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‫‪ko‬‬ ‫‪nw‬‬ ‫‪yu‬‬ ‫‪or‬‬

‫‪ko‬‬ ‫‪nw‬‬ ‫‪yu‬‬ ‫‪or‬‬

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Chapter review of Book of Yehoshua from Chapters 1-5
Chapter review of Book of Yehoshua from Chapters 1-5

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Published by: Rabbi Benyomin Hoffman on Oct 10, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The popular name "
n'viim rishonim
" - [trans. - the FIRST (or early) prophets] used to describe the books of Yehoshua, Shoftim, Shmuel, & Melachim can be very misleading!This name is used to differentiate between these four books and what we refer to as "
n'viim acharonim
" [trans. -the LATER prophets], i.e. Yeshayahu, Yirmiyahu, Yechezkel, & Trei Asar.These two names imply that the PRIMARY difference between N'VIIM RISHONIM & ACHARONIM issimply WHEN those respective prophets lived. However, this distinction can not be accurate for a verysimple reason: Even though most of "n'viim rishonim" does deal with an earlier time period, the book of MELACHIM covers the same time period as most all of the "n'viim acharonim".So, what's the difference between them? The answer is quite simple when we consider the basic literary style of each group of "seforim".The four books of N'viim Rishonim are what we call 'NARRATIVE based', i.e. each sefer presents an ongoingstory (in a manner similar to the style of Chumash). In fact, Sefer Yehoshua actually continues theSTORY of Chumash for its narrative picks up right where the narrative of Sefer Devarim left off. [i.e.Yehoshua takes over immediately after the death of Moshe Rabeinu.]Similarly, Sefer Shoftim continues from where the narrative of Sefer Yehoshua ends, then Sefer Shmuelcontinues the narrative of Sefer Shoftim, and finally Sefer Melachim continues the narrative from Sefer Shmuel.Therefore, even though each sefer is written by a different prophet, we could almost consider "n'viim rishonim"as a continuous series. [Nonetheless, each sefer stands alone, as we shall prove during our study of eachsefer.]In contrast, the books of "N'viim Acharonim" are what we call 'PROPHECY based', i.e. each sefer presents aCOLLECTION of various prophecies delivered by a certain "navi". Even though these books often docontain several stories, those stories are not part of a continuous narrative, rather they either introduce or support a certain prophecy.To prove this distinction, simply take a quick look at the opening pasuk of each Sefer of N'viim Acharonim. Note how each sefer begins by introducing a set of prophecies. For example:
"The VISIONS [chazon] of YESHAYAHU, son of Amotz..." (1:1)
"The WORDS [divrei] of YIRMIYAHU, son of Chilkiyahu..." (1:1)
"And it came to pass on the thirtieth year... the WORD OF G-D [dvar Hashem] came toYECHEZKEL ben Buzi...' (1:1-3)
"The WORD OF G-D [dvar Hashem] which came to HOSHEA..."(1:1)
"The WORD OF G-D [dvar Hashem] which came to YOEL..."(1:1) etc.[Note also how after these introductions, we find a collection of prophecies, oneafter the other, with very little narrative connecting them.]In contrast, the books of Nviim Rishonim all begin with a continuing story. For example:
"And it came to pass after Moshe (G-d's servant) died..."
"And it came to pass after Yehoshua died..." (Shoftim 1:1) etc.Even though each sefer of Nviim Rishonim includes certain prophecies, these prophecies form an integral partof that sefer's ongoing narrative!In fact, the names of Sefer Yehoshua and Sefer Shmuel should not mislead us, for even though they soundsimilar, they are very different than the names of Nviim Acharonim. For example: When we say "sefer Hoshea", we mean a COLLECTION of prophecies given by the prophet Hoshea. Similarly, when wesay "sefer Yeshayahu", we mean a COLLECTION of prophecies given by the prophet Yeshayahu.
However, when we say "sefer Yehoshua, we mean the STORY of what happened to Bnei Yisrael during theTIME PERIOD of the prophet Yehoshua, but NOT a collection of his prophecies. Similarly, "sefer Shmuel" is not a collection of the prophecies of the navi Shmuel, rather it is the story of how theinstitution of a kingdom is established during the time period of Shmuel.[Even though Yehoshua himself wrote Sefer Yehoshua (see Baba Batra 14b), the sefer is NOT a collection of his prophecies, rather the story of Bnei Yisrael's conquest and inheritance of the land during his lifetime.]This distinction will assist us in our study, for as we search for the primary theme of each sefer, we mustconsider not only who wrote each sefer, but also WHY it was written - for what purpose. Understandingthat purpose will enable us to better appreciate its stories and detail.Therefore, when we begin our study of Sefer Yehoshua, we should not expect to find a collection of Yehoshua's prophecies, but rather the continuation of Sefer Devarim - i.e. the STORY of what happens to BneiYisrael after the death of Moshe. This background will also help us appreciate the numerous parallels between Sefer Yehoshua and Chumash, for many of the 'goals' that Bnei Yisrael were unable to achieveduring the time period of Moshe are achieved during the time period of Yehoshua. We will also see howSefer Yehoshua relates as well to those goals that are not achieved during that time period. Nonetheless, even though Sefer Yehoshua will contain primarily stories, they will be presented from a prophetic perspective, and hence their details must be studied by searching for their theme and message. In our study, we will analyze both the presentation and progression of those stories in order to uncover their  prophetic message.
In closing, one brief, but important comment on the word prophet ["navi"]. When we say a 'prophet', weinstinctively think of someone who can 'foresee the future'. However, this is hardly the case in "nviimrishonim". Take for example Sifrei Shoftim and Melachim, they were written by n'viim (Shmuel &Yirmiyahu, respectively/ see Baba Batra 14b) who lived at the CONCLUSION of those time periods.And even in Sifrei Yehoshua and Shmuel, rarely do we find the navi predicting future events.So what is a "navi"? A prophet is a person of the highest moral and religious standard who reaches the levelwhere he can receive "nevuah" from G-d, and then convey that divine message to man - sort of a conduit between G-d and man. [See Rambam Hilchot Yesodai Ha'torah chapters 7 & 8 for a more completeexplanation - (highly recommended).]A beautiful example of this interpretation of the word "navi" if found in Sefer Shmot when Moshe refuses toaccept his mission to speak to Pharaoh, claiming that he does not speak clearly (see 6:29-30 "aralsfatayim"). Note G-d's response:"And Hashem said to Moshe: See, I have appointed you as ELOKIM to Pharaoh, [but] Aharon your brother will be your NAVI". You shall speak what ever I command, and Aharon your brother will RELAY [thecommand] to Pharaoh... (Shmot 7:1-2)Here - the word "navi" implies a conduit between Moshe and Pharaoh, i.e. Aharon will serve as Moshe'sspokesman before Pharaoh. [Note as well from 7:1-2 that Moshe becomes the ELOKIM, and Aharon becomes the NAVI!]In this sense, prophets do not necessarily 'see the future'. Instead, they RELAY G-d's message to man. Eventhough G-d may periodically warn Bnei Yisrael [via His navi] of impending punishment should theycontinue sinning, this should not be considered as simply 'predicting the future'. In fact, quite often, thenavi warns them so that they repent - in order that the punishment will NOT come true!Furthermore, most prophecies comment on events which have ALREADY TAKEN PLACE to explain WHYthose events happened [see for example Shoftim 2:11-23]. From this perspective, a NAVI could beconsidered more of a 'guidance counselor' than a 'forecaster'.THE TANACH STUDY CENTER [http://tanach.org] In Memory of Rabbi Abraham Leibtag

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