What is the Deuteronomistic History, and why is it so named?
The telling of a story of the life of the nations of Israelites from the perspectives of the paradigm set out in Deuteronomy (that is, faithfulness brings blessing to the nation and unfaithfulness will bring defeat and disaster.) The books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings are written from this perspective and are called deuteronomistic histories.
What, according to Sumney, is the setting in which the final edited form of the book of Joshua emerged?
Israel has been in the wilderness for forty years. The renewal of the celebration of the mighty act of deliverance from Egypt, the Passover, is also displayed.
How does Sumney see this setting as shaping the book's perspective?
It reminds both the readers and the characters in the narrative of God's earlier power acts on Israel's behalf. Thus it prepares us for the acts of God to come.
Sumney goes to great lengths to contextualize the most brutal (genocidal) aspects of the book of Joshua. Evaluate his argument. To what extent do you find it persuasive? What broader interpretive issues does it raise for you? We will discuss this topic in class. (See esp. Joshua 10:40-11:23)
The book of Joshua moves from these initial stories to a series of accounts of the ways Israel defeated various cities of Canaan and often engaged in wholesale kill of the inhabitants, and even of their livestock. Israel must separate from the people around them! We will discover at the beginning of the next book (Judges) that there was less killing of prior inhabitants than Joshua suggests. Still, this book envisions mass killing as the will of God at that moment in time. This killing is seen as good not because it keeps Israel ethically pure, but because the writers of these stories think that the only way the people will be faithful to God and avoid the harmful behavior associated with worshiping other god is if the temptation to worship other gods is removed.
How is Joshua portrayed as a second Moses in the book of Joshua? Be specific.
He repeats many of his actions throughout the Book. Joshua is a leader without hesitation, and is portrayed as the ideal leader of Israel, a prototype for the future Kings of Israel, one who keeps the teaching of Moses in its entirety. Joshua formalizes the Deuteronomic Covenant on Mount Ebai following the conquest of Jericho, and renews the Covenant.
How does he differ from Moses?
Joshua didn't murder an Egyptian or lose his temper and disobey God by striking a rock to get water from it when God told Moses to speak to the rock. Joshua was about 40 years younger than Moses and he made it into the Promised Land unlike Moses whom God told that he couldn't go because of that act of striking the rock which scholars say was a representation of Jesus. Moses was of the tribe of Levi while Joshua was of the tribe of Joseph/Ephraim.
What could be the significance of Rahab being the first person in the book of Joshua to make a confession of faith in the God of Israel?
She is one of the most unlikely characters, like Moses and Jacob, which make a confession of faith in the God of Israel. She is prostitute and promises to keep the spies safe as long as they spare her family during the battle.
What are the events that signal a transition for the people of Israel from "wilderness wandering" to "entry into the Promised Land"?
God prepared Joshua and His people for the conquest by restoring their spiritual vitality and unity through exhortations to prepare to take the land, a victorious reconnaissance mission which revealed the peoples fear of Israel, a miraculous crossing of the Jordan river, and the cultic preparation of the people to follow the Prince of the Lord's army into victory over the peoples of the land.
Describe the conquest of Jericho. Note its many ritual aspects.
God tells Joshua that all the warriors must circle the city for six days, with seven priest bearing seven trumpets of rams horns before the ark. On the seventh day, they will mark around the city seven times, the priest blowing the trumpets. When they make a long blast with trumpets, as soon as they hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people will shout with a 'great shout and the wall surrounding Jericho will fall.
What illustrations do you see in Joshua 5-7 of the "holy war" dimensions of this conflict?
The idea of war as an instrument in the service of a holy cause (including land) and of the Lord as the sacred warrior is not unique to the Old Testament.
How does the final chapter of the book refer to the narratives of Exodus-Deuteronomy?
Joshua charges the leaders of the Israelites to remain faithful to the Lord and the covenant, warning of judgment should Israel leave the Lord and follow other gods. Joshua meets with all the people and reminds them of God's great works for them, and of the need to love God alone. Joshua performs the concluding covenant ceremony, and sends the people to their inheritance.
Compare this covenant renewal ceremony to the original one in Exodus 24.
God called His people to assemble before him periodically throughout the Exodus. Following the giving of the Decalogue at Sinai, Moses led the people in covenantal worship
What closure does it provide? And, what does it anticipate?
The book concludes with a great meeting a Shechem, which functions as a summary conclusion to everything that took place and a call to follow God faithfully, just as God faithfully fulfilled a promise to hand over the Canaanite lands to the people.