The blitz Lenten reading plan was all of Joshua and 10 chapters of Judges. I listened to most of the reading plan today. I've wrestled with this book multiple times on this blog.
Joshua, God's ordained killer. 2006
Achan's family's punishment. 2007
Did God command genocide? 2010
The best understanding of Joshua's conquests. 2011
Been reading and thinking. 2012
No commentator I have seen talks about the contradiction between Do not kill, and don't leave anyone alive. That's a direction I'd like to see more exploration.
The great insight for me is in Earl's The Joshua Delusion? pointing out that Rahab and her family and the city or Ai were great examples of grace and compassion. Their survival was in violation of the rules given the Israelite army, yet, unlike other times, they weren't judged by God. Maybe Moses' influence permitted this.
One other thing that stood out to me is that most of the battles were defensive. The sack of Jericho was bad, in my eyes no matter how many or how few women and children were killed, but most of the other battles were against armies that assembled to push them out of the land.
I'll talk about Judges tomorrow when I finish it. Lots of nastiness in that book as well.
Is it possible for a culture to be childlike and in need of time to mature? It seems like God is dealing with a nation of toddlers in the wilderness, with accompanying black and white conversations. These post-Pentateuchal books leave more room for gray, they are 1st graders now. Are the harsh rules and angry outbursts from the Pentateuch less about God and more about the immaturity of the culture and their leader, Moses?