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  • Welcome to Mindshift.

  • I'm Brandon.

  • And today's episode six of our series, A Secular Bible Study.

  • Today we're looking at the biblical book of Joshua, and there is a lot that happens in this book.

  • As always, we'll be going through these seven points to help us.

  • In point seven, I've also started adding in problematic verses and it's at the end there where I can give some of my more personal opinions on the issues with this book.

  • But let's dive in right away with book overview.

  • This is a redoing.

  • This is a second Moses.

  • In fact, Joshua is referenced as the new Moses.

  • He is taken over as leader.

  • So where we left off was with Moses's death and he's giving this final sermon to the children of the original Exodus generation that are now going to be the ones inheriting the promised land.

  • So now we start with Joshua.

  • He has his position of leadership and the time has finally come.

  • They are going to go into the promised land.

  • Now a lot of Christians who haven't spent a lot of time with the Old Testament may just think of the promised land as this place, right?

  • This small acreage of milk and honey, and it's nice and it's just going to be the resting place for the Israelite generation.

  • No, this is a very large space of land.

  • And within this territory, there are many different kingdoms, many different tribes to defeat in order to really lay claim to this.

  • Because the goal here isn't for all of the Israelites to just group up together.

  • We're going to establish the 12 tribes of Israel in different parts of Canaan.

  • So it's on a bigger scale than one might think, at least according to the Bible.

  • So what happens in Joshua?

  • Well, we first have to get into Canaan and we have to cross the Jordan river.

  • They'd been camped in the land of Moab right outside of the Jordan river with Canaan being on the other side.

  • So again, just like I said, we have a second Moses here.

  • So we part the Jordan river and we walk across it.

  • This just gets completely glossed over in comparison to Moses partying in the red sea, which I think is a bit unfortunate.

  • This is a pretty big deal.

  • Another miraculous river crossing.

  • And what we see right off the bat here is that the same power that Moses had, Joshua has.

  • The God is still on their side, even with the death of their main prophet.

  • Oh, I almost forgot.

  • Before the crossover through the Jordan, they send spies in again and it goes much better than the first time when Moses sent the 12 spies.

  • This is where we get the story of Rahab.

  • Now we could spend an entire episode just talking about the story of Rahab.

  • There's a lot of interesting things that happen here.

  • Like one, the fact that Rahab is essentially rewarded for lying right after we get all of these curses that will befall people who break the 10 commandments and the other laws, which definitely include lying.

  • It seems that God's objective morality is quite subjective when it suits him.

  • Also, we get this really passionate speech from Rahab to the spies of, I know your Lord is the most powerful.

  • I know he's going to deliver you into this land.

  • We've heard about you.

  • We know about the red sea that was part of, and that's why I'm helping you.

  • Remember me, let me be in your good graces here.

  • And it's a great story where we have this woman who is a prostitute who is going up against the leaders of her land and lying for the spies to help them accomplish their mission.

  • But anyways, the Rahab story happens.

  • They cross the river.

  • The next part is not so fun.

  • The new generation gets circumcised.

  • Bummer.

  • After this happens, they take a couple days for everyone to heal, which I just think is hilarious that that's even listed in the Bible.

  • After that, we get their first Passover celebration in the new land.

  • And then we get something really exciting here.

  • Again, this is the kind of stuff that excited me as a kid.

  • We have Joshua.

  • He's in his new leadership role.

  • He just had a successful spy mission.

  • They're getting ready to go and attack Jericho.

  • And what happens?

  • He runs into this mysterious stranger, this powerful warrior.

  • And he says, who are you?

  • Are you for us?

  • Or are you against us?

  • And he says neither.

  • Essentially.

  • He says, I am for the Lord.

  • He says he is the commander of the Lord's army.

  • And once again, in this second Moses fashion, Joshua is told to take off his sandals because he is on holy ground.

  • That's it.

  • It's like two or three verses long.

  • And the whole point is to let Joshua know that, Hey, you might be on the right side.

  • You might be with the chosen people, but I'm not on your side.

  • I'm on the Lord's side and you have the capability of also being against the Lord.

  • We've seen that with the previous generations.

  • So I'm here to make sure that the Lord's will be done.

  • You can either come along for the ride or not.

  • At least that's how I take, what is happening here and what many scholars see to be happening as well.

  • After this, we get into our first few battles.

  • So maybe I'll try to do more of an overview here.

  • And then we can talk about some of these specific battles, because this is a big part of Joshua.

  • It's about conquering the land of Canaan.

  • So the first two battles are Jericho and I, AI, and we see two very different outcomes, a complete destruction and a loss.

  • And we see a loss because of a individual Israelites sin.

  • And so here we see the blessings and curses already at play as they're in the new land of Canaan.

  • And why is this guy, I think his name is Akin.

  • Why is he sinning?

  • Why did he do this?

  • He kept some treasure after the defeat of Jericho that was meant for God, for himself.

  • What did he think was going to happen?

  • This is when I just can't believe these stories are at all true.

  • These are obviously plot lines.

  • These are obviously archetypes and narrative structures and plot development at play.

  • They can't possibly, after everything that has happened, after everyone that has been smited, after every curse and blessing has been clearly seen, after they're talking and being with God, we're going to see God on a walk.

  • We're going to see God throw rocks down on people in this book.

  • Like this God is so active in this community.

  • And you're going to tell me this guy thought he could steal treasure from God.

  • Even the very fact that this God needed treasure is something to just look at the corporeal nature of him in the Old Testament versus this God that we supposedly have in the New Testament.

  • So again, lots of battles.

  • And we'll probably honestly talk about those more in the problematic verses when we talk about genocide, not genocide, et cetera, and get into some of the moral issues there.

  • But then we get a list of all the victories of Moses and Joshua.

  • And this seems like a very boring part of the book, but it's a very important part showing God's fulfillment in covenant all the way, starting with Abraham and now happening like this is the book of fulfillment.

  • And this is a huge part of it.

  • We'll talk about that more when we get into main themes and the book ends with the end of Canaan amongst the 12 tribes and then Joshua's death.

  • So Joshua gets one book, Moses got five, but we get a really similar narrative to his life that we see with Moses.

  • This is going to set us up as he ends the book by saying, Hey, once again, reiterating kind of like Moses, his final sermon, you can serve God and be blessed or go against him and be cursed.

  • What are you going to do?

  • Which sets us up for everything that is going to happen starting right away in So let's move on to point to authorship and date.

  • So Joshua, like a few other books of the Bible and also other books of this ancient time period is that of an eponymous nature, meaning they're using the name Joshua to describe the book and sometimes even tried to attribute authorship to.

  • We would face the same problems, believing that Joshua wrote the book of Joshua that we would have with Moses writing the first five books of the Bible.

  • One of those things being that Joshua dies in this book and his burial is described as well as other people who died after Joshua.

  • So the better hypothesis is similar to what we see with the first five books, except it's no longer this documentary hypothesis with four different sources.

  • This seems to be just a collection of oral tradition.

  • It was probably compiled around the same time as the first five books, specifically the Babylonian exile between 586 and 539 BCE, or maybe even shortly thereafter as they were trying to establish their kingdom again.

  • And instead of being grouped with those first five books, which were all very similar through those first four sources, Joshua is grouped with judges, Samuel and Kings.

  • So we see a lot of similarities in narrative structure and literary type and in other various commonalities that would lead us to believe that we had some oral traditions that were written down and compiled in different sections that were then amalgamated together to make these books of the Bible coming up.

  • So again, we don't have a specific person who sat down and penned this.

  • We just have a specific group at a specific time that was trying to get their story straight, essentially.

  • That Babylonian exile is a major time of rebranding for the Israelite nation.

  • And they were looking to all of these ancient stories and traditions for identity.

  • And this compilation that became a large part of her Old Testament comes again from this during the sixth century BCE.

  • So let's move on to point three, which is going to be historical context, background, and accuracy.

  • Now, finally, we are getting into some other land.

  • We're getting into some other people groups, and it's going to give us a better frame of reference than some of the events that were isolated, say, like in the book of Leviticus where they're just camped at Mount Sinai for a year.

  • I should also probably point out that we don't have a precise timeframe, but it seems like most of this is happening just over a couple years.

  • So this would be years like 40 through 43, most likely since the Exodus.

  • This is happening during the 13th century BCE, best that we could guess.

  • And there are some archeological aspects that back up certain parts of the story.

  • One would be Jericho.

  • Jericho is one of the main cities mentioned, and it seems to be a real place that also had a real layer of conquest.

  • And that's where we get into some of the problems.

  • And I'll save some of this for the contradictions and misconceptions and errors part in 0.7.

  • But from a historical accuracy point, yes, did certain places like Jericho and Ai and Hazor exist and show destruction?

  • Yes.

  • Many of the other cities mentioned don't or haven't existed in an archeological aspect or were shown to be at peace during this time.

  • So this swift couple year campaign of taking out all of the tribes of Canaan does not align archeologically speaking, or even that a lot of these cities existed at the same time.

  • It's hard for us to visualize, but it's akin to saying something like within a couple of years, we did World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and the Korean War.

  • Like those things are not all at the same time period.

  • They could not have happened this quickly.

  • Let's add in that we conquered some other countries that weren't even countries yet.

  • And we'll start getting closer to what we're seeing the claims of the book of Joshua.

  • But we do get a glimpse into the historical accuracy of this tribal warfare of the claim of the monotheistic God versus the dualistic worshipers or more pagan practices of people in the Canaanite nation who worshiped a sun God, a fertility God, a war God, et cetera.

  • There is a heavy amount of bias being that this is all coming from these Jewish tradition and source painting these other nations as evil, where really they were just following the constructs of their day and their culture, no different than the Israelites were.

  • And you can point to both saying there were good things here and there were definitely bad things here, but that's a big part of Joshua, right?

  • We have to believe that the Canaanites are pure evil for their eradication.

  • This is done a lot by looking to the child sacrifice of a lot of the Canaanite tribes, or if you really want to stretch it, and I've already seen it in my comments in some of the last videos, the belief that everyone in the land of Canaan was a giant, a half breed from the Nephilim.

  • Now, I don't want to go too far down a rabbit hole, but this might be a good time to address it because when we get to problematic versus I'm definitely going to talk about the genocide aspects.

  • And I really don't want to hear about this at all because it doesn't make sense for a thousand reasons.

  • First of all, all we get from the biblical Canon about the Nephilim, which long story short, means fallen angels that came down and raped or bred with the normal human women and had this off breed of giants is that in those days there were giants that, and like a couple other references are all that we have.

  • All of this would have been Genesis, by the way, pre flood, the book of Enoch that give a whole lot more description about the Nephilim.

  • And it's fun to think about, but it's not canonical.

  • And so for the purposes of a secular Bible study, looking at these particular books in the Canon, but I will address that even if the Nephilim were real and giants were real, they would not have been in Canaan at this time.

  • The whole point of the flood, if you're mixing the story of Enoch with the fact that there were giants in the land in those days is that the flood had to wipe out all of the contagion.

  • It's so funny because