January 27, 2015: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Joshua 21-24
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Context: You may have noticed last week that the Levites were not given an area. All Israelite priests came from the tribe of Levi, but not all Levites were priests. Those who were not priests assisted the priests in their duties. Levites were given a total of 48 cities, including the six cities of refuge, and pasture land near the cities for their livestock. The 48 cities were scattered throughout the lands of all the tribes, so the Levites, who were the most familiar with the Law, would be able to encourage the rest of the Israelites to maintain the Laws of God. The major battles are over, the land has been conquered; time for happily ever after, like in the movies, right? Well, life is not like the movies. As we discover in chapter 22, life goes on, and smaller battles occur. In this case, the land has been conquered and divided and everyone is going home, however those who live on the west side of the Jordan River decide to build an alter. Actions can mean two different things to two different people, or groups of people. In this case one group saw the alter as a reminder to follow the Lord, while another group saw the alter as idolatry. How many times are things not as they seem? As Joshua approaches the end of his life, approximately 25 years after the previous events, he reminds the Israelites to follow the Lord God, to not turn away from him, and of the great things the Lord has done and can do when you choose to unequivocally follow the Lord. The renewal of God's covenant with Abraham allows a new generation of Israelites to swear their loyalty to the Lord. They are choosing to follow the Lord above all else.
World History: The date of Joshua's death is disputed, with it occurring anywhere between 1350 to 1250 BC. The Hittite Empire came into power in 1430 BC. In 1250 BC, the legendary Hercules was allegedly born in Thebes, Greece.