What does Joshua hold to be the essential marks of Israelite identity? What distinguishes “Israel” from all other peoples? In tracking these themes, L. Daniel Hawk reveals a profound struggle to define the people of the God of Israel.
Hawk shows that the themes surrounding Joshua express fundamental markers of national identity: religious practice (obedience to the commandments of Moses), ethnic separation (extermination of the peoples of Canaan), and possession of land (“the land that YHWH gives”). Through the medium of narrative, Joshua tests each of these markers and demonstrates that none clearly characterize the people of God. Instead, Joshua presents Israel as a nation fundamentally constituted by choosing: YHWH’s choosing of Israel and Israel’s choosing of YHWH.
In the present day in which ideologies of religion, race, and territorial possession have given rise to countless expressions of violence, Hawk expresses the particular value of reading Joshua. The Joshua story holds a mirror up to all who regard themselves as the people of God. The reflection is both repelling and inspiring but until we confront it, what it truly means to be the chosen people of God will remain elusive.
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
Save more when you purchase this book as part of Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry collection.
“By tracking the kinship network in reverse, from the nation to the individual, the community will be able identify and distance itself from the source of the contagion.” (Page 118)
“redirecting corporate guilt to that of the individual offender” (Page 118)
“Joshua declares that the stones have two complementary purposes—to reveal yhwh’s power and to provoke reverent response—and these are not mutually exclusive purposes, as Joshua himself has intimated (3:10).21 The peoples of the land, as well as Israel, are called to witness the demonstration of yhwh’s might. Will they respond differently than Israel? The question is put subtly but pointedly through the text’s echoes of the only ‘inhabitant’ we have thus encountered: ‘we have heard how yhwh dried up (hôbîš) the Red Sea before you’ (cf. 4:23). The words, of course, are Rahab’s, the only character in the story thus far to offer praise to Israel’s God.” (Page 73)
“The narrator simply refers to her as ‘the woman,’ thus accentuating her difference from the ‘men’ whom she is hiding. The scene, therefore, has the effect of highlighting Rahab’s difference while transforming her from enemy to protagonist.” (Page 42)
“serving other gods, whether those of the ancestors or those in the land, effectively means the loss of national identity” (Page 273)
This contribution by L. Daniel Hawk interprets the Masoretic Text of Joshua as a structured and coherent whole, offering a balanced and generally persuasive example of close reading. Common sense takes precedence over methodological extremism, so that the reader has no trouble following Hawk’s argument and agreeing that it is consistent and sound. . . . Joshua can be a distressing book for modern people to read, reflecting as it does many of the most problematic aspects of recent history and current events. Hawk insists that Joshua must nevertheless be considered as ‘required reading’ among us, both as a mirror to reflect the repellant features of our quest to define ethnic identity and as an inspiring witness to healthier possible options.
—Richard D. Nelson, associate dean for academic affairs and W. J. A. Power Professor for Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament Introduction, Perkins School of Theology
Dr. L. Daniel Hawk (PhD, Emory University; MDiv, Asbury Theological Seminary) is professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Ashland Theological Seminary and an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. Much of his writing focuses on the literary analysis of biblical narratives, with attention to the ways that narrative texts construct corporate identities and grapple with the problem of human and divine violence. These concerns converge in several books on the book of Joshua, including Joshua (Berit Olam, Liturgical Press, 2000) and Joshua in 3-D (Cascade, 2010), as well as in his collaboration on Postcolonial Evangelical Conversations (InterVarsity, 2014). His scholarship finds traction through an active speaking schedule and participation in justice and reconciliation initiatives.