The god of Creation and the god of Israel are two different gods. What gives it away is their name change from Elohim to Yahweh. English translations substitute 'Lord' in place of 'Yahweh.' The god of creation has deteriorated into a local pagan war god.
The word, God, in the Creation narratives was translated from the Hebrew, Elohim, meaning many gods. When Elohim created man, they gave him green plants for food.
11"Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth." (Gen 1:11)
When Yahweh Elohim put him in the garden of Eden, he was to till it and keep it.
When Yahweh Elohim sent Adam out of Eden, he was commanded him to work the ground for his food.
you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground
because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. (Gen 3:17-18)
Meat eating didn't come until the Cain and Abel story, when Yahweh appears on the scene, favoring Abel because he sacrificed his firstborn sheep.
23 4 5 (Gen. 4:2-5)
Why Israel is so important to Jews has to do with Yahweh's covenant with Abraham. As the passage below tells us, Yahweh's ambitions for Abraham's descendants were far more ambitious than what he could produce.
The land he promised, stretches east to west, from the Nile River to the Euphrates. It would have included the entire Sinai Peninsula, Israel, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq.
18To your descendants
I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the
19the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites,
20the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,
21the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites." (Gen. 15:18-21)
Yahweh's promise to Abraham failed because it rested on a false assumption. That is, wealth and power come by war and conquest. The god of Israel knew almost nothing about farming and trade. When the Israelites saw a wealthy tribe, they never thought to ask how they got that way.
The pagan gods, like Baal and Asherah, were vegetation gods. Their people saw their bounty as a measure of their god's blessing. Encouraged by their gods, they developed vast irrigation systems, learned farming techniques and grew an abundance of crops.
Once the Israelites took their valuables, they literally destroyed, burnt to the ground and killed the inhabitants. It was like robbing a jewelry store, then burning down the store and killing the proprietor.
War is expensive. Since the Israelites never learned to produce surplus wealth to fund their war effort, they remained a tiny two bit theocracy. The Old Testament prophets were fond of blaming the Israelites for violating Yahweh's laws. It doesn't work. The Israelites remained insignificant because they listened to their priests.
If wealth and military strength were a measure of Yahweh's power, it would mean that Yahweh was not as powerful as the pagan gods. The best the Israelites were going to do, was to defeat the tribes too small to defend themselves.
|1. The Tribes Congregate||5. The Amorite League|
|2. The Fall Of Jericho||6. Southern Campaign|
|3. Ambush At Ai||7. Northern Campaign|
|4. Gibeonites Enslaved||8. Historicity Disputed|
The book of Joshua picks up with the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan River. The city of Jericho is in their sights. Yahweh gave Joshua moral support, promising victory in battle as long as the Israelites obey the law of Moses.
Preachers usually present this story as an object lesson in that nice things will happen to you if believe in and obey God. But that is putting a positive spin on God's evil side. This is a tribal god who is obsessed over the obedience of one nationality3/4 the Jews. This is a murderous God who not only sanctions; he mandates the wholesale slaughter of innocent men, women, and children because of their different religious beliefs.
If this were a Wild West movie you would see a tribe of savage Indians doing their dances and ceremonies in the hope that their gods will grant them success in battle. In the next scene you see the savages amassed along a mountain ridge ready to attack some isolated, small, stockade fenced town inhabited by helpless farmers.
It is not the Canaanites who are the aggressors; it is the Israelites. And they mean to destroy and pillage everything in sight. Yahweh will reward you for killing in his name.
12 3 4 5 (Joshua 1:1-5)
Joshua sent two spies into Jericho to assess the strength of their prey. When they returned, they reported to Joshua that despite the high walls, the town inhabitants are militarily weak and terrified of the Israelites.
When these missionaries of death and destruction approached the River Jordan, they followed from behind the Ark of the Covenant. Usually at that time of the year the waters flood over the banks, but this time the river miraculously stopped flowing, yielding dry land for the savages to cross.
Forty thousand men armed for battle crossed the river.
As one of those silly side notes, Yahweh commanded Joshua to circumcise his men¾all 40,000 of them, personally. If Joshua could circumcise four penises per hour, twenty four hours a day, it would have taken him over a year. Try to imagine a scene of 40,000 men lined up with their pants drawn for Joshua to introduce himself to every penis in his army. For adult men, this is a very painful operation.
To ceremoniously mark time before the siege, Joshua and the people marched silently once around the city; they did this for six days. The citizens of Jericho stayed behind their wall.
On the seventh day they attacked with trumpets blasting and people shouting. The noise made the walls fall. Whereupon the Israelites charged with swords raised high. They massacred men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys. Anything made of silver and gold and vessels of bronze and iron went to the priests. When nobody was left alive, they burned down the city.
2021 (Joshua 6:20-21)
The first attack failed because Achan from the tribe of Judah stole some of the priest's booty for himself and God noticed it and got mad.
Not knowing about the theft, Joshua sent three thousand men to invade Ai. It took only thirty-six men from Ai to kill them all.
45 (Joshua 7:4-5)
When Joshua asked Yahweh what went wrong, Yahweh told him about the theft.
"Arise, why have you thus fallen upon your face?
11Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant which I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, and lied, and put them among their own stuff. (Joshua 7:10-11)
The next day, Joshua found the thief. Achan and his family were stoned to death and burned to ashes. The perversity of Yahweh s justice is still intact. Kill the innocent for the sake of the guilty.
2425 (Joshua 7:24-25)
With Achan purged from their ranks, Yahweh let them keep whatever booty they wanted for themselves.
With the next victory assured, Joshua sent 30,000 warriors to the rear of the city at nightfall, waiting in ambush.
34 (Joshua 8:3-4)
The next morning he took 5,000 to the front of the city to draw out the king of Ai and his soldiers.
The king took the bait; every able-bodied man left in the city.
Joshua and his small group pretended to be beaten and ran away with the king in pursuit.
As they got far away from the city, Joshua's 30,000 warriors entered the defenseless city, slaughtering and burning everything in sight.
Then Joshua and his 5,000 turned against their pursuers and killed them all.
The king was captured and hanged. 12,000 Ai citizens¾men, women and children¾were killed that day. All that remained was the booty which the Israelites kept for themselves. Score another one for Yahweh's love and mercy.
2425 26 27 28 29 (Joshua 8:24-29)
The Gibeonites knew they couldn't protect themselves against this invading hoard of barbarians. So they made themselves look poor.
34 (Joshua 9:3-5)
They went to Joshua to make a peace treaty.
They told him they were people from a far off country who had a high regard for Yahweh.
89 (Joshua 9:8-9)
Joshua made peace with them, guaranteeing their lives by oath.
Much later after Joshua learned he was deceived; he kept his oath but the made them slaves.
2223 (Joshua 9:22-23)
For the Gibeonites it was a better deal than being destroyed.
The Amorite kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon made war against Gibeon because the Gibeonites had defected.
Because Joshua made an oath to protect the Gibeonites, they enlisted protection from Joshua.
So Joshua led his warriors against the Gibeonites' enemies.
As they fled from Israel, God threw hailstones at them, killing more than the Israelites could kill with the sword.
1011 (Joshua 10:10-11)
Joshua needed more daylight to complete
his massacre. So at his request, Yahweh made the sun stand still. There
are two notes of special significance here.
1. The mention of Yahweh's making the sun stand still, came from a time when it was believe that the sun moved relative to earth. All it means in reality is that the battle took place on June 21, the longest day of the year when the sun appears to stand still. The word, solstice, means sun stand still. The mood appears to stand still in its full moon phase.
2. The significance of the solstice, commemorates the day when the Jews took control of Jerusalem and its outlying areas.
1213 (Joshua 10:12-13)
Needless to say, every man, woman and child of the five kingdoms was cut down and the five armies, and the cities they came from, were butchered to extinction.
The five kings hid in a cave but Joshua found them and had them taken out of the cave, hung, and put back in the cave.
On and on the massacre continued until no one was left. Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, Debir fell to the sword.
2930 (Joshua 10:29-30)
3132 (Joshua 10:31-32)
3435 (Joshua 10:34-35)
37 (Joshua 10:26-37)
3839 (Joshua 10:38-39)
So Joshua defeated the whole land, destroying all that breathed. There is no estimate on the human cost of death and destruction. Thirty one kingdoms on the west side of the Jordan River met the same fate.
43 (Joshua 10:28-42)
When the king of Hazor heard this, he sent word to the other kings, warning of an imminent attack. So they combined forces: Madon, Shimron, Achshaph, the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites and the Hivites. Thought Joshua claims to have conquered the Hittites, it was no way possible. They were Egypt's equal in size and power.
12 3 (Joshua 11:1-3)
They joined forces and came out, with all their troops in number like sand, with horses and chariots.
45 (Joshua 11:4-5)
He attacked them as far as Sidon until no one was left remaining.
Joshua had their horses hamstrung and their chariots set on fire. He put the people of Hazor and their king to the sword, leaving no one left who breathed. He burned Hazor with fire. The other towns, he left standing.
910 11 12 13 14 (Joshua 11:9-14)
As he had done to Pharaoh in the Exodus, Yahweh hardened their hearts, so he could exterminate them.
When the Israelites recovered the land which God had promised as their inheritance, the land had rest from war.
These were the conquered territories upon which the Jews claim to have inherited as a matter of right.
According to historians and archeologists, at the time when Joshua was to have marched through Canaan, early 1200 BCE, the area was dominated by two great rival empires. The Egyptians controlled the area around the Mediterranean up to Syria. The Hittites ruled from Syria to the north.
In the Bible, no Egyptians are reported outside the boundaries of Egypt and none are mentioned in any of the battles within Canaan. Yet texts and archeological finds report that the Egyptians kept watch over local affairs.
In the time of Joshua, none of the cities described were protected by fortifications. For example, Jericho did indeed have great walls early in its history, but they were destroyed by an Egyptian army approximately 1560 BCE, long before Joshua's time.
More discrepancies exist when we look into later portions of Joshua and the book of Judges. The cities and their inhabitants whom Joshua supposedly exterminated, were alive and well to fight again.
24 (Joshua 13:2, 4)
Located on the Mediterranean coastline across from the Dead Sea.
23 (Joshua 13:2-3)
Located in the northeast delta section of Egypt. There was no place in Canaan by the name of Goshen. It never happened.
Unconquered. Belonged to Egyptians.
37 (Joshua 10:36-37)
Hittites. Thought Joshua claims to have conquered the Hittites, it was no way possible. They were Egypt's equal in size and power and they didn't live in Canaan.
Conquered. Jerusalem was within the hill country which the Jebusites occupied.
38 (Joshua 11:3, 8)
Conquered. (The hill country of Judah includes Jerusalem.)
1617 (Joshua 11:16-17)
5 (Joshua 13:2, 5)
38 (Joshua 11:3, 8)
Located to the north in what would now be Lebanon.
On and on it goes. The Bible not only disagrees with outside historical records. It disagrees with itself. Though there were no such conquests, supporters of Zionism use the Old Testament to justify their claim for the rights of Jews to establish the state of Israel-a nation of the Jews, by the Jews, and for the Jews. It is no wonder why they are still at war to this day.
For readers who would like to know more about the archeological records, I suggest "The Bible Unearthed," by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman.