Saturday, April 3, 2010

Joshua, Chapters 4-6

Chapter 4

After crossing the river, Joshua takes some stones and builds a memorial cairn. Then they start preparing to invade Jericho. The army, which had numbered some 600 000 in Numbers, is now down to 40 000. Remember that the count was the same at the end of the book. So did some 560 000 people opt out of the army for the draft exemptions given before (newlyweds, first-year farmers, new houses or plain old fear)?

Chapter 5

Among the many things you can do to prepare an army for war, circumcision must rank near the bottom. Nevertheless, that's what Joshua stops now and does. The place was named 'Hill of Foreskins.' It has a lovely ring to it, doesn't it? I should definitely seek it out for a picnic if I ever travel to Israel. Then they stay awhile to heal, and are not attacked by the Amorites, and celebrate Passover. The manna ceases, as they can now eat the corn of Canaan.

Joshua looks up one day and sees a man standing over him with a sword. Of course Jerry Falwell thinks this is Jesus. Joshua asks him if he's a friend or foe, and he says he's a messenger from god. His message: take off your shoe.

Chapter 6

Jericho shuts the gates and prepares for a siege that never comes. Instead, once a day for six days, the Israelite army circles the walls. On the seventh day the priests go around it with the ark seven times. Then they blow the horn and the walls fall down. Rahab is spared, and all the gold, silver, brass and iron is kept for god. Everything else, down to the asses, is destroyed. Joshua orders them not to rebuild, even though Jericho still exists.

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