HomeFree online BibleEpisode 227: Pete Enns...

Episode 227: Pete Enns – Pete Ruins Joshua


You’re listening to the Bible for Regular Folks, the one God-ordained podcast on the web. I’m Pete Enns.


And I’m Jared Byas.

[Jaunty intro music plays]


Hey, all people, welcome to this episode of the podcast. And, you understand, my final solo episode was on Deuteronomy so let’s maintain the momentum going and hit the following ebook of the Bible: Joshua.

[Music plays under teaser clip of Pete speaking] “The traditional tribal description of God as warrior shouldn’t be the final phrase for both Judaism or Christianity. Taking somebody’s land by violence is solely not a gospel way of life. For Christians, the gospel has at all times been the lens by which Israel’s tales are learn, which implies not each Bible story has the ultimate phrase about what God is like.” [Music ends]

[Ad break]


So, Joshua is the primary of the so known as historic books of the Hebrew Bible and it is a widespread Christian designation for the books of Joshua by Esther, they usually inform the story of the conquest of Canaan (which is the ebook of Joshua), the early settlement of the land, which is in Judges earlier than the time of the monarchy, after which a quick story of David’s lineage within the ebook of Ruth, after which the story of the monarchy itself ending in exile, and that’s 1 and a pair of Samuel 1 and a pair of Kings. And subsequent, we’ve got 1 and a pair of Chronicles, which tells the story of the monarchy from a a lot later perspective, adopted by Ezra and Nehemiah which recount the return to the land after the exile and eventually Esther, which takes place within the Persian interval.

These books cowl a whole bunch of years, roughly 700 or so. Now, that’s the Christian canon. The Jewish Canon has it a bit in a different way. We’ve got Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings and these books are known as the previous prophets, as distinct from the guess what, latter prophets. And people can be books just like the prophetic books that we all know as Christians: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 12 minor prophets. The opposite historic books—what Christians name historic books—the opposite historic books: Ruth Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther, are present in a completely totally different part of the Hebrew Bible known as the Writings. Now personally, I do choose the title former prophets for Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings to “historic books.” And also you may be asking why? Nicely, right here’s why. As a result of labeling them “historic books” at all times prejudices us towards assuming that the ebook’s main operate is to, let’s say, report information—to present historic data.

However calling them prophets means that these books had been written primarily to not convey historic data, however to put some declare on the lives of the readers. Just like the prophetic books, the latter prophets, these books are also about, let’s say, classes from God that have to be remembered.  Now, biblical scholarship provides one other perspective on these books. And students have come to treat Joshua as the primary ebook of the so-called Deuteronomistic Historical past—which is made up of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. Now, we touched on this in my final episode on Deuteronomy, however let me simply sum it up right here a bit bit briefly, if I can. These six books are known as the Deuteronomistic Historical past, as a result of they appear to have been written from a theological perspective that we discover within the ebook of Deuteronomy. Now two key components of the theology of Deuteronomy are the, first, centralization of worship in Jerusalem—sacrifice nowhere else—and secondly, complete devotion to the covenant, and the unique worship of Yahweh, so worship to no different God, simply the one God, Yahweh.

So one connection between Deuteronomy and Joshua particularly, is the command in Deuteronomy 7 and 20 to invade Canaan and kill every thing that breathes—and this conquest of Canaan, nicely, that’s the predominant storyline of the ebook of Joshua. In order the primary ebook of the so-called Deuteronomistic Historical past, Joshua units up the rest of the Deuteronomistic Historical past by, nicely, detailing the conquest of the land, the division of the land then among the many 12 tribes, and reminding the Israelites about their covenant with God and the need of strict obedience to the regulation of Yahweh.

So anyway, when was Joshua written? Nicely, good query. As a part of the Deuteronomistic Historical past, the ebook emerged seemingly over time and in phases, starting with older oral traditions that ultimately had been formed into the guts of the ebook, most likely through the monarchy, after which the ultimate enhancing of the ebook, most likely performed in mild of the Babylonian exile. And that’s the fundamental scholarly description of not less than the place the ebook of Joshua got here from. Now, one necessary piece of knowledge that helps us get a way of when Joshua was written, is the recurring phrase “To at the present time,”—For instance, erecting a heap of stones in the course of the Jordan River, that’s in 4:9, or to mark the burial spot of the insurgent Achan (or A-khan), and that’s in 7:26, or the burial spot of the king of Ai, which is an 8:29, all these constructions simply, for instance, are mentioned to be standing nonetheless, “to at the present time.” So this phrase happen a number of instances to elucidate, for instance, the presence of the non-Israelites within the land. And one instance is Joshua 15:63, and quoting right here, “However the folks of Judah couldn’t drive out the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so the Jebusites stay with the folks of Judah in Jerusalem to at the present time.” Jebusites, by the best way, are a subgroup of Canaanites, inhabitants of the land.

Now, it’s intriguing to consider who wrote this line, and when. We don’t actually know. However “to at the present time,” it does appear to suggest a reasonably respectable passage of time. And we noticed this phrase to within the Deuteronomy episode, the place on the very finish of the ebook, we learn that nobody is aware of the place Moses’s burial website is, “to at the present time.” Once more, see, this phrase solely has power—and that is what we obtained into within the final episode—this phrase solely has power if some appreciable size of time has handed. How a lot time? Legitimate query. Given how this phrase is used elsewhere in Torah, my sense—and this isn’t in any respect an unusual place—however my sense is that we’re speaking no sooner than in some unspecified time in the future through the interval of the monarchy and the divided monarchy, and doubtless late in that interval, specifically, the time of King Josiah, within the late seventh century, with even later revisions within the exilic and post-exilic intervals. Lots to swallow there. However you understand, these aren’t the simplest and clearest issues to navigate. However that’s just about the place persons are, not less than the tutorial world is, with the courting of the ebook of Joshua.

And yet another introductory level. And this issues the interpretation of Joshua into Greek. And I like mentioning this kind of factor, and I accomplish that in different podcasts after I can, as a result of I believe it’s so revealing about historical attitudes towards Israel’s written texts. It’s possible you’ll keep in mind that the conquest of Judea by Alexander the Nice—the Greek conqueror in 332 BCE—that ultimately led to the necessity to translate the Hebrew Bible into what was turning into the widespread language of Judaism, which is Greek. Now, right here’s the factor: the Greek model of Joshua isn’t precisely the identical because the Hebrew model. It’s about 5% shorter than the Hebrew and there are different kinds of points between them. And the query is, “Okay, what accounts for this? Why is the Greek translation slightly considerably totally different than the Hebrew model?” Nicely, there was a time in biblical scholarship the place it was thought—and fairly so—that the Greek translator was not superb, and simply made some errors, or maybe this Greek translator had ideological causes for making deliberate adjustments.

The precise purpose, nevertheless, is a little more sophisticated, however I believe additionally far more attention-grabbing. The Greek of Joshua differs from the Hebrew not due to the translator having points, however as a result of the translator was working with a unique Hebrew model of Joshua altogether. In different phrases, what we’ve got really is a pluriformity of textual traditions, that are pre-Christian. We’ve got not one model of Joshua, however not less than two. And due to the Useless Sea Scrolls, we will additionally see this in different books of the Hebrew Bible like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and 1 and a pair of Samuel. See the punch line—and because of this I like bringing this up—the punchline is that means again in antiquity, way back to we’ve got proof for—once more earlier than the time of Christ—the Hebrew Bible didn’t exist in some pristine, good kind, however in varied kinds. And at these early phases, we don’t see an agreed upon Bible. There’s fluidity. Proper, anyway, if you happen to’d like this kind of factor and if you wish to dig in a bit bit extra into matters like the place the Bible comes from, if you happen to’re , you’ll be able to see my solo episode 164.

Okay, so let’s transfer on to the ebook itself. And right here’s an overview, it’s in 4 elements. And if you happen to hearken to my podcast, you understand I like outlines. I like having huge footage that we will kind of cling data on. It’s kind of like hooks, you understand, for organizing a bed room or one thing like that. I actually like outlines. So right here’s a 4 half define:

First half: chapters 1–5, and that is all about preparations to beat the land of Canaan underneath Joshua, who’s Moses’s successor. The second half is chapter 6–12, and there we learn of the slightly bloody account of the conquest itself. And this brings us to the tip of the primary half. Chapters 1–12 are mainly the primary half of the ebook divided into two elements. Within the subsequent part, that is chapters 13–22, right here, Canaan, the land of Canaan has been conquered, it’s now being divided among the many twelve tribes of Israel. Not essentially the most scintillating part of the Bible, however there you have got it. After which on the, within the final part, that is chapters 23–24, we see Joshua exhorting the folks to be trustworthy to the covenant, particularly in a giant ceremony at a spot known as Shechem, a vital website in historical Israel.

And so right here’s what we’re going to do: as is my sample in these podcasts, let’s take every of those 4 sections, do kind of the large image overview after which deal with some highlights which might be both simply attention-grabbing—not less than I discover them attention-grabbing—or on the very least useful for gaining a way of the ebook as an entire.

Okay, so first, chapters 1-5. The ebook begins with Joshua as Moses’s successor, which occurred in Deuteronomy, and Joshua right here is encouraging the folks to be “sturdy and brave. Don’t be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” That’s verse 9 of chapter one. Now, that may be a passage that I’ve heard as a basic kind of pep discuss when going by robust instances. However simply keep in mind that the context right here is Israel about to invade Canaan and kill everybody to own their land. And I believe that kind of takes the shine off of it. Joshua additionally costs them to maintain the regulation and the folks reply expressing their complete dedication to obeying Joshua, as they obeyed Moses. That’s how the road goes. I’m undecided how a lot they really obeyed Moses, however kind of, they did. Some rise up happening too in Moses’s lifetime. However anyway, and in addition simply trying forward a bit, the ebook of Joshua ends in an identical means with a ceremony, kind of a pep discuss at Shechem—and that’s a standard literary approach within the Hebrew Bible to kind of bookend books or to bookend scenes or chapters or issues like that with an identical motion. So. It’s simply a part of the artistic, deliberately artistic nature of this literature. Folks actually put some thought into how they need to say what they’re gonna say.

So anyway, that being mentioned, spies now are despatched out to Jericho, since that’s the first Canaanite city they’re going to come across. After which subsequent they crossed the Jordan River, which was minimize off, permitting the Israelites to cross over on dry land. And I certain hope that sounds acquainted, it parallels Moses and the Exodus—and we’ll get to that in a minute. And this crossing is memorialized by organising a pile of 12 stones, one for every tribe. And people stones are taken from the center of the Jordan River. And these stones had been arrange at Gilgal, which is a website simply east of Jericho. And all this solid worry upon the peoples of Canaan, “Right here come the Israelites, my goodness, what are we going to do?” Then the Israelites who had been born through the 40-year wilderness interval—which begins means again within the ebook of Numbers—and we’ve talked about that quite a bit too, I believe at size. However the Israelites who had been born throughout that 40-year wilderness interval are actually circumcised at a spot known as Gibeat-haaraloth, which implies [laughing] it means “Foreskins Hill.” Descriptive, not essentially the most artistic factor. It’s kind of like, I don’t know, “Placenta Avenue.” I don’t actually know what the purpose is, anyway. Okay.

This part ends with a Passover celebration at Gilgal and Joshua having a really Moses like imaginative and prescient of the Lord who even tells him to cite, “Take away the sandals out of your toes for the place the place you might be standing is holy floor.” That’s in 5:15, and naturally, this evokes reminiscences of what Moses was advised at Mount Sinai. And you understand, since we’re talking of Moses, one factor to level out right here is how intentionally Joshua is modeled after Moses. And never simply right here, however elsewhere in Joshua. For instance, each Moses and Joshua lead the Israelites by a dried up physique of water and into new territory. Each ship out spies to scout the land, each instantly lead a navy marketing campaign, each give orders for circumcision and the celebration of Passover, each are advised to take away their sandals on holy floor. Joshua takes on Moses’s mantle of authority, each assigned territories to the tribes, together with cities of refuge, and each are known as “servant of the Lord.” Now, I’m most likely lacking one thing, however it is a fairly spectacular checklist nonetheless. The purpose being made, it appears to me, is that the conquest of the land is a continuation, really an extension, of the Exodus story, as if the Exodus story shouldn’t be but full.

See, the identical God is with the Israelites now underneath Joshua—Joshua is kind of a Moses 2.0—and he’s with them underneath Joshua as he was with the Israelites developing out of Egypt underneath Moses. The one distinction is that this time, the Israelites are advised to not cave into worry and screw it up once more. Therefore Joshua’s admonition to be, once more, “sturdy and brave, don’t be frightened or dismayed.” “We don’t need 40 extra years within the wilderness.”

Now, let me make one remark concerning the Passover celebration—that is in 5:10-12—it was at this level that the manna ceased—bear in mind, that’s the place they needed to eat the bread that got here from heaven and you understand, the dew on the bottom collects and it turns into like bread, through the 40 years of wilderness wandering. However it’s at this level that this manna ceased. Why? Nicely, the interval of wandering is over. And a brand new chapter is starting, one the place they are going to in brief order have a land of their very own fully with kings and every thing. Additionally, a placing factor that students discuss is how adamant Moses was in Exodus about celebrating the Passover once you get into the land. Now, right here’s the factor. There’s no report—I imply, that’s within the ebook of Exodus—however there is no such thing as a report within the Deuteronomistic Historical past of the Passover ever being celebrated, not less than not till the reign of Josiah. Now he was the king of Judah within the late seventh century. Now to not digress, however that is the type of factor students ought to speak about, however this situation may make sense of what we learn in 2 Kings 23, particularly in verses 21-23, the place King Josiah orders the folks to maintain the Passover, which had apparently not been performed because the days of the judges, and never even through the reigns of the kings.

Now, there’s actually no report of Passover within the ebook of Judges for what that’s value. However it’s actually true that no king, together with David, is claimed to watch this proper. What may clarify this large hole—and that is the place it will get actually into the woods right here—however what may clarify this large hole is that the Passover maybe had actually been celebrated, however solely on the household degree—which is how Exodus 12 says it must be celebrated. Not on the nationwide degree, which is Josiah’s concern. Now, bear in mind, once more, a variety of shifting elements right here, simply cling with me. However keep in mind that based on Deuteronomistic theology, the theology of Deuteronomy, which is the theology that the Deuteronomistic Historical past—just like the ebook of Joshua—follows. In accordance with Deuteronomy, in Deuteronomy 16, the Passover was a temple-centered nationwide occasion, not a household occasion to be held at house, as in Exodus 12.

Now, my level right here is that the Deuteronomistic Historians declare about “no Passover being celebrated because the time of Joshua” issues the nationwide celebration of Passover, for which there is no such thing as a report between the times of Joshua and the times of Josiah. Okay, if that didn’t assist, simply ignore it, we’re gonna maintain going right here.

Another level right here issues the spies in chapter 2, which Joshua was despatched out to spy on Jericho. So Moses, you may recall, additionally despatched spies out to spy the land, however it strikes me that right here the spies first cease…Hmmm…was an evening on the house of Rahab the prostitute, as she’s known as within the Bible. Now the story doesn’t say that they availed themselves of her companies or of anyone else there, possibly she was a madam or one thing, I don’t know. However we may be left to fill within the gaps. Like, what are they doing there? And right here’s the factor, instantly it was reported, within the very subsequent verse it’s reported to the king of Jericho that Israelites are amongst them. That was fast. Nicely, yeah, after all, it was fast! Rahab’s home was Grand Central Station, a spot the place the lads of Jericho spent some free time, which raises the purpose—how completely silly these spies had been to hang around in such a excessive site visitors space the place they might be at such apparent danger.

And now, that is the place Rahab involves the rescue. Now the king, he needs these guys discovered, however Rahab hides them, saying that information of what occurred in Egypt and different exploits has reached everybody’s ears and they’re filled with dread. So she’s afraid, and hides the spies in return for a promise of her personal security as soon as the battle rages. And for this act Rahab has turn out to be a mannequin of religion within the New Testomony, and we learn that in Hebrews 11, or a mannequin of fine works, which is in James 2. And he or she’s additionally talked about in Matthew’s family tree of Jesus. That’s massively necessary! Now, some Jewish sources converse of her as an innkeeper slightly than prostitute, which is comprehensible, I suppose. She does a great factor, she will be able to’t be a prostitute, proper? So personally, I’ve to say, I do like the concept a marginalized girl—not less than from a biblical viewpoint—a marginalized girl has such a central position in ensuring the conquest of Jericho doesn’t go off the rails, imperiled because it was by the spies’ stupidity. I’m undecided nevertheless, whether or not calling her a convert to Israelite faith is absolutely warranted—and it could be, however I’ve to tug again a bit bit right here. See, she is in panic stricken mode on the considered Yahweh laying waste to her house and so she makes a take care of the spies. And in doing so she acknowledges that Yahweh is “Certainly God in heaven above and on Earth beneath.” That is 2:11.

However right here’s the factor, this doesn’t point out a conversion essentially. Why? Nicely, polytheistic cultures haven’t any hassle including a deity or two to their very own pantheons if advantageous, and I see no—forgive me—heartfelt transformation on Rahab’s half aside from eager to not die. However I additionally acknowledge that I’m kicking in opposition to a great little bit of Jewish and Christian interpretation right here, I do know that. However I additionally know that Jewish and Christian interpretation are under no circumstances certain to the contexts of the tales, however have a tendency slightly to be fairly artistic in dealing with the biblical textual content. That is very true in early Judaism, which unfold to Christianity as nicely. However there’s a bent, an actual marked tendency on this early literature, to take away ethical ambiguities or flaws from biblical figures to allow them to be full black and white, basically, fashions of advantage or vice. You don’t have blended ethical messages from a few of these heroes from the previous as Judaism and Christianity continued on their journeys. So there are numerous examples of this in early Judaism, however that’s one other podcast altogether. My level right here merely is that I believe Rahab is a way by which the sack of Jericho turns into potential. And he or she performs an instrumental position in that, not an unimportant position in any respect. However I believe to name her a convert to Yahwehism might be extra a contemporary, I’d say particularly Christian, mind-set about non secular dedication that isn’t actually a part of the traditional world, not less than not within the story.

[Ad break]


Okay, let’s transfer on now to the following part, which is chapters 6–12, and the very coronary heart of the matter, the precise conquest of Canaan. And naturally, this begins with a well-known story of the autumn of Jericho, adopted by the seize of primarily southern cities after which on the finish, there was a trek made means up north to seize Hazor, which is about 10 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. And, you understand, we’re going to spend a bit little bit of time right here on this episode on this as a result of that is, that is the factor that individuals discuss in the case of the ebook of Joshua: this violence. So let’s simply discuss this right here for a bit.

Let’s begin this manner: based on chapter 12, on the very finish of the part, based on chapter 12, the whole variety of kings defeated by the Israelites is 31. And this, it is a literary truth, what’s written right here within the ebook of Joshua, this raises two perennial points. The primary is, nicely did the conquest of Canaan really occur like this or in any respect? And secondly—in order that’s a historic query—secondly, is extra of an ethical query. Particularly—that is the large one—what does this say about God, who orders the extermination of an indigenous folks in order that others might transfer in and declare it for their very own?

Now, as for the primary query, let’s discuss that. Did the conquest occur? There’s a basic and really sturdy settlement amongst biblical students that the conquest of Canaan, as described in Joshua 6 by 12, didn’t occur. We are saying that, once more, the conquest of Canaan, as described in Joshua 6 by 12, didn’t occur. The archaeological information don’t help the large navy sweep that Joshua, the ebook of Joshua, lays out, which appears fairly exaggerated. See, of these 31 cities listed in Joshua 12, 16 had been destroyed based on the tales within the books of Numbers and Joshua and Judges. And a few had been taken with no battle, however 16 had been destroyed. Now, right here’s the factor. Of these 16, three, possibly 4, cities present indicators of violent destruction on the basic time when Joshua and his military would have been plowing by Canaan, which is mostly accepted to be just like the thirteenth or twelfth centuries BCE. That’s it! Three, possibly 4, out of 16 cities talked about.

Now, we additionally learn within the Bible that 12 cities particularly had been taken over with no battle. They only gave up. However once more, it will get sophisticated once you take a look at it from a historic viewpoint. Of these 12, solely seven had been even occupied on the time, based on archaeological findings. And of those self same 12 cities that the Bible says weren’t destroyed, three really do present indicators of destruction. Now, in different phrases, archaeology and the biblical story don’t line up nicely, in any respect. Jericho, the primary of the cities to be razed, is essentially the most well-known instance. This has been debated for a couple of generations now, about 100 years or so, however it appears to most that Jericho was minimally inhabited at finest on the time, and had no large protecting partitions, which implies that the biblical story of the partitions of Jericho tumbling down turns into an issue traditionally. Or not less than that’s what 100 years of digging there has proven. Now debates do rage, and I don’t need to be overly simplistic. There are particularly a variety of extra Evangelically-oriented students who’re making arguments for why the information have been misinterpreted. I’m simply letting you understand that. I’m going to depart it alone. Most would disagree, however there’s a debate, there’s a dialogue right here. However usually talking, Jericho doesn’t match actually with the biblical story…The archaeology of Jericho doesn’t match with the biblical story.

The 2 cities that do match finest with what we learn in Joshua are Bethel and Hazor, and maybe a 3rd metropolis Debir. One other metropolis, the fourth metropolis is Lachish, which was destroyed, however right here’s the factor—most likely about 100 years later, lengthy after the swift victory tour described within the ebook of Joshua. And in addition to complicate issues additional, archaeologically talking, there’s no certain means of realizing who was chargeable for the destruction. Nothing says “outsiders invaded and did this.” In truth, these look extra like in-house Canaanite skirmishes. So Israel’s beginnings are mysterious from an archaeological viewpoint. So we will’t be academically dogmatic about explaining how and when Israel started, however it does appear {that a} nation ultimately known as Israel most likely got here on the scene progressively and comparatively peacefully. The Israelites had been most likely initially made up of a combination of teams, together with an indigenous inhabitants of Canaan and in addition some outsiders, seemingly nomads or others who wandered freely into this a part of the world after a few vital energy vacuums occurred within the historical world round this time. First is the Egyptians to the south, and the Hittites to the north. They got here out of energy, so to talk, and left an influence vacuum in that a part of the world, which gave folks free rein to maneuver round. The destructions at Bethel and Hazor, then, nicely, they’re not self-evident bits of proof or proof for the conquest of Canaan from the surface, however most likely, or very seemingly, of inside rise up, or another sort of battle that historical tribes simply couldn’t maintain from entering into.

So the place did the biblical story of the conquests come from? Nicely, that’s a fantastic query and you understand, welcome to the world of biblical scholarship. It appears that evidently as time went on, and Israel turned a nation—like after 1000 BCE, which is roughly the time of David—as time went on, tales of those earlier skirmishes grew and changed into exaggerated tales of Israel’s “wars in opposition to the Canaanites” and the times of previous. And these tales most likely inform us extra about Israel’s later conflicts with the unique inhabitants of the land, through the time of Israel’s kings, tells us extra about that point interval than what occurred centuries earlier. Now, the precise rationalization I simply gave might not be fully proper and it’s not a hill I’m keen to die on and all of us do have to maintain an open thoughts about issues which might be simply tucked behind the veil of historical past. However it’s cheap, given what we all know at current.

What most everybody is sure about, nevertheless, is that the Bible’s model of occasions shouldn’t be an correct historic account of what occurred. It’s embellished. Not less than that’s the case with the checklist of cities in chapter 12. Hearken to this, that is how chapter 11 ends. Let me quote this one verse right here, “So Joshua took the entire land, based on all that the LORD had spoken to Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel, based on their tribal allotments. And the land had relaxation from conflict.” That is how chapter 11 ends, and it looks like the Israelites made quick work of the Canaanites and simply just about wiped them out. And the checklist of cities in chapter 12 displays this notion. However chapter 13 begins with a listing of Canaanite cities that had been not conquered. And the identical thought is seen in Judges 1-3. Extra conquering work needs to be performed. Now, I don’t know, I believe that is very attention-grabbing. There are two views in Joshua regarding the success of the navy marketing campaign. One claims full victory in accord to what Yahweh advised Moses in Deuteronomy. And the opposite claims partial victory with extra to do. The widespread rationalization is one that’s used to elucidate many such related situations within the Bible: these two takes mirror two totally different traditions, and the second is extra sober of an account that displays political complexities through the monarchy, and the previous is extra preferrred. It’s extra ideological.

Now, having mentioned all this—we’re nonetheless on this part right here speaking concerning the conquest and historical past and issues like that—having mentioned all this, there may be one little bit of extrabiblical data that helps not less than a part of the biblical story. And I believe that is really crucial. Between about 1200 and 1000 BCE—which is mostly the time of Joshua and the ebook of Judges, you understand, kind of chronologically—throughout this time, the variety of settlements within the hill nation elevated dramatically. And also you may say there was a inhabitants explosion. All through Joshua, we learn concerning the Israelites settling within the hill nation. Now, true, the biblical story explains this growth on account of warfare, which the archaeological information don’t actually totally help, however the growth itself is supported archaeologically. And one widespread educational conclusion is that the hill nation inhabitants elevated dramatically, by not less than partly, not less than, Canaanites shifting out into the nation because it had been. And in addition then by an inflow of outsiders on this energy vacuum that I discussed simply earlier than. The biblical portrait of warfare being the reason for the inhabitants improve is then usually understood as, as I mentioned, a product of a later time envisioning an excellent starting for the nation.

Anyway, right here’s why going by the historic stuff, I believe is necessary theologically, as a result of all this places the query of, you understand, how might God have commanded that each one these Canaanites be put to loss of life? I believe it places that ethical query in a unique mild certainly. The reply appears to be—and that is very a lot my opinion—that God didn’t command this. The biblical story is an ideological exaggeration that portrays God as their mighty warrior, main the folks into battle, which displays the final portrayal of the gods as warriors at the moment. This makes good sense to write down this manner. However archaeology suggests issues weren’t fairly like this.

Which brings us to the second situation right here with respect to the conquest of Canaan, however it’s the violence of God in Joshua. And that is most likely, I’ve to say, essentially the most requested, or one of the requested questions by my school college students, once we examine the Bible: violence. God appears simply provoked. Even when the biblical conquest narrative shouldn’t be historic, the purpose is that the ideology of extermination remains to be a part of the biblical custom, and that needs to be taken significantly and never prevented. The query is, how are we to deal with this? Now some, I do know, some well-meaning Christians aren’t bothered by the violence in any respect. After which they are saying one thing like, “Nicely, God is God. And God can do no matter God needs. And if God needs to kill, so be it, who am I to query?” However I’ve to say extra usually, it appears to me this kind of factor raises huge ethical questions for readers about what the God of the Bible is like.

So briefly, permit me to present you my basic strategy to this ethical situation. In case you’re , I lay it out in a bit bit extra element, and I believe very talked-about element, in The Bible Tells Me So. However let me simply kind of summarize what I’m going after right here. The Bible, from again to entrance, is the story of God advised from the restricted viewpoint of actual folks dwelling at sure locations and at sure instances. See, it’s not just like the Israelites had been debating whether or not or to not go forward and describe God as a mighty warrior that slays his enemies. In an actual sense, that they had no alternative. That’s simply the way it was performed. That was their cultural language on the time interval. And if the writers had by some means been capable of step exterior of their tradition and invent a brand new means of speaking about God, their story won’t have made sense to anybody. See, the Bible portrays God as a warrior, as a result of, as a seminary professor of mine put it, “As a result of God lets his youngsters inform the story.” See, in comparison with God, all people are like youngsters by analogy, proper? Youngsters who see the world from their restricted gaze. This goes for all of us. A second grader may give a category presentation on what mother does all day. And he or she’ll discuss her mother from her viewpoint rooted in love and devotion, and she or he’ll filter unconsciously, and in an age applicable method, she’ll filter her mom’s each day actions by how she perceives her household and her position within the household as a toddler. And he or she’ll get some issues kind of appropriate, however she will even misunderstand some issues and nonetheless get different issues maybe fully unsuitable.

Or take into consideration how younger boys within the schoolyard can discuss their dads, proper? There are methods of telling the story of your dad, that there are methods of doing that to get the purpose throughout to ensure everybody is aware of that you’ve got one of the best dad round. I imply, only for instance, I bear in mind telling my pals in elementary faculty that my father was an engineer who left a promising educational profession in Russia earlier than coming to America after World Conflict Two. He additionally knew find out how to deal with a rifle. Now, there was historic fact in there, however you needed to know the place to look. And the best way I advised my story mirrored my context: I used to be a younger boy within the faculty yard, following with out considering, with out criticism, with out evaluation, the unspoken cultural guidelines for a way these tales are advised. The reality is my father wasn’t an engineer, however a blue collar machinist. I really confused engineer with machinist as a result of I didn’t know what both was. I grew up a poor child in a wealthy city believing my dad was nice and that he might match up toe-to-toe with the suit-and-tie crowd. However he wore blue work garments that smelled like machine oil and shaved steel, and he didn’t depart a promising educational profession. He was a great pupil, he at all times appreciated to remind me, by secondary faculty and he needed to be a schoolteacher—however Stalin took his mother and father’ farm away, threw his father right into a focus camp, his mom died of typhoid fever. And when World Conflict Two occurred, he went off to conflict and he barely completed highschool. And as for the conflict, it was by no means actually an choice within the schoolyard to present all the small print. See, my father started on the Russian aspect, however was captured by the Nazis and served out the remainder of the conflict as a reluctant translator for the Nazis, as a result of he was fluent in German—he was really German. He noticed motion at first, however not a lot, and raised as a German Mennonite, he was a pacifist and didn’t like to speak concerning the chance that he might have killed somebody. Now the factor is, I noticed him shoot a rifle as soon as. He hit the bullseye, and gained a turkey on the police station turkey shoot. And in my nicely intentioned thoughts, I imagined him doing the identical in battle. See, I made him right into a conflict hero in my very own thoughts, and that’s what I projected to the children within the faculty yard. And I undoubtedly by no means talked about to my schoolmates the numerous issues my father did that had been really heroic, however not fairly as thrilling for varsity aged boys. You realize, my father, he rushed house from his soiled job with out altering to get to all my little league video games, and I at all times seen how most of the fathers with the suit-and-tie jobs by no means appeared to get there. He held me as soon as in the course of the evening catching my vomit in a serviette. He labored himself ragged weekend after weekend for months and years to show our tattered and tiny house into one thing a bit nicer. And he and my mother selected to place up some paneling within the basement for his or her bed room so my sister and I might every have our personal bed room in our tiny home. And he resigned himself to working lengthy hours in an unfulfilling job that he tolerated, at finest, to ensure we had the proverbial roof over our heads, garments on our backs, vehicles to drive, and will go to varsity.

FYI, my mother will get a variety of credit score right here, too. However you see, as I matured, I used to be capable of perceive after which articulate all this on a deeper degree. However as a younger boy, the more true and larger image of my father wasn’t on my radar display. And if it had been, had I talked like that? It might have ruined my popularity, and my dad’s, within the schoolyard tradition. See, I believed my dad actually was one of the best, and I made certain my pals knew it. I used to be defending him, and I used to be a storyteller greater than a historian. See, I believe the violence passages within the Bible—and you understand, right here particularly the conquest of Canaan—I believe they work one thing like that. It might be onerous, typically inconceivable, to see God nicely in a few of Israel’s tales, however we do get a great image of how these historical Israelites skilled God. Studying the Bible responsibly and respectfully at this time, I actually assume means studying what it meant for historical Israelites to speak about God the best way they did, and never pushing trendy alien expectations onto texts written way back and much away.

Now, Christians, in addition to Jews, over the centuries have needed to come to phrases with the violent tribal portrait of God, they usually’ve moved on. The traditional tribal description of God as warrior shouldn’t be the final phrase for both Judaism or Christianity. And talking as a Christian, right here, taking somebody’s land by violence is solely not a gospel way of life. Christians at this time, subsequently, I believe, have an obligation—that is, I really feel fairly strongly about this, that is my opinion, take it with no matter grain of salt you need—however Christians at this time, I believe, have an obligation to not observe the Bible right here in Joshua, to not permit the traditional tribal description of God of the Outdated Testomony to be the final phrase. These historical writers had an enough understanding of God for his or her time and of their time, however not all the time. And if we take that to coronary heart, we are going to really be in a greater place to respect these historical voices and to see what they must say, slightly than making up explanations or excuses to ease our stress. And once more, for Christians, the Gospel has at all times been the lens by which Israel’s tales are learn, which implies for Christians, Jesus, not each Bible story has the ultimate phrase about what God is like.

Now yet another temporary remark if you’ll permit it—and also you don’t have a alternative as a result of I’m recording this, anyway—yet another temporary touch upon a well-known passage on this part. And that is the place the solar stands nonetheless to make potential the defeat of the Amorites, and the Amorites had been considered one of a number of indigenous folks teams of Canaan. So that is in chapter 10. Joshua known as out to God to make the solar and moon cease within the heavens, apparently to delay the daylight for battle. And the biblical author actually appears to grasp this actually, you’ll be able to see this in verses 13 and 14, “Is that this not written within the E-book of Jashar?” Really, I’ve to cease there and clarify what that is. The ebook of Jashar, nobody is aware of what that is, however students surmise that it’s most likely an historical assortment of battle tales that goes again who is aware of how far? We want we had the ebook of Jashar obtainable. We don’t. However even on this story, you have got the biblical author interesting to oral custom. So that is one thing that’s, you understand, an entire different situation, which we will’t get into right here. However anyway, once more, he says, “Is that this not written within the E-book of Jashar? The solar stopped in mid-heaven, and didn’t hurry to set for about an entire day. There was no day prefer it earlier than or since, when the LORD heeded a human voice; for the LORD fought for Israel.” Now, this causes some points for folks like us. For it could imply that the Earth would cease revolving across the solar. The solar doesn’t transfer once we do. And it could imply that the moon would cease revolving across the Earth. Now for historical folks, the solar and moon, they transfer alongside their each day travels within the heavens, so for God to carry them regular for a couple of hours is comparatively talking no huge deal. However for us, it’s actually unusual credulity. I imply, amongst different issues—I’m no scientist—however for this to have occurred would have wreaked havoc on our planet.

Now, some will say that a part of the miracle is that God would have stored all that collateral destruction from taking place and if that’s the place a few of you listening may need to settle, that’s advantageous with me. However for me, I see this as one other instance of reflections on the a part of historical storytellers. However I’ll say that—and I imply this, I actually harp on this after I get an opportunity—this story shouldn’t be a lie. It’s not a deception on the a part of the writers, it’s simply them being historical folks, describing issues in ways in which make sense to them and individuals who seemed on the world in a different way than we do. And placing it this manner, I’m displaying no disrespect for the Bible, once more, I’m merely attempting to grasp it as a product of an historical tradition and for me, to take action is to respect it.

[Ad break]


Okay, shifting on to the following part extra briefly. That is chapters 13–22. So right here Joshua is “previous and superior in years.” That’s how chapter 13 begins, verse one. And right here he oversees the land allotment for the tribes, based on Moses’s order. So since Joshua is now previous, a while appears to have handed because the occasions within the earlier part, the battles. That’s advantageous, no huge deal. So the allotment of the land contains two and a half tribes—which is Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh—and contains them selecting the east aspect of the Jordan. So, not within the land of Canaan, however within the territories occupied by the Ammonites and the Moabites, which units up some clashes between them elsewhere within the Bible. And by the best way, it’s value realizing I believe, the Ammonites and Moabites are launched within the Bible in Genesis 19. That is the place the daughters of Lot, after the Sodom and Gomorrah episode, the daughters of Lot are impregnated by the drunken father, ensuing within the Ammonite and Moabite strains, which strikes just about all people as a bit little bit of political propaganda. However anyway…

Subsequent is the territories on the western aspect of the Jordan, that is in Canaan. And there, what’s actually placing is how a lot element is given to the territory of Judah. I imply, examine chapter 15 to the opposite chapters on this part. The account of Judah features a lengthy checklist of dozens of cities. Clearly, Judah is well-known to this author and featured prominently, which raises a degree that isn’t in any respect controversial amongst biblical students. Judah is distinguished as a result of the writers or not less than the editors of the Hebrew Bible, and the Deuteronomistic Historical past, are Judahites, proper? Keep in mind that Judah—the southern kingdom—Judah alone survived exile. The northern kingdom was exiled by the Assyrians round 722 BCE, by no means to be heard from once more. Judah survived their exile in 586 by the Babylonians, and the survivors formed the ultimate type of the story for his or her folks. And if you’d like one other instance of this, take a look at the therapy of Judah in Genesis 49, these are Jacob’s final phrases to his sons. And once more, right here Judah is clearly the highest canine.

Additionally the cities of refuge and the cities allotted to the Levites, they’re talked about right here, too. They actually spherical out the part. The six cities of refuge—say that 10 instances quick—they’re cities the place an individual can flee to in the event that they kill somebody unintentionally. There they are going to be shielded from the “avenger of blood,” like a relative who needs to set the report straight and you understand, kill the individual that killed the relative. So, there, they are going to be shielded from this avenger of blood till there generally is a honest trial and every thing could be sorted out—which is definitely a wonderful factor. And the Levites, as a result of their job is to look after the non secular “system,” let’s say, in Jerusalem, they don’t have their very own territory however they’re given 48 cities together with pasture lands inside the territories. I imply, they must stay someplace, proper? And so, Moses had commanded that they’d be given their very own cities, and now they get them.

Okay, so this part ends, then, in chapter 22—which is concerning the jap tribes constructing an altar on the border, however on the Canaanite aspect, the western aspect. So the Western tribes, they see this, they usually kind of freak out. That is an act of sacrilege. No altars are to be present in Israel, because the tabernacle is the place the sacrifices ought to occur. In different phrases, you have got the centralization of worship, which is a giant deal within the ebook of Deuteronomy. And so, these western tribes freak out a bit bit, however the jap tribes reply, they are saying, “Oh, no, no, no, no, this altar isn’t for sacrifice, however it’s a memorial. It’s a reminder, lest you Westerners neglect that we Easterners are nonetheless a part of Israel.” And so the Westerners agreed that it is a good thought and conflict between them was averted. And a great time was had by all.

Okay, let’s transfer on to the final part as we shut out this episode. Chapters 23–24. Right here, Joshua offers two speeches to rally the troops. Now chapter 23, particularly, reinforces Israel’s separation from the Canaanite inhabitants—so don’t intermarry. And actually, as we learn, the remaining Canaanites will ultimately be pushed out by God’s hand. “Your solely concern, Israel, is to stay trustworthy to the covenant. To not be influenced by those that worship false gods.” Which implies don’t marry anyone who has a unique God. See, in the event that they do intermarry, the Lord is not going to drive out the remaining Canaanites and as an alternative, God will permit them to stay and to turn out to be a snare and entice for the Israelites till they themselves are formally pushed from the land—which is a transparent allusion to the exile and in my estimation counsel that these phrases not less than had been written with the exile already as a part of Judas consciousness, so written later. So Joshua rounds out the speech by telling them that he’ll die quickly, so it is rather necessary certainly that they commit themselves to obeying the covenant, he’s not going to be there to look at over them.

So then chapter 24, the final chapter, Joshua presides over a covenant renewal ceremony because it’s known as, which is a public declaration of constancy to the covenant, to the Legislation of Moses—which, once more, I don’t need to repeat issues from previous episodes essentially, however in Deuteronomy, as within the Deuteronomistic Historical past, the Legislation of Moses doesn’t discuss with Genesis by Deuteronomy, it refers to Deuteronomy, or not less than a giant a part of it. That’s what the Legislation of Moses is for this author. That’s what he’s interesting to. Anyway, a lot of the speech that Joshua offers right here in chapter 24 is a assessment of Israel’s historical past from Abraham as much as the time proper earlier than the conquest of Canaan. It’s kind of like, “right here’s the place you’ve been, let’s bear in mind the place we’re going.” And by the best way, Moses does this to a extra prolonged model of it. However he does this in Deuteronomy 1-4, rehearsing the previous as we take into account our current.

Now, one thing right here is sort of attention-grabbing to me, and we noticed it in Deuteronomy as nicely. This biblical author has Joshua talking to his viewers as in the event that they had been those whom God introduced out of Egypt. So verse 7, “Your individual eyes noticed what I did to Egypt.” Keep in mind that era in Egypt? They died within the 40-year wilderness wandering, that was the entire level of that 40-year interval, to have that rebellious era die out. So these current at this covenant renewal ceremony, had been by definition, not eyewitnesses to the Exodus. However once more, this isn’t a mistake on the a part of the author, however it’s an enormous theological level. See, as we noticed in Deuteronomy, the creator of Joshua, nicely, he makes his readers—who lived far after the occasions—he makes his readers contemporaneous with the epic previous of the Exodus. They’re there. And it’s not simply the literary viewers of Joshua—cling with me right here, people—it’s not simply the literary viewers of Joshua, which is these folks standing earlier than him on this scene who had lived by 40 years within the wilderness after the Exodus story. However it’s the precise historic viewers of the ebook of Joshua, which is far later—seventh century and past. They, the actual readers of this ebook, those for whom it was written, they too are current on the Exodus. See, “the previous may be very a lot current to you. God didn’t merely act up to now, however remains to be with you at this time.” That’s a very highly effective factor that this Deuteronomistic Historian does, and the ebook of Deuteronomy does: “You might be nonetheless part of that previous.”

Okay, one thing else right here—and with out entering into it too deeply—however in my Deuteronomy episode, I spent a while speaking about how Deuteronomy appears to be, nicely, I believe it’s pretty clearly modeled on the suzerain treaty style we all know from Hittites and Assyrians. Nicely, this chapter, 24, is one other instance of Israel’s use of this treaty formulation, because it’s known as, to foster obedience to their suzerain, to their overlord, to Yahweh. So, that’s one other connection between Joshua and Deuteronomy. And it’s additionally on this chapter that we come to a reasonably well-known line within the ebook, which I swear appears to be a required wall hanging in Evangelical properties. And right here’s the setup for this well-known line. “Way back,” that is what Joshua says, “Way back, Israel’s ancestors,” Abraham and household, “lived in Babylon.” We all know this from Genesis, proper? They lived in Babylon, and Joshua provides, “and worshiped the gods of Babylon.” Now, Genesis doesn’t say something about Abraham worshiping the gods of Babylon, however Joshua does. He kind of assumes that like, as everyone knows…attention-grabbing take.

Anyway, Abraham, what he did was he put these previous gods behind him, and he realized to worship Yahweh as an alternative. Now the Israelites are in Canaanite territory, they usually may be tempted to worship the gods of Canaan, identical to Abraham had worshiped the gods of Babylon. So, Joshua challenges them with these well-known phrases. He says, “Select at the present time whom you’ll serve, whether or not the gods of your ancestors, or the gods of the Amorites,” Proper? [Laughs]. The gods of your ancestors, the gods of Abraham, in different phrases, the Babylonian Gods, “select at the present time whom you’ll serve,” whether or not the gods of Abraham’s previous, or the gods of the Amorites. That’s the present state of affairs, proper? Keep in mind, Joshua was not giving the folks a alternative between these two. As a result of he goes on to say, “However as for me, in my family, we are going to serve the Lord.” See, “Be like Abraham in renouncing the non secular practices of the tradition. Do at this time what Abraham did again then. Don’t worship the gods Abraham worshiped, clearly, and don’t worship the gods of the Amorites once we are settling on this land, keep separate from them.”

Hmm. Nicely, anyway, bringing this to a detailed right here, Joshua involves an finish with the loss of life of Joshua on the age of 110. Ten years shy of Moses, by the best way, which is attention-grabbing. And that’s additionally repeated within the ebook of Judges. Keep tuned for that, that’ll be the following episode, however his loss of life is spoken of twice. And in addition the loss of life of Eleazar, we examine right here within the ebook of Joshua. Eleazar is the son of Aaron. And that’s how the ebook ends, and with that, we are actually arrange for the ebook of Judges and the way shortly issues unravel the additional we get from Moses. And once we get to the ebook of Judges we’ll see it unravels exponentially inside the ebook of Judges. And that can convey us then to 1 Samuel and a pair of Samuel, which is all concerning the institution of the monarchy, as a result of clearly this case with Judges shouldn’t be going to work. However that’s for subsequent time, people. Hey, thanks for listening, and I’ll see you subsequent time.


[Jaunty outro music plays] You’ve simply made it by one other episode of The Bible for Regular Folks! Because of our listeners who help us every week by ranking the podcast, leaving a assessment, and telling others about our present! We couldn’t have made this superb episode with out the assistance of our Producers Group: Evan Caulley, Casey Hatcher, Clinton Sanford, Joshua Edson, Brenda Elser, Steve Sutton, Kara Moseley, Mike Cooke, Justin Brown, and Marlin Wall. As at all times, you’ll be able to help the podcast at Patreon.com/thebiblefornormalpeople, the place for as little as $3/month you’ll be able to obtain bonus materials, be a part of a web-based group, get course reductions, and rather more. This episode was dropped at you by the Bible for Regular Folks crew: Brittany Prescott, Savannah Locke, Stephanie Speight, Tessa Stultz, Nick Striegel, Steven Henning, Haley Warren, Jessica Shao, and Natalie Weyand! [Outro music ends]

- A word from our sponsors -


Most Popular

More from Author

- A word from our sponsors -


Read Now

The Posture of a Man of God

Main from Your Knees Jeremiah Lanphier was a businessman who served as a missionary to New York’s Decrease East Facet. He...

7 Questions That Teenagers Have to Reply

Be Alert You're a teenager: which means you're in one of the thrilling and most essential occasions of your life! I...

Dedicate Your self to Good Works Even When It’s Onerous

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ5h2X3MjG8 ...

Crossway+ Particular: $5 Ebook of the Month (April 2024)

Ebook of the Month The $5 Ebook of the Month is an unique promotion for Crossway+ members. Every month three hand-picked...

What Temptation Is and Is Not

What Is Temptation? We should perceive sin, however we additionally want to know temptation and the way it pertains to our...

Is Individualism a Dangerous Factor?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSAIlZFEqEE ...

Amaze the Subsequent Technology with God

Give Them God (Not Moralism) I urge of you, don’t go after the subsequent technology with mere moralism, both on the...

Why Use Written Prayers? A Private Reflection

Scruples Over Written Prayers A number of years in the past, my spouse, Lindsay, and I have been requested to guide...

How Creativity Can Gas Your Worship

God the Creator The Bible opens with the story of creation. We watch God’s creation dance throughout the pages of Genesis...

4 Reminders for When You’re Damage by Somebody at Church

Getting ready for Damage within the Church We stay in a fallen world. As superb and fantastic as life within the...

10 Lesser-Recognized References to Jesus within the Outdated Testomony

Sings that Level to Jesus The Outdated Testomony accommodates “sorts,” that's, symbolic personages and issues and occasions that time ahead to...

Win the Subsequent Technology with Love

Win Them with Love The evangelical church has spent far an excessive amount of time attempting to determine cultural engagement and...