The Book of Joshua, (Yehoshua), the Great Conqueror.

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The Book of Joshua, (Yehoshua), the great conqueror.

24 chapters describing the Joshua era. The book begins with the departure of the Great Grand Leader of the Return of the Israelites to their Homeland. Moses passes on, and Joshua takes up the reigns of leadership, leading Israel to their promised land, conquering the prevailing inhabitants, and establishing the presence of the tribes of Israel in the land of Kennan. The book ends with Joshua's passing.

  • Joshua 1: change of guards

    35 verses. The great Moses passed on, and God elevates Joshua, the former Moses helper, to supreme leadership of the tribes of Israel. In the commissioning order God defines Joshua's mission, and sets up the parameters: the boundaries of the to be established land of Israel are clearly specified, and unambiguously committed. The envisioned Israel is to stretch from the desert, the big Euphrates river (in Iraq), the land of the "Chittim" stretching all the way to the mediterranean sea. To get on with this big project of building one's country, it is mandatory for Joshua to be totally faithful to the word of God, to hold on to the Torah, and study it day and night. That is the way to become wiser, to develop effective solutions to the problems at hand, and to succeed in one's mission.

    Joshua assembles the people, and order them to prepare themselves with ample supply because in three days time they are going to finally -- after 40 years of desert wandering -- cross the Jordan river, to claim the promised land. Joshua further turns to the two and half tribes that have their land allotted to the east of the Jordan, and orders them to join their brothers in crossing the river, and fighting along until all the tribes inherit their lot. The men in the two and half tribes express their loyalty to Joshua, and promise to join the fight in favor of their brethren tribes.

  • Joshua 2: the spies and the prostitute

    24 verses telling a famous and intriguing spy story. Joshua appreciating the value of good intelligence sent two people to explore the city of Jericho, which was a fortress right across the Jordan where he intended to cross over and conquer the land. The spies managed to enter the city in stealth, and checked in with a local prostitude named Rachav. Somehow rumurs began to flow that they are spies. They were probably not too careful while spending time with the whore. The city acted on these rumors and burst into Rachav's place demanding for her to surrender the spies. Rachav did not. She admitted having the strangers in, but lied about them just leaving, successfully urging the officer to pursue them before they return to Israel's camp over the river. She then turned to the hidden spies and striked a deal: I will let you go, you spare my family when you conquer the city. She let the spies out through a rope from her window that was next to the Jericho fortress. They returned safely, and reported to Joshua that the prior victories of Israel have scared the Jericho people to death.

  • Joshua 3: the crossing!

    17 verses describing the end of 40 years of desert wandering. The Israelites crossed into the desert from Egypt as God parted the waters of the red sea -- indicating the divine guidance behind their moves; and they crossed the water again, this time the sweet flow of the Jordan, as God parted that flow, and once again led Israel in the dry, to take hold of the promised land. The chapter conveys the excitement, the preparation, the move towards the banks of the river, where they stayed for three days. And there they hear the voice of God and knew that they have the spark of the living God within. The holy capboard that carried the tablets -- the sign of the divine contract -- was carried by the priests, leading the falk. Not the lances, not the swords paved the way, but the contract that tirggered the miracle no lance could have delivered -- the parting of the water. Joshua seemed to have been faint hearted at some moment, since the chapter says that God assured him that today the people will embrace him as the due replacement for the Great Moses. The chapter lists the people that would be dislodged from their land: the Kenani, the Chitti, the Chivvi, the Prizzi, the Girgashi, the Emory and the Yevussi (7 peoples).

  • Joshua 4: a stone monument for the miracle of the crossing

    24 verses telling the story of the monumnet ordered by God to commemorate the miracle of parting the water of the river Jordan, to allow for the crossing of Israel to the west bank -- the promised land. The monument comprised of 12 stones to represent the 12 tribes of Israel was erected in the Gilgal near Jericho. It's purpose to make the inhabitants of the land realize the power of God now leading his people to inherit the land, and to make Israel fearful of their divine leader.

  • Joshua 5: Celebrating the Termination of 40 years of desert wandering

    15 verses describing the official celebration of the end of an era. After the long march through the desert (40 years), and the second miraculous crossing of water, now the Jordan river, the people of Israel celebrated their new life in the land they were about to conquer. First there was the painful mass circumcision. The contract with God signified by circumcision of the flesh has not taken place in the desert, and was now resumed with the new generation. (Took them three days to recover). Also, the Mann stopped coming. From then on the Israelites fed on the crops of the land (initially grown by the vanquished). The celebration happened in Passover, marking a round year to the original Passover 40 years earlier. God notified Israel that that day, the shame of slavery in Egypt was scrubbed clean, and the place of this announcement "Gilgal" bears witness to that. Thern something curious happened. Joshua spotted a strange worrier, and asked him whether he is a friend or a foe. The warrier answered that he is a soldier of God, and bade Joshuna to repeat the gesture asked of Moses by the burning bush: to take off his shoes. Joshua complied and the story was never repeated.

  • Joshua 6: Conquering Jericho

    27 verses relaying the magic war on the city of Jericho. In its straight interpretation, God has performed a miracle: collapsing the fortress walls of the city of Jericho. The Israelites rushed in to the ramble, and apparently killed the inhabitants, burnt the city, and cursed its future rebuilder. Rachav, the whore who saved Joshua's spies was spared along with her family. The more elaborate interpretation is based on the particular ritual practiced by Joshua on God's instructions. Joshua and the people surrounded the fortress Jericho in a daily march eoyj shofars blazing. They regressed after each day, for six days, then they have surrounded the cirty for severn times in the seventh day, and the shofar blazing was followed by the whole poeple hollering. This amounts to an amazingly powerful scare tactics, psychological warfare that might have scared the inhabitants so thoroughly that they opened the gates of the fortress themselves, and rushed to beg mercy, realizing they have no chance to prevail. So it was not the walls that collapsed, it's the fortitude of the city defenders that fizzled. It's not clear why the city rebuilder was so thoroughly cursed. What is interesting is that Joshua banned any looting, all the treasure became state owned.

  • Joshua 7: crime and punishment; plunder and death

    26 verses. One man, Achan, plundered the treasures of the conquered city of Jericho, against Joshua's instructions. God became furious, led Israel to be defeated in their next battle with the locals (the residents of the city of Ai), and when Joshua cried to complain about it, God told him about the plunder. Joshua identified the plunderer, and as punishment stoned him, and his family and his livestock, and burnt all their possessions. This story depicts a very exacting God, inconsistent with the examples of compassion and liniency shown elsewhere.

  • Joshua 8: Victory over the City of Ai -- death and destrurction; Reading God's words

    The previous victory of the inhabitants of the Ai over Israel, weakened the Israeli spirit, but God bolstered Joshua, and instructed him to apply a shrewd military tactics: to hide a force behind the city, then approach the city up front, counting on them coming out from behind their fortress, to repeat their former easy victory, thereby exposing their city to the hidden force. It worked: while Joshua and his main force feined a panicked retreat, the Ai soldiers chased them, leaving the city itself vulnerable. The hidden force moved in, set the city in flames, and when the chasing Ai soldiers realized they had been had, they lost spirit, and were caught between Joshua's two forces which decimated them without leaving anyone alive, some 12,000 people were massacared. And the king of Ai was hanged and his corpse desacrated. Joshua built a memorial stone structure and there he read the people all the words of wisdom said by Moses under God. The story does not address the question of justice in so treating the people of Ai, who did not take any hostile steps against Israel. Also, it is curious why the trick of the trumpets that collapsed the walls of Jeericho was not reapplied. It looks like God gave wisdom to Joshua, which Joshua had to apply to win God's wars.

  • Joshua 9: The People of Givon cheat Yehoshua to save their lives, and live as slaves for Israel

    27 verses of a curious story. Fearing for their lives, and mindful of the glorious victories of Yehoshua claiming the land and killing its inhabitants, the people of Givon (a near by region) contrived a ruse to extract a promise from Yehoshua for their lives and safety. They claim they came from a far away land. They show beaten up and worn artifcats which they prepared to look the part, and convince Yehoshua that they are indeed from far away. When later he finds out that they are people of the land Yehoshua can't go back on the contract he signed for them, but he orders them to be slaves to the peoiple of Israel for ever more.

  • Joshua 10: An uninterrupted chain of blood victory over the locals in the land of Israel

    43 verses. Joshua reputation rings around the land. Some kings band together aiming to attack the people of Givon who tricked Joshua to cut them a deal of friendship earlier. They summon Joshua who rushes up, surprises the staging kings and their armies and hit them hard. As they run away God tosses some heavy rocks on them and kills more with the heavnly rocks then Joshua killed with a sword. The day is about to set, and Joshua does a remarkable and unprecdented thing: he calls upon the sun an dthe moon to stop in their track, to allow him to finish the slaughter of Israel's enemies. The five counter fighting kings are captured, humiliated, and hanged. Joshua gets encouragement fro God and keeps his march of victory over many cities and kingdoms, logging an uninterrupted string of glorious military victories.

  • Joshua 11: The last comprehensive blood round, defeating the locals, inheriting the land

    23 verses. Joshua battles the rest of the local kings and people. God has hardened their heart so no one opted for a peace treaty, they all warred Israel, and Joshua killed all the men, burnt many cities, castrated the hourses, burnt the carriages, and by the end of a long period of war making Israel was in control of the entire land of Israel, except the gaza strip. And when all his enemies were done with, Joshua then presided over a period of peace on earth.

  • Joshua 12: Accounting of the defeated kings and the conquered land

    23 verses--an accounting list of 31 defeated kings, and several parishes throughout the land of Israel.

  • Joshua 13: disposition of the conquered land to the various tribes of Israel

    33 verses accounting for the disposition of the land. Several kings and cities were not conquered for many years, and among them, the Philistines are destined to give grave trouble to Israel in many years to come. In this chapter Joshua is regarded as an old man, suggesting that he led Israel into constant fights with the stubborn locals.

  • Joshua 14: The tribes are settled, Kaleb gets his special request to own Hevron

    15 verses. It begins with a statement of proper landing -- all the tribes got their share of the promised land. 2.5 tribes settle on the easter bank of the river, and the tribe of "Levi" receives no land, and is spread in towns among the other tribes. Then the chapter tells the story of Kaleb the son of Yefunne, the "Kinzi". Now 85 years old, approaching his pal Yehoshua regarding a promise made to him by Moses 45 years ago. Then Kaleb and Yehoshua and ten others were sent by Moses to spy on the land, and only Yehoshua and Kaleb returned with encouraging news that, yes, the people of the land are formiddable, but they can be defeated by our courage and determination. According to this promise, Kaleb should inherit Hevron, formerly known as "Kiriat Arba". Kaleb argues that although he was sent as a spy at the age of 40, now at 85 he is as strong and as blessed, and can wage a war to free the land promised to him. Yehoshua gives him the nod, Kaleb occupies Hevron and owns it to this very day. The language of the promise was that any tract of land upon which you step -- yours it is. This concept was used by modern Israel in its 20 and 21st century re-fight for the same land.

  • Joshua 15: The Geography of Yehuda's territory in the Promised Land

    62 verses enlisting geographic details of the territory to be inherited by the tribe of Judea. A footnote says that the Yevoosie remained clawed in Jerusalem. Yehuda never managed to dislodge them.

  • Joshua 16: The geography of the inherited and promised territory Ephraim and Menashe.

  • Joshua 17: Land assignment for the parts of Ephraim and Menashe

    18 verses. Curiously, Israel did not manage to defeat the locals, the Kenani, from the Ephraim and Menashe areas, subjugating them tax wise. Apparently the locals have had iron chariots, technology which the wandering Jew did not have, so they prevailed in the open flat territories.

  • Joshua 18: Shilo becomes the spiritual center, more land parcelation.

    28 verses. The Holy Tent, with the ark and the tablets is mounted in the city of Shilo. The land is further divided to its various claimants.

  • Joshua 19: Specific Land boundaries for the various tribes, 51 verses.

  • Joshua 20: Six protective cities -- high social justice for accidental murder

    9 short verses introducing an amazing concept of social justice. A culture of family to family revenge prevailed in the country. The family of a killed person felt a duty to avenge and kill the killer. They apparently had no much interest in sorting out the murder, or the killing as to intent, premeditation, or accidental blow. Joshua, so much dedicated to the political settlement of Israel, found time to handle this social justice dilemma where accidental killers started a ping-pong of avenge and revenge. He solved this problem by setting aside six shelter cities, where accidental killers could escape to and be protected from blood revenge.

  • Joshua 21: 43 verses detailing the territorries allocated to the Levi tribe among the others.

  • Joshua 22: 34 verses describing the settlement of the 2.5 tribes east of the Jordan

    Joshua thanks the tribes of Reuben, Gadi and half of Menashe for their help in conquering the promised land, and sends them east of the Jordan to their allocated territories. The chapter describes the geograpic details of the settlement, then describes a misunderstanding. The 2.5 tribes erected a large altar to commemorate their being part of Israel west of the river. The other tribes suspected that the altar is a sign of rebellion, but were soon corrected, and all was well.

  • Joshua 23: unheeded warning -- the path of future destruction of Israel is clearly spelled out!

    16 resonating verses -- Joshua, old, ready for departure, bids Israel to stick to the Godly message, and not warship divinity pretenders. Joshua reminds Israel that everything God promised came to be, and similarly for the punishment for abandoning the truth and the way of the Creator. It appears that God has left the locals to linger around to serve as a constant temptation, a test of sorts, to Israel commitment to the Torah. Joshua is clear, and fortells the future: if you allow yourself to sway towards the idol worshippers, intermarry, admire, then you will be cut off the promised land, as well as happened.

  • Joshua 24: 33 verses. Joshua gathers the people, bids them to worship God of Israel who has taken care of his people from the beginning.

    Yehoshua assembles the people of Israel in Nablus, and narrates before them the history of the people since Avraham was picked to leave his family behind, cross the big river, and wander towards the holy land. His seed multiplied, and eventually found its way to Egypt where they were enslaved until God rescued them, defeated all their enemies before them, and ushered them into inheritated cities and vines to exploit. The story impresses the people and they commt to God. Soon thereafter Joshua passes on, at age 110. He is buried in his own ranch, and while his elder statesmen ran the country, the people were faithful to God Almighty. The book closes with a mention that the bones of Joseph, carried for 40 years from Egypt -- have brought to their final rest near Nablus, where they reside until this very day.