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God's rules for the invasion of the land by Joshua and the army
The book of Joshua begins with the charge to Joshua, following the death of Moses, and God announces (Chapter 1 verse 2): "Moses my servant is dead." The finality of this statement to Joshua seems a prelude to His assurance (v51) to His new leader Joshua as he gives him instruction for the crossing of the Jordan: _________________________________________
5 "No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.
The criteria for success are contained in verses 7 and 81:
7 "Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8 "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Since they were on the east side of the Jordan River, preparing to invade the Cis-Jordan, Joshua spoke to Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh reminding them of the previous agreement they had made regarding the use of their fighting forces to assist the remaining nine and one-half tribes in conquering the land. He said in verses 12-161:
12 And to the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13 "Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, 'The LORD your God gives you rest, and will give you this land.' 14 "Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall cross before your brothers in battle array, all your valiant warriors, and shall help them, 15 until the LORD gives your brothers rest, as He gives you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land, and possess that which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise." 16 And they answered Joshua, saying, "All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 "Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you, as He was with Moses.
This final statement in verse 17 reminds us again of the ability of men to promise anything, even to God, when in reality we will quickly forget our promises and responsibilities before the sun has even set. Genesis 6:51 reminds us that "the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." We have learnt that the real history of the people of the Exodus was known and personally experienced by Joshua who had seen how they continually grumbled and rebelled, falling into apostasy just as their forefathers had done!
1. New American Standard Bible, The Lockman Foundation, 1977
2. K.A. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1978), pp. 117, 125-129.
3. Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1974), Revised ed. pp. 167-168.
4. Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert, (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1969), p. 31.
5. Leah Bronner, Biblical Personalities And Archaeology, (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, 1974), p. 10.
6. "The Freethinker," Secular Humanist Monthly, founded by G.W. Foote in 1881; editor Peter Brearey; printed Hattersley and Son;
7. G. von Rad, Studies in Deuteronomy (London: SCM Ltd., 1948).
8. Umberto Cassuto, The Documentary Hypothesis, lst English Edition; Jerusalem Magnes Press, 1961.
9. Robert Dick Wilson, "Is the Higher Criticism Scholarly?" Reprinted in Which Bible? David Otis Fuller (Ed.). 5th Edition, p. 49-85. Grand Rapids International Publishers, 1975.
10. Clarke's Commentary on the Old Testament , Volume 1, Genesis through Deuteronomy, by Adam Clarke; p.7
11. Charles F. Pfeiffer, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible, Baker Book House, 1967; p. 107-114
12. "Flavius Josephus Against Apion," in Josephus, Complete Works, translated by William Whiston, Grand Rapids, Kregel Pub., 1960, p. 179-180.