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Joshua (deborah christine a.

De leon, III Patinum)


The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. Its 24 chapters tell of the entry into Canaan, its conquest and division under the leadership of Joshua, and of serving God in the land. Joshua forms part of the biblical history of the emergence of Israel which begins with the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, continues with their conquest of Canaan under their leader Joshua (the subject matter of the book of Joshua), and culminates in Judges with the settlement of the tribes in the land. The book is structured in two roughly equal parts, the story of the campaigns of the Israelites in central, southern and northern Canaan and their destruction of their enemies, followed by the division of the conquered land among the twelve tribes; the two parts are framed by set-piece speeches by God and Joshua commanding the conquest and at the end warning of the need for faithful obedience of the Law (torah) revealed to Moses. Almost without exception scholars agree that the book of Joshua holds little historical value. Rather than being written as history, the Deuteronomistic history - Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings - was intended to illustrate a theological scheme in which Israel and her leaders are judged by their obedience to the teachings and laws (the covenant) set down in the book of Deuteronomy. Although tradition holds that it was written by Joshua, it is probable that it was written by multiple editors and authors far removed from the time. The earliest parts of the book are possibly chapters 2-11, the story of the conquest; more certain is that this section was then incorporated into an early form of Joshua that was part of then original Deuteronomistic history, written late in the reign of king Josiah (reigned 640-609 BCE); it seems clear that the book was not completed until after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586, and possibly not until after the return from the Babylonian exile late in the 6th century Structure I. Entry into the land and conquest of the land (1:1 12:24) A. Transfer of leadership to Joshua (1:118) 1. God's commission to Joshua (1:19) 2. Joshua's instructions to the people (1:10 18) B. Entrance into Canaan (2:15:15) 1. Reconnaissance of Jericho (2:124) 2. Crossing the Jordan (3:117) 3. Establishing a foothold at Gilgal (4:15:1) 4. Circumcision and Passover (5:215) C. Victory over Canaan (6:112:24) 1. Destruction of Jericho (6) 2. Failure and success at Ai (7:18:29) 3. Renewal of the covenant at Mount Ebal (8:3035) 4. Other campaigns in central Palestine (9:127) 5. Campaigns in southern Palestine (10:1 43) 6. Campaigns in northern Palestine (11:1 23) 7. Summary list of defeated kings (12:124) II. Division of the land among the tribes (13:122:34) A. God's instructions to Joshua (13:17) B. Tribal allotments (13:819:51) 1. Eastern tribes (13:833) 2. Western tribes (14:119:51) C. Cities of refuge and levitical cities (20:1 21:42) D. Summary of conquest (21:4345) E. Dismissal of the eastern tribes (serving YHWH in the land) (22:134) III. Conclusion (23:124:33) A. Joshua's farewell address (23:116) B. Covenant at Shechem (24:128) C. Deaths of Joshua and Eleazar; burial of Joseph's bones (24:2933)

Tradition Joshua, like most of the bible, is anonymous. The Babylonian Talmud was the first attempt to attach authors to the holy books: each book, according to the authors of the Talmud, was written by a prophet, and each prophet was an eyewitness of the events described, and Joshua himself wrote "the book that bears his name". This idea was already rejected as untenable by John Calvin (1509-1564), and by the time of Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) it was recognised that the book must have been written much later than the period it depicted. Themes The overarching theological theme of the Deuteronomistic history is faithfulness (and its obverse, faithlessness) and God's mercy (and its obverse, his anger). In Judges, Samuel and Kings Israel becomes faithless and God ultimately shows his anger by sending his people into exile, but in Joshua Israel is obedient, Joshua is faithful, and God fulfills his promise and gives them the land. Yahweh's war campaign in Palestine validates Israel's entitlement to the landand provides a paradigm of how Israel was to live there: twelve tribes, with a designated leader, united by covenant in warfare and in worship of Yahweh alone at single sanctuary, all in obedience to the commands of Moses as found in Deuteronomy.