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ART. I.—THE CHARACTER OF THE BOOK OF JOSIIUA,
AND ITS RELATION AND TESTIMONY TO TIE PEN. TATEUCH. It is our purpose in this article to examine carefully and critically the Book of Joshua in order to ascertain what light it throws upon the Pentateuchal question—which Delitzsch characterizes as “the most burning question of the present time"*—and to see what testimony the book gives to the Mosaic authorship and the authenticity of the Pentateuch.
This subject we shall discuss under the heads of the Unity, the Antiquity, the Historical character, the Difference of authorship of the Book of Joshua from that of the Pentateuch, and the Testimony which it gives to the Mosaic books.
Its Unity. This can be shown not only from the connection of the matter which it contains, but also from its linguistic peculiarities. The book opens with God's command to Joshua to conduct the Israelites into the land of Canaan, accompanied with an exhortation and encouragement to obey the law of Moses. Joshua thereupon makes preparations to cross the Jordan, and, first of all, he enlists the services of the tribes east of the Jordan, sends spies to Jericho, and makes full preparation for the invasion of Canaan. After this we have a detailed account of the passage of the Jordan, the capture of Jericho, Achan's theft of a part of the spoils of Jericho and his punishment, and the capture of the mountain town Ai. Joshua having thus struck terror into the Canaanites is now enabled to carry out the command of Moses in Deut. xxvii, 2–8, and accordingly builds on Mount Ebal an altar “to Jehovah, ," and writes on stones the law of Moses.
* In Zeitschrift für Kirch. Wiss, und Kirch, Leb. Heft V, 1888, p. 1. 1-FIFTH SERIES, VOL. VI.
The Gibeonites, becoming alarmed for their own safety, obtain from Joshua, through deception, a treaty. Five kings combine against the Gibeonites on account of their league with Joshua. While defeating these kings he commands the sun and moon to stand still, and these luminaries obey him. This is followed by a description of Joshua's treatment of these kings, and a statement of various conquests made by him. After this Joshua defeats at the waters of Merom, in Northern Palestine, the combinations of the kings against him, and makes various conquests in Canaan. The foregoing events make twelve chapters, forming the first great division of the book. These events are closely connected, forming a chain in which one link depends upon the other. Here is no mosaic or patchwork.
The second division begins with the statement that “ Joshua was old and stricken in years," and that the Lord said unto him, “There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.” A description of this land is then given, and Joshua is commanded to divide the land west of the Jordan among the nine tribes and a half, the territory east of that river having already been conferred on the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh. Hebron is assigned to Caleb, the boundaries of Judah are given, and those of Ephraim and Manasseh are described. We next find the whole congregation of Israel assembled at Shiloh and the tabernacle of the congregation set up. Six and a half tribes are still to be supplied with land. To meet their case, Joshua orders a survey of the rest of the country and its allotment to these tribes. Joshua casts lots for them. Thirteen cities in Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin are assigned by lot to the sons of Aaron the priest, and thirty-five cities among the other tribes are given by lot to the Levites. Cities of refuge are then appointed. Joshua then sends home the two tribes and a half to their inheritance east of the Jordan. These tribes build an altar on the east bank of the Jordan, which excites the wrath of the western tribes, who consider such a proceeding treason against God and Israel. The eastern tribes thereupon disclaim any criminal intent, state their case, and satisfy the western Israelites.
After this Joshua gathers the leaders of Israel and exhorts them to obey the divine law, and then assembles all the tribes of Israel and their leaders to Shechem and recites briefly the Hebrew history from the days of Abraham until his own time, exhorts the people to obey God, makes a covenant with them, writes the words in the book of the law of God, and then sends the people to their inheritance. The book ends with an account of the death of Joshua, the fidelity of the elçiers who ontlived him, the burial of the bones of Joseph, and thie-deatí. of Eleazar the priest.
In the second division there are some special references to. events in the first division. Thus we find in chap. xxii, 1-6, that Joshua, as soon as the land was divided by lot, sent back® the warriors of the Reubenites, of the Gadites, and of the half tribe of Manasseh to their homes east of the Jordan. In chap. i, 12-18, it is said that Joshua, before crossing the Jordan, reminded the eastern tribes of their engagernent with Moses, as recorded in Num. xxxii, 20-25, to go over with their brethren to war, and to him they confirmed their promise. In the first division it is stated (chap. xi, 16, 17), “ Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same; even from the Mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon under Mount IIermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them.” But in the second division Jehovah says unto hin (chap. xiii, 1–6), “ There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed ... all the borders of the Philistines, and all Geshuri, from Sihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, which is counted to the Canaanite: tive lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, and the Ashdothies, tlie Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites : also the dites: from the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Le varal that is beside the Sidonians, unto Aplek, to the bordrs of the Amorites: and the land of the Giblites, and all I b.non toward the sunrising, from Baal-gad under Mowt Il tuon unto the entering into Hamath. All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephotlı-maim, and all the Sidonians.” But these latter passages do not contradict the former respecting the extent of the conquests of Joshua. The first statement is a general one, and by no means asserts the entire conquest of the Philistines and most southern Canaanites, nor does it contain any reference to the subjugation of the most northern nations of Palestine, which are named in the second part of Joshua as unsubdued.
In the second part, the land to be possessed in the north extended to Hamatļr on the Orontes and Aphek (between Byblus and Baxlhoc),: embracing the Sidonians and the Byblians (Gibdites), whose lands the Terrelites never possessed. In the sec.oni division, among the Philistines still unsubdued are mentionil. Gazathites, Ashdothites, and Gittites (Gathites). Now, si tire first division, we have an indirect confirmatory proof of this fact in chap. xi, 22, where it is stated that no Anakim were left in the land of Israel except in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod—a clear proof that the Israelites had not then subdued these cities of the Philistines. This is what Paley would have called an undesigned coincidence.
The statement in the first division, that Joshua took and destroyed Hebron and Debir (chap. x, 39), is not contradicted by the statement, in the second division, that Caleb drove from Ile. bron the sons of Anak and that Othniel took Debir (xv, 13-17); for whatever is done by a subordinate can also be said to have been done by the supreme commander himself.
In the list of kings smitten by Joshua and the Israelites in the first division are named the kings of Jerusalem, Gezer, Megiddo, and Dor (xii, 10, 12, 13, 23). But in the second division it seems that these four cities themselves were not captured by Joshua (xv, 63 ; xvi, 10; xvii, 11, 12). Yet the kings of these towns, in all probability, came forth from their strongholds and were captured or slain in battle, while their cities remained uncaptured; just as Napoleon the Third was captured outside of Paris, and on the border” of France, while Paris itself was still untouched. Not only does Josh. xii, 10, but also Judg. i, 7, assert the siniting of the king of Jerusalem, while Josh. xv, 63 and Judy. i, 21 declare that the Jebusites themselves were not driven out of Jerusalem. The stronghold of the Jebusites in Jerusalem was not captured until David took it. 2 Sam. v, 6, 7.
We are next to consider the linguistic proofs of unity in the Book of Joshua. The name of the Deity every-where in
Joshua (with but a few exceptions *) is Jehovah (Jahveh), and thius, so far as the divine name is concerned, there is no ground for the separation of the book into different documents. Jericho occurs twenty-seven times in both divisions of Joshua, and the name is spelled with the yodh, in?! Dar, shebět, a tribe, occurs fifteen times in the first division of Joshua, and nineteen times in the second. Por, matteh, tribe, is used once in the first division and fifty-five times in the second. But in twenty-six of these instances opp, matteh, tribe, is followed by 22, "children of," before which baw, shebet, the other word for tribe, is never used in Joshua.
The Antiquity of the Book of Joshua.-Every one who is familiar with the Hebrew of the different books of the Old Testament cannot fail to be struck with the purity, beauty, and clearness of its Hebrew in comparison with that of even some of the historical books belonging manifestly to a later period. In some of these later historical works, the authors having been long accustomed to the use of Chaldee seem to be hardly at home in Hebrew. But the language of the Book of Joshua
. is not inferior to that of the Pentateuch, and the circle of its Words touches both on the Pentateuchal language and on that belonging to the books of the next period. There is in Joshua but a single word, d'op?, někasīm,t riches, treasures (xxii, 8), that looks late. But this has its parallel in obw, shallīt, # governor, applied to Joseph as ruler of Egypt (Gen. xlii, 6), a word elsewhere found only in some of the late books of the Bible. D'Op?, někasim, in Joshua, no more proves the lateness of the account in this book than me, shallit
, in Genesis, proves the lateness of the history of Joseph. These two words appear to have strayed from the Aramaic language into the Hebrew, just as the Arabian locust is occasionally seen in Hyde Park, and as our own northern persimmon tree has strayed here from its home in the tropics.
The historical stand-point of the Book of Joshua is certainly not much later than the age of its hero. In twelve instances
* The exceptions are chap. xxii, 16, 33 ; xxiv, 26, 27; every-where else, if God (Elobir) is used, it is placed immediately after Jehovah.
+ This noun is derived from srom the obsolete dag, to collect, to accumulate, the same as DJZ.
tomon is the same as the Chaldee.