Nations "round about"
Who are the "nations/enemies round about"?
In most of the above, the immediate context answers the
question: "Who are the 'nations round about'?" In a few instances, the answer
comes from the wider context (ie, the section of a few chapters in which the
passage is found).
- Jos 23:1,2: All the Canaanites, and Moab, Ammon,
- Jdg 2:14: Philistia, Moab, Ammon,
Canaanites, Midianites, Amalekites, etc.
10:1: Ammonites (1Sa 11); Philistines (1Sa 14); and Amalekites (1Sa
- 2Sa 7:1: Zobah, Philistia, Moab, Syria,
Edom, Ammon, Amalek (2Sa 8-10).
- 1Ki 4:31: Same as
above. Also, Tyre and Ethiopia.
- 2Ki 17:15: Edom,
Moab, Ammon, Syria, and the Canaanites -- whose abominable fertility rites
- 1Ch 22:9: Same as 1Sa 10:1; 2Sa
7:1; and 1Ki 4:31 above.
- Neh 6:16: The Arabians,
Ammonites, and Ashdodites (Philistines) (Neh
- Jer 25:9: All the Arab peoples, including
Egypt and the Medes (see the full list in Jer
- Eze 5:4,15: Ammon, Moab, Edom,
Philistia (Eze 25), Tyre (Eze 26-28), Egypt (Eze 29,30), Assyria (Eze
- Eze 36:4: See list above, but esp Edom (Eze
- Joel 3:11,12: Specifically mentioned are
Tyre, Zidon, and Palestine/Philistia (Joel 3:4); and Egypt and Edom (Joel
- Oba 1:16: Edom esp (Oba 1:1), but all of
Obadiah is similar to Jer 25 (see above).
12:2,6: Specifically, Syria, Tyre and Zidon, and the Philistines (Zec 9); Egypt
and Assyria (Zec 10); and Egypt and the Canaanites (Zec
- Zec 14:14: Same general context as Zec 12
When looking for a Last Days application, it makes sense to
interpret the "nations round about" with reference to their proximity to Israel,
which obviously is the point of reference of the prophets. Also, it makes sense
to take those people who occupy those same geographical areas today as the
logical successors of the peoples mentioned in the Bible. Such an interpretation
harmonizes with a major Bible theme begun in Genesis: that God's chosen seed
(Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes of Israel) would be in almost perpetual
conflict with those neighbors (and relatives!) nearest to them (Lot, Ishmael,
Esau, etc) over the ownership of the special Land which God promised to
The practical implications for us? When studying Bible
prophecy, look first to the Middle East, not to Europe. This may require, for
some, a rethinking of their personal views on Last Days events. It would be
wrong to reason: 'The Arabs can't be the intended peoples, because they don't
fit into my prophetic scenario.' It may be the scenario itself that needs