Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Joshua 10-12

In chapter 10, Adoni-Zedek, the king of Jerusalem, saw what had happened to Ai and Jericho and Gibeon, and joined with four other kings of the Amorites, the kings of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon, to attack Gibeon "because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites." When the attack began, the Gibeonites sent word to Joshua at Gilgal, saying "do not abandon your servants." Joshua gathered his entire army and marched up from Gilgal, and the LORD said to him, "I have given them into your hand." The Israelites marched all night and took the five kings and their troops by surprise. They "cut them down allthe way to Azekah and Makkedah" and the LORD sent hailstones down on them which killed even more of them than the Israelite swords had. At the defeat of the Amorites, Joshua "said to the LORD in the presence of Israel" to let the sun "stand still over the sun stood still...till the nation avenged itself on its enemies." After Joshua returned with the Israelites to Gilgal, he was told that the five kings of the Amorites had hidden in a cave a Makkedah. He said to cover the mouth of the cave with large rocks and guard it, and to pursue and kill the rest of the Amorites "for the LORD your God has given them into your hand." After destroying the armies, they brought out the five kings and Joshua killed them and "hung them on five trees." At sunset, they took the bodies down, threw them into the cave and covered the entrance with large rocks. And "Joshua took Makkedah...he left no survivors."

Joshua "and all Israel" move from Makkedah to Libnah, Lachish, to Eglon, to Hebron and to Debir, and in each city, "they totally destroyed it and everyone in it." "Joshua subdued them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon. All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel."

In chapter 11, a similar scenario plays out with the northern kingdoms. Jabin, king of Hazor, many other kings of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites to fight against Israel, but the LORD told Joshua not to be afraid. So Joshua and his whole army attacked them at the Waters of Merom, and "the LORD gave them into the hand of Israel." "Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them...Joshua took this entire land: the hill country, all the Negev, the whole region of Goshen, the western foothills, the Arabah and the mountains of Israel with their foothills, from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon." Then the land rested. And in chapter 12, there is a list of the kings and cities that the Israelites under Moses and then Joshua took in the conquest of the promised land.

Thoughts, questions, issues

  • I really don't have much to say about this. Everything I said about Jericho and Ai still applies, and these stories are essentially repeats of those. The LORD told them to go into the promised land and destroy the inhabitants, and that's what they did.
  • The impression one gets is that the time elapsed from the crossing of the Jordan to the destruction of the existing population that is covered in the last five chapters only took a few days. I suspect that that was not actually the case. But there's no perceptible and significant passage of time.

Proverbs 21:1-16

One could probably expound for pages on most of these verses. I like this one - "To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice." These proverbs date to Solomon, a time when Israel was very much under the law, and the sacrificial system was in full swing. And there's another "truth and tongue" verse - "a fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare."

Proverbs 21

1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD;
he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.

2 All a man's ways seem right to him,
but the LORD weighs the heart.

3 To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
the lamp of the wicked, are sin!

5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.

6 A fortune made by a lying tongue
is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.

7 The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
for they refuse to do what is right.

8 The way of the guilty is devious,
but the conduct of the innocent is upright.

9 Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

10 The wicked man craves evil;
his neighbor gets no mercy from him.

11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom;
when a wise man is instructed, he gets knowledge.

12 The Righteous One takes note of the house of the wicked
and brings the wicked to ruin.

13 If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor,
he too will cry out and not be answered.

14 A gift given in secret soothes anger,
and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.

15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous
but terror to evildoers.

16 A man who strays from the path of understanding
comes to rest in the company of the dead.

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