Dr. Ted Hildebrandt, OT History, Lit., and Theology, Lecture 18
Copyright © 2012, Ted Hildebrandt
This is Dr. Ted Hildebrandt in his Old Testament
History, Literature and Theology class on the difficult laws from the book of
Deuteronomy and an introduction to the book of Joshua up to the taking of
A. Quiz Preview [0:00-2:26]
For Thursday you guys are working on 1 Samuel. Somebody just reminded me after last class that there’s an assignment for Get Lost in Jerusalem in there, and the problem is I haven’t set you up for the Get Lost in Jerusalem software. So let me check that out and we’ll push that back a week. I will show you Get Lost in Jericho today and so we’ll take a virtual trip to Jericho. You guys want to go to Jericho today? Yes, we’ll go to Jericho. It will kind of be a virtual trip to Jericho. But the same type of technique that you see for Jericho will be the same technique that you use for the Jerusalem adventures. For Thursday you guys are working on 1 Samuel, some Psalms and 1 Samuel. Do everything on that except for the Get Lost in Jerusalem and I’ll set that up for you for the following week.
Today is going to be another one of those difficult days where we’re going to struggle with the book of Deuteronomy and this is going to be some hard stuff today. So we’ll ask for a word of prayer, ask for guidance for what we’re going to be discussing today. Father we thank you for this day. We thank you for your word that you’ve spoken. You spoke to a people 3000 years ago and you had it recorded for us. We pray that you might help us in the 21st century to be able to get back into the shoes and to be able to understand what you were doing 3000 years ago. It’s hard for us Father, at various points to understand that culture, that time, some of the laws that were made, we really are clueless about that. Give us as much understanding as you can. We pray that these discussions today might be honoring to you and that we might give glory to you and thank you for your wonderful son Jesus Christ, and in his precious name we pray. Amen.
B. The Irony of Tolerance and
We are going to talk about some tough concept today. So I want to discuss some laws from the book of Deuteronomy that rattle our bones. This is always a difficult time and actually it’s been interesting for me over the years to watch college students and to see you folks who pride yourselves in diversity and tolerance. Are diversity and tolerance your two major ethical principles of the 21st century? Diversity and tolerance. Can you tolerate all sorts of things? A person, how should I say, in days gone by, things would be considered really immoral. Now a guy sleeps with a girl and what happens, it’s just like no big deal. It happens on television, it happens in movies, it happens in real life. No big deal. Yet years ago it was a huge deal.
However, in our culture if you say the wrong things and use the wrong words you get crucified, you absolutely get crucified. So now, we are so into tolerance, but yet does our tolerance lead to intolerance? What I’m suggesting is that all this emphasis on tolerance and diversity has actually led to intolerance of various things. So, for example, at the Catholic University down in Washington D.C. There’s some Muslim students taking classes at the Catholic university. These Muslim students said that they are offended by Jesus on a cross. At a Catholic university they actually have crosses with Jesus on the cross. These Muslim students are offended by that and they wanted them taken down because they are offensive to them. Now is this going to go to an American court and are they going to decide whether a Catholic school has the right to put a crucifix up? Is there something wrong with this picture? When was the last time you were in a mosque and you told them that you were offended and told them you wanted a cross in the mosque. See what happens to you? So what I’m saying is that we have become so intolerant of Christianity, it’s crazy, everything’s upside down.
Now what’s the problem? You guys now have to go back 3000 years, question, does our culture have all sorts of stuff that’s changed in the last 50 years? Now you go back 3000 years and you’re going to see law codes from 3000 years ago are really out of sync with the way they think. The irony to me is that Americans in the 21st century, are we really judgmental when we look back and say how could they do these things, they were so cruel? We look back on these people as barbarians. It’s kind of ironic that we sit in judgment yet we’re supposed to be so tolerant. Do you see the irony there?
I’m going to show you some things
that are hard to understand. I’m not sure to be honest with you I struggle with
these things until this day. I’m not sure I have the answers to all these
things. But they’re things that I think I should put out on the table and
hopefully ten years from now when you guys are really smart you’ll figure it
out and send me an e-mail and tell me what the answer on some of this. But
we’ll work with some of these laws. These are laws from the book of Deuteronomy
that rattle our bones. They clash with our culture, they clash with our mindset
and they clash with how we think about things.
C. Tough laws: war [6:06-17:33]
Some of those laws have to do with war. Particularly in the book of Joshua we’ll discuss the concept of war in the book of Joshua more. But I’ll introduce it here. We actually won’t work with it until we get fully into Joshua. Joshua’s a lot of battles. Joshua fit the battle of Jericho that kind of thing--laws of war. So if you go to Deuteronomy chapter 20 verse 4 there’s a whole section here about laws for war. By the way, are there laws for war in our world today? Is anybody familiar with the Geneva Convention? Are there certain ways of doing things that are fair. For example, do we protect prisoners of war? In some contexts they are in some contexts they are not in our case.
Anyway, here are some laws that come out of Deuteronomy chapter 20 then, it says in verse 4, “the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies.” Jump down to verse 4. “The officers shall say to the army, has anyone built a new house, and not dedicated it yet? Let him go home.” In other words, if you build a house and haven’t dedicated it, haven’t lived in it yet, you’re allowed to go home. Is that a good law? In other words if a person goes to war and they just built a house where is their head going to be? Are they going to be back in their house that they’ve never lived in? They’re going out to fight a battle, is their head going to be really into it or are they going to be back there? So God says, “If you’ve just built a house and never lived in it or dedicated it, go back home, live in your house, let others fight.” Does anybody remember, back after the Civil War they had a war called Vietnam. In Vietnam days they drafted students. So I was a college student and you got a number. I forget, I think I was in the 230’s, so that meant if I was in the 230’s I would not be drafted. If you got a low number, suppose your number was ten, you were history. Were you drafted in the army whether you liked it or not, out of college, so what do you do then? Well, you get married. And if you got married, you got a deferment. I think it was Dick Cheney who did that? I say that because you guys know Dick Cheney as Darth Vader, actually he’s one of my heroes. I say that to get in your face a little bit, you need to listen to Cheney’s lectures; they’re some brilliant things there actually in spite of what the culture thinks about him.
So if you have a house you get a deferment and then a second rule comes up. It says there’s a marriage exemption. If you’re engaged to a woman, and you’re in the process of getting married to her, are your supposed to go off to war? No. By the way, what’s the problem? If a guy is off to war and his head is on his wife at home is he going to get killed in the war because his head is not in the war. By the way, even in America in the 1960’s and 70’s was there a deferment for somebody who was married? You got a deferment. Do these laws make sense to us? So these fit in pretty well. Not all the war laws do.
“Give peace a chance, all I am saying is give peace a chance.” I saw somebody smile, least he knows, an old song from the 70’s, “Give Peace a Chance.” This is Deuteronomy chapter 20 verse 10. It says when you march up to attack a city make its people an offer of Shalom [peace]. When you come up to attack a city, offer the city shalom/peace. If they accept and open their gates all the people shall be subject and forced to labor. They shall work for you and basically they would be woodcutters and water bearers. So you spare the city. This again is good, a give peace a chance kind of thing.
When you read Joshua do you ever remember them doing this? You know, they come up to a city and say, “hey, peace baby, peace, come out.” It’s never recorded. Just because it’s not recorded does that mean they didn’t do it? No. They did a lot of things that aren’t recorded. So it’s possible that they did this but it’s never really recorded.
So that brings me to another point I want to make in the book of Deuteronomy, are there a lot of things said that there is no record that they actually did. Is it possible that they had laws that they actually didn’t do? Question, in America do we have laws that nobody does? Shake your head, yes. We have tons of them. Actually now people are saying even the government itself says we chose not to enforce these laws. There are laws on the books and government says we chose not to enforce them. So give peace a chance, all I am saying is give peace a chance.
Those are the easy ones, this one’s a hard one. It’s called the herem, principle and this is down in chapter 20 verse 17. The verb form is haram. Now herem, its pronounced herem, it’s a hard h, herem means “total destruction.” It means, actually let me go back one step, it actually means “devoted to the Lord.” But how you devoted it to the Lord was by burning it up and killing everything in the city: men, women, children, and animals. The whole city was totally destroyed. By the way, did they ever do this and destroy a whole city: men, women, and children? What was the name of one of the cities they did that to? Jericho. Did they spare somebody in Jericho? Yes, Rahab the harlot was spared but the rest of the people in the town were killed. So this herem principle is really hard for us as Americans, you say, “Holy cow, they go in there and kill everyone, men, women, and children, how can you do that?
Is this a hard one, men, women and children
and animals were dedicated to the Lord and burned up? Various things were killed
by the sword. Somebody asked: how do you account for soldiers going in killing
babies, killing everyone in the town? How do you account for that? The honest
truth is I don’t know what the answer to this one is. It bothers me some, I get
certain things, and when we get into the book of Joshua we’ll try to get into explanations
for it but still, it’s really harsh.
Did America ever do anything like this? Well, actually we dropped a bomb, and it destroyed every man, woman, children, and animals. I don’t want you to think that because you’re 21st century Americans you’re above all this stuff and they were cruel barbarians. Actually a lot of people got killed when the atomic bomb went off, men, women, children and animals, everything. By the way, that’s bad, we don’t want to be dropping bombs all the time but they did that in order to spare lives. Because if they didn’t who knows how many more would have died. I don’t want to get into the justification of this. Part of it is the justification of war; and part of it is when you’re in America and you’re sitting in a college academic setting are we always saying peace and love and everything like that? Because what, do we actually have to get out there and do the fighting? No. We have somebody else do it for us and we want to sit back in our academy with our brilliance and tell them what they should be doing while they are actually the ones who have to do it. Do you see the arrogance of the academic position? What I’m saying is be careful when you think you have everything figured out when you never had to pull a gun and actually put a bead on somebody. It’s a very different thing than what you’d imagine. So what I’m saying is be careful about the academic arrogance.
The other question that I come up with was God judging this Canaanite culture? Yes, he was judging it. He says, “I waited 400 years; the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” He waited 400 years. Then he sends Israel in to do this as a judgment on this culture. Does God judge cultures? Yes, Sodom and Gomorrah. Now he’s using the Israelites to do that. But you say what happens to all these people? When infants get killed, what happens on the other side? In other words, am I a finite human being, do I understand how God works? Can I sit in judgment of God? I was just asked how do you justify God doing that? I don’t justify God. Does God justify me? I can’t justify God because I don’t understand all this. What happens, I know what goes on in life, but what happens after life? Is it possible that these babies who are killed go to heaven and things are better for them? I don’t know. I don’t know what happens afterwards to all these situations. So what I’m saying is that I can’t make a judgment on that, all I can say is I trust God.
There’s a certain point where you’ve got to back down. I put these laws up here partially because I want to break your heads open. To give you stuff where you can’t put God in your nice little “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life box.” These kind of laws break your head open on that and say wait a minute, God’s beyond my understanding. I can’t understand God. My thing is that I can’t even understand my wife, how am I going to understand God? I can’t understand another person sometimes who’s really close to me, how can I understand all of why and how God administers things? Can God administer justice on the other side of death that I have no idea about? So I can’t make a judgment necessarily here on God when I don’t have the whole picture, I have nowhere to stand to make a real judgment on that.
So these herem laws are really hard
though. The whole thing is devoted to the Lord and burned up to the Lord.
Israel didn’t do that a whole lot, they did that on Jericho and on Ai and Hazor,
they did it on three cities, so it’s a big deal. This is usually a hard one for
Americans, especially for 21st century people to get a hold of.
We’ll come back to the herem when we actually see it in Joshua. Joshua
actually implemented that one. It’s a tough one now.
D. Rape Laws [17:34-20:07]
Other laws that rattle our bones: rape laws. The Bible actually has some laws on rape in chapter 22 verse 23 let me just summarize these verses. The Bible makes a distinction between a rape in the city and a rape in the field. Whenever you get these rape situations do you get a he said/she said kind of thing? He said, “No, it was consensual. She consented” But she said, “I didn’t consent!” So you’ve got his version was consensual, her version is it was not consensual. You got these big debates.
You know recently this guy from the IMF, I think he was running for a position is France. Are you guys aware of this? He was running for a position in France. This woman in New York City was a cleaner, and she apparently claimed that he molested her, so he was put in jail in New York City and, by the way, the election was held in France. Then immediately after the election was held what did the women do, she dropped all the charges. Does anybody say, “hmm does that sound a little bit fishy?” Would people put somebody up to that? These issues are complex. I’m not trying to stick up for this guy, all I’m saying is does this smell fishy when all the charges get dropped? He can’t go to the election and you just wonder about this. It’s complicated.
So they say in the city, if a woman is being
raped, she’s responsible to scream. What happens when she screams? People come
and help her. She’s responsible to scream if she is in the city and being raped.
What’s the problem out in the country in the field? She screams and nobody’s
there, so it doesn’t matter. So in the field it isn’t going to make any
difference, she’s not required to scream. She can scream all she wants, and
nobody’s going to hear her because she’s out in the field. So it made that
distinction. Now are there a lot of other things that we say well if I was
doing it I would do it this way. If she’s in the field she’s required to scream
to show no consent, and basically she is violated. Of course, afterward you can
just take a DNA check and you can check what the deal is. No DNA tests back
then. I mean none of this kind of forensic stuff.
E. Death Penalty [20:08-23:33]
They do have these death penalty laws. This is another one if you’ve ever written papers for your high school teachers. Do you agree with the death penalty or not? Of course, in Massachusetts these things are long gone, places like Texas and Florida they still do the death penalty until this day. People freak out on it depending on all sorts of situations. How did they handle it in biblical times?
False prophets. It says in Deuteronomy
13:10 if the guy is a false prophet he has to be put to death. Now I want you
to ask a question about this. You guys have read quite a bit of the Bible now.
You haven’t read the prophets yet. In Israel when they had false prophets did
they usually put them to death or did they usually applaud them? Yes, they
usually applauded them. So while Deuteronomy says false prophets were to be put
to death usually the false prophets were the ones who were congratulated. Everybody
loved the false prophets because the prophets said, “peace, love, and harmony.”
The true prophets said, “repent, God’s going to judge you.” People didn’t like
that in the Old Testament. What happened to the true prophets? Did the true
prophets get butchered? So what I’m trying to say is there dissonance
between what the laws of Deuteronomy said and what Israel actually practiced?
But I ask you in America is there a divergence between the laws and what gets
practiced? So for false prophets Israel didn’t do this. They should have,
according to law, but they didn’t do it.
Now, I want to ask another question. Should they have done this or is there another way of looking at these death penalty laws? And so I want to ask that question. We’re going to come back to that in a second.
Let me put some other ones up there. Idolaters should be put to death. What’s the problem with this? If the person is an idolater he should be put to death. Were there some kings who were idolaters? Yes, the guy’s name is Manasseh and Solomon.
Manasseh, or if you don’t like Manasseh, you
could do Ahab and his wife Jezebel. So you’ve got idolaters were to be put to
death. Again did Israel put idolaters to death. Some of their kings were idolaters.
So these laws did not seem to be followed too well in Israel.
Now here’s some that get harder. Check this one out: a rebellious son is to be put to death. You say, Hildebrandt you’d be a dead man. The rebellious son was to be put to death. You say, “holy cow, put to death for rebelling against your parents?”
By the way, isn’t our culture built
on rebellion against parents? Because parents are fools, they’re from a
previous generation and they know nothing, because they aren’t with it. I mean
your parent doesn’t even have an stinking IPhone many of them. How can they
know anything about life they’re not on Facebook? What I’m saying there is
terrible because Facebook gets a little bit too personal. Anyway I crossed the
line there. Actually I did it on purpose. My kids told me to stay off Facebook
and I have taken their advice.
F. On law as statement of values [23:34-27:37]
I want to come back to this you say death penalty for these things. I asked my son-in-law now, actually he is a University of Chicago lawyer. He graduated from the Chicago University of Law. He works for the Heritage Center down in Washington D.C. It’s a think tank down there and he works with the Supreme Court. He actually knows some of the Supreme Court people. He’s actually been before congress. So this guy knows law, he’s taught law. What’s that school in Cleveland, it’s Case Western or something like that. Anyway he’s taught at Case Western and he’s taught law at other schools. So I asked him about these death penalty laws and I said, “it really seems, I can’t understand these death laws about the rebellious son.”
The non-virgin that marries, you say, “holy cow half our culture would be out.” A non-virgin who marries was to be put to death. What Robert told me, and I think this is really a good piece of wisdom from him, what he said is that a lot of times law codes are not meant necessarily to be actually implemented, but that the law codes themselves are establishing a set of values. In other words, they’re sanctioning values saying, “these things are important.”
A rebellious son, what is the value that that is sanctioning? It actually goes back to the Ten Commandments which says what? “Honor your father and your mother.” By the way is that one of the basics of society? So what he’s suggesting then is that this has not to do necessarily that these things need to be implemented but that they suggest the values that God has and the value and how strongly he objects to something. Now does that help you, do you see the switch there? From “this is what you need to implement” versus “these are a series of values that are being inculcated.” He suggests that for law in general the big question is often times to inculcate a certain set of values. That makes sense to me. Now question: does it totally solve the problem for me? No, but it helps me and I’m about eighty percent or seventy percent helped. So there are still some things I wonder about, but it does help me.
Hannah’s saying “How does it mean anything then it becomes meaningless if it’s not enforced,” that’s exactly what Robert is saying. You’re thinking enforcement with the law, he’s saying, “no, the law itself is meant to be a statement of social values.” It says that these are values that you really need at the core of your culture. So each culture has its laws not always necessarily meaning that the laws are going to be implemented just the way they are in the law books, but that they state what a culture values and what a culture disvalues. So what I’m saying is that the whole concept of how we think about law needs to shift and I think that is helpful for me. What he ends up doing is saying that laws are value signals, that they signal values not just as moral legal codes. I’m afraid that I was thinking about it as a clearly moral legal code and what Robert’s done is push me back up to the social values.
Now question, I think Hannah has
something there, too. Does something bother you? Some of you still want to see
it as legal code because it’s kind of written in that way. I’m not ready to
give this up yet. But this other way helps me to soften it some. So it’s just
something I want you to think about you do not necessarily have to agree with
it. To be honest with you I never actually thought about it in this way until
just last year we had this big discussion on this and it made sense.
G. Lex talionis: eye for an eye [27:38-33:18]
Now, other difficult laws are the dismemberment laws. This is an easy one that you’re familiar with. This is called Lex Talionis. This is “eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” Now you say what’s the deal with that? So he punches out your tooth. You punch out his tooth. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Then we’ll all be toothless, right? How is that justice? Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Well, let me just say, is it justice? Eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth.
In other words, what this law is trying to say is the punishment is to equal the crime. Now what can happen in certain cultures i.e. Hammurabi’s code and some of the other cultures, is it possible that you knock someone’s tooth out, if the person’s a king he will take off your head for knocking his tooth out. So what this is saying is you can’t overreact. In other words, your tooth for tooth, the damage you did is the punishment you receive. It has to be equal. You can’t overreact and say I’m the king and he knocked out my tooth, take off his head. In some of the other cultures this overreaction is common. If you do something wrong there is this total overreaction depending on who you did it to. “An eye for eye, tooth for tooth” says that crime and the punishment must fit each other. So this is actually helpful making sure that a person doesn’t over react.
Have any of you guys ever been in situations like that where there’s vengeance going on? Somebody does something to the person and the person responds harder and more harshly. Then this person responds back harder and more harshly and it just escalates. What the law is saying, no, an eye for eye, a tooth for tooth. As it has been done so the punishment must match the crime.
The other thing with this, and this happens in America, I was just watching this last night it was kind of interesting. There’s a guy that comes in to rob a Seven Eleven store. Let’s say he’s got a gun on him and there is a seventy-two-year old grandmother, this is at one o’clock in the morning, she is out talking to the guy in the Seven-Eleven store. A guy comes in to rob the store. You know what Granny does? This is the honest truth. This grandmother grabs this scanner thing and she starts whacking on this guy when this guy tries to steal stuff. This guy is trying to steal this stuff and Granny is going like this. It’s all caught on camera so it’s the funniest thing. She’s beating on this guy. The guy steals the stuff, he runs out of the store. Now let’s suppose he got caught in America. He stole a hundred dollars and he got a head injury from Granny. She won. It was pretty impressive. I wouldn’t want to tangle with that woman.
So in our culture what happens is: he stole the hundred bucks, he’s got a gun, under his arm. What would happen to him, would he get put in jail for armed robbery? I would hope he’d get put in jail. So in America, do we incarcerate people for punishment?
How many people are in jail in America? Is it 2 or 3 million? The figure 2 million sticks in my head. Now, I’m not sure. I think that figure sticks in my head. 2 million people incarcerated. Is that a lot of people in prison?
By the way, does that cost America a bunch of money actually to keep people incarcerated? What’s the cost to have someone incarcerated for a year? I believe it is over $30,000. By the way, if you’re from California, okay hopefully nobody’s from California. But if you’re from California they have so many people incarcerated in their prisons and their budgets in debt. So California is underwater billions of dollars and what they’re saying is we can’t afford to keep these people in prison. So they were going to set these guys loose on the street because they can’t afford to keep them in our prisons anymore.
Now what’s the problem in ancient times? Did they have prisons in ancient times? The kings had access to prisons, but very few? Joseph was in prison. But only the king would have a prison like that.
So what I’m saying is when a person did a crime, could you have the privilege of putting that person in prison? If an armed robber comes in to rob a Seven-Eleven in Bethlehem they don’t have a prison to put the guy in. So what happens is they have to meet out justice immediately. In other words, they have to do justice immediately if you don’t have prisons. Even with some of our prisons do they ever try to do things immediately? Have you guys ever heard this? If a guy steals something from somebody he actually has to go back and face the person he stole from and repay twice what he stole, 3 times, 4 times what he stole from that person. Is that actually a good thing that he actually has to face the damage that he’s done to another person? Yes.
Now, we’ve got major
criminals like Bernie Madoff. He has had to face the people that he ripped off
and he laughed at them. So I’m saying there seems to be little remorse there.
But there seems to be something in the Old Testament where you stole something,
then you had to repay it with twenty percent. They didn’t have prisons. You
can’t put them in prisons. So therefore if they do something and it destroys
your hand then you destroy that person’s hand. So it’s immediate justice that is
dealt out, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Because of the lack of
prisons they had to do justice differently.
H. Polygamy [33:19-35:00]
Here’s another one--polygamy laws. The Bible has laws on polygamy. Deuteronomy chapter 21, verse 15: “If a man has two wives and he loves one but not the other.” Wait a minute, are you telling me here that the Bible approves of polygamy. Chapter 21 verse 15 it says the guy has two wives and he loves one but hates the other. There’s a law in the Bible about that? Does that mean God approves of polygamy? No, God made man and woman, Adam and Eve. However did people back then have polygamous relationships. Jacob with Rachel and Leah. Bilhah, the hand-maid etc. This law protects whom? Which wife does it protect? Which wife needs protection? The unloved wife. So what this law says is: “if a guy has two wives, the unloved wife is to be protected. He must feed her, he must treat her well. The unloved wife’s kids also get part of inheritance. You can’t disinherit the unloved wife. Does this law protect the unloved wife? Is this a good thing?
Well, the best thing is that there’s no polygamy,
but it says if there is, and in that culture there was then you have to protect
the unloved wife. That’s the polygamy laws.
I. Slavery Laws [35:01-37:45]
This one is similar. Slavery laws, chapter 15 verse 12. So if a fellow Hebrew sells himself to you and serves you for six years, in the seventh year what happens? He goes free. So yes, there are slavery laws in the Bible, does that mean the Bible approves of slavery? By the way, is this African type slavery, go over there, capture people put them on boats, pull them over here and then they’re a slave to that person for the rest of their existence? This is saying that a guy sells himself to somebody and in the seventh year he goes free. Why would a person sell himself to somebody else? Debt. In our culture we would call this indebted servitude. Would some people call this bankruptcy? In other words, this guy’s going bankrupt and can’t afford to feed his family? Did they have famines back then? When they had famines you couldn’t run to the grocery store, there was nothing to eat, and your family would starve. So you sell yourself to a rich man, help him harvest his crops and then you get what? You get food for your family, so you can feed your family. After six years you can start over again.
The Bible has slavery laws but it protects the
slave. Are these hard laws? But by the way, is their culture different than our
culture? Yes. But they do things differently and of course they’re wrong. Do
you see the irony there? We can sit in a seat of judgment. What’s ironic to me
is how judgmental our culture has become if you don’t fit into our little P.C. world
that we have in the 21st century. Actually over the last years I’ve
seen students tighten up and tighten up, up until last year when I asked a
student what was the most important thing you got out of Old Testament and he
said “God kills babies.” Now I’m saying I hope you guys get past that and your
thinking goes a little bit beyond that. So what I’m saying is you’ve got to
wrestle with real life and a God who is bigger than you can imagine and you’ve
got to get out of your American ways of looking at things.
J. Animals [37:46-41:51]
Now animal treatment is another topic that is really interesting. Deuteronomy actually has laws regarding animals. What are the laws regarding animals? Now these laws do not apply to cats, of course. I have all these cat jokes but they don’t go over too well with certain people.
Chapter 22 verse 10 is an example.
There are actually quite a few animal laws. It says, “do not plow with an ox
and a donkey yoked together.” Now why does it say don’t plow with an ox and a
donkey together? Is an ox a massive animal, can an ox pull a plow very well
because it’s a really strong animal? A donkey is what? A little skinny animal.
Donkeys are good to ride on, but are they are not necessarily good for plowing
compared to an ox. You put a donkey and an ox together is that a real problem
for the donkey? And, by the way, it’s a problem for the ox too because the ox
is going to be doing all the work while the donkey is riding along. So it says,
“don’t yoke an ox and a donkey” because it’s not fair to either animal.
Does this even come over to the New Testament? In the New Testament it says, “do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.” So you can see an adaptation of that this law of the ox and donkey. Paul in 2 Corinthians is saying, “believers should not be married with unbelievers. Do not be unequally yoked.” He applies this law then to that situation. So don’t link donkey and an ox because it’s not fair to either animal.
Go over to chapter 25 verse 4 which is another interesting law on the animal situation. Deuteronomy 25:4 “do not muzzle the ox while it treads out the grain.” What happens they take the stalks of grain, they cut down the wheat and they lay it out, and the ox walks around on it. Now when he walks around on it what does he do? His feet crush the grain. It’s got these shucks around the kernel, the kernels are hard and the shucks are not. The ox walks on it and basically shucks the grain and then the people throw the grain up in the air and the chaff blows away. But the ox is the one that is stepping on it. Have you guys ever done black walnuts? If you get black walnuts you put them in your driveway and you drive your car over them and it shucks the black walnuts automatically. I’m experienced at this because when I was younger my father made me do it by hand and my hands were stained black and every year I went to school. So I went with my hands in my pocket and then we learned this trick about driving the car over them. It was really great it was like an ox, but do you have to feed the ox? Yeah, you have to put gas in the tank. What does this mean feeding the ox? It means the ox is doing work for you and when an ox is doing work for you, they should get part of the grain for themselves? It is only fair to the ox that if the ox is doing all the work that it gets some of the food.
In other words, you’ve got animals,
do you need to take care of your animals. Are you required by law to take care
of your animals? Yes. If they do their work for you, they should get part of the
take for themselves. It’s only fair. So even the animals have rights in Scripture--Deuteronomy
25. Three years ago I heard a woman do a lecture on animal laws in the book of
Deuteronomy and it was absolutely brilliant. It was just so interesting all
these laws in regard to animals. Does the Bible, this is terrible, have a very
high view of human kind? Yes, it does. But does the Bible also have a very
high view of animals and animal treatment too? Yes, it does. So it’s
interesting and here are a couple animal laws.
K. Israel and the Church [41:52-47:15]
Here are some final questions
concerning the church and Israel. The church is not Israel. Israel is a nation.
Does the nation need laws about murder? Does the nation need laws about theft?
Does the nation need laws about rape? Is the church a nation? The church is
not a nation so it doesn’t do justice and it doesn’t have courts per se in a
civil sense. So you’ve got to make a distinction between Israel and the
church. Israel is going to have some laws that are nationalistic laws that are
not for the church. What are the differences? Israel is a nation; the church
is an assembly or group of people, so it’s different. You’ve got to separate
One of the basic things I look at is the underlying principle. In a lot of these laws their culture 3,000 years ago was very different than our culture. So how do you take these laws out of Deuteronomy and apply them to today? By the way, did Paul apply them in the New Testament? Does anyone remember that “don’t muzzle the ox while it treads out the grain”? Is that applied in the New Testament to somebody’s who’s working for you, should you feed them and take care of them. Should you pay the person who’s doing you a service a decent wage? Just as you don’t muzzle the ox, so the person who is doing the work for you should get a part of it. So it’s applied in the New Testament to the elders of the church that if they work for church they should be paid. So you look for the underlying principles.
What are the underlying principles for divorce? What did Jesus say about this issue? What is the relationship of culture in relationship to the law? Jesus said God allowed for divorce because of the hardness of your heart. Does God approve of divorce? No. In Malachi God says he hates divorce. Yet he allowed it because of the hardness of their hearts. If he didn’t allow for divorce, what would they do? They would kill each other.
Does that h appen even until this day? I was just thinking about, do you remember this case in Tennessee? This woman was saying that this guy was complaining about her burnt food so she got a 12 gage shotgun, the guy was in bed, bam bam, shoots this guy in the back while he’s in bed because she burnt the food and he said something about it. So in marriage there is conflict, and if you don’t allow for divorce people will kill each other, and they do until this day.
So that doesn’t mean than God
approves of divorce. You have to look at the underlying principle. Should
marriage be a place of love and harmony between two people? Yes, but it isn’t
always that way. You have to take realistic positions otherwise they’re going to
kill each other. If the noise gets up that high, allow them to divorce. Basically
what’s the underlying principle? It’s better to be divorced than to be dead. So
the law is made not because he likes divorce but it’s made because of the
underlying principle of valuing life.
This one’s a new one for me. The law is a value signal, the law shows what God approves of and what he values. If you’ve got two wives in a polygamous situation, who does God side with the loved or the unloved wife? Does God protect the underdog? Would that be underlying principle, does God protect the underdog, the unloved wife? God makes these laws that help protect the poor and the suffering. Actually Deuteronomy’s full of that.
So the law is a value signal more than that these are legal requirements, they have to do this, they have to kill the false prophets and idolaters. It’s a statement of values that idolaters and false prophets are really bad and God doesn’t like them.
Israel is not America. America has prisons and so we can solve some of our justice issues by putting people in prison. By the way, how many of you would rather have immediate justice than go to prison? Would it almost be better to take your medicine and get it over with than sit in prison for 2 or 3 years, 4 or 5 years, 10 years? So you need to think about that in terms of how justice is distributed and I’m not sure that prison is always as fair or humane as we to make it out to be.
These are some of the things that
rattle our bones, I’m not saying I have solutions for all of these, I just want
you to look at some of these things and to say wow, there’s a lot of stuff here
to think about.
L. Old Testament and Change [47:16-48:54]
Sometimes the Bible itself clashes. In the Old Testament were the Jews to eat ham? Were they to eat lobster? Were they to eat catfish? They are supposed to eat kosher in the Old Testament. In the New Testament are we told that we don’t have to eat kosher? We’re not Jewish, we don’t have to eat kosher anymore. And in Acts chapter 15 you get this clash where Peter is told to get up and eat things that are not kosher. God says, “No, Peter, these guys are Gentiles that are coming into the church now and Gentiles don’t have to eat kosher, and it’s okay.” So it’s a clash between Old Testament and New Testament. The New Testament says it’s time for a change, they don’t need to eat kosher and they don’t need to be circumcised. And all God’s Gentiles said, “Amen.”
Do you see what I’m saying? There are transitions over time with some of these things too, so you have to ask developmental questions.
This has been some pretty hard stuff
and I’m not saying we solved everything but one thing we did solve is that’s
the end of Deuteronomy. The book of Deuteronomy is a wonderful book; it’s a
book of covenant renewal where Moses is giving the leadership to Joshua and he
renews the covenant. He summarizes it, sets up the institutions for Israel in
the future. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind is there,
so that’s a big deal.
M. Introduction to Joshua [48:55-51:09]
What I want to do next is go over to Joshua, we’re going to have a bunch of maps, and we’re going to set this up. Joshua involves the taking of the Promised Land. You guys are going to be the Jordan River, I’m the Dead Sea, and this is the country of Israel, and you guys are the Mediterranean Sea. And so the geography here in this classroom, I want to set it up. Basically Joshua is going to take the people into the Promised Land. We’re going to look at three victories, two problems, and then the issue with war.
First let’s discuss the nature and transition of leaders. There is, in the book of Joshua, a transition in leadership; the transition is from Moses to Joshua. Whenever there’s a transition in leadership can there be problems, are certain people going to be loyal to the old leader? Is the new leader going to do it exactly the way the old leader did it? No. By the way, would you like to be Joshua? Was Moses the man? He wrote five books of the Bible, goes up to Mount Sinai and comes down with the Ten Commandments. Moses speaks to God face to face.
Now Joshua comes along and he’s got
to fill Moses’ shoes. Would you like to step into those shoes? Those are big
shoes. Joshua’s got a lot to fill. So now there is this transition of
leadership in the book of Joshua, we’re going to see a lot of that initially.
But what you find is that God is the ever present hero. That actually it was
not Moses but it was God’s presence that split the Red Sea, it was God giving
the law at Sinai. So what you have is God is going to come and say, “now
Joshua, as I was with Moses so I will be with you.” God was the ever-present
hero. So now God is going to be the leader so to speak and as he led through Moses,
he can lead through Joshua. So the focus on the transition of leadership needs
to be on the Lord.
N. Leader’s need for encouragement [51:10- 53:08]
Do leaders ever really get down? Did Moses, Moses the man, ever get down? So much so that he said, “God take my life, if this is how you’re going to treat me.” Moses really got upset and got down. You’re going to see this happen with Elijah too. A lot of the leaders in the Old Testament are really going to get down. Jeremiah writes the book of Lamentations, that kind of says it all. A lot of these guys get really down. God comes to Joshua, and look what he says, it’s kind of funny here, I think it’s our next point.
Look what he says. “No one will be able to stand up against you Joshua, all the days of your life. As I was with Moses I so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Is that a beautiful statement? “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” God says to Joshua, “Immanuel, I will be with you.” But then he says, “be strong and very courageous.” God is going to say this “be strong and courageous” numerous times to Joshua. It makes me think Joshua was a little bit queasy about taking over this leadership role God tells him “be strong and very courageous because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.” Then he says it again, “be strong and very courageous and be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you.” Then if you go down to verse nine he says again: “have I not commanded you? Be strong and very courageous.” So God says to Joshua, I don't know how many times here, “be strong and courageous.” Apparently Joshua needed some encouragement and God's going to give that to him, to tell him to be strong and courageous, as he is going to lead his people.
O. Comparison of Moses
and Joshua [53:09- 56:27]
Now, do people compare the old leader with the new leader? Have you guys ever been in a church where you get a new pastor and everybody compares him with the old pastor? This guy's better, this guy's worse. This guy did it this way, we've always done it this way and this is a new other way.
What's interesting is God Himself says, Joshua, “as I was with Moses I will be with you.” The Bible itself sets up this comparison: both Joshua and Moses split waters at the beginning of their ministry. Moses splits the Red Sea and Joshua splits the Jordan River. He doesn't split it, but the waters go down and he goes across the Jordan River. As they crossed water, the Red Sea or the Reed Sea, so Joshua's going to cross water and in chapter four verse fourteen, this comes up with the Jordan River. They cross the Jordan River on dry ground.
God hardens the heart of Pharaoh for Moses. In Joshua God hardens the heart of the Canaanites. So the Canaanites resist. So God hardens the hearts of both the enemies of Moses and God hardened the hearts of the enemies of Joshua.
This is an interesting one: I think it was back in Exodus 17, Moses goes out to battle and Moses holds up his spear and when he holds up his spear, what happens? They win, and do you remember his hand gets tired and his spear goes down and then they lose? Aaron and Hur hold his hands up. So you’ve got these two guys holding Moses’ arms up and pretty soon they get tired so what do they do? They end up propping rocks underneath Moses' hands to keep the spear up there. Joshua also goes into battle and guess what he does? Holds up the javelin and they win the day. It is the same thing Moses did, hold up the javelin and get the victory. You get the same kind of thing: Moses did it holding up the javelin to claim the victory and so did Joshua.
Here's another one. Their victories are put side by side. I think it’s in Joshua chapter twelve. It lists here are the victories of Moses, and it says here are the victories of Joshua. They are put side by side to compare the two, and it’s just interesting that they are parallel there.
Then lastly and this is one that is
really neat too, Moses sees the angel of the Lord. Where does Moses first
meet the angel of the Lord? In a burning bush. Moses sees the burning bush and
he comes up and says, “whoa, look at this burning bush.” He comes up to the
burning bush and what does the angel of the Lord tell him to do? “Take
off your shoes, you are on holy ground.” So Moses goes, "whoa a
burning bush, a talking bush. What is your name?" And it says "
I am that I am." Joshua meets an angel of the Lord. He comes
up and the angel of the Lord tells him, guess what? “Get your shoes off,
you are on holy ground.” So both of them approach this angel of the Lord
and both of them take off their sandals because they are on holy ground.
So what I am trying to say is there seems to be this parallel drawn
between Moses and Joshua that is done in the early chapters of Joshua.
P. All Israel Together: Unity [56:28-58:43]
Now, some background
things here: this is a unique time in Israel's history. All Israel is
together. It's kind of like early America where all the people are Americans
and everybody was together. If you look at George Whitefield going up and
down the coast, and one of the great things Whitefield did was link the
thirteen colonies together with the support of his orphanage down in Georgia.
The people from Massachusetts contributed to the people in Georgia, and
the people from Connecticut contributed to Georgia. He went to
Philadelphia, and Benjamin Franklin commits. So what you have is George
Whitefield going up and down the East Coast linking the states together.
They struggled with their identity at this point.
You have this same type of thing early on with Israel. This is going to be one time where they are together. Israel split North and South, just like America in the civil war. Does anyone remember there were two and a half tribes that were set in Transjordan and the other nine and a half tribes went into the promised land? There were Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manassah who settled in Jordan. So when Joshua goes across the Jordan River, do these tribes want to go or do they say, “we already have our land. We are not going to go over there and fight for you guys, we have our land already.” So what happens is, Joshua tells them, when they go through the river, how many stones do they pick up? Twelve stones. Those twelve stones symbolize the twelve tribes. Do the people of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh, while they have their territory, have to cross the Jordan River and fight to take over this land? Yes, they do. Then later on they are allowed to go home. This is a time when all of Israel is together, and they go into battle. So Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh have to cross the Jordan River to help the other nine and a half tribes.
Q. Significance of Jericho [58:44-60:05]
Why was the
taking of Jericho so significant? We are coming up on some maps here that I
want you to take note of that. Is Jericho a big deal? We even have a
song, "Joshua fought the battle at Jericho" that used to be sung in
schools. But you can’t sing that in school anymore, but maybe in church. Is
that kind of ironic? Can you sing this in public schools anymore? Some of
the schools still do it, but you get into all kinds of trouble when you start
doing these things that are quasi-religious. People freak out in this
Where is the location of Jericho? The location of Jericho is critically important. When you play sports, is the first game of the season a big deal? The first game kind of sets the tenor. So this is their first battle in the Promised Land at Jericho. It’s your first game of the season. What’s its location?
R. Map: Survey of Geography [60:06-65:30]
Here’s the location, let me just point out some things here in terms of this map. Do you see this wall of mountains here, coming down and there’s another wall of mountains over here. Do you guys know what plate tectonics are? You’ve got these two continental plates, and the two plates meet right here. What happened was the plates pulled apart, they went apart and down. What happened here was it basically left this thing which is 1270 feet below sea level, lowest place on the face of the earth below sea level. All the water goes into the Salt Sea or the Dead Sea, how does it get out? It evaporates and leaves the residue behind. That’s why it’s 33% salt. So what happened is the two plates went apart, you got one here and one here. This is in a canyon, or what’s called the Rift Valley, so you’ve got 10, 20 miles across here it’s a canyon between where these two plates have separated. It goes between the Sea of Galilee it goes all the way down to Gulf of Elat down into the Red Sea and down into Africa. These two plates disconnecting and you get to see it right here.
Moses is going to be right here at Mt. Nebo. The Israelites are camped right here, on the plains of Moab Moses is going to die on Mt. Nebo here. Joshua then is going to take them down the cliffs and cross the Jordan River. They’re going to cross the Jordan River on dry ground and Jericho will be right here. Is Jericho in the canyon or in the mountains? It’s in the canyon, it’s about 800 feet below sea level. Is it going to be hot in the canyons? Does anyone know Death Valley? Is it going to be hot in the canyon, extremely hot? 120 down there all time in the summer. Jericho has a huge spring that puts out, I think it’s 10,000 gallons of water an hour or a day. It just pumps all this water out. Question when it’s really hot in the desert down there do you need water? So is this going to be a really important place? When you’re going across the desert you’re going to catch your water here at Jericho and then you go up to Jerusalem. Did you notice that Jericho and Jerusalem are kind of on the same level? By the way, do you notice the top of the Dead Sea that it’s about 3 or 4 miles up over here from here to here from the top of the Dead Sea to Jericho.
Now I just want to draw some things here. This is
what’s called the Kings Highway in Jordan. It basically went from Mesopotamia
all the way down to Arabia, to where they did the spice routes. When they would
do the trading of spices, they would travel on the Kings Highway. This is like
for you guys Route 1. Does route 1 go up and down North America? You know what
I’m saying, Route 1. It’s a major highway, it’s called the Kings Highway in
Transjordan east of the Jordan River.
Then you have another one on the coast. This one on the coast is like Rt. 95. Do you do Rt. 95, up and down the coast? Down to New York City. Always go around New York City. You’ve got Rt. 95 going up this way this is called the Coastal Highway or the Via Maris [Way of the Sea]. If you got goods in Egypt and you want to transport them, what do you do? You go up the Coastal Highway. So this like Rt. 95 this like Rt. 1.
How do you get form Rt. 1 to Rt. 95 or from Rt. 95 over to Rt. 1?--Jericho. Can you cross here? You can’t cross here because you hit the Dead Sea. Do you want to cross here? No, you don’t want to cross here, it’s all desert. You want to come up here and catch the other one and go up. Is Jericho going to be on a trade route? By the way, this is west, this is east. Is Jericho on a major east-west trade route. Not north-south, but an east-west trade route, connecting the two N-S highways. It’s almost like an H. Anyone crossing here is going to cross through Jericho.
Now, here’s another way to look at it. Turn your head sideways, this is the Dead Sea. This is actually a satellite image, let me hit a couple buttons here. Up here is Mt. Nebo, this is where Moses dies. This is where the Israelites are camped on the plains of Moab up there. Moses dies on Mt Nebo. Joshua’s going to cross the Jordan River. Can you see the Jordan River, the dark area coming down into the Dead Sea? Basically, they’ll cross the Jordan River and hit Jericho. Jericho will be located right there. So Jericho is right next to the cliffs there. It is just north in relationship to the Dead Sea a couple miles. Can you see it? Has anyone ever heard of Qumran, the Dead Sea scrolls? They are found right in this area here and the north western corner of the Dead Sea.
S. Virtual Jericho Panorama [65:31-75:00]
Now, wouldn’t it be neat if we could go to Jericho? Why don’t we do it. So what I’d like to do next is take you to Jericho. But I need to do some screen changing of my resolution to make it look better. So some patience please.
We want to go to Jericho and here we are at Jericho. Have I talked about what a tell is in this class? A tell is a mound of civilization, its layer upon layer of civilization, like a layer cake. Can you see? This is Jericho right here. This is called the tell of Jericho. Is this layer on layer of civilization? It goes back to 8000 BC. This is one of the oldest cities in the world. By the way, when this started out it was on ground level. Can you see that it’s not on ground level now it’s about 75 feet high. Can you see that it’s been built up? People start throwing their trash in the streets, what happens you do that for 100 years? The city starts going up. So that’s what happened. So this is Jericho. Now I want to explore Jericho. The same things you do on this are the same techniques you use on Get Lost in Jerusalem which is now up online. Remember you guys are supposed to do a walk-thru of Jerusalem.
So anyway let’s go explore. So can you see from the map you can roll over these points and you can see the things over on the side here. So anyway let’s go over here to get a view. Now you can see this is Jericho from the side and if you use the shift key, you can actually zoom in, which is pretty handy. Then you can look around and you can go like that and see the whole city of Jericho. You can see over here they’ve got one of those Gondola cars and you ride right up the cliff. If you pay a few bucks you can go up to the Mt. of Temptation where Christ was tempted on that mount. Let’s look around, let me just show you the Mt. of Temptation, let me back out a little bit, there’s our car. Let me back out a little bit and then here, do you see that mountain up there. Do you see there’s a monastery of the top of that thing? It looks like a fortress but it’s a monastery. A bunch of monks live up there, it’s called the Mt. of Temptation. That’s where they allegedly took Jesus up, remember Satan took him up to a high mountain to show him all the kingdoms of the world, bow down and worship me, that’s the place. Do you believe that? No, I didn’t think so. Nobody believes that except for the monks that are up there. So this is allegedly the Mt. of Temptation.
Once upon a time I climbed up these cliffs and walked across the desert behind these cliffs about 20 miles, but I’ll tell you that story later when we talk about the city of Ai in the desert going to Gibeon. Let’s get back to Jericho. I’m going to spin back around to Jericho. You can see what it looks like down there, is it pretty deserty? You can see their houses down there. What if you do this, watch this. Watch it. Does anybody get dizzy?
Let’s go to Jericho to the top. I’m going to take
you over to the side so we can look at a trench, you’ll actually be able to see
where the archeologists dug in. This is a place where they’ve dug in. Do your remember
how I told you about the burn layer? There’s a burn layer. Can you guys see the
burn layer? You can actually see it’s about 6 inches wide. You can see the
soil has been stained black by the fire. That’s called a “burn layer.” If you
turn down this is a rampart coming up to Jericho. Can you see what the
archeologists did here? The archeologist dug a trench and they went through and
dug down and they classified all this material they dug out of this trench.
They don’t do this trench style digging anymore, it’s an old technique that the
Germans used I think in 1933. But if you go back around here and you look up
you can see there’s a wall here. There has been a big debate over that wall
whether it was Early Bronze, or Late Bronze, or no bronze. There’s big debate
over the walls of Jericho. Have you heard they found the walls of Jericho
fallen down? If you take Kenyon’s position they say there are no walls. I just
heard a woman do a debate on this and she said the Bible’s wrong. She says
archeologically that there were no walls at Jericho at 1200 when Moses went in.
There were no walls so the Bible is wrong. It is just myths and legends,
archeology proves that. Now you say what about Bryant Wood’s study on this site
when he says that the Bible was right. Now by the way, is archeology always the
same or does it change its mind every 10, or 20 years. So that’s an example of
some of the walls there.
There’s another place I want to go. Now you see how you can operate this, when I spin around and it turns to an arrow. When it turns to an arrow I can click there and when I click there I go there. So now we’re up there. Now we’re looking back on those walls we were looking at formerly. You can make your way around the site. I’m going to cheat. By the way, if you don’t know what you’re looking at you can click this. It comes up and it tells you information about what you’re seeing.
So I’m going to go up the mountain here. I’m going to go over here to this side here. Do you see this is the tower here? It’s called a Neolithic tower, it dates from about 8000 B.C. from the new stone age. Is Jericho one of the oldest cities in the world? Really old and largely because of the spring of water. Here’s a really ancient tower. Over here, can you see a little bit of the stones how they’re made out of mud brick? They made walls out of mud brick, you can see the mud brick right here. Okay, well let’s get out of here. Do you see how this operates? You can look around. If you want to zoom out you can press shift key and you can zoom in to check it out. If you hit the control key you zoom back out. I’m going to jump back to the map and go down here, and actually if you’re a tourist this is what you’ll see. See the wires there? They have wires that will take you up on gondolas to the Mt. of Temptation. Is that kind of gross? You should walk, and be part of the land on foot.
But I always do this one because it’s my favorite because, well, my friend is here. Do you see, is he smiling? He’s smiling. You know he’s a happy camel. And do you see that he has a full nose? You say, “Hildebrandt, what are you talking about?” A lot of the camels you’ll see that they have their nostrils ripped out. They do that and it’s animal cruelty. Do a lot of the camels have their noses ripped out? People are really cruel to camels over there. But are camels really ornery too? It’s kind of a two way street. You can see how well this camel has been taken care of by looking at its nose. But this guy wanted too much so I wouldn’t let my wife go up on this one. The guy down in Sinai let her go up, he just grabbed her leg and that’s all it cost me.
Then here this is the Temptation Restaurant this is the Mt. of Temptation where Christ was tempted. So this is Jericho and somebody just told me something really bad. Wesley has been there recently this whole hotel is gone now. So they destroyed the whole hotel. It’s really sad.
So that’s Jericho, does it give you kind of a sense of how it works? You’ll have Jerusalem, and be able to go exploring in Jerusalem. So let me get back up to my regular resolution.
T. Rahab and Jericho [75:01-83:58]
Back to Jericho. We’re going to talk about Rahab the prostitute and some of this stuff going on with her. Joshua chapter 2, let me just read the initial verses about Rahab. She’s the harlot of Jericho. It says, “Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim and said, ‘Go over the land, especially Jericho.’ So they went and entered the house of prostitute named Rahab.” Why would they go to Canaanite prostitute’s house? Would it be easy access, in and out? Would she know everything that’s going on in the city? Would she be a good person to talk to if you’re a spy? So they go in, she’s a Canaanite prostitute, and they stay there. The king of Jericho was told, “look, some of the Israelites have come to spy out our land. So the king of Jericho said to Rahab, ‘Bring out the Israelites who have entered your house because they have come to spy out the whole land.’ But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, ‘Yes, the men had come to me, but I did not know where they came from.” Question, is that a flat out lie? As soon as those guys said two words would she have known where they came from and that they were Jews and weren’t Canaanites? Are there dialectical differences that anyone would know exactly. I say, “I’m going to go get my cah, down in Boston.” As soon as I say, “cah” or “I had a good idear.” Question, do you know I’m from Boston if I say “idear”? They even put a “r” in “larw,” it drives me nuts, I can’t even pronounce it.
But if I say, “Y’all coming over to my house tonight.” Now have I just gone below the Mason Dixon. My wife she always used to get really angry at me because she said, “I ain’t learning my kids to talk like this” because we were down in Tennessee. But I liked the way the people talked down there. They’re really relaxed. But this is on tape, and I’ll probably get crucified. My wife, is a real English major she speaks English proper…ly.
Rahab hides the two spies and then she tells the king what? It’s really cool. She says, “They were here, but they went back. If you guys run after them, quickly you can catch them.” So she basically sends them on a wild goose chase. By the way, did Rahab lie to the king’s men? What does that remind you of, who lied to protect the lives of somebody and God approved of it and blessed them? The midwives in Egypt. Have you got Jews in your basement? No, they went that way. By the way, does God approve of Rahab? The whole city is destroyed and who is spared? Rahab. Does Rahab get approved of by God? Not only does she get spared, but who’s genealogy does Rahab the Canaanite prostitute end up in? Jesus’. When you’re in Matthew chapter 1 and you’re going down the genealogy and you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and it goes all the way down, and you find Rahab the Canaanite prostitute in the line of the Messiah.
All I’m trying to say is in war can
you use deception, the same way in basketball when you throw a fake. It’s
accepted in a war context. Generals try to fake each other out. She deceives
them, and does she get away with it? She gets away with it.
Now what happens? Down in chapter 2 there’s a wonderful statement here. Listen to what Rahab said, “before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and she said to them, ‘I know that Yahweh has given you this land.’ [Note she uses the name Yahweh], and that great fear of you has fallen on us. So that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how Yahweh dried up the water of the Red Sea.”
Did she know about the Red Sea crossing? How would she have known that? When traders came out of Egypt they would bring that story right up out of Jericho? They go across would she know these stores? She tells the spies. The spies don’t tell her about the Red Sea crossing. She tells the spies, “we know about what your Yahweh did drying up the Red Sea. And what you did to Sihon and Og, two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you. Yahweh your God is God in heaven above and earth below.” Is that a better statement then you get from most of the Jews? So she goes on and she says, “please swear to me by Yahweh that you will show kindness to my family because I have shown kindness to you.” I show kindness to you, you show kindness to me--Lex talionis. Does God spare Rahab the harlot? She lets the guys out the window, they say, “you have got to tie a little red cord on your window and then we'll know it's your house.” When the walls go down guess whose house is left standing, and guess who gets spared? Rahab. She gets accepted into Israel and ends up in the Messiahs' genealogy. This is an incredible lady.
Now I want to show you one other
thing that you miss if you don’t know the geography. What is the role of women in
war? Do women go out and say, “Hey, I know taekwondo and Brazilian Ju Jitsu, I
can take you out” or, do women in war outfox the men? They outsmart them. You
just have to beware of women with nails, hammers and pegs. So basically, what
she does is really interesting. She's in Jericho down in the valley.
When you're being chased by your enemies what direction do you usually go? When I was younger, I’m not talking about gangs, we had two groups in our neighborhood, one group was smokers and drinkers and the other guys were sports kids. So basically we banged heads. So they started chasing us and when you get chased what direction do you run? You always run home, and so what happens here, the spies get out of the city and they would naturally run back to Mt. Nebo and back to all the Jews where they had protection. If they run that direction, east, who are they going to run into? The King’s men are coming back from the Jordan River. So what does Rahab tell them? She says, do not run to the Jordan River or you'll get captured. Run instead, in the exact direct opposite way they would have run, run up to the mountains to the west. So basically she tells them climb this mountain, sit up on the mountain. When they're sitting on the mountain can they see the kings men come back to the city? Then what you do is you run around them and you're all safe. By the way, is that really wise and good advice? She's really shrewd and she gives them some really good advice and spares the lives of these guys and that’s how she wins the day. So Rahab was quite a lady and she's the hero.
U. Crossing the Jordan River [83:59-89:21]
So they're going to go up to the Jordan River and cross the Jordan River. What do you know about the Jordan River? It’s chilly and cold. Chills the body and not the soul. Let me just talk a little about the Jordan River. First of all I grew up on the Niagara River. Is the Niagara River a real river? Have any of you guys been over to Niagara Falls? It’s about a mile wide, it’s a real river. I get over to Israel, and I go up to the Jordan River. The Jordan River on average is 60 feet wide and 3 feet deep. Question, where I come from is that a river? We call those creeks. My father-in-law came over to visit us in Israel and we took him all over Israel and at the end he kind of gets upset with me, he says, I want to go see the Jordan River. I’ve been all over Israel and I haven’t seen the Jordan River. I say, “Grandpa, I don’t want to take you down there. It’s a waste, it's just like Woods Creek, it's nothing.” So I say, “Okay. One night let’s go down there.” So I drive my car up at night and I shine my lights on the Jordan River he then really gets mad at me and he says, “that's not the river that's an irrigation ditch.” It was, in fact, the Jordan River.
Now you say wait a minute the Jordan River is sixty feet wide and three feet deep, what's the big deal about crossing the Jordan River? I forgot to tell you something. When were they crossing the Jordan River? They are going to celebrate what on the other side when they get to Gilgal? They're going to celebrate a feast of Passover. So they're going to cross the Jordan River and celebrate the Passover.
Do we know exactly when that is? Is it in the spring, about our Easter time? What’s the problem with the Jordan River in the springtime, that's coming out of the rainy season, it's in flood stage. The Jordan River in flood stage can be a mile wide. By the way, did the spies get across the river without divine intervention? Did the spies cross the Jordan River on their own? It can be crossed even at flood stage by a person who knows how to swim. By the way, people have drowned in the Jordan River too, I don’t mean to make too light of this. So the spies get across it.
Is God going to dry up the Jordan River? Yes, he is. Crossing the Jordan River, was it a miracle or was it by natural causes? In chapter 3 verses 15 and 16, let me just read these verses talking about the Jordan River and the drying up. Listen very carefully. By the way, when they went across the Red Sea, do you remember what it said in the Red Sea? There was water on the left and the right piled up, on both sides like a wall. The Red Sea was piled up on left and right when they went across--not so with the Jordan River. Now the Jordan River is at flood stage all during harvest. It's the spring harvest, during the harvest of wheat and barley. “Yet as soon as the priest who carried the ark reached the Jordan, when their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing.” Do you see what’s going on? Is the water piled up like a wall or did it stop flowing from upstream? “And it piled up in a heap a great distance away at a town called Adam.” About 10 miles north of where they crossed, the Jordan River goes through a canyon. That canyon wall has collapsed twice in history, that we know about. The canyon wall has collapsed and formed a dam and dammed up the Jordan River. In 1927, one of those collapses happened. It’s actually recorded we've got written record of it. Basically, the canyon wall collapsed and the Jordan River dried up. It says, “that the water stopped up at Adam,” which is exactly where this canyon is. Is it possible that God used natural means to establish his purposes? By the way, is it still a miracle? It happened twice in history that we know of, twice in two thousand years. The priests go up and put their feet in it and all of a sudden the water goes down. Is that a miracle of timing if nothing else? So I’m saying it was a miracle of God, but God could use natural means and it seems like here the water did pile up at Adam. So it’s possible that he used the collapsing of the canyon walls.
[Student question] What would happen is that the canyon would collapse, it will make a dam, and the water will back up, back up, back up and it will put more and more pressure on that dam and eventually blow it out. Have you guys ever made sand castles with water and dams? When you get enough water and the water breaks through, and it overflows everything. So it was a miracle of God but God may have used the collapsing of the Jordan canyon. So that’s basically what we wanted to talk about, and we’ll catch the 12 stones next time.
Rough edited by Ted Hildebrandt 2