Bible Time Period: Conquest and Judges
You led Israel triumphantly into the Promised Land. They failed to teach their children, and instead did what was right in their own eyes: Help me to keep my eyes on you and teach others what is truly right.
Joshua 13-21 tells how the land is divided among the remaining tribes of Israel (some already received land in the Transjordan). You may want to skim through these chapters, but notice mentions of Israel’s obedience (and disobedience), and in particular the extent to which the local people are driven out or destroyed.
Many people have serious questions about the violence in the Old Testament, and particularly in the account of the conquest of Canaan, wondering how a loving God could require it. There are no easy answers, but perhaps this comment will help, from the introduction to the period of Conquest and Judges in the Bible Timeline Guided Journal, p. 81:
“As you read, try to put these books in the perspective of the story as a whole. Why is there violence and death in the world to begin with? … What have we seen is the result of people turning from God, so far in the story? What happens to everyone when a community compromises and allows sin to grow unchecked? Think of how a truly just and holy God should deal with those who persist in their sin versus how He should deal with those who repent. The Canaanites were known not just for idol worship but for their violence and immorality. They have been warned, but they do not repent. God is punishing idolatrous nations who obstinately follow their own ways.
“Most importantly, though, let the Bible answer the questions for you as you read. You will notice that the tribes that settle South of Jerusalem (primarily Judah) obey God and wipe out the Canaanites. In the North, they don’t. What is the result? By the time you read the last few chapters of Judges, you may feel differently than you did at the start of Joshua. It is hard for holiness to flourish when it compromises with corruption. We should know that from our own lives.”
Take a few moments to look back through these posts to remind you of your reading so far. What would you say is the biggest thing you have learned about God?
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