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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [1]

(Heb. Chivvi', חַוַּי , usu. with the art., often collectively for the plur., "the Hivite," i.e. Hivites; Sept.. o Ebaiog), a designation of one of the nations inhabiting Palestine before the Israelites. (See Canaan). The name is, in the original, uniformly found in the singular number. It never has, like that of the Hittites, a plural, nor does it appear in any other form. Perhaps we may assume from this that it originated in some peculiarity of locality or circumstance, as in the case of the Amorites. "mountaineers," and not in a progenitor, as did that of the Ammonites, who are also styled Bene- Ammon-children of Ammon, or the Hittites, Bene-Cheth children of Heth. The name is explained by Ewald (Geschl.. 1, 318) as Binnenlander, that is, "Midlanders;" by Gesenius (Thes. p. 451) aspagani, "villagers." In the following passages the name is given in the A.V. in the singular, "the Hivite:"  Genesis 10:17;  Exodus 23:28;  Exodus 33:2;  Exodus 34:11;  Joshua 9:1;  Joshua 11:3;  1 Chronicles 1:15; also  Genesis 34:2;  Genesis 36:2. In all the rest it is rendered by the plural.

1. In the genealogical tables of Genesis "the Hivite" is named as one of the descendants-the sixth in order of Canaan, the son of Ham ( Genesis 10:17;  1 Chronicles 1:15).. In the first enumeration of the nations who, at the time of the call of Abraham, occupied the Promised Land ( Genesis 15:19-21), the Hivites are omitted from the Hebrew text (though in the Samaritan and Sept. their name is inserted). This has led to the conjecture, amongst others, that they are identical with the Kadmonites, whose: name is found there and there only (Reland, Palaest. p. 140; Bochart, Phal. 4, 36; Can. 1. 19). But are not the Kadmonites rather, as their name implies, the representatives of the Bene-kedem, or "children of the East?" Moreover, in this passage, the position of the Hivites, if represented by the Kadmonites, would be at the head of the nations usually assigned to the Land of Promise, and this is most unlikely, unless the order be geographical. A more ingenious conjecture is that which suggests the identity of the Hivites and the Avites, or Avim, on the grounds

(a) that at a later time the Galilaeans confounded the gutturals;

(b) that the Sept. and Jerome do not distinguish the two names;

(c) that the town of ha-Avvim (A.V. "Avvim") was in the same district as the Hivites of Gibeon;

(d) and that, according to the notice in Deuteronomy 2, the Avim disappear before the Hivites appear;

(e) to which we may add that, if Gesenius's etyemology be sound, it is remarkable that the Avim are described as dwelling "in villages." See Aviar.

On the other hand,

(a) it is unlikely that a dialectic difference would be recorded, and it seems too slight to be anything else;

(b) the Sept. and Jerome are not very careful as to exact transcriptions of proper names;

(c) the presence of Avim in a district does not prove them to be the same as other inhabitants of that district;

(d) and the narrative in Deuteronomy 2 speaks only of the overthrow, before the coming of the Israelites, by later settlers, of certain tribes or peoples, not mentioned in the list of Genesis 10 which were, as far as stated, Rephaim, or of Rephaite stock.

The probability that the Avim were of this stock is strengthened by the circumstance that there was a remnant of the Rephaim among the Philistines in David's time, as there was among other nations when the Israelites conquered the country. Therefore it seems to us very unlikely that the Avim were the same as the Hivites, although they may have been related to each other. The name constantly occurs in the formula by which the country is designated in the earlier books ( Exodus 3:8;  Exodus 3:17;  Exodus 13:5;  Exodus 23:23;  Exodus 23:28;  Exodus 33:2;  Exodus 34:11;  Deuteronomy 8:1;  Deuteronomy 20:17;  Joshua 3:10;  Joshua 9:1;  Joshua 12:8;  Joshua 24:11), and also in the later ones ( 1 Kings 9:20;  2 Chronicles 8:7; but comp.  Ezra 9:1; and  Nehemiah 9:8). It is, however, absent in the report of the spies ( Numbers 13:29), a document which fixes the localities occupied by the Canaanitish nations at that time. Perhaps this is owing to the insignificance of the Hivites at that time, or perhaps to the fact that the spies were indifferent to the special locality of their settlements.

2. We first encounter the actual people of the Hivites at the time of Jacob's return to Canaan. Shechem was then (according to the current Hebrew text) in their possession, Hamor the Hivite being the "prince ( נָשַׂיא ) of the land" ( Genesis 24:2). The narrative of the transaction of Jacob, when he bought the "parcel of a field," closely resembles that of Abraham's purchase of the field of Machpelah. They were at this time, to judge of them by their riders, a warm and impetuous people, credulous, and easily deceived by the crafty and cruel sons of Jacob. The narrative further exhibits them as peaceful and commercial, given to "trade" ( Genesis 10:21), and to the acquiring of "possessions" of cattle and other "wealth" ( Genesis 10:23;  Genesis 10:28-29). Like the Hittites, they held their assemblies or conferences in the gate of their city (20). We may also see a testimony to their peaceful habits in the absence of any attempt at revenge on Jacob for the massacre of the Shechemites. Perhaps similar indications are furnished by the name of the god of the Shechemites some generations after this, Baal-berith-Baal of the league, or the alliance ( Judges 8:33;  Judges 9:4;  Judges 9:46); by the way in which the Shechemites were beaten by Abimelech (40) and by the unmilitary character both of the weapon which caused Abimelech's death and of the person who discharged it ( Judges 9:53). In the matter that led to the overthrow of this Hivite city we see an indication of the corruption that afterwards became characteristic of the Canaanitish tribes ( Genesis 33:18-20; Genesis 34). Jacob's Teproof of his sons seems to imply that the more powerful inhabitants of at least this part of the Promised Land were Canaanites and Perizzites, these only being mentioned as likely to attack him in revenge ( Genesis 34:30). It is possible, but not certain, that there is a reference to this matter where Jacob speaks of a portion he gave to Joseph as having been taken by him in war from the Amorite ( Genesis 48:22), for his land at Shechem was given to Joseph, but it had been bought, and what Simeon and Levi seized was probably never claimed by Jacob, unless, indeed, the Hivites, who might possibly be spoken of as Amorites (but comp.  Genesis 34:30), attempted to recover it by force. Perhaps the reference is to some other occurrence. It seems clear, however, from the first of the passages just noticed ( Genesis 34:30), that the Hivites ruled by Hamor were a small settlement. (See Jacob).

The Alex. MS., and several other MSS. of the Sept., in the above narrative ( Genesis 34:2) substitute "Horite" for "Hivite." The change is remarkable from the usually close adherence of the Alex. Codex to the Hebrew text, but it is not corroborated by any other of the ancient versions, nor is it recommended by other considerations. No instances occur of Horites in this part of Palestine, while we know, from a later narrative, that there was an important colony of Hivites on the high land of Benjamin at Gibeon, etc., no very great distance from Shechem. On the other hand, in  Genesis 36:2, where Aholibamah, one of Esau's wives, is said to have been the daughter of the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite, all considerations are in favor of reading "Horite" for "Hivite." In this case we fortunately possess a detailed genealogy of the family, by comparison of which little doubt is left of the propriety of the change (comp.  Genesis 36:20;  Genesis 36:24-25;  Genesis 36:30, with 2), although no ancient version has suggested it here. (See Horite).

3. We next meet with the Hivites during the conquest of Canaan ( Joshua 9:7;  Joshua 11:19), when they are not mentioned in any important position. Their character was then in some respects materially altered. They were still evidently averse to fighting, but they had acquired possibly by long experience in traffic-an amount of craft which they did not before possess, and which enabled them to turn the tables on the Israelites in a highly successful manner ( Joshua 9:3-27). The colony of Hivites who made Joshua and the heads of the tribes their dupes on this occasion, had four cities-Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth. and Kirjath-jearim-situated, if our present knowledge is accurate, at considerable distances apart. It is not certain whether the last three were destroyed by Joshua or not ( Genesis 11:19), Gibeon certainly was spared. In  Genesis 11:11 the Gibeomltes speak of the m- elders" of their city, a word which, in the absence of any allusion to a Hivite king, has been thought to point to a liberal form-of government (Ewald, Gesch. 1, 318, 9). This southern branch of the nation embraced the Jewish religion ( 2 Samuel 21:1;  2 Samuel 21:4;  Joshua 9:21-27), and seem thus to have been absorbed.

4. The main body of the Hivites, however, were at this time living on the northern confines of western Palestine " under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh" ( Joshua 11:3) "in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal- Hermon to the entering in of Hamath" ( Judges 3:3). Somewhere in this neighborhood they were settled when Joab and the captains of the host, in their tour of numbering, came to "all the cities of the Hivites" near Tyre ( 2 Samuel 24:7). A remnant of the nation still existed in the time of Solomon, who subjected them to a tribute of personal labor, with the remnants of other Canaanitish nations which the Israelites had been unable to expel ( 1 Kings 9:20). In the Jerusalem Targum on  Genesis 10:17, they are called Tripolitans ( טְרַיפוֹלָאֵי ), a name which points to the same general northern locality. The Hermonites may perhaps be a later name for the Hivites; we recognize in the Egyptian REMENEN alone any trace of the Hivites in the conquests of the Pharaohs who passed through this tract. Chaseaud (Dmases, p. 361 sq.) refers the modern DRUSES (See Druses) (q.v.) to them.

5. There are few Hivite names recorded in Scripture. Hamor, "the he-ass," was probably an honorable name. Shechem, "shoulder," "back," may also be indicative of strength. Such names are suitable to a primitive people, but they are not sufficiently numerous or characteristic for us to be able to draw any sure inference. It is, indeed, possible that they may be connected, as the similar Hittite names seem to be, with low nature worship. (See Hittite). The names of the Hivite towns do not help us. Gibeon merely indicates lofty position; Kirjath-jearim, "the city of the woods," is interesting from the use of the word Kirjah, which we take to be probably a Canaanitish form: the other names present no special indications.

6. In the worship of Baal-berith, or "Baal of the covenant," at Shechem, in the time of the Judges, we more probably see a trace of the head-city of a Hivite confederacy than of an alliance between the Israelites and the Hivites. (See Hamelsyeld, 3, 62 sq.; Jour. Of Sac. Lit. Oct. 1851: p. 166.)

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [2]

hı̄´vı̄t ( חוּי , ḥiwwı̄  ; Ἑυαῖος , Heuaı́os ):

A son of Canaan ( Genesis 10:17 ), i.e. an inhabitant of the land of Canaan along with the Canaanite and other tribes ( Exodus 3:17 , etc.). In the list of Canaanite peoples given in  Genesis 15:19-21 , the Hivites are omitted in the Hebrew text, though inserted in Septuagint and S. Gesenius suggests that the name is descriptive, meaning "villagers." The difficulty of explaining it is increased by the fact that it has been confused with "Horite" in some passages of the Hebrew text. In  Joshua 9:7 the Septuagint reads "Horite" as also does Codex A in   Genesis 34:2 , and in  Genesis 36:2 a comparison with   Genesis 36:24 ,  Genesis 36:25 shows that "Horite" must be substituted for "Hivite."

In  Judges 3:3 the Hittites are described as dwelling "in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon unto the entrance of Hamath," and in accordance with this the Hivite is described in   Joshua 11:3 as being "under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh," and in   2 Samuel 24:7 they are mentioned immediately after "the stronghold of Tyre." Hence, the Septuagint (Codex Alexandrinus) reading must be right in   Genesis 34:2 and   Joshua 9:7 , which makes the inhabitants of Shechem and Gibeon Horites instead of Hivites; indeed, in  Genesis 48:22 the people of Shechem are called Amorite, though this was a general name for the population of Canaan in the patriarchal period. No name resembling Hivite has yet been found in the Egyptian or Babylonian inscriptions.