Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Year: Josh 15-17 for Mar 8

The listing of the territories for Judah alone (Josh 15) would tax all but the greatest Bible memorizers.

What should be made of the fact that "Joshua took the whole land" (11:23), yet there are exceptions to this later stated (15:63; 16:10; 17:12-13)? This is standard military generalization, and well-reflects the truthfully stated case in wars, that there are decisive battles that are won and that indeed give control of a territory, but that there can be towns and places within territories that are not conquered.

Some Canaanites are not driven out completely ("because the Canaanites persisted in living in that land," 17:12) under Manasseh, and in Gezer under Ephraim, and at Jerusalem, which would be later under Judah. In two of the three cases, the inhabitants are described as those who would be "forced laborers" (16:10; 17:13). In Jerusalem, "the sons of Judah could not drive them out."

The promise of Joshua 1:5 stood, and "the land had rest from war" (11:23). The ensuing campaigns of the various tribes starting in chapter 15 are separated from Joshua's work. 13:1 had given the general scope of the ensuing task: "much of the land remains to be posessed," according to the Lord Himself. Joshua's time of leading into war was finished by chapter 13, and so the tribes take up their conquests, the new generation going on after the generation of Joshua and Caleb, after the generation of Moses and Aaron.

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