"Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever." -Paul

05 April 2006

Behind the Melee

by Ben

I read Joshua 8-9.

Ai and Gibeon.

Two cities. Two different ways of approaching defeat.

The people of Ai prepare for battle and when they go to charge, the Israelites turn to run. Giving chase, the people of Ai are duped because Joshua had an ambush prepared to take the city.

The people of Gibeon, who have heard about the Israelites and their God overtaking everyone in the area, devise a plan. They pretend to be travelers from a far off land and make a covenant with Israel. When Joshua learns that these "travelers" are the Gibeonites, he spares their lives because of making a covenant before God. However, the people of Gibeon are forced to do menial labor (woodcutting and water carrying).

Two very different approaches. Neither turns out great, although the Gibeonites do manage to keep their lives.

The reality is that the Israelites, for the most part (minus Achan), are living directly for God. They are living with God. Therefore, he protects them. Therefore, they worship Him and give thanks for their blessings. We get, from the Pentateuch, that the other people from this land (the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, Girgashites, and Jebusites [to name a few]) were not connected with the same God. It is suggested that, generally, all of these people are worshiping sex-and-religion gods.

Even though both stories are partially presented from the views of the defeated peoples, it is hard to feel sorry for them. Mind you, this gets into the idea of "holy war" or "holy destruction" or more specifically the idea that God is pushing for war and has taken sides (which most people aren't comfortable with). However, I think it is important to note what the religious practices were for each of the sides in these battles. The actions done in the name of religion gives insight into what the values of the god are.

I think this is where I'll stop...I have a feeling that this thought will continue as I read more.


At 4:41 PM, Blogger Matt Wiggins said...

Weird, I thought I posted here yesterday. And evidently I didn't. Anyways, good thoughts and I look forward to seeing your future writings on the subject!


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