Read or hear the story in Joshua 6:15-21
Joshua fit de battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho
You may talk about the man of Gideon,
Up to the walls of Jericho
Weíre guessing that most of us know the song,
Joshua Fit de Battle is one of the best known examples of "Negro Spiritual" music.
American slaves were forbidden to read or write or to gather in groups. Their oppressors used Christianity to justify their enslavement and "keep them in their place" with "pie in the sky" religion. For information on contemporary anti-slavery groups, see Anti-Slavery International. (note*)
In Latin America, these same dynamics are present today. (read Joshua and the Land, p. 70)
On the other hand...
The Crusades in the Middle Ages
Jericho is one of the oldest cities in the world. Located on the Jordan river, one of the few sources of water in a hot dry land, and on major trade routes, it has been battled over many, many times. If you go to Jericho today you find a barren, high hill overlooking the modern city. This hill, or "tell" is a human, not a natural, landmark. It was created by successive destructions and rebuildings of the city.
But as many times as Jericho was conquered, destroyed, and rebuilt, there is no archeological evidence that this happened in the days of Joshua.
If the purpose of the story of Joshua Fit de Battle was something other than to teach a history lesson, why was it written? Below is a range of possible reasons. As you read the Book of Joshua and the study book Joshua and the Land, which of the following seem to be the most likely answers?
One thing is for certain, the Jews of Jesusí day remembered Jericho as the site of a great victory by their people, and hoped Jesus would overcome the Romans just like Joshua overcame the Canaanite kings. Those who became Christians saw in Jesus the same divine power to conquer suffering and evil, just as thoroughly as Joshua conquered Jericho. To get a feel for their belief about that, read the story of the healing of the blind beggar in Jericho (Mark 10:46-52)
also known as
"things devoted to destruction"
a) God didnít really say that
b) The God of the OT just isnít the same as the God of the NT.
c) It doesnít bother me
d) I sure hope Iím on Godís side
e) None of these answers satisfy me; I want to know more...
- Roy May: the ban as theological justification for war
- Susan Niditch: the ban as ritual sacrifice
When you imagine what God is like, do you ever think of a warrior?
Note* These links jump to outside sites for further information. Links do not constitute an endorsement by the Women's Division of the information on other web sites. These links expose United Methodist Women to diverse perspectives, afford us an opportunity to compare them to United Methodist positions, and encourage United Methodist Women to critically analyze the issues raised by the Joshua web pages.
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