Daily Bible Reading for January 7, 2014: Joshua 6-10.
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Context and Meaning: Joshua leads the Israelites to attack Jericho, following the instructions of the Lord. Following the city’s destruction, the Israelites are ordered to destroy every living thing inside the city, except Rahab and those under her roof. All silver and gold and iron and bronze are to be put in the Lord’s treasury. When one man steals from the Lord to keep for himself, several men are killed during a mission to conquer a nearby city. The man and his family are killed for failing to obey the Lord. During the remaining chapters, several cities are destroyed, and all those living in the cities are killed so as not to lead the Israelites away from the Lord. Gibeon, however, was not destroyed, as the Israelites failed to consult with the Lord before signing a peace treaty with them, allowing themselves to be deceived. During the battle with the Amorites, Joshua commands the sun and moon to stand still for approximately one day, so that the Israelites could destroy their enemies.
World History: Jericho was not an ordinary city; it was a fortress and an important Canaanite city, which blocked the Israelites access to the Promised Land. Jericho remained in ruins for approximately 400 years before being rebuilt, at the cost Joshua specified (see 1 Kings 16:34). Contrary to popular myths, Joshua’s account of the sun standing still cannot be scientifically proven. For Christians, this should not matter, as we believe that the Bible, and all of God’s miracles, is truth.