The story of the one female judge confirms that God can use men and women to accomplish His will. It also highlights some of the differences between how men judged and Deborah. Deborah was a prophetess who didn’t go to people and tell them what God said, but rather sat in one place and people came to inquire of God from her. Also she did not lead the nation in battle, but did go with the commander Barak at his urging. And a woman ultimately killed the king, Sisera, who oppressed them.
The book of Judges records the many cycles of the nation turning to idolatry, God sending an oppressor to test them, Israel crying out to God for deliverance, God sending a judge to deliver them from the oppressor, then they would have peace until the judge died, and then the cycle would repeat. This period lasts about 400 years from approximately 1400BC to 1100BC.
As Joshua turns to Judges we about the death of Joshua and the High Priest Eleazar. The book of Judges begins by telling us about the failures of the tribes to complete the conquest of their lands given to them by God.
It’s been a long couple of weeks. First without my computer and workstation, second setting up my new computer to start working on it.
When Joshua addresses Israel for the final time in his life, he reminds them of what God did for them and then challenges them to live up to that calling. It reminds me of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, where the first three chapters present all that God has done for Christians and the last three urge godly living because of the grace God has bestowed.
In Joshua’s final words we find one of the favorite verses to put on household decorations “But as for me, and my household, we will serve the LORD”.
I find the most interesting part of his final words to be the exhortation to put away the idols that their forefathers worshiped in Egypt and before. It tells us that in spite of the calling of Israel by God they never put away the worldly influence of idolatrous religion. This issue will be the main reason for the downfall of Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem approximately 800 years later.
As the division of the land concludes in Joshua 21:43-45 it states that God fulfilled all of the promises He swore to Abraham, Issac and Jacob. They were promised their descendants would possess the land and at this point in their history they do, unfortunately they were not wholeheartedly following God so the nations they should have destroyed will regain their strength and cause Israel distress and trouble for hundreds of years.
Chapter 13 starts by saying Joshua is old, by our standards he was old when Israel entered the land (above 80), but the reference is meant to let us know many years have passed since the previous chapter concluded. He is instructed to divide the land among the tribes that they may continue to possess the land and drive out the inhabitants of Canaan. It is important to remember that God is not only giving Israel the land of Canaan but also He is judging the people living in the land, He told Abraham that his descendants would inhabit Canaan 400 years later when the iniquity of those nations was full, meaning time for judgment.
Caleb requests the city of Hebron for his inheritance as he was promised by Moses when he was sent out as a spy 45 years earlier. The story of Caleb shows us what every tribe and family should have done with their allotted territory. He went and took the city, conquered the inhabitants and possessed the city for his offspring. We are told he did these things with a whole heart. It is the example Israel should have followed but did not.