Rashi on Bereshis 48:22 explains מִיַּד הָאֱמֹרִי as follows

מיד עשו שעשה מעשה אמורי

The pasuk earlier in Bereshis (15:16) implies that the Emorites were sinners

כִּי לֹא שָׁלֵם עֲוֹן הָאֱמֹרִי עַד הֵנָּה

I would like to know exactly what was the sin/iniquity of the Emorite people specifically?


It is apparent from 15:16 which you quote that Emorite is the nation chosen to represent all the nations of Caanan. In fact in the artscroll English chumash it says as much.

The Medrash Rabba that Rashi 48:22 is quoting goes further and darshans that which I took from the hands of the Emorite as meaning from Chamor the father of Shechem. The medrash asks but was he an Amorite? And answers the Chivi are included in the Emori. Same idea as mentioned above.

But getting back to 15:16 we are left to wonder why choose the Emori to represent all of Canaan. There are a number of explanations brought in Shaarei Aharon on that verse, some which may answer your original question by themselves.

  1. Ramban Rabeinu Bachia and Radak say they were the strongest nation as seen in Amos 3.
  2. Maskil LiDovid says their allotment of sinning was filed first as we find Sichon king of the Emorim getting conquered first. Numbers 21.
  3. The Netziv says the opposite and the iniquity of the Emori was the last to be filled, but being that they were the main inhabitants of the land at the time the Bnei Yisroel entered the land, the timing was based around them.
  4. Ba'er Basadeh says the Emorite had the most zchusim being that Enor Eshkol and Mamrei, the people involved with Avraham's bris were all in the field of Mamrei the Emori.
  • So what is the מעשה אמורי? Jan 22 '15 at 14:10
  • @EL anything bad that all the nation's of Canaan did to deserve to be expelled. But specifically here we can pinpoint stealing as Rashi in Toldos tells us eisav stole the special clothes from Nimrid who in turn stole them from Adam Harishon. These clothes specifically are what the medrash is referring to that Yaakov gave to Yosef from the Amori who is eisav who was not really an amori but acted like one.
    – user6591
    Jan 22 '15 at 14:51
  • @ElShteiger מעשה אמורי would seem to be a later catch-all for heathen superstitious practices, which may or may not be considered idolatry. See Tosefta Shabbos chapters 6-7 and Rabbi Shaul Lieberman's Hellenism in Jewish Palestine starting on page 128. Jul 10 '15 at 1:48

The Malbim on Amos 2:9-10 explains that the Emorites committed several sins including idol worship and sexual immorality for which they were destroyed.


With apologies to @user8375, Leviticus 18:24 refers to all forms of sexual immorality, including incest, homosexuality, and bestiality among others (the various forms mentioned in the preceding part of the chapter). 20:23, again referring to the preceding part of that chapter), repeats the injunctions against sexual immorality, but expands it with idol worship, necromancing, cursing one's parents, and adultery. In both cases, the pasuk makes reference to "the nation I am driving out before you", though it does not specifically mention the Emorites, or any other specific nation by name.


The Jewish Publication Society Commentary series provides insightful commentary on this particular verse and its meaning. In its commentary on the phrase "the iniquity of the Amorites, it says:

The local peoples, here generically called "Amorites" (see Comment to 10:16), have violated God's charge. The universally binding moral law has been flouted and the inhabitants of Canaan have been doomed by their own corruption, as texts like Leviticus 18:24f. and 20:23f explicitly aver.

Sarna, Nahum M. (1989). Genesis. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 116-117.

  • 1
    With apologies and deference to Dr. Sarna, Leviticus 18:24 refers to not eating certain types of animals, there is no indication that it is a sin (עֲוֹן) for a gentile to do so. Further 20:23 does not mention sin at all, just disgusting behavior, nor does it specify the nations of Canaan.
    – user8735
    Jan 22 '15 at 16:04
  • @user8735 - the behaviors described in Leviticus may relate to the Noahide laws, which apply to the Gentile nations. For example, HaShem mentions "clean animals" to Noah in Genesis 7:2, which means that oral Noahide laws had existed at a time before the calling of Abraham and the Law of Moses, which was when the written definition of "clean animals" finally appeared. The Talmud also mentions in various places the applicability of the Noahide laws to the Gentile nations.
    – Joseph
    Jan 22 '15 at 16:15

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