Acts 13:19

This one looks like a horseshoe. Interesting blemish in tile at Vermont capitol.

Friday, 30 December 2022 

“And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment. Acts 13:19

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous verse said that God put up with Israel for about forty years in the wilderness. With that, it next says, “And when He had destroyed seven nations.”

Israel was given the land by God. And more, they were instructed to go in and subdue it, eradicating every breathing soul. The reason for this was clearly stated several times and in several ways. And detailed instructions concerning this task were provided. As for the number of nations in the land, the number and naming of the listed nations vary several times in the biblical record. Paul is making a note of the list as it is recorded in Deuteronomy 7. There, along with the charge to destroy them is given –

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out 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 mightier than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them.  Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire.” Deuteronomy 7:1-5

Those seven nations were, as Paul next says, “in the land of Canaan.” This is the promised inheritance. It is a promise made at the time of Abraham, and it was repeated to Isaac and then again to Jacob –

To Abraham: “Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’” Genesis 13:7

To Isaac: “Then the Lord appeared to him and said: ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.’” Genesis 26:2, 3

To Jacob: “And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: ‘I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.’” Genesis 28:13

It is this land that was subsequently destroyed, meaning its inhabitants, at the time of Joshua –

“So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had said to Moses; and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land rested from war.” Joshua 11:23

After that time, Paul notes that “He distributed their land to them.”

Great detail is provided in the book of Joshua concerning the division of the land. It includes notes about the borders, the names of the cities within those borders, etc. At the end of this land division, it then says –

“These were the inheritances which Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel divided as an inheritance by lot in Shiloh before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So they made an end of dividing the country.” Joshua 19:51

Finally, Paul notes that this process was “by allotment.” This is a word found only this one time in Scripture, katakléronomeó. It is derived from words signifying “according to” and “assign by lot.” HELPS Word Studies says, “to arrive at (get down to) God’s will, through the prayerful use of lots.”

Some manuscripts have a single letter change in this word which would then signify “he gave as an inheritance.” And it is true that the Lord gave the land as an inheritance to Israel, but this was accomplished through the use of lots. Either way, the land was promised to the fathers, it was again promised to the nation, and they entered and possessed the land. The actual division by lots is noted in Joshua 18:10 –

“Then Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord, and there Joshua divided the land to the children of Israel according to their divisions.”

Life application: In Numbers 14, the people rebelled against the word of the Lord and set their hearts back on the land of Egypt. In this, the Lord sent them into exile in the wilderness. He could have simply destroyed them and gone in a new direction, but He had covenanted with them, and He is not like man. He remained faithful while they were faithless.

Eventually, their set time of punishment ended, and they entered the land. That entire process, from Numbers 14 until Joshua 3 was a typological picture of Israel’s rejection of Jesus (the Lord) when He came. The Lord could have destroyed them and gone in a new direction (replacement theology), but He had covenanted with them, and He is not like a man. Again, He remained faithful while they were faithless.

The church is not a new direction. It is the acceptable continuance of God’s direction, based upon the cutting of a New Covenant. That covenant was promised in Jeremiah 31, and it was promised to Israel and Judah. The Gentiles are grafted in by faith, but the covenant parameters were set. As such, replacement theology isn’t just wrong, it is a woefully inept doctrine that fails to understand the nature of God and of His interactions with humanity.

We may not be happy with the Jews for whatever reason is floating around in our minds, and the Lord is certainly not happy with them as they continue to reject His offer of Jesus. But this does not negate His faithfulness to the covenant made with them. Having that set and understood in our minds will keep us on the proper path of what He is doing in this beautifully laid out redemptive plan.

O God, thank You for Your faithfulness to us, even when we are unfaithful to You. If we have come to You through the New Covenant, we are saved. It is “deal done” because You are the One who set forth the parameters. How blessed we are to know that You do not change, and by this, we know that we are saved forever! Amen.