," (AE 760), and to "cupidities and falsities of every kind." (AR 132.) Ashtoreth, (plural Ashtaroth), was the goddess of love and fecundity and is represented sometimes as a woman holding a dove, sometimes as having the head of a cow, (Ashtaroth Karnaim, the lady with the two horns). She is the Ishtar of Babylonia, the Hathor of Egypt, the Astarte of Greece. Her priests were eunuchs, and her priestess were licensed harlots known as Kadeshoth or "holy ones," who supported her temples by their infamy!

Dagon, the god of the Philistines at Ashdod, "was like a man above and like a fish beneath, and this image was devised because a man signifies intelligence, and a' fish, knowledge, which make one." (SS 23.) He is typical of the national worship of the whole Philistine nation,—a worship from faith alone, "which religion, from faith, was as it were spiritual, but from having no charity was merely natural," (D. F. 52); for the statue of Dagon, "being like a man from the head to the navel, represented the understanding from truths; and its being like a fish from the navel downward, represented the natural destitute of the good of love." (AE 81710.)

Such were the gods for whose worship the Israelites so often forsook Jehovah,—a worship which is vividly described in the First Book of the Kings, the Canaanitish priests "calling on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal hear us! But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which they had made.... And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them." (18:26, 28.)

94. Their human sacrifices. The most fearful blot upon the religion of the Canaanites was their systematic offering of human victims, especially infants, upon the altar of their gods. They had fallen into this horrible rite from a perversion of the more ancient custom of sanctifying the firstborn to the service or priesthood of the Lord, "but by sanctification they began to mean sacrific ation. The descendants of Jacob inclined to do the like, but to prevent their doing so, the Levites were set aside in place of the firstborn."(AC 8080.) This monstrous custom arose quite naturally from a notion of a vicarious atonement. "It had been known from the most ancient times that the Lord was to come into the world, and that He would suffer death; this may be manifestly known from the fact that a custom of sacrificing their sons existed among the heathen, who believed that thus they would be expiated, and God propitiated. They could not 'have placed the supreme of their religion in this abominable practice, unless they had received from the ancients the knowledge that the Son of God was to come, who, as they believed, would become a sacrifice. To this abomination also the sons of Jacob inclined, and Abraham, too, for no one is tempted except by that to which he inclines; but lest the sons of Israel should rush into that abomination, it was permitted to institute burnt offerings and sacrifices." (AC 2818.)

But though the Canaanites also practiced animal sacrifice, they would not relinquish their favorite rite of human sacrifice. "The Baalim thirsted after blood, nor would they be satisfied with any common blood such as generally contented their brethren in Chaldea or Egypt; they imperatively demanded human as well as animal sacrifices. Among several of the Syrian nations they had a prescriptive right to the firstborn male of each family; this right was generally commuted, either by a money payment or by subjecting the infant to circumcision. At important junctures, however, this pretence of bloodshed would fail to appease them, and the death of the child alone availed. Indeed, in times of national danger, the king and nobles would furnish, not merely a single victim, but as many as the priests chose to demand. While they were being burnt alive on the knees of the statue, or before the sacred emblem, their cries of pain were drowned by the piping of flutes or the blare of trumpets, the parents standing near the altar, without a sign of pity, and dressed as for a festival; the ruler of the world could refuse nothing to prayers backed by so precious an offering, and by a purpose so determined to move him." (Maspero, Vol. IV., pp. 233, 234.)

Such was the worship which at one time, through the power of the Canaanitish Empire of Carthage, threatened the civilized world with universal dominion. Carthage was especially famed or notorious through its sacrifice of infants to the ever-glowing image of Moloch, and so deeply rooted was the practice in this city that it was not stamped out until the time of Tiberius. But nations who have persisted in the indulgence of such abominations have not been permitted to survive. In the Divine Providence of the Lord, Hannibal was not allowed to enter Rome. Carthage had to be destroyed,—but the essence of the Canaanitish abomination was engrafted upon the Christian Religion, through the unwitting influence of Christian Fathers such as Tertullian of Carthage and Augustine of Hippo, in the spiritualized but still more baneful form of the doctrines of the vicarious Atonement, the bloody sacrifice of Christ, Salvation by Faith alone, and Predestination.

95. The original Canaanites. In the enumeration of the tribes inhabiting Palestine, we find the term "Canaanite" employed in three different senses.

    1. In its most generic sense it includes all the gentile nations and tribes within the widest borders of the land,—not only the real, i. e., Hamitic Canaanites. such as the Amorites, Jebusites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Phoenicians and Philistines, etc., but also the pre-Hamitic Hittites and Hivites, and such Hebrew nations as had accepted the Canaanitish idolatries, such as the Ammonites and Moabites.

2. In a more restricted sense the term refers to the group of tribes actually descended from Ham, and, 3, in a most specific sense it means those Canaanites which "dwelt by sea, and by the coast of Jordan." (Num. 13:29.) As these especially retained the name of "Canaanites," it is probable that they were the more direct descendants of the original Canaanites. These seem to have been the worst of all, for we read that "those who cultivated the doctrinals of faith alone were called Canaanites, and were separated from the rest of the inhabitants of Canaan." (AC 2913.)

In general, the original "border" of these particular Canaanites "was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha," (Gen. 10:19),—a region which signifies, as a whole, "the extension of cognitions with those who have external worship without internal." (AC 1211.)

The first settlements of the Canaanites, upon reaching Palestine from their original home in lower Chaldea, were formed in the rich plains to the south of the Dead Sea, the once magnificent country which, when Abraham first arrived in the land, "was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the Garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar." (Gen. 13:10.)

Here was the city of Sodom, famed for its wealth, and infamous for its wickedness,—a wickedness which has given name to the most unnatural of all sexual perversions. The very name of this ill-fated city is said to mean, literally, "a burning," and signifies spiritually "those who are in the highest degree of exercising command from the love of self, and not for the sake of use." (S. D. 6096.) Hence the association, in the Writings, of Sodom with Babylon and the Church of Rome.

Here, also, was its sister-town of Gomorrah, (or Amorrah), so named, it is said, from a root meaning "enmity, rancor, malice." Nothing special is known of this city, historically, but even as Sodom signifies cupidities of evil, so Gomorrah stands for "persuasions of falsity." (AC 1587.) Of the other "cities of the plain," such as Gerar, Admah, Zeboim, and Lasha, we know nothing further, except that they were all subdued by Chedorlaomer, but it is probable that they were destroyed by that seismic cataclysm which took place in the day when "the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and all that which grew upon the ground,... and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace," (Gen. 19:24-28),— all of which signifies the consummation of the Ancient Church among the Canaanites, and the last judgment upon them, (Cor. 41).

Jericho, (the "city of the moon," also called "the city of palm trees"), was another ancient and prosperous city of the Canaanites, situated at the northern end of the Dead Sea. In the time of the Ancient Church itself this city signified "instruction in the cognitions of good and truth, by which man is introduced into the Church; for it was not far from the Jordan, which river signifies introduction into the Church. And as Jericho signifies instruction, it also signifies the good of life, because no one can be instructed in the truths of doctrine except him who is in the good of life. But when the land of Canaan was possessed by idolatrous nations, the signification of the places and cities in that land was changed into the contrary, and consequently Jericho then signified the profanation of good and truth. From these things it follows that the city itself signified the doctrine of falsity and evil, which had perverted the truths and goods of the Church, and had profaned them; that its 'wall' signified the falsities of evil protecting that doctrine; and that its inhabitants signified things profane; and as all that is profane is from infernal love after the acknowledgment of truth and good, that city was burnt with fire, its inhabitants were given to the curse, and its wall fell." (AE 700.)

96. The Phoenicians, inhabiting the narrow strip of coast- land at the foot of the Lebanon range, were as thoroughly Canaanitish as any of the other Hamitic tribes of the land. Whether of Sidon or Tyre or Carthage, they always called themselves simply "Canaanites," the term "Phoenicians" having been bestowed upon them by the Greeks on account of their dusky complexion, (from "phoinos" = dark red). These were the only ones of the original Canaanites who played a prominent part in universal history, not, indeed, on account of greater moral or intellectual characteristics, or of greater national cohesion, (for the Phoenician cities were ever fighting one against another), but on account of an extraordinary lust for money, which caused them to develop and master—for two thousand years—the trade of the entire civilized world. They were fully as depraved, and certainly more besotted with avarice than the rest of the Canaanites, and yet Sidon and Tyre signify the "cognitions" of good and truth. The reason for this paradoxical signification is to be sought in the fact that these ancient cities were centers of civilization and commerce long before the Canaanites took possession of them in the waning days of the Ancient Church, and that the conquerors mingled with the conquered, (Hittites and other pre-Hamitic people), learning from them these "cognitions," or knowledges of the spiritual things of the Church, which lingered with some in Syria even until the time of the Coming of the Lord.

Sidon being the firstborn of Canaan, signifies that "merely external worship begat the exterior cognitions of spiritual things, which are the first things of such external worship," (AC 1199); while Tyre, which afterwards arose to supremacy in the Phoenician confederation, signifies the "interior cognitions" of such worship. (AC 1201.) A third class of cognitions,— those which apply more directly to life,—are represented by the Syrian Hittites and Hivites. Aside from the organic historical reason mentioned just above, Sidon and Tyre represented these cognitions because of their situation by the Great Sea, (AR 238); because of their being neighbors of the Philistines, (AC 1201); because of their great knowledge of natural arts and sciences, (such as alphabetic writing, manufacture of glass and dye-stuffs, arithmetic, navigation, geography, etc.), which correspond to interior cognitions; and, finally, because of their enormous wealth in silver and gold, which made them the bankers of the ancient world, and which corresponds to spiritual wealth. Originally, from a great zeal for the dissemination of their doctrinal cognitions and rituals, they were excellent missionaries to the gentile world, carrying with them, at the same time, the rudiments of letters and civilization. This is the inner meaning of the legend of Jupiter carrying off the Phoenician princess, Europa, to Greece, (= the first planting of a colony of the Ancient Church in Europe), and of the tradition of her brother, Cadmus, who is said to have brought the knowledge of letters to Greece. Later on, as the Ancient Church declined, the missionary zeal became corrupted by the love of natural gain, and trade flourished at the expense of the gentile converts, as has been the case also among Christian missionaries. First the evangelist and the Bible; then the trader and the fire-water; finally the gun, the "concessions," and the "hinterland!" But the gentiles of Greece and Italy, having appropriated the cognitions and scientifics of their Phoenician mentors, one day turned on their oppressive teachers, and behold, Tyre and Carthage were no more!

97. The Amorites. Besides the specific Canaanites, directly descended from the original stock, a great number of other tribes are included under the general term of "Canaanites." They were probably side-lines, more or less mixed with remnants of the Aborigines. Of these tribes the most powerful were the Amorites, who first appeared on the western shore of the Dead Sea, in the neighborhood of Engeddi, but later on took possession of the eastern bank of the Jordan, founding there the kingdoms of Heshbon and Bashan, some centuries before the time of Moses.

The name of this people was derived from the root amar, to show, declare, say, to boast, to be lofty, and it was given to them either on account of their proud and arrogant character, or because of their lofty stature,—perhaps for both reasons. The prophet Amos says of them that "their height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oak." (2:9) Very likely they derived this gigantic size, as well as their evil tendencies, from intermarriages with the remnant of the Rephaim who preceded them in the land of Gilead and Bashan.

At any rate, when the Israelites were about to invade the land of Canaan, we find two giant kings, both of the stock of the Rephaim, reigning over the Amorites: Sihon, king of Heshbon, and Og, king of Bashan, and these two were the most formidable of all the chieftains who opposed the children of Israel. But Sihon was beaten at Jahaz, and Og at Edrei. Afterwards, when the remnant of the Amorites saw that the cities of Jericho and Ai had been taken by Israel, five of their "kings" united in a last stand to oppose the invaders with an army of three hundred thousand men, (probably purely representative figures). These, also, were overthrown by Israel, first at Gibeon, and finally at Merom. A remnant of the tribe survived in some mountain fastnesses near Mt. Hermon, where they existed even in the time of Solomon.

In the Word the Amorites sometimes stand for the Canaanites in general, (as in Genesis 15:16, Joshua 24:18, Judges 6:10), and this agrees with the fact that Palestine is first mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions under the name of Mat Awurru, the land of the Amorites. Hence this people signified "evil in general, because the land of Canaan was called the land of the Amorites signifying all the nations of the land of Canaan, by which are signified evils and falses specifically. Hence by the Amorites are signified all evils in general." (A. C. 1857.)

More specifically the Amorites "signify evils originating not so much from falsities of doctrine as from the lusts of the loves of self and the world." (AC 6859) But the five kings of the Amorites, (because kings signify leading principles of truth or falsity), "represent those who are in the falses of evil, and who will destroy the truths of good in the Church; wherefore they were slain by hailstones from heaven; which signifies that they were destroyed and perished by their own falses of evil." (AE 503.) As they lived chiefly beyond the Jordan, the Amorites signify relatively external evil, opposed to the external good signified by the tribes of Gad and Manasseh, to whom the land of the Amorites was given after the conquest.

98. The Jebusites were a tribe dwelling to the west of the Jordan, between the Hittites and the Amorites, where they had founded the city of Jebus. This is supposed to be identical with the city of Salem, of which Melchizedek was the king in the time of Abraham. The full name of this city is thought to have been "Jebusalem," (the peace of Jebus), which after the Israelitish conquest was changed to "Jerusalem," (the vision of peace). However this may be, it is certain that Jerusalem was originally inhabited by Jebusites, who, in the time of Joshua, were governed by King Adonizedek. The latter united with the five kings of the Amorites in opposing the Israelites and was slain at Makkedah. After the death of Joshua the tribe of Judah captured Jerusalem and set it on fire, but the citadel itself remained in the hands of the Jebusites until it was taken by David, (2 Sam. 5:7). Some of the original inhabitants, however, remained unmolested in the city, and it was from one of these, Araunah, that David purchased the threshing-floor upon which the temple of Jerusalem was afterwards raised. (2 Sam. 24:20-25.) The courtesy and generosity of this Jebusite in the transaction present a very pleasing feature of ancient charity. The Jebusites were suffered to remain as tributaries in the city under the reign of Solomon, and continued there even until the return of the Jews from Babylon. (Ezra 9.) "That by the Jebusites are represented those who were in idolatry, but in which there is something of truth, is evident from the fact that they were long tolerated in Jerusalem, and were not driven out of it." (AC 6860.)

99. The Perizzites were a scattered tribe of people dwelling in the forest hill-country of Judah and Ephraim. Their name is supposed to have been derived from a root, paraz, signifying to be scattered about, removed, separated. They are continually mentioned in the lists of Canaanitish tribes, (except in the original genealogy of the sons of Canaan in Genesis 10), but hardly any particulars are recorded of them. The Writings inform us that the Perizzites signify falsity, when the other Canaanites signify evils, (AC 1868), and this falsity such as originates in the evil of the lusts of the loves of self and the world. (AC 6859.)

100. The Kenites were another somewhat obscure tribe of nomads. In the time of Abraham they possessed part of the land of Canaan itself, but in the time of Moses they pastured their flocks in the neighborhood of Mt. Sinai. Jethro, the father- in-law of Moses, was a Kenite, though he is also spoken of as a priest of the Hebrew Midianites. A portion of this tribe insisted upon joining the Israelites upon their wanderings in the wilderness, and they afterwards received dwellings on the southern border of Judah. (Judges 1:16.) Later on we find some of them in northern Palestine, in the region of Napthali, where Jael, wife of Heber, the Kenite, treacherously slew Sisera, the Syrian captain, in her tent. They always appear to have cultivated friendly relations with the Israelites.

101. The Girgashites are mentioned together with the Jebusites, but their special territory is unknown. The Kenizzites, the Arkites, the Arvadites, the Eadmonites, the Sinites, and the Zemarites, were all of them small tribes inhabiting the Phoenician seaboard, at the foot of Mt. Lebanon, and represented in general "falsities which are to be expelled from the kingdom of the Lord." (AC 1867.) The Hamathites, are mentioned last among the descendants of Canaan. They had established quite a powerful kingdom in Coele-Syria with their capital at the city of Hamath on the Orontes.

102. The Philistines. We come now to a small but important people which, though not Canaanites by direct descent, yet must be classed with them, not only because of their location within Palestine, but more especially because of their religion, national character, and internal signification. Throughout the greater part of the history of Israel the Philistines figure as the most dangerous and the most persistent of all the enemies of the Church, and for this reason it is necessary to gain a very clear and definite idea of their representation in the Scriptures.

The land of the Philistines included the whole of the southern coast of Canaan, extending from Joppa to the desert of Shur, a region noted in ancient times for the extreme richness of its soil. The standing corn of the Philistines, their vineyards, olive groves, and wealth, are frequently mentioned in the Word. And besides its natural products, the land was at the same time of great commercial and political importance, commanding as it did the only highway between Egypt and Canaan. Through this region the whole over-land trade between the two countries had to pass, as must also the armies of Egypt, Syria, Assyria, and Babylonia in all their military expeditions.

Their natural situation, as well as their ruling loves, thus made of the Philistines a nation of fighters as well as agriculturists and merchants, able to hold their own against apparently overwhelming odds. And this ability is all the more remarkable from the fact that they never constituted one consolidated monarchy, but always remained a confederation of independent little states, each with its own capital and prince. There were five of these Philistine states, Gaza, Ashdod, Askelon, Gath, and Ekron, of which Gaza was the most powerful. Besides agriculture and commerce the Philistines seemed to have attained a considerable degree of external civilization, deriving their arts and sciences from Egypt, while their religion was distinctly influenced by the Phoenicians.

The Egyptian monuments, with their skilful and characteristic representations of all kinds of peoples and tribes, have preserved carefully drawn pictures also of the Pulasatu or Philistines,— tall, formidable men, with fierce countenances, strongly curved noses, and cruel eyes and mouths. On their head they wore a crown of feathers, almost like the head-dress of the American Indians. Cruelty, treacherous cunning, unrelenting hatred, and unbreakable obstinacy are portrayed in these pictures, and these qualities also stand forth as their chief national characteristics in the Old Testament history.

The origin of the Philistines is regarded by modern archeologists as shrouded in impenetrable mystery. The genealogical table of Gen., chap. 10, tells us, indeed, that Ham begat Mizraim (or Egypt), and that "Mizraim begat Ludim and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtukim, and Pathrusim, and Cashluhim, out of whom came Philistim, and Caphtorim."

It is the words "out of whom came" that have thrown doubt upon the Egyptian origin of the Philistines and have opened the door for all kinds of learned conjectures and theories. Some have "proved" that they were Pelasgians, others that they were Cretans, or a remnant of the Hyksos, etc. The Writings of the New Church, however, inform us that all the sons of Mizraim were so many nations, and that the Philistim were "a nation which was thence," (gentem quae inde, AC 1196), and we need therefore have no doubt as to their actual Egyptian origin.

The words "out of whom came" are, however, carefully noted and explained in the Writings as an unusual' expression. "They are not said to have been begotten by those who were from Egypt, but that they came forth, because they were not such as reason from natural sciences concerning spiritual and celestial things, and thus make doctrinals for themselves, as ' did those concerning whom above, but they, [the Philistines], learn the cognitions of faith from another source. ... Thus the science of the cognitions of faith is distinct from the science of natural things, so that they hardly communicate, wherefore they are not said to have been begotten of them, but that they came forth." (AC 1198.) This "other source," from which the Philistines learned the cognitions of faith was Phoenicia, which most especially signifies such cognitions. Because of their Egyptian blood they signify science, but because of their Canaanitish teachers in religion they signify the science of cognitions. The reason for their divergence from the purely Egyptian genius may be found in the fact that they intermingled with remnants of the Nephilim, such as the Avim who preceded them in the land, and the Anakim who were driven out of Hebron, and from whom came Goliath of Gath and his fearsome relations. The name "Philistine" means literally "wanderers," "immigrants," pointing at once to their foreign origin and to their erroneous tenets in the things of religion.

But little is known of the history of the Philistines outside of the references in the Old Testament. They were settled in the land even in the time of Abraham and Isaac, both of whom sojourned among them for many days. At the time of the Exodus they were a strong and formidable people, too powerful to be permanently dislodged by Joshua at the time of the Conquest. During the entire period of the Judges they remained a constant thorn in the side of Israel; the helpless pastoral people being continually infested by the guerilla warfare of the Philistines, who again and again overwhelmed and cruelly oppressed them. Great deliverers, such as Shamgar and Samson, were raised up to save the people, but renewed disobedience to the will of Jehovah continually brought upon them renewed oppression and even the ark was captured. Saul himself was slain by the Philistines at Mt. Gilboa, and no permanent deliverance was effected until David effectually crushed the ancient enemy. After the division of the kingdom into Israel and Judah, the Philistines again raised their heads and began to infest the weakened monarchies, but not as in the time of the Judges, for they now had to fight against the incoming tide of Assyrians, Persians, and finally the Greeks. Gaza held out until the time of Alexander the Great, when, after an obstinate defence of two months, the city was taken and destroyed in the year 332 B. C. Henceforth the Philistines appear no more in history.

The religion of the Philistines was of distinctly Phoenician or Canaanitish character, defiled by the same horrible idols and monstrous practices, such as human sacrifice, etc. Their chief god, Dagon, was only a modification of the old Babylonian fish-god, Dagan or Nin. His female counterpart, the mermaid, Atergatis or Derceto, was the Philistine form of Ashteroth or Ishtar. Beelzebub or Baalzebul was simply a local Baal. Magical practices were greatly in vogue, and ridiculous amulets such as golden mice and "emerods" were venerated. It was a religion degenerated and devastated to the last degree.

103. The Science of Cognitions. Originally, however, the religion of the Philistines had its proper place in the Theology of the Ancient Church, as did the religions of Egypt and Phoenicia. It was shown above, (n. 46), that in the spiritual economy of the Silver Age Egypt represented and filled the place of Science, the knowledge of natural things, while Phoenicia and Syria represented cognitions or the knowledge of spiritual things. And so, also, Philistia, intermediate between the two, represented the science of cognitions "the science of the cognitions of faith and charity" (AC 1197), "the science of doctrinal things" (AC 3365), "the science of the interior things of faith," (AC 9340), —in other words, the knowledge of the doctrinals of the Church, reduced to a systematic science, and regarded from a purely scientific point of view,—in short, systematic Theology.

Now, there is nothing essentially wrong in the love of the science of cognitions, or of systematic Theology On the contrary, it is of the utmost importance, inasmuch as there is no way of entering into the Church from 'the Egypt of Science, or from the Sea of literal conceptions, except by the land of the Philistines, (where Joppa affords the only harbor on the coast), that is, except by systematically studying the coherent doctrines of the Church. Originally, the Philistines were a respectable and necessary people of the Ancient Church, (AC 1238, 9340). It is absolutely necessary for one who is to become an interior member of the Church to "sojourn" for a time in the land of the Philistines, to acquire a systematic knowledge of the Heavenly Doctrine, as an exact and coherent science, in the natural memory. It was on this account that Abraham, "who represented the celestial things of faith, sojourned there, and made a covenant with them; similarly Isaac, by whom were represented the spiritual things of faith; but not Jacob, for by him were represented the external things of the Church," (AC 1197). And David, also, in his days of trouble, found a refuge among the Philistines, in order to represent, prophetically, the supreme fact that the Lord Himself, in His process of glorification, "adjoined to the doctrine of faith very many things from the science of human cognitions." (A. C. 2726). The Philistines, therefore, had a good representation as well as an evil one, and in the good sense they signify those "who are solely in the doctrinals of faith, and as to life are in good, but in the good of truth." (AC 3463.) That is, those who are in the affection of truth for the sake of knowing it, but not yet equally interested in the application of this knowledge to the good of life. Such an affection is unavoidable in the first states of regeneration.

But in the process of time, as the Philistines confirmed themselves in this love, and refused to conjoin the good of charity to their faith, they became a scandal to their brethren in the Ancient Church, and the name of "Philistine" now began to be applied to "all those who studied life but little, and doctrine much, and who spoke much about faith, and that salvation is in faith, and yet had no life of faith." (AC 1197). Thus Philistinism came to be the generic term for faith alone, for the state of those "who believe that the mere interior sight of the natural man is the same as faith, and that men are saved by this sight, denying that the good of charity effects anything," (AE 386).

The inevitable result of such a persuasion was the cessation of all spiritual life and growth, the Philistines remaining merely natural men, excusing their filthy lusts and evil life as mere "weakness of the flesh." which would not condemn a true and orthodox believer. And thus they became known as "uncircumcised" Philistines, because the foreskin of self-love was never removed. In correspondence with this internal state they actually rejected the rite of circumcision which was practiced by their Egyptian ancestors.

Having separated charity from their faith, the latter now became the opposite of faith, perverting all their truths of doctrine into malignant and monstrous falsities. They now set themselves to the work of hatching out a Theology of false doctrines, (still systematic), by which to defend their persuasion of Faith alone, exactly in the manner in which the Protestant theologians hatched out the doctrines of the Unfree Will, the Vicarious Atonement, the Imputation of the Merit of Christ, and finally Predestination, in defending their primary proposition of Salvation by Faith alone. This is what is meant by the words of Isaiah: "Rejoice not thou whole Philistia, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken; for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent." (Is. 14:29.)

Thus, by a gradual process of degeneration, the Philistines became the open, persistent, and implacable enemies of genuine religion. They did not want to know the interior truths which demanded the shunning of evils and the works of charity, and therefore they "could not but deny that there is an internal sense of the Word." (AC 3427.) They loved to "fill up the wells of Abraham with dust," by choking up all interior understanding of the Word by merely literal and scientific interpretations, even as they put out the eyes of Samson, (the truth of the sense of the letter). But they took up kindly with the "giants of the race of Anak," the remnant of the direful race of Antediluvians who, like the giants of modern science, believed that Man is the only god in existence and that God is the "noblest production of man." We find a similar alliance at this day between false Theology and monstrous scientific persuasions.

As the Philistines remained for ages the most persistent oppressors of Israel, so the corresponding spirits of faith alone are most persistently infesting every regenerating man of the Church. The very possession of interior truth is continually used by them to suggest the idea of salvation by faith alone, and generally the fight against them is no better than the struggles of Israel against the Philistines. The combat is the fight of a life-time, and no mere man can conquer them. But the Divine Truth, in the letter and in the spirit, will be too strong for them in the end. They may cut off the hair of Samson, put out his eyes, and compel him to grind in their prison house, bound in unbreakable chains. They may pervert the true meaning of the literal sense, destroy its genuine understanding, and make it confirm their false dogmas. But the day of Judgment has come upon them. The hair of Samson has begun to grow again, and his power to return to his mighty arms. The truth of the letter has been restored, and by this very letter even the simple can now overthrow the two main pillars of the temple of the Philistines,—the doctrines of Faith alone and the Vicarious Atonement. For the Divine David, the Lord in His Second Coming, has now come to deliver His people, and though the Giants may laugh at the very idea of an internal sense in the Word, they are ultimately doomed to destruction by a sling-shot in their forehead from a smooth stone out of the Brook of the new Divine Revelation.

Previous: Chapter VIII. The Hittites and the Hivites. Up: Canaan Next: Chapter X. The Hebrews.

Crown of Revelations
Rebirth, Reincarnation
The Holy Center
Salvation in the Gospels
Psychology of Marriage
Precious Stones
The Human Mind
The Moral Life
Saul, David & Solomon
Bible Lost & Found
The Human Soul
Genesis and Exodus
City of God
Swedenborg Cosmology
Ultimate Reality
The Pattern of Time
Means of Salvation
NC: Sex and Marriage
Book with Seven Seals
My Lord and My God
Philosopher, Metaphysician
Inspiration of Genesis
Words In Swedenborg
Book Expo
Missionary Talks
Tabernacle of Israel
A Brief View of the Heavenly Doctrines
Ancient Mythology
Odhner: Creation
Ten Commandments
Christ and The Trinity
Discrete Degrees
Body Correspondences
Language of Parable
The Ten Blessings
Creation in Genesis
The Third Source
Noble's "Appeal"
Life After Death


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