Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Joshua 13-24: Who gets what land, in excriciating detail

OK, I thought the whole promised land was conquered, but I guess that although they've already conquered the entire north and the entire south, there's still more to do. However that works. I think the bible just invoked a 4th spatial dimension.

Actually, they give the specific regions yet to be conquered, but it doesn't mean anything to me, I'm not really up on my ancient middle eastern geography. And actually, I learn later, this "yet to be conquered" part never actually gets conquered. Oh well.

Chapter 13 - 21 is a detailed account of how they split up the land among the tribes. Again, this means very little to me.

And, of course, the Levites don't get any of it, which it said like 10 times just now, not to mention the 1,000 times it was said before. Though they do get a few towns within the other tribes' land.

They also name the cities of refuge

Caleb asks Joshua for some land, and talks at length about how much he deserves it because of that one time when God killed all the scouts for the horrible crime of being realistic about their chances of conquering the promised land, and he and Joshua were the only 2 who remained faithful that they would actually pull it off. Which is a fair point, actually... it is my impression that this one incident is what propelled Joshua to celebrity status, while we haven't heard anything more about Caleb. So Caleb gets some land, though everyone does, so I'm not sure what the big deal is.

There's also this one odd story about how Caleb attempts to get more land for himself, some place called "Kiriath Sepher," by offering his daughter in marriage to the first guy who conquers it for him. And who does it but his brother. Seriously, still with the inbreeding, bible?

So, I guess everything is officially conquered now, even though it said it wasn't. Oh well.

There's also this little statement: "Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled." Lol, only, what, 500 years later? Good job.

You know what, I'm so inspired by God's mighty ability to make and keep promises, I'll make a promise too. I hereby promise to love and obey God. But not until 500 years from now! Shh, don't tell him that last bit.

Anyway, the tribes who wanted to live on the other side of the Jordan river (Gilead) finally get to go there. Yay.

OK, seriously. On their way home, those tribes from the other side of the river build an "imposing alter" near the Jordan, before they cross it. When the other tribes hear this, they gather at Shiloh (which I think is the city that will become "God's special place") to go to war against them. What?? It kind of makes it sound like this alter is an affront to God somehow, but I don't get it.

So, they get to Gilead and ask them, "How could you turn away from the LORD and build yourselves an altar in rebellion against him now?" They answer that they were afraid that because of the river, the Isrealites from the Canaan side would be like, "What do you have to do with the LORD, the God of Israel?" So they decided to just go ahead an pre-emptively build their own alter. That way they can prove later that they, in fact, worship God. What the fuck?

Anyway, they hear this and are just like, OK! And they forget all about the fact that they were going to rain doom down upon Gilead, and go home. Aww.

Right. Some time later, Joshua is old. He gathers the other leaders to him and basically says, "don't fuck everything up after I'm dead." Only he goes on about it for a whole chapter.

I do like that Joshua says, "I am about to go the way of all the earth." It's just so poetic.

Hmm. He also says this:
But just as all the good things the LORD your God has promised you have come to you, so he will bring on you all the evil things he has threatened, until the LORD your God has destroyed you from this good land he has given you.
So, God's actions are "evil." Good to know. It also makes it sound like all the "evil" things will definitely happen, regardless of how obedient they are. We already knew that God set them up to fail, but here he states it explicitly. Whoops.

Then Joshua gathers all the Israelites together and gives them a nice short recap of Abraham until now. Then he made them promise to serve God, and when they do, he writes it on a stone and puts it out as a reminder to all. Aww.

Then Joshua dies, and that's the end of the book. Not very exciting...but are they ever, really? What are the 2 things that everyone knows about Joshua? The knocking down of the walls at Jericho, and the making the sun stop thing. Why? Because those are the only things that happened, all the rest of it was a big long list of who got what land. Boring.