Joshua starts the next section of books known as the Historical Books. These books cover the time period from about 1250-100 BC. These books are like historical fiction, they aren't a true accounting of facts but are more history told through the lens of the writer's faith and belief in God and God's message.
Joshua picks up where Moses left off in getting the Israelites to the Promised Land. His book is broken into three sections and tells the story of how the Israelites took control of the region by any means necessary. This book really shows the skewed history of the victor. My opening to the book points out
Today, biblical scholars doubt that the conquest of the Promised Land by the twelve tribes of Israel was as complete and easy as it is written in Joshua. Archaeologists have found evidence that Cannanites contiuned to live in the area after the "conquest."The conquest starts with the city of Jericho which is surrounded by a great wall. Most of us, have heard the story of how the walls of Jericho fell. And that's a really great story, showcases the power of God's promise and all that, but it's what comes after that they leave out, the complete massacre of a people. The walls fell and then the army of the twelve tribes went in and killed everyone except for Rahab and her family. I mean brutal and all in the name of God. After the conquests, the rest of the book pretty much covers how the land was broken down between all the tribes/peoples.
The book of Judges is the 200 years between the conquests of the area to the kingdom of Saul. My bible points this out as being the teenage years of the nation of Israel. These people were born after they settled in the Promised Land. So they "did not know the Lord, or what he had done for Israel." That's not their fault, it's the fault of the generation(s) that raised them, yet they are the ones punished by the Lord.
This book and the editors of this version of the bible I'm reading are so hypocritical. In the last book, we are told to celebrate the battles faced by the people conquered land already inhabited. Yet, in this book when we see women, specifically Jael, act as the men have in other Bible books, the editors want to point out
When we are no longer victims, but have become people who abuse others has the situation really improved? (pg 264)
Although the story of Deborah is inspiring, partly because of so few women leaders are portrayed in the Bible, it is also a story of war and violence. The Book of Judges records one battle after another. it is wearying to read of so much fighting and of rejoicing over someone's having a tent peg pounded into their head. (pg 265)Ok, the editors redeemed themselves slightly, by condemning Abimelech for killing 69 of his 70 brothers.
Shibboleth - makes me think of the West Wing episode
I think Samson is an idiot. He knows there are people out to get him. Delilah keeps asking him how to bound him, you would think he would do the math and figure it out!
This book just ends on a dark note, a man saves his own life by throwing his wife/concubine out to the angry mob and when they kill her he gets the Israelites and goes to war against the people. They go to war and then as they are withdrawing they put kill "the inhabitants of the cities, the livestock, and all they chanced upon. Moreover they destroyed by fire all the cities they came upon" (283) because you know, innocent people need to die to make a point.
Such a short book, but such an important book. As I mentioned back in January, there is a lot of listing offspring, because they need to draw a line between Abraham and Jesus. So it's important to see David's ancestry, through Boaz he is connected to Abraham, but it is Ruth who is the more interesting ancestor. She gives up everything she knows to follow her mother-in-law. She risks so much and in the end is rewarded more than she knew in her lifetime.