Monday, August 2

Disciple Bible Study: Week 8

I’m participating in Disciple Bible Study, a 34 week intensive. For five days, we have different readings.  I have decided to document my initial noticings from a close reading of the scripture. Well, an attempt at a close reading.

Week 8 Theme:  Leadership

Week 8 Readings:  Joshua 1-6, Judges 1-16


Notes on Joshua

1:5 – this sounds like wedding vows between G*d and Joshua

1:18 – these are very strong words

2:1 – the spies going to Jericho stop and visit Rahab. I am wondering why they stop and visit the house of a prostitute when they are in the big city. Boys gone wild?

2:17–19 – it think it's interesting that the spies tell all this stuff to Rahab in the negative instead of saying "if you hang this red cord outside your door you'll be safe" they say it in the negative, "if we invade the land and you don't tie the score it onto your window then you'll be safe"

3:3 – people are going to follow the Ark end of line of the covenant of the Lord. This seems reminiscent of following the cloud that went before them when Moses was leaving the people rather than Joshua. I do like in verse four how it insists on the distance of 2000 cubit between the people and the Ark.  This is a little over a half a mile.

3:11 – it seems to me that the Ark, possession of the Ark, these things are equivalent to that the Israelites having evidence of G*d among them. Prefigures the devastating feeling of when the Ark is lost.

3:14-17 – it's really interesting here where the Jordan River is parted much the way the Red Sea was parted for Moses. It's a further co-identification of Joshua's character with Moses.

Chapter 4 – lots of stuff about the 12 stones. There's 12 stones that one person of each of the tribes carried with them. And there are the 12 stones that Joshua sets up where the priests were standing in the middle of the river.  Pillars of stones were used to mark orders. So it's interesting that they set up this pile of stones in the middle of the river. And it's interesting that they are carrying stones that are holy stones with them into a place where they may be setting up a new pillar.

5:2 – lucky Israelites. They get to be circumcised a second time. But if you read verse seven, it says it is just the children who had not been circumcised the first time.

5:9 – when the circumcision has taken place, this second circumcision, G*d says to Joshua, "today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt." I find it interesting that it has taken this second circumcision to remove the stink of Egypt from the Israelites.

5:13–15 – the commander of the army of the Lord joins Joshua.

6:4b – I'm just thinking what it would be like to march around the city seven times in one day when you're used to marching around the chest and once in a day. How fast would they have had to march?

6:18 – this warning to "keep away from the things devoted to destruction" is interesting. I'm left wondering what these things are. I wonder if they could be artifacts that the people of Jericho used to worship their G*d. My footnote says that this phrase is an indication that it is a "holy war" rather than a regular war. That it is an expression that the battle is a divine undertaking that will result in the full obliteration of their enemy.

6:25 – Rahab and her family lived in Israel ever since.


1:8 – the capturing of Jerusalem by Judah.  I mention this because it seems profound that this is the first moment of Israel conquering Jerusalem

1:18 – Judah conquers Gaza

1:19 – G*d was with shared except that they couldn't take possession of the Hill country. G*d couldn't do it? The text says it was because they had chariots of iron. My text notes say that this is a metaphor for these people or it was anachronistic.

2:2 – repeated reminders to not make a covenant with the inhabitants, worship at their altars, worship their G*d. This is just the beginning.

2:3 – a warning that the other people's G*d's will be a temptation and a trap for the Israelites.

2:11 – Israelites worship Baal and bad times ensue.  This is the beginning of a repeated pattern.

2:19 – G*d would give them a judge, the judge dies, the people relapse and behave worse than ever.

3:12–30 – the story of Ehud.  This is worthy of any court intrigue.

4:1 –22– the story of strong women. Deborah and Jael rocked it. I'm curious though why it when Sisera asked for water Jael gives him milk.  What is significant about milk that it makes a difference in the story. We could go to what we tell all of our kids to drink a glass of warm milk before you go to sleep or to help you go to sleep. Maybe that's it. Maybe there's something that goes back to the law about not cooking things and milk.

5:1–31 – pretty funny that in the song of Deborah that verse one tells us that Deborah and Barack sang that him verse seven Deborah must then be talking in third person about herself. Ha ha ha.  Verse 25 though gives us a clue about the milk. It says that Jael brought him curds in a lordly bowl.  So what would be significant about the curds.

6:8–10 – savory citation that we heard so often in Exodus. But it's from a profit not a deliverer.

6:22 – Gideon sees G*d's face. Face to face.

6:28-32 – Gideon destroys the altar of Baal. I love the solution that they have about how to deal with Gideon.

6:36 – 40 – the bunch of weird stuff with fleece. I wonder what is really going on here. And why did Gideon have to test G*d twice.

7:16 – think it's pretty funny that Gideon's final army of 300 men each get trumpet. Funny because transporting 300 trumpets would be a task in itself. Within these empty jars with torches inside the jars make me think of Molotov cocktails. It is all very curious.

8:27 – Israel becomes a prostitute and a snare to Gideon. We think this goes back to that whole idolatry thing.

9:1–6 – Abimelech, Gideon's son, is a bad man. Supported by his mother but not his father. He only got to rule for three short years.

9:53 – another ruler defeated by a woman. But then Abimelech asks a young man to stab him so that the woman won't get the glory. And then it is immortalized forever in the book of Judges.

10:13 – wow. G*d is not going to deliver Israel anymore. I don't know why I don't remember reading this phrase exactly ever before.

10:16 – but G*d relents.

11:1 – I am interested that Jephthah was the son of a prostitute. In Israel was a prostitute. So maybe this is Israel versus the Philistines or something like that.  It also seems that Jephthah is to the Elders as G*d is to Israel.

11:24 – I just find it interesting that they name yet another G*d.

11:30–31 – Whoa. Jephthah makes it a scary promise.

11:39 – and he follows through on the promise sacrificing his own daughter. This is human sacrifice given to the G*d of Israel.

12:6 – very clever

Chapter 13 – the birth of Sampson. Kind of interesting that this is another group of people that have seen G*d.

14:5–9 – this is just gross. In this whole business with selecting his wife and giving into his nagging wife kind of pre-figures the encounter with Delilah.

14:18 – Very strong statement when Sampson says," if you had not plowed with my heifer." I I am reading into this phrase some infidelity.

14:20 – in then just to give away his wife to his companion who had been his best man seems crazy.

15:1 – and of course Sampson wants his wife back

Chapter 16 – this whole incident with Delilah just shows that Sampson was an idiot. He lets her trick him three times and then gives her a fourth opportunity that actually works. What did he expect?

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