Week 2: Joshua vs. Judges

Welcome again to 06/07, where this post barely manages to stay within the week!

This week, we'll be discussing...

(Joshua commands the sun stay still in the sky so he can continue owning the Amorites)


(Samson pulls down the pillars of the Temple of Dagon, killing all inside)


This week, we'll be discussing the sixth and seventh Books of the Old Testament (and the Torah, too), Joshua, where Moses dies and Joshua, Judge of the Israelites, engages in an expansionist campaign against a bunch of tribes whose names are all but lost to history, and Judges, a history of the other Judges of Israel, ending with Samson, he whose kryptonite was a short back and sides.

Unfortunately, as it turns out opening the Ark of the Covenant doesn't turn up in either book, as I found out. (It's in 1 Samuel). Nonetheless, this shan't deter us: In this post, I'll be going through both books (King James Version, if you must know) and roughly detailing the events of each verse, with an attempt at witty commentary along the way and a Body Count meter. (The Old Testament is very violent.) Famous or important incidents will have the chapter bolded.

After all that, I'll be making final judgments next post, to see if the sixth or seventh book of the Bible is subjectively better!


With that, let's get started! This week, we'll cover the Book of...


1: The LORD commands that the titular Joshua, son of Nun, lead the Israelites with the passing of Moses. Joshua tells the tribes that their campaign begins, and they shall not rest till they conquer the promised lands. The death penalty is in effect.

"Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage."

Joshua sends spies to go and find out about the other kingdoms. Then the spies lodge in a harlot's house. The King of Jericho finds out they're there and tries to root them out. (Wow, these are terrible spies.) The harlot spirits the spies to safety in return for a promise that the LORD will show mercy on her house. The spies tell Joshua that:

"Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us."

(If that's all they found out, they're not very good spies...)

3 - 4: The forces of Joshua have to cross the river Jordan. The ark is brought to the river, and like Moses before him, Joshua parts the river, letting the Israelite continue on their way. 12 stones are brought over as a marker of this achievement, and we now know the size of Joshua's army: 40,000 troops cross into the plains of Jericho.

5: Joshua orders the children of Israel to be circumsized. The LORD declares their current campsite Gilgal, and an angel appears to Joshua and tells him to take off his shoes, for he stands on holy ground.

6: The gates of Jericho are closed to all, for the Israelites, 40,000 strong, are coming. Instead of besieging them, Joshua orders that priests playing horns and the Ark of the Covenant circle the walls for 7 days. As we know, on the 7th day, the walls collapse, and the Israelites charge into the city, plundering the silver and gold and brass for the LORD, burning and killing all the rest besides the harlot Rahab (see Chapter 2).

And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it."

(Hopefully Israeli urban developers remember that.)

BODY COUNT: The population of Jericho - 1

7: The next battle is met with disaster, as the Israelites fare poorly against the men of Ai, losing 36 men for two reasons: Joshua sent only 2,000 to 3,000 men in the hopes it would be an easy battle, and a man called Achan kept an item which the LORD put the curse of destruction upon. Joshua learns of this when he rents (tears) his shirt and pleads with the LORD for an explanation. Once this happens, he orders the people sanctified and Achan and his family stoned to death.

And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones."

(And here I was thinking they'd use rocks. And why say that they stoned them with stones TWICE?

BODY COUNT: Jericho -1 + 36 Israelites + Achan + Achan's family

8: Joshua gets his act together for a second battle at Ai. He sets up an ambush at between Bethel and Ai, and pretends to falter after sending his main troops to besiege Ai. The troops of Ai charge after the retreating Israelites, leaving the city itself unguarded. The ambush charges Ai and burns it down, surrounding the enemies from back and front. The King of Ai is taken alive, and hung from a tree. Joshua reads the words of the LORD to the people afterwards.

BODY COUNT: Jericho -1 + 36 Israelites + Achan + Achan's family + Ai

9: The Gibeonites (not the Gideons) conduct a ruse, claiming that the are from a faraway kingdom and want to sign a peace treaty with Israel. Without consulting the LORD, Joshua signs it, only to find out three days later that they were neighbours. Incensed, Joshua enslaves the Gibeonites, turning them into water carriers and woodcutters, which is better than killing them all, I suppose.

10: Adonizedec, Hoham, Piram, Japhia and Debir, nearby kings start to worry and form an anti-Israel alliance and start massacring the Gibeonites. The surviving Gibeonites plead with Israel to save them, which they do. In a totally one-sided battle, the Israelites slaughter the Amorite troops, the Amorite cities, and humiliate the Amorite kings before hanging them all. They also conquer another place called Makkedah. (Israel apparently has a good track record against unfriendly alliances.)

BODY COUNT: Jericho -1 + 36 Israelites + Achan + Achan's family + 12,000 Ai + Makkedah + Libnah + Lachish + Gezer + Eglon + Hebron

11: Another alliance is brought against Israel, which Joshua handily defeats: Hazor, Madon, Shimron, Achshaph, the kingdoms that north of the mountains, and south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, and in the west, the Canaanites, the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites all fall. Besides the Hivites, who made peace, Joshua defeats all the rest after a long campaign, along with the Anakims. Why don't more make peace, one might ask?

"For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses. " (Looks like he's pulling the same trick that he did with Pharaoh.)


"So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war."

Jericho -1 + 36 Israelites + Achan + Achan's family + 12,000 Ai + Makkedah + Libnah + Lachish + Gezer + Eglon + Hebron + 22 other kingdoms + the Anakim

12: Essentially the body count of the campaign led by Joshua.

13 - 19: Now an old man, Joshua divides the lands he has captured among the 9.5 tribes of Israel. Only the tribe of Levi receives no land, for:

"[T]he LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as [Joshua] said unto them."

The LORD tells Joshua there is still much work to be done: the borders of the Philistines, the Geshuri, the Sihor amongst many others are still not yet reached. Caleb tells Joshua that Moses promised him land once, and Joshua cedes him Hebron. Some tribes remain unconquered, and live among the Israelites.

20: The first manslaughter law is described. Several cities are set as safe refuge for those who have accidentally killed another.

21 - 22: The Israelites, weary of war, are finally allowed to go to their lands in peace. Two tribes construct an altar, infuriating the other tribes and it seems that civil war might break out. The tribes defend themselves, saying that they have done so to pay homage and witness the LORD and not to conduct burnt sacrifice. This pleases the other tribes, and the altar is hence called Ed.

23: Joshua waxes old and is stricken in age, and calls the elders of Israel before him one last time, telling them to take good heed and always love the LORD, else destruction befall them.

24: Joshua and the elders come before the LORD to hear this message from the LORD this time around, and promise to ever serve the LORD and not strange gods. Joshua inscribes the book of Joshua into stone.

"And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.

And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.

And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel."



Catch this blog next week, when I go through...


and round up this week's discussion.

Till then, see you all!

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