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Archive for November 10th, 2012

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Usually, when I read a commentary for devotional purposes, I read the passage from the Bible first then I consult a commentary with an eye for additional insight or observation and point of application I might have missed. I usually weigh commentaries in that regard with what it brings out from the text. Schaffer brought out insights to things that I missed not only upon my first reading of the passage, but my previous reading of Joshua also as well. To that end, I thought this work was helpful. For instance, I did not noticed before that the memorial of the stones that Jacob commanded Israel to lay was on the Jordan itself from rocks that were on land and also rocks from the Jordan unto dry land in Joshua 4. This seemingly trivial point is explained by Schaeffer as being significant since the stones from the river (assuming it looks different) will stand out on dry land and vice versa as a memorial of God’s faithfulness when God once again parting water for Israel. Francis Schaeffer also had a good section on the Abrahamic covenant of God as the background to what was going on in Joshua in terms of receiving the promise land. It’s always beautiful seeing the flow of biblical theology being taken into account in interpreting a passage. The book also had a theologically rich chapter that focused on Joshua 8:30-35 on what Mount Ebal and Gerizim meant, where Schaeffer was able to use it to point to the gospel with the altar on Mount Ebal (the mountain of curses and judgment), of how this symbolizes that there is a need for the cleansing of sins. This commentary also answered a question I had for a while but neglected in finding the answer to. I’ve known before that the 12 tribes of Israel included two sons of Joseph which made me wonder how is it that there are 12 tribes instead of 13 if the tribes are from Jacob’s 12 sons. The math never added up to me until Schaeffer’s note from Genesis 49 that there is a prophecy that Simeon was to be without their own land. Over all, for a devotional flavor commentary, this work had good use of antecedent theology in interpreting the text, with Schaeffer using the Laws of Moses to make sense of what was going on in Joshua. Examples have already been cited above but added to this is the chapter on the city of Refuge, which must be understood in light of the directions and technicalities of Deuteronomy 4:41-43, Deuteronomy 19:1-13, Numbers 35:4-5 and 34:15-30. I also enjoyed the fact that Francis Schaeffer points out that when we look at the Bible, events took place in “time and space,” that is, in history. The ramification of that is huge: history is going somewhere. It is objectively meaningful. Of all people, Christians should be interested in the study of history since we know of God’s plan, promises and providence.

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