Tag Archive: Israelites

Samson the Strong Man

“While the average Israelite seeks to till his land peaceably, it is still necessary to contend with the marauding Philistines.  The Philistines have moved throughout Canaan with ease.  Their unusually strong military arms seem to call for an unusually strong response, and it comes in the form of a Danite named Samson.  Samson is unique among the ‘judges’ in that he does not lead armies, but rather acts on his own, using a superhuman strength which God has given him.  Despite being bound by a Nazirite vow, even from birth, Samson is extremely carnal and of tempestuous temperament — hardly the righteous leader one might expect.  Nevertheless God uses him through exciting personal exploits to harass and destroy thousands of the Philistines.”

Read: Judges chapters 13, 14, 15, 16

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

“Gideon is well aware that his victories are really God’s; therefore he refuses to allow the people to make him their king.  Even when he makes a golden ephod, which some of the people later use in an idolatrous manner, Gideon does so to honor the true God of Israel.

One of Gideon’s sons, Abimelek, does not have the same strength of character as his father, and actively seeks to be a king.  In the process, Abimelek kills his many brothers.  Abimelek is but a sorry example of a son who refuses to follow in the steps of a righteous father.”

Read: Judges 8:4-35 and chapter 9

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

Deborah and Barak

“One of the areas which Joshua’s forces had never been able to fully take over was the Valley of Jezreel.  When local Canaanite forces now unite under Jabin and Sisera, it falls to a courageous woman named Deborah to take the initiative in repelling the Canaanites.  Deborah is able to persuade a cautious general named Barak to lead the northern tribes to victory.  Another woman (Jael) also shares in the glory of victory when she bravely kills Sisera.”

Read: Judges chapters 4 and 5

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

Apostasy and the Judges

“Politically and militarily, there is need for a more complete conquest of the promised land.  Spiritually, there is still a great lesson for a new generation of Israelites to learn — namely, that with obedience comes prosperity; with disobedience, adversity.  It is a lesson which the older Israelites had learned through the wilderness wanderings and the initial conquest of Canaan, but the passing of the older generation leaves a vacuum of any real dedication to God or his laws. 

As they begin to evolve into a more agricultural society, the Israelites will become increasingly attracted by the Canaanite cult of Baal, which is associated with fertility and crops.  A strong spirit of compromise leads to intermarriage, idolatry, and immorality.  During this time the Israelites go through repeated cycles of sin and oppression, but, fortunately, of repentance as well.  And for each time the people come to their senses God raises up a leader to deliver them.  Each of these ‘judges’ leads only a few tribes within the now-loose federation of Israel.”

Read: Joshua 24:31/Judges 2:7, 10-23 and 3:1-6

Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar

“Othniel, a nephew of Caleb, leads Judah and Simeon in victory over the Mesopotamians.  Ehud personally assassinates the leader of the Moabites.  It is by Ehud’s courageous act that the tribes of Ephraim and Benjamin are thus liberated from occupation by a nation which Israel had once defeated soundly.  Finally, brief mention is given to Shamgar, who will be the first of several Israelites to do battle with the warlike Philistines in the southern coastal area of Canaan.”

Read: Judges 3:7-31

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

Three Burials

“Joshua now faces the end of his life.  He is called to be with his fathers, knowing that over the years he has proved himself to be a man of great faith and courage.  And with Joshua goes the high priest, Eleazar, who has served the people’s spiritual needs throughout the conquest.  With the passing of these two men of God, the last immediate links with Moses and Aaron will be severed, and a new era will soon find the Israelites in spiritual eclipse.  Never again will the Israelites as a nation be this closely united, either among themselves or with their God.

The people also bury the 400-year-old bones of Joseph.  It is an appropriate tie with the early patriarchs, to whom God first promised this land.”

Read Joshua 24:29-30/Judges 2:8,9 and Joshua 24:32-33

Additional Conquests

“The fact that territory has been given to a tribe or individual does not mean that the land can be immediately occupied.  The inhabitants living in the land must first be driven out.”

Read: Judges 1:1-10, 16-19, Joshua 15:13-14/Judges 1:20b, Joshua 15:15-19/Judges 1:11-15 and Judges 1:22-26

Failure to Complete Conquests

“The danger of an incomplete conquest is the lingering presence of pagan influence.  As long as the Canaanites remain, the Israelites will inevitably intermarry with them, and, just as inevitably, turn to worship their pagan gods.

Failure to drive out the inhabitants may indicate not only the softness of Israel’s resolve but also a certain fascination with the pagan culture about them.  Whatever the reasons for their failure, God considers it a breach of covenant and knows that widespread idolatry is soon to follow.

Interestingly enough, neither Judah nor Benjamin is able to completely drive out the Jebusites from the city of Jerusalem, which is within the region of their common boundary (even despite the fact that Judah has already attacked the city once and put it to the torch.)”

Read Joshua 13:13, 16:10/Judges 1:29, Joshua 17:11-13/Judges 1:27-28, Joshua 15:63, Judges 1:21, 30-36 and Judges 2:1-5

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

Joshua’s Farewell Addresses

“Joshua turns his thoughts to the ongoing need for Israel’s spiritual commitment to God.  In a manner reminiscent of Moses, Joshua addresses his people on three separate occasions.  The first is a farewell to the soldiers of the eastern tribes.  Great concern arises when the rest of Israel learns that the eastern tribes have built an altar on their way back across the Jordan, but all ends well when it is learned that no rebellion was intended, as some had feared.

Joshua’s second address, to the western tribes, is a review of God’s blessings and a stern warning against involvement with pagan people and their idolatry.

The last address calls the people to renew their covenant with God, as each generation must do for itself.  The people vow to be faithful, but Joshua knows that it is easier said than done.”

Read Joshua chapters 22, 23 and Joshua 24:1-28

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

Read:  Joshua chapters 18, 19, 20, 21

The Daily Bible doesn’t give any commentary for today’s reading and I’m sure y’all are dying to know my take on the subject.

So, here it is.

I love that the Israelites cast lots at times to determine an outcome.

Sheep Knuckle Lots

Lots were used throughout the Bible and could have been anything from stones, sticks, bones, Urim & Thummim, dice, urns filled with names/land divisions, we don’t know specifically…but we do know that it removed human choice from the decision making process and allowed God to work.

“The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.”   Proverbs 16:33

But to the onlooker…the unbeliever…lots seem to be a foolish way to make a decision.  Leaving it up to random chance.  But to God-fearing people, it is another direct answer from God; another way to fully rely on Him.  And whether you like it or not, God is in control of all things, all decisions…

What comfort that is.

Proverbs 3:5-6

But I especially like the very last verse from today’s reading.  What an awesome truth that even we can claim!!

“Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.”   Joshua 21:45 


Related Articles:
What was the practice of casting lots?   (got.questions.org)
Cleromancy   (en.wikipedia.org)

Division of the Promised Land

“Now that the general conquest of Canaan is complete, it is time to partition the promised land among the remaining 9 1/2 tribes who will be occupying the land west of the Jordan River.  For some unknown reason, the tribes of Judah and Ephraim, and the remaining half-tribe of Manasseh, are given a preferential portion of the land, along with a special grant for Caleb, the former faithful spy.  Thereafter the remaining land will be surveyed and divided by lot among the other tribes.”

Read Joshua chapters 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

Moses Blesses the Tribes

“Moses’ last recorded words are optimistic blessings for each of the tribes of Israel as they prepare to take over the land which was promised to their forefathers.  Although the exact interpretation of each blessing is sometimes obscure, it is clear that Moses is caught up in the excitement of pending conquests and uses the occasion for giving encouragement and hope.

Prior to giving these blessings, Moses is told that he is to go up on a mountain to view the land of Canaan and then die soon thereafter.”

Read Numbers 27:12-14/Deuteronomy 32:48-52 and Deuteronomy 33

Moses’ Death and Burial

“Moses prepares to ascend Mount Nebo for a long-awaited view of the promised land.  It must be with mixed emotions that he climbs that last step and looks down over ‘the land flowing with milk and honey.’  The long journey has been worth it, and the God who has promised it all is indeed faithful.  While Moses has every confidence that God can deliver the land, he knows that territorial conquest is nothing compared to the struggle which the Israelites will face in trying to maintain their covenant relationship with God.”

Read Deuteronomy 34

“So ends the life of the greatest man of God since Abraham.  As Abraham had taught a family about faith, Moses had taught a nation about law and in centuries to come, One greater than them both will teach the whole world about love and grace.”

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

Transfer of Leadership to Joshua

‘Now it is time for Moses to step down and turn the leadership over to Joshua, his successor.  There is little fanfare, for Moses has not been a typical ruler.  He has not been dependent upon political power or process.  He has been merely a servant of the nation’s true ruler, God himself — and so shall Joshua be.”

Read: Deuteronomy 31:1-8, 14, 15, 23

Song of Unfaithfulness

“Anticipating the fact that the Israelites will soon breach their vows of commitment to him, God asks Moses to teach the Israelites a song about unfaithfulness in which God’s own faithfulness stands in sharp contrast.  It is a call to law-keeping — yet a promise of divine grace where human efforts fail.

Moses had personally written the account which is now known as the book of Deuteronomy.  Yet at this point, before assembling the congregation to teach them God’s song, there is an indication that Moses gives over his book to the Levites so that it may be kept with the ark.”

Read: Deuteronomy 31:16-29 and Deuteronomy 32:1-47

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.
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