The book of Joshua is well known for its tales of slaughter and destruction. Together in the Land shows that ambiguity created by means of juxtaposing contrasting ideas is a feature of the compositional arrangement in Joshua. While there may be a dream land emptied of foreigners awaiting Israelite occupation, there is also a grudging acceptance of co-existence in the land with a certain class of foreigner represented by the exceptional outsiders such as Rahab and Gibeonites. Mitchell’s conclusion is that such ways of dealing with reality were a feature of the disillusionment and hope of post-exilic Judaism.
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Gordon Mitchell is a lecturer in the department of religious studies at the University of Cape Town.