Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1. Take the challenge. You won’t regret it.
Questions & Observations
Q. (Joshua 13:1, 14:10): From reading about these battles, the text makes me feel like the battles happened real fast, but I guess that wasn’t the case if Joshua is getting old. So, we can tell from Caleb that the Israelites have been battling for 45 years. When God told the Israelites that they would receive the land He promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I didn’t have a feeling that they would have to fight for it. I thought after all that misery of slavery, escaping from Egypt and wandering in the desert for 40 years, that the land of milk and honey would be ready and waiting for them to relax. Why did they have to work so hard for the land?
A. The events described in the first 12 or so chapters do appear to take place quickly, but what Joshua is doing is establishing a beachhead of sorts in the land. From here, the long process of taking the entire land happens over a generation or more – 45 years according to the verse you point to. I don’t know exactly why it takes so long, but I guess it has to do with settling in new towns and taking over the old ones, which is probably not a fast job. The central victories that are won in the first few chapters do tell the story though: Israel established itself as the dominant power in the region by destroying Jericho and Ai (along with the other battles mentioned), and from there, the battle is already won, they simply have to complete the task.
Q. Is there any significance to how the territories are laid out?
A. Honestly, not as far as I can tell. There will “be” significance, if you will. That is, the territories will become important for future direction of the story, but this is really an establishing moment, and I don’t think there is much significance to the locations at this point. Here’s just one example: some of the tribes that border other regions (Dan in the north for example) will be more susceptible to the corruption of other tribes because Israel fails to drive out all the people that God tells them to. We’ll see how this plays out.
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