June 19, 2010

Examining The Scripture XXXVI: Divide, Conquer, Occupy

Joshua pretty much defines the military strategy of dividing and conquering. Joshua’s first campaign deploys from Shittim and drives directly ahead across the Jordan River into Jericho and as far as east Ai and Bethel, Joshua then moves slightly north from Bethel to Shechem. This is considered the Central campaign and it effectively cuts Israel in half dividing Northern Canaan from Southern Canaan so that the two cannot act as co-belligerents (click on map above for closer view of Central Campaign in yellow).

Joshua then mounts a southern campaign based out of Gilgal. He proceeds south and in a broad zig-zagging loop around Jerusalem and systematically takes cities/settlements in order geographically either by treaty, warfare or divine assistance. The cities incapacitated after the death of the five kings in order appear to be: Gibeon, Beth-Horon, Ajalon Valley, Azekah, Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron and Debir. They then return to Gilgal (click on map above for closer view of Southern Campaign in red).

The Northern campaign is then mounted and the Joshua’s forces make a B-line for Hazor one of the largest cities in Canaan. With God on Joshua’s/Israel’s side Hazor doesn’t stand a chance basically dismantles Hazor’s defenses and chases the remaining forces. The city is then burned (click on map above for closer view of Northern Campaign in red). As mentioned above it is only Hazor that is razed by fire. Hazor was located in the Upper Galilee region approximately 10 miles north of the Sea of Galilee in modern day or the very northern extent of modern day Israel just below the Lebanon border (Aharoni 48)

Joshua and his men destroyed the "people" in the other cities. I believe the following statement shows up in most of the accounts of conquest in some shape of form: “On that day Joshua took […enter city name here…], and and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword. He utterly destroyed them. I believe that is a fairly good summation of all of the cities eventual fates. We must also note that during the conquest of all the cities mentioned in the Southern campaign, I see absolutely no statements about Israelite casualties, not one! Execept at Ai obviously but that was mitigated by Achan. What we do see in Joshua 11:14 is a statement where it can be implied that the physical resources of the cities Joshua conquered such as buildings and cisterns, and wells were spared. It served no purpose to destroy the resources if it was the people that needed to be removed.

"The Israelites carried off for themselves all the plunder and livestock of these cities, but all the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed.” Joshua 11:14

"all the plunder and livestock of these cities...". To be able to have a place to take "plunder' and "livestock" from...implies cities still had to be standing and not razed to the ground. As we see later, Israel would eventually take over the cities they conquered and inhabit them.

I imagine this is the reason archaeologists have problems with dating the book of Joshua is because there wasn’t much physical evidences left of the former culture to date after the complete destruction of the Canaanites themselves and assimilation of the culture hearths or cities of Canaanites and others by the Israelites. Regardless, since the Bible is inerrant it is just a matter of time until the historicity and science begins to validate and back-up the Biblical account.

There were still places left untouched and unconquered at this point but the bulk of Canaan was now in the hands of Joshua and the Israelites.

Aharoni, Yohanan. The Macmillan Bible Atlas. Revised ed. Indianapolis: Macmillan USA, 1977. 43-48. Print.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...