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Unit 4: Nationhood. Things to remember as the Israelites enter the Promised Land:. People (the Canaanites) have been living there for hundreds and thousands of years. The Canaanites were farmers, not nomads.

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things to remember as the israelites enter the promised land
Things to remember as the Israelites enter the Promised Land:
  • People (the Canaanites) have been living there for hundreds and thousands of years.
  • The Canaanites were farmers, not nomads.
  • The religion of the Canaanites was a polytheistic fertility religion.Baal and Astarte were the god and goddess of fertility. Sexual intercourse was part of Canaanite religious ritual because the people’s lives depended on the fertility of the earth.
  • Within the Canaanite religion, prostitution was a noble profession.

Joshua, Judges & Ruth


The ban was a practice by which ALL living creatures of a conquered city were killed and all the items of value were put in the “temple” treasury. The Israelites believed at the time that the ban was what God wanted. We would call such a practice today barbaric, but it is not fair to impose our standards of today on past cultures.

Joshua, Judges & Ruth


The 12 tribes did not develop until after the Israelites were in the Holy Land. Many came about as Canaanite groups made alliances with the Israelites. When the history was written down, the authors blended the stories of many different peoples into one story even though few of the details apply to all of the people who eventually come to be called Israelites.

  • Read Joshua 1-3 & Psalm 114:3-6

Joshua, Judges & Ruth

the conquest of canaan
The Conquest of Canaan
  • Happened over a much longer period of time than is reported in the Bible.
  • Happened through a combination of military victories and alliances with the Canaanites.
  • Eventually led to a strong nation of Israel.
  • Joshua was the military leader.
  • Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute (harlot) who helped Joshua’s spies in Jericho.
  • Read Joshua 5:13-8:29

Joshua, Judges & Ruth


According to the book of Joshua, after Jericho and Ai are captured, southern Canaan and then northern Canaan are conquered. (Ch 9-12)

  • Then the land is divided up between the tribes and everyone goes home. (Ch 13-22)
  • How do we know the military victory/ban was not so “total” as parts of Joshua report?
    • OT continues to reference the conquered/banned people as present
    • OT reports that Canaanite culture flourished after the conquest, especially marriage customs and worship of Canaanite gods

Joshua, Judges & Ruth






After many years, Joshua gives a sermon in which he reminds the people of salvation history to that point and challenges the people to make a choice. (See Joshua 24:14-15)

    • What is “the River”?
    • Who are “your fathers?”
  • Joshua’s response is famous: “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
  • The people choose to serve the Lord!
  • Joshua dies.
  • Read Judges 4,7,11

Joshua, Judges & Ruth

the judges
The Judges
  • Once Joshua dies, there is no strong central leader, so the judges emerge to lead the people as specific needs arise.
  • Usually had a military function
  • Were appointed as needs arose
  • Were chosen for bravery, wisdom, leadership skills
  • Led a particular tribe or group of tribes
  • Samson was also a nazirite, someone consecrated to God. A nazirite could not drink wine, shave, cut their hair, eat unclean food.
  • It is during this time that the 12 tribes came into historical existence.

Joshua, Judges & Ruth

image of god
Image of God

What image of God is portrayed in the books of Joshua and Judges? To answer this question, think about

  • How do the Israelites view the relationship between how they act and what happens to them?
  • How do the Israelites think God wants them to treat other Israelites?
  • How do the Israelites think God wants them to treat non-Israelites?

Joshua, Judges & Ruth

the book of ruth
The Book of Ruth
  • “. . .they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem of Judah.” family/clan city/town tribe/region
  • The people
    • Elimelech: Israelite
    • Naomi (Mara): his wife. Naomi means “pleasant” and Mara means “bitter.”
    • Mahlon and Chilion: his sons
    • Orpah and Ruth: Moabite women who marry Mahlon and Chilion
    • Boaz: relative of Elimelech, well-to-do farmer

Joshua, Judges & Ruth


Cultural notes about marriage

    • If a man died without having sons, his widow was claimed as a wife by a brother or other relative. The dead man’s estate went to whoever married his widow.
    • The oldest male child of such a marriage was legally the child of the dead man.
    • If a man put his cloak over a woman, it was a pledge of marriage (like an engagement ring today)

Joshua, Judges & Ruth


Other cultural notes

    • glean = pick up what is dropped or left by those who harvest. The law of Israel forbid harvesters from picking the fields clean because gleaning was the only way widows/orphans/the poor could support themselves.
    • thresh, winnow = steps in harvesting grain. Beating the stalks to remove grain from stem, separating grains from stems using wind.
    • ephah = a measure of grain (like a bushel today)

Joshua, Judges & Ruth

the united monarchy
The United Monarchy
  • The United Monarchy refers to the period of time in the Jewish history when all the 12 tribes were ruled by a single king, c. 1020 to 920 B.C.E.
  • Samuel is the LAST judge, and he is also a prophet.
  • Israel asks Samuel for a king because they want to “be like other nations.”
  • Samuel warns them that a king will
    • Tax them
    • Make them do forced labor for the good of the kingdom
    • Make their young men fight in the army
  • All of these things were the right of kings at that point in history.) They want a king anyway!
  • Read I Samuel 9-12
  • Models of kingship.

Saul & David

  • Samuel anoints Saul as the first king of Israel (in private at first).
  • Saul begins as a humble king. (See 1 Sam 9, 10.) He seems to fight depression.
  • David is anointed by Samuel as the next king even before Saul meets him.
  • How did David and Saul meet?

David becomes his armor-bearer and harp player?

After the fight with Goliath?

Both accounts are in 1 Samuel 17.

Saul & David


David becomes famous as a warrior.

  • Saul lets David marry his daughter Michal as a reward for his military victories.
  • As soon as Saul becomes jealous of David, he is an ineffective king. He becomes obsessed with killing David.
  • David is also a close friend of Saul’s son Jonathan.

Despite Saul’s behavior, David has ultimate respect for Saul because as king he is anointed of Yahweh. (See 1 Sam. 24).

  • 1 Samuel ends with a report of Saul’s suicide.
  • 2 Samuel begins with a report of Saul’s death at the hand of a passing Amalekite who killed Saul at Saul’s request because he had been wounded in a battle with the Philistines. Jonathan is killed in the same battle.
  • After Saul’s death, David, who has been in hiding, is anointed king by the people of his own tribe, Judah. At first only Judah follows David and the rest of the tribes follow Ishbaal, another of Saul’s sons.
  • Ishbaal’s and David’s armies fight. David is much stronger, and Ishbaal is killed by his own people, and so David becomes king of all of Israel. (7 years…/Hebron)

David makes Jerusalem his capital city. He brings the ark to Jerusalem and wants to build a temple, but the prophet Nathan says that this will not be David’s job. (See 2 Sam. 7)

  • David is not perfect. His biggest sins are his adultery with Bathsheeba, who is the wife of Uriah, one of David’s soldiers. (David already has many wives; Uriah has only Bathsheeba), and the murder of Uriah.

Tamar, Amnon, and Absalom are all children of David (Amnon has a different mother). Amnon rapes Tamar. Absalom kills Amnon to avenge his sister. Under the law he should have been put to death, but David exiles him instead. Absalom later tries to overthrow David, but he is killed in the battle.

  • I Kings begins with the death of David.
  • Movie: King David. Pay attention to David’s dying words to Solomon at the end of the movie.

Saul & David

important religious truths
Important Religious Truths:
  • God does not always choose the most likely person to achieve God’s will.
  • God can work through imperfect people.
  • We are called to repent when we do something wrong.
  • Faithfulness to God is a powerful, unifying force.
  • Each generation is called to articulate what it learns about God.
  • The call of God often calls us to step away from what our culture tells us.

Saul & David

  • David and Bathsheeba’s son Solomon becomes the next king of Israel.
  • Solomon is the type of king Samuel warned about. He made Israel a rich nation by forced labor.
  • Solomon asks God for wisdom, and God grants his wish. (See 1 Kings 3:4)
  • Solomon built the temple.
  • Solomon had many wives, many of them foreigners who he married for political reasons. (This was a normal practice for kings at the time.) These wives brought their gods with them, and eventually there are altars to these gods built in Israel, a big no-no.

Solomon and the Temple


When Solomon dies, the nation of Israel splits into the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom.

  • 1 Chronicles and the first 9 chapters of 2 Chronicles repeat the story of Israel from Adam to Solomon. Some of the details differ from the earlier versions.

Solomon and the Temple

the temple
The Temple
  • Solomon’s temple is called the 1st temple. We don’t know what it looked like because it was utterly destroyed by the Babylonians.
  • The second temple (begun around 515 BCE after the Babylonian exile and still under construction at the time of Jesus) looked like this:

Solomon and the Temple

the temple cont
The Temple (cont.)
  • The structure was gleaming white limestone and trimmed with gold.
  • It was one of the largest religious buildings in the world at that time.
  • It’s floor plan was based on the Tent of the Dwelling.

Solomon and the Temple

temple worship
Temple Worship
  • There were six kinds of offerings made at the temple:
  • Holocausts or whole burnt offerings
  • Peace or Communion offerings
  • Guilt offerings
  • Grain offerings
  • Offerings of incense
  • Showbread
  • David’s city
  • Controversial
  • Mt. Zion was the site of the Temple – so Zion is a synonym for Jerusalem in the Wisdom Literature.
jerusalem cont
Jerusalem (cont.)
  • Jerusalem in the Bible (Psalms, the Prophets, Revelation) is used,

on the one hand, as a symbol for the ideal way God wants us to live together under his reign,

but, on the other hand, also as a symbol for the ways we don’t live up to that ideal.

Solomon and the Temple

wisdom literature
Wisdom Literature
  • The Wisdom “mindset” was to observe and reflect to develop life strategies to integrate the person’s existence with the order of the world.



-institutional, “pro-establishment”

Solomon and the Temple

wisdom literature1
Wisdom Literature
  • The Wisdom “mindset” was to observe and reflect to develop life strategies to integrate the person’s existence with the order of the world.



-institutional, “pro-establishment”

Solomon and the Temple

wisdom literature cont
Wisdom Literature (cont.)

Literary Genres in Wisdom Literature

1. Saying or Proverb

1 Kings 20:11 (folk)

Proverbs 11:24 (artistic)

2. Admonition

Proverbs 8:33

Proverbs 22:22-23

3. Riddle

Judges 14:10-18

wisdom literature cont1
Wisdom Literature (cont.)

4. Fable

Judges 9:8-15

5. Allegory

Proverbs 5:15-23

6. Controversy Speech

Most of Job

7. Example Story

Ecclesiastes 4:13-16

Solomon and the Temple

wisdom themes
Wisdom Themes
  • Evil is a mystery.
  • Helping the poor, revering the elderly, move beyond vengeance (but not quite to Jesus’ call to forgive enemies.)
  • Wisdom – Sophia – Spirit
  • Concern for injustice and wickedness

Solomon and the Temple