Tag Archives: Joshua 11

Joshua 11:23 – Inheritance and Rest

Joshua 11:23 (ESV) — 23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war.

 

This one verse sums up over forty years of God’s revelation and purpose in Israel’s history.

  • Importantly, the claim is that all that occurred in Joshua 1-11 is attributed to God’s covenant faithfulness.
    • Not the workings of a war-hungry, nation-grabbing Semitic tribe.
    • To appreciate this, we need to step back a bit and get a broad Scriptural overview of this text and the events of Joshua 1-11.
    • In other words, how did we get here?

 

Conquest Ordained:

(1) God made a covenant with Abram concerning the land of Canaan.

  • Genesis 12:7 (ESV) — 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

 

(2) The fulfillment of this promise would not happen overnight and was to be synergistic (God and man).

  • Exodus 23:30 (ESV) — 30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.
  • Numbers 33:53–54 (ESV) — 53 And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it.
  • Joshua 1:11 (ESV) — 11 “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’ ”

 

(3) The land would be given as a God-ordained inheritance.

  • Exodus 32:13 (ESV) — 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ”
  • Numbers 33:54 (ESV) — 54 You shall inherit the land by lot according to your clans. To a large tribe you shall give a large inheritance, and to a small tribe you shall give a small inheritance. Wherever the lot falls for anyone, that shall be his. According to the tribes of your fathers you shall inherit.
  • Joshua 13:7 (ESV) — 7 Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh.”

 

 

(4) The inheritance will bring rest to the people of Israel.

  • Deuteronomy 12:9–10 (ESV) — 9 for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the Lord your God is giving you. 10 But when you go over the Jordan and live in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all your enemies around, so that you live in safety,
  • Joshua 1:13 (ESV) — 13 “Remember the word that 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.’
  • Joshua 11:23 (ESV) — 23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war.
  • Joshua 14:15 (ESV) — 15 Now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba. (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim.) And the land had rest from war.
  • Joshua 21:44 (ESV) — 44 And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands.
  • Joshua 22:4 (ESV) — 4 And now the Lord your God has given rest to your brothers, as he promised them. Therefore turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan.
  • Joshua 23:1 (ESV) — 1 A long time afterward, when the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their surrounding enemies, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years,

 

 

(5) This inheritance and rest were “contingent upon obedience to [Gods] law” – TWOT.

  • Deuteronomy 28:63 (ESV) — 63 And as the Lord took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it [as a curse for disobedience].
  • Deuteronomy 28:65–68 (ESV) — 65 [More curses for disobedience] And among these nations you shall find no respite, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot, but the Lord will give you there a trembling heart and failing eyes and a languishing soul. 66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life. 67 In the morning you shall say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and at evening you shall say, ‘If only it were morning!’ because of the dread that your heart shall feel, and the sights that your eyes shall see. 68 And the Lord will bring you back in ships to Egypt, a journey that I promised that you should never make again; and there you shall offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.”
  • Joshua 1:7–8 (ESV) — 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

 

(6) The promise was delivered.

  • Joshua 21:43–44 (ESV) — 43 Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. 44 And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands.

 

We have dealt with all but two of these – inheritance and rest.

 

Inheritance:

In our context, inheritance is meant to convey:

  • (1) A gift to the elect – what God has “given to the godly” – TWOT.
  • (2) The incumbent responsibilities of keeping the inheritance – TWOT.
  • (3) The land itself.

 

Gift:

God made it clear it was His prerogative to choose Israel.

  • They had nothing to do with it.
  • Deuteronomy 7:7–8 (ESV) — 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
  • Deuteronomy 10:14–15 (ESV) — 14 Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.
  • Psalm 33:12 (ESV) — 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
  • The inheritance was not deserved by works, but kept by works.

 

Responsibilities:

God is the Creator and King, and the land belongs to Him.

  • By bequeathing His land He “obligates His subjects to render personal services” – TWOT.
    • Israel was the steward of God’s land.
    • (1) They were to devote and dedicate the land to Him – such as the offering of firstfruits (Deut. 26:1-3).
    • (2) They were to “not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance” – Deut. 21:23.

 

And as we have seen, shirking their responsibilities and living in disobedience would have serious repercussions.

  • Jeremiah 17:4 (ESV) — 4 You shall loosen your hand from your heritage that I gave to you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.”

 

Rest:

In our context, the meaning of rest can be determined from scriptures that speak of its presence and of its deprivation.

  • Rest from enemies (Deut. 12:10)
  • Living in safety (Deut. 12:10)
  • Cessation of war (Josh. 11:23)
  • Removal of enemy threat (Josh. 21:44)
  • Rest from a “trembling heart and failing eyes and a languishing soul” (Deut. 28:65)
  • Assurance of life (Deut. 28:66)
  • Contentment (Deut. 28:67)
  • Prosperity (Josh. 1:8)
  • Rest for the land from war (Josh. 11:23)

 

These attributes of Joshua’s rest are physical and, as we saw, the rest is conditional.

  • To remain in the rest required obedience to God’s commands.
  • And over and over, Israel forsook its inheritance and lost its rest.

 

Is there a rest from God that is not conditional?

 

David apparently has an answer for us:

  • Psalm 95:7–11 (ESV) — 7b For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, 9 when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. 10 For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” 11 Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”

 

How does this text speak of a new kind of rest?

 

The author of Hebrews took David to be referring to a number of important things.

  • One of which being that “today” is being “in Christ”.
  • Hebrews 3:13–14 (ESV) — 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

 

And because of our union with Christ, we have access to a new kind of rest.

  • Hebrews 4:1–3 (ESV) — 1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’ ” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.
  • As surely as disobedience resulted in not entering God’s rest in the promise land…
  • So our being “in Christ” by faith guarantees that those “who have believed enter” His rest.

 

And speaking of Joshua, the writer of Hebrews continues:

  • Hebrews 4:8–10 (ESV) — 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

 

First the bad news:

  • There was a rest available that was not part of Joshua’s physical rest – David Howard.
  • A rest that Joshua did not bring.
  • The rest in Joshua “was a fragile, tenuous one” because of its conditional nature – David Howard.

 

Then the awesome news:

  • Hebrews is saying that David’s “today” is “another day later on”.
  • And this day is referring to rest in Christ.
  • And this rest is not entered into by observance of the law (works).
  • It is entered into by the state of being “in Christ”!
  • This rest is unconditional!

 

Finally, the writer of Hebrews wants to provide us assurance about rest in Christ.

  • Hebrews 4:11–12 (ESV) — 11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
  • God’s word will expose hypocrisy, deception and sin.
  • To find the assurance of rest in Christ, remain in God’s word!

 

Joshua 10 & 11 – None Remaining?

We saw last week that God expressed His Will concerning the Canaanites in terms of devotion to destruction.

  • Deuteronomy 7:2 (ESV) — 2 and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them.
  • Deuteronomy 20:16–17 (ESV) — 16 But in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, 17 but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord your God has commanded,

 

What does this “DTD” language mean (quick review)?

  • “The Hebrew phrase for ‘devote to destruction,’ cherem, refers to the destruction of life—human and otherwise—as an act of devotion to Yahweh. The destruction is an act of complete consecration; therefore the verb has a religious connotation: destruction is an act of sacrifice” – Michael Heiser.
  • Or to put another way, destruction can be seen as an “irrevocable surrender to God” of those things that “impede or resist” God’s Work – TWOT.
  • So there is a judicial and religious connotation to “DTD”.

 

But there is also a brutal implication for the Canaanites.

  • “DTD” meant their violent death.
    • Though, as we saw last week they were not innocent.

 

In Joshua 10 and 11, “cherem” appears ten times.

  • So ten times we are told that various Canaanite peoples were “DTD”.
  • This of course meant that they were judged and set apart/consecrated to God.

 

But it also meant that a lot of people died.

  • every person in it; he left none remaining” (10:28)
  • struck it with the edge of the sword, and its king and its towns, and every person in it. He left none remaining” (10:37)
  • every person in it; he left none remaining” (10:39)
  • Joshua struck the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings. He left none remaining” (10:40)
  • there was none left that breathed” (11:11)

 

Previous chapters in Joshua were also full of this kind of language.

  • Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old…” (6:21)
  • And all who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai” (8:25)

 

We have already discussed the implications of this “DTD” in previous lessons.

  • How is it that death can be a devotion, for example.
  • And, how do we reconcile a God-sanctioned war.
  • But we haven’t addressed the amount of violence.

 

About all this violence and death, David Howard notes:

  • “The picture painted in this section is unequivocally one of complete and swift annihilation of people throughout the entire region” – David Howard.
  • He goes to say that the implication of these text is that “Joshua and the Israelites left no survivors in the various cities” – David Howard.

 

Did the Israelites really leave “none remaining”?

  • And if they didn’t, why does the text appear to say that they did?

 

Amorites:

Joshua 10:8 (ESV) — 8 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you…the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel (vs. 12)

  • BUT

Joshua 10:20 (ESV) — 20 When Joshua and the sons of Israel had finished striking them with a great blow until they were wiped out, and when the remnant that remained of them had entered into the fortified cities,

Judges 1:35 (ESV) — 35 The Amorites persisted in dwelling in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim, but the hand of the house of Joseph rested heavily on them, and they became subject to forced labor.

 

Hebron:

Joshua 10:37 (ESV) — 37 and captured it [Hebron] and struck it with the edge of the sword, and its king and its towns, and every person in it. He left none remaining, as he had done to Eglon, and devoted it to destruction and every person in it.

  • BUT

Judges 1:10 (ESV) — 10 And Judah went against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (now the name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath-arba), and they defeated Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai.

 

Jebusites:

Joshua 11:3–4 & 8 (ESV) — 3 to the Canaanites in the east and the west, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, and the Jebusites in the hill country, and the Hivites under Hermon in the land of Mizpah. 4 And they came out with all their troops, a great horde, in number like the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots…8 And they struck them until he left none remaining.

  • BUT

Judges 1:21 (ESV) — 21 But the people of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem, so the Jebusites have lived with the people of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.

 

Anakim:

Joshua 11:22 (ESV) — 22 There was none of the Anakim left in the land of the people of Israel [hill country]. Only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod did some remain.

  • BUT

Joshua 14:12 (ESV) — 12 So now give me [Caleb] this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.”

 

General Citations:

Joshua 10:40 (ESV) — 40 So Joshua struck the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings. He left none remaining, but devoted to destruction all that breathed, just as the Lord God of Israel commanded.

  • BUT

Judges 2:1–3 (ESV) — 1 Now the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? 3 So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.”

 

So what are we to do with these apparent contradictions?

  • The choices seem to be:
    • (1) Panic and question the inerrancy claim of Scripture.
    • (2) Ignore them.
    • (3) Deny them.
    • (4) Look for a possible explanation.

 

Clearly (1), (2), and (3) are not the way to go.

  • These choices might very well be signs of a weak and uninformed faith.
  • Our faith should be stronger, more robust and more vigorous than to ever be thrown of course by Scripture itself.

 

It is always more likely the case that Scriptural concerns are caused by the baggage or assumptions we bring to the way we look at Scripture.

  • We need to remember that Scripture does not neatly fit into our fleshly, self-centered, modern presuppositions.

“We cannot read the Hebrew Bible as if it were journalistic or academic history such as might be written today. Such reading would compromise the intentions, presuppositions, values, and poetics of the literature and its authors” – John Walton.

 

We are left with choice (4) – look for a possible explanation.

  • And here, we will look for an explanation in an ancient Near Eastern context.

 

ANE contextual explanation:

What are we trying to do?

  • “When we compare the literature of the ancient Near East with the Bible, we are ultimately trying to recover aspects of the ancient cognitive environment that may help us understand the Israelite perspective a little better. By catching a glimpse of how they thought about themselves and their world, we sometimes discover ways that the Israelites would have thought that differ totally from how we think” – John Walton.
  • The fact that there were ways in which Israelite thinking was totally different from ours is very difficult for many Christians to compute.

 

One area where this ANE thinking differs from ours is in the use of military language.

  • And it will be here that we will find a possible solution to our problem.

 

Along with the OT examples under discussion, we need to look at examples outside the OT.

  • This list is lifted in its entirety (verbatim) from Paul Copan’s Is God a Moral Monster?

 

ANE Examples:

Egypt’s Tuthmosis III (later fifteenth century) boasted that “the numerous army of Mitanni was overthrown within the hour, annihilated totally, like those (now) not existent.”

  • In fact, Mitanni’s forces lived on to fight in the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries BC.

 

Hittite king Mursilli II (who ruled from 1322–1295 BC) recorded making “Mt. Asharpaya empty (of humanity)” and the “mountains of Tarikarimu empty (of humanity).”

  • The “Bulletin” of Ramses II tells of Egypt’s less-than-spectacular victories in Syria (around 1274 BC). Nevertheless, he announces that he slew “the entire force” of the Hittites, indeed “all the chiefs of all the countries,” disregarding the “millions of foreigners,” which he considered “chaff.”

 

In the Merneptah Stele (ca. 1230 BC), Rameses II’s son Merneptah announced, “Israel is wasted, his seed is not,”

  • another premature declaration.

 

Moab’s king Mesha (840/830 BC) bragged that the Northern Kingdom of “Israel has utterly perished for always,”

  • which was over a century premature. The Assyrians devastated Israel in 722 BC.

 

The Assyrian ruler Sennacherib (701–681 BC) used similar hyperbole: “The soldiers of Hirimme, dangerous enemies, I cut down with the sword; and not one escaped.”

 

The similarity between the Israel’s OT language and claims and their neighbors is obvious.

  • Does it teach us anything that will help us?

 

Scholars’ Take:

Scholars suggest that Scripture, like ANE military historiography, is hyperbolic.

  • “Scripture is similar to other ancient historiography in that it may use large numbers hyperbolically in military contexts” – David M. Fouts (JETS 40/3).
  • “Again, the sweeping words ‘all,’ ‘young and old,’ and ‘men and women’ were stock [ANE] expressions for totality, even if women and children weren’t present” – Paul Copan.
  • “Joshua’s conventional warfare rhetoric was common in many other ancient Near Eastern military accounts in the second and first millennia BC. The language is typically exaggerated and full of bravado, depicting total devastation” – Paul Copan.
  • “The author was being hyperbolic here in order to reiterate the theological point made many times in the book that God was indeed giving Israel the entire land” – David Howard.

 

Can something be hyperbole and historical?

  • Yes.
  • “The use of figurative language, including numerical hyperbole, does not mitigate the historical reliability of an account” – David M Fouts (JETS 40/3).
  • Remember, this is an ANE military account NOT a report from Afghanistan.
  • They had different literary conventions and concerns.
  • It is we moderns who are concerned today about getting casualty reports with exact numbers.

 

In fact, Richard Averbeck says:

“Yes, it is true that conservative evangelical scholars naturally give the text the benefit of the doubt in terms of historical, theological, and compositional integrity. Guilty as charged! But evangelicals do not see this as an intellectual or methodological weakness. No, it is a strength and, in fact, a critical procedural advantage because we patiently stay with the text, allowing the (re)working of our understanding as we do our research”.

 

Do Joshua and his book mislead the reader?

  • “Not at all. He was speaking the language that everyone in his day would have understood. Rather than trying to deceive, Joshua was just saying he had fairly well trounced the enemy” – Paul Copan.

 

In fact, the ANE reader of Joshua and Judges would not be troubled at all with Joshua’s words from Joshua 23.

  • Joshua 23:12–13 (ESV) — 12 For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, 13 know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the Lord your God has given you.
  • Joshua himself “matter-of-factly assumes the continued existence of Canaanite peoples that could pose a threat to Israel” – Paul Copan.
    • The same Joshua that “left none remaining”.

 

NOTE – An ANE contextual understanding of things like the sun standing still and military language can help clear the way to the Gospel for the skeptical seeker.

 

 

Joshua 10 & 11 – God’s Sovereignty and Conquest

Our text today documents the remainder of the Southern campaign and the whole of the Northern campaign.

  • There are some apologetic concerns about the completion of this Conquest we may address at the end.
  • But before that, our text reveals something remarkable…

 

Canaan’s devotion to destruction and Israel’s obedience to this devotion are intricately woven around God’s Will and Sovereignty.

 

This all comes together in one verse in Joshua 11 –

  • Joshua 11:20 (ESV) — 20 For it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction [DTD] and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the Lord commanded Moses.

 

This text links God’s Will and Sovereignty to Israel’s obedience and Canaan’s “DTD” in a causal chain.

  • God’s Will – “The Lord commanded Moses” and Joshua that the Canaanites are to be “DTD”.
    • This command to Moses expressed the Will of God.
    • It was to be obeyed.
    • God’s Sovereignty – To this end, “it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts”.
      • God’s act of hardening was to ensure they would “come against Israel in battle”.
      • This would then lead to their being “devoted to destruction”.
      • The very thing God Willed in His giving of the Promise Land to Abrahams descendants.

 

God’s Will:

God had made it clear to Moses and Joshua His Will concerning the Canaanites:

  • Deuteronomy 7:2 (ESV) — 2 and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them.
  • Deuteronomy 20:16–17 (ESV) — 16 But in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, 17 but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord your God has commanded,

 

Why was this God’s will?

  • We do have some clues as to why God would will Canaanite destruction.

 

Curse

  • Genesis 9:22 & 25 (ESV) — 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside… 25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”
  • Genesis 10:15–20 (ESV) — 15 Canaan fathered Sidon his firstborn and Heth, 16 and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, 17 the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 18 the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward the clans of the Canaanites dispersed. 19 And the territory of the Canaanites extended from Sidon in the direction of Gerar as far as Gaza, and in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. 20 These are the sons of Ham, by their clans, their languages, their lands, and their nations.

 

Might the curse have had a present and future connotation or at the very least been a foreshadowing?

  • Especially if “curse” here refers to the consequences of one’s sin/disobedience.
  • This connection becomes all the more acute with the description of Ham’s offspring and their territory.
  • The very peoples and land under Conquest in Joshua 10 and 11.

 

 

Covenant Faithfulness

  • Genesis 12:6–7 (ESV) — 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
  • Exodus 3:16–17 (ESV) — 16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, 17 and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.” ’
  • Exodus 13:11 (ESV) — 11 “When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and your fathers, and shall give it to you,
  • Leviticus 25:38 (ESV) — 38 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.

 

God’s promise and faithfulness to –

  • Bring” His people (His elect) out of exile
  • To return them to the Promised Land
  • Are themes that carry forward all the way through the NT
    • The church, resurrection, new creation, etc.

 

Judgment

  • Genesis 15:16 (ESV) — 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
  • Exodus 22:20 (ESV) — 20 “Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the Lord alone, shall be devoted to destruction.
  • Leviticus 18:24–25 (ESV) — 24 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, 25 and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.
  • Deuteronomy 18:12 (ESV) — 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.

 

The abominations included (Leviticus 18 and Deuteronomy 18):

  • Incest
  • Homosexuality
  • Bestiality
  • Child sacrifice
  • Divination
  • Fortune telling
  • Interpreting omens
  • Sorcery
  • Necromancy (speaking to the dead)
  • Idolatry

 

Was God’s will done?

  • Joshua 10:28 (ESV) — 28 As for Makkedah, Joshua captured it on that day and struck it, and its king, with the edge of the sword. He devoted to destruction every person in it; he left none remaining. And he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho.
  • Joshua 10:35 (ESV) — 35 And they captured it on that day, and struck it with the edge of the sword. And he devoted every person in it to destruction that day, as he had done to Lachish.
  • Joshua 10:37 (ESV) — 37 and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword, and its king and its towns, and every person in it. He left none remaining, as he had done to Eglon, and devoted it to destruction and every person in it.
  • Joshua 10:39 (ESV) — 39 and he captured it with its king and all its towns. And they struck them with the edge of the sword and devoted to destruction every person in it; he left none remaining. Just as he had done to Hebron and to Libnah and its king, so he did to Debir and to its king.
  • Joshua 10:40 (ESV) — 40 So Joshua struck the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings. He left none remaining, but devoted to destruction all that breathed, just as the Lord God of Israel commanded.
  • Joshua 11:11 (ESV) — 11 And they struck with the sword all who were in it, devoting them to destruction; there was none left that breathed. And he burned Hazor with fire.
  • Joshua 11:12 (ESV) — 12 And all the cities of those kings, and all their kings, Joshua captured, and struck them with the edge of the sword, devoting them to destruction, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded.

 

And the author of Joshua makes clear that this “DTD” was done in accordance with God’s will.

  • Joshua 11:15 (ESV) — 15 Just as the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses.

 

BTW – Understanding God’s will here demonstrates that God was not planning as history unfolded.

  • He always knew exactly the who, what, and when.
    • All of which were preparing the way for Christ.
    • And this leads us to the how.

 

God’s Sovereignty:

What is God’s Sovereignty?

  • “The fact that God is free and able to do all that he wills; that he reigns over all creation and that his will is the final cause of all things” – Martin Manser.
  • “By his sovereignty we mean the authority of his power over creation” – Michael Bird.
  • Psalm 135:6 (ESV) — 6 Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.

 

We noted earlier an expression of this sovereignty, “it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts”.

  • This language is similar to God’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart in Exodus.
  • And it parallels God’s stirring of Cyrus’ spirit.
  • Ezra 1:1 (ESV) — 1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom…
    • Cyrus went on to “allow” and fund the rebuilding of the Temple.

 

God’s power over earth’s rulers is expressed well in Proverbs.

  • Proverbs 21:1 (ESV) — 1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.

 

Judicial Hardening:

In the case of the Canaanites and Pharaoh “it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts”.

  • This action of God’s sovereignty is often called “judicial hardening”.
  • God is exercising His sovereignty over a “king’s heart” to accomplish His will.

 

BTW – “Don’t think you can escape this God by running into the New Testament; you will meet the same God there (Heb. 3:12–13)” – Dale Davis.

 

The topic of God’s Sovereignty raises some important questions.

  • Did God leave the fulfillment of His will for the Promised Land up to His creatures?
  • Or, did He sovereignly predestinate events, outcomes and behaviors?

 

God’s Action:

In one sense, the Bible understands the Conquest as God’s work and His predestination.

  • His direct and personal causative action in the details of the Conquest.

 

Scripture puts in this way –

  • Exodus 23:23 (ESV) — 23 “When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out,
  • Exodus 23:29–30 (ESV) — 29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.
  • Exodus 33:2 (ESV) — 2 I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
  • Exodus 34:11 (ESV) — 11 “Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
  • Joshua 1:2–3 (ESV) — 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.
  • Joshua 10:8 (ESV) — 8 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.”
  • Joshua 10:11 (ESV) — 11 And as they fled before Israel, while they were going down the ascent of Beth-horon, the Lord threw down large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died because of the hailstones than the sons of Israel killed with the sword.
  • Joshua 10:12 (ESV) — 12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”

 

Yet, God’s Sovereignty and predestination operates in the context of man’s actions.

  • Man’s natural ability (different from moral ability) to be causative somehow compliments God’s Sovereignty.

 

The two come together in the following verses:

  • Joshua 10:25–26 (ESV) — 25 And Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and courageous. For thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.” 26 And afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death, and he hanged them on five trees. And they hung on the trees until evening.
  • Joshua 10:42 (ESV) — 42 And Joshua captured all these kings and their land at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel.
  • Joshua 11:6 (ESV) — 6 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, for tomorrow at this time I will give over all of them, slain, to Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.”

 

Man’s Actions:

The writer of Joshua also explicitly attributes Conquest to the actions of man.

 

Scripture puts it this way –

  • Joshua 10:34–35 (ESV) — 34 Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Lachish to Eglon. And they laid siege to it and fought against it. 35 And they captured it on that day, and struck it with the edge of the sword.
  • Joshua 10:40 (ESV) — 40 So Joshua struck the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings. He left none remaining…
  • Joshua 11:16 (ESV) — 16 So Joshua took all that land, the hill country and all the Negeb and all the land of Goshen and the lowland and the Arabah and the hill country of Israel and its lowland
  • Joshua 11:18 (ESV) — 18 Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.
  • Joshua 11:23 (ESV) — 23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments…

 

BTW – though God hardened the Canaanites’ hearts, Scripture also shows their causative actions as well.

  • Here is but one example –
  • Joshua 11:4–5 (ESV) — 4 And they came out with all their troops, a great horde, in number like the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. 5 And all these kings joined their forces and came and encamped together at the waters of Merom to fight against Israel.

 

It is clear that God uses means to accomplish His Will.

  • And along with His Sovereign actions in creation – including hardening the hearts of the Canaanites – He also uses the actions of His creatures.
  • God gave the Promised Land but Joshua took the Promise Land.
  • God hardened Canaanite hearts but the Canaanites allied together to fight Israel.
  • The two, God’s Sovereignty and man’s action, mysteriously go together.
  • This is no different in the NT.

 

Dale Davis has some wise words about this mystery.

“Divine sovereignty does not negate human activity but stimulates it” – Dale Davis.

 

“God’s sovereignty is not a doctrine that shackles us but a reality that liberates us, not a cloud that stifles but an elixir that invigorates” – Dale Davis.