Devote Them to Destruction
Destroy the corrupting influence utterly, before it corrupts you and you have to be destroyed.
Published December 22nd, 2016
The primary call of this text is, “You shall utterly devote them to destruction” in 2a. The initial call is unpacked negatively in three ways: utter desolation prohibits making covenants with the Canaanites, being gracious to them, or intermarrying with them (2b–3a). With the mention of intermarriage in 3a, 3bc then detail further this specific prohibition, and again an asyndetic clause in 3b signals more explanation. The pair of clauses in 3bc is then followed by a כִּי ("because”) clause in 4a, which is joined with three other clauses in 4b–d, all of which together ground the prohibition.
Then you shall utterly destroy them.
... הַחֲרֵ֤ם תַּחֲרִים֙ אֹתָ֔ם
You shall make no covenant with them
לֹא־תִכְרֹ֥ת לָהֶ֛ם בְּרִ֖ית
and show no favor to them.
Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them;
וְלֹ֥א תִתְחַתֵּ֖ן בָּ֑ם
you shall not give your daughters to their sons,
בִּתְּךָ֙ לֹא־תִתֵּ֣ן לִבְנ֔וֹ
nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.
וּבִתּ֖וֹ לֹא־תִקַּ֥ח לִבְנֶֽךָ׃
For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods;
כִּֽי־יָסִ֤יר אֶת־בִּנְךָ֙ מֵֽאַחֲרַ֔י וְעָבְד֖וּ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֑ים
then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you
וְחָרָ֤ה אַף־יְהוָה֙ בָּכֶ֔ם
and He will quickly destroy you.