Joshua 15-16

jos15.jpgGreetings!  I don’t have much to comment on with these chapters.  They are important historically, as they describe specific places, boundaries and people.  Some skeptics doubt that the Israelites really spent 40 years in the desert before taking over the Promised Land, but these records are quite reliable and accurate.  Archeology has proved doubters wrong again and again and it is likely to happen again in this situation.

Allotment for Judah

15     The allotment for the tribe of Judah, clan by clan, extended down to the territory of Edom, to the Desert of Zin in the extreme south.

2 Their southern boundary started from the bay at the southern end of the Salt Sea, 3 crossed south of Scorpion Pass, continued on to Zin and went over to the south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it ran past Hezron up to Addar and curved around to Karka. 4 It then passed along to Azmon and joined the Wadi of Egypt, ending at the sea. This is their southern boundary.

5 The eastern boundary is the Salt Sea as far as the mouth of the Jordan.

The northern boundary started from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan, 6 went up to Beth Hoglah and continued north of Beth Arabah to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben. 7 The boundary then went up to Debir from the Valley of Achor and turned north to Gilgal, which faces the Pass of Adummim south of the gorge. It continued along to the waters of En Shemesh and came out at En Rogel. 8 Then it ran up the Valley of Ben Hinnom along the southern slope of the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem). From there it climbed to the top of the hill west of the Hinnom Valley at the northern end of the Valley of Rephaim. 9 From the hilltop the boundary headed toward the spring of the waters of Nephtoah, came out at the towns of Mount Ephron and went down toward Baalah (that is, Kiriath Jearim). 10 Then it curved westward from Baalah to Mount Seir, ran along the northern slope of Mount Jearim (that is, Kesalon), continued down to Beth Shemesh and crossed to Timnah. 11 It went to the northern slope of Ekron, turned toward Shikkeron, passed along to Mount Baalah and reached Jabneel. The boundary ended at the sea.

12 The western boundary is the coastline of the Great Sea. These are the boundaries around the people of Judah by their clans.

13 In accordance with the Lord’s command to him, Joshua gave to Caleb son of Jephunneh a portion in Judah—Kiriath Arba, that is, Hebron. (Arba was the forefather of Anak.) 14 From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites—Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai—descendants of Anak. 15 From there he marched against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher). 16 And Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” 17 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him in marriage.

18 One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?”

19 She replied, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

20 This is the inheritance of the tribe of Judah, clan by clan:

21 The southernmost towns of the tribe of Judah in the Negev toward the boundary of Edom were:

Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 22 Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 23 Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 24 Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, 25 Hazor Hadattah, Kerioth Hezron (that is, Hazor), 26 Amam, Shema, Moladah, 27 Hazar Gaddah, Heshmon, Beth Pelet, 28 Hazar Shual, Beersheba, Biziothiah, 29 Baalah, Iim, Ezem, 30 Eltolad, Kesil, Hormah, 31 Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, 32 Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain and Rimmon—a total of twenty-nine towns and their villages.

33 In the western foothills:

Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 34 Zanoah, En Gannim, Tappuah, Enam, 35 Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah, 36 Shaaraim, Adithaim and Gederah (or Gederothaim)—fourteen towns and their villages.

37 Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal Gad, 38 Dilean, Mizpah, Joktheel, 39 Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, 40 Cabbon, Lahmas, Kitlish, 41 Gederoth, Beth Dagon, Naamah and Makkedah—sixteen towns and their villages.

42 Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 43 Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 44 Keilah, Aczib and Mareshah—nine towns and their villages.

45 Ekron, with its surrounding settlements and villages; 46 west of Ekron, all that were in the vicinity of Ashdod, together with their villages; 47 Ashdod, its surrounding settlements and villages; and Gaza, its settlements and villages, as far as the Wadi of Egypt and the coastline of the Great Sea.

48 In the hill country:

Shamir, Jattir, Socoh, 49 Dannah, Kiriath Sannah (that is, Debir), 50 Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim, 51 Goshen, Holon and Giloh—eleven towns and their villages.

52 Arab, Dumah, Eshan, 53 Janim, Beth Tappuah, Aphekah, 54 Humtah, Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) and Zior—nine towns and their villages.

55 Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, 56 Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, 57 Kain, Gibeah and Timnah—ten towns and their villages.

58 Halhul, Beth Zur, Gedor, 59 Maarath, Beth Anoth and Eltekon—six towns and their villages.

60 Kiriath Baal (that is, Kiriath Jearim) and Rabbah—two towns and their villages.

61 In the desert:

Beth Arabah, Middin, Secacah, 62 Nibshan, the City of Salt and En Gedi—six towns and their villages.

63 Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.

Allotment for Ephraim and Manasseh

16     The allotment for Joseph began at the Jordan of Jericho, east of the waters of Jericho, and went up from there through the desert into the hill country of Bethel. 2 It went on from Bethel (that is, Luz), crossed over to the territory of the Arkites in Ataroth, 3 descended westward to the territory of the Japhletites as far as the region of Lower Beth Horon and on to Gezer, ending at the sea. 4 So Manasseh and Ephraim, the descendants of Joseph, received their inheritance.

5 This was the territory of Ephraim, clan by clan:

The boundary of their inheritance went from Ataroth Addar in the east to Upper Beth Horon 6 and continued to the sea. From Micmethath on the north it curved eastward to Taanath Shiloh, passing by it to Janoah on the east. 7 Then it went down from Janoah to Ataroth and Naarah, touched Jericho and came out at the Jordan. 8 From Tappuah the border went west to the Kanah Ravine and ended at the sea. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the Ephraimites, clan by clan. 9 It also included all the towns and their villages that were set aside for the Ephraimites within the inheritance of the Manassites.

10 They did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim but are required to do forced labor.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Eusebius – The Church History

eusebiusI recently finished Eusebius’  The Church History, translated and edited by Paul L. Maier.  Eusebius is nicknamed the “Father of Church History” for good reasons.  He traced its paths for the first 300 years after the resurrection.  He quotes many people extensively whose writings we wouldn’t have otherwise.

It was dry in spots, but very informative overall.   Eusebius has his critics and Dr. Maier highlighted various errors in his writings while still concluding that he was highly reliable.  Some of the themes in the book could have been written today.  Here are some highlights, a few of which are just interesting factoids and a few of which are very important.

  • Clement (a Church Father) thought that  the Book of Hebrews was written by the Apostle Paul but not attributed it to himself because, “In writing to Hebrews prejudiced against him [Paul], he wisely did not offend them at the start by adding his name . . .”
  • The graphic depictions of the persecuted Christians were chilling.  Some of the rulers spent a great deal of time coming up with more and more bizarre tortures and methods of execution.
  • The persecution of the Christians were not a 24 x 7 x 365 Empire-wide affair.  They were extremely serious in some places at some times, but there were various periods of peace and tolerance.

His sections on what was considered canonical were fascinating, especially in light of the weight that liberal scholars give to works like the alleged gospels of Thomas, Mary, Judas, etc.  There are really good reasons those weren’t considered as legitimate by the early church.

  • The early church recognized heresies when they saw them and addressed them thoroughly.

Writings published by heretics under the names of the apostles, such as the Gospels of Peter, Thomas, matthias, and others, or the Acts of Andrew, John and other apostles have never been cited by any in the succession of church writers.  The type of phraseology used contrasts with apostolic style, and the opinions and thrusts of their contents are so dissonant from true orthodoxy that they show themselves to be forgeries of heretics. 

  • Dionysius wrote, “I myself have read the writings and teachings of the heretics, polluting my soul for a while with their abominable notions, though deriving this benefit: I was able to refute them for myself and loathe them even more. ”  Amen!
  • Iranaeus (roughly 115 – 200 A.D.) was very clear that the Gospels were just the four in the Bible and were written by those whose names they bear.
  • The early church was much more disciplined than the church today (at least in the U.S.). They would excommunicate and eject false teachers.
  • He believed that Matthew and Luke were written before Mark (the conventional wisdom today seems to be that Mark was written first).
  • The catalysts for the Gospels of Mark and John were fascinating:

When, by the Spirit, Peter had publicly proclaimed the Gospel in Rome, his many hearers urged Mark, as one who had followed him for years and remembered what was said, to put it all in writing.  This he did and gave copies to a ll who asked.  When Peter learned of it, he neither objected nor promoted it.  Last of all, John, aware that the external details had been recorded in the Gospels, was urged by his disciples and divinely moved by the Spirit to compose a spiritual Gospel.

  • He quoted a work titled Concerning the So-Called Gospel of Peter and some of the reasons it was rejected.
  • He quotes Origen (185-254) as saying that “I learned by tradition that the four Gospels alone are unquestionable in the church of God.  First to be written was Matthew . . .”

I also thought a bit about what wasn’t in the book that one might have expected to see:

  • Only a couple passing references to Mary, Jesus’ mother, and absolutely nothing that would even hint at a serious role for her in Christianity (that is, nothing like the veneration from the Catholic Church).
  • Nothing about the superiority of Rome and the Bishop of Rome – the role is mentioned, but not as if he was in control of the whole church or even gets more than one vote.  Hosius, The Bishop of Spain, was charged by Emporer Constantine to provide directions on money given to churches.

Poster people for the Second Commandment

bible.jpgIn a thread at Marshall’s place a liberal theologian was claiming that Paul was wrong in some of what he wrote in the Bible.  Finding this amusing from a person who claims to be a Christian, I said, “Hey everyone, [name withheld to spare him further embarrassment] is right and St. Paul is wrong. Just wanted to clear that up!”

His response:

Thanks! I’ll cop to that on some things. Absolutely. Specifically, any thoughts of his that are defined primarily by his time and place and culture.

Oh, where to begin.  It never occurs to these pretenders that all they are doing is making a god in their own image.  They find a few points of agreement with the Bible, as if having your Venn diagram overlap a bit with another group made you one of them (Hey, the KKK is pro-life but that is about the only thing on which we agree).

They assume that wherever they disagree with Paul that they must be right and Paul must be wrong.  But they think we’re arrogant and “bibliolators” for taking the claims of the Bible to be true.  So they know what God really thinks but Paul didn’t, eh?  They pick and choose what they like and assume they have it right. 

They are just your basic Dalmatian Theologians, believing the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots.  They follow their hearts, but live in ignorance of Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?  They claim to follow Jesus, but ignore his views on the Old Testament, marriage and so much more.

Then there is the question begging of saying they are thoughts of Paul’s and assuming God didn’t inspire them.  Paul claims to speak for God and Peter viewed Paul’s writings as scripture.  Presumably this expert thinks Peter was mistaken as well.  So if Paul wasn’t speaking for God and if the ~3,000 specific instances where God is quoted are wrong as well, then the Bible has so many lies that I don’t know why these folks bother to open the book.

And they assume that their views aren’t unduly influence by their time, place and culture — never noticing that their beliefs are virtually indistinguishable from the far political Left and that they discovered Paul’s “errors” regarding same sex unions at about the same time that MTV did.  Go figure.

Sometimes it is just best to let others write all they like and let their words convict them — such as when they put their words over scripture.  Sort of a blogging version of Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope strategy. 

I really like this quote by Dionysius, an early church leader:

I myself have read the writings and teachings of the heretics, polluting my soul for a while with their abominable notions, though deriving this benefit: I was able to refute them for myself and loathe them even more. 

Roundup

Kevin started a “burden box” with his family where they write what they are worrying about and put it in the box.  Then they commit to stop worrying about it and let God deal with it.

Do you want the United Nations to tell you how to raise your kids?  Didn’t think so. 

If you don’t want the UN granting your child autonomy rights; freedom of access to information, freedom of association, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and so forth, visit ParentalRights.org to learn more about the UNCRC. Obama and cohorts have pledged to see this ratified.

I’m still waiting for the political Left to endlessly mock Pres. Obama over his claim that the U.S. invented the automobile in the same fashion that they would have if Pres. Bush has made the misstatement . . . (or on any of the other gaffes Obama has made).

The Dangers Of Overselling Evolution – “Focusing on Darwin and his theory doesn’t further scientific progress” – from Forbes.

To conflate contemporary scientific studies of existing organisms with those of the paleontologists serves mainly to misguide the public and teachers of the young. An examination of the papers in the National Academy of Sciences’ premiere journal, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), as well as many other journals and the Nobel awards for biological discoveries, supports the crucial distinction I am making.

Examining the major advances in biological knowledge, one fails to find any real connection between biological history and the experimental designs that have produced today’s cornucopia of knowledge of how the great variety of living organisms perform their functions. It is our knowledge of how these organisms actually operate, not speculations about how they may have arisen millions of years ago, that is essential to doctors, veterinarians, farmers and other practitioners of biological science.

100 enlightening Bible Study blogs – my other blog (Eternity Matters Bible Study Blog) is the first item in the first section.

Joshua 13-14

jos13.jpgGreetings!

Land Still to Be Taken

13     When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the Lord said to him, “You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over. 2 “This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites: 3 from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite (the territory of the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron—that of the Avvites); 4 from the south, all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek, the region of the Amorites, 5 the area of the Gebalites; and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.

6 “As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, 7 and divide it as an inheritance among the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh.”

Division of the Land East of the Jordan

8 The other half of Manasseh, the Reubenites and the Gadites had received the inheritance that Moses had given them east of the Jordan, as he, the servant of the Lord, had assigned it to them. 9 It extended from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge, and from the town in the middle of the gorge, and included the whole plateau of Medeba as far as Dibon, 10 and all the towns of Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, out to the border of the Ammonites. 11 It also included Gilead, the territory of the people of Geshur and Maacah, all of Mount Hermon and all Bashan as far as Salecah— 12 that is, the whole kingdom of Og in Bashan, who had reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei and had survived as one of the last of the Rephaites. Moses had defeated them and taken over their land. 13 But the Israelites did not drive out the people of Geshur and Maacah, so they continue to live among the Israelites to this day.

14 But to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, since the offerings made by fire to the Lord, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as he promised them.

15 This is what Moses had given to the tribe of Reuben, clan by clan: 16 The territory from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge, and from the town in the middle of the gorge, and the whole plateau past Medeba 17 to Heshbon and all its towns on the plateau, including Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon, 18 Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, 19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah, Zereth Shahar on the hill in the valley, 20 Beth Peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth Jeshimoth 21 —all the towns on the plateau and the entire realm of Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled at Heshbon. Moses had defeated him and the Midianite chiefs, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—princes allied with Sihon—who lived in that country. 22 In addition to those slain in battle, the Israelites had put to the sword Balaam son of Beor, who practiced divination. 23 The boundary of the Reubenites was the bank of the Jordan. These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the Reubenites, clan by clan.

24 This is what Moses had given to the tribe of Gad, clan by clan: 25 The territory of Jazer, all the towns of Gilead and half the Ammonite country as far as Aroer, near Rabbah; 26 and from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpah and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the territory of Debir; 27 and in the valley, Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Succoth and Zaphon with the rest of the realm of Sihon king of Heshbon (the east side of the Jordan, the territory up to the end of the Sea of Kinnereth). 28 These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the Gadites, clan by clan.

29 This is what Moses had given to the half-tribe of Manasseh, that is, to half the family of the descendants of Manasseh, clan by clan: 30 The territory extending from Mahanaim and including all of Bashan, the entire realm of Og king of Bashan—all the settlements of Jair in Bashan, sixty towns, 31 half of Gilead, and Ashtaroth and Edrei (the royal cities of Og in Bashan). This was for the descendants of Makir son of Manasseh—for half of the sons of Makir, clan by clan.

32 This is the inheritance Moses had given when he was in the plains of Moab across the Jordan east of Jericho. 33 But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them.

Division of the Land West of the Jordan

14     Now these are the areas the Israelites received as an inheritance in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the tribal clans of Israel allotted to them. 2 Their inheritances were assigned by lot to the nine-and-a-half tribes, as the Lord had commanded through Moses. 3 Moses had granted the two-and-a-half tribes their inheritance east of the Jordan but had not granted the Levites an inheritance among the rest, 4 for the sons of Joseph had become two tribes—Manasseh and Ephraim. The Levites received no share of the land but only towns to live in, with pasturelands for their flocks and herds. 5 So the Israelites divided the land, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Hebron Given to Caleb

6 Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’

10 “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. 15 (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites.)

Then the land had rest from war.

 The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

The first section just gives the facts and locations about the division of the land.  I don’t have much to say about that, other than that these were real people and places in time.  God had a plan and He executed it.

Caleb and Joshua were the only two of the twelve spies send to check out the Promised Land that wanted to go and take it.  The other ten were too afraid and convinced the people not to go.  Therefore, their lack of faith drew a forty year punishment from God.  But God honored the faith and loyalty of Joshua and Caleb. 

One plus God is a majority, as the saying goes — or even two plus God.  We may live part or all of our lives in conflict with those around us because of our devotion to God.  But it will pay off in the end and give him glory.

Redeem your iPod and your commute and ???

bible3.jpgFaith Comes by Hearing is still offering a free download of the New Testament audio Bible.  I’ve used these for over 10 years (starting with cassette tapes).  I don’t usually give up things or start things for Lent, but someone pointed out that if you listen to these for 30 min. a day then you’d cover the whole New Testament in 40 days.   

Whether you do it for Lent or not, give it a try!

Hey, let’s just skip Socialism and go straight to Communism

From the “I am not making this up” department:

Houston taxpayers could start footing the bill to help first-time homebuyers pay off debts and improve their credit scores, under a proposal before City Council this week.

The “Credit Score Enhancement Program” will give up to $3,000 in grants to individuals who are trying to qualify for mortgages through the city’s homebuyers assistance program. City officials say some applicants fall short of eligibility by only 10 or 20 points on their credit scores, and paying off some debt balances can quickly improve their numbers.

More here.

What’s the net of this?  Some people have too much debt and/or poor money management skills, so to teach them a lesson we’ll pay off part or all of their debt.  That will help them buy a house that they can’t afford and may not have the life skills to maintain. 

What a swell plan!  Perhaps they didn’t notice that giving loans to unqualified applicants is a major factor in the problems we face today.