Joshua: Conquest of Canaan Chapters 1-6, 10, 23-24
The Ark of the Covenant • Exodus 25 describes the design for its construction. It was a sacred container containing. • Stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments • Aaron's rod • A little bit of manna • God’s presence was between the cherubim in “the mercy seat” (where he communicated with Moses (Exodus 25:22)
The Tabernacle Exodus 25-30 describes specific rules for its construction. It was a mobile temple within which sacrifices were carried out. The ark rested in the “Holy of Holies” or The most holy place. It was moved by the Levites from camp to camp during their 40 years in the wilderness. Solomon finally built a permanent temple to replace the tabernacle.
Holy War “Under Ban” • Deuteronomist history offers one solution to the Canaanite’s presence: extermination without mercy. Yahweh is characterized as “a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24) • All Canaanites are placed “under ban,” an aspect of holy war in which the enemy is consecrated to the attackers’ God and, in effect, sacrificed to him. Allowing the Canaanites to live would make them a source of religious corruption. Deuteronomy 2-6: 2 and when the Lord your God gives them over to you and you defeat them, then you must utterly destroy them. Make no covenant with them and show them no mercy. 3Do not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4for that would turn away your children from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. 5But this is how you must deal with them: break down their altars, smash their pillars, hew down their sacred poles, and burn their idols with fire. 6For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
More Holy War Deuteronomy 20:10-18 10When you draw near to a town to fight against it, offer it terms of peace. 11If it accepts your terms of peace and surrenders to you, then all the people in it shall serve you in forced labour. 12If it does not submit to you peacefully, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it; 13and when the Lord your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword. 14You may, however, take as your booty the women, the children, livestock, and everything else in the town, all its spoil. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the Lord your God has given you. 15Thus you shall treat all the towns that are very far from you, which are not towns of the nations here. 16But as for the towns of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not let anything that breathes remain alive. 17You shall annihilate them—the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites—just as the Lord your God has commanded, 18so that they may not teach you to do all the abhorrent things that they do for their gods, and you thus sin against the Lord your God.
Outline of Joshua • 1 God Commissions Joshua • 2 The spies and Rahab • 3 Crossing the Jordan on dry ground • 4 Commemorating the crossing • 5 Preparing (Circumcision and Passover, a theophany) • 6 The fall of Jericho • 7 Sin of Achan • 8 Capture of Ai • 9 the trick of the Gibeonites • 10 the sun stands still and the five kings defeated • 11-12 Summary of the conquest • 13-22 Distribution of the land • 23-24 Joshua’s messages to the people
Joshua 1: Commissioned • Joshua 1: 8-9 • This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth. You shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then, you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful. I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua as another Moses “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” Joshua 1:5b
Joshua 2: Rahab, a harlot • Some prefer to think of her as a ‘hostess,’ one who keeps a public house, as if from the Hebrew word meaning ‘to nourish.’ • But, zonah means ‘harlot,’ and not ‘hostess.’ It signifies harlot in every other text where it occurs. • Strangers from beyond the river might have stayed at the house of a harlot without suspicion or remark. • The house of such a woman was also the only one to which they, as perfect strangers, could have had access, and certainly the only one in which they could calculate on obtaining the information they required without danger from male inmates. • She outsmarts the spies and the people of her own town. She ends up saving herself and her family and becoming a very important woman in Israel’s history. • She becomes part of the lineage to King David (and later to Jesus). • The contracts the spies make with her is violates the covenant of Dt. 20. • After the deal is made, the spies add further conditions. • The spies report only what she has told them.
Joshua 3 • 4. Stay away from the ark, it is dangerously holy • 8 & 13. Joshua and priests must stand in the water before it parts. Demonstrate faith. • The water stood still for about 26 km (from their place to the city of Adam) • Miracle of crossing safely through a body of water happens again (Noah, Moses twice, Joshua) Illustration by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld's For Die Bibel in Bildern (German), 1853
Joshua 5 • 2. A second circumcision because the children had not been circumcised in the desert. It is now a new generation • 10. the Passover is celebrated. • 13. Joshua’s theophany further confirms his close relationship with the Lord. • Removes sandals like Moses (on holy ground) • The Heavenly army will be fighting with Joshua
Joshua 6: Jericho falls 16And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, ‘Shout! For the Lord has given you the city. 17The city and all that is in it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction.Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers we sent. 18As for you, keep away from the things devoted to destruction, so as not to covet* and take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel an object for destruction, bringing trouble upon it. 19But all silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are sacred to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.’ 20So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpets, they raised a great shout, and the wall fell down flat; so the people charged straight ahead into the city and captured it. 21Then they devoted to destruction by the edge of the sword all in the city, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys.
Joshua’s military conquests • Joshua’s military conquests begin at Jericho.
Watch Out Joshua 23:9-13 God has been faithful. Now the people need to do their part. • 9For the Lord has driven out before you great and strong nations; and as for you, no one has been able to withstand you to this day. 10One of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God who fights for you, as he promised you. • 11Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God. 12For if you turn back, and join the survivors of these nations left here among you, and intermarry with them, so that you marry their women and they yours, 13know assuredly that the Lord your God will not continue to drive out these nations before you; but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a scourge on your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land that the Lord your God has given you.
Watch Out more Joshua 23:14-17 This seems like an overly optimistic view of what has happened. • 14 ‘And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one thing has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you; all have come to pass for you, not one of them has failed. • 15But just as all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the Lord will bring upon you all the bad things, until he has destroyed you from this good land that the Lord your God has given you. 16If you transgress the covenant of the Lord your God, which he enjoined on you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land that he has given to you.’
14 ‘Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’ • 19 But Joshua said to the people, ‘You cannot serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.’ 21And the people said to Joshua, ‘No, we will serve the Lord!’ 22Then Joshua said to the people, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.’ And they said, ‘We are witnesses.’
Joshua’s pillar at Shechem • Some archeologists believe this could be the stone Joshua erected at Shechem to hear and bear witness to Yahweh's covenant with Israel (Joshua 24:26-28) • 26Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak in the sanctuary of the Lord. 27Joshua said to all the people, ‘See, this stone shall be a witness against us; for it has heard all the words of the Lord that he spoke to us; therefore it shall be a witness against you, if you deal falsely with your God.’
The division of the 12 tribes Notice that the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and half of Manasseh are on the east side of the Jordan River. They chose this land instead of the promised land, but their soldiers still went to help conquer the land of Canaan.