The Canaanite foreigners remaining after the Israelite conquest became subject to slavish forced labor (Josh. 16:10; 17:13; Judg. 1:21, 27-35), but because the Israelites did not drive them from the land and eradicate their worship as Jehovah had commanded (Judg. 2:1, 2), the Canaanites in general continued to practice their idolatrous and degraded religions, with the result that the Israelites were continually being led into false worship (Ps. 106:34-39), particularly the worship of the Baals and the Ashtoreth images. (Judg. 2:11-13) These Canaanitish foreigners continued to be found in Israel down through David’s time to the reign of Solomon, when they were still being put to forced labor on the temple and Solomon’s other building projects.—1 Ki. 9:20, 21; see FORCED LABOR.
Contrary to divine command, Solomon took many foreign wives, who gradually turned his heart away from the pure worship of Jehovah to that of foreign gods. (1 Ki. 11:1-8) This intrusion of false religion at the highest governmental level had fatal repercussions, leading to the splitting of the nation and eventual exile in Babylon as successive kings, both of Judah and Israel, led the people into false worship. This culminated in the fulfillment on the nation of the maledictions that were foretold as inescapable sanctions for violations of the Law.—1 Ki. 11:9-11; 2 Ki. 15:27, 28; 17:1, 2; 23:36, 37; 24:18, 19; Deut. 28:15-68.
Upon restoration of a faithful remnant of Israelites from the captivity in Babylon, many of the Israelites took foreign wives for themselves. (Ezra 9:1, 2; Neh. 13:23-25) This wrong course necessitated vigorous purges of foreign wives and their sons under the direction of Ezra and Nehemiah. (Ezra 10:2-4, 10-19, 44; Neh. 13:1-3, 27-30) Action was also taken against other foreigners guilty of improprieties.—Neh. 13:7, 8, 16-21.
In the intervening centuries from the liberation from Babylon to the time Jesus Christ was on earth, the Israelites experienced many outrages at the hands of foreigners. The conquering Babylonians had dealt very harshly at the time of the subjugation of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem. (Lam. 2:5-12, 19-22) After the liberation, the Jews were in constant conflict with the foreigners around them in the Promised Land, especially being harassed by the Greek rulers of Syria. In the Jews’ efforts to maintain their restored worship, they had to resist the fierce persecutions of Antiochus IV Epiphanes as he attempted to Hellenize the Jews. In the postexilic centuries the Israelites were in a constant struggle for independence, which created a zeal for Judaism and, on the part of some, an intensely nationalistic spirit. These factors, coupled with the fear of mongrelizing their race through intermarriage with foreigners, likely contributed to the departure from the liberal spirit clearly evident in the Hebrew Scriptures respecting foreigners.—Compare 1 Kings 8:41-43; 2 Chronicles 6:32, 33; Isaiah 56:6, 7.
DURING THE FIRST CENTURY C.E.
Particularly through the influence of their religious leaders, there developed the aloofness and rigid exclusiveness that existed among the Jews in the first century C.E. Evidence of this attitude is seen in the disdain they showed for the Samaritans, a people of mixed descent from Israelites and foreigners. As a rule the Jews ‘had no dealings with the Samaritans,’ not even wanting to ask for so much as a drink of water from them. (John 4:9) Jesus, however, made clear the wrongness of such an extreme view.—Luke 10:29-37.
The establishment of the new covenant on the basis of Christ’s ransom sacrifice brought to an end the legal separation between Jew and Gentile. (Eph. 2:11-16) Yet, even after Pentecost of 33 C.E., the early disciples were slow to grasp this fact. The common or standard Jewish view was expressed by Peter to the gentile Cornelius: “You well know how unlawful it is for a Jew to join himself to or approach a man of another race.” (Acts 10:28) John 18:28 shows that entry into a Gentile home was viewed by the Jews as bringing ceremonial defilement. While the Law given through Moses made no specific injunction against such minor association, this view was common among the Jews and particularly among their religious leaders. It took some time for the early Jewish Christians to free themselves of the restrictions imposed by prevailing attitudes and recognize the fact emphasized by the apostle Paul that, for those having the ‘new Christian personality,’ there is “neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, slave, freeman, but Christ is all things and in all.”—Gal. 2:11-14; Col. 3:10, 11.
Foreknowledge means knowledge of a thing before it happens or exists; also called prescience. In the Bible it relates primarily, though not exclusively, to Jehovah God the Creator and his purposes. Foreordination means the ordaining, decreeing or determining of something beforehand; or the quality or state of being foreordained.
The words generally translated as “foreknow,” “foreknowledge” and “foreordain” are found in the Christian Greek Scriptures, although the same basic ideas are expressed in the Hebrew Scriptures.
“Foreknowledge” translates the Greek proʹgno·sis (from pro, before, and gnoʹsis, knowledge). The corresponding verb pro·gi·noʹsko is used in two cases with regard to humans: in Paul’s statement that certain Jews were “previously acquainted” with him (knew him beforehand), and in Peter’s reference to the “advance knowledge” had by those addressed in his second letter. (Acts 26:4, 5; 2 Pet. 3:17) In this latter case it is obvious that such foreknowledge was not infinite; that is, it did not mean that those Christians knew all the details of time, place and circumstance about the future events and conditions Peter had discussed. But they did have a general outline of what to expect, received as a result of God’s inspiration of Peter and of other contributors to the Bible.
“Foreordain” translates the Greek pro·o·riʹzo (from pro, before, and ho·riʹzo, to mark out or set the bounds). (The English word “horizon” transliterates the Greek word ho·riʹzon, meaning the “bounding” or “limiting.”) Illustrating the sense of the Greek verb ho·riʹzo is Jesus Christ’s statement that, as the “Son of man,” he was “going his way according to what [was] marked out [ho·ri·smeʹnon].” Paul said that God had “decreed [marked out, ho·riʹsas] the appointed seasons and the set limits of the dwelling of men.” (Luke 22:22; Acts 17:26) The same verb is used of human determination, as when the disciples “determined [hoʹri·san]” to send relief to their needy brothers. (Acts 11:29) However, specific references to foreordaining in the Christian Greek Scriptures are applied only to God.
UNDERSTANDING DEPENDENT ON CERTAIN FACTORS
To understand the matter of foreknowledge and foreordination as relating to God, certain factors necessarily must be recognized.
First, God’s ability to foreknow and foreordain is clearly stated in the Bible. Jehovah himself sets forth as proof of his Godship this ability to foreknow and foreordain events of salvation and deliverance, as well as acts of judgment and punishment, and then to bring such events to fulfillment. His chosen people are witnesses of these facts. (Isa. 44:6-9; 48:3-8) Such divine foreknowledge and foreordination form the basis for all true prophecy. (Isa. 42:9; Jer. 50:45; Amos 3:7, 8) God challenges the nations opposing his people to furnish proof of the godship they claim for their mighty ones and their idol-gods, calling on them to do so by foretelling similar acts of salvation