Good Questions Have Groups Talking -- Old Testament Survey

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But, since this account in Deuteronomy is very scant on details, it can only be surmised that the being may have been the Lord. The inhabitants of Jericho knew full well of the powerful destruction that Israel had directed against the kingdom of the Amorites east of Jordan. Therefore, it is no surprise that they shut up their walled city against Israel.

Throughout the law of Moses, seven was used numerous times to signify the covenant. By patterning the conquest of Jericho in sevens, the Lord taught Israel that their success lay in the covenant with Jehovah; His perfect power brought conquest, not their own. Scholars are generally agreed that the shofar was the oldest musical instrument in Israel.

After being flattened by heat, the horn of a ram was forced to turn up at the ends. This shape thus created a most unusual and easily recognizable sound. In early times the horn was used to warn of approaching armies, to give the signal for attack, or to dismiss troops from the field. This was not a mere mortal conflict: Canaan was to be destroyed by the very God of Israel.

Old Testament Mass Killings

This truth was impressively taught to Israel by the presence of the ark. Great care was given to honoring every detail of the oath that had been given to Rahab. Men have argued this question for ages. Did the marching feet, the blaring trumpets, and the final shout weaken the walls in some way so that they tumbled in accordance with natural law? Or was some other principle in operation? Did the Lord simply, at a convenient point in time, level the walls by His power? Talmage discussed this question in these words:. The possibility of such would not have been received with credence before their actual accomplishment.

Nevertheless, these and all other miracles are accomplished through the operation of the laws of nature, which are the laws of God. For further discussion of the significance of this loss, see Points to Ponder in this chapter. It was a token of great remorse, true humility, and deep repentance. It also symbolized the unworthy station of man compared to deity see Genesis ; compare Job ; Lamentations Some offenses of men are of such consequence that the payment of the life of the offender is required for the expiation of the sin.

It is apparent from his voluntary confession that Achan understood this truth see Joshua — See the tables of weights and measures in Maps and Charts to better understand the value of a shekel of silver. More than Jericho, Ai, the second city conquered after Israel crossed the Jordan, became a model for the conquests of other cities. Once Ai was taken, Joshua moved Israel to Mount Ebal and fulfilled the instructions of Moses to build an altar there and pronounce the blessings and cursings of the Lord from Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim see vv. Although the subtle alliance manufactured through deceitful means saved their lives, the people of Gibeon became the perpetual slaves of Israel.

Moses had warned Israel not to make any covenants with the Canaanites see Deuteronomy , and this warning may explain why Joshua was so upset when he discovered the deception.

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Since the oath had been made, however, he honored it, placing the people of Gibeon in slavery instead of having them killed. He was the chief of the confederacy of five kings that made war against Gibeon. Mormon, discoursing on the might and power of God, wrote:. And since on the occasion in question he was fighting to bring victory to Israel, this was one of his means of doing so. And they shall behold blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke. And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven.

Some power will darken the sun and make the moon refuse to give its light. Revell Company, , p. Like numerous other books mentioned in the Old and New Testament but not contained within their pages, the book of Jasher appears to have been a source that contained accounts of heroic deeds in ancient Israel. It is thought by many to have been written in verse, but it likely contained some prose as well.

A book with this title is currently available, but it is of doubtful origin, according to most scholars, and probably is not the one mentioned in the Old Testament. One had then been literally trodden underfoot.

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The destruction of the five nations of the Canaanites was accomplished over a period of days rather than on the same day as the battle at Gibeon. This chapter summarizes the conquest of northern Canaan. The destruction of these northern kingdoms, however, required a long time see v. To hough a horse is to cut the leg tendons above and behind the tarsal joint or ankle, thus rendering the horse useless.

The Israelites were foot soldiers rather than charioteers. These chapters contain accounts of the division of the land of Canaan among the twelve tribes of Israel. The map of Canaan in Maps and Charts gives a clear picture of how the land was divided between the tribes.

Chapter 18 discusses the Levite cities commanded by Moses to be given to members of the tribe of Levi see Reading ; Numbers —27 , and chapter 20 lists the cities of refuge and their purpose. This chapter demonstrates the critical balance between true worship and apostate idolatry. Fortunately, the tribes showed that it was an act of legitimate worship and not idolatry.

The tragedy is that in a short time Israel would no longer react strongly against idolatry. The thirty-one Canaanite city-states destroyed by Joshua in his day were not all that the Lord intended to purge from Israel see Numbers —5. Since men tend to adopt the values or habits of those with whom they associate, it was imperative that all idolatrous nations in Canaan be destroyed.

Joshua warned Israel of three things in the event that some heathen nations, including those that surrounded them, were allowed to remain: 1 beware of social intercourse with them see Joshua , 2 refrain from worshiping their false gods see vv. Near the end of his life Joshua called his people together for a final blessing and warning, very much as Moses had done. Such messages should be considered very significant, for what a prophet says as he approaches death seems to be an effort on his part to rid his garments of the blood of the people by placing the full responsibility for their conduct squarely upon their shoulders see Jacob Joshua showed Israel exactly what God had miraculously done for them in the past and challenged them to choose whom they would serve.

Elder Erastus Snow, commenting on the feeling some have that being obedient to God somehow limits their agency, gave an interesting insight on choosing to follow God:. I leave you to answer this question in your own mind. To me, I think the angels and saints and all good people have exercised their agency by choosing the good and refusing the evil; and in doing so they not only exhibit their independence and manhood as much, but show a much higher and greater nobility of character and disposition; and I leave the future to determine who are wise in the choice of their freedom and independence.

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And that if we can learn these principles, and receive them in good and honest hearts, and teach them as our faith, and practice them in our lives, we shall show our manhood, our independence and our agency as creditably before the angels and the Gods, as any wicked man can, in refusing the good and cleaving to the evil, exhibit his before the devil and his angels.

Most likely his body had been embalmed in the Egyptian manner. They resisted bitterly any attempt by others to settle on land they regarded as their own. But the Lord had given Canaan to the Israelites. It was theirs to hold if only they had the courage and strength to wrest it from the Canaanites and keep it safe from their enemies. In the strength of God, Joshua and Israel became fearless. Nations trembled at the mention of their name. The Saints today also face a world intent on their spiritual destruction. Sometimes modern Israel may feel apprehensive as they see the impending judgments drawing closer and closer.

Modern Canaan will be destroyed in preparation for the establishment of a worldwide Zion, and this destruction is not pleasant to contemplate. Elder Ezra Taft Benson used two passages from the book of Joshua to counsel those who feel anxiety as they contemplate the future. Joshua answered that admonition in counsel to his people in these words:. First, the story shows the effect of individual sin on the whole community. No one sins in isolation.

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If we have lost power with God, we can know, as surely as we know the sun will rise on the morrow, that the problem lies within us and not within God. Joseph Smith was taught a similar lesson when the Church was deeply in debt. Note how the Lord introduces a third element into the problem-solving process.


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Most of us look at problems in this way:. We think that the problem is something external, that is, if we can summon enough power, it can be solved through our own effort. But the Lord told Israel through both Joseph and Joshua that while there was an external problem, there was also an internal one that blocked the channels of true power. Here is how the problem-solving process should work:.

How could this lesson be applied in such modern situations as a wife with an inactive husband, a parent with wayward children, a child with unbelieving parents, a person struggling to overcome a bad habit? How is this principle of power related to the principle taught in Ether ? Having a plan excites you to discover what you learn from God's Word for that day; it will also keep you organized, keeping track of what passages you have covered and what lessons you have learnt from each.

Get a good study Bible. Choose a translation to use during your study. You should select from translations as opposed to simple paraphrases, as this makes sure you are reading the originally translated text not a commentator's interpretation. Avoid bibles that have been translated from Latin, rather than the original Greek and Hebrew.