Monthly Archives: April 2021

Hamstring Their Horses

Hamstring Their Horses

In Joshua 11:6 God told Joshua that he would deliver the Canaanites into the hands of Israel, and that Joshua should “hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” This raises two questions: 1) what exactly were the Israelites to do to the horses, and 2) what was the purpose of this command? The first question is more difficult, the second is pretty easy. The verb “to hamstring” is the Hebrew word iqqer (עִקֵּר). Most English versions render this as “hamstring,” although some prefer a less-specific term like “cripple” (NLT, CEB). ......

Joshua's Covenant Renewal at Shechem

Joshua’s Covenant Renewal at Shechem

Moses commanded that the Israelites renew their covenant with Yahweh when they reached the Promised Land. Joshua 8:30-35 records how this took place. Joshua led the Israelites up to the area of Shechem (which is not mentioned by name) to build an altar, sacrifice to God, write the law on plastered stones, and rehearse the covenant with the people audibly. A couple of interesting observations can be made regarding the rehearsal of the blessings and the curses with the people. The first has to do with the location of this event. Moses......

Joshua's Altar on Mount Ebal

Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal

It is unusual for a structure that is mentioned in the Bible to be uncovered by archaeologists. A short list might include examples like the “Temple of Baal-berith” at Shechem (Judg 9:4), the palace of Eglon at Jericho (Judg 3:20), the palace/fortress of Saul at Gibeah (1 Sam 15:34), or the palace of Omri and Ahab at Samaria (1 Kgs 16:29).  We can probably add to this list the altar built by Joshua on Mount Ebal. After the conquest of Ai, Joshua and the Israelites traveled up to Mount Ebal to offer......