Everyone knows Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho … right?
And where was Jericho?
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Well, it wasn't in Palestine, because there was no Palestine at the time of Joshua, Moses' successor, entered the Promised Land as the leader of the children of Israel.
It was in the land of Canaan.
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In fact, there was no land known as Palestine for 1,500 years after Joshua's time.
One of the most popular Bible translations has finally agreed to change the use of the term Palestine in subheads in Joshua 10:29 and Joshua 11:1 after many years in new editions of the New American Standard Bible, or NASB.
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Big deal? Who cares?
Actually, translations like this, some suggest, have led to confusion that has allows the Palestinian Authority and terrorist groups like Hamas to pretend they are the indigenous people of modern Israel, replaced by usurpers.
So, say some Bible and Middle East experts, such as Michael Brown and Joseph Farah, it's a very big deal. It's biblical correctness finally trumping political correctness.
The news on the correction comes from the Lockman Foundation, the original and continuing translator of the popular NASB.
In an interview with WND, Pike Lambeth, executive vice president of the foundation and the person who manages the review of suggestions for updates and corrections of the translation, said two subheadings would be updated in future editions of the Bible.
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They will now read: "Joshua's Conquest of Southern Canaan" and "Joshua's Conquest of Northern Canaan Taken." The Amplified Bible was already updated in 2015, he said.
"We were made aware of the issue over the years as people contacted us about it," said Lambeth. "We have a system whereby we record suggestions and notes regarding translation items submitted by our reader so that we review their suggestion. Upon review, the translators decided to make the change."
He added there were no specific organizations who lobbied for the change.
"No, the matter was brought to our attention, so we added it to our general review list, which is our normal process," he said. "When we started our current update in 2014, part of the process was to review this list. Upon that review the suggested change was made for the new update. Since the change was also done in the Amplified update, it was decided at some time before the current NASB update started."
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So, why was the mistake made in the first place?
Lambeth isn't sure.
"We don't have records from the 1977 translation team regarding this specific matter, but this was likely the reasoning: Palestine offers the best geographical reference to describe the region and they didn't expect that it would be an issue."
In the early and mid-1970s, however, Yasser Arafat began popularizing the notion that "Palestinians," or Philistines, were the original people of what the nation of Israel and were displaced by what he dubbed "foreign invaders."
In fact, the children of Israel, fathered by Abraham, migrated to Egypt, according to the Genesis history, where they eventually were forced into slavery, only to return in the Exodus.
Will other translations follow suit?
"We have not reviewed what other translation have done or discussed it with them, so I don't know," said Lambeth. "Our goal is to make the NASB accurate."
Recently, Michael Brown, a Hebrew scholar and messianic Jewish believer, wrote a commentary about the controversy in which he said: "The NASB is one of the most widely used modern translations of the Bible, and there is not the slightest hint that the translation is anti-Israel, let alone anti-Semitic. So, my question comes by way of interest and curiosity, not by way of indictment or accusation. Why would this fine translation introduce the word 'Palestine' in its section headings? This would be similar to a history book carrying the caption, 'Christopher Columbus discovers the United States.' Or, 'The rule of Genghis Khan extends into the Soviet Union.' Or, 'T.E. Lawrence was famously known as 'Lawrence of Saudi Arabia.'"
"The problem, of course, is that 'Palestine' did not exist at that time, and if a place name was needed, then 'Canaan' would have sufficed (as per the ESV)," Brown wrote.
Again, beginning in the early 1970s, Arafat weaponized the term "Palestinian" in his asymmetrical war against Israel – a term that, at the rebirth of modern Israel, was associated almost exclusively with Jews, the majority of the population of the new state. For instance, the original name of what later became known as the Jerusalem Post was the "Palestine Post," a Jewish newspaper then and now. Most Arabs in the region did not refer to themselves as Palestinians at that time.
Israel was renamed "Palaestina" during the regime of the Roman emperor Hadrian, in an effort not only to destroy the Jews but to stamp out their memory and connection with the land forever, explains Joseph Farah, author of "The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age." In fact, history shows the Philistines had vanished from history long before the Roman conquest of Israel in the first and second centuries.
"It's one thing to talk about Mark Twain visiting Palestine in the 1800s (when it was actually known by that name)," explained Brown. "It's another thing to talk about Joshua conquering Palestine. To do so is to agree with the anti-Israel talking points of Palestinian activists, who also claim that the ancient Israelites engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine (those evil Israelis are doing it again today!) and that Jesus was 'a Palestinian messenger.'"
Recently, WND featured a story about Dictionary.com, the most used dictionary reference in the world today, which redefined some Middle East terms in similar fashion.
It started innocently with a search in Dictionary.com for "Hebron," the name of the ancient city settled by Abraham, the grandfather of Jacob, later renamed Israel.
Here's the one and only definition that came up thanks to Dictionary.com's exclusive wordsmithing partner, Random House:
1. "an ancient city of Palestine, formerly in W Jordan; occupied by Israel 1967-97; since 1997 under Palestinian self-rule."
Problem? What we know about the ancient city of Hebron was that it was part of Canaan when Abraham arrived, purchased property there and settled around 1921 B.C. His wife, Sarah, later died and was buried there, as were his son Isaac, daughter-in-law Rebekah and Jacob's wife, Leah. The word "Palestine" – in any form – had not yet been used at the time. In fact, it would not be used for more than 1,000 years.
Probably the most distinctive thing about Hebron, a city located in the Judean hills just south of Jerusalem, is that it is the site of the oldest Jewish community in the world. No mention of that in Dictionary.com's definition.
The Hebron definition is not only inaccurate, it is completely misleading and, some argue, deliberately so.
"This definition says Hebron was an ancient city of Palestine," says Farah, an Arab-American and former Middle East correspondent. "What this definition does, intentionally or ignorantly, is suggest so-called 'Palestinians' have been living there since the time of Abraham – perhaps even before. That is simply untrue. Further, it jumps from ancient times to modern times, ignoring the fact that the name 'Palestine' was used by Greek and Roman conquerors of Israel, not a nation called 'Palestine.' In fact, there has never been a nation in the history of the world called 'Palestine' – ever."
Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, says Dictionary.com's definition of Hebron "is jaw-droppingly inaccurate, ahistorical, distorted, and biased. To top it off, the entry provides only an Arabic equivalence for it."
"In fact, Hebron is an even more ancient Jewish city than is Jerusalem, being associated with Abraham. That Dictionary.com choses to ignore this reality points both to the fantasy world that Palestinians live in as well as their increasing ability to spread their lies throughout the West."
But it gets worse.
Look up the term "Palestine" in Dictionary.com and here's what you will find:
"1. Also called Holy Land. Biblical name Canaan. an ancient country in SW Asia, on the E coast of the Mediterranean."
"2. a former British mandate (1923–48) comprising part of this country, divided between Israel, Jordan, and Egypt in 1948: the Jordanian and Egyptian parts were occupied by Israel in 1967."
Again, Palestine was never an "ancient country," except in the imaginations of foreign conquerors from Greece, Rome and, later, Muslims and British. At most, it was a region of ill-defined territory. And notice, there is no reference to the one and only country, Israel, associated with the land since the time of the ancient Canaanites. Israel is not even mentioned until 1967, when the Jews captured this ancient Jewish city since the time of Joshua.
"The Dictionary.com definitions are as inaccurate as they are unconscionable," author and activist Pamela Geller told WND. "Palestine is not 'an ancient country in SW Asia,' it was never a country at all. Hebron is not an ancient city of Palestine, it is an ancient Jewish city. Dictionary.com is rewriting history in accord with contemporary political considerations. These definitions are an outrage to truth and history."
Brown had this to say: "With definitions like these, this site should be called 'PalestinianPropaganda.com.' These definitions are both anachronistic and misleading. Shouldn't a Dictionary website provide actual definitions rather than polemical definitions?"
Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon was shocked after reviewing the definitions in Dictionary.com at the request of WND.com.
"I looked at this site and was horrified, such bias, ignorance and blatant lies!" he said. "This must be called up."
Ayalon has founded an organization called The Truth About Israel to educate and train the public about the facts regarding Israel in today's world.
Dictionary.com boasts billions of visits per year and more than 100 million app downloads.
Farah is convinced that such misunderstandings about the actual history of the Israel has contributed to the visceral unpopularity of Israel that has manifested itself since the 1970s, an effort launched by the Palestine Liberation Organization, which today exercises limited autonomy over the West Bank and, to some extent, East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority, which has rejected all two-state solutions put forward in negotiations with Israel and other international partners over many years, is now flirting with withdrawing its recognition of Israel as a sovereign state.
"The deep hatred of Israel by the so-called 'Palestinian' propaganda machine over the last 35 years has poisoned the culture and international politics, making Israel into a pariah state that has been sanctioned by the United Nations more than all other nations combined," he said. "It has even led to the maniacal Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement internationally. And it's all based on lies and revisionist history."