BIBLE STUDY SERIES #590, 591 and 592

March 16, 2003

JOSHUA 12: DEFEATED KINGS - PART IV

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our present series of Bible Studies, which has continued for a number of years sequentially from the Call of Abram in Genesis 12, had, on our last Bible Study, covered the Scriptural record to that which is found in Joshua 12

For new listeners, we should "set the scene" with a short preamble. We had previously examined the records of the entry into The Promised Land, by the Israelites under Joshua, as they proceeded towards occupancy of the Land of Promise which God had sworn to give to Abraham's descendants. We had followed the Scriptural accounts of God's victory at Jericho, and Ai, where Israel received a set-back due to a sin which had been committed by Achan in the camp of Israel, and at the two mountains named Gerizim and Ebal, where Israel had carried out a public ceremonial to proclaim, and affirm, acceptance of The LORD's Commandments.

In Joshua 9, we had learned of a treaty into which the unwary Israelite leadership had been trapped by the lies of the Gibeonites. However, once entered, the compromising agreement must be observed, so those Gibeonites were told that they would be hewers of wood and drawers of water to Israel as slaves of The Sanctuary.

The Southern Canaanites were infuriated with that surrender to Israel by the Gibeonites, and came out against them, causing the Gibeonites to appeal for help to Israel. Military aid was swiftly brought to them and the defeat of the five kings of the Southern Canaanite confederacy which had sought to slay the Gibeonites was thus the means of the taking of all the Southern portion of Canaan. The rout was completed by a terrible hail storm sent by The LORD, which slew more of those enemies than had Israel. We then read the continuation of the somewhat bloody account recorded in Joshua 10 as the assault by Israel's forces continued against all opposition.

Joshua's successful campaign in the south aroused the alarm of the northern Canaanitish kings. Led by Jabin, king of Hazor (lit. 'the fortress'), they formed a great confederacy against Israel. This included Jabin's nearest neighbours but the call to arms was not confined to them, but included the kings in the hill country of the north and in the plains south of Chinneroth, a city on the Lake of Galilee. The remnants of the defeated armies of the south were also summoned to make a supreme effort to repel the invaders. It ended in disaster for the enemies of Israel.

Having followed the Scriptural record through to the end of Joshua 11 and into Joshua 12, which describes the taking of Northern Canaan, we had then come to those Scripture portions which follow that passage, and which generally list the forces which Israel defeated to this point. You might wish to have your Bible open to Joshua 12, and if there is a Bible map showing the Old Testament geography of the time, it might be useful to keep a slip of paper at that spot as well. The Scriptures list at this point many names of localities which fell to Israel at this time. In this list which we are reading there are, along the way, some points of interest to the Bible student and we find a very interesting and useful listing of these Biblical places with historic notes on each which can enhance our understanding of the places named in The Revell Bible Dictionary. We are considering each of the kings that were defeated by Joshua and the armies of Israel as they appear in Joshua 12, and we had covered those kings and places mentioned up to the first part of verse 21, which listed

"21. The king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one;"

After I read each verse, I will quote the significant information on the localities mentioned from that reference. So here is the summary list of defeated kings and cities, beginning with Megiddo, at the middle of verse 21:

Megiddo - An important walled city guarding the principle pass through the Carmel mountain range, connecting the plain of Megiddo (modern plain of Esdraelon) with the coastal plain. Megiddo's great strategic value was derived from this key placement along the main road from Egypt to Syria. Thus from ancient times it was the site of battles. The most thoroughly recorded battle of antiquity occurred at Megiddo when Thutmose III of Egypt defeated a coalition of Asiatic kings there about 1468 BC. Joshua defeated Megiddo in the conquest of Canaan, but its inhabitants were not driven out by the Manassites, to whom the city was allotted. Deborah and Barak later defeated the army of Sisera in a battle near "the waters of Megiddo." indicating the headwaters of the Kishon River. Solomon refortified the city, which became a central city of one of his twelve districts of Israel. In 609 BC Josiah was killed in a battle on the plain of Megiddo, during his attempt to halt the march of Pharaoh Neco N to Carchemish. This event probably marks the final destruction of the city.

22. The king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam of Carmel, one;

Kedesh - "sacred place"; four towns so named. The first was a royal city of the Canaanites defeated by Joshua in his northern campaign. Allotted to the tribe of Naphtali. It was made a city of refuge. Tiglath Pileser III, king of Assyria conquered the city and deported its inhabitants during the reign of Pekah. Identified with Tell Qades in upper Galilee, about 4 miles NE of Lake Huleh. The second was the home of Barak where the forces of Naphtali and Zebulun gathered to fight the army of Jabin, king of Hazor. The third was a town of Issachar, given to the Gershonite clan of the Levites. The fourth was a town in south Judah near Edom, posibly another name for Kadesh Barnea.

Jokneam - A Canaanite royal city on or near Mount Carmel, among the cities given to the Merarite Levites from the tribe of Zebulun. Identified with a site about 7 miles NW of Megiddo.

23. The king of Dor in the coast of Dor, one; the king of the nations of Gilgal, one;

Dor - An ancient Canaanite town on the coast of Palestine, now known as Tantura, about 8 miles N of Caesarea. After Joshua defeated the king of Dor, the city was allotted to the Manassites, but they failed to drive out its Cananite inhabitants. Also called Naphoth and Naphoth Dor.

Gilgal - "circle" or "rolling." Five sites are so named, the first one being 25 miles SE of Shechem, the second was the first campsite of the Israelites after crossing the Jordan. Joshua set up a circle of twelve stones here to commemorate the entrance of the Israelites into the Promised Land. It served as a base of operations in Joshua's military campaigns. Gilgal apparently grew into a prominent city for it was here that Saul was confirmed as king. It also became a centre of idolatrous practices, unless the references by Amos and Hosea refer to Gilgal 4. Possibly located about 1 mile NE of Jericho. The third was a town between Dor and Tirzah whose king was defeated by Joshua. Possibly located on the Plain of Sharon about 3 miles N of Aphek. The fourth is a place on the north border of Judah. The fifth was a place through which Elijah and Elisha passed on the way to Bethel, possibly a town in the hill country of Ephraim, about 7 miles N of Bethel.

24. The king of Tirzah, one: all the kings thirty and one.

Tirzah - Canaanite royal city ... Became the capital of the northern kingdom during the latter years of Jeroboam I, and remained so until the sixth year of Omri's reign, after which the capital was transferred to the newly constructed city of Samaria. It is probably to be identified with a site located about 7 miles NE of Shechem. Evidence of habitation at the site dates from the 4th millennium to the 7th century BC when the city was destroyed.

The concluding words of a former Study are, I think, important enough to be repeated as conclusion to today's thoughts as well. I said this: "It is most noteworthy that it was all done as verse 40 of Joshua 10 records, "as the LORD God of Israel commanded", and thus not for the purpose of robbery for personal or national gain. It is important to keep this before us, and also the long-suffering patience of the LORD in holding off this appointed transfer of land for those four-hundred years following the date when the promise was imparted. Why, then is the invasion important? We ought to consider the age-long ramifications of this invasion. The spiritual instruction to the whole subsequent sequence of generations yet to be born was involved in the projected plan of which this was simply one of the earlier stages. There will be spiritual symbolism threaded throughout all which unfolds, and reflections of earlier physical developments will resonate in all lands down through the rest of time, for it is all done in preparation for a far more important theme woven throughout the tapestry of time. There is an age-long plan which envisions the ultimate redemption of people in all nations, and the lessons being enacted with such bloody drama in those far-off days are done in order that we, and all subsequent generations in every race and nation will have the benefits of studying what there occurred and was recorded in the Holy Scriptures for our understanding and improvement. There will be more to see in these ancient acts than at first would appear. We hope to draw some of those lessons from the themes presented as our Bible Study sequence proceeds."

March 23, 2003

JOSHUA 13: OCCUPIED AREAS - PART I

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our present series of Bible Studies, which has continued for a number of years sequentially from the Call of Abram in Genesis 12, had, on our last Bible Study, covered the Scriptural record to that which was found in Joshua 12

We had previously examined the records of the entry into The Promised Land, by the Israelites under Joshua, as they proceeded towards occupancy of the Land of Promise which God had sworn to give to Abraham's descendants. We had followed the Scriptural accounts of events at Jericho and Ai, and at the two mountains named Gerizim and Ebal, where Israel had carried out a public ceremonial to proclaim, and affirm, acceptance of The LORD's Commandments.

In Joshua 9, we had learned of a treaty into which the unwary Israelite leadership had been trapped by the lies of the Gibeonites. However, once entered, the compromising agreement must be observed, so those Gibeonites were told that they would be hewers of wood and drawers of water to Israel as slaves of The Sanctuary.

The Southern Canaanites were infuriated with that surrender to Israel by the Gibeonites, and came out against them, causing the Gibeonites to appeal for help to Israel. Military aid was swiftly brought to them and the defeat of the five kings of the Southern Canaanite confederacy which had sought to slay the Gibeonites was thus the means of the taking of all the Southern portion of Canaan. The rout was completed by a terrible hail storm sent by The LORD, which slew more of those enemies than had Israel. A somewhat bloody account of what followed is recorded in Joshua 10.

Joshua's successful campaign in the south aroused the alarm of the northern Canaanitish kings. Led by Jabin, king of Hazor (lit. 'the fortress'), they formed a great confederacy against Israel which included all the neighbouring peoples and the remnants of the defeated armies of the south were also summoned to make a supreme effort to repel the invaders. It ended in disaster for the enemies of Israel.

Having followed the Scriptural record through to the end of Joshua 12, which describes the taking of Northern Canaan, and which generally lists the forces which Israel had defeated to this point. You might wish to have your Bible open to Joshua 13, and if there is a Bible map showing the Old Testament geography of the time, it might be useful to keep a slip of paper at that spot as well. Today, we approach the summary account listing the areas conquered thus far, and those not yet taken, but lying within the area God had assigned to Abraham's descendants.

As an overview of this and the following chapters is desirable, we ought, at this point, before reading Joshua 13, to consult a useful reference. Under the heading "IV. The Division of the Land. xiii. 1 - xxii. 34", The New Bible Commentary introduces the rest of the Book of Joshua in these words: "The remaining chapters of the book of Joshua have been described as 'the geographical manual of the Holy Land, the Domesday Book of the conquest of Palestine'. The necessarily detailed account of the settlement of the tribes given in these chapters may make it difficult to see the wood for the trees; and so it may be helpful to indicate in advance the broad outline of the colonization. Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh already had their territory allotted to them on the east of Jordan. See Nu. xxxii. 1-42. Their settlement is described in chapter xiii.
Of the territory which was already in possession on the west of Jordan the main division was between the tribes of Judah and Joseph; the allotment made to the other tribes depended on this fundamental division.
The tribe of Judah were given their possession in the south - the territory of the five kings (chapter xv); with them were associated Caleb (xiv. 1-15, xv. 13-19) and, in the later division of the land, the tribe of Simeon (xix. 1-9) because 'the part of the children of Judah was too much for them' (xix. 9).
The powerful house of Joseph - the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim - received the rich inheritance of central Palestine (chapters xvi. xvii). They were handicapped, however, by the row of fortresses, Bethshean, Ibleam, Dor, Taanach and Megiddo (xvii. 11, 12; cf. xvi. 10), which barred the road to the north, and complained of the inadequacy of their possession (xvii. 14). Joshua chose Timnath-serah for his own inheritance (xix. 49, 50). Between these two powerful sections of the nation, Judah and Joseph, territory was later assigned to Benjamin (xviii. 11-28), and, nearer the sea coast, to Dan (xix. 40-48; but the tribe of Dan had difficulty in maintaining themselves against the inhabitants of the coastal plain (Jdg. i. 34, 35), and later migrated to the far north.
The remaining tribes, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher and Naphtali, which, like Simeon, Benjamin and Dan, had not had their portion allotted to them in the first division of the land, were later established in the northern part of the country. See xix. 10-39." The Commentary at this point supplies a helpful simplified map to illustrate these dispositions under the heading "Palestine Divided Among the Twelve Tribes." With these notes before us, we might begin to read the first portion of these passages in Joshua 13:1-13. I shall amplify locations mentioned with additional information as we read.

1. Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.
2. This is the land that yet remaineth: all the borders of the Philistines, and all Geshuri, [a South Palestinian tribe near the Philistines.]
3. From Sihor, which is before Egypt, [Sihor = "dark", a river or canal on the east border of Egypt and a branch of the Nile.] even unto the borders of Ekron northward [ Ekron = "emigration", or "torn up by the roots", the most northerly of the five principal cities of the Philistines; located in the lowlands of Judah and later given to Dan.], which is counted to the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, [Gaza "the strong"] and the Ashdothites, [Ashdodites = "I will spoil"], the Eshkalonites, [Eshkalonites = "the fire of infamy": I shall be weighed"] the Gittites, [Gittite = "belonging to Gath"] and the Ekronites; also the Avites: [Avim = "ruins" at the southwest corner of the seacoast.]
4. From the south, all the land of the Canaanites, [Cana means "zealous".] and Mearah [Mearah = "cave".] that is beside the Sidonians, [Sidon = "hunting"] unto Aphek, [Aphek = "enclosure".] to the borders of the Amorites: [Amorite = "a sayer", one of the peoples of east Canaan and beyond the Jordan, dispossessed by the Israelite incursion from Egypt.]
5. And the land of the Giblites, [Giblites = "a boundary".] and all Lebanon, [Lebanon = "whiteness", a wooded mountain range on the northern border of Israel.] toward the sunrising, from Baalgad [Baal-gad = "lord of fortune', a city noted for Baal-worship, located at the most northern or northwestern point to which Joshua's victories extended.] under mount Hermon [Hermon = "a sanctuary"; a mountain on the northeastern border of Palestine and Lebanon and overlooking the border city of Dan.] unto the entering into Hamath [Hamath = "fortress", the principle city of upper Syria in the valley of the Orontes].
6. All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephothmaim, [Misrephothmaim = "burnings of water, a place in Northern Palestine near Sidon.] and all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee.
7. Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance unto the nine tribes, and the half tribe of Manasseh,
8. With whom the Reubenites and the Gadites have received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond Jordan eastward, even as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them;
9. From Aroer, that is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of the river, [Aroer = "ruins", a city on the north bank of the river Arnon, the southern point of the territory of Sihon the king of the Amorites and later of Reuben; modern 'Arair'.] and all the plain of Medeba unto Dibon; [Medeba = "water of rest"; a town in Moab assigned to Reuben and located 4 miles (6 km) southwest of Heshbon; still extant, while Dibon = "wasting", a town in Moab on the east side of the Jordan which was taken over by the Israelites and rebuilt by the children of Gad].
10. And all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, which reigned in Heshbon, {= "stronghold"] unto the border of the children of Ammon;
11. And Gilead, [Gilead = "rocky region"; a mountainous region bounded on the west by the Jordan, on the north by Bashan, on the east by the Arabian plateau, and on the south by Moab and Ammon; sometimes called 'Mount Gilead' or the 'land of Gilead' or just 'Gilead'. Divided into north and south Gilead.] and the border of the Geshurites and Maachathites, [Maachathite = "pressure (literally she has pressed)"] and all mount Hermon, and all Bashan unto Salcah; [Bashan = "fruitful"; a district east of the Jordan known for its fertility which was given to the half-tribe of Manasseh.]
12. All the kingdom of Og in Bashan, which reigned in Ashtaroth [Ashtaroth or Astaroth = "star"; deity - false goddesses in the Canaanite religion, usually related to fertility cult; a city in Bashan east of the Jordan given to Manasseh.] and in Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants [Edrei = "goodly pasture"; a chief city of Bashan, north of Jabbok river]: for these did Moses smite, and cast them out.

As our time has expired for today, the remainder will be left for our next Bible Study.

30 March, 2003

JOSHUA 13: OCCUPIED AREAS - PART II

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our present series of Bible Studies, which has continued for a number of years sequentially from the Call of Abram in Genesis 12, had, on our last Bible Study, covered the Scriptural record to that which was found in Joshua 13

We had previously examined the records of the entry into The Promised Land, by the Israelites under Joshua, as they proceeded towards occupancy of the Land of Promise. We had followed the Scriptural accounts of events at Jericho and Ai, and at the two mountains named Gerizim and Ebal, where Israel had proclaimed, acceptance of The LORD's Commandments.

In Joshua 9, we had learned of a treaty into which the unwary Israelite leadership had been trapped by the lies of the Gibeonites. However, once entered, the compromising agreement must be observed, so those Gibeonites were told that they would be hewers of wood and drawers of water to Israel as slaves of The Sanctuary.

The Southern Canaanites were infuriated with that surrender to Israel by the Gibeonites, and came out against them, causing the Gibeonites to appeal for help to Israel. Military aid was swiftly brought to them and the defeat of the five kings of the Southern Canaanite confederacy which had sought to slay the Gibeonites was thus the means of the taking of all the Southern portion of Canaan. The rout was completed by a terrible hail storm sent by The LORD. A somewhat bloody account of what followed is recorded in Joshua 10.

Joshua's successful campaign in the south aroused the alarm of the northern Canaanitish kings who formed a great confederacy against Israel which included all the neighbouring peoples and the remnants of the defeated armies of the south. This ended in disaster for the enemies of Israel.

Having followed the Scriptural record through to the end of Joshua 12, which describes the taking of Northern Canaan, and which generally list the forces which Israel had defeated to this point. You might wish to have your Bible open to Joshua 13, and a Bible map showing the Old Testament geography of the time, might be useful as well. Today, we continuing our approach the summary account listing the areas conquered thus far, and those not yet taken, but lying within the area God had assigned to Abraham's descendants. We had partially dealt with individual verses found in Joshua 13:1-12

An overview of this and the following chapters is desirable, and we have already seen what The New Bible Commentary had to say in introducing the whole of the remaining part of the Book of Joshua, but it also contains notes on smaller portions, and we might add the paragraph which comments on Joshua 13:1-7 under the heading "Command to divide the land" and that on verses 8-33, headed "Territory of the two and a half tribes."

The first of these states: "Though there still remained much land to be possessed, Joshua's age and growing frailty demanded that an allotment of the land, by anticipation if not by complete conquest, should be made (1). The chief sections where the Canaanites were still strong were the country of the Philistines on the south-west coast and the territory in the north of the country; but the command was given for a division of the whole land between the nine and a half tribes to be made, since final victory was assured (6, 7)."

The second continues "Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh had already been allotted their portion in eastern Palestine, and the boundaries of each of these tribes were now fixed, Reuben being placed in the south, Gad in the centre and Manasseh in the north. Cf. Nu. xxxii and Dt. iii. 12-17." On the words "Unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance" (14; cf xiv. 3, 4), it continues "Moses had left instructions for the allocating of cities to the Levites (see Nu. xxxv. 1-8), but they were to have no tribal area. Cf. Nu. xviii. 20-24. The appointing of the cities is dealt with later in chapter xxi." While the last note deals in part with verses which we have not yet examined, it is not out of place to include the notes here.

Before we read the next portion in Joshua 13, we ought, at this point, to consult another useful reference, Keil and Delitzsch, in order to compare how they introduced the present section of scriptures. Under the heading "Division of the land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel, Chap. xiii. - xxiv.", that Commentary states: "The distribution of the conquered land among the Israelites is introduced by the command of the Lord to Joshua to enter upon this work, now that he was old, although different portions of land were still unconquered (chap. xiii. 1-7); and to this there is appended a description of the land on the east of the Jordan which had already been conquered and divided among the two tribes and a half (chap. xiii. 8-33). The distribution of the land on this side among the nine tribes and a half is related in its historical order; so that not only are the territories assigned by lot to the different tribes described according to their respective boundaries and towns, but the historical circumstances connected with the division and allotting of the land are also introduced into the description. These historical accounts are so closely connected with the geographical descriptions of the territory belonging to the different tribes, that the latter alone will explain the course pursued in the distribution of the land, and the various ways in which the different territories are described ... ."

At this point, Keil and Delitzsch scan the chapters ahead of the point in Joshua 13 to which we have read, but in order to preserve the sense of the whole passage, perhaps we ought to continue, and later return to pick up those Scriptures which we have not actually read to this point because they present within this next passage a very substantial argument which favours an early and unified historical origin of the account, rather than a higher-critical approach, purporting to show how later scribal writers might have assembled a written account mingling quotes from various sources. They continue:

"For example, in the account of the inheritance which fell to the lot of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, not only are the boundaries most carefully traced, but the towns are also enumerated one by one (chap. xv. and xviii. 11-28); whereas in the tribe of Joseph (Ephraim and half Manasseh) the list of the towns is altogether wanting (chap. xvi. and xvii.); and in the possessions of the other tribes, either towns alone are mentioned, as in the case of Simeon and Dan (chap. xix. 1-9, 40-48), or the boundaries and towns are mixed up together, but both of them given incompletely, as in the case of Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, and Naphtali (chap. xix. 10-16, 17-23, 24-31, 32-39).

This incompleteness, particularly in the territories of the tribes mentioned last, may be explained from the fact, that in northern Canaan there were still very many tracts of land in the hands of the Canaanites, and the Israelites had not acquired a sufficiently exact or complete knowledge of the country, either through Joshua's campaign in the north, or through the men who were sent out to survey the northern land before it was divided (chap. xviii. 4-9), to enable them to prepare a complete account of the boundaries and towns at the very outset.

In the same way, too, we may explain the absence of the list of towns in the case of the tribes of Ephraim and half Manasseh, - namely, from the fact that a large portion of the territory assigned to the tribe of Joseph was still in the possession of the Canaanites ... ; whilst the omission of any account of the boundaries in the case of Simeon and Dan is attributable to the circumstance that the former received its inheritance within the tribe of Judah, and the latter between Judah and Ephraim, whilst the space left for the Danites was so small, that Ephraim and Judah had to give up to them some of the towns in their own territory.

Thus the very inequality and incompleteness of the geographical accounts of the possessions of the different tribes decidedly favour the conclusion, that they are the very lists which were drawn up at the time when Joshua divided the land. There is nothing to preclude this supposition in the fact that several towns occur with different names, e.g. Beth-shemesh and Ir-shemesh (chap. xv. 10, xix. 41, xxi. 16), Madmannah and Beth-marcaboth, Sansanna and Hazor-susa (chap. xv. 31, xix. 5), Shilchim and Sharuchen (chap. xv. 32, xix. 6), Remeth and Jarmuth (chap. xix. 21, xxi. 29), or in other smaller differences. For variations of this kind may be sufficiently explained from the fact that such places were known by two different names, which could be used promiscuously; whilst in other cases the difference in the name amounts to nothing more than a different mode of writing or pronouncing it: e.g. Kattah and Kartah (chap. xix. 15, xxi. 34), Eshtemoh and Eshtemoa (chap. xv. 50, xxi. 14), Baalah and Balah (chap. xv. 29, xix. 3); or simply in the contraction of a composite name, such as Ramoth in Gilead for Ramoth-mizpeh (chap. xxi. 36, xiii. 26); Bealoth and Baalath-beer (chap. xv. 24, xix. 8), Lebaoth and Beth-lebaoth (chap. xv. 32, xix. 6), Hammath and Hammoth-dor (chap. xix. 35, xxi. 32). If the author, on the other hand, had drawn from later sources, or had simply given the results of later surveys, ... there can be no doubt that much greater uniformity would be found in the different lists."

We plan to pick up our examination of the rest of our Scripture section in a following broadcast.

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