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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Josh. 22-24 (the end)

The book of Joshua wraps up, naturally enough, with the death of Joshua.  Joshua is laid to rest in the land of Ephraim, his ancestral connection.  Joshua dies at the age of 110.  Josh. 24:29.  Compare with Moses who died at 120.  Deut. 34:7.  Interestingly, 120 was given as the max age of humans after God stepped in to break up the whole Sons of God-Daughters of Humans intermarrying thing.  Gen. 6:1-3.  I mean, it says that, but then Abraham lives to be 175, Gen. 25:7.  So, who are you going to believe?

There is some other business in this passage providing evidence that we don't get every story that the readers/hearers of this story had.  At Josh. 24:9-10 we hear this about our good friend Balaam:
When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.
That is not the story that we have in our Bible.  In our story, he never curses the Israelites and tell Balak that he ain't gonna do it.  There is nothing earthshattering about this.  There were different versions of these stories that circulated.

Also, interrupting the nice bring this storying to a close vibe, there was a big conflict over the altar built by the Transjordan tribes.  Interestingly enough, it was Phineas, son of Eleazar, grandson of Aaron, who lead the other 10 tribes against them.  Which means Manasseh was against itself, btw.  Anyway, the Transjordan tribes convinced the other 10 that this was devotion to YHWH and not rebellion. So, it was all cool.  Point: God didn't lead the action against the Transjordan tribes.  Point: The other 10 lead by Phineas changed their minds.

Finally, chapter 24 serves as neat litany of where we've been.  There is even a call and response where Joshua is like, "Nah, you don't love the Lord," and the people are all like, "We so love the Lord!"  They do this three times for you fans of upcoming Easter pageants.

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