Theological Considerations shape the Composition of the Book of Joshua
The concept of an eternal covenant with God is central to Hebrew theology. According to the narrative, God granted land of Israel to Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah and Rachel, and to their descendants. In the Book of Joshua, theological concerns are enmeshed with inseparable notions of “history” in a nationalistically tendentious narrative whose very existence is evidence pointing to an ancient Israel. However, some historians like Maxwell Miller suggest that ancient “Israel” may never have existed in historical Time and Place.
The authors and redactors of the ancient text did not have access to the abundant but fractious epigraphical, sociological and archeological evidence which is now, perhaps wasted, on us. The book itself may have been an essay designed to replace “old biases and ideologies” such as we see being written today to displace it.
The text gives us the opportunity to assess the theological perspectives in a narrative that presents an interpretation of “history” designed to reflect the author’s understanding of divine purpose. Professor Sweeney suggests that author of narration presents story to enhance reflection. For example, in providing dueling accounts of Israel’s history to “debate with each other”. In turn, this reflection on the past is a tool for building a better future. This is the signed sacred purpose of “shaping” of text we continue to indulge.
Making Better People with Better Gods
The theology of Joshua is problematic in that a peaceful tribal occupation of a Promised Land of “milk and honey” simply never occurs. The text itself describes the entry, conquest, and a land “at rest”, but Joshua never describes a productive land supporting easy life. The region is located in a relatively dry and heavily-trafficked commercial corridor, at a cross-road. It is constantly invaded by armies and traders from much more powerful and populous neighbors. Even as the People unite, nationalize, and create special institutions, gradually adopting forms of governance and protection as “Israel”, their state suffers almost constant and serious disruption.
At the outset, Israel was united around a theological idea: God made a Covenant with Humans, and by following The Law, the People fulfill the Covenant. Then, Israel and its Temple were destroyed. The Tablets and the Ark disappear, and remain “unto this day” never recovered. Did the destruction impact the theology? Can the unifying effect of the theology preserve the People even after the loss of Israel and the Temple? Is the theology itself, and the Deity at the heart of it, revealed to be flawed or absent in light of failure or error? The reality of evil and exile raise legitimate concerns about the power of G-d, and “the Former Prophets constitute an expression of theodicy”.
Joshua himself faced the dilemma of theodicy. Having just conquered the Canaanites, slaughtering entire cities in order to fulfill the Covenant, he asks the People, “does it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord”? (24:15) To be given “land for which ye did not labor, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not, do ye eat?” (24:13).
So it is Joshua himself challenging the People. He asks them if the outcome feels fair. In light of what has happened, does G-d seem evil? In his final exhortation to the People, and while engraving the words describing the fulfillment of the Covenant by G-d on a great stone (24:24), Joshua underlines a theological question of theodicy.
This Essay explores this fundamental theological debacle as it is dealt with by the redactors in the book of Joshua. The issue touches upon why people write history. To their credit, the Hebrews were among the first to do so.
Disruption and Diaspora
By 720 BCE, the northern kingdom of Israel was annihilated. All 10 tribes of Israel were destroyed by the Assyrian Empire. Survivors were enslaved and exiled in most cases never to return. Some were taken in by the Kingdom of Judah to the South.
Subsequently, the remaining Kingdom of Judah was also destroyed, this time by the Babylonian Empire. The city of Jerusalem, with Solomon’s Temple, was destroyed. This began what is known as the Babylonian Exile, in 587-586 BCE.
The surviving Jews were removed to Babylonia, and many also fled to neighboring regions across the world. This is known as the Diaspora. Perhaps largely because of their reliance upon a Scriptural legacy, some of the people were able to remain intact. We know that in turn, the Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Persians. King Cyrus, the first ruler of a truly amalgamated empire, was remarkably tolerant of religious practices. He expressly provided for the return of the captive Jews to their legacy land. Many Jews returned to the land of Israel and Josiah and Ezra led the rebuilding of the Temple. This Exile/Return period is roughly when Joshua was compiled and written. Even before Deuteronomy was “found” by Josiah in the rebuilt Temple. The rebuilders were again turning to Scripture.
While subsequent tragedies endured by the Jews are not recorded, or prophesied, in Joshua, we note for perspective that the Promised Land did not hold anyone safe. No single tribe of people have perdured in the region – and all of their powerful neighbors in what we call the Iron Age, are extinct. Until a few decades ago, the Hittites were regarded as just one of the minor tribes occupying Palestine. Egyptians, became racially and culturally extinct. Egypt is now populated by Semites. The Jews themselves saw the destruction of the second Temple at the hand of Rome, expulsion and massacre in Spain at the hands of Islam, Christianity, and other Jews, and pogroms in Russia. The Khmel’nitsky massacres in Poland 1648, the Shoah in the midst of the most educated and modern nation of the world in the 20th century, and the current assaults on Israel, continue the theological “problem” faced by the Joshua narrative.
The writing of history by Joshua (by the Redactor-compiler writing in the name of the former Prophet) is one instance of that struggle.
The Book of Joshua recalls the Theology of Deuteronomy
Joshua is the first of the 12 books often called “Histories”. Of these, Joshua shares with the books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings, a relatively consistent literary style and theological framework. These four books are collectively referred to as the “Former Prophets” based on the tradition that maintains they were composed by the early Prophets. And because the theological framework appears to be based largely on the laws of the book of Deuteronomy, and present a narrative history of the nation of Israel, modern scholars call these four books the Deuteronomistic history.
While the discernible theological concerns raised in the Joshua narrative, are literally legion, they include the following basic fundamentals of Judaic monotheism:
· Worship of one invisible god “Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord our G-d, is one Lord.” Deuteronomy 6:4 .
· The notion of having no other gods – and no images -- before Him.
· The idea of a Temple, or worship in one place, with a Priesthood. Deuteronomy 12, does not actually name a particular place, but Joshua gathers the people in a Tabernacle at Shiloh. 18:1. The Levites are the priests (18:7) with Levitical support cities taken by lot from the other tribes (21:1-41). Jerusalem is yet inhabited by Jebusites.
· The idea of a “chosen people”. To some degree this is reflected in marriage regulations. (Deut 7:3, repeated Josh 23:12). Miscengeny is repeatedly denounced with the rationale that foreign women introduce the tribe to the worship of other gods.
· The idea of the People as a nation led by an anointed Authority who will read the Torah daily. Joshua, for example, published the laws on stone, and read aloud. 
· The study of the Torah supervised by the Levitical priest.
· Covenant of the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 30:1-9, with the concept of its fulfillment in the conquests led by Joshua. (Joshua 11:15)
· The idea that G-d will punish Israel and Judah for failing to observe Torah and worshiping other gods.
· The Torah is important as a means to learn and build a better future.
The Book of Joshua; the Synchronic Signs and Wonders
The Lord spake directly to Joshua, informing him that “Moses my servant is dead.” Moses was apparently taken and buried by the Lord himself in the land of Moab where “no man knoweth of his sepulcher”. (Deuteronomy34:6). The Lord commands Joshua to “arise, go over this Jordan, thou and all this people” to land He again promises to have given to them all. (Joshua 1:2). The Lord does not entitle or commission Joshua. The Lord does tell Joshua that “there shall not be any man able to stand before thee” (Joshua 1:5)– no doubt a comforting assurance of invincibility in light of his charge.
The assembled people then swear that whoever fails to obey Joshua, “will be put to death”. (1:18). There is no suggestion of an After-life, or going back to the other side of the Jordan. No one promises heaven or threatens hell. What we have here is a military campaign. A single conviction that Israel is a people of great destiny, in a special land already given, but now necessary to take by force. The slaughter is directly enabled and assisted by divine powers. These “signs and wonders” have to be considered “theological” signatures, and many of them reflect other Semitic (Baal-Ishtar) and Egyptian contemporaneous cult descriptions of conquest.
By direct G-d-to-Prophet commands a Theocracy is continued which started with Moses. The Book of Law is clearly provided to guide the designated leader (1:8). Joshua was not Moses’ first-born, or even son, but had a long an intimate relationship with him. He becomes a singular heroic figure in that he hews closely to G-d’s direct instructions. This itself is one of the miracles – an otherwise unlikely and uncorroborated event.
A theological point is made as the book begins with G-d speaking to Joshua. The Law is the Mosaic law divinely-sourced in Sinai at the foot of which Joshua waited for Moses to return. An “eerie” theological quality is maintained through a series of divinely enabled seizures of cities with the help of an army of angels. The army of angels is led by a “captain of the host of the Lord” who required Joshua to “loose thy shoe from off thy foot”. (5:15). The Jordan River is pushed apart by the ark of the covenant. (3:16; compare the Dead Sea episode, Exod 12:1-27, with both celebrated in ritual Passover feast).
The synchronic literary structure is a narrative of the People’s entry into the land, the conquest of cities and annihilation of the inhabitants, and the distribution of land and booty to the tribes of Israel. This is, however, not mere history, or merely history. An understanding of the “divine purpose” pulls the reader/listener into reflection on what can be learned “to build a better future.” The miracles invoke prior patterns the audience probably knows about – they are reprised in the narrative and briefly and without the thrilling drama, here:
· Waters part for the passage of the people on dry land behind the Ark – Ch.4.
· A final dropping of Manna for collection is made – Ch.5.
· Ritual circumambulation and trumpets cause the walls of Jericho to tumble – Ch.6.
· As Moses had stretched out his rod to enable Joshua to prevail over the Amelikites (Exo17:8-16), now the Lord tells Joshua to raise his spear, and he does not draw back the spear until all of Ai is destroyed. (Joshua 8:18, 26).
· In a great battle with Five Kings, giant hail-stones cast down from heaven kill more mighty men of valor among their number than who died by the sword of the children of Israel. (10:5, 11:11)
· The sun “stood still in the midst of heaven”, and the Moon as well, to give the Israelites more time to kill more Amorites as they fled their ruined cities. (10:13)
· Joshua was able to smite enemies from the hills of Hebron all the way down through Kadesh, to Goshen, and out to Gaza and Gibeon “none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed”. (10:41) “There was no day like that before or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.” (10:14).
· By the waters of Merom, Joshua met the hosts of the enemy, numbering “as the sand is upon the seashore” with “horses and chariots very many”, and fell upon them and smote them.
· The remnant of the giants of Ashtaroth were smote. (12:4; Num 21:24)
In Joshua, the miraculous “signs and wonders” are attestations of a powerful divinity. These are theological values expressed in the choice of an idealistic path. The unity of the nation in an unstable land is idealism coupled with realism. This early Judaic theology led the nations of the region in the use of religion to maintain unity – no other nation had a priesthood devoted to teaching everybody, from Scripture, and including women and children. We also find in Joshua, that Scripture is pointed to the development of individual character.
With our double-hindsight (the redactor is looking back to earlier times, and we look back at the redactor), we can observe that the path is problematic. We see this as the inhabitants are annihilated – the Israelites conquer the native Canaanites and “giants”, with the help of an angelic army. We seen them waste everything – an army which “utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.” (1:11 citing Jericho as one example). We never see or find the land of “milk and honey”. (5:6) And the occupation never reaches the promised extent. (1:4). And then the very brief exuberance of Joshua ends up with the Diaspora.
The Diachronic Analysis of the Conquest of Canaan
The account of the clearing of “all” would be sickening except for one thing: It did not happen; it could not have taken place. The cities supposedly destroyed by Joshua had already become ruins – visible ruins – by the Iron Age. The region had been contested by the Hittites and Egyptians until their famous “Peace Treaty” in 1296 BCE. and the Hyksos swept through and conquered Egypt. The Sea Peoples plundered cities along the Levant, burning what they could not take away in plunder.
The narrative itself seems to acknowledge that the Hebrew/Israelites are still using stone knives – the circumcision of the men is not done with steel. Egypt did not even have much iron. The iron came from the Hittites, and the text seems to acknowledge that the “iron chariots” were formidable to the Israelites. (17:16).
Perhaps the redactors are using the narrative to “explain” the ruins, to a credible audience who needs to rebuild national pride. Clearly most of the events appear to be an indulgence in theology at the expense of history which has never been important to most people. Theology has truths of its own. This is an account of a freshly-circumcised bloody generation who are handed the Promised Land by their powerful G-d, seen to prevail over all others. They are the sealed witnesses to spectacular Signs and Wonders. The narration warns, and gives examples of the consequences of refusal to obey the Torah. The narration forms an immediate and inexplicable record that People, and their leaders, should not do the things that will forfeit their legacy.
The book of Joshua describes the conquest of the land of Canaan, led by Joshua following the death of Moses. The portrayal is one of complete conquest of the land in a number of very quick, clever, and divinely-assisted campaigns. For example, colorful chapters are devoted to the siege of Jericho and the collapse of its massive walls, on the 7th day after ritual blowing of shofars. Professor Sweeney notes that archeological evidence has established that “Jericho did see its walls collapse”. However, the desolation “happened by Earthquake, and in 2300 BCE, roughly a thousand years before Joshua.” The assault team of trumpeters had not yet arrived.
Before the host has even crossed over the Jordan, Joshua sent two spies into Jericho. The undercover agents immediately go to a house of prostitution (2:1). By giving aid, information, and protection to the spies, the harlot, “named Rahab”, saves herself and her family from the total destruction Israel brings to Jericho. (2:1-28) And she is allowed to live as part of Israel, although the rumor that she bears children by Joshua, who never marries, is not in the canonical text. The story, with other examples, raise the question of to what extent should Canaanites be recognized, and is it possible that they present a threat to Israel or its “religious integrity”? 
The conquest of AI, is described. Curiously, 36 Israelites are killed in the first assault, apparently for the sole reason that a single man had embezzled for himself a small portion of the treasure looted from the enemy. He was found and executed for his crime of desecration of the loot, and on the second assault, the city was taken without casualties. Again, as with every single one of the military assaults, there are issues with the facts. Archaeology on the site shows that from 1550 BCE Ai, was already a known ruin in the area. The word means “ruin” all the way to 1200. Ai was what its name suggests. Did the redactor not know what the name meant?
Relations with the Canaanites are also discrepant. Gibeonites came to the camp in disguises, pretending to be sojourners from far-off places. They conclude a treaty which preserves safe, what? Their city! In spite of the transparently naked deception, the tribe abides by its word – and made war on the enemies of their Canaanite allies, including Jerusalem and cities in the South. Lachmish and others fell to Israel, but the Gibeonites were left intact “to serve us as Canaanites”.
By the end of chapters 11 and 12 we have statements by Joshua that Israel controls all the land of Israel. The metes and bound are completely omitted. However, Joshua apportions the land to each tribe. He gathers Israel at Shechem and reminds everyone of the obligation to observe the Law and Torah. His death is dramatically recounted, and although G-d does not bury him in a hidden sepulcher, the end is compared to, the death of Moses.
In his farewell address, Joshua declares that G-d had fulfilled His promise: “And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.” However, the land had been inhabited by others from the outset, and was still not purged of other peoples, other races, and other gods. Joshua clearly raises issues of whether the delivery of the Promised Land was fulfilled in the first place – there were still Canaanites in the land (15:10, 17:12, Jebusites in Jerusalem 15:63), and even giants (17:15), and “strangers that were conversant among them” (8:35). Even worse, the schismatic altar of Reuben and Gad within the tribes themselves (Joshua, Chapter 22), raised the prospect of civil war. The daughters of Mannaseh receiving inheritance while no other daughters’ rights were recognized (17:6), and the difficulties of dividing the inheritance “by lots” (18:10) – a distribution by chance – also raises questions of justice, which is always a theological issue. The role of the Levites, left out of the land distribution, but getting a monopoly on ritual practices. This creates a tribal birthright class division. This also distinguished Judah from Northern Israel, which did not defer to the Levites.
Joshua has a military and even legalist manner of thinking. He is not just a commander, but an exponent of “the laws of Moses”. As Joshua’s story and legacy is considered, the redactors are clearly asking themselves if the subsequent Exile was punishment for failure to obey the law? Even more sobering, it is difficult to find an example of a powerful protective deity in the sequence of putative conquests of ruins.
The Message that G-d did not Fail the People
The Book of Joshua presents a narrative of the fulfillment, by a Deity, of the Covenant. Yet the narrative also reveals, even invites, consideration and challenge. For example, the fact of Exile and the absence of the Temple infer the possibility that G-d has failed, or has abandoned Israel. The answer from a “historical” or even legal “causation” perspective, is clearly that God failed the People. There is simply no evidence that God ever performed the Promise to provide the Promised Land. After all, a grasp of causality is a mark of legal thinking. If the People never have a secure homeland, is their conduct even relevant?
Joshua makes clear – explicitly – that God did not fail the People, rather, the answer in Joshua is that the People failed God. And it is also drawn surgically to exclude the possibility that members of the Priesthood are responsible. Is a single Priest, or even a single member of the tribe of Levi found to be careless, or to neglect the Temple duties? The account carefully documents the performance of liturgical duties – bearing the ark, circumcision, celebration of Passover at Gilgal (5, 6), purification by stoning the entire family and animals for Achan’s theft of looted booty. (Joshua 7).
In light of, and in spite of, the historical issues, it is important to understand why this narrative is written as it is. Joshua is the first leader who led the wanderers into Israel as the land of the Covenant. We know these people existed from the “Israel stele” of Mernephtah. This Pharaoh reigned 1224-1216 BCE. The stele is the first place we find Israel mentioned outside of the Torah, historically. So Israel is in the land 1200 BCE. And we find corroboration in Egyptian records of cities named in Joshua. Pottery and shards from kitchen middens and ruins can be dated and chronologically profiled.
The Amarna letters written in the middle 1300s BCE will see how those letters discuss how people called the “habiru”-- barbarians – were moving into the land. The archaeological record of the land of Israel reveals that there never was a full conquest of the entire land. What you see is gradual migration and borderline conflict often divided between the hill country of what is now the West Bank and the low-lying coastal plain areas where we now find Tel Aviv, Yaffa, Ashkalom and the Valley in northern Israel that divides the hill country of northern Israel from the hill country of the Galilee. In addition, we find conflict between the people of the Hills and the fortified coastal plain. This tells us that the Habiru settled the hill country and people called the Sea Peoples, pushed out of the Aegean by Hellenes who were going down the coast. They threatened Egypt in the time of Ramses III. The Sea Peoples – Greeks – also penetrated Asia Minor and completely destroyed the Hittite Empire.
Getting back to the Joshua theology, it is idealistic, and militant, but it stays focused on the message that G-d made a covenant and kept His word. G-d granted Israel the land of Canaan, with very few casualties, thanks to an army of angels, an angel captain, and a righteous spokesman leading the sacrifices and battles. The text is formed to show that G-d keeps his end of the covenant.
The role of Other Gods and Canaanites
The conquest narrative contains an important “twist”. Not only are the Canaanites not completely destroyed, but they turn out to play a key role in the examination of what prompted Israel to turn to “other gods”. That would be a trigger to a jealous G-d. Professor Sweeney suggests that the presence of Canaanites turns Israel to their gods, and “thereby bringing about divine punishment culminating in the Babylonian exile.”
Professor Sweeney proposes at least four factors support this conclusion. First, archeological surveys confirm conflict in the land, but no evidence of a settled Canaanite population destroyed within Israel. The conflicts are between coastal and interior people, and hill and valley people. Secondly, the major cities Joshua destroyed, were already ruins roughly a thousand years earlier. Jericho, Ai, Gibeon and Hazar diachronic and archeological studies do not support the narrative. Thirdly, the narrative focuses on a covenant that calls upon all Israel, “indigenous and resident alien alike” to assemble at Shechem. This is the site referred to in the Amarna Letters by the Kings of Megiddo and Jerusalem trying to get Pharaoh to “send archers”. However, it was never destroyed in the Iron Age, and continued to serve as a focal point, a central and even sacred location, for Israel’s national identity. This reveals a polemical in that it seeks to expose “sins” committed by Jeroboam and northern Israel that explain their demise as punishment from an all-powerful JHWY in keeping with the covenant ceremonies enacted by Joshua at Shechem. This polemic also points to the fourth factor which must be considered, and that is, the Judean perspective of the Book of Joshua. City names, and lineages, show a Judean interest or perspective in the narrative. Another example is that Joshua points out that the Judeans were unable to conquer Jerusalem, and that Joshua himself is modeled on the Judean King Josiah, who is possibly the author. Part of the theological concern is looking for heroic figures to serve as “ideal monarchs”, which Josiah would like to have been.
One conclusion one can draw from this four factor analysis is to simply accept the reality that Israel never wiped out the indigenous Canaanite culture, and of course, never displaced anyone. As professor Sweeney puts it “Israel/Judah grew out of that very same Canaanite culture to develop a very distinctive understanding of themselves as a nation”.
Joshua is not a call to destroy Canaanites. Clearly Israel descended from those very people. Joshua is addressed to Israelites to assert their Israelite identities adhere to the Torah as the basis for life, and to reunify the nation as it was unified in the days of Joshua.
Conclusion and Reprise on the Judges
Contemporizing the question requires us to ask if there is or has been a punishing God who was, or is, “policing” the Covenant. Worshiping one God – simply avoiding the graven images and temples of other competing gods, does not seem difficult. Conducting group prayers and recitations in a Temple is consoling and does not take great exertion. If the deity has a track record of powerful protection and abundant provision, the demand for exclusive worship is not onerous and becomes obvious. We fall on our faces in worship.
Some may argue that the Deuteronomistic theology in Joshua is conditional: If Torah is not observed, then the People are expelled from the Promised Land. The relationship is over. But Deuteronomy contains “saving clauses”. Deuteronomy 28 and 30, start out with conditions but then clearly state a redemption opportunity: When the People repent, God “will restore you to the land.”
This dynamic of Covenant-violation-redemption-restoration becomes one of the major issues for Jewish thinking throughout history, and is itself drawn from the book of Joshua, as well as Judges, Samuel, and Kings.
This Essay only undertook to explore Joshua, but by way of final contrast, the book of Judges shows a very different picture. The Israelites rely on their Judges. In Northern Israel, they start going after foreign gods. We see an almost certainly fictional emergence of a Golden Calf cult. It is striking to note real problems in Northern Israel, and not so much in Judah. This is a polemic, already referred to above between Northern Israel and Judah, in the book of Judges against the Joshua assurance.
Ceram, C.W. The Secret of the Hittites; Discovery of an Ancient Empire. New York, NY: Dorset Press, 1956.
“Dictionary of the Bible.” Keylawk Library, 1963. https://www.librarycat.org/lib/keylawk/item/134639122.
McKenzie, Steven L., and Stephen R. Haynes, eds. To Each Its Own Meaning; an Introduction to Biblical Criticisms and Their Application. Louisville,KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1999.
Pritchard, James B., and Daniel E. Fleming, eds. The Ancient Near East; an Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2011.
Roskies, David G. Against the Apocalypse; Responses to Catastrophe in Modern Jewish Culture. New York, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1999.
Scofield, D. D., Rev. C. I., ed. The Holy Bible; Containing the Old and New Testaments. New and Improved. Scofield Facsimile Series No. 2. New York: Oxford University Press, n.d.
Sweeney, Marvin A. Tanak: A Theological and Critical Introduction to the Jewish Bible, 2011. http://www.librarything.com/work/12075940/edit/133767278.
 McKenzie and Haynes, To Each Its Own Meaning, 21–22.
 Ibid., 30, listing alternative views and eight sociopolitical circumstances far short of a great Kingdom, but from which the local Saul-David monarchy, may eventually emerge.
 Ibid., 32.
 Sweeney, Tanak, 172, 1st sentence of 1st paragraph.
 Ibid., 172–173, quoting end of 1st paragraph on 173.
 Ibid., 177. “In all cases, the reflectio on history evident in the Former Prophets, in all of its postulated stages, represents the effort to learn from that history in order to learn from the experience of the past and to build a better future.”
 Objects valuable to one people are often sought after for eradication by other people, perhaps especially if “sacred”. Examples are myriad. Almost all evidence of the Hittite Empire was lost and would perhaps have remained unknown but for the references in Hebrew Scripture. We note here that the Josiatic author(s) use of the phrase “unto this day' suggests that the events that it recounts took place some time before they were recorded.
 Sweeney, Tanak, 172.
 To place the Redactors and compilers in perspective, Herodotus of Halicarnassus (484 BCE – ca.425 BCE) is generally acclaimed as the "father of history" composing his Histories from the 450s to the 420s BCE. Some scholars argue that his work was “scrupulous, objective, and scientific for his time”, although much of it is filled with fanciful creatures. He traveled throughout the world, writing “autopsies” and polemics against the Persian Empire.
 Ceram, The Secret of the Hittites; Discovery of an Ancient Empire, 24.This understanding was in fact drawn from the description in Joshua 3:10.
 Roskies, Against the Apocalypse; Responses to Catastrophe in Modern Jewish Culture, 41–43 noting before and after persecutions throughout the entire region. The author notes the extremeties of survival into which Jews and Gypsies were thrown, the former struggling to acquire learned professions, the latter acquiring carnival skills, while both sought mastery of musical instruments.
 Professor Sweeney, video lecture 10/4/2016: “Jews constantly struggle with God, like Jacob wrestling with God, to try to understand.”
 Sweeney, Tanak, 171. Crediting Noth’s contributions at 174, and later interpreters at 175-176.
 The prohibition is a constant leitmotif constantly ignored. The Patriarchs themselves are miscegenists, and like the Egyptians, also indulged in close family marriages. Abraham married his ½ sister Sarah. Isaac married his cousin Rebekah, who was also from the line of Terah, a Chaldean who migrated to Herra (Gen 11:24-ff)., one of the main centers of perduring and prosperous Ishtar-Baal idol worship. Moses married Zipporah, a Midian.
It is not surprising that foreigners constantly appear in the stories – Tamar (Genesis 38), Rahab (Joshua 2:1), and Ruth. The “Hebiru” are a mixed people—and “strangers are conversant among them” (Joshua 8:35). The tribes may even have spoken different languages at this time. Moses needed an “interpreter”.
 Joshua’s final exhortation contains a much broader prohibition than merely against miscegeny. It advises all not to come among any others. “If you cleave unto the remnant of these nations…and go in unto them and they unto you”, then “they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you”. Josh 23:7-13.
 Scofield, D. D., The Holy Bible, 268; Joshua 8:34-35.”And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.” These verses are the door taken by Unitarian Universalist evangels to include themselves amog the Chosen, who are clearly all “conversant” humanity.
 Ibid., 284–285; Joshua 23:15. 24:13.
 Sweeney, Tanak, 172. Deuteronomy 6:15: “For the Lord thy G-d is a jealous god among you, lest the anger of the Lord thy G-d be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from the face of the earth.” Joshua 23:11-16; 24:19-20. Apparently, in Joshua’s last days, he noticed the people still had “strange gods among you”. Joshua 24:23.
 Ibid., 172, 177.
 Scofield, D. D., The Holy Bible, Joshua 1:3-4. The Promised Land is described as: “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon…” apparently inferring a law of appropriation. It goes on: “From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.” This is the entire Middle East and Asia Minor.
 Removal of shoes is an attribute of Holy Ground. Literalists, in compliance with this command, have been fighting barefoot ever since; that may be why there are no more of them.
 Sweeney, Tanak, 172.
 “Dictionary of the Bible,” 546; Kadesh plays “a significant role” during the Exodus. Joshua led the war against Amalek over this place. (Ex 17:8). It is the site of the greatest chariot battle in history, between the Hittites and Egyptians, in 1296 BCE. The Battle set the stage for the world’s first world-changing Peace Treaty and a global shift in religious theologies, with the exchange of princesses in marriage. Ceram, C.W. The Secret of the Hittites; Discovery of an Ancient Empire.
 Goshen is the region in the delta of Egypt where these People had been slaves of the Egyptian. Gen 45:10; the reference may be to a never-identified area closer, in Judah perhaps. Would the Israelis name a village after the region of their enslavement? Compare Joshua 10:41 and 11:16. The “land of Goshen” is taken by Joshua himself.
 Ceram, The Secret of the Hittites; Discovery of an Ancient Empire, 159 ff. The language of Scripture clearly invokes similar language used by Rameses II for his vaunted “victory” over the Hittite King Muwatilis in the Battle of Kardesh. The “day like no other” is a guidepost of oral traditions.
 Sweeney, Tanak, 172. “Rather than charging G-d with being powerless, unreliable, unjust, or absent in times of crisis, the Former Prophet chooses to explain the Babylonian exile by charging that the people of Israel and Judah—and not JHWH—were responsible for their own fate.”
  Ceram, The Secret of the Hittites; Discovery of an Ancient Empire, 153–199, Ch. 9 “The Battle of Kadesh”. Fought in 1296 BCE between Rameses II and the Hittite King Muwatallis. Just after Sethos I drove out the desert tribes, finally responding to the pleas of Egypt’s allies documented in the Letters of Amarna (p. 168), and secured the region up to the ridge of Tyre, the Hittites invaded Palestine. To secure his succession and legacy, Ramses II assembled the largest army of any Pharoah. Two huge armies were massed and met in Kadesh. The outcome changed history and entered into legend. Unprecedented numbers of the iron-chariots which had propelled the Hyksos victory over the Egyptians in previous centuries were now hurled against each other by the world’s biggest armies, and their semitic allies. The Hitite chariot were superior to the Egyptian and in the field they outmaneuvered and outmanned the Egyptian chariots. The life of the Pharoah was preserved by two actual miracles – the Hittite units deployed to vanquish, turned to looting instead, and a force of Egyptian cadets arrived by sea just in time to save the Pharaoh’s life. Both armies broke off the engagement. The Hitites were 375 miles from home and weighted down with booty. Victory was declared by both sides, and the world’s first written Peace Treaty was agreed to. A remarkable peace descended on the region. The terms survived the centuries, and even the almost total destruction of the Hittites at the hands of the invading Hellenes. The Treaty Stone became the “Rosetta Stone” enabling scholars to finally read Hittite epigraphical material, and a forgotten people were rediscovered. Perhaps even more significant than the Battle, was the fact that after the world’s first globally-celebrated Wedding, a Hittite princess introduced Ishtar to Egypt. This directly resulted in a religious synthesis and efflorescence. In the following centuries, humanity began adopting new theologies developed in the schools and libraries of Alexandria.
 Ceram, The Secret of the Hittites; Discovery of an Ancient Empire, 153 ff. Refers to the Chariot as the “greatest invention of the Second Millenium BC”. Although the light war-chariot was introduced by the Hyksos in their conquest of Egypt, the “iron chariot” could only refer to a Hittite iteration of the weapon.
 Professor Sweeney, Lecture video 9/27/2016.
 McKenzie and Haynes, To Each Its Own Meaning, 28–29;”Historians necessarily work with conceptual models…” and the Bible presents some “very pronounced” models which may be wrong. Why is Rahab considered a “harlot” and what is a harlot? We reference the perspectivity of Feminist criticism. Ibid. 268 ff.
 Sweeney, Tanak, 182.
 Scofield, D. D., The Holy Bible, Joshua 21:43, page 282.
 Pritchard and Fleming, The Ancient Near East, 328.
 Ibid., 227. The captain of a Nile vessel relates of his participation in a campaign into “Asia”, and the three year siege of “Sharuhen”, a city named in the distribution by Lots administered by Joshua to the tribe of Simeon from the inheritance of the tribe of Judah which was “too much for them”. Joshua 19:6, 9.
 Ibid., Fig. 27.Pottery and shards from Palestine have been consistently used to date periods of their use.
 Ibid., 429–453; especially “Hapiru” 423, and “Apiru” 433,435.
 Ibid., Plate 92, depicting Rameses III in battle with Sea Peoples.
 Sweeney, Tanak, 182.
 Ibid., 182–87.
 Ibid., 189.