After a bit of a delay, here’s the newest part of my Bible Project; the remainder of Joshua!
Ah, Joshua. Josh. Joshie. Yeshua. His friends called him… I don’t know, really. I’m tempted to say he probably didn’t have any friends, but then again he likely did. You know who else had friends? That’s right. Hitler!
Anyhow, last time we saw him, Joshua was leading a massacre worthy of any done by the Nazis. One would presume he would show more restraint now and not bother to kill entire populations of cities. One would be wrong.
Before we get to the killing of entire populations, however, we have to get to the killing of one man. Well, and his entire family.
See, it seems that something is awry among the Israelites. Joshua prays to God who basically says, “Listen, jerkstores, one of your pals stole something he shouldn’t have (instead of things he should have), and so you’re suffering as a nation until this one person is dealt with! Yeah, that’s how I roll!” (not an exact quote)
Joshua does some poking around and eventually finds out that a fellow name Achen was the culprit! What did he steal? Some clothes, some silver and some gold. Seems like a minor offense to me compared with, say, helping butcher hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent children, but what do I know?
Naturally the Israelites are going to show all the restraint you’ve come to expect from them and God.
Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achen the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor.
And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. – Joshua 7:24 – 25
So again we see a case where a man sins, is punished far out of proportion to the actual crime and then he, and his entire family (apparently, though the text isn’t quite clear on this), are brutally murdered en masse by the entire nation. I wrote just yesterday about people being stoned to death. Good to see some folks still embrace the olde tyme religion, eh?
Also, I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m still wondering why the hell the Bible feels the need to emphasize that people were stoned with stones and burned with fire. I wasn’t expecting them to be stoned with, say, clams and burned with taffy. What a badly-written book!
Now for those who believe Jericho and the slaughter therein was a one-time event, think again. Though it gets less attention, the destruction of Ai (no relation to Ur, Uhm, Eh, Ah or Ee), is just as unpleasant as that of Jericho.
And it came to pass when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness where they persued them, and when they had all fallen by the edge of the sword until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned to Ai and struck at it with the edge of the sword.
So it was that all who fell that day, both men and women, were twelve thousand – all the people of Ai.
For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as booty for themselves, according to the word of the Lord which he had commanded Joshua. – Joshua 8:24 – 27
Well, I see there’s one lesson God learned: he’s letting them loot now. Obviously he, in his eneffable wisdom and might, realized that expecting soldiers not to loot back then would’ve taken more than even God was capable of.
On the other hand, we also see that he’s continuing to be a bloodthirsty monster and urge his people to go out and kill thousands of innocent people whose only crime was not being Israelites. I don’t know about you, but if I lived in the next kingdom over, I’d look at this and start wondering how the hell I was going to not be killed off.
Turns out that’s exactly what the good folk of Gibeon were thinking. They make a plan that involves them pretending to be from a far away land. They then set out to make at least some sort of peace with the Jews. When asked why, they have a fun little reply.
… for we have heard of his fame, and all that he did in Egypt. – Joshua 9:9
So apparently all God’s bragging about his evil plans in Exodus paid off. Nice!
Anyhow, the Israelites are all excited about this (though probably bummed that they don’t get to wade to triumph through a river of blood), and they accept a deal with the Gibeonites without consulting God (Joshua 9:14), who could have prevented the upcoming situation, but presumably he was out watching sparrows at the time.
Needless to say the Israelites figure out this little deception and aren’t happy. Joshua pulls aside the Gibeonites and says, “WTF, mate?!”
Then Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them, saying, “Why have you deceived us, saying, ‘We are very far from you, when you dwell near us?” – Joshua 9:22
Naturally the Gibeonites look at him and, basically, say, “What, are you stupid?”
So they answered Joshua and said, “Because your servants were clearly told that the Lord your god commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all t he inhabitants of the land from before you; therefore we were very much afraid for our lives because of you, and have done this thing. – Joshua 9:24
Well, Joshie is pissed about this, but since they promised to let the enemy live, there’s nothing to be done, so instead he turns them into slaves. But, hey, at least they’ve got their health!
Now is the time where, if I were ruling one of these cities, I’d start talking with all my neighbors and say, “Hey, these Israelites are planning to kill all of us. What say we team up and do something about this?”
This is basically what happens, as a bunch of kings get together and go attack the Gibeonites. They complain to their new masters and war happens.
During this war, something very, very strange happens.
Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lor delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel:
“Sun, stand still over Gibeon.
And Moon, in the Valley of Ajialon”
So the sun stood still,
And the moon stopped,
Till the people had revenge
Upon their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. – Joshua 10:12 – 13
Ok, there’s a lot of weirdness here.
First, is it just me, or does that sound like some badly-written attempt at haiku? Let’s see if I can do better.
The Bible sucks ass.
It’s a really awful book.
I hate it a lot!
So, not great, but at least I keep the 5-7-5 going!
Second, the Sun stands still in the sky? Really? The Moon, too? That’s interesting, because that would require that the Earth stop rotating and that the Moon does t he same. Oddly, there’s no effects of this sudden disruption upon the environment. Also, this great celestial event goes unnoticed in the rest of the world. Almost like it never happened at all! Hmmm…
The next couple chapters are pretty self-explanatory. The titles are “Joshua Conquers the Land” and “The Kings Defeated by Joshua.” Right after that we get some more badly-written Bible verses as one verse, 13:13, tells us that Joshua is old and advanced in years and then, in the same verse, has God tell Joshua the same thing. Argh, I hate this book!
The rest of Joshua’s story seems to consist of nothing more than the Israelites dividing up the spoils and high-fiving each other on a job well done. The Levites get cursed, an Altar gets built and then, finally, Joshua makes his farewell address. The first line has an air of deja vu about it.
And Joshua called for all Israel, for their leaders, for their elders, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers, and said to them, “I am old, and advanced in age.” – Joshua 23:2
Eventually Joshua up and dies at the age of 110. Not a bad run. He’s burried rather specifically.
And they burried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Serah, which is in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash. – Joshua 24:30
Great! The next verse also mentions Joseph’s bones being burried there, so why not go dig them up? I mean, that’s a pretty specific place, yeah? So let’s go digging, and see what we find. Surely if we find the bones of Joshua and Joseph, that helps the cause of the religious out there, right? Of course I think this is as likely as finding the Garden of Eden where it’s supposed to be.
So that’s the end of the Book of Joshua. What a horrible book. What horrible people! Like I’ve said before, we, as a people, are more moral than God, at least going by what he does in this book.
I find it interesting that people still think Joshua was a hero. It’s a sort of culture blindness, I guess, like the one in Romania that leaves people there believing that Vlad Tepes was a great guy because, even though he slaughtered many people in horrible ways, hey, he defended Christianity!
Next time, we see how God is like an old-world Celtic faerie!