Tuesday, March 08, 2011

New Year: Josh 12-14 for Mar 7

On Josh 14:14, compare the end of chapter 7 and the end of chapter 9 for a hint at a time-reference within this document ("to this day") to the events it describes.

The last verse in our passage (14:15) says "the land had rest from war." This is surprising in the light of all that's left to be done (13:2ff.) Compare this to-do list with 12:12-24. Ancient cultures heavily documented their conquests, and inscriptions and depictions exalt the victors over the vanquished. Do you notice anything missing here?

First, is there an elaborate attempt of any kind to justify the conquest and annihilation? Any depiction, or even listing, of the sins of the Canaanites, at the very point where we would expect a natural desire to list the sins, to justify the annihilation? No. The one-sentence explanation in 11:20 is all we get, as if that is not enough to chew on. The writer certainly must assume we've been reading all the previous story so far.

It is so deliberate, even in the counting: the king of xxxyyyyzzzz, "one." the king of aaabbbbcccc, "one." Just the facts. No bragging.

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