My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Judges 15

Samson's revenge

Samson went down to see his wife, only to find that she'd been given to someone else. So he sent burning foxes through the Philistines' fields. When the Philistines found out why Samson had done this, they killed Samson's wife and her father. So Samson killed many of them, and hid in a cave.

The Philistines went to Judah to get Samson. The people of Judah went to Samson's cave and managed to convince him to come to the Philistines bound in rope. But as he got close to the Philistines, the power of God came on him, and he broke the rope, and killed a thousand Philistines with a donkey's jawbone. Afterwards, God revived Samson by bringing water from the ground.

Samson led Israel for twenty years.

Key verse:
14. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power.

My thoughts:
Samson's violence always came as a response to something the Philistines had done. Samson had not rejected his wife, despite what she had done previously.

Samson is a typical strong-man hero of Israel, as is shown by the extremely nature of what he does. He's like He-man.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Judges 14

Samson's riddles.

Samson fell in love with a philistine. His parents would've rathered he'd found an Israelite wife, but it was all part of God's plan. When he went down to meet her, he beat a lion by the power of God. When he went later to marry her, he found some bees and honey in the carcass of the lion, which he ate.

At his wedding feast, he set out a riddle, which was "Out of the eater something to eat, out of the strong something sweet". His philistine guests had to get the answer, and if they did, Samson would give them thirty garments. But if they could not answer it, they would have to give Samson thirty garments.

They threatened Samson's wife so she would find out the answer from Samson. After days of nagging, Samson told his wife the answer, which she relayed to the men. When the men gave Samson the right answer, which was "What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?", Samson was angry, because they got the answer from his wife. He went to a nearby villiage, and God's Spirit gave him strength to kill thirty men and give their garments to the men. Samson's wife was given to someone else.

Key verse:
4. this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines

My thoughts:
Do not confuse Samson's wife here with Delilah, who comes later.

The point of this chapter is bring a confrontation between Israel (to be led by Samson), and their rulers, the Philistines. Samson is not happy about the Philistines cheating to get the answer, from which he leads an attack on them in the next chapter.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Judges 13

Birth of Samson foretold

Israel then fell into the hand of the Philistines. A man, Manoah, had a barren wife. A messenger from God appeared to her, telling her that she would have a son who would begin to save Israel, and that she should drink no alcohol, or eat any unclean food. The son will be a Nazirite, and his hair was not to be cut. She told her husband, and Manoah asked God to send the messenger again, and God did, and this time Manoah saw him too.

The messenger restated what he had said to Manoah's wife, and Manoah asked him to stay for a meal, but the messenger said to give a sacrifice to God instead. Manoah asked his name, but the messenger said that his name was beyond understanding.

They sacrificed a goat there, and the messenger ascended in the flames, and Manoah and his wife were freaked out that they might die because they saw God, but then realised that God wouldn't kill them because he accepted their sacrifice.

Manoah's wife had a son named Samson, and God's Spirit was on him.

Key verse:
18. Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.

My thoughts:
See Numbers 6 for information of the Nazirites.

Manoah first thought that the messenger was simply a person, or prophet, but when he realised that it was a messenger (angel) of God, then he was scared. For me, the most interesting part of this chapter is when the messenger says his name is beyond understanding. It is a glimpse of the nature of heaven, which rarely occurs outside of apocolyptic literature.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Judges 12

Jephthah vs. Ephraim

Ephraim the tribe complained that Jephthah didn't summon them to help fight, but Jephthah said he did, but they didn't come. From this there was a civil war between the Gileadites and the Ephraimites, in which many Ephraimites were killed. The Gilieadites didn't let the Ephraimites cross into their land. They tested that they were Ephraimites by their accent.

Jephthah led Israel for six years.

After that, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon led Israel after one another.

Key verses:
5-6. "Are you an Ephraimite?" If he replied, "No," they said, "All right, say 'Shibboleth.' " He said, "Sibboleth," because he could not pronounce the word correctly,

My thoughts:
Ephraim are getting a bit of a reputation for causing trouble, and having grudges with the leaders of Israel.

This civil war was stupid, and trivial

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Judges 11


Jephthah was a great warrior from Gilead, but he had been rejected from the town, because he was a bastard from a prostitute. But given the threat of the Ammonites, the Gileadites called on Jephthah to return and lead Gilead against the Ammonites. He accepted.

It turned out that the Ammonites were attacking because they felt that Israel had stolen their land. Jephthah sent a message stating that Israel had taken the land from the Amorites when they refused peace. He told the Ammonites to be happy with what their god had given them, and not to come demanding land three-hundred years after Israel had been settled there.

The Ammonites did not listen, and Jephthah faced them, promising God to sacrifice what he first saw on his return if he was victorious. But the first thing he saw as his daughter, his only child. He was gutted. But his daughter told him to keep his promise to God, but only give her a couple of months to mourn for herself. Jephthah allowed this, then did as he promised. A festival was adopted in memory of the tragic event.

Key verse:
31. whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.

My thoughts:
Again we see God using a reject of society. Jephthah was the child of a prostitute, the lowest of scum, yet God deliver Gilead and Israel through him.

God never approves of human sacrifice other than of Jesus himself. The narrative here is telling a tragic story, and explaining the meaning behind a festival which was observed at the time when Judges was written. Here is good justification of why you shouldn't promise much, or make oaths in God's name. They are too absolute, and too risky.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Judges 10

Tola, Jair, and Israel's rebellion

Tola and then Jair led Israel. Jair has thirty sons, thirty donkeys, and thirty cities.

Then the Israelites followed other gods, and they fell into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites. They called out to God, but he wasn't too keen to save them. But they continued to call out to God, and they followed him alone, and God heart broke for them.

The Ammonites set up an army against Gilead, and Gilead searched for a leader for themselves.

Key verse:
16. And [the Lord] could bear Israel's misery no longer.

My thoughts:
Most obvious is the direct connection between Israel's attitude towards God and their success as a nation. This is the message of the entire old testament.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Judges 9

Abimelech and Jotham

Abimelech, Gideon's son, started spreading rumours in Shechem that he should be king. He gained support, and killed his seventy brothers, except Jotham, who escaped. The people of Shechem came to anoint Abimelech as king, when Jotham appeared and told them a parable about trees. The point was that only evil people who have nothing better to do want to be king. He then said that if anointing Abimelech was honourable and right, then they shall be successful, but it is was dishonourable, then they will be punished, both Abimelech and the people of Shechem.

Three years later, the people of Shechem began to rebel against Abimelech. A man Gaal challenged Abimelech's authority, and when Abimelech's deputy, Zebul, heard of this, he told Abimelech to ambush Gaal and his men. So he did, and neither side really won. Gaal was repelled from Shechem, and Abimelech went to another town.

The next day, Abimelech took his men and killed the people of Shechem in the fields. He then burnt those who had hidden in the tower. Abimelech then moved onto the town Thebez, but when he tried to burnt it's tower, one of the women inside threw a stone on him, and he died, and all the Israelites went home.

And so Jotham's curse came true.

Key verse:
7. Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you.

My thoughts:
This is a break from the normal cycle of judges in this book. It is a time of sin without a judge. Technically Abimelech was the first king of Israel, and we can see how having a king turned out bad, as God had said.

It's an interesting story though.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Judges 8

Gideon's victory

Ephraim complained that Gideon had not initially summoned them, but Gideon calmed their concerns.

Gideon and his three hundred men were still persuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian, and they asked the town of Succoth and Peniel for food. They both denied him and mocked him, so Gideon promised to return and punish them.

So Gideon defeated the Midianites at Karkor, and captured the two kings. He then punished the elders of Succoth and pulled down Peniel's tower and killed its men.

Zebah and Zalmunna had killed Gideon's brothers, so Gideon told Jether, his oldest son, to kill them. But he was young and scared. So Gideon did it himself.

Gideon refuses to rule over Israel, but asked for everyone's gold earrings, which he made into an ephod, which he placed at his home town. Unfortunately, his family started to worship it.

Gideon had seventy sons from many wives. One son was Abimelech. When he died, Israel started worshipping Baal again, and treated Gideon's family badly.

Key verse:
23. I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.

My thoughts:
It might be tempting to think that the judges were pretty much kings and queens of Israel, but here we see that they were not. They were military leaders for a short time who saved Israel. They were also judges. They did not rule the land, because God was to rule the land. God only accepted a monarchy very hesitantly later on.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Judges 7

Gideon's victory

Gideon and his army camped south of the Midians, but God said Gideon had too many people in his army, and told him to get rid of some, so that they would know that God won the battle, not Israel. So Gideon told those who were scared to go home, and 22.000 left, leaving 10,000. Then he told the rest to drink, and the three hundred who took the water up to their mouths in the hands and lapped were chosen for the battle.

God told Gideon that he would be victorious, but that if he wanted confirmation he should go down to the Midian camp and hear what they were saying. So he went down with his servant Purah, and overheard someone retelling a dream, which prophecied Gideon's victory.

So Gideon gave his troops jars and trumpets, and they went to the Midianite camp, and at Gideon's command yelled and blasted trumpets and broke their jars. The Midianties fled, and the Israelites in the country persued them. Ephraim got two of the Midiantie leaders, Zeeb, and Oreb.

Key verse:
2. Israel may not boast against me that her own strength saved her,

My thoughts:
Again the idea of God's presence being more important than any human strength is shown in this chapter.

I've always been told that the deal with the drinking water thing, is that Gideon chose the strongest, because he chose those who weren't desperate for water. I actually think is was more just a random way to decrease the number of men, so that God would be glorified, rather than Israel. The text says that the chosen ones 'lapped like dogs', and that the others 'knelt down to drink'. It is not obvious which group would be considered fitter.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Judges 6

Gideon's call

Israel was being oppressed into poverty by the Midianites, because they had forsaken God. They called out, and so God sent a prophet, telling them that God had not saved them, like he had in the past, because they had followed other gods.

God's messenger appeared to Gideon, son of Joash, and told him that he would save Israel. Gideon thought this was unlikely, because his family was lowly. But God reassured him. So Gideon brought an offering of a goat and some broth, and as a sign, the messenger burninated it with his staff. Then he left.

Gideon, at God's command, destroyed his father's shrines and altars to other gods, and burnt them on an altar he made to God. He burnt a bull on that altar. In the morning, the village was going to kill Gideon for what he had done, but Joash, Gideon's father, defended Gideon, saying that the other gods (Baal in particular) should defend themselves.

The Midianites crossed over into Israelite land, and Gideon called together and army. He tested God, to see if he was with them. He set out a fleece, asking God to leave dew on it, and nothing else. And it happened. He then set out another fleece, asking God to leave dew everywhere else, but not on the fleece. And it happened.

Key verse:
15. how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.

My thoughts:
There is quite a lot of narrative here for one chapter!

Again we have the continuation of the theme of God using anyone of any status. Success does not rely on human ability, but on whether God is with you.

You'll notice that in the English Bible, it is the Angel of the Lord who comes to Gideon. However, I have written messenger, because that is probably more accurate with the understanding of the Hebrew word when it was written. It also helps logically understand the lack of distinction between God himself, and his messenger, because the messenger really just speaks the words of God.

The testing of God by Gideon is an interesting one. Was he right to do it? Had God not already shown that he was with him? At any rate it worked, and in this circumstance, God allowed himself to be tested, and complied.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Judges 5

Deborah's song

Deborah sang a song of how when Israel was downtrodden, and there was no peace, that God raised up herself and Barak to fight Sisera. She sings of the victory of the Israelite princes, and how Jael, a blessed woman, killed Sisera.

Key verse:
27. At her feet he sank,
       he fell; there he lay.
       At her feet he sank, he fell;
       where he sank, there he fell-dead.

My thoughts:
This is a song of victory. In it we get some more details of the Jael-Sisera story, like about Sisera's mother. The song sings of a people of many tribes uniting under God and reaching victory over oppressors.

So far in Judges there seems to be a theme of God being able to use anything to fulfil his purposes. He used what was socially rejected at the time, women, left-handed people etc.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Judges 4

Deborah and Jael

After Ehud, the Israelites against fell captive. This time under king Jabin, whose army commander was Sisera.

Deborah was judge of Israel, and she ordered Barak to lead an army against Sisera. Barak demanded that Deborah come too, so Deborah agreed, but said that the honour would not be Barak's, but would go to a woman.

Sisera heard that Barak was coming, so he went to meet him in battle, but he lost badly, and he fled back to the tent ot Heber (a descendant of Moses' brother-in-law). Sisera asked Heber's wife, Jael, for some water. She gave him milk. Then, when he was sleeping, Jael drove a tent peg through his temple. Barak found Sisera dead at the hand of Jael, and Israel was saved from the hand of Jabin.

Key verse:
9. the honour will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman.

My thoughts:
This is a darn good story. The women are the heroes. The men end up either dead, or too scared to go into battle without a woman to hold their hand.

It is absolutely clear to me that the Bible (and therefore God) supports the ability of a woman to lead men.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Judges 3

Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar

The remaining nations for Israel to learn to fight against were the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Sidonites, and the Hivites.

Israel, due to their sin, fell captive to the king of Aram for eight years, until Othniel, Caleb's brother, the first judge, led Israel against the king of Aram, and defeated him. There was peace for forty years until his death.

The Israelites sinned again, and became captive under Eglon, king of Moab for eighteen years. God raised up Ehud, who was left-handed. He had a specially made double-edged sword, which he hid on his body when he went to pay tribute to the king. He requested some time alone with the king. Then he said "God has something to say to you" and plunged his sword into Eglon fat stomach. He left the sword stuck right into Eglon's body (his fat covered the handle), and left via the porch.

Eglon's servants thought Eglon must be on the toilet, so they waited until it was embarrasing, and found him dead. Ehud then led the Israelites to defeat the Moabites, and there was peace for eight years.

Shamgar, who killed six hundred Philistines, also saved Israel.

Key verse:
22. Even the handle sank in after the blade, which came out his back. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it.

My thoughts:
It's like a movie. "I've got a message from God"... SWORDED!! I feel sorry for Shamgar, who gets a one verse mention.

Judges is really a collection of cool stories of battles. They can be quite gruesome.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Judges 2

The judges

God reminded the people who good he has been to them. However, Israel has rebelled against him, so he will not drive out their enemies.

Whilst Joshua was alive, the people were faithful to God, but the eye-witnesses of what God had done had died out, the nation rebelled against God. So God raised up judges. When the judges came, the people followed God, but they returned to their sin once the judges died.

Key verse:
19. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them.

My thoughts:
It is amazing how quickly people forsake God.

My Bit:
The thousands of you who religiously read my blog daily will notice that this post came up late. Whoops.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Judges 1

A lot of war

Once Joshua had died, Israel set out to take the land which they had not quite managed to get yet.

Judah, with the Simeonites, went and took land including a town called Bezek. They captured the leader, and cut off his thumbs and big toes. The leader realised that God was paying him back for doing the same to many other kings. He died in Jerusalem.

Judah also burninated Jerusalem, and took many other lands in their inheritance, including Hebron, which was given to Caleb. They drove out many Canaanites. The Benjamites didn't manage to dislodge the Jebusites from Jerusalem though.

They advanced against Debir, and Caleb offered his daughter, Ascah, to whoever took the city. Othniel took it, and got Ascah. Othniel gave Ascah the springs of Negev, at her request.

Manasseh took Bethel, by working with a native of the city.

There were still, however, many Canaanites living amongst most of the the tribes, but many of the were forced into labour as the strength of Israel grew.

Key verse:
19. The Lord was with the men of Judah.

My thoughts:
Judges is really just a direct continuation of Joshua, and so we continue to see the wars that Israel started within Canaan, to take their land.

There is an interesting repetition of a story here. The story of Othniel and Ascah is a word for word repetition of the same story in Joshua. That would imply that Joshua and Judges, despite their chronological succession, were written quite independently.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Joshua 24

Joshua's final charge and death

God told the Israelites the story of their nation, how Abraham had come to Canaan from the East, and how his grandson Jacob went to Egypt, where his descendents were oppressed. God then led them out of Egypt, and through the desert. Balaam could not curse them. They then defeated the kings east of the Jordan, the Amorites and the king of Sihon. They then conquered the land west of the Jordan.

Joshua then presented the people with the option of serving God, or serving other gods. The people chose God. Joshua challenged them on this big call, but the people were adamant to serve God, with themselves as the witness.

So Joshua made a covenant, wrote in the book of the law, and set up a stone monument.

Joshua died at 110, and was buried in Jacob's tomb. Israel was faithful whilst Joshua was in control. Eleazar, the high priest, died.

Key verse:
15. then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve ... But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

My thoughts:
It is interesting that Joshua here adds to the book of the law, which implies that Moses was not the only author, which fits perfectly with the law as we read it today.

Again, Israel is given the clear option of choosing God or not. They choose God, and God holds them to that choice.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Joshua 23

Joshua's charge

Joshua, who was now old, called together all the leaders of Israel. He reminded them that they had seen what God had done. He tells them to keep the law, so that God will continue to drive out Israel's enemies. But he warns that if they associate and intermarry with the nations around them, then God will punish them. God has kept all his promised, and he will keep his promises to punish if Israel turns away from him.

Key verse:
14. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.

My thoughts:
Joshua, like Moses, is about to die, but unlike Moses, he will not choose a direct successor. He will be followed by a period of changing judges who rule of Israel.

It is good to know that the message of God and the law has not changed. Joshua is giving the same charge as Moses.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Joshua 22

The altar of the trans-Jordan tribes

After fighting hard with their brothers, the tribes (Gad, Reuben and half of Manasseh) whose inheritance was east of the Jordan were allowed to return home.

They built an big altar on their border.

When the rest of Israel heard this, they went up with Phinehas (son of the high priest) to attack them, for building an altar in competition to the Lord's. They were upset that they had forsaken God so quickly.

But the trans-Jordan tribes made it clear that the altar was there not for sacrifices, but as a reminder for future generations that they are part of God's people, even though they live on the other side of the Jordan.

Then they were all happy and got along.

Key verse:
22. The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows! And let Israel know! If this has been in rebellion or disobedience to the Lord, do not spare us this day.

My thoughts:
Despite there having been a couple of different altars used for sacrifice by different leaders, it is still clear at this early stage that you can't just sacrifice to God wherever you please on whatever altar you please. Ultimately, the one place for cultic worship (sacrifice) becomes Jerusalem.

This chapter also shows how reason can in some situations justify what may otherwise appear to be sin.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Joshua 21

The Levite towns

The Levites called on Eleazar, the high priest, to give them cities throughout Israel, as they had been promised, because they had no inheritance. They got 48 towns, with different clans getting towns from different tribes.

Key verse:
3. the Israelites gave the Levites the following towns and pasturelands out of their own inheritance

My thoughts:
Hebron, Gibeon, and Shechem seem to be important, reoccuring towns. Hebron is a city of refuge, a city for Levites, Caleb's city, and in Judah. It will later become the capital of Israel, before Jerusalem is taken by King David.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Joshua 20

Cities of refuge

God reminded Joshua to set aside six cities of refuge, where people who had accidentally killed someone could flee to.

These people were to come to the gate, and be accepted by the elders of the city. They were to stay there until they they stood trial, and until the current high priest died.

So six cities were set apart. Three on the west of the Jordan (including Hebron), and three of the East.

Key verse:
9. Any of the Israelites or any alien living among them who killed someone accidentally could flee to these designated cities and not be killed by the avenger of blood

My thoughts:
God recognised that Israel's society would, in reality, be somewhat unstructured. If someone was killed, it would normally be one of the victim's relatives who took revenge. So God called for safe cities to be made so real justice could be sought, rather than people taking matters into their own hand. Notice that both Israelites and aliens had the same rights to a fair trial.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Joshua 19

Dividing the rest of the land

The land was divided between the remaining tribes, Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan. Joshua also got the city of Timnath Serah as his personal inheritance. Simeon's land was within Judah, because Judah had more than enough land. Dan had some trouble taking their land, so they took some land at Leshem.

The final allotments are shown in this map.

Key verse:
51. And so they finished dividing the land.

My thoughts:
These were the set borders of the tribes, however, in reality, it was much messier.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Joshua 18

The other tribes

Seven tribes had still not received their inheritance. So Joshua told them to go out and scout the land, and to divide into seven parts, then the tribes would be allocated to each part of land by casting lots.

Benjamin got some land between Judah and the tribes of Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim). Their territory contained the cities of Jericho, Jerusalem, Bethel, and Gibeon.

Key verse:
3. How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?

My thoughts:
Benjamin's proximity to Judah causes them to become very close. When Israel splits into two nations, they combined are one of the nations. Many of the kings come from Benjamin. Their closeness is also shown in the fact that some of the cities seem to be repeated in the lists for both tribes.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Joshua 17

Manasseh's allotment

So Manasseh got the land north of Judah, including Gilead and Bashan. Zelophehad had been promised the land of his brothers by Moses, even though he had no sons. So he received that.

The Manassites could not live in some of their cities, because they were occupied, but as Israel grew in power, they forced them into labour.

Manasseh complained that they only had one allotment for such a large tribe. So Joshua told them to go clear out some forest land and take that too, destroying the Canaanites who lived there.

Key verse:
18. though the Canaanites have iron chariots and though they are strong, you can drive them out.

My thoughts:
As was blessed to Joseph at the end of Genesis, his sons (Manasseh and Ephraim) became very numerous tribes, even though they had one generation less of growth than the others. Here Manasseh is so huge they need more land than their already large allotment.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Joshua 16

Ephraim and Manasseh

The two tribes of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh got their inheritance in the land west of the Jordan, but north of Judah. However, some of Mannasseh lives east of the Jordan.

They could not dislodge the some Canaanites, but did make them do forced labour.

Key verse:
4. So Manasseh and Ephraim, the descendants of Joseph, received their inheritance.

My thoughts:
Good for them.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Joshua 15

Judah's inheritance

Judah got a large amount of land in the south, stretching between the Jordan and the Mediterranian, and going down to the deserts in the south.

Caleb got Hebron, and he offered his daughter, Acsah, in marriage to whoever took Kiriath Sepher. Othniel took it, and so he got Caleb's daughter. Acsah then asked Othniel for some springs, and got them.

But Judah could not get the city of the Jebusites (Jerusalem), because they couldn't defeat it.

Key verse:
1. The allotment for the tribe of Judah, clan by clan, extended down to the territory of Edom, to the Desert of Zin in the extreme south.

My thoughts:
Judah, of course, becomes the most significant tribe, and this territory really becomes the only territory for Jews coming into Jesus' time after the Northern Kingdom falls and it's people lose their identity.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Joshua 14

Caleb gets Hebron

So Joshua and Eleazar (the High Priest) allotted the land.

Caleb reminded Joshua of how he had been faithfully to God and to Moses in his scouting many years ago, so Joshua gave Caleb the city of Hebron as his inheritance.

Key verse:
8. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.

My thoughts:
Caleb was faithful, and he got rewarded. Who knows? Maybe if we're faithful we'll get cities too!!! I bags Invercargill!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Joshua 13

Land still for the taking

God reminded Joshua, who was getting old, that there was still some land - the land of the Philistines, Geshurites, and Sidonians - which needed to be taken over. God reminded Joshua to divide the western lands between the 9 and a half tribes, as the eastern lands had already been divided between the remaining 2 and a half tribes.

Levi got no inheritance.

Key verse:
1. there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.

My thoughts:
This chapter has a lot of place names. To really make sense of it you would need to sit down with a good map, which I haven't done.

Israel have a firm stake in Canaan now, which they retain even now in 2005, but there are still niggles around them that they want to get rid of, but they don't really get rid of them until David and Solomon's time, and even then it is short lived.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Joshua 12

The thirty-one kings

Israel defeated Sihon of the Amorites, and Og of Bashan east of the Jordan, and Joshua conquered the kings of the following thirty-one cities west of the Jordan.

They were Jericho, Ai, Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, Eglon, Gezer, Debir, Geder, Hormah, Arad, Libnah, Adullam, Makkedah, Bethel, Tappuah, Hepher, Aphek, Lasharon, Madon, Hazor, Shimron Meron, Acshaph, Taanach, Megiddo, Kedesh, Jokneam, Dor, Goyim, and Tirzah.

Key verse:
24. thirty-one kings in all

My thoughts:
The significance of the number 31 is clear when you see that it is 40-9. 9 being 3x3. Forty is the time of testing (flood, Jesus/Israel in desert etc.), and three is the time of new life (resurrection etc.). So clearly the 31 here means a time of testing, but also of abundant new life (3x3). Or maybe not.

Seriously though. I can't think of anything interesting to say about this. Except that Megiddo is the place Armageddon is supposed to happen, and that in actuality Jerusalem may not have been conquered quite yet.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Joshua 11

Joshua fights the northern kingdoms

Having heard of the southern kingdoms' destruction, the northern kingdoms come together and camp at the Waters of Merom.

God told Joshua to womp them, so he did, and he took all their cities.

So Joshua and his army took all of the land, destroying all the nations within it, except those at Gibeon who made a treaty. Then the warring ceased.

Key verse:
20. For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally

My thoughts:
It seems that Gibeon was the only nation who sought peace, and they got it, even though that wasn't really supposed to happen at all.

Yea so Joshua's done pretty well taking over the land like God and Moses had told him. Now we can have some peace. The Israelites have the land they have been promised.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Joshua 10

Joshua defeats the kings of Canaan

The king of Jerusalem heard of how Ai and Jericho had been conquered, and that Gibeon had made peace with the Israelites. So he got a bunch of his royal mates around from other parts of Canaan and led an attack against Gibeon. The Gibeonites called on Joshua to help, so Joshua led his army against the Canaanites there.

And Joshua's army womped them. They chased them back towards their cities, and God sent big hailstones which killed them too. Very few men got back to their cities. In fact, at Joshua's request, God stopped the sun in the sky so there was more daylight so Joshua's army would womp more.

The 5 Amorite kings hid in a cave, so the blocked it up whilst they killed the others. Then they bought the kings before Israel and killed them.

Joshua took the cities of Makkadah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, and Debir. And so Joshua controlled most of the south.

Key verse:
14. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!

My thoughts:
The key verse for todays seems to be a theme of Joshua so far. At every stage the author is trying to proove God's hand in the battles.

Another reoccuring idea in Joshua is of things which are 'still around today'. Much of ancient history may have been preserved in monuments etc. and the author draws on these. It also backs up the historicity of his claims.

Jerusalem is mentioned for what I believe to be the first time, meaning Joshua could barely have been written before David took that city many years later.