Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Highlights From the Book of Joshua (pt2)

Here's the second half of 'Highlights From the Book of Joshua' (12/1/04 Watchtower) plus some additional maps showing the 12 Tribe Divisions of Israel.

(map of the 12 Tribe Divisions on pg 744, of Insight on the Scriptures Vol. 1)

(another map showing the territory of the Tribes of Israel, pg 1645 of the NWT Bible)

(Pt 1) Highlights From the Book of Joshua

Joshua Takes On His Last Big Task
(Joshua 13:1–24:33)
Now advanced in years—approaching 90—Joshua sets out to apportion the land. A huge task indeed! The tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have already received their inheritance east of the Jordan. The remaining tribes are now given an inheritance on the west side by the drawing of lots.
The tabernacle is set up at Shiloh in the territory of Ephraim. Caleb receives the city of Hebron, and Joshua gets Timnath-serah. The Levites are given 48 cities, including the 6 cities of refuge. On their way back to their inheritance east of the Jordan, the warriors of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh set up an altar that is “great in conspicuousness.” (Joshua 22:10) The tribes on the west of the Jordan view this as an act of apostasy, and intertribal warfare nearly breaks out, but bloodshed is averted by good communication.

After Joshua has lived for some time in Timnath-serah, he calls together the older men, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel and urges them to be courageous and remain faithful to Jehovah. Later, Joshua assembles all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. There he reviews Jehovah’s dealings from the time of Abraham on, and once again he exhorts them to “fear Jehovah and serve him in faultlessness and in truth.” The people are moved to respond: “Jehovah our God we shall serve, and to his voice we shall listen!” (Joshua 24:14, 15, 24) After these things Joshua gradually dies at 110 years of age.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

13:1—Does this not contradict what is stated at Joshua 11:23?

No, for the conquest of the Promised Land consisted of two aspects: the national warfare that defeated 31 kings of the land of Canaan, which broke the power of the Canaanites, and the taking of full possession of the land by tribal and individual actions. (Joshua 17:14-18; 18:3) Though the sons of Israel failed to drive the Canaanites away from among them completely, the survivors were no real threat to Israel’s security. (Joshua 16:10; 17:12) Joshua 21:44 states: “Jehovah gave them rest all around.”

24:2—Was Abraham’s father, Terah, a worshiper of idols?
Initially, Terah was not a worshiper of Jehovah God. He likely worshiped the moon-god named Sin—a popular deity in Ur. According to Jewish tradition, Terah might even have been a maker of idols. However, when Abraham leaves Ur at God’s command, Terah goes with him to Haran.—Genesis 11:31.

Lessons for Us:

14:10-13. Though 85 years of age, Caleb asks for the difficult assignment of clearing out the region of Hebron. The area is occupied by the Anakim—men of unusual size. With Jehovah’s help, this seasoned warrior succeeds, and Hebron becomes a city of refuge. (Joshua 15:13-19; 21:11-13) Caleb’s example encourages us not to shy away from difficult theocratic assignments.

22:9-12, 21-33. We must be careful to avoid misjudging the motives of others.

‘Not One Word Has Failed’
At a ripe old age, Joshua tells the responsible men in Israel: “Not one word out of all the good words that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed. They have all come true for you.” (Joshua 23:14) How vividly the historical account of Joshua illustrates this!
“All the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction,” wrote the apostle Paul, “that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) We can be sure that our hope in God’s promises is not misplaced. Not a promise will fail; they will all come true.