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The End of the Beginning: Joshua and Judges (A People and a Land, vol. 1)

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Ancient stories invoking contemporary questions and providing insight for an uncertain future.

The End of the Beginning presents a chapter-by-chapter interpretation of Joshua and Judges, based on the author’s translation. Johanna van Wijk-Bos accompanies the reader through the story of Israel from the entry into Canaan up to the time of Samuel. van Wijk-Bos weaves together the memories of ancient Israel’s past into a story that speaks to the traumatic context of postexilic Judah.

The books of Joshua and Judges were written for education, edification, and entertainment. Some of the stories may exhilarate us, some may appall; all will speak to the imagination if we let them. They show a people forging a path forward into an uncertain future in the hope that God will forgive past failures and begin again with them. Christians enter the stories of Israel’s past as outsiders, while at the same time claiming a bond with the same God. We expect more from the text than lessons of the past intended for a different people. These are not our stories, but we too hope for insight and for a guiding word in our own uncertain future.

This is the first volume of A People and a Land, a multi-volume work on the historical books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings.

Resource Experts
  • Offers a close reading of the Hebrew text in translation to reacquaint readers with the path taken by the people of Israel
  • Examines some of the most familiar and some of the least known material in the Bible
  • Contains author’s own translation

Joshua: Entering the Land

  • Introduction
  • Cycle I: Crossing and Conquest (Joshua 1–12)
  • Cycle II: Occupation (Joshua 13–21)
  • Cycle III: Conflict and Unification (Joshua 22–24)
  • Looking Back

Judges: Delivering the Land

  • Introduction
  • Cycle I: Setting the Stage (Judges 1:1–3:6)
  • Cycle II: Oppressors and Saviors (Judges 3:7–16:31)
  • Cycle III: To Do What Is Right (Judges 17–21)
  • Taking Stock
  • Appendix: Hebrew Words in This Volume
  • Title: The End of the Beginning: Joshua and Judges
  • Author: Johanna W. H. Van Wijk-Bos
  • Series: A People and a Land
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Pages: 352
  • Resource Type: Commentary
  • Topic: Joshua and Judges

Johanna W. H. van Wijk-Bos taught as Professor of Old Testament at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary from 1977 to 2017. She serves the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) as ordained pastor and is deeply engaged with issues of equity in terms of gender and race. A prolific author, her other books include Making Wise the Simple: The Torah in Christian Faith and Practice and Reading Samuel: A Literary and Theological Commentary


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  1. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    This is an easy to read, scholarly commentary of the books of Joshua and Judges - and the author does go on in the next two volumes to cover the books of Samuel, and the books of Kings - so it is nice to have the same voice take us through these historical books. As noted, this is a scholarly commentary, and thus whilst I find myself disagreeing with many of the assumptions and conclusions, it is good for background material - plus it is also worthwhile to know something of where the various scholarly minds are at when it comes to such books. I also appreciated having a female voice examining these quite violent books. I thought the handling of the various women in both books - Rahab, Deborah, Jael, etc - was very well done. Many good questions are raised about women in that day. I would’ve appreciated more dealing with the theology in these books - and am saddened that the Grace of God seems to be overlooked most of the time - but this is also not what this book aimed to deliver. Well referenced!


Digital list price: $27.99
Save $6.00 (21%)