Reading 60/341, Deuteronomy 33-Joshua 2

[A] We conclude the Pentateuch today with Deuteronomy. The first book of the Historical Books, which we will be reading for the next 3½ months, is Joshua. Joshua is a sort of border between the two. Some scholars speculate that before Deuteronomy was added to the Levitical Law, Joshua was the 5th book of the Pentateuch. Joshua reads somewhat like Numbers, so this is plausible.
[B] Before we get to Joshua though, Moses gives a blessing and dies. His death scene is somewhat moving, but the blessing is mostly confusing. Many of the words in Hebrew are unknown, so it is very unclear what Moses is saying.


This is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. He said, “The Lord came from Sinai, and rose from Seir on us. He shone forth from Mount Paran. He came from the ten thousands of holy ones. At his right hand was a fiery law for them. Yes, he loves the people. All his holy ones are in your hand. They sat down at your feet. Everyone shall receive your words. Moses commanded us a law, an inheritance for the assembly of Jacob. Thus the Lord was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Israel together. Let Reuben live, and not die, nor let his men be few.”
This is the blessing of Judah, and he said, “Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah. Bring him in to his people. With his hands he contended. You shall be a help against his adversaries.”
Of Levi he said, “Give to Levi your Thummim, and your Urim to your godly one, whom you tested at Massah, with whom you strove at the waters of Meribah, who said of his father and of his mother, ‘I have not seen them’, nor did he acknowledge his brothers, nor did he know his own children, for they have observed your word, and keep your covenant. They shall teach Jacob your ordinances, and Israel your law. They shall put incense before you, and whole burnt offering on your altar. O Lord, bless his substance. Accept the work of his hands. Strike through the hips of those who rise up against him, of those who hate him, that they shall not rise again.”
Of Benjamin he said, “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him. He covers him all the day long. He dwells between his shoulders.”
Of Joseph he said, “His land is blessed by the Lord, for the precious things of the heavens, for the dew, for the deep that crouches beneath, for the precious things of the fruits of the sun, for the precious things of the growth of the moons, for the chief things of the ancient mountains, for the precious things of the everlasting hills, for the precious things of the earth and its fullness, the good will of him who lived in the bush. Let the blessing come on the head of Joseph, on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers. The firstborn of the herd, majesty is his. His horns are the horns of the wild ox. With them he shall push the peoples, all of them, to the ends of the earth, They are the ten thousands of Ephraim. They are the thousands of Manasseh.”
Of Zebulun he said, “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out, and Issachar, in your tents. They shall call the peoples to the mountain. There they will offer sacrifices of righteousness, for they shall draw out the abundance of the seas, the hidden treasures of the sand.”
Of Gad he said, “He who enlarges Gad is blessed. He dwells as a lioness, and tears the arm, and the crown of the head. He provided the first part for himself, for there was the lawgiver's portion reserved. He came with the heads of the people. He executed the righteousness of the Lord, his ordinances with Israel.”
Of Dan he said, “Dan is a lion's cub that leaps out of Bashan.”
Of Naphtali he said, “Naphtali, satisfied with favor, full of the blessing of the Lord, possess the west and the south.”
Of Asher he said, “Asher is blessed with children. Let him be acceptable to his brothers. Let him dip his foot in oil. Your bars shall be iron and bronze. As your days, so shall your strength be.
There is none like God, Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens for your help, in his excellency on the skies. The eternal God is your dwelling place. Underneath are the everlasting arms. He thrust out the enemy from before you, and said, ‘Destroy’. Israel dwells in safety; the fountain of Jacob alone, in a land of grain and new wine. Yes, his heavens drop down dew. You are happy, Israel. Who is like you? A people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help, the sword of your excellency! Your enemies shall submit themselves to you. You shall tread on their high places.”
Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. The Lord showed him all the land of Gilead, all the way to Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, to the hinder sea, and the South, and the Plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. The Lord said to him, “This is the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your seed.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab across from Beth-peor, but no one knows the location of his tomb to this day. Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor weakened. The children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, then the days of weeping in mourning for Moses were ended. Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him, and the children of Israel listened to him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses. There has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, and in all the mighty power, and in all the great terror, which Moses worked in the sight of all Israel.


Now it happened after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' servant, saying, “Moses my servant is dead, now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you, and all this people, to the land which I give to them, to the children of Israel. I have given you every place that the sole of your foot will tread on, as I told Moses. From the desert, and Lebanon, to the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the great sea toward the setting of the sun, shall be your border. No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not fail you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, to carefully do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may carefully do all that is written in it, for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage. Be not afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, “Pass through the midst of the camp, and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare food, for within three days you are to pass over the Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God gives you to possess.’” Joshua spoke to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, saying, “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God gives you rest, and will give you this land.’ Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock, shall live in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall pass over before your brothers, armed, all the mighty men of valor, and shall help them until the Lord has given your brothers rest, as he has given you, and they have also possessed the land which the Lord your God gives them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession, and possess it, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.” They answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we listened to Moses in all things, so will we listen to you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your commandment, and does not listen to your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and of good courage.”
Joshua the son of Nun secretly sent two men out of Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, and Jericho.” They went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and slept there. The king of Jericho was told, “Behold, men of the children of Israel came in here tonight to spy out the land.” The king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered into your house, for they have come to spy out all the land.” The woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they came from. It happened about the time of the shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went, I do not know. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid out on the roof. The men pursued them all the way to the Jordan, to the fords, and as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate. Before they had laid down, she came up to them on the roof, and she said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you, when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites, who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and to Og, whom you utterly destroyed. As soon as we had heard it, our hearts melted, nor did there remain any more spirit in any man, because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father's house, and give me a true token, and that you will save alive my father, my mother, my brothers, and my sisters, and all that they have, and will deliver our lives from death.” The men said to her, “Our life for yours; if you do not talk about this business of ours, then it shall be, when the Lord gives us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.” Then she let them down by a cord through the window; for her house was on the side of the wall, and she lived in the wall. She said to them, “Go to the mountain, lest the pursuers find you, and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward, you may go your way.” The men said to her, “We will be guiltless of this your oath which you have made us to swear. Behold, when we come into the land, you shall bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which you let us down by. You shall gather to yourself, in this house, your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father's household. It shall be that whoever goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood will be on his head, and we will be guiltless. Whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand is on him. But if you talk about this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless of your oath which you have made us to swear.” She said, “According to your words, so be it.” She sent them away, and they departed. She tied the scarlet line in the window. They went, and came to the mountain, and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had returned. The pursuers sought them all along the way, but did not find them. Then the two men returned, descended from the mountain, passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they told him all that had happened to them. They said to Joshua, “Truly the Lord has delivered into our hands all the land. Moreover, all the inhabitants of the land melt away before us.”

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