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Questions and Answers: The History of Israel Part Three

Welcome back to the History of Israel part three. We concluded part two with the men of Israel and their negative report of the land. The men began to get even more negative in Israel’s ability to take the land. They reported that Israel was as grasshoppers to the Anakims.

When the children of Israel heard the report by the ten men they cried and complained all night. They complained to Moses that they wish they had remained in Egypt rather than to go out. Israel did not want to deal with this murderous task of taking the land of Canaan even though the Lord their God gave them the land.

God was terribly upset at their lack of faith and would have destroyed them had it not been for Moses’ interceding once again. However, they were punished for their complaining. It took them forty days the scour the land. The Lord gave each day for a year; they would wander in the wilderness for forty years because of their evil report.

The History of Israel Part Three

Truly it was because of their lack of faith. When the children of Israel heard the report that they would wander the land in the wilderness for forty years they repented and decided to go up and take the land of Canaan right away. Moses ordered them to stand down because that is not the way God planned it.

God was not with them at that moment, but they refused and tried to take the land of Canaan on their own. They tried to take the land of the Amalekites by themselves. They were terribly defeated. God decided to spread a disease on those ten men who spread the evil report and would not allow that generation to enter into the Promised Land.

Those who did not believe died out. Only Caleb and Joshua were allowed to see the promised land and to outlive the generation that rebelled. Interesting note, Caleb is from the tribe of Judah, and Joshua from the tribe of Ephraim (Joseph). Israel went through a series of internal rebellions and external ones.

Fornicating with other gods…

One of the external rebellions was caused by the king of Moab. His name was Balak, and he hired a priest named Balaam to put a curse on the children of Israel. It didn’t work, but they were able to get Israel to stumble by luring them with women and fornication.

The physical act of fornication led to the spiritual act of fornicating with the god Baal Peor. This was the Moabites god (one of them at least) and Israel went for it, angering the God of Israel greatly. The Sovereign Lord wanted the literal heads of all the princes that engaged in the acts of fornication with the Moabites gods and women.

Yes, it was very serious stuff here. Aaron’s grandson Phinehas took zealous vengeance for the Lord and this helped to stop the spread of a nasty plague God sent among the children of Israel. As they lingered in the wilderness, Moses and Aaron finally got caught in the madness of the children of Israel.

Balaam Caused Israel to Sin

history of israel

In a fit of complaining, Moses and Aaron struck back and showed little honor and restraint towards God. It was serious enough for God not to allow them access to the land of Canaan. Aaron died and Moses only got to take a glimpse into the land from the mountain Nebo. Joshua, from the tribe of Ephraim, was appointed as Moses successor.

The last thing Moses did before his death, was to avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites. They warred and won, they killed the kings of Midian and even took down Balaam who caused Israel to sin at the request of Moab’s king Balak. The tribes, Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh, came before Moses and requested to have the land east of the Jordan.

It was granted to them, but they were still required to go out and war with the rest of their brothers to capture all the land west of the Jordan. All the rules and order was set, and then Moses went the way of the ancestors. Joshua became the leader of Israel and prepared to take the Israelites into the land of Canaan, the land of the Lord’s promise.

From the Wilderness to Lebanon…

We have to bear in mind that the children of Israel are a two million plus nation of people who have dwelt in the wilderness for the last forty years. Many have died and a new generation was being prepared to go into the land of Canaan. Joshua, who is from the tribe of Joseph by way of Ephraim, is the leader.

He prepared the children of Israel to ready themselves to take the land. The land the Lord gave to Israel is from the wilderness to Lebanon to the great river, the river Euphrates. It includes all of the lands of the Hittites and goes to the great sea towards the going down of the sun (thought to be the Mediterranean Sea).

The Lord promised to be with the Joshua as the Lord was with Moses. This would be secured if only the Israelites would keep the book of the law in their mouth, to meditate on it day and night. This would make them prosperous and give them good success. The key is to be strong and courageous.

Getting Reading to Sack Jericho

The children of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh promised to help the tribes of Israel claim all lands before they settle in the land of the Amorites east of the river. Jericho was spied out first. The king of Jericho sent officials to the house of Rahab, a woman known as a harlot in the town.

The secret service spies of Israel had spent the night there but were gone by the time the Amorite officials questioned Rahab. The Israelite spies were able to retrieve enough intelligence to carry out their mission of taking down Jericho. Israel then crossed the river.

Joshua was magnified by God; and as soon as the twelve men were chosen from each tribe and the twelve priests who bore the ark of the Lord set their feet in the river, something amazing happened. The waters that came down from above stood up like someone built a dam across the river.

They were able to cross over or pass over the Jordan on dry ground. The Israelites set up a monument for the occasion as well as set up camp at Gilgal. They were preparing for battle as they marched into Jericho to take the city. To be continued!


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