Map of Joshua's campaigns in Canaan

Day 85 (March 26): 31 kings defeated, tribes divvy up lands east and west of Jordan, Caleb gets allotment for past courage

 www.thebiblejourney.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 12:7-15:19
(1399 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

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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Tomorrow’s reading: Joshua 15:20-17:18

Jericho On the seventh time that the Israelites circle the walls of Jericho, the priests blow their trumpets and the walls come tumbling down.

Day 82 (March 23): Israelites cross Jordan, Ark parts waters, memorial, circumcision renewed, Joshua bows, Jericho march, walls crumble, Rahab saved

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 3-6
(1406 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (3:13): I like how God uses a parting of the waters again to enter into a new land.  The Israelites who witnessed this miracle at the Exodus are no longer living.  So, it is wonderful that the new generation can see the power of God parting water.

A. Water was an ancient symbol of life giving deities.  By turning the Nile to blood, parting the Red Sea, and the Jordan River, God is demonstrating His power of these other false gods.

Q. (3:17): I thought the Israelites were told to stay a half mile back because of the holiness of the Ark, but here, they are passing by it.  Can you explain?

A. They were told to stay back until the Ark got to the middle of the Jordan and the water receded.  Then they could cross by it.

Q. (4:12): I notice that the warriors from the tribes that asked for the land east of the Jordan instead of west of the Jordan are asked to go first.  Is this sort of a payment of these tribes for asking for the land on the east side of the Jordan River, sort of rejecting the land that God had promised them?

A. As we mentioned yesterday, that was the bargain that Moses struck with the tribes: your leadership in battle in exchange for this good land.  As far as I know, the land on the east side of the Jordan is Canaan as well, so it was part of what God intended for Israel.

Q. (5:2): We have discussed the Lord’s requirement of circumcision of the Israelite males in Day 5’s reading (Jan. 5).  Anything to add here?

A. Yes, this passage indicates that exception had been made for this generation of Israel: those born in the wilderness (i.e. the generation who would take the Promised Land, as opposed to those who died out) were not circumcised, for reasons that are not explained.  The rite is simply suspended for 40 years.  This passage indicates that when Israel crossed the Jordan, the religious observances were reestablished.  Note that after the covenant is reaffirmed by circumcision, they celebrate Passover.  It also tells us that the manna disappears, indicating a closure to that chapter of God’s provision for His people.  My notes also tell me that it was in Canaan that Abraham and his family members were first circumcised, so doing this ceremony in the Promised Land is a way of renewing the covenant relationship that he established.

O. (5:9): I had never thought about any shame the Israelites would have carried from being former slaves.  I guess that would have been a burden to carry and now God somehow took that feeling away.

O. (6:1-5): Remember the discussion about the importance of certain numbers in the Bible?  Seven signifies completeness and fulfillment, and traces its roots back the seven days of creation.  To see other important numbers Rob told us about, see the first answer on Day 3.

Q. (6:25): Will Rahab or her descendants come up again?

A.  I don’t think so, but Rahab’s faith does get her two mentions in the NT: in Hebrews 11 (the hall of fame passage) and James 2.  Not a bad consolation, right?

Song: If you grew up going to church, you probably know this song, Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, https://www.google.com/search?q=battle+of+Jericho+song+video&sca_esv=ba2f71a3923bd7cb&ei=gIDFZfI11NeS9A_l0Zi4Dg&ved=0ahUKEwjy9YSgjp2EAxXUq4QIHeUoBucQ4dUDCBA&uact=5&oq=battle+of+Jericho+song+video&gs_lp=Egxnd3Mtd2l6LXNlcnAiHGJhdHRsZSBvZiBKZXJpY2hvIHNvbmcgdmlkZW8yBRAhGKABMgUQIRigAUjlSVCyC1iJRXAEeACQAQCYAaQBoAHNGKoBBTE3LjEzuAEDyAEA-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&sclient=gws-wiz-serp#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:05a46718,vid:wfPOHQOc3uI,st:0

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Tomorrow’s reading: Joshua 7:1; 1 Chronicles 2:7; Joshua 7:2-9:27

Canaan preparation When Israel arrived in the land of Jazar and Gilead, the tribes of Reuben and Gad (who had large flocks of sheep) noticed what wonderful sheep country it was. So they asked Moses and the priests for this land as our portion instead of the land on the other side of the Jordan River.’

Day 69 (March 10): Gad, Reuben choose land, Moses warns of opposing God, desert journey recounted, God charges to clear Canaan, land assigned

Credit: 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 32-33
(1407 BC) Click here for a timeline of the whole Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Numbers 32:4): It does appear that God had intended for this land to belong to the Israelites.  Why else would he have conquered it, unless it was on their way to Canaan and there was no way around it?  But, you would think that the Gad and Reuben clans would want to see what God had set aside for them.

A. They appear to feel that the land they had was as good as anything in the Promised Land, in the spirit of “one in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

O. (32:6-30): I like how Moses reminds the tribes of Gad and Reuben — and essentially probably all of Israel — the history of this sort of thing happening and it going bad.  This memory is fresh enough that the Israelites still remember it.  Apparently, the lesson has been learned this time.  We’ll see for how long.

Q. (32:34-42): Life back then seemed so uncertain.  From these verses, I can picture non-Israelites being forced out of their villages.  It seems that the only certain thing was God.  If I were these other villages, I would think hard about finding out about the Israelites God and/or ask to join them.  Is there any information about if non-Israelites could join the Israelites?  The Midianite girls were spared (Numbers 31:18).  Do we know if they became Israelites?

A. There are regulations spread throughout these first five books, including Exodus 12, which says that foreigners who want to join in Passover celebrations must have all males circumcised, and various similar instructions — some of which will come from our next book, Deuteronomy, so watch for those.  Numbers does not tell us the fate of the girls, but we can assume that they grew up in Israelite households and perhaps some of them married into the tribes.  It appears that if the right steps (i.e. circumcision) took place, the Israelites had a fairly “open door” policy on joining up with God’s people.

O. (33:3-48): I guess this is a wrap-up of their journey.  Let’s view a good map of the Israelites’ 40-year journey in the desert: https://bible-history.com/maps/route-exodus

Q. (Numbers 33:4): What is God talking about here when he says, “ the gods of Egypt”?

A. As we looked at back in Exodus, the victory in the Passover would have been seen as God conquering the gods of Egypt. Obviously if the gods of Egypt had won, then the firstborn of Egypt would not have died.

Q. (33:55): God is forewarning the Israelites to clear out all of those people who are occupying the land He is given to the Israelites.  I wonder if we are getting a little picture of some conflict to come, or if the Israelites will obey?

A. This will indeed be something to watch for, and the answer is no.

Map of allotments: https://ibiblemaps.com/tribal-allotments-of-israel-2/#open-overlay

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Tomorrow’s reading: Numbers 34-36