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"And I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites."- Exodus 3:8

"I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites."- Exodus 33:2

"“When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than yourselves,"- Deuteronomy 7:1

"Only in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes. But you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the Lord your God"- Deuteronomy 20:16-18

"And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites."-Joshua 3:10

"You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous."-Nehemiah 9:8

Why do these Girgashites keep popping in and out within the nations the Israelites were meant to wipe out in their conquest for the Promised Land? This conquest was historically/spiritually significant so I don't understand why there'd be inconsistencies over the number of nations.

Were they one in the same with the other tribes? If so, who were they affliated with? Did they have an on and off relatioship with God (the conquest was divine judgement)?

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The Girgashites were of Canaan, the fourth listed son of Ham. (Gen. 10:6).

"15 And Canaan begat Sidon his first born, and Heth,

16 And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite,

17 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite,

18 And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.

19 And the border of the 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.

20 These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations." (Gen. 10:15-20, KJV)

All of these families were of Ham's son, Canaan. Some sources say the Girgashites occupied lands east of the Sea of Galilee. (1) But, they were part of the tribes of the giants that God used the Israelite to destroy from those lands. The men that Moses sent to spy out the land reported of Canaan.

"27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan." (Num. 13:27-29, KJV)

The Girgashites were included in that part of Canaan - named for the fourth son of Ham - that dwelled by the sea and the coast of Jordan. So, they are included with the general reference to the Canaanites.

The spies also reported that "all" the people they saw were very tall.

"32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature." (Num. 13:32, KJV)

The indication is that all of those people in Canaan were of very tall stature, and were what the KJV called "giants". That they were of the Canaanites, then the Girgashites were also of these tall people whom God destroyed because they were so very evil.

There is no contradiction. It is only that some scriptures include them with the Canaanites, and some verses call them out specifically, but they were destroyed. God had determined they were unrepentant, and so brought judgment upon them.

"4 Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee.

5 Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." (Deu. 9:4-5, KJV)

They had ceased to listen to God, and His promise to give those lands to Abraham's children through Isaac was a simultaneous judgment against those evil people. So, just as every other nation God judged, they no longer had any relationship with Him.

For more on the giants, see my post "Giants: Rephaim, Zamzummim, Emim, Amorite, Anakim, Nephilim, Zuzim" at ShreddingTheVeil

(Bold emphasis is mine.)

Note:

1) Biblehub / Topical Bible: Girgashites here

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  • So why do they mention the tribes of the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Amorites etc. separately when talking about the inhabitants of Canaan in almost every instance? Girgashites were clay-dwellers so I'm wondering if that meant they were unstable, constantly migrating (God says that He will be like a rock to Israel). Apr 12 '19 at 9:53
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Rabbinic tradition (for example, here) says that the Girgashites left the country and went to Africa (an interpolated note there says specifically Morocco).

Interestingly, Procopius (History of the Wars IV:X:14) writes something similar:

In that country there dwelt very populous tribes, the Gergesites and the Jebusites... they proceeded to Libya... They also built a fortress in Numidia, where now is the city called Tigisis. In that place are two columns made of white stone near by the great spring, having Phoenician letters cut in them which say in the Phoenician tongue: "We are they who fled from before the face of Joshua, the robber, the son of Nun."

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