MESSIAH: HIS FIRST COMING SCHEDULED|
THE WARS OF CONQUEST AND THE DIVISION OF THE LAND
IN Deuteronomy 34 we read the obituary of Moses. As suggested at the
conclusion of the preceding chapter, it is immaterial as to who wrote it. All
that concerns us is that it was given by inspiration. When one looks at this
language he sees that it is on the same high level as the rest of the book.
Therefore he comes to the conclusion that it was composed by one who was fully
inspired. After the death of Moses the children of Israel, according to the
regular custom, wept 30 days for him. A close study of the book leads one to
the conclusion that these 30 days of mourning were the last month of the 40
years of wilderness wandering.
I. THE WARS OF CONQUEST
As we have seen, there are perfect accord and agreement between the Torah and
the literary remains which have survived from the nations surrounding Israel,
and from even those antedating them. The political, social, and religious life
of these ancient peoples, as it is reflected in the documents which have been
unearthed, corresponds, with precision and exactness, to that which appears in
the sacred record. Some of the evidence we have already noted in former
chapters. But we must advance in tracing the chronological line through the
The narrative of the book of Joshua is confirmed by absolute, archaeological
evidence. From an historical standpoint, it has become the foundation rock
upon which Hebrew history rests. By the discoveries at ancient Jericho we are
now able to synchronize Biblical history with contemporary events. Thus we are
able more satisfactorily to locate Israel in the family of nations of that day
Upon the death of Moses Joshua naturally succeeded him. The Lord began to
communicate with him and to direct him in a manner similar to the way in which
He had led Moses. When the great law-giver had accomplished his life's work,
he went to rest with his fathers, awaiting the great resurrection morn. The
conditions lying out before Joshua were of a different type from those which
confronted Moses. War and conquest were the next step in the national
development. Joshua had trained along this line during the forty years of
wandering. One's recognizing this fact leads him to believe that God raises
up, trains, and equips men for definite and specific purposes. Some one has
said that God always has His man in the proper place at the right time.
The message and the exhortation which the Lord gave to Joshua are found in
Joshua 1:1-9. It was necessary that he keep constantly before his mind that
God was with him and would sustain him in his great campaign. Having the
profound conviction that the omnipotent God of the universe was the one for
whom he was fighting, and whose people he was leading, he could go forward
with confidence to accomplish his life's work.
A careful study of the facts connected with Joshua and his generalship leads
one to make the observation that God is looking for men whom He can trust and
use, men who are unselfish, and who have one purpose and one alone; namely, to
serve God and to bless humanity. The eyes of the Lord are running to and fro
throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose
hearts are perfect toward Him (II Chron. 16:9).
A. Crossing the Jordan
The reference to three days in Joshua 1:11, to another three days mentioned in
2:16, and to a third three-day period found in 3:2, and the statement that "on
the tenth day of the first month" Israel encamped in Gilgal on the east border
of Jericho prove that Joshua began on New Year's Day his preparation to cross
the Jordan and reached Canaan on the tenth day of the first month.
Rationalists, who do not believe in the supernatural, find great difficulty in
accepting the narrative concerning the opening up of the Red Sea and the
damming up of the Jordan. To them I would say that the God who can create the
universe can certainly stop a small stream like the Jordan in order to allow
His people to cross. There is nothing too hard for Jehovah.
The suggestion is frequently made that there was a landslide at the city of
Adam about sixteen miles above Jericho. At this place the banks of the river
are very high and are composed of alluvial soil. According to this hypothesis
there was an earthquake which caused the land to slide and to dam the river up
so that the waters did not flow down. Then Israel passed over dry-shod. In
of this position attention is called to the fact that during the British
occupation of Palestine in 1917 the banks of Jordan, jarred by the terrific
cannonading, caved in and dammed the stream twenty-two hours. I have talked
with personal friends who were there at the time. The same thing, I am told,
was true with reference to the earthquake in 1927. There seems to be a
suggestion in Psalm 114: 3-6 that there was an earthquake at the time Israel
crossed the Jordan. If this interpretation is correct, it is quite likely that
the earth movement shook the banks down and that the river was dammed up at
the time Joshua led Israel into Canaan.
If such was the case, there is nothing in that circumstance to detract from
the miracle which occurred at the psychological moment in the plan of God in
order that His people might enter the land at the exact time decreed. God uses
men and means, and He likewise times events. If the Almighty chose to stop the
river in this manner, He could do so.
The writer of the book of Joshua, who evidently was a contemporary of the
events which he narrates, speaks in the first person plural number in the
clause, "until we were passed over" (Josh. 5:1). This verse indicates that the
book was written by an eyewitness who participated in the events recorded.
Immediately after crossing the Jordan Joshua, being commanded by the Lord, had
all of the males, who had been born in the wilderness, circumcised, which
institution was the seal of the covenant.
On the fourteenth day Israel observed the Passover and began to eat of the
native food, for at this time the manna ceased. Thus exactly forty years to a
day after the Hebrews left Egypt, did they enter into the land and observe the
Passover. They left Egypt in 2513 A.H. and entered Canaan in 2553 A.H. on the
tenth day of the first month.
B. The Capture of Jericho
Israel's camp was at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho (Joshua 5:10).
Immediately after the observance of the Passover Joshua, a good military
strategist, began to reconnoiter in the neighborhood and to survey the
situation confronting him. In keeping with His promise to sustain him, the
Lord appeared to him. This was during his wakeful hours, for the record says
that he lifted up his eyes and "behold, there stood a man over against him
with his sword drawn in his hand: Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art
thou for us, or for our adversaries?" (Joshua 5:13).
The stranger's reply was, "Nay, but as prince of the host of Jehovah am I now
come" (Joshua 5:14). Joshua, whose spiritual perception was very keen,
immediately recognized his visitor and fell upon his face in worship, asking
the question, "What saith my Lord unto his servant?" The answer given to him
was, "Put off thy shoe from off thy foot: for the place whereon thou standest
is holy." He was obedient.
In view of all the facts that are presented here, it is absolutely certain
that this one who stood before Joshua was none other than the one who forty
years previously appeared to Moses at the burning bush. A glance at Exodus 3
shows that this one was called, "the angel of Jehovah." In Exodus 3:4 we read
the statement, "God called unto him out of the midst of the bush." The
instructions given were, “draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy
feet for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I
am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob" (vss. 5, 6). This one who is called the Angel of Jehovah also says of
himself that He is God, even the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob.
His presence at this place made the ground holy; hence Moses was to remove his
shoes from his feet. The situation with which Joshua was confronted was
exactly the same; therefore we must conclude that this one who stood with
drawn sword was none other than the one who appeared to Moses, and whose
presence made the ground holy. He was, as I have proved beyond a doubt in the
volume Messiah: His Nature and Person, none other than one of the Divine
Personalities constituting the Holy Trinity.
His appearance to Joshua on this occasion was to confirm in person the message
which He had formerly given to him, and which is found in Joshua 1: 1-9. At
this point in his career it was essential for him to understand thoroughly
that the conquest of Canaan involved more than simply men and implements of
warfare. This fact doubtless was not altogether clear in his mind. In all
probability it will be a revelation to many of the readers of this book. This
great truth has been largely overlooked in modern times. Like Jeremiah, I
would say, "stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is
the good way; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls" (Jer.
The heavenly visitor affirmed that He appeared as "prince of the host of
Jehovah." This statement reveals the fact that there is a host of invisible
beings, and that this one is the Leader, the Generalissimo,
if you please, of the Lord's host. A clear vision of the armies of heaven may
be seen in I Kings 22:13-23. Another view of them might be observed in Job 1.
Reference is made to these hosts in Psalm 89:5-7.
Originally all the hosts or armies of heaven were obedient to the Almighty.
Finally, one of these superior created beings, being puffed up with pride,
instituted a revolt in the armies against the Almighty and endeavored to match
swords with Him. It is needless to say that he and his cohorts went down in
utter defeat. Reference to this great conflict is seen in Isa. 14:12-14. This
description refers to the original revolt and blends with the yet future
assault against the Almighty, which Satan will yet stage in the time of
Jacob's trouble. Another reference is found in Ezekiel 28 and still another in
Job 25. Another one also appears in Psalm 74:12-17. This latter passage is
couched in the popular phraseology of the days of David and Asaph. In order
for one to appreciate and understand it, he must know the force of the
terminology of that day and time. Another allusion to the host of evil ones is
found in Daniel, in the expressions, "prince of the king of Persia" and
"prince of the king of Greece." One other reference is made to them in the
prediction which describes the final defeat of these rebellious spirits and
which will occur at the end of the time of Jacob's trouble (Isa. 24:21). At
that time all the hosts of the high ones on high, together with their leader,
will be cast into the pit of the abyss and will be incarcerated "for many
days." Finally, they will be expelled into outer darkness for ever and ever.
The facts that are set forth in the passages given in the last paragraph are
necessary to a clear understanding of the fall of Jericho and the conquest of
the land of Canaan. The appearance of this "angel of Jehovah" was a reminder
to Joshua that, whereas there would be actual combat between his forces and
those of the Canaanites, the counterpart to these battles would be between the
forces of the Lord, on the one hand, and the armies of the evil one, on the
other. These invisible combats, as suggested by Isa. 24:21, would be carried
on in the air.
As stated before, this one who appeared to Joshua was none other than the
Angel of Jehovah, one of the Holy Trinity. He is the Generalissimo of the
armies of heaven. At the same time there is a created being whose name is
Michael, and who is "the great prince who standeth for the children of thy
(Daniel's) people" (Dan. 12:1). The success and fortune of the children of
Israel are especially
bound up in the aid and protection which they receive from these armies of
heaven. The deciding factors of all conflicts in which men are engaged are
these invisible forces. Throughout Israel's entire history this fact has been
demonstrated. Whenever she was in fellowship with her God, the hosts of
Jehovah have always fought in her behalf. Under these conditions she has
always been victorious. On the other hand, whenever she departed from the ways
of the Lord, and then became involved in warfare, she has always gone down in
defeat. Such catastrophes were due to the fact that the armies of the Lord
were withdrawn from the battlefield, and she by the arm of flesh alone had to
combat nations drawn up against her in battle, as well as the invisible armies
of evil wicked spirits, which have sworn eternal vengeance against her. In
this connection may I emphasize the thought that, in the final conflict of the
ages when the nations will be gathered against Israel to battle (as set forth
by Zechariah in chapter 14), the victory will be won not by the armies of
Israel, but by the supporting heavenly armies of loyal angels, who will at
that time be led by this same Prince of the host of Jehovah? The Hebrew people
will have to make their peace with Him and invite Him to cooperate with them
and to bring deliverance. Whenever they do, their troubles will be over, once
and forever. My dear Hebrew friends, read Zechariah 14, after having prayed
earnestly that God may open your eyes to behold the wonderful truth contained
in this mighty passage.
Joshua received the instructions as to what he and Israel should do in order
to capture Jericho, which was indeed a formidable fortress guarding the
entrance to the tableland of Judea. In 1937 I walked over the Tell of ancient
Jericho, which covers about seven acres. Some modern scholars have scoffed at
the Biblical account, since it occupied such a small plot of land, but is
represented as a great city. They forget, however, that it was largely a
fortress, the chief city of the towns in the adjoining territory. The bulk of
the people lived in these small villages, but resorted to the fortification
only in times of war. This fact puts a different aspect upon the entire
The Israelites were to march around the city once a day for six days, being
led by the priests. On the seventh day they were to encompass it seven times.
At the conclusion of the last round they were to blow the ram's horn and raise
a shout. In obedience to these simple instructions, Joshua led the procession.
Doubtless the men of Jericho watched in astonishment and amazement this
To them it certainly must have been very strange, since they had heard of the
mighty conquest of Transjordan by the same army; therefore there can be little
doubt that the natives were mystified at the maneuvers of the Israelites.
The seventh circuit having been made, the shout of victory was raised. This
paean of praise was an expression of faith that God would do what He had
promised. The free gifts oi God are obtainable only by faith. Abraham believed
God and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Gen. 15:6). Without faith
it is impossible to be well-pleasing to God. Men must believe the Almighty
implicitly. They must not doubt for a moment, but must express their faith in
obedience to His commands without modification, addition, or subtraction. At
the same time let us remember that it is by faith that His gifts are
When, therefore, Israel by faith sent up a shout of victory and conquest, the
Lord went into action. Probably by a mighty earthquake He shook the territory,
and the walls of Jericho fell as described in the Biblical account. Thanks to
Professor Garstang and Sir Charles Marston who have prosecuted a marvelous
work at Jericho and have laid bare the facts that are recorded in the sacred
narrative. The double walls of Jericho fell down. With my own eyes I saw the
sun-dried bricks of this ancient fortress. I walked allover the mount and saw
what actually transpired. There can be no doubt concerning the fact that the
walls were thrown down and fell outward, especially on the west side. Sir
Charles calls our attention to the fact that the wall at the northwest corner
remained upright. There are the ruins of a house on the walls, which, in all
probability, was that of Rahab the harlot.*
As already stated, Psalm 114 indicates that there was an earthquake at the
time of Israel's crossing the Jordan, for the writer, addressing the Jordan
and the mountains, asked what ailed them, saying, "Ye mountains, that ye skip
like rams; ye little hills, like lambs?" This verse is a graphic description
of the shaking of the mountains in the community by an earthquake. Usually
when there is a quake of any size, it is followed by lighter tremors. Israel
crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month of the year 2553 A.H.
They observed the Passover on the fourteenth day.
* This fact is evidence confirmatory of Joshua 6:22, 25. The house remained
intact after the walls were shaken down as these verses indicate. In verse 25
we see that the record of Joshua was written by a contemporary of the event,
because the account states that "she (Rahab) dwelt in the midst of Israel
until this day"-the day of the writing of the book of Joshua.
Shortly after that they began the investment of Jericho according to the
instructions given by the Lord. For six days they encircled the city, and on
the seventh day the walls were shaken down. There were at least eleven days,
therefore, between the crossing of the river and the fall of Jericho. There
may have been more, but not very many more. It is, therefore, probable that
Jericho fell by a second earthquake.
The fact that God uses natural means to accomplish His purposes in no wise
detracts from the miraculous interposition on behalf of His people. The fact
that the earthquake came at the psychological moment for these two events
stamps both of them with the impress of divine intervention. Only Omniscience
could have ordered the movements of Israel and her armies so that at the
psychological moment the earthquake would bring the results desired.
Had the Lord chosen to break through the natural order and with His mighty
hand accomplish the results in a way different from this, He could have done
it. In either instance it would be His omnipotent interference.
In discussing the date of the Exodus, I had occasion to refer to the
excavations at Jericho by Professor Garstang and Sir Charles Marston. In that
connection I gave some long quotations from Sir Charles' New Bible Evidences.
The testimony which he produced was conclusive--incontrovertible; for all who
are of a scientific mind, and who desire truth rather than fiction.
When the date of the fall of Jericho is established, automatically the time of
the Exodus is fixed, because it occurred forty years prior to the former
event. To show that the conclusions to which Sir Charles came are correct and
have stood the acid test of adverse criticism, I wish to quote a statement
from The Bible Comes Alive by Sir Charles Marston:
"Intimations have already been given that the date of Joshua's destruction of
Jericho has proved the basis for a surprisingly satisfactory Bible chronology
from Abraham to Rehoboam. It is therefore of interest to refer to the evidence
which established the approximate date of 1400 B.C. for the fall of the city.
In the earlier part of this book an outline is given of the pottery system of
dating. We know now, that quite a few earlier cities once stood on the same
site as Joshua's Jericho. Their pottery strata give ample testimony as to
their respective dates. But in consequence of the curse Joshua laid upon the
spot, there has never been any complete occupation since his day. The Roman
city of Jericho, mentioned in the New Testament, is on an entirely different
site. The various layers of pottery have enabled Professor Garstang to
distinguish one occupation from another. The stratum, or what may be described
as the Great Burning, is associated with Quantities and Quantities of pottery
fragments which belong to the middle of the late Bronze Age (1400 B.C.).
Professor Garstang was so successful as to find the necropolis, outside
the city, in which the inhabitants had buried their dead. The tombs contained
numbers of unbroken pots. and among some of them Egyptian scarabs were found.
The unbroken pots, and the scarabs, verified the dates of the quantities of
fragments on the site; indeed, the scarabs carried matters rather further.
They terminated with three of the reign of Amenhotep III (1413-1377 B.C.) in
what appear to be the royal or official interments, and the tombs of the
period come to an end at the same time. Professor Garstang was former Director
of the Department of Antiquities for the Palestine Government, and his
authority as an expert. in the dating of pottery, as well as in excavations,
is unrivalled. Nevertheless, since the date of the destruction of Jericho was
a key date for that of the Exodus, controversy was aroused among those who
believed the Exodus must have occurred more than two centuries later. In order
to finally settle the question, the author asked Professor Garstang to again
verify his conclusions in the season of 1936.
"Mr. Alan Rowe, who supervised the excavations in these levels at Beisan, was
called in as another expert to join with the Professor in the work. And in due
course the report was published in The Times of 21st April, 1936,
and the Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund for July, 1936.
It will be found on page 278 of the Appendix. It confirmed the date of 1400
B.C. with a possible alternative of any date not later than 1377 B.C. For
reasons, discussed on page 280, there seem insuperable objections to 1377
B.C., which, however, decrease in proportion as the date is advanced to 1400
B.C., when they disappear. The discovery of this chronology revives the
importance of another archeological find, and enhances the significance of the
information gleaned from it."
I herewith give the statement of Mr. Rowe and Professor Garstang:
APPENDIX III THE DATE OF JOSHUA'S DESTRUCTION OF JERICHO
From the Quarterly Statement of The Palestine Exploration Fund, July, 1936
"The conclusion of six seasons' researches among the ruins of Jericho seems to
call for a definite pronouncement about the date of the Bronze Age city's
fall, if only to put an end to needless controversy. A review of the evidence
leaves no reasonable doubt upon this question.
"Results obtained successively in city and necropolis have all pointed
steadily towards a date about 1400 B.C., during the reign of the Pharaoh
Amenhotep III, whose scarabs mark the end of a long series of official and
private seals. At the same time the tomb deposits, which represent the
continuous burial practice of chiefs and people for more than 800 years, come
abruptly to an end; while within the city the signs of a general catastrophe
accomplished by the falling of its massive walls are found wherever the Late
Bronze Age levels are preserved.
"The sparse deposits of the next five centuries, amounting to 1/2 per cent of
the whole, represent a partial and discontinuous occupation of portions of the
site by later settlers. About the age of Solomon a strong block-house occupied
the old palace site, but the city walls show no signs of restoration until the
general reoccupation of the area in the second Iron Age, known to have been
effected in the time of Ahab. "This season, in response to Sir Charles
Marston's desire, we have made a final search in the vicinity of the ancient
palace and located a small undisturbed area immediately below the Iron Age
debris. As elsewhere at this level, its buildings were found to have been
completely burned out, but among
the ashes were found some distinctive deposits, including painted pottery,
Cypriote importations, lamps, and cooking pots. The whole group is
characteristic of the early part of the Late Bronze Age, while the painted
wares in particular find ready parallel in the Tuthmosis III and pre-Amenhotep
III levels at Beisan. On the other hand, the peculiar art products of the Tel-elAmarna
period were entirely wanting, as also were Mycenaean wares.
"Allowing for the possibility that the finding of two scarab-seals of
Amenhotep III in a royal tomb suggests the appointment of two local dynasties
within that reign, with a third still in office, we may logically conclude
that the fall of Jericho took place between 1400 B.C. and the accession of
Akhenaton. No other conclusion will satisfy the archeological evidence as a
"It will be realized that this result is independent of any literary
indications and it is not affected by computation or theory as to the date of
ALAN ROWE, (Ex-Director, Betson Expedition).
JOHN GARSTANG, (Ex-Director, Jericho Expedition).
(From pages 278 and 279 of Sir Charles Marston's The Bible Comes Alive)
With the testimony of these two archeologists who have a right by their
scientific knowledge to make a pronouncement concerning this most important
matter, we must consider the question as settled. The spade has revealed the
truth that has been buried beneath the soil of centuries. The testimony now
confirms the Biblical account.
The fall of Jericho, therefore, occurred around 1400 B.C.E. in the common
reckoning, but in the Biblical chronology it was in the year 2553 A.H.
C. The Defeat at Ai
The moment of victory is always fraught with the greatest dangers to the
conqueror, unless he is looking to God in adoration and praise together with a
petition to be kept in the center of His holy, directive will. The case of
Joshua was no exception to this rule, even though he was a great and wonderful
man whom God used mightily. Flushed with the triumph of victory at Jericho he
sent a small detachment of his forces to capture Ai, one of the cities
guarding the entrance to the central plateau. Naturally this force left the
camp at Gilgal and traveled the northern route from a point which lies about
five miles back of Jericho, ascended the ridge, passed by Michmash, and
attacked Ai. George Adam Smith in his historical geography of the Holy Land,
pages 259 and 260, speaks of this route as follows: "The most northerly of
these three routes into Judea ascends behind Jericho to the ridge north of the
Kelt, follows it to Michmash, and so by Ai to Bethel. This is an ancient road
and was probably the trade route between the lower Jordan and the coast,
both in ancient and mediaeval times. It is the line of Israel's first
invasion, described in the seventh and eighth chapters of Joshua; and its
fitness for that is obvious, for it is open, and leads on to a broad plateau
in the center of the country." The inhabitants of the city came out and routed
the small Israelitish force. It fell back in utter defeat.
This setback was indeed a shock to the Israelites. Knowing God's dealings with
His people Joshua immediately suspected that some one had sinned with
reference to the spoils of Jericho. Hence he began an investigation, which
resulted in the discovery that Achan had taken of the prohibited things. His
doing this was a direct violation of the divine commands to devote all of the
spoils and treasures, except the vessels of silver, gold, brass, and iron, to
Achan's sin was immediately atoned for by his suffering the death penalty and
the burning of the stolen property.
When the broken fellowship had been restored between God and Israel, Joshua
made a second attack upon Ai, which was successful. Those who are in
fellowship with God, and who are in the center of His holy, directive will are
invincible. Luther said, "God and r are a majority."
Professor Garstang, who did some excavating at Ai, has pronounced the judgment
that this city was captured at the same time that Jericho and Hazor fell. His
opinion is based upon the discovery of pottery coming from the same period. It
is true that this position has been called in question, but without sufficient
grounds. The Professor's conclusions thus will stand until there is positive
evidence to the contrary.
D. The Habiri
In 1888 the famous records that are now known as the Tell el-Amarna Tablets
were unearthed in Egypt. They proved to be the archives of the foreign office
of the court of Amenhotep III and IV (Akhenaten). Many of these letters were
written by the vassal kings of Egypt who were reigning in the petty states of
Syria and Palestine. They were constantly writing to the Pharaoh to come
immediately to their relief. Otherwise, the country, said they, would be
captured by invaders who were coming in from the east. In these records they
are known as the Sagaz and the Habiri. The former are mentioned in letters
coming from the northern section
of the country, whereas the latter are set forth in those written by princes
in the southern part of Palestine.
For instance, Rib-Adda of Gebal wrote frantically to Pharaoh imploring him to
send aid immediately lest the king's authority be in jeopardy. Two letters
from this place are given by Barton in his Archaeology and the Bible. In both
of these he referred to the "sons of Ebed-Ashera." There is some uncertainty
in regard to the significance of this expression. Some scholars, however, see
in it a reference to the tribe of Asher, whose lot lay on the maritime coast
above Haifa. Geographically these "sons of Ebed-Ashera" are correctly located
in order to be identified as the tribe of Asher.
Ebed-Hepa of Jerusalem frantically appealed to Pharaoh to come to his relief
by sending mercenary troops; otherwise, declared the affrighted Ebed-Hepa, all
the authority and power of Pharaoh would soon be lost. This ruler was a vassal
of Amenhotep IV, the heretic king. This vassal called his master's attention
to the fact that the Habiri were overrunning the country and that in a year's
time the king's territory would be lost.
Who were the Habiri? Various answers are given. Some have thought that they
were of the tribe of Heber, who, according to Genesis 46:17 and Numbers 26:45,
descended from Asher. This position is unlikely since such a small group of
people could not terrify Ebed-Hepa in any such manner as his letters indicate.
On the other hand, others identify them as being a branch of the Hittites. The
reason advanced for this position is that one of the Boghaz-Kuei Tablets,
discovered by Winckler in 1907, presents a list of the Hittites' gods,
designating them as the "gods of the Habiri." This bit of evidence is not at
all convincing. On this point Barton declares, "This is, however, not
decisive, as the gods may have been Semitic gods, whom, after the fashion 01
antiquity, the Hittite scribe had identified with the deities of his own
country." The example of the addition of foreign gods to the national pantheon
was no uncommon occurrence among the nations of antiquity. Hence, as Barton
states, this reference to the "gods of the Habiri" cannot be relied upon as
evidence that the Habiri were Hittites. At the same time other scholars, for
different reasons, deny that the Habiri were the Hebrew people.
Nevertheless others of equal scholarship see in these letters indisputable
evidence of the Hebrew invasion of the land under Joshua. Even Barton holds to
this view, at the same time asserting that it has difficulties. One objection
which he raises is that Ebed-Hepa wrote
to Amenhotep IV who belonged to the 18th dynasty. In his opinion, however, the
Exodus occurred under Merneptah, a Pharaoh of the 19th dynasty. Upon this
theory the Hebrews were in Egypt when Ebed-Hepa made his frantic appeals. But
as has already been shown in a preceding chapter, the Exodus did actually
occur under the reign of Amenhotep II of the 18th dynasty. Their flight from
Egypt, given in terms of the current chronology, was about 1447 B.C.E. The
wilderness wanderings continued for forty years. The entrance into Canaan,
therefore, would have occurred about 1407 B.C.E. It is admitted by scholars in
general that these letters come from the period 1400-1360 B.C.E. This is the
time of the Hebrew conquest spoken in terms of the current chronology. Since,
however, there is much uncertainty concerning the Egyptian chronology, as is
seen by a glance at the positions taken by experts in this field, we may be
certain that these letters were written at the time of the Hebrew entrance and
conquest of the land. This is made absolutely certain by the Jericho
discoveries, which, as we have seen, place the Exodus in the reign of Amehotep
In this connection I wish to make another quotation from The Bible Comes
"In the year 1888, an old peasant woman in Egypt, rummaging about at a place
called Tel el Amarna, lighted upon the ruins of a Pharaoh's Record Office. She
found a collection of three hundred and twenty clay tablets inscribed with
cuneiform writing in the Babylonian language. The decipherment proved them to
have been written by the petty kings and governors of Palestine and Syria, and
sent to the then ruling Pharaoh-Amenhotep III, and his successor, Amenhotep
IV, better known as Akhenaton. They are dated between 1400 and 1360 B.C. Our
readers are already aware, that the Egyptians had been conquering and
controlling Palestine, and Syria, while Moses led the Israelites in the
Wilderness; as a result, an Egyptian suzerainty had been established over the
conquered countries. The Tel el Amarna Letters contained appeals to Egypt for
help against invaders from the other side of the Jordan, named the Habiru and
"The decipherment, the translation, and the grouping of these letters in their
proper sequence, have presented, and still present, many bewildering problems.
But the identification of the Sagaz with the Habiru is now generally agreed.
And reference has already been made to the identification of the Habiru with
the Hebrews. This too is now meeting with general recognition. It has become
clear that the Tel el Amarna Letters contain enemy versions of Joshua's
invasion, written by Canaanite, Amorite, and Jebusite chiefs. The trouble is
to fit them into the course of events. They extend over perhaps forty years,
and numbers of people, of whom we know nothing, are mentioned in them."
E. The Defeat of the Amarite League
When the news was spread throughout the land that Joshua had penetrated into
the interior by the capture of Ai, the people were
thrown into consternation. The inhabitants of Gibeon, Beeroth, Kiriath-jearim,
and Chephirah immediately formed an alliance known as the Hivite League. Being
convinced that the Israelites would subject the land, the inhabitants of
Gibeon, the chief city of this confederacy, by strategy and deceit entered
into covenant relationship with Joshua at Gilgal. Their perfidy was soon
discovered by Israel. Nevertheless, on account of the sacredness of the
covenant and oath, Joshua was true to his treaty obligations.
Soon another group of nations formed a confederacy to oppose the Hivite League
and the Israelites. This second union of states was known as the Amorite
League. It consisted of Jerusalem, Hebron, Lachish, Jarmuth, and Eglon.
Realizing the critical situation in which they were placed, they planned
immediately to attack the Hivite Alliance in order to destroy it. Messengers
were dispatched immediately by the Gibeonites to Joshua at Gilgal, calling
upon him to come with haste to their relief. The Israelites responded. By
forced march during the night they were on the tableland the next morning. The
battle was set and raged fiercely.
The tenth chapter of Joshua is one of great importance from many standpoints.
It records the setting of the battle and the participants. In it is also found
what is usually termed "the long day of Joshua." The late Professor Maunder,
in his volume The Astronomy of the Bible, has given us a very enlightening
exposition of the geographical location and the conditions connected with this
marvelous superhuman intervention in behalf of the Chosen People. According to
him, the topography and geography of the locality harmonize perfectly with the
astronomy implied in the passage. There is nothing incredible in the account
concerning the prolonging of the day and the winning of the victory. The God
who can create the universe and sustain it is able indeed to intervene in
behalf of the people whom He has chosen to be the channel through which He
will bless the world. If one admits the existence of a personal God who
created the universe and in whom, we live, move, and have our being, he must
admit the possibility of miraculous intervention. This latter truth is a
corollary of the first proposition.
If one will but open his mind to receive the truth and will investigate the
statements as they are presented, he can easily see the facts as they are
embedded in this text. Often, instead of reading the Bible itself with an open
mind, skeptics procure works teaching infidelity and skepticism. A certain
infidel boasted of his unbelief.
Upon being asked what books he read he referred to the works of Ingersoll,
Paine, et at. When questioned closely if he had ever read the Bible one time,
he finally admitted that he never had. The health of the body depends upon the
nature of the food which is eaten; the health of the heart and soul, likewise,
depends upon the intellectual and spiritual food upon which one feasts.
Speaking in a figure one may say that truth is modest and will never force
herself upon him who does not seek her association. The Scriptures are so
constructed that those who are hunting for difficulties will find many seeming
contradictions; but the truth seeker will make a thorough, sympathetic
investigation of the facts and endeavor to find harmony. According to the best
legal authorities, testimony which, especially in minor details seems to be
contradictory, but in the outstanding features agrees in general is considered
the very best of evidence. Hence the seeming difficulties to which atheists
and infidels have pointed as proof against the divine origin of the
Scriptures, when studied honestly and conscientiously with a desire to know
the truth, vanish into oblivion.
Two illustrations will suffice to show how these seeming difficulties vanish.
The miracle of the prolonged day in the time of Joshua (Josh. 10) has been to
some a stumbling block. Various explanations have been given of this record.
The existence of a Supreme Omnipotent Being being granted, no one should have
any difficulty with this miracle. According to the record the day was
prolonged in order that Joshua might complete the victory. At his command the
sun and moon stood still. Did these heavenly bodies really stand still or did
the earth cease rotating on its axis? Or did the Almighty by miraculous
intervention intensify refraction and reflection so that those bodies seemed
to stand still (the language of appearance)? People today who believe in the
rotundity of the earth still speak of the rising and the setting of the sun.
This usage is the language of appearance. It will never be settled
scientifically as to which of these methods was used. The great fact
established by historical testimony is that there was miraculous intervention
which prolonged that day. A faint echo of this miracle is heard in the Greek
world in the fable of Phaethon, who was driving the chariot of the Sun and
threw everything into disorder, thus causing one day wholly unlike all before
and after it. Likewise, another faint echo is heard in the Chinese record:
traces of this miracle are discovered in the Chinese records, as well . as in
the disfigured account of Statius and Ovid."
Another seeming flat contradiction disappears in the light of the knowledge of
the Hebrew text. In II Kings 8:17 It is stated that Joram king of Judah
reigned eight years in Jerusalem, dying forty years old. In verse 26 the
statement is made that his son, Ahaziah, I was twenty-two years old, ascended
the throne and reigned one I year. In II Chron. 22:2 the statement is made
that Ahaziah was forty-two years old when he began to reign and reigned one
year. Thus the records appear in the English translation. There is a seeming
contradiction. The father is forty years old when he dies; the son is 42,
mounts the throne, reigns one year, and dies at 43. No son can be older than
his father. This seeming difficulty vanishes when one realizes the fact that
the Hebrew expression translated "when he began to reign" also is
grammatically rendered "in his kingdom" or "in his reign." Since the son could
not be two years older than the father and since the Hebrew expression has two
meanings, that significance must be chosen in the Chronicles passage which
will accord with the facts. When it is seen that Ahaziah was the son of
Athaliah, who was the daughter of Jezebel of the house of Omri, of the
Northern Kingdom, and when the years are counted from the usurpation of the
throne by Omri to the death of Jehoram and it is seen that there were exactly
forty-two years, the only conclusion to be drawn is that the writer of
Chronicles was speaking of the length of the dynasty instead of the age of
Ahaziah when he mounted the throne.
In the latter part of Joshua 10 we find an account of the progress of the
battle and the territories won. In the last paragraph, however, is a resume of
the operations in the south. Here we learn that Joshua conquered the country
from Gibeon on the north of Jerusalem to Kadesh-barnea on the south. The list
of the cities shows that this territory did not include the plains of the
Philistines, but rather the section known as the shephalah and the high
tableland of Judea.
Although the blanket statement is made that Joshua conquered this section of
the land, we see from other statements of Scripture that certain cities were
not captured. For instance, Jerusalem was not taken until David stormed it.
Gezer was first conquered by Solomon. The conquests, therefore, mentioned in
Joshua 10 refer to the overwhelming of the armies of these various cities that
opposed Joshua and the taking of the country at large. Some of the strongholds
such as those two just mentioned withstood the Israelites, as we shall
F. The Defeat of the Canaanite Confederacy
"And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor heard thereof, that he sent to
J obab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph,
2 and to the kings that were on the north, in the hill-country, and in the
Arabah south of Chinneroth, and in the lowland, and in the heights of Dor on
the west, 3 to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and the Amorite, and
the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the hill country, and the
Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpah" (Josh. 11:1-3).
At the conclusion of the southern campaign Joshua led his forces northward
against the coalition that had been formed by Jabin king of Hazor. The enemy
on this occasion was more powerful and formidable than in the previous
campaign. New difficulties had arisen. Joshua was far from his base of
supplies at Gilgal. A new type of warfare loomed before him. In the former
campaign they had fought in the hills and stormed cities. In this northern
area they were met by chariots and horses on the open plain.
The battle was fought in the vicinity of Hazor near Lake Huleh. The enemy fled
in every direction and Joshua was completely victorious. The ancient site of
Hazor is known under the modern name of El Kedah, one of the largest sites in
Palestine, being, according to Marston, 3600 feet by 1800. On the southern
side of the city was an enclosure on a mound that dominated the entire
situation, the height of which was about 165 feet above the neighboring road.
Garstang claims that it enjoyed its greatest prosperity around 1800 B.C., when
the Hyksos were in power in Egypt. At this time, of course, it was under their
complete control, for archeology has revealed their special type of
fortification. With the passing of the centuries its splendor faded. Thothmes
III in 1478 B.C.E. captured it. This, of course, was a natural setback.
Nevertheless, because of its natural strength it played an important role in
northern Palestine. It still remained the center for strong military
operations. From Joshua 11:4 we learn that the kings mentioned in the passage
quoted at the beginning of this section, "went out, they and all their hosts
with them, much people, even as the sand that is upon the seashore in
multitude, with horses and chariots very many."
The Lord gave Joshua special encouragement, urging him not to fear, but to
trust, for He declared that He would deliver the Canaanites into Israel's
hands. Thus with this divine assurance Joshua led his forces into battle,
accomplishing a complete rout of the enemy.
Since the attack and the destruction of Hazor played such an important part in
the Biblical record, I must give the terse Scriptural statement concerning it:
"And Joshua turned back at that time, and took Razor, and smote the king
thereof with the sword: for Razor beforetime was the head of all those
kingdoms. 11 And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of
the sword, utterly destroying them; there was none left that breathed: and he
burnt Razor with fire. 12 And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings
of them, did Joshua take, and he smote them with the edge of the sword, and
utterly destroyed them; as Moses the servant of Jehovah commanded. 13 But as
for the cities that stood on their mounds, Israel burned none of them, save
Razor only; that did Joshua burn" (Josh. 11:10-13).
From this quotation it is clear that the writer wants us to understand that
Hazor alone was burned at this time. This is seen by the fact that he twice
mentioned its having been burned: "and he burnt Hazor with fire" (vs. 11.) ;
and "Israel burned none of them, save Hazor "only" (vs. 13). There can be no
doubt, therefore, about the destruction of Hazor at this time. Notwithstanding
these plain declarations many of the critical scholars in the class rooms of
the great institutions of learning speak ex cathedra, affirming that there was
no such destruction of Hazor at that time. All references to the burning of
Hazor they apply to the days of Deborah and Barak some 140 years later (Judges
4 and 5). Notwithstanding this professorial omniscience Garstang, in his
excavating the ancient site of Hazor, found "that the pottery evidence pointed
to the fact that the city had been destroyed by fire about the middle of the
Bronze Age (1400 B.C.), long before the date assigned to Deborah by
commentators and critics." The issue, therefore, is clearly drawn between the
critics, on the one hand, and the stubborn bold facts of archeology on the
other. But, one may ask, could the destruction of this stronghold, by any
chance, be the one recorded in Judges 4 and S? Information comes to us from
one of the Tell el-Amarna letters, dated about 1380 B.C.E., which was written
by an Egyptian envoy in the north of Palestine to the reigning Pharaoh. It
reads as follows: "Let my Lord the King recall what Hazor and its king have
already had to endure." This information Sir Charles Marston gives us in New
Bible Evidence, page 128. The archeological evidence, therefore, points
conclusively to the destruction by fire of not only Hazor, but also Ai and
Jericho. The pottery dates these events in the middle of
the late Bronze Age, about 1400 B.C.E. Thus the spade has brought forth
evidence confirmatory of the Biblical narrative.
A summary of the Israelitish occupation of Palestine is found in Joshua
"So Joshua took all that land, the hill-country, and all the South, and all
the land of Goshen, and the lowland, and the Arabah, and the hill-country of
Israel, and the lowland of the same; 17 from mount Halak, that goeth up to
Seir, even unto Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all
their kings he took, and smote them, and put them to death. 18 Joshua made war
a long time with all those kings. 19 There was not a city that made peace with
the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: they took
all in battle. 20 For it was of Jehovah to harden their hearts, to come
against Israel in battle, that he might utterly destroy them, that they might
have no favor, but that he might destroy them, as Jehovah commanded Moses."
Following this resume we have a paragraph (vss. 21-23) which speaks of
Joshua's annihilating "the Anakim" from the land. Thus Israel, by the help of
God, entered and partially conquered the land promised to them-the central
G. Joshua Mentioned on the Tablets
The name of Joshua appears on one of the Tell el-Amarna tablets, which reads
as follows: "As the King my Lord liveth, Job is not in Pella. For two months
he has been in hiding. Ask then Benjamin, ask then Tadua, ask then Joshua."
This is given by Sir Charles Marston in The Bible Comes Alive, page 90. This
tablet was written by one Mut Baal to an Egyptian official whose name was
Yanhamu. He wrote in confirmation of a previous letter relative to Job, king
of Pella, who had fled from the community. Pella was an important city on the
east side of the Jordan somewhat southeast of Bethshean. Of course, it was
captured by the Israelites prior to the taking of Jericho. The translation of
this portion of the tablet as given by Barton is as follows: "As the King my
lord lives, Job is not in Pihilim! Indeed, two months ago he broke way (?). As
to this, ask Biennima; ask Tadua; ask Jeshuia (Joshua). Further by the estate
(?) of Di-marduk, the city of Ashtar was helped." The tablet mentions the Ghor
(the Jordan rift), Dumah, Edrei, Aroer, Magdalla, and Jabesh. All of these
towns are well-known to Biblical students. The name Biennima, doubtless, is
the Hebrew word Benjamin, and Jeshuia is likewise Joshua. Professor A. T.
Olmstead, in History of Palestine and Syria, believes that in this tablet we
have a contemporary document. The mention of these well-known peoples and
cities cannot be accidental.
The tablet, therefore, has the stamp of historicity and genuineness upon it.
But what are the implications of this unusual tablet? Sir Charles Marston
offers this suggestion: "What was the Egyptian interest in Pella? What was the
Egyptian association with Joshua? The passage is enigmatical; it suggests that
Benjamin, Tadua, and Joshua were friends of Yanhamu. Although it may contain
the innuendo that, since the king of Egypt was not taking effective steps to
drive out the Hebrews, their leaders are assumed to be friends. Archeological
discoveries in Palestine, taken as a whole, favor the hypothesis, that if the
Israelites did not actually conquer and occupy Canaan with the aid of the
Egyptians, they did so with their connivance." There seems sufficient ground
to justify the conclusions of Marston on this point.
H. The Egyptian Role in the Conquest of Palestine
The suggestion thrown out in Sir Charles' language quoted above leads to the
further consideration of the question as to what part the Egyptians played in
the Hebrew conquest of Canaan. Among the Tell el-Amarna Tablets we see that
the vassal kings in Palestine appealed to Pharaoh for relief. None have been
discovered in any place showing that the needed assistance was granted. As to
why they did not, one cannot be dogmatic. Was Egypt losing her grip upon
Palestine? Were there internal disorders within her boundaries which did not
permit her bolstering her power in Canaan? These questions probably should
receive an affirmative answer.
The suggestion has been made that the probable cause contributing to
indifference on the part of the Pharaohs toward the appeal from Palestine lay
in the fact that there was a religious revival which swept the country around
1400 B.C.E. Preparation for this religious awakening was made in the reign of
Amenhotep III and came to its full expression in the reign of the heretic king
Amenhotep IV (Akhenaton). These monarchs, especially the latter, turned from
revolting polytheism, which was the foundation of Egyptian civilization, to a
type of monotheism which by some scholars is traced back to Semitic sources.
Akhenaton became engrossed in his religious reforms so that he paid little
attention to the cries for help from Palestine. When this fact is recognized
we can readily see why he disregarded their appeals. The Hebrews were also
monotheists. His ethics and morals together with his outlook upon life
corresponded more nearly to theirs than to the general conceptions of the
Naturally, therefore, he would favor the Hebrews and disregard their foes.
Promises with reference to the Lord's sending "the hornet" are found in Exodus
23:28 and Deuteronomy 7:20. Was He talking about the literal insect? Or was He
using it in an enigmatical way? Professor Garstang calls our attention to the
fact that Thothmes III and his successors used the hornet as their emblem. In
his final speech to the Tribes at Shechem, Joshua, speaking for God, declared:
"And I sent the hornet before you which drove them out from before you, even
the two kings of the Amorites; not with thy sword nor with thy bow" (Joshua
24:12). On this point Sir Charles Marston made the following comment:
"These two kings are specifically referred to as Sihon and Og (Deut. III:2, 3,
and 8). And their defeat made the Israelites masters of the whole country east
of the Jordan. If that were with Egyptian help or connivance, it would account
for the fact that Mut Baal was referring the Egyptian official to Joshua, and
others, for information about Pella, a city east of the Jordan in Israelite
occupation. Further light is cast on the course of political events by the
religious history of this period."
“In view of these archeological facts it is altogether possible that the use
of "hornet" in the Scripture might be a veiled reference to Egypt. On this
point, however, let us not be too dogmatic. The Lord does use men and means to
accomplish His purposes. Well could the Psalmist in view of these facts praise
God in the following words:
1 We have heard with our ears, O God, Our fathers have told us, What work thou
didst in their days, In the days of old. 2 Thou didst drive out the nations
with thy hand; But them thou didst plant: Thou didst afflict the peoples; But
them thou didst spread abroad. 3 For they gat not the land in possession by
their own sword, Neither did their own arm save them; But thy right hand, and
thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, Because thou wast favorable unto
them (Ps. 44: 1-3).
II. THE UNCONQUERED PORTION OF THE LAND
Though Israel waged war long against the inhabitants of the land, she was not
able to conquer all of the territory. This fact was in accordance with the
prediction which the Lord made at Sinai saying, "I will not drive them out
from before thee in one year, lest the land become desolate, and the beasts of
the field multiply against thee" (Ex. 23:29).
A comprehensive statement of the land which was not occupied by Israel is
found in Joshua 13:1-7:
"1 Now Joshua was old and well stricken in years; and Jehovah said unto him,
Thou art old and well stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much
land to be possessed. 2 This is the land that yet remaineth: all the regions
of the Philistines, and all the Geshurites; 3 from the Shihor, which is before
Egypt, even unto the border of Ekron northward, which is reckoned to the
Canaanites; the five lords of the Philistines; the Gazites, and the Ashdodites,
the Ashkelonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avvim, 4 on the
south; all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that belongeth to the
Sidonians, unto Aphek, to the border of the Amorites; 5 and the land of the
Gebalites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrising, from Baal-gad under mount
Hermon unto the entrance of Hamath; 6 all the inhabitants of the hill country
from Lebanon unto Misrephoth-maim, even all the Sidonians; them will I drive
out from before the children of Israel: only allot thou it unto Israel for an
inheritance, as I have commanded thee. 7 Now therefore divide this land for an
inheritance unto the nine tribes, and the half-tribe of Manasseh."
Some have seen a contradiction between the summary statements of Joshua
10:40-43 and 11:21-23, on the one hand, and chapter 13:1-7, on the other. They
find in this literary phenomena evidence of composite authorship. There is no
contradiction whatsoever in the passages when they are allowed to speak for
themselves. Those bringing this accusation overlook the fact that language is
used in two different senses: absolute and relative. We employ both methods in
everyday life as well as in literary works. In terms of these uses I would say
that the summary statements in chapters 10 and 11 are used in the relative
sense, whereas the specific account found in chapter 13 is a detailed
statement put in absolute terms. In view of these facts there is no evidence
for the claim of composite authorship.
There are those who likewise see a contradiction between the records found in
Joshua concerning the conquest of the land and that appearing in Judges 1. To
these critics this chapter is a different version of the conquest of the land.
We are told that the land was invaded from two directions: from the south by
Judah and associates (the Leah tribes), and from the east by Ephraim and his
associates (the Rachel tribes). For such a theory there is absolutely no
evidence whatsoever, if one will only look at the facts of the contexts as
they are presented.
The first verse of Judges informs us that "it came to pass after the death of
Joshua, that the children of Israel asked of Jehovah saying, Who shall go up
for us first against the Canaanites, to fight against them?" This quotation
informs us that the conquest here described
occurred after the death of Joshua. Let us take this statement at its face
value and believe that the historian is speaking o£ things which took place
after the death of this great man of God. But to this position some would say
that the narration which follows gives the conquest of the land originally.
There is nothing in the context to indicate such an idea. But one may urge,
that if we accept the account in Joshua the land was already conquered; there
was, therefore, no necessity of a second conquest. Let us not be too dogmatic.
The book of Judges depicts especially the lawless character of the age. When
all the facts are taken into consideration, there is no necessity for our
assuming a contradiction between the two books. On the contrary, the facts as
they are revealed show that there were very many changes that took place. It
is an easy matter for us, without any great flight of the imagination, to
assume that after the death of Joshua the morale of the tribes of Israel
declined and that there was a retreat from their original position. From this
backward move they rallied later and began the re-conquest of the land
described in Judges 1. This is a reasonable, sane hypothesis which meets all
the conditions set forth and does no violence to any of the facts. We are led,
therefore, to believe that at the conquest of the land by Joshua much of the
territory, especially in the maritime plain and in the valleys, was
unconquered. Then they lost some of their gains. After Joshua's death they
attempted to recover their losses, possibly with interest.
III. THE DIVISION OF THE LAND
In the latter part of the fortieth year of the wilderness wanderings Israel
conquered the territory east of the Jordan, which Moses allotted to the tribes
0.£ Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh (Num.32). At the end of the
conquest of Palestine proper, Joshua partitioned the land to the other nine
and one-half tribes. In Joshua 15-19 we have a record of said allotment. In
chapters 21 and 22 appears a list of the cities of refuge and those assigned
the Levites. From a chronological standpoint chapter 14 is the most important,
because in it appear certain statements which enable us to determine the date
of the close of the wars of conquest. When the fighting was over, Caleb
reminded Joshua of the promise made by Moses at the time they were at
Kadesh-barnea : "Then the children of Judah drew nigh unto Joshua in Gilgal:
and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said unto him, Thou knowest the
thing that Jehovah spake unto Moses the man of God concerning me and
concerning thee in Kadesh-barnea:
7 Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of Jehovah sent me from
Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in
my heart. 8 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of
the people melt; but I wholly followed Jehovah my God. 9 And Moses sware on
that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy foot hath trodden shall be an
inheritance to thee and to thy children for ever, because thou hast wholly
followed Jehovah my God. 10 And now, behold, Jehovah hath kept me alive, as he
spake, these forty and five years, from the time that Jehovah spake this word
unto Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness: and now, 10, I am this day
fourscore and five years old" (Josh. 14:6-10).
Caleb was forty years old when Israel arrived at Kadesh-barnea, and the spies
took an inventory of the land, which was in the year 2514 A.H. Caleb also
stated that he was at present eighty-five years of age. This date, therefore,
was forty-five years after the spying out of the land. We must add forty-five
years to 2514 in order to determine when Caleb made the speech. Obviously it
was in 2559 A.H. It is apparent to anyone who reads the book of Joshua that
the division of the land occurred at the conclusion of the wars of conquest.
Since that was in 2559 A.H., and since Israel entered the land at the
beginning of 2553 A.H., we are to conclude that the conquest of the land
occupied six years. Thus the last definite date in the book of Joshua is 2559
IV. THE DEATH OF JOSHUA
In the last few chapters of Joshua we have speeches which he made to the
tribes probably just before his death. In 24:29 we are told that he was 110
years old at his death. Since we do not know anything about his birth nor have
any reference to a specific year or incident in his life by which to link his
age to the general scheme of chronology, we cannot acquire any further
information on this subject from this book. The last date which we have is the
year 2559 A.H., the year of the end of the wars of conquest. Figuratively
speaking, we come to a chasm in chronology at the end of Joshua. We must
acquire data from other sources to bridge this gulf.
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