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【Reading Report】Joshua

Course: Old Testament History Books
Teacher: Rev. Dr. Moses Wong
Semester: 2015 Fall

Exegetical Problem

One of the exegetical problems in Joshua is “the Sun Stands Still” in Chapter 10, verse 12~14, in which remains several problems. Firstly, what is the content limitation of the book of Jashar which referred in verse 13 [ An Introduction to the Old Testament Historical Books. David Howard. 99 pp.] . Second, who spoke to the Israel people in the day (verse 12) [ Ibid. 100 pp. ] whether the speaker is the Lord or Joshua. Third, the function of verse 15 “So Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal” [ Ibid]. The final and the most common problem is what is “Sun, stand still, moon stop” (verse 12~13), some says that it is totally a myth, while some says this is a miracle [ Ibid. 101 pp. ] .

In conclusion, David Howard thinks that we should reserved about these arguments. [ Ibid. 102 pp. ]

Theological Topic

There are at least four major theological topics be included in the book Joshua: (1) Land. The inheritance of the promised land, which constituted as one of the two properties promised by the Lord. (2) Sabbath, the other property and present, which equals with entering into the rest in Christ in New Testament if we take it into account from the aspect of Typology. (3) Covenant, or more precisely, keep the covenant, in Joshua records two rites which reaffirm the covenant (8:30~35, 24:25~27). (4) the importance of the holiness or the set-apart requirements of the whole Israel people. [ Ibid. 102-112 pp. ]

Thematic Information

The Book of Joshua or Book of Jehoshua (Hebrew: ספר יהושע) is named after Joshua, who is the protagonist of the book, the inheritor of Prophet Moses, and the leader of the Israel community. The most important verse may be “only be strong and courageous” (1:7, 18) which given by the Lord to Joshua and its spirit is spread all over the book . David Howard describes the major concern of the book as “a commentary about the fragment history of Israel, which addresses the time when Israel reaching and living in the promised land.” [ Ibid. 58 pp. ] With the excellent leadership of Joshua, Israel conquered Canaanites, then divided the promised land into appropriate parts.

All parts of the book Joshua are not merely relating to but also emphasis on the gracious and redemptive work of God be given to Israel people and Joshua. Richard Hess listed God’s work schedule in his commentary [ Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Joshua. 58-61 pp. ] :

Chapter 1~2 is God’s direction and an ordinance to Israel;
3~4 reveals God’s self-revelation through a mediator to his people;
6 teaches people to be faithful to God;
7 requires them to set apart from the secular kingdom;
8 reveals God’s righteousness and grace;
9 records God’s mercy to these non-Israel people in the covenant community;
10 develops theology from four aspects;
11 clarifies that God is the Lord of the whole land.

At the end of the book, a chain of events and memories reflect that Israel people are the “limited election” of God.


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