But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
a. NLT: After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.”
b. NIV: In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
c. YLT: and the fourth generation doth turn back hither, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.'
d. Amplified Bible: And in the [b]fourth generation they [your descendants] shall come back here [to Canaan] again, for the iniquity of the [c]Amorites is not yet full andcomplete.
e. Septuagint: And in the fourth generation they shall return hither, for the sins of the Amorites are not yet filled up, even until now.
f. Stone Edition Chumash: And the fourth generation shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite shall not yet be full until then.”
1. “But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again…”
a. in the fourth [7243 * rbiy’iy] [Strong: from 7251; fourth; also (fractionally) a fourth:--foursquare, fourth (part).]
b. generation [1755 * dowr] [Strong: from 1752; properly, a revolution of time, i.e. an age or generation; also a dwelling:--age, X evermore, generation, (n-)ever, posterity.]
c. they shall come hither [2008 * hennah] [Strong: from 2004; hither or thither (but used both of place and time):--here, hither(-to), now, on this (that) side, + since, this (that) way, thitherward, + thus far, to...fro, + yet.]
d. again [7725 * shuwb] [Strong: a primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbial, again:--((break, build, circumcise, dig, do anything, do evil, feed, lay down, lie down, lodge, make, rejoice, send, take, weep)) X again, (cause to) answer (+ again), X in any case (wise), X at all, averse, bring (again, back, home again), call (to mind), carry again (back), cease, X certainly, come again (back), X consider, + continually, convert, deliver (again), + deny, draw back, fetch home again, X fro, get (oneself) (back) again, X give (again), go again (back, home), (go) out, hinder, let, (see) more, X needs, be past, X pay, pervert, pull in again, put (again, up again), recall, recompense, recover, refresh, relieve, render (again), requite, rescue, restore, retrieve, (cause to, make to) return, reverse, reward, + say nay, send back, set again, slide back, still, X surely, take back (off), (cause to, make to) turn (again, self again, away, back, back again, backward, from, off), withdraw.]
2. “…for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”
a. iniquity [5771 * ‘avon][Strong: perversity, i.e. (moral) evil:--fault, iniquity, mischeif, punishment (of iniquity), sin.]
b. of the Amorite [567 * ‘Emoriy] [Strong: probably a patronymic from an unused name derived from 559 in the sense of publicity, i.e. prominence; thus, a mountaineer; an Emorite, one of the Canaanitish tribes:--Amorite.]
c. not yet [2008 * hennah] [Strong: from 2004; hither or thither (but used both of place and time):--here, hither(-to), now, on this (that) side, + since, this (that) way, thitherward, + thus far, to...fro, + yet.]
d. full [8003 * shalem][Strong: especially friendly:--full, just, made ready, peaceable, perfect(-ed), quiet, Shalem (by mistake for a name), whole.]
1). During this time in world history, it was approximately 1865 B.C. As the Scripture reveals during this time period, the level of iniquity the Amorites were embracing was not as bad as 400 plus years later when Israel came into the land of Canaan to possess it. The nations of Canaan, of which the Amorites were the dominant nation were not righteous, but the level of iniquity was not as bad as it would be by the time when Israel conquered the land. There are two facts that point this out.
2). Abraham was in covenant with some of the Amorites he lived around.
a). Genesis 14:13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.
b). confederate (Two Hebrew words) [1167 * ba’al] master, husband, confederate, have to do, they of… [1285 * beriyth] a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh):- confederacy, covenant, league.]
c). This covenant (betwee Abram and the three Amorite brothers), probably was not a spiritual covenant but still it was the highest form of legal contract at that time. Interestingly though it is also the same Hebrew word used when God and man made covenants. In fact, in Jeremiah 31:31-34 when Jeremiah prophesied of the coming New Covenant that we live in today, the same Hebrew word is used in Jeremiah 31:31 (compare to Hebrews 10:15-17). The fact that Abraham was in covenant with some of the Amorites flows with the point they as a culture had not yet descended to a level of corruption that would have prevented making even legal, secular business covenants with them. Compare for instance Abram’s response to the king of Sodom in the previous chapter in Genesis.
(1). Genesis 14:17-24 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
14:19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
14:20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
14:21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
14:22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
14:23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
14:24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
(2). In his response to the king of Sodom Abram reveals that previous to his going to war to rescue Lot, he had entered into a Covenant with God and in that covenant he swore with a lifted up hand that he would not take any of the spoils even though he was entitled to them.
3). Also during this time in world history, homosexuality was for the most part contained to the cities of the plain, the area where the Dead Sea is located now. The area was destroyed by God in Genesis 19 because of a number of sins but primarily because of homosexuality. Yet by the time Israel comes into the land, 470 years later, homosexuality along with child sacrifice, devil worship and all forms of occults practices had spread to the whole seven nations of Canaan. In fact, as far as their sexual practices are concerned the nations of Canaan legislated their immorality into their legal systems, to what extent is to me unknown. More research on my part is needed, but perhaps at least, it was the absolute freedom to practice such immorality free from any legal prohibitions.
a). Leviticus 18:1-4 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
18:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God.
18:3 After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.
18:4 Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.
b). The Hebrew word used in verse 3 for the “ordinances” of the Canaanites is the same Hebrew word used in verse 4 for the “ordinances” of God.
c). ordinances [2708 * [huqqah][Gesenius: that which is established or defined, law, ordinance, practice, custom, right, privilege.]
d). The sexual practices that the Canaanites legislated into their legal systems included incest, adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality.
e). The earliest source on this topic is in the tannaitic midrash to the book of Leviticus. Like a number of passages in Leviticus, including chapter 18 to which it is a commentary, the midrashic passage links sexual sin and idolatry to the Egyptians (whom the Israelites defeated in the Exodus) and the Canaanites (whom the Israelites will displace when they come into their land). The idea that among the sins of these peoples was the recognition of same-sex marriages is not found in the biblical text, but is read in by the rabbis: Sifra Acharei Mot, parashah 9:8
“According to the doings of the Land of Egypt…and the doings of the Land of
Canaan…you shall not do” (Leviticus 18:3): Can it be (that it means) don’t build
buildings, and don’t plant plantings? Thus it (the verse) teaches (further), “And
you shall not walk in their statutes.” I say (that the prohibition of the verse
applies) only to (their) statutes – the statutes which are theirs and their fathers and
their fathers’ fathers. And what did they do? A man got married to a man, and a
woman to a woman, a man married a woman and her daughter, and a woman was
married to two (men). Therefore it is said, “And you shall not walk in their
4). What this shows is that nations and cultures become more corrupt over time. It does not happen overnight. In the case of the land of Canaan it was over 400 years until they reached the level of iniquity that would require their destruction. Any person in America that is 50 years old or more can relate to this slow descent. Just in the example of homosexuality we can see this descent. From the founding of this nation beginning with the first 13 states up until 1961 homosexual conduct was illegal in all 50 states. Over the course of the next 40 years there was a slow, deliberate attempt to decriminalize the behavior and remove its stigma and shame from our culture until 2003 when the Supreme Court removed all state laws outlawing it. After 2003 the homosexual movement set its sights on the institution of marriage. The Supreme Court will decide this year on the legality of state laws that forbid homosexual marriage. Also in 2015 there is a serious attempt at removing the freedom of religion in the United States which is a part of the First Amendment of the Constitution. All this has occurred in my lifetime of 64 years.