BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8

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Summary of Joshua 8:

The Lord tells Joshua how to conquer Ai. Joshua is to take the whole army (30,000 men) and do the same to Ai as to Jericho–kill all the people. Set an ambush behind the city. This time the Lord granted the Israelites permission to carry off the plunder and livestock for themselves.

Joshua employed a trick to lure the army of Ai out of the city, leaving it empty. Joshua was to lure the army out, while 5,000 Israelites were left to take the city and burn it to the ground.

Joshua marched up to the front of the city with the ambush men behind the city. The king of Ai went out to meet the Israelites who fled. All of the men of Ai pursued the Israelites. Joshua held out a javelin as the signal for the ambush men to take the city.

Image result for map of ai and ebalThe Israelites then turned on the army of Ai and the army of the ambush came out as well and surrounded the army of Ai. None of them had a chance, and all were slaughtered except the king of Ai. Then all the citizens in the city of Ai were put to death as well. The city was plundered, the king of Ai hung, and the body was thrown at the entrance to the city as a warning to the other Canaanite tribes.

After the battle, Joshua built an altar to the Lord at Mount Ebal, according to the Book of the Law of Moses. Joshua offered up burnt offerings, fellowship offerings, and wrote out the law of Moses on stones. All of Israel was present. Joshua read out the Law to all the people.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

9a) Personal Question. My answer: God is a loving and caring God. He tells Joshua to not be afraid or discouraged and He tells Joshua that He’ll grant them victory this time around.

b) God involves all of the people (fighting men) and tells the Israelites exactly how to take the city.

10) God through Moses had commanded the Israelites to read the blessings and the curses to the people, so that all would know what would happen if they obeyed God or disobeyed God.

11) Personal Question. My answer: Be held accountable for your words and actions. Study the Bible. Read the Bible. Obey the Bible. Pray for guidance from God. Do His will in your life and not your own.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

Just a difference God’s blessing makes! Joshua 7 was full of misery and anger and vengeance and defeat. Joshua 8 is full of victory and obedience and gratitude and joy as God leads the Israelites. Love this example of what happens when God is with us and what happens when He turns His back on us.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

Joshua was a military expert. He had gained valuable knowledge of the land as a spy for Moses. Israel effectively cut Canaan into two and cut off strategic trade routes. He used “flying column” formations, night marches, ambush tactics (as in here) rather than long sieges, and destroyed key cities.

The renewing of the covenant was Moses’ final instructions to the Israelites before he died (Deuteronomy 27-28). The two mountains, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, formed a natural amphitheatre for the ceremony. At their peaks, much of the Promised Land could be seen. Mount Gerizim would become the seat of worship for the Samaritans (John 4).

It was time for the people to move on after having dealt with Achan in Joshua 7. God encourages the Israelites and gives them a plan to follow to conquer the city–His plan. And God gives them the spoil as well. Too bad Achan couldn’t have waited.

Joshua used the entire army this time to ensure victory. He didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Joshua followed God’s general plan. He also stayed close to the people to encourage them, so they wouldn’t be afraid. Jesus stays close to us as well when we go into battle.

Note the Israelites took the offensive, something we have to do with the devil. We can’t wait to be attacked. We must actively ward against evil.

Ai didn’t change their battle plan; this is Satan. He doesn’t change what works against us. And this time, the Israelites victory is complete.

What are the Israelites Keys to Victory in Joshua 8?

  • Be encouraged and have faith.
  • Follow God’s plan
  • Use all your resources
  • Attack
  • Show no mercy when good is at stack

Note Israel’s History:

  • Obedience = victory
  • Victory leads to blessing
  • Blessing enables pride/disobedience
  • Disobedience = defeat
  • Defeat = judgement
  • Judgement yields repentance
  • Repentance brings obedience
  • With obedience comes victory
  • Repeat.

The Israelites give God the victory.Image result for map of ai and ebal

Joshua is a man of the Book, obeying the command of Joshua 1:8. Israel is a people of the Book.

The distance from Ai to Ebal and Gerizim was a long way to move all the tribes of Israel, from 20 to 25 miles. Now, however, Israel is in the middle of Canaan, strategically placed for further victories.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 3: Joshua 7

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Summary of Joshua 7:

The Israelite Achan disobeyed the Lord by taking some of the devoted things for himself instead of destroying them as ordered by the Joshua (Joshua 6:18), inciting the Lord’s anger.

Map of Ai
Map of Ai

Like with Jericho, Joshua ordered  spies to go to Ai to check out the region. The spies reported back that not all the men would be needed to defeat Ai, so only 3000 were sent. The Israelites were routed by the men of Ai, killing 36 Israelites. The Israelites were chased and the rest were destroyed.

Joshua, distraught over the loss, falls prostrate before the Ark of the Covenant and beseeches the Lord, lamenting the fact the Israelites had come so far only to be defeated. Joshua questions God as to why and points out how this damages the Lord’s name with their enemies.

The Lord informes Joshua of Achan’s sin and orders him to destroy the devoted things Achan has taken or He will forsake them.  The Lord tells Joshua to have the people consecrate themselves, and in the morning, he will destroy by fire whoever has the devoted things.

The Lord leads Joshua to Achan who confesses he took the devoted things. Joshua takes Achan to the Valley of Achor, stones him and his sons and daughters, and then burns them. The Lord then turned from His anger.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 3: Joshua 7

6) Joshua “tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there until evening.” Joshua questioned the Lord’s motives, wondering and praying to the Lord why did He deliver the Israelites only for them to be destroyed. He points out that now that the Canaanites have defeated Israel, the news will spread and the Lord’s name will be wiped out from the earth.

This prayer reveals that Joshua knows God well because he knows how much God wants unbelievers to fear His name. These battles are for God’s glory, not the Israelites. Joshua is close enough to God to be able to lay out his greatest fears before the Lord and question the Lord without fear of repercussions. Joshua and God are close.

7) God revealed to Joshua that someone had violated His covenant and stolen devoted things.  Israel had sinned and lied, and that’s the reason the Israelites lost to the Canaanites. God warns Joshua that He will no longer be with Israel unless the devoted things are destroyed. The Lord ordered Joshua to have the people prepare themselves, and He would reveal the thief and destroy him by fire along with all that belongs to him.

Achan admits he has sinned against the Lord and admits what he stole from the plunder. He reveals the hiding place of this treasure.

Joshua retrieves the stolen devoted things and spreads them out before the Lord. Joshua takes Achan and all that belongs to him (sons, daughters, cattle, donkeys, sheep, his tent, and all his material possessions) along with the stolen devoted things (silver, robe, and gold wedge). All of Israel stones the family and animals and burns them and everything else.

8 ) Personal Question. My answer: I have lost friends, jobs, esteem, respect, confidence, money, and time. I have lost self-confidence, replaced by a feeling of shame and guilt.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 3: Joshua 7:

This lesson reminded me of how we all pay for one person’s mistake, which has been since Adam and Eve bit the apple. I thought of all the laws created because of one person’s actions, all the rules we have to follow because of one person, and all the nonsensical things we have to do because of one person. And it reminded me of how this world has changed because everyone is afraid they’re going to get sued if anything goes wrong.

End Notes for BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 3: Joshua 7:

The Israelites get cocky after Jericho. The conquered a city without firing an arrow. Now, Ai, the next target, is small and puny. The Israelites send a small army–and are thoroughly routed.

The conquering of Canaan by the Israelites was not for personal gain; it was to enact judgment on peoples who were unbelievers. By taking the devoted objects for personal gain, the Israelites were disobeying God and His plans.

Thirty-six men were more of a symbolic defeat. No men were lost at Jericho. With these men killed, it meant Israel could be defeated.

The tearing of clothes and dust upon the head is a sign of mourning: both for the 36 men and for God having forsaken them.

God wants us to be victorious; however, humans can still be defeated if we disobey God or choose evil over good. We always have a choice.

Sin can spread (1 Corinthians 5:6). It must be dealt with immediately and publicly to send a message. Especially when the sin is stealing from God himself!

Leviticus 22:1427:1527:19, and 27:31 each demonstrate that in Israel, if you wanted to keep something that belonged to God, you had to pay a 20% (one-fifth) penalty. This was the same amount required for restitution in theft (Leviticus 6:4-5).

The New Testament says giving should be regular and proportional (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), that it should be generous, purposeful, and cheerful (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). When we don’t give as God directs us, we must regard it as sin and repent of it.

What happened to ancient Israel cannot happen to us. Israel was under a covenant with God that said blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Jesus frees us from such a burden. However, if we want God to show up in our lives, we must obey Him, turn from sin, and walk in fellowship with God (1 John 1:6).

God showed mercy upon the Israelites by revealing their sin to them. They cannot act on their own power and self-reliance. God is in charge and is the power.

Was Achan’s Children Stoned?

Unlikely. They were guilty in that they probably knew Achan had stolen the goods since he buried the devoted things under his tent. However, the singular is used when referencing the person being stolen. When the plural is used, it’s probably referencing Achan’s possessions.

Once the sin was dealt with and the people’s hearts were conquered again by God, He went with the Israelites.

Theme of Joshua 7:

  • Obey God=victory
  • Disobey God=defeat

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27

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Summary of Joshua 5:13-6:27:

As Joshua is preparing to take Jericho, a man holding a sword appears before him. This man identifies himself as the commander of the Lord’s army. Joshua prostrates himself, while the man tells him to take off his sandals for he is standing on holy ground.

Summary of Joshua 6:

The Lord spoke to Joshua and told him how to take Jericho, which had now retreated behind their city walls. The Lord tells Joshua to march around the city one time with all of his men for 6 days. Have 7 priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the 7th day, march around the city 7 times, while the priests blow the trumpets. When the priests give a loud blast on the trumpet, have everyone shout and then the walls will collapse and you can just walk in and take the city.

So the people obeyed Joshua’s orders and did exactly as the Lord had commanded. On the 7th day, Joshua commands the people to shout and take the city that the Lord has given them, but to spare Rahab and all who are with her in house. He also warns the people not to take the devoted things or they will be destroyed. All the silver, gold, bronze, and iron (the devoted things) are sacred to the Lord and must go into His treasury.

The Israelites devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed everything and everything–every man, woman, child, cattle, sheep and donkeys. Rahab was escorted safely out of the city by the two spies whom she saved and placed into a camp near Israel’s camp. Then the whole city was burned to the ground, excepting the silver, gold, bronze, and iron, which went into the Lord’s treasury. Rahab lived amongst the Israelites all of her days.

Image result for battle of jerichoJoshua cursed the city never to be re-built. The Lord was with Joshua and his fame spread.

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27

3) Joshua met a man with a sword in his hand who identified himself as the commander of the Lord’s army. The man is acting on the Lord’s orders to appear before Joshua. He is following a command and is therefore indifferent to whatever is happening in Joshua’s world.

4a) The Lord encourages Joshua, saying that Jericho is already his. He has delivered it into his hands along with the king and all the fighting men. Thus, Joshua’s faith and courage would be bolstered, and his trust grown deeper roots. God wants us to succeed. He is a loving God who encourages and cares for His people.

b) This is one of the most unique “battle” strategies ever. To begin with, there was no battle. The men marched around the city, blew some trumpets, the walls fell down, and Jericho was taken. The Israelites I’m sure were confused and wondering what was the purpose of this. The residents of Jericho must have thought the Israelites were insane and wondered what was wrong with them.

5a) God ordered Joshua to kill every living thing inside the walls of Jericho except Rahab and her family who were congregated inside her home because she had saved the lives of the two spies. God ordered the people killed as judgment upon them for their sins against the Lord–namely unbelief, worshipping other gods, and the so-called religious traditions they practice such as burning their sons and daughters as sacrifices to these false gods. The land was burned because even the land was defiled.

b) Personal Question. My answer: This is a perfect example of why so-called “innocent” people are killed and slaughtered.  None of us are innocent. We are all guilty of sin and deserve death. When what seems to us senseless killings (floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, or wars against each other) all serves a purpose in God’s plans for us. That’s why bad things happen to “good” people. None of us are good.

Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27:

Who doesn’t love this story? I would have loved to have been there to see such a sight, and I would have wondered what on earth these crazy people were smoking to be marching around a city and blowing trumpets. It’s such a classic tale of complete and utter trust in the Lord. Note no Israelite is killed as far as we know. The city was taken without a fight. That by itself is a miracle.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27:

We know that this man, standing before Joshua, was God. Although the man identifies himself as the Commander of the army of the LORD, leading some to say this may have been an angel (Revelation 12:7), angels are never worshipped (Revelation 22:8-9). Furthermore, Joshua calls the angel “My Lord” and removes his sandals like Moses did at the burning bush (Exodus 3:5).

Army of the Lord does imply that this was an army of angels.

Some Biblical scholars speculate this could have been Jesus in bodily form, which we know he existed from the very beginning, so this could be possible (Genesis 18:16-3332:24-30, and Judges 13:1-23).

The whole point of this section of Joshua 5 is to show that Joshua is obeying God whole-heartedly and submitting to God’s will and not his own. With the army of the Lord on our side, how can we lose?

Why did God appear before Joshua?

God appeared to instruct Joshua on the very important taking of Jericho and, as we’ll see, it was such an unlikely scenario that it could have only come from God. God came to make sure Joshua was completely committed to Him–a lesson for our own lives. Are you completely and totally committed to whatever God tells you to do?

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Joshua 6: The Fall of Jericho

The City of Jericho:

Before, the Israelites have only had promises from God. Now it’s time to deliver. And God starts with the hardest first. Jericho, a formidable city, might possibly mean “city of the moon god.” It was located 5 miles west of the Jordan River and 7 miles north of the Dead Sea. It’s climate is tropical and in ancient times date palm trees flourished there as well as balsam, from which medicine was extracted. Today, banana groves grow, fed from springs of water, a green oasis in the middle of the dry Jordan rift area. It’s capture was the key to the invasion of the central hill country.

In the New Testament, its location shifted south a few miles. It yielded a large revenue to the royal family and Herod the Great’s winter palace was built here. The road from Jordan to Jerusalem passed through Jericho, making it a stopping place for Galilean pilgrims to Jerusalem who traveled this way to avoid contamination by the Samaritans.

Jesus passed through Jericho on a number of occasions (Mark 10:46-52; Matthew 20:29-34; Luke 19:1-10; Luke Image result for city of jericho10:29-37).

Fun Fact about City of Jericho:

Archaeology supports a city at Jericho since the seventh to sixth millennia BC, which puts Jericho as one of the oldest cities known–having existed 5000 years before Abraham.

Many archaeological digs have been conducted over the years to determine if Jericho actually existed. Some scholars believe it did, but Jericho was a much smaller fort. Evidence has been eaten away by the elements. So much digging has been done that the likelihood we’ll ever know remains doubtful.

God tests their faith first by having the city fall by the most unconventional of means. It required total faith by Joshua and total faith by all of the Israelites. Again, we see how God’s people have to do something; God just doesn’t give them the city.

Normally, the ark of the covenant does not go into battle. This was so the people know God was with them.

Key Points of the Battle of Jericho:

  • Joshua acted immediately, without delay.
  • The Israelties were open to attack as they marched around the city.
  • The Israelites had to be patient and persistent as they had to march for 6 days, doing something that required absolute faith.
  • The fall takes place on the 7th day, so the Israelites would have had to march on a Sabbath. Note how God does things in 7 days, the number of spiritual perfection (Creation, sprinkling of blood on the mercy seat, etc.)
  • All the valuables are set aside for God as Jericho is the first fruits.
  • Everyone (except Rahab and her family) in Jericho is destroyed because they are in total rebellion against God.
  • Israel took what God gave: the city.

When the wall fell, were the Israelites surprised? I’m sure the people of Jericho were shocked. How often are we surprised when God fulfills His promises?

Slaughtering everyone is a harsh penalty. But the Canaanites were in spiritual disobedience and this was their judgment. God chose His people to enact the penalty. Sometimes, He does the consequences like in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-25).

We know that Jericho had heard about the God of Israel (Joshua 2:8-11), but only Rahab responded. Thus, she is rewarded with her life. Scholars say Joshua was written at the time these events occurred because of the line “she [Rahab] lives among the Israelites to this day.

Joshua’s curse in Joshua 6:26 was fulfilled literally when a man attempted to rebuild the city of Jericho in the days of King Ahab (1 Kings 16:34).

Themes of Joshua 6 and What We Learn from the Battle of Jericho:

  • Faith: Joshua and Israel believe God’s commands
  • Obedience: Joshua and Israel follow God’s commands.
  • Courage: Joshua and Israel execute God’s commands.

All while trumpets are the weapons, not swords.

Like we saw with the 10 plagues of Egypt, God is declaring war on all of Canaan who are wicked (Deuteronomy 9:5) and had forfeited their right to the land 400 years prior (Genesis 15:16).

Prayer Requests Online

Hey all!

I trust everyone had a wonderful summer, and everyone is eager to get back to studying God’s Word with Bible Study Fellowship’s study of People of the Promised Land Part 1.

Every Sunday (except for the last Sunday of the month when I post my new Coffee Chat with God), I’ll post prayer requests. This is your chance to ask for prayer anonymously if you like or leave your name. It’s also a place to post praises as well! There’s power in prayer so please post away!

My Prayer Request: I’m struggling to find the right diet for my body as I’ve been struggling with bloating. My family and I lead busy lives. Pray we don’t let stress get to us and pray I’m a good parent.

God bless everyone this week!

 

Book Review: Esio Trot

Image result for esio trotMore of a short story than a novel, Esio Trot by beloved children’s book author Roald Dahl is sure to leave you with a smile on your face.

Mr. Hoppy, a retiree, is in love with the woman below his balcony, Mrs. Silver. Mrs. Silver is in love with her tortoise (Esio Trot spelled backwards.) Mr. Hoppy has to find a way to ingratiate himself into Mrs. Silver’s heart by replacing the tortoise named Alfie.

One day, Mrs. Silver is complaining to Mr. Hoppy about how she wishes her tortoise would grow. Mr. Hoppy hatches a plan to make Alfie grow, thereby winning over Mrs. Silver. His plan is to tell her to whisper to the tortoise three times a day a ridiculous, backwards sayings. Mr. Hoppy goes out and purchases 100 tortoises with markings similar to Alfie’s and slowly replacing Alfie by stealing him off her balcony.

Every couple of weeks while Mrs. Silver is out at her part-time job, Mr. Hoppy replaces Alfie. Sure enough, Alfie “grows.” Mrs. Silver is forever grateful, and Mr. Hoppy finally has the courage to ask Mrs. Silver for her hand in marriage and she agrees.

This book is literally a 20-25 minute read with pictures on every page. Fun story. The only thing I didn’t like is Mrs. Silver never finds out about the trick and the original Alfie finds a new, loving home. Overall, delightful to read and recommended.

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12

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Summary of Joshua 5:1-12:

Upon hearing of God’s bringing of His people across the Jordan River by stopping its flow, all the Amorite king and Canaanite kings lost courage to face the Israelites. God ordered the circumcision of His people at Gibeath Haaraloth. These were the sons of the the wandering Israelites who had not been circumcised on the journey. They remained in camp until they were healed.

The Israelites celebrated the Passover, eating the produce of the land (unleavened bread and roasted grain). The manna stopped after this since the Israelites were now able to produce their own food.

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12:

11) To circumcise all the Israelites who had not been circumcised previously. God had commanded Abraham that all Israeli males be circumcised as a sign of the covenant made between Abraham and God, which was God’s promise to Abraham to make him into a great nation and receive the gift of the Promised Land. It was also a requirement to be circumcised to take part in the Passover, which is a celebration in remembrance of God sparing the Israelites in his judgment of Egypt, passing over the houses of the children of Israel when He killed the firstborn of man and beast in Egypt.

Deuteronomy tells us also that “God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”

12a) Passover. The passover signifies the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people.

b) God stopped giving manna. This signified to the Israelis that they now would be able to provide for themselves–something all of us wants.

13) Personal Question. My answer:  God has given me a new job, so my husband and I can start getting out of debt and getting on the right path for our lives. It’s a job that grows me and will serve me (and Him) forever in the future. I will thank Him by following Him, giving Him the credit, and loving Him.

Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12:

It’s important to remember our blessings each and every day, which can easily get distracted with our daily struggles and problems. God chose circumcision and Passover for His people. Now, you can choose whatever you wish as a remembrance: just make it something concrete, visible, and meaningful to you.

Watch VIDEO of book of Joshua if you haven’t had a chance yet.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12:

Related imageSeeing the miracle of the Jordan River parted is only part of the reason the kings cower before the Israelites. The other reason: the Israelites trust in God. Trust is powerful. Think of all the people you trust enough to cross a parted river. Maybe a handful?

Apparently, no one was circumcised in the 40 years of wanderings. It was time to show your outward obedience to God’s commands and get circumcised. Circumcision is a consecration of yourself to God. It’s renouncing yourself and living for God. This had to be done before the conquering began.

Obviously, this was suicidal from a military standpoint.  All the men of fighting age were made completely vulnerable and unable to fight for a period of several days.

If you remember back in Genesis 34:24-25, Simeon and Levi killed all the men in a city after tricking them into having them all circumcised. While the men were unable to fight, they were slaughtered in retaliation, because the prince of that city had raped Dinah, the sister of Simeon and Levi. This could have been the fate of Israel here in Joshua 5.

  • Israel crossed over the Jordan at a militarily undesirable place (right in front of Jericho, the strongest military outpost of the Canaanites),
  • Then the Israelites incapacitated their army for several days.

The Israelites were circumcised because they trusted God.

God, in His infinite compassion, only asked the Israelites to do this AFTER the miracle of the parting of the Jordan River. God gives us strength and courage before he pushes us again. Radical things happen when we trust wholeheartedly in God.

“Rolling away the reproach of Egypt” means the shame of being slaves in Egypt and the underlying sin and rebellion that had caused that punishment. The Israelites needed to stop seeing themselves as helpless slaves and sinners but as conquering warriors of God who were forgiven.

God did not want the Israelites to forget His deliverance of them. God never wants us to forget Jesus’ deliverance of us out of bondage and into freedom.

God didn’t want the Israelites to get lazy; they could provide for themselves. Again, they needed to trust in God’s provision–not in how it was provided.

Gilgal will become a base camp for the Israelites. After battles they will return here. They will remember God’s greatness with the stones and be strengthened and renewed.

Theme of Joshua 5: Trust in God.

Fun Biblical Fact: This is the only time Gibeath Haaraloth is mentioned in the Bible.