As we saw in the last post, the narrative found in Joshua that explains how the Israelites came to be in Canaan does not stack up with the archaeological evidence; in fact, it’s completely contradicted by it. The glorious conquest of Canaan and complete annihilation of its indigenous people described in Joshua 10-11 quite plainly did not happen – this is a bit difficult for those who work on the assumption that a plain reading of the biblical text provides reliable historical information. However, if your faith requires scripture to be “true” (read, “historically accurate”) then this discrepancy between the conquest narratives and the archaeological evidence pales into insignificance when it’s pointed out that scripture lacks internally consistency in its narratives of Israelite origins. Continue reading
In a previous post in the series on Joshua 10 and 11 I pointed out that it’s difficult to reconcile the conquest accounts in Joshua with other parts of scripture. Examples of irreconcilable passages were given, one of them being the first couple of verses of the book of Judges which read:
After the death of Joshua, the Israelites inquired of the LORD, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” The LORD said, “Judah shall go up. I hereby give the land into his hand.” Jdg 1:1–2 (NRSV)
I pointed out that this passage implies that the Israelite conquest of Canaan began only after Joshua died, flatly contradicting most of what we read in the book of Joshua in which he led the campaign.
A few people have taken issue with this interpretation of Judges 1:1. Here’s an example of the sort of pushback I’ve received: Continue reading
Joshua 10 and 11 contain the accounts of the Southern and Northern campaigns describing the conquest of Canaan. Though they make for exciting reading, these chapters present the careful reader with a number of problems. Continue reading
Standing on the western slope of Mt Tabor, looking first south towoard Mt Gilboa, then west toward Megiddo over Jezreel Valley/Plain of Esdraelon , finishing with a view of the southernmost end of the hills of Lower Galilee, with Nazareth perched on top. Continue reading
Deborah, Gideon, and Samson were judges of Israel that we hear plenty about. The record of their deeds spans numerous chapters. In the long hallways of history their exploits are displayed on sweeping tapestries spanning many metres. But hidden away in a dark corner poor Shamgar gets only a postage stamp: one verse. Continue reading