Thursday, April 8, 2010

Joshua, Chapters 20-24

More administration. The spread of Judaism. The death of Joshua.

Chapter 20

The cities of refuge, places where accidental murderers can hide from their victims' avengers, are designated.

Chapter 21

48 cities are given to the Levites, so they can sponge off the other tribes throughout their territory. At the end, we are informed that god's covenants are all fulfilled now. Well, except those ones about kicking all the Canaanites out of Canaan, which we saw in the last few chapters had not been done.

Chapter 22

The Reubenites and Gadites are sent back across the Jordan River with a reminder to behave righteously, so of course you know the first thing they're going to do is sin mightily. It takes the form of an unauthorized altar. Jerry Falwell is shocked! Shocked! At this act, calling it an act of political disunity and apostasy, so you can see how tolerant his theocracy would be of other religions. Saudi Arabia! The desert is lovely this time of year!

Phineas, the lovely chappie who speared an Israelite and his Midianite date through the stomachs, and who should by all rights be dead now, since no one was supposed to survive those 40 years in the desert save for Joshua and Caleb, is sent to confront them about this.

The apostates swear up and down that they built the altar so their children will remember god, and they won't make any sacrifices on it. Fortunately, Phineas believes them and the crisis is averted. The altar is given a name: Ed. Ed the Altar.

Chapter 23

Joshua is old and dying and in the grand tradition of Israelite leaders, he makes a deathbed speech exhorting them to be loyal to god.

Chapter 24

Joshua continues, reminding them how god rescued them from Egypt, then gave them other peoples' stuff after killing them, and reminds them not to worship other gods. Then the supposed author of the book records his own death, along with his burial and the interment of Joseph's (from Genesis) bones. Then Eleazar, Aaron's son, another anachronism since he should have died ages ago, also dies.

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