The Message of History

  • Author: Ray C. Stedman
Read the Scripture: Joshua - Esther
Joshua - Esther

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: 2 "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Great Sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 "Go through the camp and tell the people, 'Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.' "

12 But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13 "Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: 'The LORD your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land.' 14 Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, fully armed, must cross over ahead of your brothers. You are to help your brothers 15 until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise."

16 Then they answered Joshua, "Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!"

1 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. "Go, look over the land," he said, "especially Jericho." So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

2 The king of Jericho was told, "Look! Some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land." 3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: "Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land."

4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. 5 At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I don't know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them." 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) 7 So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, "I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 12 Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death."

14 "Our lives for your lives!" the men assured her. "If you don't tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land."

15 So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 16 Now she had said to them, "Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way."

17 The men said to her, "This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. 19 If anyone goes outside your house into the street, his blood will be on his own head; we will not be responsible. As for anyone who is in the house with you, his blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear."

21 "Agreed," she replied. "Let it be as you say." So she sent them away and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

22 When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them. 23 Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, "The LORD has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us."

1 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it."

5 Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."

6 Joshua said to the priests, "Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people." So they took it up and went ahead of them.

7 And the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: 'When you reach the edge of the Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river.' "

9 Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD -the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap."

14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea ) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

1 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, 2 "Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight."

4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, "Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever."

8 So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the LORD had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. 9 Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.

10 Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the LORD had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11 and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the LORD and the priests came to the other side while the people watched. 12 The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, armed, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them. 13 About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the LORD to the plains of Jericho for war.

14 That day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they revered him all the days of his life, just as they had revered Moses.

15 Then the LORD said to Joshua, 16 "Command the priests carrying the ark of the Testimony to come up out of the Jordan."

17 So Joshua commanded the priests, "Come up out of the Jordan."

18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.

19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, "In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, 'What do these stones mean?' 22 tell them, 'Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.' 23 For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God."

1 Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the LORD had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until we had crossed over, their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.

2 At that time the LORD said to Joshua, "Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again." 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.

4 Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt—all the men of military age—died in the desert on the way after leaving Egypt. 5 All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the desert during the journey from Egypt had not. 6 The Israelites had moved about in the desert forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land that he had solemnly promised their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. 8 And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.

9 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you." So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.

10 On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. 11 The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. 12 The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan.

13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?"

14 "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?"

15 The commander of the LORD's army replied, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.

1 Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.

2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in."

6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, "Take up the ark of the covenant of the LORD and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it." 7 And he ordered the people, "Advance! March around the city, with the armed guard going ahead of the ark of the LORD."

8 When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the LORD went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the LORD's covenant followed them. 9 The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10 But Joshua had commanded the people, "Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!" 11 So he had the ark of the LORD carried around the city, circling it once. Then the people returned to camp and spent the night there.

12 Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the LORD and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets kept sounding. 14 So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.

15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, "Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury."

20 When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. 21 They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the prostitute's house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her." 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.

24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the LORD's house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.

26 At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: "Cursed before the LORD is the man who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho:
"At the cost of his firstborn son
will he lay its foundations;
at the cost of his youngest
will he set up its gates."

27 So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.

1 But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things ; Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the LORD's anger burned against Israel.

2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, "Go up and spy out the region." So the men went up and spied out Ai.

3 When they returned to Joshua, they said, "Not all the people will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary all the people, for only a few men are there." 4 So about three thousand men went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, 5 who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted and became like water.

6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the LORD, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, "Ah, Sovereign LORD, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?"

10 The LORD said to Joshua, "Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.

13 "Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, 'Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it.

14 " 'In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe that the LORD takes shall come forward clan by clan; the clan that the LORD takes shall come forward family by family; and the family that the LORD takes shall come forward man by man. 15 He who is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the LORD and has done a disgraceful thing in Israel!' "

16 Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was taken. 17 The clans of Judah came forward, and he took the Zerahites. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was taken. 18 Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.

19 Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me."

20 Achan replied, "It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath."

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. 23 They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the LORD.

24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today."
Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.

1 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. 2 You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city."

3 So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night 4 with these orders: "Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don't go very far from it. All of you be on the alert. 5 I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them. 6 They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, 'They are running away from us as they did before.' So when we flee from them, 7 you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The LORD your God will give it into your hand. 8 When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the LORD has commanded. See to it; you have my orders."

9 Then Joshua sent them off, and they went to the place of ambush and lay in wait between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai—but Joshua spent that night with the people.

10 Early the next morning Joshua mustered his men, and he and the leaders of Israel marched before them to Ai. 11 The entire force that was with him marched up and approached the city and arrived in front of it. They set up camp north of Ai, with the valley between them and the city. 12 Joshua had taken about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city. 13 They had the soldiers take up their positions—all those in the camp to the north of the city and the ambush to the west of it. That night Joshua went into the valley.

14 When the king of Ai saw this, he and all the men of the city hurried out early in the morning to meet Israel in battle at a certain place overlooking the Arabah. But he did not know that an ambush had been set against him behind the city. 15 Joshua and all Israel let themselves be driven back before them, and they fled toward the desert. 16 All the men of Ai were called to pursue them, and they pursued Joshua and were lured away from the city. 17 Not a man remained in Ai or Bethel who did not go after Israel. They left the city open and went in pursuit of Israel.

18 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Hold out toward Ai the javelin that is in your hand, for into your hand I will deliver the city." So Joshua held out his javelin toward Ai. 19 As soon as he did this, the men in the ambush rose quickly from their position and rushed forward. They entered the city and captured it and quickly set it on fire.

20 The men of Ai looked back and saw the smoke of the city rising against the sky, but they had no chance to escape in any direction, for the Israelites who had been fleeing toward the desert had turned back against their pursuers. 21 For when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that smoke was going up from the city, they turned around and attacked the men of Ai. 22 The men of the ambush also came out of the city against them, so that they were caught in the middle, with Israelites on both sides. Israel cut them down, leaving them neither survivors nor fugitives. 23 But they took the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.

24 When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. 25 Twelve thousand men and women fell that day—all the people of Ai. 26 For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed all who lived in Ai. 27 But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as the LORD had instructed Joshua.

28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day. 29 He hung the king of Ai on a tree and left him there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered them to take his body from the tree and throw it down at the entrance of the city gate. And they raised a large pile of rocks over it, which remains to this day.

30 Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, 31 as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses—an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used. On it they offered to the LORD burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings. 32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua copied on stones the law of Moses, which he had written. 33 All Israel, aliens and citizens alike, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the LORD, facing those who carried it—the priests, who were Levites. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD had formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel.

34 Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law—the blessings and the curses—just as it is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them.

1 Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things—those in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the entire coast of the Great Sea as far as Lebanon (the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites)- 2 they came together to make war against Joshua and Israel.

3 However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. 5 The men put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. 6 Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, "We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us."

7 The men of Israel said to the Hivites, "But perhaps you live near us. How then can we make a treaty with you?"

8 "We are your servants," they said to Joshua.
But Joshua asked, "Who are you and where do you come from?"

9 They answered: "Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the LORD your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. 11 And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, 'Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, "We are your servants; make a treaty with us." ' 12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey."

14 The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.

16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. 17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the LORD, the God of Israel.
The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, 19 but all the leaders answered, "We have given them our oath by the LORD, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them." 21 They continued, "Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community." So the leaders' promise to them was kept.

22 Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, "Why did you deceive us by saying, 'We live a long way from you,' while actually you live near us? 23 You are now under a curse: You will never cease to serve as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God."

24 They answered Joshua, "Your servants were clearly told how the LORD your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this. 25 We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you."

26 So Joshua saved them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them. 27 That day he made the Gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the community and for the altar of the LORD at the place the LORD would choose. And that is what they are to this day.

1 Now Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and totally destroyed it, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and that the people of Gibeon had made a treaty of peace with Israel and were living near them. 2 He and his people were very much alarmed at this, because Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters. 3 So Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem appealed to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish and Debir king of Eglon. 4 "Come up and help me attack Gibeon," he said, "because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites."

5 Then the five kings of the Amorites—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon—joined forces. They moved up with all their troops and took up positions against Gibeon and attacked it.

6 The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: "Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us."

7 So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. 8 The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you."

9 After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. 10 The LORD threw them into confusion before Israel, who defeated them in a great victory at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the LORD hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.

12 On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel:
"O sun, stand still over Gibeon,
O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon."

13 So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,
as it is written in the Book of Jashar.
The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!

15 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.

16 Now the five kings had fled and hidden in the cave at Makkedah. 17 When Joshua was told that the five kings had been found hiding in the cave at Makkedah, 18 he said, "Roll large rocks up to the mouth of the cave, and post some men there to guard it. 19 But don't stop! Pursue your enemies, attack them from the rear and don't let them reach their cities, for the LORD your God has given them into your hand."

20 So Joshua and the Israelites destroyed them completely—almost to a man—but the few who were left reached their fortified cities. 21 The whole army then returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah, and no one uttered a word against the Israelites.

22 Joshua said, "Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me." 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. 24 When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, "Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings." So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks.

25 Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight." 26 Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening.

27 At sunset Joshua gave the order and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had been hiding. At the mouth of the cave they placed large rocks, which are there to this day.

28 That day Joshua took Makkedah. He put the city and its king to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it. He left no survivors. And he did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.

29 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it. 30 The LORD also gave that city and its king into Israel's hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.

31 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Libnah to Lachish; he took up positions against it and attacked it. 32 The LORD handed Lachish over to Israel, and Joshua took it on the second day. The city and everyone in it he put to the sword, just as he had done to Libnah. 33 Meanwhile, Horam king of Gezer had come up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his army—until no survivors were left.

34 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Lachish to Eglon; they took up positions against it and attacked it. 35 They captured it that same day and put it to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it, just as they had done to Lachish.

36 Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it. 37 They took the city and put it to the sword, together with its king, its villages and everyone in it. They left no survivors. Just as at Eglon, they totally destroyed it and everyone in it.

38 Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned around and attacked Debir. 39 They took the city, its king and its villages, and put them to the sword. Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron.

40 So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua subdued them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon. 42 All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

43 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.

1 When Jabin king of Hazor heard of this, he sent word to Jobab king of Madon, to the kings of Shimron and Acshaph, 2 and to the northern kings who were in the mountains, in the Arabah south of Kinnereth, in the western foothills and in Naphoth Dor on the west; 3 to the Canaanites in the east and west; to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites in the hill country; and to the Hivites below Hermon in the region of Mizpah. 4 They came out with all their troops and a large number of horses and chariots—a huge army, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 5 All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.

6 The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots."

7 So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them, 8 and the LORD gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them all the way to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, until no survivors were left. 9 Joshua did to them as the LORD had directed: He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.

10 At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. (Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms.) 11 Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed them, not sparing anything that breathed, and he burned up Hazor itself.

12 Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded. 13 Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned. 14 The Israelites carried off for themselves all the plunder and livestock of these cities, but all the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed. 15 As the LORD commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.

16 So Joshua took this entire land: the hill country, all the Negev, the whole region of Goshen, the western foothills, the Arabah and the mountains of Israel with their foothills, 17 from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and struck them down, putting them to death. 18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time. 19 Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. 20 For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

21 At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country: from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns. 22 No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive. 23 So Joshua took the entire land, just as the LORD had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions.
Then the land had rest from war.

1 These are the kings of the land whom the Israelites had defeated and whose territory they took over east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon, including all the eastern side of the Arabah:

2 Sihon king of the Amorites,
who reigned in Heshbon. He ruled from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge—from the middle of the gorge—to the Jabbok River, which is the border of the Ammonites. This included half of Gilead. 3 He also ruled over the eastern Arabah from the Sea of Kinnereth to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea ), to Beth Jeshimoth, and then southward below the slopes of Pisgah.

4 And the territory of Og king of Bashan,
one of the last of the Rephaites, who reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei. 5 He ruled over Mount Hermon, Salecah, all of Bashan to the border of the people of Geshur and Maacah, and half of Gilead to the border of Sihon king of Heshbon.

6 Moses, the servant of the LORD, and the Israelites conquered them. And Moses the servant of the LORD gave their land to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh to be their possession.

7 These are the kings of the land that Joshua and the Israelites conquered on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir (their lands Joshua gave as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel according to their tribal divisions- 8 the hill country, the western foothills, the Arabah, the mountain slopes, the desert and the Negev—the lands of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites):

9 the king of Jericho one
the king of Ai (near Bethel) one

10 the king of Jerusalem one
the king of Hebron one

11 the king of Jarmuth one
the king of Lachish one

12 the king of Eglon one
the king of Gezer one

13 the king of Debir one
the king of Geder one

14 the king of Hormah one
the king of Arad one

15 the king of Libnah one
the king of Adullam one

16 the king of Makkedah one
the king of Bethel one

17 the king of Tappuah one
the king of Hepher one

18 the king of Aphek one
the king of Lasharon one

19 the king of Madon one
the king of Hazor one

20 the king of Shimron Meron one
the king of Acshaph one

21 the king of Taanach one
the king of Megiddo one

22 the king of Kedesh one
the king of Jokneam in Carmel one

23 the king of Dor (in Naphoth Dor ) one
the king of Goyim in Gilgal one

24 the king of Tirzah one
thirty-one kings in all.

1 When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the LORD said to him, "You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.

2 "This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites: 3 from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite (the territory of the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron—that of the Avvites 4 from the south, all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek, the region of the Amorites, 5 the area of the Gebalites ; and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.

6 "As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, 7 and divide it as an inheritance among the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh."

8 The other half of Manasseh, the Reubenites and the Gadites had received the inheritance that Moses had given them east of the Jordan, as he, the servant of the LORD, had assigned it to them.

9 It extended from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge, and from the town in the middle of the gorge, and included the whole plateau of Medeba as far as Dibon, 10 and all the towns of Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, out to the border of the Ammonites. 11 It also included Gilead, the territory of the people of Geshur and Maacah, all of Mount Hermon and all Bashan as far as Salecah- 12 that is, the whole kingdom of Og in Bashan, who had reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei and had survived as one of the last of the Rephaites. Moses had defeated them and taken over their land. 13 But the Israelites did not drive out the people of Geshur and Maacah, so they continue to live among the Israelites to this day.

14 But to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, since the offerings made by fire to the LORD, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as he promised them.

15 This is what Moses had given to the tribe of Reuben, clan by clan:

16 The territory from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge, and from the town in the middle of the gorge, and the whole plateau past Medeba 17 to Heshbon and all its towns on the plateau, including Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon, 18 Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, 19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah, Zereth Shahar on the hill in the valley, 20 Beth Peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth Jeshimoth 21 —all the towns on the plateau and the entire realm of Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled at Heshbon. Moses had defeated him and the Midianite chiefs, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—princes allied with Sihon—who lived in that country. 22 In addition to those slain in battle, the Israelites had put to the sword Balaam son of Beor, who practiced divination. 23 The boundary of the Reubenites was the bank of the Jordan. These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the Reubenites, clan by clan.

24 This is what Moses had given to the tribe of Gad, clan by clan:

25 The territory of Jazer, all the towns of Gilead and half the Ammonite country as far as Aroer, near Rabbah; 26 and from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpah and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the territory of Debir; 27 and in the valley, Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Succoth and Zaphon with the rest of the realm of Sihon king of Heshbon (the east side of the Jordan, the territory up to the end of the Sea of Kinnereth ). 28 These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the Gadites, clan by clan.

29 This is what Moses had given to the half-tribe of Manasseh, that is, to half the family of the descendants of Manasseh, clan by clan:

30 The territory extending from Mahanaim and including all of Bashan, the entire realm of Og king of Bashan—all the settlements of Jair in Bashan, sixty towns, 31 half of Gilead, and Ashtaroth and Edrei (the royal cities of Og in Bashan). This was for the descendants of Makir son of Manasseh—for half of the sons of Makir, clan by clan.

32 This is the inheritance Moses had given when he was in the plains of Moab across the Jordan east of Jericho. 33 But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them.

1 Now these are the areas the Israelites received as an inheritance in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the tribal clans of Israel allotted to them. 2 Their inheritances were assigned by lot to the nine-and-a-half tribes, as the LORD had commanded through Moses. 3 Moses had granted the two-and-a-half tribes their inheritance east of the Jordan but had not granted the Levites an inheritance among the rest, 4 for the sons of Joseph had become two tribes—Manasseh and Ephraim. The Levites received no share of the land but only towns to live in, with pasturelands for their flocks and herds. 5 So the Israelites divided the land, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

6 Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.'

10 "Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said."

13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. 15 (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites.)
Then the land had rest from war.

1 The allotment for the tribe of Judah, clan by clan, extended down to the territory of Edom, to the Desert of Zin in the extreme south.

2 Their southern boundary started from the bay at the southern end of the Salt Sea, 3 crossed south of Scorpion Pass, continued on to Zin and went over to the south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it ran past Hezron up to Addar and curved around to Karka. 4 It then passed along to Azmon and joined the Wadi of Egypt, ending at the sea. This is their southern boundary.

5 The eastern boundary is the Salt Sea as far as the mouth of the Jordan.
The northern boundary started from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan, 6 went up to Beth Hoglah and continued north of Beth Arabah to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben. 7 The boundary then went up to Debir from the Valley of Achor and turned north to Gilgal, which faces the Pass of Adummim south of the gorge. It continued along to the waters of En Shemesh and came out at En Rogel. 8 Then it ran up the Valley of Ben Hinnom along the southern slope of the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem). From there it climbed to the top of the hill west of the Hinnom Valley at the northern end of the Valley of Rephaim. 9 From the hilltop the boundary headed toward the spring of the waters of Nephtoah, came out at the towns of Mount Ephron and went down toward Baalah (that is, Kiriath Jearim). 10 Then it curved westward from Baalah to Mount Seir, ran along the northern slope of Mount Jearim (that is, Kesalon), continued down to Beth Shemesh and crossed to Timnah. 11 It went to the northern slope of Ekron, turned toward Shikkeron, passed along to Mount Baalah and reached Jabneel. The boundary ended at the sea.

12 The western boundary is the coastline of the Great Sea.
These are the boundaries around the people of Judah by their clans.

13 In accordance with the LORD's command to him, Joshua gave to Caleb son of Jephunneh a portion in Judah—Kiriath Arba, that is, Hebron. (Arba was the forefather of Anak.) 14 From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites—Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai—descendants of Anak. 15 From there he marched against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher). 16 And Caleb said, "I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher." 17 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him in marriage.

18 One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, "What can I do for you?"

19 She replied, "Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water." So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

20 This is the inheritance of the tribe of Judah, clan by clan:

21 The southernmost towns of the tribe of Judah in the Negev toward the boundary of Edom were:
Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 22 Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 23 Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 24 Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, 25 Hazor Hadattah, Kerioth Hezron (that is, Hazor), 26 Amam, Shema, Moladah, 27 Hazar Gaddah, Heshmon, Beth Pelet, 28 Hazar Shual, Beersheba, Biziothiah, 29 Baalah, Iim, Ezem, 30 Eltolad, Kesil, Hormah, 31 Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, 32 Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain and Rimmon—a total of twenty-nine towns and their villages.

33 In the western foothills:
Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 34 Zanoah, En Gannim, Tappuah, Enam, 35 Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah, 36 Shaaraim, Adithaim and Gederah (or Gederothaim) —fourteen towns and their villages.

37 Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal Gad, 38 Dilean, Mizpah, Joktheel, 39 Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, 40 Cabbon, Lahmas, Kitlish, 41 Gederoth, Beth Dagon, Naamah and Makkedah—sixteen towns and their villages.

42 Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 43 Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 44 Keilah, Aczib and Mareshah—nine towns and their villages.

45 Ekron, with its surrounding settlements and villages; 46 west of Ekron, all that were in the vicinity of Ashdod, together with their villages; 47 Ashdod, its surrounding settlements and villages; and Gaza, its settlements and villages, as far as the Wadi of Egypt and the coastline of the Great Sea.

48 In the hill country:
Shamir, Jattir, Socoh, 49 Dannah, Kiriath Sannah (that is, Debir), 50 Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim, 51 Goshen, Holon and Giloh—eleven towns and their villages.

52 Arab, Dumah, Eshan, 53 Janim, Beth Tappuah, Aphekah, 54 Humtah, Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) and Zior—nine towns and their villages.

55 Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, 56 Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, 57 Kain, Gibeah and Timnah—ten towns and their villages.

58 Halhul, Beth Zur, Gedor, 59 Maarath, Beth Anoth and Eltekon—six towns and their villages.

60 Kiriath Baal (that is, Kiriath Jearim) and Rabbah—two towns and their villages.

61 In the desert:
Beth Arabah, Middin, Secacah, 62 Nibshan, the City of Salt and En Gedi—six towns and their villages.

63 Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.

1 The allotment for Joseph began at the Jordan of Jericho, east of the waters of Jericho, and went up from there through the desert into the hill country of Bethel. 2 It went on from Bethel (that is, Luz), crossed over to the territory of the Arkites in Ataroth, 3 descended westward to the territory of the Japhletites as far as the region of Lower Beth Horon and on to Gezer, ending at the sea.

4 So Manasseh and Ephraim, the descendants of Joseph, received their inheritance.

5 This was the territory of Ephraim, clan by clan:
The boundary of their inheritance went from Ataroth Addar in the east to Upper Beth Horon 6 and continued to the sea. From Micmethath on the north it curved eastward to Taanath Shiloh, passing by it to Janoah on the east. 7 Then it went down from Janoah to Ataroth and Naarah, touched Jericho and came out at the Jordan. 8 From Tappuah the border went west to the Kanah Ravine and ended at the sea. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the Ephraimites, clan by clan. 9 It also included all the towns and their villages that were set aside for the Ephraimites within the inheritance of the Manassites.

10 They did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim but are required to do forced labor.

1 This was the allotment for the tribe of Manasseh as Joseph's firstborn, that is, for Makir, Manasseh's firstborn. Makir was the ancestor of the Gileadites, who had received Gilead and Bashan because the Makirites were great soldiers. 2 So this allotment was for the rest of the people of Manasseh—the clans of Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher and Shemida. These are the other male descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph by their clans.

3 Now Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons but only daughters, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. 4 They went to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders and said, "The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers." So Joshua gave them an inheritance along with the brothers of their father, according to the LORD's command. 5 Manasseh's share consisted of ten tracts of land besides Gilead and Bashan east of the Jordan, 6 because the daughters of the tribe of Manasseh received an inheritance among the sons. The land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the descendants of Manasseh.

7 The territory of Manasseh extended from Asher to Micmethath east of Shechem. The boundary ran southward from there to include the people living at En Tappuah. 8 (Manasseh had the land of Tappuah, but Tappuah itself, on the boundary of Manasseh, belonged to the Ephraimites.) 9 Then the boundary continued south to the Kanah Ravine. There were towns belonging to Ephraim lying among the towns of Manasseh, but the boundary of Manasseh was the northern side of the ravine and ended at the sea. 10 On the south the land belonged to Ephraim, on the north to Manasseh. The territory of Manasseh reached the sea and bordered Asher on the north and Issachar on the east.

11 Within Issachar and Asher, Manasseh also had Beth Shan, Ibleam and the people of Dor, Endor, Taanach and Megiddo, together with their surrounding settlements (the third in the list is Naphoth ).

12 Yet the Manassites were not able to occupy these towns, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that region. 13 However, when the Israelites grew stronger, they subjected the Canaanites to forced labor but did not drive them out completely.

14 The people of Joseph said to Joshua, "Why have you given us only one allotment and one portion for an inheritance? We are a numerous people and the LORD has blessed us abundantly."

15 "If you are so numerous," Joshua answered, "and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites."

16 The people of Joseph replied, "The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have iron chariots, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezreel."

17 But Joshua said to the house of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh-"You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment 18 but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have iron chariots and though they are strong, you can drive them out."

1 The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the Tent of Meeting there. The country was brought under their control, 2 but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not yet received their inheritance.

3 So Joshua said to the Israelites: "How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you? 4 Appoint three men from each tribe. I will send them out to make a survey of the land and to write a description of it, according to the inheritance of each. Then they will return to me. 5 You are to divide the land into seven parts. Judah is to remain in its territory on the south and the house of Joseph in its territory on the north. 6 After you have written descriptions of the seven parts of the land, bring them here to me and I will cast lots for you in the presence of the LORD our God. 7 The Levites, however, do not get a portion among you, because the priestly service of the LORD is their inheritance. And Gad, Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh have already received their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan. Moses the servant of the LORD gave it to them."

8 As the men started on their way to map out the land, Joshua instructed them, "Go and make a survey of the land and write a description of it. Then return to me, and I will cast lots for you here at Shiloh in the presence of the LORD." 9 So the men left and went through the land. They wrote its description on a scroll, town by town, in seven parts, and returned to Joshua in the camp at Shiloh. 10 Joshua then cast lots for them in Shiloh in the presence of the LORD, and there he distributed the land to the Israelites according to their tribal divisions.

11 The lot came up for the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan. Their allotted territory lay between the tribes of Judah and Joseph:

12 On the north side their boundary began at the Jordan, passed the northern slope of Jericho and headed west into the hill country, coming out at the desert of Beth Aven. 13 From there it crossed to the south slope of Luz (that is, Bethel) and went down to Ataroth Addar on the hill south of Lower Beth Horon.

14 From the hill facing Beth Horon on the south the boundary turned south along the western side and came out at Kiriath Baal (that is, Kiriath Jearim), a town of the people of Judah. This was the western side.

15 The southern side began at the outskirts of Kiriath Jearim on the west, and the boundary came out at the spring of the waters of Nephtoah. 16 The boundary went down to the foot of the hill facing the Valley of Ben Hinnom, north of the Valley of Rephaim. It continued down the Hinnom Valley along the southern slope of the Jebusite city and so to En Rogel. 17 It then curved north, went to En Shemesh, continued to Geliloth, which faces the Pass of Adummim, and ran down to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben. 18 It continued to the northern slope of Beth Arabah and on down into the Arabah. 19 It then went to the northern slope of Beth Hoglah and came out at the northern bay of the Salt Sea, at the mouth of the Jordan in the south. This was the southern boundary.

20 The Jordan formed the boundary on the eastern side.
These were the boundaries that marked out the inheritance of the clans of Benjamin on all sides.

21 The tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, had the following cities:
Jericho, Beth Hoglah, Emek Keziz, 22 Beth Arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, 23 Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 24 Kephar Ammoni, Ophni and Geba—twelve towns and their villages.

25 Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, 26 Mizpah, Kephirah, Mozah, 27 Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 28 Zelah, Haeleph, the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah and Kiriath—fourteen towns and their villages.
This was the inheritance of Benjamin for its clans.

1 The second lot came out for the tribe of Simeon, clan by clan. Their inheritance lay within the territory of Judah. 2 It included:
Beersheba (or Sheba), Moladah, 3 Hazar Shual, Balah, Ezem, 4 Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah, 5 Ziklag, Beth Marcaboth, Hazar Susah, 6 Beth Lebaoth and Sharuhen—thirteen towns and their villages;

7 Ain, Rimmon, Ether and Ashan—four towns and their villages- 8 and all the villages around these towns as far as Baalath Beer (Ramah in the Negev).
This was the inheritance of the tribe of the Simeonites, clan by clan. 9 The inheritance of the Simeonites was taken from the share of Judah, because Judah's portion was more than they needed. So the Simeonites received their inheritance within the territory of Judah.

10 The third lot came up for Zebulun, clan by clan:
The boundary of their inheritance went as far as Sarid. 11 Going west it ran to Maralah, touched Dabbesheth, and extended to the ravine near Jokneam. 12 It turned east from Sarid toward the sunrise to the territory of Kisloth Tabor and went on to Daberath and up to Japhia. 13 Then it continued eastward to Gath Hepher and Eth Kazin; it came out at Rimmon and turned toward Neah. 14 There the boundary went around on the north to Hannathon and ended at the Valley of Iphtah El. 15 Included were Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah and Bethlehem. There were twelve towns and their villages.

16 These towns and their villages were the inheritance of Zebulun, clan by clan.

17 The fourth lot came out for Issachar, clan by clan. 18 Their territory included:
Jezreel, Kesulloth, Shunem, 19 Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, 20 Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez, 21 Remeth, En Gannim, En Haddah and Beth Pazzez. 22 The boundary touched Tabor, Shahazumah and Beth Shemesh, and ended at the Jordan. There were sixteen towns and their villages.

23 These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the tribe of Issachar, clan by clan.

24 The fifth lot came out for the tribe of Asher, clan by clan. 25 Their territory included:
Helkath, Hali, Beten, Acshaph, 26 Allammelech, Amad and Mishal. On the west the boundary touched Carmel and Shihor Libnath. 27 It then turned east toward Beth Dagon, touched Zebulun and the Valley of Iphtah El, and went north to Beth Emek and Neiel, passing Cabul on the left. 28 It went to Abdon, Rehob, Hammon and Kanah, as far as Greater Sidon. 29 The boundary then turned back toward Ramah and went to the fortified city of Tyre, turned toward Hosah and came out at the sea in the region of Aczib, 30 Ummah, Aphek and Rehob. There were twenty-two towns and their villages.

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Our survey of the Bible brings us now to the historical books of the Old Testament. If you are not reading these books as we go along, you are missing tremendous truth which, if you grasp it, will deliver you from many weaknesses and failures that you may find present in your life right now. That is the purpose of truth -- to set us free. In this survey so far, we have seen the great purpose of all revelation, of the book that God has given us, and of the Holy Spirit, in whose power we understand and enter into this truth. All of this has been given to us through the intermediacy of about forty authors, writing over a span of some sixteen hundred years, and preserved at the cost of blood, sweat and tears in order that we -- you and I -- might be brought to maturity in Jesus Christ. It took all of that to do it.

Maturity is the reflection, in my life and yours, of the image and character of Jesus Christ -- that is, as Paul prayed in Ephesians, that we may be bodies filled and flooded with God himself, and therefore, as Paul put it in Philippians, shining as lights in the midst of a generation of crooks and perverts. This is the purpose of revelation -- to mature us, to bring us to full-grown stature in Jesus Christ, so that we are no longer children, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine that blows, and led into all kinds of false ideas; but instead, we walk straight and sure down the path of truth, with our heads held high as men, women, sons, and daughters of God who know where they are going, where they have come from, and why they are here.

We have seen that the particular part the Old Testament contributes to this is preparation, while the part the New Testament contributes is realization. You cannot realize what God has for you without the preparation of heart which the Old Testament provides. I am absolutely convinced of this. I am positive that those Christians who believe they can get all of their spiritual strength and help out of the New Testament, at the price of neglecting the Old, will discover that, though they may assimilate the truth of the New Testament in the head, it will never reach the heart. The mind may be full of the doctrinal content of the New Testament, but the life remains utterly untransformed. This is because there has not been adequate preparation for it by the assimilation of Old Testament truth.

In our last study we began to see, in our survey, how each of the Old Testament's divisions contributes to this work of preparation. We looked at the first five books, the Pentateuch -- the five books of Moses -- which we saw were God's pattern of working in the human life. Over and over again, in the Scriptures and in life, you will find repeated the pattern which the Pentateuch sets forth. Do you remember what it is? Genesis is the book which constantly stresses the deep-seated need of human life -- man in his helplessness, in his weakness, in his overwhelming need for God. Exodus follows as the book of redemption, where God lays hold of us. The key to this book is ownership. We become his -- as Paul expresses it: "You are not your own; you were bought with a price," (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a RSV). Leviticus is the book of access to God, of instruction in how to worship. Worship is nothing more than laying hold of God. We don't worship when we simply bow our heads and let some kind of pious thoughts run vagrantly through our minds. We worship when we lay hold of what God is. Though it may seem dry reading, when we begin to analyze it, Leviticus opens up as a great book which gives us tremendous lessons in the life of worship. Numbers is the book of weakness and failure, of wandering in the wilderness. The wilderness is the experience of attempting to carry out the worship of Leviticus in the strength of the flesh, the effort of the natural heart. The result is wandering. Deuteronomy comes in as the second giving of the Law, which prepares us to recognize our helplessness and makes us ready for entering the Land of Promise, ready for victory.

This brings us to the historical books -- Joshua, Judges, Ruth, l & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. We will see now how these books contribute to the preparatory work of the Old Testament. If the Pentateuch is the section which gives us the pattern of God's working, then the historical books give us the perils which confront us when we try to walk in the life of faith. This is their purpose.

If you stop to think about it a minute, this is what history is for, isn't it? History is the story of man. I know there are those who say that history is "his story," meaning Christ's story; but that is true only in a secondary sense. Christ is in history; however, he is behind the scenes.

I love those words of James Russell Lowell:

Truth forever on the scaffold
  wrong forever on the throne,
But God is standing in the shadows
  keeping watch above his own.

That is the relationship of God to history. He is behind the scenes. But history primarily is the story of man's cycle of failure, a continual sequence of the rise and fall of one empire after another -- one civilization after another struggling through defeat or bondage to the place of victory and triumph and material blessing and prosperity, and to a wide extension of the empire. But then forces begin to eat away and cause the empire or nation to deteriorate and dissolve and crumble and at last collapse. If you read any great historian, such as Arnold Toynbee, you find he points out cycle after cycle of failure in history.

In these historical books of the Bible we find all of the lessons which we can read in secular history -- condensed, as it were. These books trace the history of one nation, a peculiar nation, a nation with a special ministry -- a representative nation, if you like. Though it is good to read secular history -- I enjoy reading it myself -- nevertheless, if you want to know what history can teach you, you will find it all condensed in these historical books of the Old Testament. Here we have history visualized in one nation: Israel. What happens to them is a picture of all the perils which will ever oppress men anywhere. But more than that, the picture is a special illustration of the perils and pressures and problems which come upon the believer, the Christian, as he attempts to walk the life of faith. It is very important to know your enemies. Do you know who they are, and do you know in what form they come to you? It would simply be absurd to send a submarine against an army entrenched in the mountains, wouldn't it? Well, it is equally absurd for a Christian to try to employ any randomly chosen spiritual weapon against one of the powers of darkness for which that weapon is not designed. We must know our enemies. This is where these historical books become of great value to us. They present to us the perils which beset the life of faith, and the means of victory over them.

The first of the historical books is Joshua. It begins with a story of victory -- the entrance of Israel into the Land of Promise, the place where God intended them to be all along when he brought them out of Egypt. Who of us has not yet discovered that the Christian life is not only a question of being brought out of, but of entering into, as well? The problem is that many of us are quite content to be brought out of Egypt -- the world and all its ways -- but we never quite get around to entering into the Land. We have faith enough to be brought out of Egypt, but somewhere we falter and fail to lay hold of that faith which takes us over the Jordan and into the Land of Promise. But, in the book of Joshua, Israel is now entering into the Land. This book is a story of great triumph and victory. It is a book which traces for us the experience of conquest.

What was the first enemy which faced Israel as they came across the Jordan River? It was the imposing city of Jericho, with its tremendous walls -- about one hundred feet high and thirty feet thick -- a super-fortress of a city, an impregnable barrier. It might have been the first city any of them had ever encountered. As they looked at it, they saw their own feebleness and that of their weapons, and they said, "How can we ever take a walled city like this?"

Have you ever felt like that? Has there been anything in your life which has seemed to you to be an insuperable obstacle -- something you have struggled with, and it has mocked you and baffled you and defeated you for years -- something you have seen looming there in all its invincibility, and nothing you are able to do seems to have any effect upon it? Well, that is your Jericho.

What did God do? It is perhaps the most amazing story in all literature. I am not a military man, but I am sure that no military man in his right mind would ever devise a strategy like this: Set his troops to marching silently around a walled city once a day for six days; on the seventh day, have them go around seven times, with seven trumpets blowing; then, after the seventh time, have the people shout -- and the wall will collapse! But many a Christian has discovered, where he begins to lay hold of the truth of the indwelling life of Jesus Christ -- which is what entering into the land signifies -- that many obstacles which once were a problem suddenly disappear. They simply aren't there. Their walls have totally collapsed. There is immediate victory. Jericho is a picture of the world in its assault upon the Christian, and of the victory over the world which is available in Jesus Christ.

The Jericho story is followed immediately by the story of Ai. Ai was an insignificant little town. Nobody thought anything of it. It just a little village, a little 'wide spot in the road.' Joshua reasoned, "Why waste an entire army on a little place like that?" So he dispatched only a few men. But they came back defeated. Joshua went before the Lord and found that there was sin in the camp. When that was taken care of, then there was victory over Ai. Ai is a picture of the flesh -- its subtlety, its seeming insignificance. We think we can control our tempers and our lusts and our evil thoughts if we just set our minds to it. But we discover it isn't that easy.

Ai is followed by the battle of Gibeon, the story of deceit. Joshua and all the hosts of Israel were deceived by a handful of Gibeonites, who disguised themselves in old clothes and took moldy bread and pretended to have come from a long way off. They made a pact with Joshua that he would protect them. Then the Israelites discovered that the Gibeonites were from the city right over the next hill! This represents the wiles and the deceitfulness of Satan.

So if you cannot find the perils of your life in the book of Joshua, there is something seriously wrong. They are all there. But the kernel of the book is set forth for us in Chapter 13, Verse 1. Each of these historical books has a peculiar peril all its own which it is designed to describe for us. But not only does it set forth the peril, but right along with it is the manifestation of at least one individual who is given victory over that peril. In the book of Joshua it is the man Joshua himself. Here is his peril:

Now Joshua was old and advanced in years; and the Lord said to him, "You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to be possessed." (Josh 13:1 RSV)

This was the problem with Joshua. This book is a picture of the believer who understands Christ's indwelling life. Once that concept is internalized, any believer can immediately experience victory over Satan. It is a glorious and marvelous experience. But somewhere along the line there is an incomplete victory. We decide to settle down. We are enjoying life. It is so much better than it ever was before. So we say, "Why go on any further? I know that there are areas of my life which I have not yet conquered in the name of Christ; but I have conquered so much, Lord. Let me just enjoy this awhile." The peril here is the temptation to premature contentment, to an incomplete conquest, to a readiness to settle down where we are and stop the pilgrim march.

Have you experienced this? It is always the first attack of the enemy in times of victory and conquest. But Jesus said,

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6 RSV)

This hunger and thirst must mark all our life. We are never to get over it. Then we are always on the march. At the close of the book you find Joshua saying to the people of Israel, "There is very much land yet to be possessed," and he urges them to do it. He warns them about some of the attitudes which were already beginning to possess them. Then he says to them, in Chapter 24, Verse 15:

"...choose this day whom you will serve." ..."but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Josh 24:15 RSV)

There was never a letdown in Joshua's life, never a willingness to stop the march. He was on the march until the day of his death. He never quit. This is the shining of grace, the breaking through of light into darkness, in the book of Joshua.

Now we come to the books of Judges and Ruth. We will take them together, because the events of Ruth are contemporary with the first half of Judges. The book of Joshua covers a period of about twenty-five years. Judges covers a period of about three hundred years. The book of Judges is the story of a continually repeated cycle of defeat -- of decline, discipline, and then deliverance. Over and over again God sent judges to the people of Israel to deliver them from persecution and bondage into which they had fallen and under which they suffered for many weary, painful years.

The book begins with the story of Othniel, the first judge God sent, and ends with the familiar story of Samson, the last judge. There were seven judges altogether whom God used to deliver the people. But over and over again, no sooner had he set the people back on their feet than they began again to fail. Now, why did they fail? What is the peril of Judges? You will find it stated in Chapter 2, Verses 11-13:

And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; they went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were round about them, and bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. They forsook the Lord, and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. (Josh 2:11-13 RSV)

Idolatry! Why? How did they ever get into this mess so quickly after the tremendous victories of Joshua? How do people suddenly fall from the height of a victorious experience into moral degradation? You find the key to the book in the very last verse. It is the key to this kind of experience in your own life:

In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes. (Judg 21:25 RSV)

The story of Judges is the peril of what we might call "consecrated blundering." It wasn't that these people did not want to do right. It was that they simply were deluded. They did what was right -- it doesn't say they did what was wrong -- they did what was right in their own eyes. But they didn't know what was right. This is the terrible peril of dedicated ignorance.

I must honestly say that I know of no peril from which God's people suffer more today than this. I find many Christians weak and stumbling, ineffective and defeated, because they are suffering from dedicated ignorance. There is nothing wrong with their dedication. They mean well. Time after time I have sat with young people and older people alike as they have told me terrible stories of agony and anguish and despair, and they have said: "I don't know what happened. I started out intending to do right. I thought I was; but something went wrong. I always ended up wrong." They did not expose themselves to truth.

And, for this same reason, throughout the period of the judges there was a repeated cycle of failure and defeat and, finally, deliverance for awhile by God's grace; but then the cycle began all over again.

In the midst of this story of failure and defeat -- and the last chapters of Judges are probably the darkest, most terrible picture of sexual depravity in all the history of Israel, arrived at by a repeated cycle of moral failure -- right in the midst of this, there shines the wonderful little story of Ruth. In the book of Ruth you have a picture of faithfulness in the midst of defeat, you have the story of this heathen woman who heard the voice of God -- heard the story of grace in a far country -- and left all her friends and home and family, cleaved to Naomi, her mother in law, and returned with her to Israel. And there, in a beautiful story of romance -- one of the most delightful stories in all the Bible -- this young, lovely widow met a rich young bachelor, and they were married. It is a story that tears at your heartstrings as you read it:

When Ruth left her home and all her friends, she manifested a willingness to walk with God despite all the defeat and failure in the land around her. These words of Ruth to Naomi are perhaps the most beautiful ever uttered by any woman anywhere (Chapter 1, Verses 16-17):

"Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if even death parts me from you." (Ruth 1:16-17 RSV)

I always have the bride say those words to the groom when I conduct wedding services. It is such a marvelous expression of faithfulness.

Then we come to the book of 1 Samuel. This is largely the story of two men -- Samuel and Saul. In the latter part of the book, the early history of David is interwoven into the story of King Saul. Samuel was the greatest judge Israel ever had. His ministry lasted some forty years. During this time the people were still hungering after something other than God. The great peril of faith which is set forth in this book is given to us in Chapter 8, Verse 5. One day the people of Israel came to Samuel and said,

"Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint for us a king to govern us like all the nations." (1 Sam 8:5 RSV)

Now, the trouble with this is that God had called this nation to he unlike all other nations. Here they were hungering to be like them, and particularly to have some kind of authority other than God.

Do you recognize this peril? It is what we can call 'the peril of legalistic conformity,' the desire for outward rule over life -- one of the most devastating perils of all in the spiritual life. We soon find that the freedom and liberty we have in Christ means that we must continually be exercising judgments, making decisions, evaluating circumstances.

You know, I find lots of people who don't want to do that! They don't like the freedom God gives us in Christ. They come to me and say, "Don't tell me all these principles by which to determine what I should do. Just give me a rule. That is what I want. If I just had a rule, then I'd do that, and that ought to satisfy God." But a life lived under rules is always a life lived in bondage.

This is the story of the life of the nation during Samuel's time. As a result, God allowed the people to choose a king. They chose Saul.

The story of Saul is one of the great tragedies of the Bible. He was a man of great promise, a handsome man with great abilities. But the story of this man's life is the peril of seeking the favor of man. The defeat of Saul came about as a result of his expedition against the Amalekites. He was told by God to kill all the Amalekites. But he refused and saved King Agag. Why did he do it? Because he felt this would find him favor in the eyes of the people. So the awful tragedy of Saul's life was the peril of a divided allegiance. He was quite content to serve God so long as it pleased those around him. The secret failure in this man's life was his continual hungering after the affection and honor and favor of other people.

Have you ever discovered this in your life? It is a peril which will defeat you ultimately and bring the same tragic end which Saul finally came to -- his kingdom was taken from him, his crown taken from his head. He lost everything but his own personal relationship to God.

In the midst of this somberness, the light breaks through in the story of David and Jonathan -- that marvelous story of the greatest friendship in all of history.

Next comes 2 Samuel, and with it we will link 1 Chronicles, because these two books cover the same chronological era. 1 Chronicles, though it covers the same events, by and large, as 2 Samuel, nevertheless gives us a slightly different viewpoint of them. It is well worth reading it right along with 2 Samuel because it gives you a closer insight into the inner story, the story of David in his kingship over Judah and Israel.

There is no more wonderful story in all of the Old Testament than the story of David. What a mighty man of God he was, a man after God's own heart! What unflinching faith is continually evident in this man growing up as a boy, the battle with Goliath, living in the court of King Saul at the risk of his life, involved in all kinds of intrigues and fascinating episodes, the beautiful story of his friendship with Jonathan, and finally being made king, first over Judah for seven years and then over Israel and Judah together for thirty-three more years, a reign of forty years altogether -- for the most part, a mighty reign.

However, there is an ugly side to the story of David. There came into his life a weakness which resulted, as we know, in the terrible moral fall of this man. He became guilty of the sins of adultery and murder. It is almost incomprehensible to think of David, God's own man, as guilty of these terrible things. Well, how did it start? That is what we always want to seek to understand if we want insight into the nature of sin. Where does it begin? You will find the clue in 2 Samuel, Chapter 11, Verse 1:

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; ...But David remained at Jerusalem. (2 Sam 11:1 RSV)

In this verse we have hinted strongly for us the peril of a forgotten calling. The result was indulging in the lusts of the flesh. David was the king of Israel and Judah. It was his business to be at the head of the army. That is where he belonged. But he forgot his calling. He was resting when he had no need for rest. He was staying home and enjoying himself while the others went into battle. That was the beginning of the end; for, while he was home enjoying himself, he went up upon the housetop and, looking over into his neighbor's yard, saw a beautiful woman taking a bath. It did to him what such a sight does to any normal male -- he was filled with lust. But he indulged his passion and took her. In order to cover up that sin, he had to murder her husband. So the terrible fall of David occurred. And it all began by the subtle pressure of the peril of a forgotten calling and the indulgence of the flesh.

The gleam of grace in this story is David's repentance. And that is why it can still be said of David, despite his double fall, that he was a man after God's own heart, because the minute he was faced with his sin he admitted it and repented, and he accepted the grace of God. There is no more wonderful picture of a contrite heart than that of David, down on his face before God, crying out his sorrow and repentance over his sin as he realized what had happened. Out of that experience came the 52nd Psalm, which is such a marvelous expression of a heart which is truly repentant.

Then we come to 1 Kings and the first part of 2 Chronicles, which again we can link together because they cover the same general period. This is the story of two men, by and large, Solomon and Jeroboam, the rival to Solomon's son Rehoboam. Jeroboam became king of the northern kingdom, Israel. This is the account of the division of the kingdom between Judah and Israel.

The story of Solomon is fascinating. What a wonderful inheritance this man stepped into as he was crowned king even before his father David's death! He came into the kingdom at the height of its glory, and God gave him riches and power. At the beginning of his reign, as a young man, Solomon chose wisdom rather than anything for himself. God gave him wisdom. He was the author of the sublimely wise book of Proverbs, as well as the Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes.

Along with his wisdom, God gave him power, magnificence, riches in abundance. But his misappropriation of these was the seed of Solomon's downfall. In the third chapter of 1 Kings find the beginning of the story of the peril which brought him failure and defeat (Verses 1-3):

Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king Egypt; he took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had finished building his own house and the house of the Lord and the wall around Jerusalem. The people were sacrificing at the high places[pagan religious sites], however, because no house had yet been built for the name of the Lord.

Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father; only, he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places. (1 Kings 3:1-3 RSV)

And as we trace the account through, we find in Chapter 6, Verse 38, that Solomon was seven years in building the Temple. But then the first verse of Chapter 7 says that he "was building his own house thirteen years," (1 Kings 7:1b RSV). Doesn't that strike you as strange? Seven years building the Temple, but thirteen years lavishing magnificence upon his own house! You can see the beginning of the self-centered life and the peril of a love of things. The downfall of Solomon was the peril of material magnificence. The end of the story comes in Chapter 11, Verses 1-3:

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women: the daughter of Pharaoh, and Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, "You shall not enter into marriage with them neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods"; Solomon clung these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. (1 Kings 11:1-3 RSV)

And that is the story of the downfall of the wisest man who ever lived -- the peril of material magnificence; a heart wooed away from the Lord by a love of things; spiritual strength shorn by giving himself to possessions.

The rest of the book is the story of Jeroboam, the rebellion he fomented, and the beginning of the kingdom of Israel. The peril set forth in Jeroboam's life is that of a substitute faith: Chapter 12, Verses 26-28:

And Jeroboam said in his heart, "Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David; if this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah. So the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, "You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought up out of the land of Egypt." (1 Kings 12:26-28 RSV)

What is the peril of a substitute faith? Religious deceit.

Not long ago at a women's meeting I spoke on the incarnation, the virgin birth, and the glory of the babe in Bethlehem who was God himself, manifest in the flesh. At the close of the meeting a woman bustled right up to me. She was one of those ladies whom Harry Ironside used to call 'a female dreadnought.' She came running up under full power, and said to me, "Did I understand you to say that the baby of Bethlehem was God?" I said, "Yes, exactly so." "Oh," she said, "I can't believe anything like that! God is everywhere. God is vast and infinite. He fills the universe. How could he be a baby in Bethlehem?" I said, "That is the glory of the mystery -- the mystery of godliness -- that God was manifest in the flesh." "Oh," she said, "I don't understand! I can't accept anything like that." I said, "You know, there was a time when one of his own disciples took the Lord Jesus by the feet, and said to him, 'My Lord and my God.' Now, do you know more about him than his disciples did?" She said, "I was raised a Christian Scientist, and I was taught that God is in all universe, and I can't accept this idea." I said, "My dear lady, then you have been taught what the Bible does not teach. You have been taught a false faith." She turned on her heels and walked away.

This the peril which is deluding and destroying the faith of thousands and millions today. All over this country I run into stories of Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and members of many other such delusive cults following right along in Jeroboam's sin, succumbing to the pressure of a substitute faith of false gods with Christian names. How many have been destroyed by that? But right in the midst of all of this here comes shining out, by the grace of God, the story of a man who lived and walked untainted by these pressures -- Elijah the prophet.

Now we come to 2 Kings and the latter part of 2 Chronicles. These portions of Scripture also link together chronologically. Here we have the rapid-fire story, over and over again, of the downfall of one king after another, usually murdered by someone who has a hungering for the throne, government by assassination, with which we have become somewhat familiar in recent days in our own country. The story of the nation of Israel, the ten tribes which constituted the northern kingdom, is that of moral abandonment, the peril of a nation which gives itself up to what it supposes is liberty.

Do you know anyone suffering from that? Have you ever said to yourself, "Oh, I am tired of these afflictions of the Christian life! If I could just do what I want and I go where I please and say what I like and abandon myself to the pursuit of pleasure, then I would be happy." Well, read the result in 2 Kings, Chapter 17, Verses 16-17:

And they forsook all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made for themselves molten images of two calves; and they made an Asherah[an idol], and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings, and used divination, and sorcery, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. (2 Kings 17:16-17 RSV)

This is the same condition which Paul characterizes in Romans 1: Men who knew God refused to acknowledge him or give thanks; so God gave them up, gave them up, gave them up -- three times over -- to the most dissolute depraved moral practices. This is the story of moral abandonment -- of flinging aside all the bonds, kicking over the traces, living life as you please. And the result is the removal of every restraint of godliness and goodness in the life. It is moral disaster. It happened here in Israel, and the rest of 2 Kings is the story of Israel, followed by the captivity of Judah, the southern kingdom, the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

The downfall of Judah is the story of the peril of the hardened heart -- of a nation which was warned by the downfall of the northern kingdom, but refused to heed that warning and became indifferent to the warnings of God; so they failed. Chapter 21 gives us the story in Verses 10-14:

And the Lord said by his servants the prophets, "Because Manasseh king of Judah has committed these abominations, and has done things more wicked than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols; therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such evil that the ears of every one who hears of it will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab[i.e. Israel, the northern kingdom. God says he will do to Judah as he did to Israel.]and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. And I will cast off the remnant of my heritage, and give them into the hand of their enemies, and they would become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies," (2 Kings 21:10-14 RSV)

Why? Because they succumbed to the terrible pressure of a hardened heart, of indifference to the warnings of God. But in the midst of the book is the beautiful story of Hezekiah and Josiah kings of Judah -- one who cleansed the Temple and one who found again the book of the Law.

This brings us to the last books of history -- Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther -- which we will take as a unit. They are the story of the nation in captivity -- deteriorated, fallen apart at the seams morally, carried away at last into bondage. But, while they are in bondage, God begins to work. And, at last, after the seventy years' captivity, Ezra is raised up to lead a group back into the desolate land of Palestine to begin rebuilding the Temple.

The book of Ezra is the story of a discouraged people, along with a reluctance to leave captivity. Imagine that! A reluctance to leave Babylon. Only a handful could be persuaded to go. The rest were so blinded that they decided to stay in captivity, and they drifted off and lost themselves among the nations of the world. We call them "the ten lost tribes of Israel." No one knows where they are, or who they are. They are completely lost. But those who were willing to go back found all the promises of God waiting for them when they returned to the land.

The peril of these three books together is that of a discouraged heart. Sometimes we get into this frame of mind, don't we? We say, "What's the use? I might just as well quit. I might as well throw it all in and just stay where I am. I know I am not victorious. I know I am not walking with God. I know I am getting nowhere. I might just as well quit and stay this way." Well, this is the awful pressure which comes upon us in that state. But the story of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther is the story of the triumph of faith in the midst of that circumstance. A remnant finally returned and began to build the second Temple.

Then Nehemiah comes along, and his book is the story of the determined opposition and harassment of everybody else trying to keep these people from coming back into the grace and glory of God. When we are in defeat, we discover that every obstacle will be put in our path to keep us from coming back to God. But the book of Esther is the story of the victory of God in the midst of even impossible circumstances. God watches over his own and delivers them. And the shining of the grace in these three books is seen in the personal lives of these three people -- Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. All three manifested the triumph of faith in the midst of defeated circumstances.

Now, in your own life do you recognize any of the perils narrated in these twelve historical books? Are you struggling against any of these forces? Then I suggest that you mark the peril you are particularly up against, take the pertinent book, read it on your knees, and pray it through, asking God to speak to you and show you the way of deliverance in the midst of that kind of defeat.

That is the purpose of all these historical books -- that we might know the pressures which are upon us and the way by which God can take us through. May these twelve books be a blessing to you.

Prayer

We thank you, our Heavenly Father, for the magnificent book you have given us, a book carefully prepared and revealed to men in a magnificent way, so that we might know the truth and be able to walk in the glory and power of a life of triumph and victory in the midst of defeat and despair and failure. Lord, save us from these perils. Grant that we may walk in such a way as to be continually pleasing in your sight, as was the Lord Jesus himself; for we pray in his name, Amen.

Title: The Message of History Author: Ray C. Stedman
   Date:January 5, 1964
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