1 Samuel 12- Samuel’s Farewell Address

This is not Samuel’s last public address, but it does sound very much like Joshua’s farewell address, especially Joshua 23:1-13. Samuel reminds them of all that God has done for them, and reminds and rebukes them for their lack of loyalty to the Lord.  The unseasonable storm of verses 17-18 are not punishment for wanting a king, rather a sign of the Lord’s displeasure at their lack of faith, trust and loyalty to Him.

Nevertheless, Samuel warns that all will be well with them and their king as long as they “do not turn aside from following the Lord.”   Here, “king” refers to present and future, as verse 25’s warning of them and their king being swept away is prophetic of their fate.  The “empty things” of verse 21 refers to idols and idol worship.

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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Judges 2 – Israel’s Disobedience

In chapter 2, the apostasy of the people is made explicit, and the angel of the Lord’s words to them brings fear, tears, and sacrificing.  But unfortunately, not true repentance, as they return to their idol worship of Baal and Ashtaroth (verses 11-13).   The repetition  of the death of Joshua serves to explain the behavior That prevented them from completing the task of driving out the Canaanites.  The problem was not just a lack of faith, but a lust for the wickedness and the immoral and often perverse behavior that accompanied idolatry.

Verses 11-23 present a summary of the book of Judges, and verse 11 sums it up very well – “And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”   God would no longer drive the Canaanites out for them, but leave them as a snare and a test for them.  Indeed, verse 15 says that “Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them.”

Their condition was miserable.  How could a nation that had been honored to have the visible presence of the one true God among them, and witness His power with their own eyes turn to bow down to statues and carved images?  Judges is the illustration of our own ability to turn away from God and worship immorality when His presence is made perfectly clear in everything we see (Romans 1:18-21).

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 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.

Preview of April Week 1 \ March Week 3 Summary Posted

Moses Blesses Joshua Before the High Priest, a...

Moses Blesses Joshua Before the High Priest, as in Numbers 27:22, by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With God’s help, Joshua has assumed full leadership and command.  Now that the people have crossed over in chapter 3, and have seen that God is with them and their new leader,  it is time for them to start taking the Promised Land.  The Lord told Joshua in Joshua 1:3 that “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.”  Now we will read of the fulfilling of those words and the settling of God’s people before the time of the judges.

Summing Up

Each weekend, I am now posting a small PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week.  I have posted the summary for Week 12 (March Week 3) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about Exodus chapters 32, 33, 40, and Numbers 13 and 14, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.

/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.