In the first of two weeks tackling one of the most difficult issues in the Hebrew Bible, we dive into the Canaanite genocide narratives in Joshua. Beginning with Jericho, we look at the historical and ideological background of the text and try to figure out where God is in this narrative. Isaiah 10 features Jerusalem unbowed, unbroken, and triumphant over Assyria; and in 2 Thessalonians there's a text critical issue to examine.

There's no easy way to deal with the conquest narratives. We can only approach the text, informed by its background and purpose, with honesty: in these passages, the narrative records God issuing the command to slaughter men, women, and children, so that the Israelites can occupy the land of Canaan. Considering the nature of the historical recollections contained in these texts can help us to wrap our head around the depiction of genocide here, and put it in its proper place in the story of God and his people.

In Isaiah, we get a perfect overview of the prophet's message, and the focus of the literary work of First Isaiah, and here too we can challenge ourselves to take the text on its own terms, even when it doesn't match ours. In 2 Thessalonians, we look at two variants readings of a phrase in chapter three. It's a close-run thing, and we take time to consider some of the implications of the "man of lawlessness" (or possibly "the man of sin").

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Scripture quotations from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Harris, Gordon J.; Brown, Cheryl A.; Moore, Michael S. (2000). Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Understanding the Bible Commentary series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
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Hawk, L. Daniel. (2000). Joshua, Berit Olam Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press.
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Motyer, J. Alec (1996). The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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Sweeney, Marvin A. (1996). Isaiah 1-39 with an Introduction To Prophetic Literature, The Forms Of The Old Testament Literature. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
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Walton, John H. (ed) (2009). Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament, Vol. 4. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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Josiah in the Book of Joshua
Nelson, Richard D. (1981). Journal of Biblical Literature, 100(4), 531-540.
Download PDF from JStor; free sign-up for six free articles per month.

Aside the Spring: Tell es-Sultan/Ancient Jericho: the Tale of an Early City and Water Control in Ancient Palestine
Nigro, Lorenzo (2014) in T. Tvedt - T. Oestigaard (eds.), A History of Water. Series III. Volume 1: Water and Urbanization, 25-51. New York: I.B. Tauris.
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Deuteronomy 17, Deuteronomy 20, Joshua 1, Joshua 5, Joshua 6, 1 Kings 16, 2 Kings 22, 2 Kings 23, BOJOSH, BAKERUBOT06JOS, PRISAIAH, FRMOTLIT23IS, ZIBBCOT04