Mishpatim – Where did the Girgashi Go?

Excerpted from “Shabbat B’Shabbato – Parshat Mishpatim (Shekalim) 29 Shevat, 5770:”

Hashem promises, “My angel will go before you, and he will bring you to the Emorite, and the Chitite, and the Perizi, and the Canaanite, and the Chivi and the Yevusi: [Shemos 23:23]. What happened to the Girgashi? Rashi notes, “Six nations are mentioned here, because the Girgashi stood up and fled from them.” Evidently Rashi bases his words on the Talmud Yerushalmi: “Yehoshua sent three messages to Eretz Yisrael before he entered the land. Those who want to leave, may leave. Those who want to accept our rule, can make peace with us. Those who want to wage war can do so. The Girgashi went away, and Gd believed them, and they went to Africa… The Givonim made peace..”

This information can be verified by the words of the Byzantine historian Procopius (from the sixth century, about two hundred years after the text of the Talmud Yerushalmi was set): “In ancient times a single king ruled that entire land, which was preocuppied by large tribes, such as Girgashi and Yevus… They went to Libya and settled in many cities there… There are two marble pillars there, where the following appears, written in the Phoenician language: ‘We are the people who fled from the bandit Yehoshua Bin Nun…'”

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