Book of Joshua Part 3 – Dividing the Land

Joshua assigned territory to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh on the east side of the Jordan, where they had chosen to remain because of the wonderful livestock country.

Joshua assigned territory to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh on the east side of the Jordan, where they had chosen to remain because of the wonderful livestock country.

This installment concludes our summary of the Book of Joshua in this series. Best estimates date the events of the book at about 1450-1425 BC. The book is important in several respects. Perhaps most importantly, it details the fulfillment of God’s promise to give Israel the land, and verification of that is given in Joshua 21:43-45. Verse 43 says “Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there.”  Then verse 45 affirms: “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”

Secondly, it shows God’s expectation for man to perfectly obey his commandments (see Joshua 1:7-8, 23:1-6). Doing otherwise violates God’s sovereignty and authorization, and separates man from Him  (Joshua 6:17-19, 7:10-13). Practices that were forbidden were to be viewed by God’s people as detestable (Deuteronomy 7:26).  All of this applies today as well. Finally, the Book of Joshua teaches us not to be afraid of the things of this world. God commanded Israel to have no fear of man (Joshua 1:9; 10:8, 25). And Jesus said, “And be not afraid of them that kill the body , but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell ” (Matthew 10:28).

 

The events of this final section are as follows:

 

    • Before Joshua died, he spoke to the Israelites, urging them to be faithful to the Lord (Joshua 23).

      Before Joshua died, he spoke to the Israelites, urging them to be faithful to the Lord (Joshua 23).

      The Northern Conquest of Canaan (Joshua 11:1–12:24)

      • Jabin king of Hazor, Jobab king of Madon, the king of Shimron , the king of Achshaph, and the kings that were “on the north, in the hill country.”  They captured all their kings and struck them and put them to death  (Joshua 11:17).
    • Dividing the Land (Joshua 13:1–21:45)
      • No land inheritance for the tribe of Levi (“to the tribe of Levi alone Moses gave no inheritance. The offerings by fire to the Lord God of Israel are their inheritance, as he said to him” Joshua 13:14)
      • The Inheritance East of the Jordan – the other half of the tribe of Manasseh the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond the Jordan eastward (Joshua 13:8-32)
      • The Inheritance West of the Jordan (Joshua 14:1-5)
      • Caleb’s portion (Joshua 14:6-15)
      • Judah’s inheritance (Joshua 15)
      • Allotment for Ephraim and Manasseh (Joshua 16)
      • Allotment of the Remaining Land
      • Joshua’s charge to Israel’s leaders (Joshua 23:1–16)
      • Covenant renewal at Shechem (Joshua 24:1–33)
      • Death of Joshua and Eleazor, and the burial of Joseph’s bones (Joshua 24:29-33)
/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Book of Joshua (Part 2) – Taking the Promised land

Ai - Joshua's soldiers were first defeated here, but then God provided a stunning victory.

Ai – Joshua’s soldiers were first defeated here, but then God provided a stunning victory.

Picking the Book of Joshua back up in chapter 9, the next few chapters are filled with more conquest, and a deception that will have lasting consequences.

  • The Gibeonite Deception (Joshua 9:1-27).  Upon hearing of what had happened at Jericho and Ai, the various Canaanite kings gathered together and joined forces to do battle against the approaching Israelites.  But the people of Gibeon came up with a plan of their own.  Altering their appearance to make themselves look like they had traveled a long distance, they went straight to the Israelite camp and to Joshua, claiming they had come from a distant country, and asking to make a covenant with them.
    • The deception worked, and they extracted an oath of cooperation and protection from the leaders and elders of the congregation.  When the deception was discovered, the anger of the people was kindled, but the oath had been made and would be honored.  But  because of their trickery, many of them would serve the congregation forever, just like servants, as woodcutters and drawers of water.
    • So just as the Lord (and Moses) had specifically warned them many times not to do (as in Deuteronomy 7:2), the Israelites had made a covenant with people in Canaan before the battles were even half over.  And the blame for this horrible mistake lays in their failure to seek counsel from the Lord (Joshua 9:14-15).
  •    The defense of Gibeon and the conquest of the south (Joshua 10:1–43)
    • Gibeon_001

      Gibeon, view north of El Jib; the Gibeonites tricked Joshua to make a treaty with them.

      Gibeon was no small city, and its men were known warriors.  So when the king of Jerusalem, Adoni-zedek, heard of the peace between them and Israel, he was afraid.  Summoning the kings of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon, he gathered all of their forces to make war against Gibeon.  The men of Gibeon then went to Joshua at Gigal seeking their help.

    • Bound by the oath they had made, Joshua prepared his mighty men to do battle, and the Lord told him in Joshua 10:8 “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.”  It was during this battle that the famous “long day” occurred, upon which Joshua commanded the sun to “stand still.”  For our comments on this event, see this previous post.

    • After the victory, Joshua and the men hunted down and executed the five kings.  Then, with God fighting on their side, they won victory after victory in the south, capturing their kings and taking the land “from Kadesh-barnea as far as Gaza.”

  • Joshua 11-12 details the victories of the Israelites in the northern part of the land, with Joshua 12:1-6 recounting the kings that had been defeated under the leadership of Moses (some of which was told in Numbers 21).
/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Book of Joshua (Part 1) – Into the Promised land

The Book of Joshua begins with God affirming the commission of Joshua as Moses’ successor and instructing him in his duties.  Then comes the job of moving an entire nation of people across the Jordan River into Canaan, followed by the actual task of setting about to take the land that has been promised to them.

Crossing into Canaan (Joshua 1-5)

  • God commissions Joshua, giving him His instructions and charging him with responsibility for His people (Joshua 1).
  • Joshua sends two spies to survey the land, particularly Jericho (Joshua 2:1).  At the house of Rahab, they receive her kindness and she gets a promise from them that she and her family will be saved when the invading force enters (Joshua 2).  This is an important event leading to the coming of Christ for two reasons.  First, Rahab is directly in the genealogical line of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-5).  Secondly, it demonstrates God’s saving grace for others in addition to the Israelites.
  • The Jordan River is the only flowing body of water in ancient Palestine. It winds its way from the north into the Sea of Galilee, then empties at the southern end of the sea and resumes its serpentine path until it ends completely in the Dead Sea. Although it is only 70 miles from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, the river winds 200 miles. Before it enters the Sea of Galilee, it drops 800 feet, then another 600 feet on its way to the Dead Sea. The Jordan River as it leaves the Sea of Galilee.

    The Jordan River is the only flowing body of water in ancient Palestine. It winds its way from the north into the Sea of Galilee, then empties at the southern end of the sea and resumes its serpentine path until it ends completely in the Dead Sea. Although it is only 70 miles from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, the river winds 200 miles. Before it enters the Sea of Galilee, it drops 800 feet, then another 600 feet on its way to the Dead Sea. The Jordan River as it leaves the Sea of Galilee.

    The Israelites cross the Jordan into Canaan (Joshua 3-4).  The Levitical priests are instructed to carry the Ark of the Covenant 2000 cubits (about 1/2 mile) ahead of everyone else.  In a scene most reminiscent of the crossing of the Red Sea, God causes the waters of the Jordan to stand apart and rise, leaving dry ground for first the priests with the ark, and then the people, to cross over.  This highly symbolic event was orchestrated by Joshua at God’s instruction to demonstrate to the people visibly the leadership that had now passed from Moses to Joshua.

    • Twelve stones (one for each tribe) were gathered from the Jordan and placed as a monument for their descendants to be reminded of this historic event.
  • God’s people observe the first Passover in Canaan (Joshua 5).
    • The sons of Israel (sons of those who had died in the wilderness wandering) are circumcised to prepare for God’s work.
    • After first eating the fruit of the promised land, the manna ceased the next day (Joshua 5:10-12).
    • Joshua encounters a divine manifestation of the Lord in Joshua 5:13-15.

Taking the Land in Canaan (Part 1- Joshua 6-8)

  • In the second battle for Ai in Joshua 8, the Israelites tricked the soldiers of Ai, pretending to run away. This drew the soldiers of Ai from the city. A second army of Israel rushed into the city and set it on fire. Then the city was defeated.

    In the second battle for Ai in Joshua 8, the Israelites tricked the soldiers of Ai, pretending to run away. This drew the soldiers of Ai from the city. A second army of Israel rushed into the city and set it on fire. Then the city was defeated.

    After seven days of marching with the Ark, a final blow of the trumpets and a shout by the people brings the walls of Jericho down (Joshua 6:1-21).

  • Achan’s sin (taking some of the “devoted things” for himself brings about death for about 3,000 in defeat at Ai (Joshua 7).
  • Renewed by the Lord, Joshua takes 30,000 and sets up an ambush that with the Lord’s aid, leads to the fall of Ai.  Joshua builds an altar to the Lord at Mount Ebal, and writes the law of Moses on stones.  With half of the nation, the Levitical priests, elders and all on either side of the Ark in front of Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, Joshua blesses them and reads every word of the law (Joshua 8).
/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Joshua 24 – The Covenant Renewal at Shechem

English translation of hebrew version. Map of ...

English translation of hebrew version. Map of the twelve tribes of Israel, before the move of Dan to the North (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joshua has divided the land between the tribes of Israel, and some years have passes.  The last two chapters of Joshua are remembered as his farewell speech and final words at the covenant renewal ceremony at Shechem.  This latter is laid out just like an ancient treaty or covenant between a suzerain (a superior or dominant entity) and its vassals (or subjects).  Such treaties contain a preamble introducing the sovereign (verse 2), a historical prologue of past graciousness with the vassals (verse 2-13), stipulations of the vassal’s responsibilities (verses 14-24), written record preserving the covenant agreement (verse 26), named witnesses (verses 26-27), and blessings and curses (verse 20 and throughout).

Joshua’s famous charge to them in verse 15 to “choose who you will serve” along with the warning in verse 20 should serve as a chilling reminder to them that God will not tolerate apostasy from them.  Unfortunately, the insistence of the people that they will serve only the Lord will all too soon be forgotten by many, as we see the pattern of the judges.

Verses 29-33 detail the death and burial of Joshua at the place of his inheritance at Timnath-serah, Eleazar’s burial at Gibeah, and the burial of Joseph’s bones at Shechem.

(Side note: Archaeologists have found Shechem to have been a large center of pagan worship.  A great article on Shechem can be found at the following link to Bibleplaces.com)

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Joshua 10 – The Sun Stands Still

When the king of Jerusalem, Adoni-zedek, learned of the fall of Ai and of the treaty of the people of Gibeon with Joshua and the people of Israel, he “feared greatly.”  verse 2 says that Gibeon was like a royal city – greater than Ai, and all its men were warriors.  So Adoni-zedek formed an alliance with the kings of Hebron, Lachish, Jarmuth, and Eglon to attack Gibeon.  So the Gibeonites appealed to Joshua for help.

Joshua commanding the sun to stand still

Joshua commanding the sun to stand still (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though God had commanded them not to make any covenants with any of the Canaanites, now that one had been made with the Gibeonites, He made it clear in verse 8 that He would help them honor it.  So after Joshua and his men marched all night from Gilgal, God threw their adversaries into a panic; and as they chased them from Beth-horon, He struck them with hailstones, killing more than the Israelites did with their swords (verses 10-11).  Then the famous long day as Joshua, consulting with the Lord commanded the sun to “stand still” as they finished off their enemies (verses 12-14). Then, one by one, they took the cities of all 5 of the kings and finished off the captured kings themselves (verses 20-27).   A sizable victory related in verses 40-43 secures the land to ready for the northern campaign.

Side Note 1: A good article on the “sun stand still” event can be found at this page on the Apologetics Press website.

Side Note 2: Contrary to claims of critics, this passage is not geocentric but uses the language of observation; and many passages can be cited to show scientific knowledge and foreknowledge in the Bible.  While I ‘m not going to make those citations in today’s blog, I will offer this quote from

Henry Morris with Henry Morris III, Many Infallible Proofs: Practical and Useful Evidences for the Christian Faith, Master Books, Arizona, 1996, p. 253:

“All motion is relative motion, and the sun is no more “fixed” in space than the Earth is. … The scientifically correct way to specify motions, therefore, is to select an arbitrary point of assumed zero velocities and then to measure all velocities relative to that point. The proper point to use is the one which is most convenient to the observer for the purposes of his particular calculations. In the case of movements of the heavenly bodies, normally the most suitable point is the Earth ‘s surface at the latitude and longitude of the observer, and this therefore is the most “scientific” point to use. David [Psalm 19:6] and Joshua are more scientific than their critics in adopting such a convention for their narratives.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Joshua 9 – The Gibeonite Deception

As verse one says “the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, heard of this, they gathered together as one to fight against Joshua and Israel.”  The word “this” refers to the complete destruction of Ai.  Word of Jericho’s fall would have already reached them; and as verses 9-10 tell us, all had already heard of the defeat of King Sihon of Heshbon (Num 21:21-26) and Og of Basham (Num 21:31-35).  Indeed, they had been given more than 40 years to dread the Israelites, as verse 9 also acknowledges all that God did for them in Egypt.  But the Gibeonites had a different strategy.

Gibeon, view north of El Jib; the Gibeonites tricked
Joshua to make a treaty with them.

The Lord warned that leaving Canaanites to dwell among the people would be a mistake, and specifically commanded them to make no covenant with any of them. They were commanded not to do this more than once, as in Deuteronomy 7:1-5, where they are told that the Canaanites  “would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods.”  Once again, Joshua failed to consult with God when he made the covenant with the Gibeonites.  Their deception (verses 4-6) was well planned and convincing, however, and Joshua and the elders believed they truly were from another land far away.  They would spend the rest of their days serving the Israelites, but the damage was done, and the vow would not be rescinded.  The Gibeonite cities of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim were not attacked.

(Side note: The city of Gibeon was positively identified with el-Jib by archaeologist James Pritchard for the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, whose excavations found numerous inscribed jar handles there over 50 years ago. More information on that, as well as a recent discovery there can be found in this article at Ferrell’s Travel Blog)

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Joshua 8 – The Fall of Ai

After the people had once again been consecrated, the Lord reminded Joshua not to be dismayed, and told him to take the fighting men to Ai and victory will be theirs.  An ambush is what God commanded, and that is what they did.  Joshua sent one group of warriors behind the city at night to lay in ambush to the west, between Bethel and Ai.  Joshua took the other group to camp north of the city, and he made sure to be seen.

Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim, olive trees in front

So the king of Ai went out with all the men of the city to meet the Israelites in battle.  Taking advantage of the defeat of chapter 7, Joshua has them flee again – pretending a second defeat – while the men in ambush come and take the city (verses 14-17).  Seeing that the city was captured, the Israelites turn around and fight their pursuers.  As God instructed, Joshua held out his javelin toward the city and kept it pointed until the victory was complete (verses 18, 26), much as Moses did in the defeat of Amalek in Exodus 17:8-13.

The victory is significant and historic, as verses 30-35 tell us how Joshua builds the altar on Mount Ebal, following the command of Moses from Deuteronomy 27:1-8.  In verse 32, Joshua creates the fourth stone monument in the new land.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Joshua 7 – Israel Defeated at Ai

The Capture of Jericho; as in Joshua 6:8-20; i...

The Capture of Jericho; as in Joshua 6:8-20; illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before capturing Jericho after the walls fell, Joshua warned the people in Joshua 6:17-19 that everything of precious metal from the city will go into the Lord’s treasury.  Everything else is to be “devoted to destruction.”  Taking any of those things for yourself will bring trouble on the entire camp of Israel.  But one from the tribe of Judah – Achan – coveted some treasure and hid it under his tent floor (making his family culpable).  So the Lord was not with them when they went to Ai.

Joshua, not knowing of Achan’s sin, falls on his face crying out to God.  The Lord tells him to get up, and tells him of the sin that has brought about this defeat.  So Joshua found the guilty party just as God instructed in verse 14, and Achan, his family, and all their belongings are burned.  Achan’s sin cost unsuspecting warriors their lives needlessly.  Greed, lies – all sin often brings harm to many besides ourselves.

Joshua surely must have felt some responsibility for the defeat at Ai as well.  Where was his prayer before deciding to go to Ai?  Had he consulted the Lord, he would have known of this problem and He would have told Joshua not to go.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Joshua 6 – The Fall of Jericho

The Seven Trumpets of Jericho

The Seven Trumpets of Jericho (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In verse one, we find Jericho “shut up inside and outside” as they fear the approach of God’s people.  Remember that Canaan is a land full of savagely wicked people, and they have determined their fate by evil such as the sacrifice of children.   God is bringing their debase society to an end after many hundreds of years of opportunity to change.  Now they will have seven days to watch God’s people march around the walls of their city without so much as a word – only the sound of the priests blowing their trumpets will they hear.

At God’s instruction, thousands of armed men led the march once per day for six days around Jericho.  Behind them, the priests with their trumpets, the Ark of the Covenant, and finally the rear guard.  On the seventh day, they march around seven times, and after the trumpets blow, Joshua gives the command for all of the people to shout, and the Lord brought the walls down as promised.  Joshua sends the two spies to get Rahab and her family as promised in Joshua 2:17-20; and the city is captured.  Joshua’s oath in verse 26 was fulfilled in 1 Kings 16:34.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Joshua 5 – First Passover in Canaan

Plains of Jericho

Verse one tells us that the Canaanite kings have heard of the awesome wonder of the crossing of the Jordan by the Israelites, and it has had fearsomely demoralizing effects on them.  The Lord orders Joshua to have all of this generation circumcised, and the nation complies.  it was a landmark occasion, and just in time to observe the Passover. The people ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes, and parched grain; and the manna ceased to fall the next day (verses 11-12).  God’s people were in their land now.

Joshua sees a man standing with his sword drawn, and inquires of his intentions.  He says that he is “the commander of the army of the Lord.”  This was promised in Exodus 23:20-33. Joshua bows down and probably rightly believes he is in the presence of the Lord.  His statement (“Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy”) in verse 15 seems to confirm that this is another manifestation of the Lord as it distinctly reminds of God’s command to Moses when He first appeared to him in Exodus 3:5.  As verse 13 tells us, Jericho is close by.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.