Lesson 26 – Joshua Settles the Land
1. Joshua 5 – the stay at Gilgal and the circumcision of the children
1. Verses 17 and 25: God protects Rahab the prostitute.
2. Verse 19: Joshua commands the Israelites to plunder for the treasury of the Lord.
Verse 20: The
Israelites shout together and the walls of
4. Verse 21: The Israelites kill men and women, young and old, and animals.
According to Augustine, one of the bishops of the Christian church of the second century A.D., a war can only be just if it meets all the following criteria:
“Now 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.”
The story of the spies sent
This long, detailed story of
Rahab also illustrates another theme. Frequently in the Bible, persons who are
living immoral lives are singled out by God to have a hand in fulfilling the
divine purpose. Here, Rahab saves the lives of the spies so that they are able
to bring back information of importance to Joshua. The news of God's saving the
Israelites at the
After Joshua's encampment at
Gilgal, further word spreads among the inhabitants of the land. The God of
Israel can even stop up the
This was an act of holy warfare, as it is called. God decrees that a given community or group is to be handed over for utter destruction, and if the Israelite warriors do their part, they cannot lose the battle, for it is God's battle, sure to succeed. Such an understanding of God is hard to fathom today. Indeed, the whole story of God's fighting with the Israelites to assure that they win the other battles with the Canaanites is just as hard to understand. We know that in the acts of warfare we have witnessed, one side may have a more nearly just cause, but sometimes these battles in the book of Joshua leave us unable and unwilling to share the outlook of the storytellers. God does not demand the slaughter of the entire population of a captured city-men, women, and children.
Two facts do come to our
aid. First, the archaeological work done at
The other fact is the clear
biblical and archaeological evidence that the Israelites settled into the land
of Canaan by establishing alliances with the peoples of the land (see Joshua 9
for one such story), by
struggles for freedom against some of the overlords of the city states of
Canaan that ended with the Israelites in possession of land that once they had
tended for the state landowners, and only occasionally by armed warfare. No
doubt, Joshua did lead
Even so, the biblical
stories are there, in our Bible, telling of God's demand that the people take
JOSUAH CHAPTER 6
LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have handed
You shall march around the city, all the warriors circling the city once. Thus you shall do for six days, with seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, the priests blowing the trumpets.
When they make a long blast with the ram's horn, as soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and all the people shall charge straight ahead."
So Joshua son of Nun summoned the priests and said to them, "Take up the ark of the covenant, and have seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark of the LORD."
To the people he said, "Go forward and march around the city; have the armed men pass on before the ark of the LORD."
As Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the LORD went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the LORD following them.
And the armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets; the rear guard came after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually.
To the people Joshua gave this command: "You shall not shout or let your voice be heard, nor shall you utter a word, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout."
So the ark of the LORD went around the city, circling it once; and they came into the camp, and spent the night in the camp.
Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.
The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD passed on, blowing the trumpets continually. The armed men went before them, and the rear guard came after the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets blew continually.
On the second day they marched around the city once and then returned to the camp. They did this for six days.
On the seventh day they rose early, at dawn, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times.
And 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.
The 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.
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
But all silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are sacred to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD."
So 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.
Then 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 said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the prostitute's house, and bring the woman out of it and all who belong to her, as you swore to her."
the young men who had been spies went in and brought Rahab
out, along with her father, her mother, her brothers, and all who belonged to
her--they brought all her kindred out--and set them outside the camp of
They burned down the city, and everything in it; only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.
Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who
belonged to her, Joshua spared. Her family has lived in
then pronounced this oath, saying, "Cursed before the LORD be anyone who
tries to build this city--this
So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was in all the land.