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Bible Commentaries

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16
Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24

Book Overview - Joshua

by James Burton Coffman

A sharp focus upon another mistake of the Israelites is provided in Joshua 9, that mistake being their covenant with the Gibeonites to spare them from the kind of destruction that had been executed upon Jericho and Ai. Critical assaults upon this chapter are totally frustrated by a number of facts:

  1. The narrative itself is skillfully presented with a perfection that effectively denies the designation of the chapter as a composite of several narratives from different sources. As Woudstra stated it, "The narrator's skill ... argues against considering the chapter to be a composite of a variety of traditions, patched together so that the seams show in several places."[1]
  2. Critical scholars have been unable to reach any consensus whatever in their vain efforts to identify portions of the chapter with diverse sources. The questions that might be raised remain "unsolved by textual criticism."[2]
  3. Even the critical fancy of moving the date of the passage to the period of the exile, or later, is today widely rejected. Sizoo noted that:
"The fact that such a pact (as the one related in this chapter) existed is attested by 2 Samuel 21:2. Even if that verse is called a gloss (which is the customary device of critics in dealing with passages that contradict their theories), the context clearly reflects a treaty violation by Saul. If such a treaty existed in Saul's day, there is no reason to suppose that it did not date back to the time of the Conquest.[3] (The comments in parenthesis are mine, J.B.C.).

This chapter further reveals what is increasingly evident, that Joshua, like the entire Pentateuch, is in no sense a chronological account of all that Israel did. The Book of Joshua does not give us a thorough, item-by-item account of the conquest of Canaan, but, on the other hand, it relates the events which are pertinent to the redemptive purpose of God. Although Israel did indeed CONQUER all of Canaan, they did NOT drive out all of the Canaanites as God had commanded them, and this chapter relates primarily to that failure on Israel's part.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 31st, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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