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Bible Highlights from the Book of Joshua
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Introduction: The purpose of Bible Highlights: the Bible tends to be repetitious and not always chronological. Therefore, Bible Highlights can help you get a sense of the Big Picture by scanning for key sections that are needed at a particular point in your Bible study and teaching. However, the complete Bible should always be used in conjunction with Bible Highlights, and always takes priority over anything you may read in Bible Highlights.
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Table of Contents for Bible Highlights from the Book of Ruth
of completed books of the Bible:
Joshua [Under Construction]
Highlights from the Book of Joshua
JOS 1:1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: 2 "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them--to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates--all the Hittite country--to the Great Sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
JOS 1:6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
After Moses died, God appointed Joshua to lead the children of Israel. The Greek spelling for Joshua is Jesus.
God reminds Joshua of two major already established facts:
V 3: Every place you walk on will belong to you.
V 5: And, every battle you fight you will win.
Of course, this is the standard contingency contract that God always offers those who serve him. The IF clause is, if you obey me. The THEN clause is, then I will protect and bless you.
This contingency contract still stands today:
IF you accept Jesus as your Lamb of God, and live for Him,
THEN I will give you eternal life.
In Exodus, we see God leading His people out of Egyptian slavery with Moses leading the way, but when it was time to actually enter Canaan, their promised land, they balked.
Moses had sent out ten spies to recon Cabana. Ten of those spies saw giants in the land and said, "We cannot claim our promised land. Caleb and Joshua were two spies who brought back a good report. They said, in essence, sure there are giants in the land and the cities are walled. But the land flows with milk and honey.
Milk means the cattle are reproducing and making milk for their calves. Honey means there are fruit, vegetables, and flowers and the bees are busily pollinating all that good stuff, and creating honey while they do.
Caleb and Joshua even brought a bunch of grapes from Eschol that was so huge, they carried it on a stick between them.
Most of the Israelites listented more to the 10 negative spies than to Caleb and Joshua and refused to cross over into Canaan. As a result of their balky spirit and lack of faith, God punished them to wander aimlessly in the dessert until the able-bodied men had all died off. Numbers 14:29.
Now God stresses how important it is for everyone to follow the Law of Moses and "meditate on it day and night."
Three days and we move out
JOS 1:10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 "Go through the camp and tell the people, `Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.' "
JOS 1:12 But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13 "Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: `The LORD your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land.' 14 Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, fully armed, must cross over ahead of your brothers. You are to help your brothers 15 until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise."
JOS 1:16 Then they answered Joshua, "Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!"
In the last 40 years, the Israelites have wandered aimlessly in the dessert and now they are camped at the Jordan. Joshua gives the command "We move out in three days. Get ready."
Moses had promised land east of the Jordan to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh [Joseph's son]. The fighting men had to cross over Jordan and fight along with everybody else, but their families and herds could stay on the East side. The Israelites had learned something in the last 40 years. When Joshua said, "head em on and move em up" they said disobedience will be a capital crime.
Joshua's spies and Rahab
JOS 2:1 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. "Go, look over the land," he said, "especially Jericho." So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.
JOS 2:2 The king of Jericho was told, "Look! Some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land." 3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: "Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land."
JOS 2:4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. 5 At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I don't know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them." 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) 7 So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.
JOS 2:8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, "I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 12 Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death."
JOS 2:14 "Our lives for your lives!" the men assured her. "If you don't tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land."
JOS 2:15 So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 16 Now she had said to them, "Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way."
JOS 2:17 The men said to her, "This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. 19 If anyone goes outside your house into the street, his blood will be on his own head; we will not be responsible. As for anyone who is in the house with you, his blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear."
JOS 2:21 "Agreed," she replied. "Let it be as you say." So she sent them away and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
JOS 2:22 When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them. 23 Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, "The LORD has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us."
Joshua sent spies to recon Jericho, just as Moses had sent Caleb and himself 40 years ago. These spies were resourceful, but the Holy Spirit led them to Rahab's house and she was a prostitute. Why a prostitute, you ask. The Holy Spirit knew that Rabah had already begun to believe in God because of the reputation of the Israelites.
The King of Jericho thought Joshua had sent spies, but when the King's soldiers came knocking at Rahab's door, she said two men had come but the left. Actually, Rahab had the spies hide on the roof, under a layer of flax stalks that she had put up there to dry.
Rahab promised the spies she would help them escape if they would protect her family when the war began. The spies told her to hang s scarlet cord out the window of her house, which was built into the city wall. The spies promised that when the Israelite soldiers saw the scarlet cord the occupants of her house would be spared.
The spies hid in the hills for three days, and then made their way back to Joshua.
In Matthew 1:5, we read that Rahab was the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth; the child of Boaz and Ruth was Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David, the King of Israel.
When you put yourself in God's hands, there is no limit to the heights you can achieve.
Follow the ark
JOS 3:1 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it."
Joshua and the Israelites camped at the Jordan River for three days. This delay may have been part of God's psychological warfare against Jericho.
The battle plan was simple. Follow the ark at about 1000 yards. This would be 10 football fields placed goal line to goal line. Of course no one could touch the ark of the covenant. Even the Levites who carried it did so by grasping the two poles that went through the rings at the four corners.
Crossing the Jordan River
JOS 3:5 Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."
JOS 3:6 Joshua said to the priests, "Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people." So they took it up and went ahead of them.
JOS 3:7 And the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: `When you reach the edge of the Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river.' "
JOS 3:9 Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD--the Lord of all the earth--set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap."
The Jordan River was at flood stage at this time of the year. Melting snow from the Mountains of Lebanon as well as spring rains would have made the Jordan to be about 100 feet wide and up to 12 feet deep.
When the bearers of the Ark set foot in the water, it miraculous stopped flowing created a "pile" of water.
JOS 3:14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea ) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
JOS 4:1 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, 2 "Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight."
JOS 4:4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, "Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, `What do these stones mean?' 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever."
More information of the damming of the Jordan is provided here. The miracle dam was actually some distance upstream from the crossing Joshua would be using. The ark and its bearers stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan and the Israelites passed by it and over to the Jericho side.
God also commanded that 12 men, one from each tribe, should go out into the river bed and pick up a large stone, big enough to carry on a man's shoulder. Over on the Jericho side, these stones would be piled up and serve as a reminder for future generations how the flood-stage Jordan was miraculously dammed up so the people could cross on dry land.
When the Israelites were leaving Egypt forty years earlier, with the chariots chasing them, they crossed through the Red Sea with no one getting a wet foot.
The Egyptians got more than wet feet. Pharaoh's army was wiped out, with no survivors.
Forty thousand armed for battle
JOS 4:8 So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the LORD had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. 9 Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.
JOS 4:10 Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the LORD had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11 and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the LORD and the priests came to the other side while the people watched. 12 The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, armed, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them. 13 About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the LORD to the plains of Jericho for war.
JOS 4:14 That day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they revered him all the days of his life, just as they had revered Moses.
The establishment of a memorial place or altar is common in the early days of the Old Testament. The reference to "they are there to this day" does not apply to the 20th century. It refers to the time the book of Joshua was written.
God did not need 40.000 to knock down the walls of Jericho. He could have done the job with 40 or 4 men, plus his omnipotent power. But God likes to get people involved as long as those people do not give the glory to their large numbers. When Gideon was preparing to fight the Midianites, God kept winnowing down the size of the army until he reached 300. Judges 7:1.
In verse 14 of this passage, the writer says the people revered Joshua just as they had revered Moses. Let's hope that the reverence far outdistanced the way they revered Moses. They murmured against him constantly as illustrated in: Ex. 15:24. Ex. 16:2, Nu. 14:2, Nu. 16:41.
Circumcision at Gilgal
JOS 4:18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.
JOS 4:19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, "In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, `What do these stones mean?' 22 tell them, `Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.' 23 For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God." JOS 5:1 Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the LORD had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until we had crossed over, their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.
JOS 5:2 At that time the LORD said to Joshua, "Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again." 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.
JOS 5:4 Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt--all the men of military age--died in the desert on the way after leaving Egypt. 5 All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the desert during the journey from Egypt had not. 6 The Israelites had moved about in the desert forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land that he had solemnly promised their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. 8 And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.
JOS 5:9 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you." So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.
After Joshua's army crossed over the Jordan, it returned to flood stage as it was before the crossing. This is additional proof of the supernatural nature of the crossing during high water.
When the Israelites had rebelled at Joshua and Caleb's good report, God told the men of military age they would wander aimlessly in the desert until they had all died off. This took about 40 years. During this wandering, boy babies had not been circumcised on the 8th day as was the custom for the Hebrews.
Now the Israelites had to suddenly confirm to the custom which was cutting the foreskin off the adult males in an act called circumcision. Of course they had to stay in the camp until until the surgery had healed. Circumcision for adult males is a much bigger deal than it is for 8 day old boy babies.
When the Hivite, Shechem, raped Jacob's only daughter, Dinah, King Harmor proposed that Dinah be given to Shechem in marriage and that the Hebrews and Hitites intermarry freely.
Simeon and Levi, two of Dinah's brothers deviously said that would be OK if the Hivites agreed to be circumcised. The Hivites had no experience with circumcision and agreed to the deal and allowed themselves to be circumcised.
While the Hivites were still sore and unable to fight, Simeon and Levi went into Shechem with their men and massacred the whole town, to the dismay of Jacob. Gen. 34:25.
End of the free lunch
JOS 5:10 On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. 11 The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. 12 The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan.
JOS 5:13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?"
JOS 5:14 "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?"
JOS 5:15 The commander of the LORD's army replied, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.
JOS 6:1 Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
The Bible's philosophy for able bodied men and women is "If you don't work, you don't eat."
During the 40 years that the Hebrews wandered in the desert, God provided their food by means of the six day appearance of manna on the ground in the morning. But as soon as they crossed over Jordan and were in their promised land, God withheld the manna and expected they to eat off the land, as all nomadic and agrarian people do.
When Joshua got near to Jericho, he met a man with a drawn sword who identified himself as the commander of the Lord's arms. My personal opinion is that this was the archangel Michael. Today we would call Michael backup. The army that Michael commanded was numberless angels. There is no record that Michael or his army of angels ever lifted a finger, but they were there just in case.
When the King of Jericho saw the Hebrew army approaching, went into siege mode. He locked the city gate and no one went in or out.
The battle of Jericho
JOS 6:2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. ...
JOS 6:8 When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the LORD went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the LORD's covenant followed them. 9 The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10 But Joshua had commanded the people, "Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!" 11 So he had the ark of the LORD carried around the city, circling it once. Then the people returned to camp and spent the night there.
JOS 6:12 Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the LORD and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets kept sounding. 14 So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.
JOS 6:15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, "Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury."
JOS 6:20 When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. 21 They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it--men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.
JOS 6:22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the prostitute's house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her." 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.
JOS 6:24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the LORD's house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho--and she lives among the Israelites to this day.
JOS 6:26 At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: "Cursed before the LORD is the man who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: "At the cost of his firstborn son will he lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest will he set up its gates."
JOS 6:27 So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.
There's one neat thing about fighting on God's side. You know before the battle starts that you will be on the winning side.
That must have been a sight to strike fear into the people of Jericho. Although they did not believe in the true God, they worshipped their own gods and perhaps were very superstitious.
Here comes 7 priests with trumpets [shofar, rams horns] followed by an armed guard, followed by four priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant on poles through the corner rings, followed by the rear guard, followed by 40,000 armed men. The priests blew their trumpets but there was no other sound except the tramp, tramp, tramp of marching feet. This same routine continued for the next 5 days.
God authorized breaking the Sabbath Day blue law and the Hebrews worked on the 7th day.
But on the seventh day, the column circumnavigated Jericho 7 times. When the priests blew their shofars, the Hebrew army gave a mighty shout and the walls came tumbling down.
Joshua had not forgotten his promise to protect Rahab, the prostitute, and her family. She had helped the spies who went to Jericho on a recon mission and Joshua ordered her to be saved.
Every other living thing in Jericho died that day, including men, women, children, and animals. That sounds a little rough today, but that was God's plan for clearing out Canaan of all the idolatrous gentiles. As King Saul would later learn, obedience is better than sacrifice.
But the next battle the Israelites fight in Canaan, they will lose. Stay tuned!
The first battle of Ai
JOS 7:1 But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the LORD's anger burned against Israel.
JOS 7:2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, "Go up and spy out the region." So the men went up and spied out Ai.
JOS 7:3 When they returned to Joshua, they said, "Not all the people will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary all the people, for only a few men are there." 4 So about three thousand men went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, 5 who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted and became like water.
After the magnificent victory over Jericho, the sin of one man caused a loss at the hands of a much smaller city, Ai.
Following normal procedure, Joshua sent spies to scope out the city of AI Those spies came back and said, AI is small potatoes compared to Jericho. We won't need to must the whole army of 40,000. A much smaller force can complete this mission.
So Joshua sent a force of 3,000 and they lost miserably. Suddenly, the Israelites lost all their will to fight.
Achan did it
JOS 7:13 "Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, `Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it.
JOS 7:14 " `In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe that the LORD takes shall come forward clan by clan; the clan that the LORD takes shall come forward family by family; and the family that the LORD takes shall come forward man by man. 15 He who is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the LORD and has done a disgraceful thing in Israel!' "
JOS 7:16 Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was taken. 17 The clans of Judah came forward, and he took the Zerahites. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was taken. 18 Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
JOS 7:19 Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me."
JOS 7:20 Achan replied, "It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath."
JOS 7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. 23 They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the LORD.
JOS 7:24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today." Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.
God had ordered Joshua and his men to destroy everything in Jericho except Rahab and her family. However, Achan got greedy and smuggled a Babylonian robe, 200 shekels of silver, and 50 shekels of gold out of Jericho and hid it in the floor of his tent.
The next day Joshua mustered the entire nation of Israel. God selected Judah as the tribe, on down by clan, family, and individuals. Achan confessed to his sin. The punishment was death Achan and everyone in his family.
Second battle of Ai
JOS 8:10 Early the next morning Joshua mustered his men, and he and the leaders of Israel marched before them to Ai. 11 The entire force that was with him marched up and approached the city and arrived in front of it. They set up camp north of Ai, with the valley between them and the city. 12 Joshua had taken about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city. 13 They had the soldiers take up their positions--all those in the camp to the north of the city and the ambush to the west of it. That night Joshua went into the valley.
JOS 8:14 When the king of Ai saw this, he and all the men of the city hurried out early in the morning to meet Israel in battle at a certain place overlooking the Arabah. But he did not know that an ambush had been set against him behind the city. 15 Joshua and all Israel let themselves be driven back before them, and they fled toward the desert. 16 All the men of Ai were called to pursue them, and they pursued Joshua and were lured away from the city. 17 Not a man remained in Ai or Bethel who did not go after Israel. They left the city open and went in pursuit of Israel.
JOS 8:18 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Hold out toward Ai the javelin that is in your hand, for into your hand I will deliver the city." So Joshua held out his javelin toward Ai. 19 As soon as he did this, the men in the ambush rose quickly from their position and rushed forward. They entered the city and captured it and quickly set it on fire.
JOS 8:20 The men of Ai looked back and saw the smoke of the city rising against the sky, but they had no chance to escape in any direction, for the Israelites who had been fleeing toward the desert had turned back against their pursuers. 21 For when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that smoke was going up from the city, they turned around and attacked the men of Ai. 22 The men of the ambush also came out of the city against them, so that they were caught in the middle, with Israelites on both sides. Israel cut them down, leaving them neither survivors nor fugitives. 23 But they took the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.
JOS 8:24 When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. 25 Twelve thousand men and women fell that day--all the people of Ai. 26 For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed all who lived in Ai. 27 But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as the LORD had instructed Joshua.
Joshua took his army and camped within sight of Ai. What the king of Ai did not know was that Joshua had sent an ambush party of 5,000 behind the city.
When the Israelites attacked Ai, the king thought it would be a cake walk like the first battle of Ai, so he sent his army out against the Israelites, who turned tail and retreated toward the desert, in what football fans will recognize as a "draw play". This left Ai wide open with no defenders.
Then the 5,000 man ambush party behind the city rushed through the open gates and set Ai on fire. When the kings army realized that AI was burning, it was too late. Joshua's army killed everyone in Ai but were allowed to take home plunder, and livestock.
The fraud of Gibeon
JOS 9:3 However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. 5 The men put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. 6 Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, "We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us."
JOS 9:7 The men of Israel said to the Hivites, "But perhaps you live near us. How then can we make a treaty with you?"
JOS 9:8 "We are your servants," they said to Joshua. But Joshua asked, "Who are you and where do you come from?"
JOS 9:9 They answered: "Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the LORD your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan--Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. 11 And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, `Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, "We are your servants; make a treaty with us." ' 12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey."
JOS 9:14 The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.
The people of Gibeon heard the news of the fate of Jericho and Ai and realized they were next in line for the Army of Israel. So they sent a delegation dressed like bums who had just made a long journey from a distant land. The begged Joshua to make a peace treaty with them.
The key to this story is found in verse 14. The Israelites inspected the equipment of the Gibeonites and even sampled the stale bread. But, they did not ask God what He thought of the delegation of the Gibeonites. If they had asked the Lord, He would have revealed the fraudulent nature of the whole operation.
The cost of the fraud
JOS 9:16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. 17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, 19 but all the leaders answered, "We have given them our oath by the LORD, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them." 21 They continued, "Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community." So the leaders' promise to them was kept.
The fraud came to light in just 3 days. However, there was a price to pay. The Israelites sentenced the Gibeonites to haul wood and water for the rest of their lives. Since this was an arid country with limited amounts of wood and water, the Gibeonites had a full time job.
The battle for Jerusalem
JOS 10:5 Then the five kings of the Amorites--the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon--joined forces. They moved up with all their troops and took up positions against Gibeon and attacked it.
JOS 10:6 The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: "Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us."
JOS 10:7 So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. 8 The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you."
JOS 10:9 After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. 10 The LORD threw them into confusion before Israel, who defeated them in a great victory at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the LORD hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.
You might think that Jerusalem was built by the Israelites as their capital city. It was the spoils of war after the kings of the high country lost the battle of Gibeon. Of course God helped by raining large hailstones down on the enemy army.
JOS 10:12 On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: "O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon."
JOS 10:13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!
This is in the top 3 miracles in the Bible. The other 2 are crossing the Red Sea on dry land and the resurrection of Jesus from the borrowed tomb.
This is even more miraculous when you realize that God listened to Joshua and the Sun and Moon were frozen in their orbits for a whole day. Of course, God created the whole universe so it is not unreasonable that He should have control over the orbits of two specks in our Solar system.
The fall of the kings of Canaan
JOS 12:7 These are the kings of the land that Joshua and the Israelites conquered on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir (their lands Joshua gave as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel according to their tribal divisions-- 8 the hill country, the western foothills, the Arabah, the mountain slopes, the desert and the Negev--the lands of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites):
JOS 12:9 the king of Jericho one the king of Ai (near Bethel) one
JOS 12:10 the king of Jerusalem one the king of Hebron one
JOS 12:11 the king of Jarmuth one the king of Lachish one
JOS 12:12 the king of Eglon one the king of Gezer one
JOS 12:13 the king of Debir one the king of Geder one
JOS 12:14 the king of Hormah one the king of Arad one
JOS 12:15 the king of Libnah one the king of Adullam one
JOS 12:16 the king of Makkedah one the king of Bethel one
JOS 12:17 the king of Tappuah one the king of Hepher one
JOS 12:18 the king of Aphek one the king of Lasharon one
JOS 12:19 the king of Madon one the king of Hazor one
JOS 12:20 the king of Shimron Meron one the king of Acshaph one
JOS 12:21 the king of Taanach one the king of Megiddo one
JOS 12:22 the king of Kedesh one the king of Jokneam in Carmel one
JOS 12:23 the king of Dor (in Naphoth Dor) one the king of Goyim in Gilgal one
JOS 12:24 the king of Tirzah one thirty-one kings in all.
Joshua and his men killed all inhabitants of these cities and carried as plunder anything of value. Here is the Bible record of the brutal treatment the Canaanites recede at the hands of Joshua and his army.
JOS 11:12 Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded. 13 Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds--except Hazor, which Joshua burned. 14 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. 15 As the LORD commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.
The Canaanites worshipped many detectable gods. Wikipedia says this about Moloch. He was an ancient Ammonite god. Moloch worship was practiced by the Canaanites, Phoenicians, and related cultures in North Africa and the Levant. As a god worshipped by the Phoenicians and Canaanites, Moloch had associations with a particular kind of propitiatory child sacrifice by parents. Moloch figures in the Book of Deuteronomy and in the Book of Leviticus as a form of idolatry (Leviticus 18:21: "And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Moloch"). In the Old Testament, Gehenna was a valley by Jerusalem, where apostate Israelites and followers of various Baalim and Caananite gods, including Moloch, sacrificed their children by fire (2 Chr. 28:3, 33:6; Jer. 7:31, 19:2–6).
Moses realize the evil that worship of such gods was a great danger to the moral fiber of the Israelites. Therefore, he ordered genocide for all the people groups that God's army encountered.
The unfortunate daughter
JDG 11:29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."
JDG 11:32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.
JDG 11:34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, "Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break."
JDG 11:36 "My father," she replied, "you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request," she said. "Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry."
JDG 11:38 "You may go," he said. And he let her go for two months. She and the girls went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin. From this comes the Israelite custom 40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.
This is one of the saddest stories in the Bible. Jephthah had the spirit of the Lord on him and the led the Israelites in battle against the Ammonites. But he became worried that he might not win the battle so he made a deal with God. If God would help hem defeat the Ammonites, then he would give as a burnt offering whoever was the first to come out of his house when he returned home victorious.
The sad part is that God would have helped him win the battle. Verse 29 says the spirit of the Lord was upon him. Therefore, he already was assured of a victory without putting a family member in jeopardy.
When he got home, who should be the first to welcome him home? His own daughter, singing and playing her tambourine.
In those days, people took vows seriously. When him daughter leaned of the vow, she agreed that the vow must be kept. Most girls or boys in a similar situation would have started running into another country. This daughter agreed but only asked that she and her friends be given 2 months to roam the hills and weep because she would never marry.
JDG 12:4 Jephthah then called together the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. The Gileadites struck them down because the Ephraimites had said, "You Gileadites are renegades from Ephraim and Manasseh." 5 The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Ephraim, and whenever a survivor of Ephraim said, "Let me cross over," the men of Gilead asked him, "Are you an Ephraimite?" If he replied, "No," 6 they said, "All right, say `Shibboleth.' " If he said, "Sibboleth," because he could not pronounce the word correctly, they seized him and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed at that time.
The password was Shibboleth. Some couldn't say that word and said Sibboleth, without the H, they died at the fords of the Jordan for not knowing the password.
The Kings Joshua defeated
JOS 12:7 These are the kings of the land that Joshua and the Israelites conquered on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir (their lands Joshua gave as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel according to their tribal divisions-- 8 the hill country, the western foothills, the Arabah, the mountain slopes, the desert and the Negev--the lands of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites):
The Old Testament and the first chapter of Matthew lists fallen kings of Canaan and the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
At first glance, these names are hard or impossible to pronounce and the casual Bible student is tempted to skip over all but the common names. However, it is important to note that these very names can, in the hands of Bible archeologists, prove the Bible is true and tells a story about real people and real events.
Verses 12:9 through 12:24 are excellent examples of this kind of Bible passage.
When Joshua was old
JOS 13:1 When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the LORD said to him, "You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.
JOS 13:2 "This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites: 3 from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite (the territory of the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron--that of the Avvites); 4 from the south, all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek, the region of the Amorites, 5 the area of the Gebalites; and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.
God uses men to do His will and work His program. Moses led the children of Israel out to Egyptian bondage and God chose Joshua as his successor. But that didn't make him essential to God's plan for cleaning the Promised Land of the pestiferous Caananites. As Joshua grew too old to lead the army in hand to hand combat, he was replaced.
Cities of Refuge
JOS 20:1 Then the LORD said to Joshua: 2 "Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses, 3 so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood.
JOS 20:4 "When he flees to one of these cities, he is to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state his case before the elders of that city. Then they are to admit him into their city and give him a place to live with them. 5 If the avenger of blood pursues him, they must not surrender the one accused, because he killed his neighbor unintentionally and without malice aforethought. 6 He is to stay in that city until he has stood trial before the assembly and until the death of the high priest who is serving at that time. Then he may go back to his own home in the town from which he fled."
In the days of living by and eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, However, there were limitation on the cities of refute. In Verse 20:3, They could be used only if the suspect did injury that was both accidental and unintentional.
If an injury occurred as planned and intentional assault, the cities of refuge did not apply.
The inheritance of the Levites
JOS 21:1 Now the family heads of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the other tribal families of Israel 2 at Shiloh in Canaan and said to them, "The LORD commanded through Moses that you give us towns to live in, with pasturelands for our livestock." 3 So, as the LORD had commanded, the Israelites gave the Levites the following towns and pasturelands out of their own inheritance:
The Tribe of Levi had the assignment of taking care of everything having to do with the Tabernacle. However, they needed pasture lands since the Israelites were shepherds and herders to go along with the cities that were given to them as their inheritance.
Camp Meeting is over.
Ch 22: 1Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh 2and said to them, “You have done all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded. 3For a long time now—to this very day—you have not deserted your fellow Israelites but have carried out the mission the Lord your God gave you. 4Now that the Lord your God has given them rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. 5But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” 6Then Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their homes.
As I read this passage I was reminded of our summer camp meetings where Christians gather for instructions and renewal, and then return to their home churches for another year of routine living .
Joshua's Valedictorian speech
Joshua’s Farewell to the Leaders 23 After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man, 2 summoned all Israel—their elders, leaders, judges and officials—and said to them: “I am very old. 3 You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you. 4 Remember how I have allotted as an inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations that remain—the nations I conquered—between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 The Lord your God himself will push them out for your sake. He will drive them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised you. 6 “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. 7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. 8 But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.
As Joshua draws near to the end of his life, he feels a need to all a convocation of Israel and remind them of two things. First, he reminds them of all the good things God has given them. Second, he reminds them of all the ways they can bring disaster on their nation:
1. Follow all that is in the book of law. v6.
2. Have nothing to do with the uncircumcised people around them. v7.
3. Stay clear of the gods the heathen worship.
By the way, it is customary to have two speeches at graduation ceremonies, based on the meaning of two words: salutatorian and valedictorian. The first speaker and the second highest in grades makes the "hello" speech. The last speaker is the valedictorian because he has the highest grades and says "farewell".
The Covenant Renewed at Shechem
24 Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God. 2 Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. 3 But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, 4 and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his family went down to Egypt.
There is some belief that the acoustics of the Shechem area made it practical to hold meetings with all the people being able to hear what what was going on.
Joshua died at 110
Joshua 24: 29 After these things, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 30 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Serah[c] in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 31 Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel. 32 And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver[d] from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants. 33 And Eleazar son of Aaron died and was buried at Gibeah, which had been allotted to his son Phinehas in the hill country of Ephraim.
Joshua died at 110 years old. V.32 Israel served the Lord during the life of Joshua and the elders who outlived him.
It's sad that the same could not be said of all the leaders who were to follow Joshua as Israel's leader.
The Author of the Bible Highlights is G. Edwin Lint
He has a broad knowledge base and extensive training, and experience. His formal education includes Bachelor of Science in Bible and Bachelor of Theology degrees from the Allentown, Pennsylvania campus of Houghton College; Master of Arts in educational supervision and administration from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.
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