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Around 8 times in Chumash we mention the 7 nations who inhabited the land of Israel. Yet almost each time the order of the nations is changed. Is there a reason for this, do the conquests relate to the order they are written? Any other reason why?
To create this list, I took out some words in the passukim.

  1. הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַחִתִּי וְהָאֱמֹרִי וְהַפְּרִזִּי וְהַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי. (שמות ג׳:ח׳ )
  2. הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַחִתִּי וְהָאֱמֹרִי וְהַפְּרִזִּי וְהַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי. (שמות ג׳:י״ז )
  3. הַכְּנַעֲנִי הָאֱמֹרִי וְהַחִתִּי וְהַפְּרִזִּי הַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי. (שמות ל״ג:ב׳ )
  4. הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַחִתִּי וְהָאֱמֹרִי וְהַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי. (שמות י״ג:ה׳ )
  5. הָאֱמֹרִי וְהַחִתִּי וְהַפְּרִזִּי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי הַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי. (שמות כ״ג:כ״ג )
  6. אֱמֹרִי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַחִתִּי וְהַפְּרִזִּי וְהַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי. (שמות ל״ד:י״א )
  7. הַחִתִּי וְהַגִּרְגָּשִׁי וְהָאֱמֹרִי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַפְּרִזִּי וְהַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי. (דברים ז׳:א׳ )
  8. הַחִתִּי וְהָאֱמֹרִי הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַפְּרִזִּי הַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי. (דברים כ׳:י״ז )
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  • Thank you all for the upvoted of the question. if anyone has more sources/ more answers please add. Mar 15, 2023 at 13:56
  • Would also be beneficial to contrast their order when born, in noach, and perhaps other times in Nach that this list appears. Mar 22, 2023 at 11:10

1 Answer 1

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The sefer אוצרות התורה explains some aspects of these variations:

#1 and #2 follow the order of the negative sefiros (and associated middos) they correspond to:

Nation Sefira Middah
כנעני חסד Gluttony
חתי גבורה Envy, Hate
אמורי תפארת Pride
פרזי נצח Stinginess
חוי הוד Misanthropy
יבוסי יסוד Lust
גרגשי מלכות Laziness, Sadness

(#4 is not explained, but except for the omission of the פרזי it follows the same order as the first two, which themselves omit גרגשי, who chose to flee instead of fighting.)

#8 lists them in the order of their annihilation, starting with the חתי and ending in יבוסי with David's capture of Jerusalem.

#5 is the order they would have been attacked under Hashem's "shock and awe" campaign, taking out the strongest nation first, the אמורי, and striking fear into the hearts of the others. #6 lists אמורי first for the same reason. But because of the sin of the golden calf, they were led by an angel instead, following a more natural path under which they encountered the כנעני first, as per #3.

#7 lists them in order of strength, starting from the weakest, telling the Jews not to fear even the strongest among them.

Another you left out is במדבר י"ג כ"ט, which lists them in the order the spies encountered them, starting from the south, heading up the east of Israel and back down along the western coast.

He also explains שמות כ"ג כ"ח as listing only those nations which were in attack range of the hornets across the Jordan.

(Some of these seem incomplete and contradictory. Were the אמורי the strongest or the middle of the pack? Were the כנעני attacked first or the חתי? Why does כנעני change position between #5 and #6? Were they closer to the Jordan or closer to the sea? Any clarification is welcome in the comments.)

See also: https://asif.co.il/wpfb-file/16-pdf-27/

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    one of the best answers i have gotten on this site. Thank you. Mar 15, 2023 at 13:57

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