Altar controversy Joshua dies at the age of 110 and was buried on his own estate at Timnath-serah, in the hill country of Ephraim.

Day 89 (March 30): Easterners return home, altar honors East/West union, altar controversial, Joshua’s last words, covenant renewed, Joshua, Eleazer die

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Joshua 22-24
(1399-75 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Joshua 22:10-34): So, there was a big gap in communication here.  Apparently, to build another altar to sacrifice would have been severely disrespecting God’s wishes?  But, the 2½ tribes didn’t build it for sacrifice; they built it as a reminder.  The reminder serves as a bridge between the Israelites east of the Jordan and those west of the Jordan.  The easterners were concerned that the westerners may not allow the easterners in to worship the Lord and make sacrifices?  I was under the impression that the tribes’ borders were transparent and they could just flow between the territories, but always belong to one.  Was there hostility between them?

A. It reads to me as though the Eastern tribes were saying, “Everything is great now, but what happens in a hundred years when every one of us is long dead?  Will our people still be welcome?”  So they set this plan in motion to build a reminder that they are in fact a united people.  I think that the Western tribes were willing to go to war to ensure that the Eastern tribes hadn’t given up on God, but all was well once the emissaries were able to talk.

Q. I feel like we are going through a big change now.  Joshua and Eleazer both died without appointing a new leader.  That gives me a feeling of bad things to come.

A. I don’t want to spoil a good story (Judges is a good story), so I’ll just say that we will see the way that God will provide for His people in their time of need.

And, that’s the end of Joshua.  Tomorrow, we start Judges!

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Tomorrow’s reading: Judges 1-3:30

Midianite victory. The Israeli army took as captives all the Midianite women and children, and seized the cattle and flocks and a lot of miscellaneous booty. All of the cities, towns, and villages of Midian were then burned.

Day 68 (March 9): Vows to God are serious, victory over Midianites, dividing the spoils

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Numbers 30-31
(1407 BC) Click here for a timeline of the whole Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Numbers 30:1-16): So the Lord expected the Israelites to keep their promises to the Lord.  What kind of vows were they talking about?  The first verses say that men must always keep their word.  However, women and girls are subject to their father or husband’s acceptance of the vow.  Why the difference between men and women?  And, boys are not mentioned.  Do they follow under the first verses of men?

A. Basically, the rule here is that vows, of any sort, were not to be made rashly, and each person was responsible for vows they made.  The only two exceptions were both for women, who were subject to the authority of their fathers (if not married) or their husbands (if they were).  These men had the authority to overturn any vow that they, as the authority over the woman, would have a hand in fulfilling.  So basically, if you were a man, a boy, or a divorced woman, you had no one to blame for your foolish vows but yourself!  No one else would be able to take responsibility for them.

Q. (31:6): Phinehas, son of Eleazar has been mentioned several times.  Should we discuss him at all?

A. Eleazar was Aaron’s son, who took over the role of High Priest when Aaron died back in chapter 20.  This makes Phinehas Aaron’s grandson, and the priest who was responsible for the killing of the man and woman who flaunted their sin in front of the Tabernacle in 25:7.  He thus becomes a person who has a great zeal for God’s holiness, and God rewards Him for this zeal.  He is mentioned again in Joshua, but this is his most prominent role.

Q. (31:9): Any idea where or when the gentleman’s rule started — the rule of fighting men, but leaving women and children unharmed?  31:17 does not make for a nice visual.

A. As far as I know, the idea of warfare being only among the men who are fighting it goes back for thousands of years.  It’s the understood difference between soldiers and civilians.  Now sometimes this gets blurry, as in instances of a siege, where the entire intent is to starve out people who have blockaded themselves for protection, but generally the “rule” in question is the way that warfare has been conducted for some time.

Verse 17 is indeed pretty brutal, but there were two important reasons for Moses’ command, though they don’t soften the blow much.  The women, rather than the male soldiers, were indeed the ones who brought about the plague at Peor, and therefore it would have been risky to let them live.  The death of the boys was done in order to prevent issues with inheritance in future generations of Israelites.  Moses is attempting to prevent non-Israelites from inheriting the Promised Land in future generations.

Q. (31:32): I know it’s not important, but I have no idea how they would have accurately counted that much livestock, and girls.

A. I have no idea how they did it either.  You should always consider numbers of this sort to be rough estimates.  Keep in mind, prior to these volumes being written down, they would have been passed down generation to generation orally.  That means that having rough numbers is a more manageable system then going into specifics.  It is also possible that the number became more “rough” as the story was handed down (i.e. originally the count was 36,588 cattle, but it became 36,000 over time).

For further reading: A look into the Midianite/Israelite hostility at https://thelangfordfiles.com/2019/08/21/the-midianites-who-were-they-%F0%9F%A4%93/

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Tomorrow’s reading: Numbers 32-33

Joshua Israel's new leader. Eleazer the priest charges him with leading the Israelites.

Day 67 (March 8): Rights to Inherit land, Joshua chosen as next Israelite leader, offering rules

Wong Chim Yuen

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

 Today’s Reading
Numbers 27-29
(1407 BC) Click here for a timeline of the whole Bible.

Questions & Observations

O. (Numbers 27:8): I never really thought about this before, but now that I have, it’s noteworthy: God saw the importance in every being, that each one should be remembered and acknowledged — here, with land.  It isn’t just that because someone didn’t have sons that they should not have an inheritance.

Q. (27:18): Here God mentions that Joshua has the “Spirit” in him.  Does God explain anywhere thus far what he means by that?

A.  It appears to be some form of reference to the Holy Spirit at work in Joshua, but no, it is not expanded further.

Q. (28:3-8): I think this is the first time God has asked for an alcoholic drink to be offered?  Also, if there were two lambs sacrificed every day, is this meat for the priests to eat?  Or is it just burned for God?

A. You are correct, this is the first instance of an alcoholic beverage asked for, and the meat here did go to the priests.

Q. Day 55 talks about these occasions.  Why are the offerings not included in the earlier descriptions?

A. I don’t really have a good answer for that.  It is simply the way it is presented.

Q. I don’t think we’ve talked about if there are reasons God asks for certain animals to be offered — ram, bull, lamb, goat, etc.?

A. These animals, and some domestic birds (doves, etc.) are the domestic animals that the Israelites have in their flocks/herds.  Each of these animals has been declared clean (what Jews today call “kosher”) by God, and this appears to be the reason He selects them for His sacrifices.  Those basically were the only animals they kept!

Q. (28:16): This festival lasts for seven days.  Of course there are the offerings, but does the Bible tell what other activities comprise a festival?  I think of our festivals now — none that I can think of lasts for seven days — but I doubt they have much in common.

A. You can read about many of the traditions that have come to be associated with the festivals, and sometimes in the narrative story of the OT you get some insight into what went on, but generally, no, there is not much information on the celebratory aspects of the Holy Days.  I would suggest outside reading — even the Wikipedia page — for each of the festivals to learn more about them, but we will see some festivals/rituals described in later texts.

Q. (29:12-40): Any reason God would single out this festival by requiring a greater number of sacrifices?  I can’t imagine making all of these sacrifices on one altar.  Just preparing them would take long enough and then offering them properly.

A. This particular festival (also described in Lev. 23) appears to be agricultural in nature, which might explain it.  This festival, today known as Sukkot, will come in subsequent books to be associated with the reading the entire Law every seventh year (its coming in Deuteronomy 31), so this would have been treated as both an important religious day as well.  Those are basically guesses, however.  I don’t really have a certain answer to this question.

For further reading: More about Sukkot at https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/4784/jewish/What-Is-Sukkot.htm

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Tomorrow’s reading: Numbers 30-31