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Joshua 23-24, Judges 1

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Joshua Chapter 23

Joshua's farewell address to Israel was a reminder of their success, and a warning of what would be their undoing. They didn't listen to Moses' warning of it; they didn't listen to Joshua's warning of it either. It would set the course of Bible History for centuries to come.

Thorns

"A long time afterward, when The Lord [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD] had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years, Joshua summoned all Israel, their elders [see The Senate] and heads, their judges and officers, and said to them, "I am now old and well advanced in years; and you have seen all that The Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is The Lord your God who has fought for you. Behold, I have allotted to you as an inheritance for your tribes those nations that remain, along with all the nations that I have already cut off, from the Jordan to the Great Sea in the west. The Lord your God will push them back before you, and drive them out of your sight; and you shall possess their land, as The Lord your God promised you. Therefore be very steadfast to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, that you may not be mixed with these nations left here among you, or make mention of the names of their gods, or swear by them, or serve them, or bow down yourselves to them, but cleave to The Lord your God as you have done to this day." (Joshua 23:1-8 RSV)

The victory was given to Israel by The Lord; it could only be lost by being squandered by the Israelites themselves. How? The warning for the Israelites, ancient and present-day, was the same - and the result for disobedience was and is also the same: "they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a scourge on your sides, and thorns in your eyes."

"Take good heed to yourselves, therefore, to love The Lord your God. For if you turn back, and join the remnant of these nations left here among you, and make marriages with them, so that you marry their women and they yours, know assuredly that The Lord your God will not continue to drive out these nations before you; but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a scourge on your sides, and thorns in your eyes, till you perish from off this good land which The Lord your God has given you." (Joshua 23:11-13 RSV)

Joshua Chapter 24

After a lifetime of faithful and obedient service to The Lord, Joshua died and was buried in his tribal family territory of Ephraim. After Joshua's death, Israel continued to be governed by his officials, until they too had died off.

Shechem

"So Joshua sent the people away, every man to his inheritance. After these things Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of The Lord, died, being a hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in his own inheritance at Timnath-serah, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. And Israel served The Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work which The Lord did for Israel." (Joshua 24:28-31 RSV)

Although already dead for centuries by the time of the Exodus, Joseph's Bones had also made their journey from Egypt to burial in the promised land at Shechem, in the hill country of Ephraim's tribal territory.

"The bones of Joseph which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt were buried at Shechem, in the portion of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money; it became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph." (Joshua 24:32 RSV)

The founding members of the Levitical priesthood also died off, to be continued on through The Lines Of Eleazar and Ithamar.

"And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him at Gibeah, the town of Phinehas his son, which had been given him in the hill country of Ephraim." (Joshua 24:33 RSV)

Judges Chapter 1

The era of the Judges of Bible History occurred during the approximately 200-300 relatively chaotic years after the death of Joshua to the time of Samuel, Saul and David (see Israelite Monarchy - The Origin). The original Hebrew word for judge was pronounced shaw-fat, meaning to judge, or govern. In effect, after the death of Joshua the united nation of Israel became a looser (and loser) confederation of tribes, each ruled by a tribal governor who sometimes went to war against other tribes of Israel.

Philistine Much of the Judges era was conflict after conflict that the Israelite tribes had with the people of the land who the Israelites did not drive out, as they were warned to do. When they didn't, they couldn't, because The Lord, as He warned, withdrew their advantage i.e. "if you turn back, and join the remnant of these nations left here among you, and make marriages with them, so that you marry their women and they yours, know assuredly that The Lord your God will not continue to drive out these nations before you; but they shall be a snare and a trap for you" (e.g. the judge Samson's infatuation for Delilah of Gaza).

"After the death of Joshua the people of Israel inquired of The Lord, "Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites [see The Land Of Canaan], to fight against them?" The Lord said, "Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand." And Judah said to Simeon his brother, "Come up with me into the territory allotted to me, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with you into the territory allotted to you." So Simeon went with him. Then Judah went up and The Lord gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand; and they defeated ten thousand of them at Bezek." (Judges 1:1-4 RSV)

Although still supporting them, because the Israelites did not drive the Canaanites out when they could have, The Lord thereafter left the Israelites to fight endless internal security battles, with limited success (note that even Jerusalem, "the Jebusite city," was still held by non-Israelites, a situation that would continue through the entire 2 or 3 centuries of the Judges era - see the Fact Finder question below).

"And The Lord was with Judah, and he took possession of the hill country, but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain, because they had chariots of iron. And Hebron was given to Caleb, as Moses had said; and he drove out from it the three sons of Anak.

But the people of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who dwelt in Jerusalem; so the Jebusites have dwelt with the people of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day." (Judges 1:19-21 RSV)

Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali and Dan all had limited success in maintaining their sovereignty because they did not fight to win when winning was available to them.

"Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; but the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land." (Judges 1:27 RSV)

"And Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them."

Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became subject to forced labor.

Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, or of Achzib, or of Helbah, or of Aphik, or of Rehob; but the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.

Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, but dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and of Beth-anath became subject to forced labor for them.

The Amorites pressed the Danites back into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the plain" (Judges 1:29-34 RSV)

Fact Finder: Who eventually captured Jerusalem for Israel? What place in Jerusalem did King David thereafter purchase from Ornan the Jebusite?
See Ornan the Jebusite


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