Friday, September 24, 2004

Joshua 12

This chapter reviews the conquered territory. Under Moses' command, the Israelites conquered the lands east of the Jordan, while under Joshua, they conquered lands west of the Jordan, ultimately providing a portion to each tribe (

For Joshua's victories, the text enumeratesthe kings slain, and adds what would seem to be the gratuitous notation "one" after each king. Yet, this has the several effects. First, the list is sequential, so it leads the reader along the path of the victory. And, by enumerating each king slain, it has the effect of making each victory as glorious as every other victory. Finally, it makes the point that victories are won, one by one, with failure possible at every step.

There are some interesting internal discrepancies to the tale of the conquest. ( For example, Debir was reported as being taken in Jos. 10:38, with no survivors left. Yet in Jos. 15: 16-17, it is Othniel under the command of Caleb who takes the city. And in Joshua 11:21, it is apparently destroyed yet again.


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