Israel – Joshua 7 – 8, Ai

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I. Opening video.

In this timeline study of the children of Israel, we are traveling with they as they move on to the earthly Jerusalem. In the video, the Hoppers sing of the heavenly, “New Jerusalem,” Revelation 21:1-2.

II. Preface.

From the time that the sons of Noah exited the ark and moved throughout the earth to repopulate it, God made a choice to travel with the covenant seed of Noah’s son, Shem, which continued through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacob’s bloodline, the Israelites, had God present with them as He (God) prepared the children of Israel for (1) a kingdom, and (2) a King (2 Samuel 7:8-17). The Old Testament shows an intimacy of relationship That God had with the Israelites that is not seen in the lives of the other descendants of Noah (Ham or Japheth). God told the Israelites that He had chosen them to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth (Deu 14:2).

III. To do, or not to do.

A. Law. As we continue our travel with Israel, as they proceed onward to Jerusalem, we must be aware of certain scripture texts that may, or may not, relate solely to the Jews of the Old Testament. In this article we will take a look at the words of Joshua 1:8, as we consider “this book of the law.”

B. Law. Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

C. Prosperity. The Jews were told that if they obeyed the law that they could be prosperous and have success. So, how does that statement relate to Jews and non-Jews in the world today? The fulfillment of Joshua 1:8 will be to the Jews in the promised land, of the Kingdom Age, during the millennial reign of Christ. Many Christian hymnals have the song, “Showers Of Blessing.” Congregations sing that song, thinking that it relates to heaven, and Christians in heaven, which is incorrect. Ezek 2:3 states that the prophecies of Ezekiel are directed to Jews, and only to Jews. Ez 34:26, Gen 32:26 and Ps 115:12, from which “Showers Of Blessing” is drawn, all relate to Jews in the promised land, of the Kingdom Age, during the millennial reign of Christ.

D. 613 Torah Laws. The Law contains more than the Ten Commandments. Consider the 613 Torah Laws. The following link shows a listing of the 613 commandments (mitzvot), as recorded and classified by Maimonides in the 12th century. This listing is taken from his classic compendium of Jewish law, the “Mishneh Torah,” which contains 14 primary “books” or sections. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-613-mitzvot-commandments.

E. Leviticus Requirements. The original Hebrew title of this third book of the law is taken from the first word, translated “And He called.” The opening and closing words of the book of Leviticus show God’s law for the Jews to, “comply with,” thereby creating the term, “Torah Compliant.” No one is Torah complaint without complying with all of the Law, which points to the fact that following the Law involves much more than Sabbath worship.

F. New Testament Considerations. James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” This verse is very pointed toward those whom claim to be Torah complaint; such people have to be honest with themselves about whether they really keep “all of the law.” Within the law are such requirements that relate to stoning, animal sacrifices, and even the tithe. Within the four gospels, the law is kept. However, from the time of the day of Pentecost, there is no mention of law-keeping being passed onto Christians. Titus was not a Jew, and was not circumcised (Gal 2:3); he carried the gospel of Christ to Dalmatia (2 Tim 4:10), which became Yugoslavia, and is now Croatia (see following link). In the letter of Paul to Titus, there was no instruction on law keeping, either by Titus, or by the people that he would tell about Christ. The overwhelming message of the New Testament is “Christ and Him crucified,” 1 Cor 2:2. This link discusses Paul, Titus, Dalmatia and Croatia: https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/hr-history-dalmatia.htm

G. The giving of the Law to the Jews (and only to the Jews) (1491 B.C., Scofield Study Bible).

1. The Law given on Mt. Sinai (Ex 19:1-25). 2. The Ten Commandments given to the Jews (Ex 20:1-17).

H. Consider non-Jews who traveled with the Jews, as to their responsibility for being Law observant.

1. The Law In Leviticus. The opening and closing of the Book of Leviticus show that the contents of the book, which contains much of the law, relate to Jews, and only to Jews. There was an exception to non-Jews (strangers) that decided to travel with the Jews (See Ex 12:43-51).

2. Exodus 12:43-51. Strangers/Gentiles.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=ex+12%3A43-51&version=NASB

12:43–51 Additional regulations given for the holding of the Passover contained prohibitions on any uncircumcised foreigner, stranger, or hired servant being a valid participant. To partake of this meal, non-Israelites had to be “as a native of the land” (v.48). (MacArthur note)

3. Exodus 12:48-50 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
48 But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it. 49 The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you.” 50 Then all the sons of Israel did so; they did just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.

I. Strangers that traveled with the Jews had to adhere to the law. Male strangers had to be circumcised (Ex 12:48). God’s command was given to Jews, through Moses and Aaron.

J. Consider the Law. Notice that Leviticus opens and closes with a statement to Jews.

1. Leviticus 1:1-2 “1 Then the Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them”

2. Leviticus 27:34 “These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the sons of Israel at Mount Sinai.”

K. All of the commands to the Jews in the Book of Leviticus, as well as the other books of the Torah, are commands that must be followed to be Torah compliant. A careful study of the Torah law should show that Torah compliance can not be attained. Also, salvation does not come through the law (John 3:16-18). However, if anyone thinks that he, or she, is keeping the law, the following Torah requirements should shed light on that subject.

1. Stoning/Put to death: (1) disobedient children (Deu 21:18-21), (2) adulterers (Lev 20:10), (3) homosexuals (Lev 20:13), (4) mediums (Lev 20:27), (5) working on Sabbath (Ex 31:15), (6) gathering sticks on Sabbath (Num 15:32-36), (7) blasphemy (Lev 24:10-23)…Animal sacrifices (Lev 6:8-13)…”‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material (Lev 19:19)…Tithe (Lev 27:30-34), Num 18:21, Mal 3:10-12)…Offerings: Lev Burnt (1:1-17), Grain (2:1-16), Peace (3:1-17), Sin (4:1-5), Guilt (5:14-6:7)…(and about 600 others).

2. Question. Can any honestly say that they are Torah complaint?

IV. The Jewish Timeline Continues.

A. Battle Failure. This article follows the Israelites as they experience military failure for the first time in the Promised Land. Joshua and all of Israel are witness to the loss and devastation that comes from sin.

B. Battle Instructions. The following verse shows the severity of the instructions that God gave to Joshua and the Israelites concerning their attack on Ai:

Joshua 8:2 “You shall do to Ai and its king just as you did to Jericho and its king; you shall take only its spoil and its cattle as plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it.”

C. Battle Triumph. In this article we will look into the details of the triumph of the Israelites over the people of the city of Ai.

D. Halley’s Bible Handbook on Israel And Ai.

Right after the miraculous crossing of the Jordan, and the miraculous fall of Jericho, Israel met with a dreadful defeat at Ai—because of one man’s disobedience. It was a terrible shock to Israel. It was a disciplinary lesson. God was with them, but He meant them to understand that He expected obedience.

E. Video – Battle of Ai. Joshua Chapter 7 – 8

Old Testament Bible Stories Joshua Ai – Discipleship 4 Kids – Published on Sep 21, 2018
The first three minutes of this video discuss Joshua Chapters 7 and 8.

F. Details of Chapters 7 and 8 (Key NASB Verses and Ryrie Study Bible notes).

1. Joshua 7

a. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua+7%3A1-15&version=NASB
Joshua 7:1-15 – Israel Is Defeated at Ai

1 But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel. (Note. “acted unfaithfully.” Lit, broke faith. Achan’s action was a breach of covenant law (v 11).)

2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. (Note. Ai was located in the central hill country of Palestine, East of Bethel, and about 15 miles from Jericho.)

3 They returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few.” (Note. “few” In reality there were 12,000 (8:25).).

11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. (Note. “Israel has sinned.” The sin of Achan was imputed to the nation.)

13 Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the Lord, the God of Israel, has said, “There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst.” (Note. Consecrate yourselves by acts of purification. See Ex 19:10-15.)

b. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua+7%3A16-26&version=NASB
Joshua 7:16-26 – The Sin of Achan

21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it.” (Note. “a beautiful mantle from Shinar.” A long robe woven of gold and silk threads.)

24 Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor. (Note. Achan’s family must have been accomplices (cf Deu 24:16).)

25 Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.” And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. (See Deu 17:6-7).

26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor to this day. (Note. “Anchor” means “trouble.” The valley is about one mile south of Jericho.)

2. Joshua Chapter 8

a. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua+8%3A1-29&version=NASB
Joshua 8:1-29 – The Conquest of Ai

2 You shall do to Ai and its king just as you did to Jericho and its king; you shall take only its spoil and its cattle as plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it.” (Note. This time the Israelites could keep the spoil. Achan should have been more patient!)

3 So Joshua rose with all the people of war to go up to Ai; and Joshua chose 30,000 men, valiant warriors, and sent them out at night. (Note. “30,000.” A seemingly large number for an ambush. It has been suggested that “thousand” should read “chief.” If so, Joshua sent 30 chiefs on a commando-type ambush.) See links. https://biblehub.com/lexicon/joshua/8-3.htm https://biblehub.com/hebrew/7970.htm

4 He commanded them, saying, “See, you are going to ambush the city from behind it. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you be ready. (Note. “behind lit. i.e., on the west side (. 9).)

12 And he took about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city. (Note. This second force of 5,000 men was sent to prevent attack by the men of Bethel. Joshua’s main army on the nort (v. 11) was to decoy the men of Ai out of their city.)

18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” So Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. 19 The men in ambush rose quickly from their place, and when he had stretched out his hand, they ran and entered the city and captured it, and they quickly set the city on fire. (Note. Joshua’s javelin signaled the ambushing party by reflecting the sun from its flat blade.

29 He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening; and at sunset Joshua gave command and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the city gate, and raised over it a great heap of stones that stands to this day.(Note. “hanged.” Note from Deu 21:22-23. Hanging was not the usual means of death but a sequel to death, in order to expose the corpse to ultimate disgrace.)

b. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua+8%3A30-35&version=NASB
Joshua 8:30-35 – The Lord Renews His Promise with Israel – Joshua Renews the Covenant

30 Then Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, in Mount Ebal, (Note. The “fortress” city of Shechem, which guarded the entrance to the valley between “Mount Ebal” and “Mount Gerazim,” may have surrendered, been captured, or been friendly at this time.)

31 just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the sons of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of uncut stones on which no man had wielded an iron tool; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings. (Note. “an altar. Note from Ex 20:24-26. An acceptable altar had to be made of earth or natural (unhewn) stone, and without steps (to prevent indecent exposure while climbing up to the altar.”

32 He wrote there on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written, in the presence of the sons of Israel. (Note. “stones.” Not of the altar, but of a large pillar.)

G. Video Of Archaelogical Study Of Ai
Notice the presence in the video of Dr. Eugene Merrill of Dallas Theological Seminary.

sourceflix – Published on Jun 14, 2010 – Dr. Bryant Wood believes he may have found the city of Ai written of in Joshua chapters 7 and 8 in the Bible. Watch some shots from our recent excavations there.

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Author: Equipping Site

Things of significance are discussed in this blog.

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