Joshua through Judges Survey

Joshua through Judges Survey

Joshua- The “George Washington” of the “Nation of the Jews”

  • The Times of the Jews:  2100 BC to Jesus
    • Abraham is at the beginning of a 2000 year period that could be called, “The Times of the Jews” and Joshua is the “George Washington” of the Jewish nation.
    • The “Times of the Gentiles”: It is a Biblical reference-  from Jesus until the Rapture
      • Conversely, the past 2000 years is actually called in Scripture, “The Times of the Gentiles”. Luke 21:24 “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
        • World History as we have studied- It’s been all about the Gentiles…
          • Earliest forms of writing- c. 3200 BC
          • Egypt & the Pyramids- c. 2700 – 2200
          • Babylonians c. 2000 BC
          • Greek alphabet c.1500 BC
          • Scandinavian shipbuilding c. 1500 BC
          • Corinth founded c. 1500
          • Shang Dynasty c. 1450
          • Trojan War c. 1190 BC
          • Mayan Dynasties- Central America c. 1000 BC
          • Assyrian Empire c. 900 BC
          • First Olympic Games c. 776 BC
          • Greeks build Acropolis c. 650 BC
          • Socrates c.470 BC
          • Alexander the Great c. 350 BC
          • Beginning of Roman Empire c 300 BC
          • London, England founded c 43 AD
          • Roman Empire divided  395 AD
          • Plague kills 50% of European population 594 AD
          • Columbus Discovers America- 1492
          • Christian Pilgrims “European Exodus” from religious bondage- 1620
          • America Declares Independence 1776
          • Israeli State re-emerges after 2000 years- 1948
          • Americans Choose Dependence over Freedom- 2012
          • The Rapture: ?
  • We today are living at the end of the times of the Gentiles
  • The times of the Gentiles is the history of the rule of the Gentiles over the world and the persecution, captivity, and dispersion by the Gentiles of the Jews, the people that God chose to be His own.

Joshua: the first of the 12 books of “Jew History”

JoshuaJudgesRuth * 1st & 2nd Samuel * 1st & 2nd Kings * 1st & 2nd Chronicles

Ezra * Nehemiah * Esther

Joshua is the climactic point of the fulfillment of the now centuries-old (700 years) promise of a homeland for Israel.

  • 2100 BC approximate date of God’s promise to Abraham
  • 1400 BC approximate date of the completed conquest

Joshua: the Chronology

Joshua divides into 3 geographical settings:

  1. The Jordan River (chapters 1-5)
  2. Canaan (chapters 6-13:7)
  3. 12 Tribes situated on both sides of the Jordan River (chapters 13:8-24:33)

The period of Joshua covers about 15 years between 1405 BC and 1390 BC when Joshua dies at age 110:

  • One month, March-April 1405 BC (Joshua 1-5)
    • Moses dies Mar 1405 BC (Deut 34:5-9)
    • Crossing the Jordan April 10, 1405 BC (Joshua 4:19)
    • 7 years, April 1405-1398 BC (Joshua 6:1-13:7)
      • Caleb 40 years old at Kadesh (Joshua 14:7)
      • Caleb 85 years old at the time of Joshua 14:10
      • 8 years, 1398-1390 BC (Joshua 13:8-24)
        • Dividing of the land begun 1398 BC (Joshua 14:7-10)
        • Joshua dies at 110 c. 1390 BC

Joshua: the Book

Story told in Joshua divides into 2 parts:

  1. Conquest of Canaan
  2. Settlement of Canaan

Joshua: the “Players”

  • Joshua: Who is he?
  • Name means “Jehovah Delivered”
  • He was born in Egypt under slavery
  • From the tribe of Ephraim
  • On the mountain when Moses received the Law
  • One of the 12 spies
  • Of all that were alive at the time of the spying, Joshua and Caleb the ONLY 2 adults allowed to live in the promised land
  • He was the Lord’s spokesman to Israel
  • Canaanites: Who are they?
    • According to Genesis 9:18 and Genesis 10:6 , Canaan was a son of Ham, one of the three sons of Noah.
    • Genesis 10:15-20 clarifies the implications of this Hamitic descent in the sons of Canaan:
      • Sidon, Heth, the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgasites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Si-nites, the Arvadites, and Zemarites, and the Hamathites. All of these peoples are charactizerized by being generally within the Egyptian sphere of influence.
      • Rahab- the “harlot”& the Spies: Who is Rahab?
        • Not a Jew, she is a Canaanite, therefore a “pagan”
        • Alive are her father and mother, and brothers and sisters (2:13)
        • She had a house! (2:15)
        • Someone who knows the Lord! (2:9, 11)
        • Someone who has faith! (as evidenced by action 2:21)
          • By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.  – (Hebrews 11:31)
      • Yet, Rahab is a harlot!
        • A “harlot” is not necessarily a whore. A harlot is defined by Webster’s 1828 Dictionary as one who worships idols, a servant woman, and/or is wanton, lewd, or base, and may also be a prostitute.
        • The harlot, Rahab, may have been a servant woman who worked in the local tavern as a tease and “drink-hustler”.
  • The “Commander of the Lord” (5:13-15)
  • Gibeonites:  Who are they?
    • Gibeon was located in the tribal territory of Benjamin (Joshua 18:25), and
    • it was made a Levitical city (Joshua 21:17).
    • It was the place where God made the sun stand still during the Israelites’ war with the Amorites. (Joshua 10:12)
    • Gibeonites, avoided destruction by deceiving the Israelites into making a covenant of peace with them (Joshua 9:1 ).
      • Because of supernatural intervention, the Israelites were able to defeat the coalition. Joshua then launched a southern campaign which resulted in the capture of numerous Canaanite cities (Joshua 10:1 ).
  • Amorites: Who are they?
    • Abraham assisted Mamre the Amorite in recovering his land from four powerful kings (Genesis 14:1 ),
    • Sihon and Og, two Amorite kings, resisted the Israelites’ march to Canaan as they approached east of the Jordan (Numbers 21:21-35)
    • Amorite idolatry tainted the religion of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms (1 Kings 21:26 ; 2 Kings 21:11)
  • Joseph, Manasseh, and Ephraim: Who are they?
    • Joseph is Jacob’s favorite son, the son of his wife, Rachel
    • Manasseh and Ephraim are the grandsons of Jacob to whom Jacob passed the blessing of an inheritance.
  • Eleazar: Who is he?
    • The third son of Aaron (Exodus 6:23 ) and
    • high priest of Israel (Numbers 20:28 ).
    • After Aaron’s death, Eleazar took his place as Moses’ helper.
    • It was in the presence of Eleazar that Moses commissioned Joshua (Numbers 27:22 ). According to Joshua 14:1 ,
    • Eleazar and Joshua were the key figures in the distribution of Canaanite territories among the Israelite tribes.
    • He was an ancestor of Ezra the scribe (Ezra 7:5 ).
    • Kohathites, Gershonites, and Meraites? Who are they?

Joshua: the “Events”

    • Chapters 1-5:The spiritual, moral, physical, and military preparation of Joshua and the people for the impending conquest
      • Joshua replaces Moses
      • Spies sent to Jericho
      • Spies encounter Rahab
      • ACTION:
        • Chapters 6:1 – 8:35: Central Canaan Campaign
        • Chapters 9:1 – 13:7: the Southern and Northern Campaigns
      • RESULT:
        • Chapters13:8 – 24:33: Settlement of the Promised Land

Joshua: the Christ of Joshua

  • IN NAME:
    • Hebrew name is Yeshua, which is the name the Jews call Jesus
      • Joshua and his deeds foreshadows events still in our future:
        • Hebrews 2:9-10 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
        • 2 Corinthians 2:14) Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ…
        • IN VICTORY:
          • The victory attained in Joshua (entrance and settlement of Canaan) foreshadows the victory to be attained when Christ returns to take His people into eternal life
          • Joshua as successor of Moses who received the Law and sees the victory unreachable by Moses
          • Jesus will succeed the Mosaic Law and win the victory unreachable by the Law
            • John 1:7
            • Romans 8:2-4
            • Galatians 3:23-25
            • Hebrews 7:18,19
              • Commander of the army of the Lord (Joshua 5:13-15)
                • Compare Joshua 5:15 and Exodus 3:2
                  • Joshua 5:15 Then the Commander of the LORD’S army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.”
                  • Ex 3:2, 5 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed… Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”


Judges- Chronology: About 365 years

  • The events of Judges range from about 1380 BC to 1045 BC (about 335 years)
  • The period of Judges adds about 30 more years because the period includes the life of Samuel (1 Sam. 1:1 – 25:1)

Judges- the Book: Doing what seemed right in their own eyes!

  • Book of Judges in contrast to book of Joshua
    • Joshua: the action of obedience to the Word of God expressed the faith and trust of Israel in God and the result was VICTORY!
    • The book of Joshua ends in a state of victory where Israel lives up to the terms of the covenant of Joshua 24 through the death of Joshua, the elders who followed Joshua, and Eleazar the priest.
    • During a period following the death of Eleazar and the beginning of the accounts given in Judges, the Israelites have fallen away from their faith
  1. The evidence of their having fallen away is the failure of their efforts
  2. They did not drive out the inhabitants
  • Judges: the activities of disobedience to the Word of God and resulting idolatry expressed a turning away from faith and subsequent lack of trust. The result was FAILURE!
  • The Israel of the book of Judges set aside the Word of God and put in its place the doing of “what was right in his own eyes”
  1. Doesn’t it seem right in my own eyes that it’s OK to enslave myself for 30 years to a money lender to obtain my share of the American Dream?
  2. Doesn’t it seem right in my own eyes that it’s OK to enslave myself for 6 years to a money lender in order to drive with pride back and forth to my job?
  3. Doesn’t it seem right in my own eyes to enslave my brothers and sisters in Christ to a money lender in order to build a lavish sanctuary, a gym, and a hall of fellowship when my neighbor is left hungry?
  4. Doesn’t it seem right in my own eyes to connect my home to an electronic sewer that is called TELEVISION?
  5. Doesn’t it seem right in my own eyes to treat the Sabbath Day as little more than a “weekend-day” that happens to include the small interruption of going to church?
  6. Doesn’t it seem right in my own eyes to engage my brain with thinking upon things it ought not be thinking?
  7. Doesn’t it seem right in my own eyes to leave the study and knowledge of the Scriptures to other?
  8. Doesn’t it seem right in my own eyes that…
    1. Women are pastors…
    2. Gay & lesbians make good church leaders…
    3. Dress however seems pleasing in my own eyes…
    4. It is right for the government to forcefully take from the rich to be fair to the poor…
    5. Entrust our national security based upon the might of our military
    6. Entrust our individual security based upon the size of our “warehouse”
  1. We’ll practically force our children into 4+-years of university, either paying for their education or urging them into bondage to money lenders to get a worldly education; we even pray for their success!…BUUUTTT
    1. How many hours have we spent educating our children in the Scriptures, urging their persistent study, testing their Biblical knowledge, congratulating them on their successes in learning and in application?
    2. How urgently and fervently have we PRAYED for their KNOWLEDGE of God, KNOWLEDGE of Christ, and understanding and application of the Word of God in their lives?
    1. As I have lived my life disinterested in the Word of God, how have I perpetrated the same disinterest in the lives of my children?
    1. As I have lived “lukewarm” and in accordance with what seems best in MY own eyes…
    2. If it is true that if one trains up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6) would it not also be true that if I have trained up my child as I have gone so will he also go?
      1. Deut. 4:9 commands PARENTS and GRANDPARENTS: Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
  • Israel, it says in Judges 21:25, “…had no king in those days…”
    • Go to Joshua 24:16-17, 21, 22, 24
      1. Here, the people of Israel vow to serve God as their Lord, aka KING!
    • Go to Joshua 24:25, 27
      1. Here, a Covenant is made with the people
  • God’s plan for Israel was that He be their King, and the Covenant was written into the Book of the Law of God
    • We see in Joshua that:
      • God would as their King look out for the good of His people and be the power that would defeat their enemies;
        • In LIBERTY: having been liberated from the bondage of Egypt
        •  In FREEDOM: having been made free to worship their God, prosper, and multiply
        • In FAITH: remembering that their LIBERTY and their FREEDOM was a gift from God and not of their own merit or might!
    • the responsibility  of “citizenship” in the kingdom of God (the Promised Land) was to live in accordance with the Covenant and God’s Law-of-the-land
  • Judges tells the story of a people rejecting God as their King (Judges 21:25)
    • William Penn whose name was added to the new colony called Sylvania to subsequently become the state wrote in his controversial tract, “The Sandy Foundation Shaken”, that got him imprisoned in 1668 these words of truth: Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.”
    • Because of disobedience, God left 4 pagan nations through which He would test Israel (Judges 3:1-4):
      •  Philistines (aka Palestinians)[1]
      • Canaanites- these people were descendants of Ham, son of Noah, and consisted of Ammonites, Moabites- both sons of Lot
      • Sedonians- these were Phoenician
      • Hivites- also descendants of Canaan
  • We see in Judges that:
    • While the people of Israel…
    • BELIEVED in God;
    • went to their places of worship;
    • brought the necessary sacrifices;
    • gave lip service to the commandments of God…
    • …their LIVES reflected rejection of God.
    • The actions of the people showed presumption that, by virtue of ancestry (as Jews) they were entitled to their liberty and freedoms of the Covenant without regard to God’s Law-of-the-Land.

Is this not the same attitude of the 21st century American Christian? Do we not think that we are entitled to the promised inheritance (because of GRACE) with no regard for the commandment to obey God (works)?

The FAITH of the people was LOST. The EVIDENCE that they had lost their faith was…

  • the fact that Israel had come to look and live more like the pagan-world than like people belonging to God.
    • The people gave up their FREEDOM to worship, prosper, and multiply;
    • The people 7 times lost their LIBERTY, and 7 times found themselves having been conquered and in bondage to their enemies
  • The book of Judges exposes 7 cycles connecting a habitual and descending spiral of sin
    • (Judges 2:19) And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way.
    •  7 distinct cycles SIN-to-SALVATION that…
      • …resulted in periods of servitude / bondage followed by…
      • …a Deliverer / Savior sent by God (and thus reveals the Christ of the book of Judges) followed by…
      • …periods of rest that were always longer than the periods of bondage (Judges 3:5 – 16:31)
  1. 8 years servitude (vs. 3:7-8); Judge Othniel: 40 years of rest (vs. 3:11)
  2. 18 years servitude (vs. 3:12, 14); Judge Ehud:80 years of rest (3:30)
  3. 20 years servitude (vs. 4:1, 3); Prophetess Deborah: 40 years of rest (vs. 5:31)
  4. 7 years servitude (vs. 6:1, 2, 6); Gideon: 40 years of rest (vs. 8:28)
  5. 3 years under deceitful reign of Abimelech (vs. 9:1-57); Judges Tola & Jair (vs. 10:1-4): 46 years of rest (vs. 10:1-3)

Story begins in chapter 8:33 when Israel slides back into its sinful ways after the death of Gideon

  • Abimelech- The Bad: killed all of Gideon’s (aka Jerubbaal) 70 sons except Jotham; reigned over Israel for 3 years (vs. 9:22)
  • After Abimelech is killed by a millstone and a sword, God sent Judges Tola and Jair

18 years servitude; Judge Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon: 31 years of rest

  • Story begins chapter 10:6-8 with the return to sin and 18 years of servitude
  • Ends with civil war with the half-tribes of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh followed by 31 years of rest

40 years of servitude (vs. 13:1)- Judge Samson: Samson judged Israel 20 years

  • Story begins chapter 13 and tells the story through the end of chapter 16 of a physically strong, spiritually weak man used of God when empowered with God’s Spirit…not to the credit of the man, but to the sovereignty of a Holy God.
  • God in His sovereignty had a plan to oppose the Philistines (vs.14:4) and it was Samson’s appetite for the woman of the Canaanites that God had chosen to strike the Philistines.
  • Story ends at the end of chapter 16 with the victory of God through the failure of Samson.
  • IMPORTANT LESSON FROM SAMSON: Being used by God is not always indicative of the one being used being fully devoted to God. Even Balaam’s ass was used of God! Samson most certainly reflects the heart of Israel in being the man who does what seems right in his own eyes!
  • 2 primary areas of DEPRAVITY
    • religious apostasy and…
    •  social and moral depravity (Judges 17:1 – 21:25
  • 7 times the nation of Israel suffers internal corruption and external oppression;7 times God raises up champions to throw off the yoke of bondage and restore the nation to pure worship
    • Judges 3:5-8 “Thus the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites… they took their daughters to be their wives… gave their daughters to their sons…served their gods… Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD…forgot the LORD their God…Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years…”
    • The salvation of Israel was not ONCE…but 7 times in the book of Judges!
    • Exodus:
      • Deliverance from the famine to Egypt
      • The Passover and deliverance from Egyptian bondage
    • Numbers:
      • Deliverance from the bites of serpents- the Serpent on the Pole,
      • Deliverance from the disinheritance of the Promised Land of the younger generation from the death of the old generation
        • It is important to take note of the fact that, while ALL of Israel was saved from bondage by Egypt and promised an inheritance in the Promised Land, NOT ALL OF THOSE SAVED RECEIVED THE PROMISE! In fact, most were disinherited because of disobedience that the evidence of unbelief (Hebrews chapters 3 through 6)

Judges- Some consider the book of Judges as “cyclical” and shows cycles of belief, rebellion, disobedience, bondage, repentance, and restoration.

However, in truth the book of Judges, while showing occasions of God’s grace manifested in unmerited favor and kindness, it reveals the continuing decline of the children of God in growing degrees of sin and depravity! The decline continues to such a decree that the people of God CHOOSE no longer to be ruled by God and demand kings to rule over them. But kings ultimately lead the children of God into even GREATER peril leading them to captivity and, finally, utter dispersion.

Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles tell the story of the decline; the books of the Prophets tell the story of God’s relentless appeal and consequential punishment; the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi reveal more of God’s grace followed by continued disdain of His grace by the children of God to such a degree that their leaders call upon the people to crucify their Messiah.

What does this say of 21st century American Christianity? It says that we- we who have been adopted into the promises and inheritance of God to Israel- who have begun to look in the 21st century EXACTLY like the children of God at the time of Jesus’ first coming should not be surprised to see the same judgment of God at the Second coming!



[1] Dr. Ali Qleibo (28 July 2007). “Palestinian Cave Dwellers and Holy Shrines: The Passing of Traditional Society”. This Week in Palestine. Retrieved 2007-08-17. “Throughout history a great diversity of peoples has moved into the region and made Palestine their homeland: Canaanites, Jebusites, Philistines from Crete, Anatolian and Lydian Greeks, Hebrews, Amorites, Edomites, Nabataeans, Arameans, Romans, Arabs, and Western European Crusaders, to name a few…”

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