Daily Bible Study Tips:

Deuteronomy - Joshua

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Joshua 3:7-17
Joshua 5:9-12
Joshua 24:1-3, 14-28

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Joshua's Defeat of the Amorites. Click to enlarge. See below for provenance.

Deuteronomy 16:9-12, Nature and purpose of the Feast of Weeks.

Deuteronomy 16:16, Attendance at the three feasts commanded.

Deuteronomy 34:1-12

How would you feel if someone described you as "meek"?  You probably wouldn't be too happy about it, because most of us think "meek" means submissive or easily imposed on.  An older and better definition is patient, humble, and gentle.  In fact, only two people in the Bible are described as meek.  They are Moses (Num. 12:3) and Jesus (Mat. 11:29, 21:5).  Were they submissive or easily imposed on?  No.  So maybe we had better revise our understanding.  Imagine this picture:  A bull walks into a china shop.  What happens?  Now imagine this:  He doesn't break anything.  That's meek!  Meekness is controlled power, not lack of power. Psalms 90:1-6, 13-17 

Joshua 3:7-17

How do we know that David and Todd and Clyde are qualified to be our pastors?  Well, they've got credentials.  They've been to seminary, they've been ordained, and they've been appointed by the Bishop.  None of those things existed for the Jews in the desert, but they did have a system.  God worked miracles by the hand of the new leader.  Just as he had worked miracles to show the credentials of Moses and Aaron, he worked a miracle to show the credentials of Joshua.

Joshua 5:9-12

I once asked a Jewish friend, "What's the first day of Hanukkah this year?"  With a perfectly straight face he answered, "The same day it is every year."  Passover is also on the same day every year (the 14th of Nissan), as is Easter (the Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon).  You just have to be looking at the correct calendar.  What this illustrates is that two types of sayings are always a mystery to me: In the first case, you will almost always be right if you assume that the name, whatever it is, sounds like the reason given.  So in Joshua 5:9, Gilgal probably sounds like either "reproach" or "rolled away."  For example, my son Edmund and his wife just named their son Edison.  "Edison" sounds like "Edmund's son," which is about as close as the sound-alikes are in Hebrew. 

In the second case, sometimes I'd understand better what was going on if I knew the calendar.  So here's a decoding ring.  Tishrei (the first month), Cheshvan, and Kislev are roughly Fall; Teves, Shevat, and Adar, are roughly Winter; Nissan, Iyar, and Sivan are roughly Spring.  It's not an accident that Easter is also in the spring, because Easter and Passover are related.  Tamuz, Av, and Elul are roughly summer.

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-26a

Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, and he continued to lead them for the forty years that God made them stay in the desert.  After the death of Moses, Joshua was the new leader.  He led them into Canaan, and he led the military takeover of the land.  When the Israelites were in control of the land, Joshua held a big conference and told the people, roughly, that God had delivered on his promise to give them the land, and so the covenant with Abraham was fulfilled.  Now they had to decide who was going to be their god from here on out.  The people chose God, and the covenant was renewed.  No longer was God just "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph."  God was their God, and they had no excuse for their later behavior.  Be warned.  

Joshua 24:14-28 (5/19/09)

Did you know that the Jews were not monotheistic until after the Exile? There were dozens of gods in Palestine, Egypt, and the surrounding areas. I'm sure you know the saying about fooling all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but not fooling all of the people all of the time. That's sort of how it was with the Jews and other gods prior to the Exile (see vs. 23, for example). They got into a lot of trouble over this, and we see part of the reason today.

After Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, he called a big conclave and told them that they had to choose. God had kept his part of the deal: he had taken them out of Egypt and given them the land promised to Abraham. Now it was up to the Israelites to decide what would happen next. They could stick with God, or they could make a new deal with someone else, either their old ancestral gods or the local gods. When they said they would stick with God, Joshua warned them that this was a perilous choice. They chose to serve God; they chose well. Later they forgot that choice and served other gods – and got into trouble, just as Joshua warned them.

When you choose well, follow up.

Copyright 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 by Regina L. Hunter.  All rights reserved.

The illustration showing Joshua's defeat of the Amorites is from the Binns family Bible, now in the private collection of Regina L. Hunter.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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