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Deuteronomy 34, Joshua 1-2

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Deuteronomy Chapter 34

Moses' last moments of life were, like so much of his life in the previous forty years, and the forty years before that (see The Education Of Moses) spent with The Lord. Moses was allowed to see the physical promised land that he would not himself be allowed to enter. Although bittersweet, it was also merciful in that Moses was allowed to die in dignity in The Lord's presence; The Lord even presided over Moses' burial i.e. "and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab." And Moses will be in the ultimate promised land, as made plain by the The Transfiguration.

Moses

"And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And The Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the valley of Jericho [see The Jordan Valley] the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And The Lord said to him, "This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, 'I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there."

So Moses the servant of The Lord died there [see Why Did Christ Put Moses To Death?] in the land of Moab, according to the word of The Lord, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor [see The Valley of Moses' Grave]; but no man knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died; his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended." (Deuteronomy 34:1-8 RSV)

Moses' standing among the Israelites remained very high ("the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days") because they knew what a man of God that Moses was. Moses had been allowed closer access to The Lord than anyone before or since. Moses is also only one of three people recorded to have done a 40 day fast (see The Forty Day Fasts).

"And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom The Lord knew face to face [see The Trysting Tent], none like him for all the signs and the wonders which The Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great and terrible deeds which Moses wrought in the sight of all Israel." (Deuteronomy 34:10-12 RSV)

Joshua Chapter 1

The Lord's chosen successor of Moses was Joshua (the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua is Jesus), who, like Moses, was chosen because he had the experience and the character that matched the responsibility of the time. Moses was a statesman; Joshua was a battle commander.

The Jordan River

"After the death of Moses the servant of The Lord, The Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister [i.e. servant; see Minister], "Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land which I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you." (Joshua 1:1-5 RSV)

The Eastern Tribal Lands were already secured; the men there were however to accompany their fellow Israelites across the Jordan to help them secure the lands on the west side of the Jordan. They could thereafter return home (the Israelite eastern tribal lands are today occupied by the Arab countries Jordan and Syria).

"And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh Joshua said, "Remember the word which Moses the servant of The Lord commanded you, saying, 'The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest, and will give you this land.' Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan; but all the men of valor among you shall pass over armed before your brethren and shall help them, until The Lord gives rest to your brethren as well as to you, and they also take possession of the land which The Lord your God is giving them; then you shall return to the land of your possession, and shall possess it, the land which Moses the servant of The Lord gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise." (Joshua 1:12-15 RSV)

Joshua Chapter 2

Jericho was the first major city in the path of the approaching Israelite onslaught. Joshua sent scouts ahead to reconnoiter the target. When the men's presence was detected, they were given shelter by Rahab.

Rahab

"And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." And they went, and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, "Behold, certain men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land." Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, "Bring forth the men that have come to you, who entered your house; for they have come to search out all the land." But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them; and she said, "True, men came to me, but I did not know where they came from; and when the gate was to be closed, at dark, the men went out; where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them." But she had brought them up to the roof, and hid them with the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof." (Joshua 2:1-6 RSV)

Why did Rahab help them?

"I know that The Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how The Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites that were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no courage left in any man, because of you; for The Lord your God is he who is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Now then, swear to me by The Lord that as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father's house, and give me a sure sign, and save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death." (Joshua 2:9-13 RSV)

Rahab's speaking of the Israelites' Exodus out of Egypt, that happened over forty years earlier at Passover, may have been the basis for the scouts' manner of protecting the woman who helped them i.e. a blood colored cord from her window, and the warning "If any one goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head" which was the same warning that The Lord gave to the Israelites ("Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood which is in the basin; and none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning," Exodus 12:22 RSV).

"The men said to her, "We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours which you have made us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, you shall bind this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down; and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father's household. If any one goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we shall be guiltless; but if a hand is laid upon any one who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath which you have made us swear." And she said, "According to your words, so be it." Then she sent them away, and they departed; and she bound the scarlet cord in the window." (Joshua 2:17-21 RSV)

Fact Finder: Did Rahab have the same sort of faith as Abraham? How and why?
James 2:17-26


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