One thing I can say in Joshua’s favor: the chapters are really short, which makes doing this as school starts pretty easy. Not that it’s been too busy, since my two online classes haven’t really properly started yet, which is good, because my textbooks are being super delayed.
This chapter revealed something about the Israelites during their wandering in Egypt: none of them had been circumcised. That seems really odd, given how much it’s emphasized, but then I did a little word search, and the most adamant references to circumcision are all in Genesis. In Leviticus, there’s a brief mention in the rites of purification after childbirth that boys are to be circumcised on the 8th day, and Exodus makes it clear that only circumcised men are allowed to take Passover. Otherwise… not very much. Deuteronomy only treats it as a metaphor. I know that law is hardly limited to just the law-y books, and that most Jews consider the commands in Genesis mandatory, but I guess I can kind of see where some Jews are arguing that it isn’t as necessary as tradition made it out to be.
But they are celebrating the passover, and to do that they have to be circumcised. Which apparently none of the younger generation did. So I suppose they didn’t celebrate the Passover during the wandering in the wilderness. So…the law doesn’t take full effect until after they’ve reached the promised land – after God has fulfilled his part of the bargain, they start living up to theirs. Interesting.
That still doesn’t entirely explain why circumcision stopped, since it predated their time in Egypt. The NCT has something like “they hadn’t had the occasion to do it.” I may be misreading that, but I suppose with them all on the move, what is basically a minor surgery might have been impossible. As it is, they circumcise themselves now, as adults, leaving themselves vulnerable for two weeks as they wait to heal. Maybe there’s a statement of faith in that – they are literally trusting God to make sure that their enemies don’t find out that they’re all out of commission and take the opportunity to attack them.
The chapter ends with yet another “Joshua is Moses” moment, where he meets the commander of God’s army, who commands him to “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy” (v 15), a nearly direct quote of Exodus 3:5. I will say that, as with the river versus sea example, Joshua’s theophany is less impressive. Moses got to talk to God, albeit through a bush. Joshua only gets to meet one of God’s main underlings.
The massacres start next chapter, so things are going to get unpleasant again soon.
The Japanese: hiuchiishi “flint” (v 2), ori “chance, opportunity” (v 7), ieru “to recover, to be healed” (v 8), chijoku “disgrace, shame, insult” (v 9), yuukoku “evening” (v 10), sanbutsu “product, fruit” (v 11), hakimono “footwear, clogs” (v 15).
I’m not sure why they went with hakimono as opposed to one of the words for “sandals” in Japanese. Zouri, waraji… it’s not as if they don’t wear them.