The book of Joshua is the first book that wasn’t written by Moses. In fact, Moses—who is the man the Israelites considered to be their greatest leader, against whom future leaders would be measured—has left some pretty big shoes to fill, and that was probably somewhat intimidating for Joshua, his replacement. Or at least, it would have been, if Joshua had to do it on his own. But if God was the Israelites’ true leader, and all Joshua had to do was faithfully follow Him, then there was nothing for him to be worried about. Based on the evidence, I think Joshua did very well.
This period in the Israelites’ history represents a high point for them. In fact, I would say that it’s probably one of their highest points, in terms of obeying the LORD and following His commands (although a good case could be made that the Israelite nation under King David might have done just as good or better).
This book is concerned with the Israelites taking over the Promised Land, and destroying the nations who had previously lived there. Although the Israelites didn’t do a perfect job—and we’ll see the results of that as we move into the book of Judges—they did do a pretty good job, and I believe that, for the most part, they were at least trying to follow the LORD.
You’ll also notice that Joshua himself is not mentioned that much, in the book. (At least, not when compared to how present Moses was, in the last few books.) Personally, I think this is a mark of good leadership, on Joshua’s part. He knew to get out of the way, and let the LORD rule His people. (Not that I’m saying that Moses did badly in this respect, mind you. But with the Israelites taking over the Promised Land, and becoming a warring nation, it was good for them to remember that it was the LORD who was winning their battles, not their leader Joshua.)
It is important to note that Joshua echoes Moses in many ways. Does things such as send spies into the promised land, which got them screwed over for 40 years last time. Yet it works this time. As for following what God wants, there is the first hint of their continued doubt.
Once we get to Josiah, he is echoing David. In all likelihood, Josiah wrote and edited (aka had scribes do it) the first books of the bible, especially Deuteronomy, and anything that has to do with Deuteronomic law. He does these things to unify Israel, which has been having some problems. He wants them to be happy and one, and they celebrate as mandated in the texts. But all of these texts echo what Josiah did so closely that it is easy to see that when he found these texts, he also edited them and took the parts that helped his cause, and made him to look better. This includes messing around with stories of Moses and Joshua
Post a Comment