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.

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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.

Exodus 3 – The Burning Bush

The last time the scripture recorded God speaking was over 400 years ago to Jacob (Israel) to tell him to go ahead and leave Canaan for Egypt.  In verse 2, “the angel of the Lord appeared” to Moses at Horeb “in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush”.  The ground is holy (verse 5) because of the presence of the Lord, who tells Moses of his plans (verse 8) to deliver “the people of Israel” to the land He promised Abraham would belong to his offspring in Genesis 13:14-17.

When asked His name, the reply in verse 14 “I am who I am” basically means the one who is, always has been, and always will be.  It does not mean that Moses did not know who the one true God is.  This is how Moses is to refer to “the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” when speaking of Him to his people – as well as to the polytheistic people of the land where they are now captive.

In verses 20-22, God tells Moses how he will deliver them with the power of His hand, and the “victory” over their captors will be signified by their “plundering” them (as is done by victorious armies).  But in this case, it will be done simply by the people asking for the treasures!   This emphasizes well that when God shows His power, it is awesome indeed!

(Side note: As this chapter introduces the name of Yahweh (the Hebrew contained no consonants, so the Lord is referred to in the text as “YHWH”), you may be interested in a great article on Gordon Franz’s site “Life and Land Seminars”, entitled “Yahweh Inscription Discovered at Mount Sinai!“.  Further illustration that although genuine secular evidences are plentiful, men need to take care in trying to use them to prove the Bible is true.  His summary at the end of that article is right on the mark!  Bear in mind, however, that I do not know if his opinion of claims about the disputed location of Mt. Sinai is correct.)

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.

 

Genesis 46 – Joseph Brings His Family to Egypt

The Lord tells Israel in verse 2 that Egypt is where he should now go, and where he will become a great nation. Remember, God had forbidden his father Isaac to go there during a previous famine (Gen 26:1-5).  So Jacob, his sons and daughters, and all of their families set out for Egypt.  The Lord, through Moses, remembers his sons – and their sons in the text; and verse 26 tells us that the number of Jacob’s descendants (not including his sons’ wives) was 66.  Add Israel himself, Joseph and his two sons, and there were 70 (verse 27).  That number will multiply by more that 80,000 – to over 600,000 at Sinai (Num 1:44-46) after Moses has led them out of Egypt in Exodus 12:51.

Joseph and Israel have an emotional reunion in Goshen, and Joseph reveals how they will be (for now) left to their own devices there in verses 31-34 because “every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians”.

(Side note: “Ferrell’s Travel Blog” has several articles, accompanied with some photographs, concerning Goshen.  Two that I find interesting are “Why were shepherds detestable to Egyptians?” and “The Land of Rameses“)

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.

 

Genesis 44 – Joseph Tests His Brothers

When Joseph sends them away, he has his steward once again place their money in their sacks.  But this time, he has his silver cup placed in Benjamin’s bag and he has them followed, accused of theft, and brought back.  The brothers who have carried the burden of their guilt for so long are convinced that God himself has brought this on them for what they did to Joseph so many years ago.

Joseph tells them that the rest of them can go, but Benjamin will remain as his slave.  The brothers are purposely placed in the position of losing their younger brother – and facing Jacob’s (Israel’s) devastation.  Judah begins a passionate plea of repentance in verse 18, offering himself in his younger brother’s place.  Remember, it was Judah’s idea to have Joseph sold instead of killing him in Gen 37:26-28.

The change that has taken place in his brothers is no doubt what Joseph was looking (and hoping) for.

(Side note: Here is a link to a lengthy, but very interesting article from the publishers of “Bible and Spade” magazine calledThe Joseph Narrative (Genesis 37, 39–50)that includes information about Egyptian captives from Canaan)

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

___________________

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.
/Robert

Genesis 11 – The Tower of Babel

So God commanded the people to go forth and populate the earth after the flood, and what do they do? They do what they want instead, as usual. They congregate in one place and they build the Tower at Babel. They are full of themselves and their abilities, and not following God’s plan for them. So He confuses their language so that they cannot understand each other. This has the intended consequence of getting them to move on and spread out away from each other.

The genealogy of Shem’s line is told. The most important part is when it gets to Terah. Terah was the father of Abram, who God will later rename as Abraham, and his brother Haran, who fathers Lot. This means Lot is Abram’s nephew; and their stories will become important, especially the story of Abraham.

(Side note: The ancient city of UR in v 28 has unquestionably been found, and was the site of major excavations in the late 1920’s and early 1930s by Sir Leonard Wooley. It lays less that 200 miles southeast of modern Baghdad, and has been found to have been the site of highly developed urban culture. Some pictures of artifacts can be found at this link)

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

___________________

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 “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert