Joshua Chapter 9

The Israelites were beginning to show themselves as a real threat to those in the land of Canaan and the nearby area. Since crossing the Jordan, they had taken both the areas of Jericho and Ai. The miracles accompanying them, brought fear to the nations of the land.

1 And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof;
2 That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.

The kings of the area, gathered together to fight against the children of Israel.

3 And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,
4 They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up;
5 And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.
6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.
7 And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you?
8 And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?
9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the Lord thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,
10 And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth.
11 Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us.
12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:
13 And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.
14 And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord.
15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.

The Gibeonites heard of the strength of the Israelites as well. They prepared themselves to pretend to be poor ambassadors. They presented themselves to Joshua, in rags and with old provisions and belongings. They begged to be allowed to live among them. The Israelites questioned what their relationship would be. The Gibeonites told Joshua that they would be their servants. Joshua questions where they were from and they told him from a far land. They had heard of all that the Israelites had done with the Lord on their side. They deceitfully led the Israelites to believe that they had traveled far and had worn out their belongings on the journey to find them. The Israelite princes made an agreement with them to allow them to live and be their servants, but did not counsel with the Lord in this. In Deuteronomy 7:2 we read, “And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:” The Lord had commanded the Israelites not to make any covenants with people in the land of their inheritance, and I think that they would not have agreed to this had they known who these people really were. I am sure that revelation would have let them know who the Gibeonites were, if they had counseled with the Lord instead of trusting in their own wisdom.

16 And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them.
17 And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjath-jearim.
18 And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.
19 But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them.
20 This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them.
21 And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them.

Three days passed, when the Israelites learned that these people were actually their neighbors who had come among them. They went to the cities of the Gibeonites, but did not destroy them because of the covenant they had made. The host of Israel murmured against their leaders for doing this thing, but the princes could not go against their promise. The princes suggested that the Gibeonites be servants to the host of Israel.

22 And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us?
23 Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.
24 And they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told thy servants, how that the Lord thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you, therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing.
25 And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do.
26 And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not.
27 And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the Lord, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.

Joshua questioned the Gibeonites for deceiving the Israelites about who they really were. He cursed them for their deceit and made them bondmen or servants to the Israelites. They told him that they had feared for their lives, so they lied to be spared.

The Lord had told them that if they made covenants with the people of the land, they would be a problem for them later. They valued their covenants and promises to much, to go against them once made with the Gibeonites, but I am sure that this mistake would eventually lead to temptations and falling away. When we make covenants, the Lord tells us what blessings will come. He also knows that we will fall short of being perfect in those things and we will suffer consequences for the mistakes we make as well. This is why the Savior and His atonement was and is necessary to all of us. We can easily be deceived by others who are looking out for themselves, as the Gibeonites were. The atonement will allow us to repent and return once we recognize the error of our ways. I think one of the important lessons in this story, is that we should counsel with the Lord in all things in our lives. Alma 37:37 teaches us with these words, “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” Prayer is so vitally important in our lives and I am so grateful for it. We can hold fast to this promise as well. If we remember to pray always, God will direct us for our good and eventually we will be lifted up at the last day.

Joshua Chapter 8

The Israelites have begun to take over the promised land. They were part of the miracle of the walls of Jericho coming down, which allowed them the ability to take that city. They attempted to take over the people of Ai, but failed because the Lord was not with them at that time. They gained the support of the Lord again, by destroying the cause of the loss, which was a man and the forbidden items he took while in Jericho. At this point, they were once again ready to take the city of Ai.

1 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:
2 And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.

Joshua was told by the Lord to take the army of Israel to fight against Ai. This time, the Lord told them they could take the spoil and cattle of the city for themselves. They were to ambush the city.

I notice that in the previous chapter, it does not say that the Lord told them to fight against Ai. As far as we can tell, there was no commandment given to the Israelites at that time. I think that if Joshua, as their leader, sought direction from the Lord before going straight into battle, the Lord may have instructed him to sanctify his people first. Perhaps the loss of several men, would have been avoided. In this chapter, it seems that Joshua waited upon the Lord for the instructions to go up to battle again. Because he waited, the army of Israel was prepared and instructed as to what strategy to use in order to be victorious. In Doctrine and Covenants 98:33, modern revelation teaches us, “And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them.” It is important for the people of God, to have the Lord on their side in times of battle.

3 So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by night.
4 And he commanded them, saying, Behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city, even behind the city: go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready:
5 And I, and all the people that are with me, will approach unto the city: and it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them,
6 (For they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before them.
7 Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the Lord your God will deliver it into your hand.
8 And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the Lord shall ye do. See, I have commanded you.

30,000 men of the Israelite army, were chosen to go lie in wait, behind the city, in the night. They were instructed to be ready, while the rest of Israel would go towards the other side of the city. When the people of Ai would come to fight against them and the Israelites flee from them, but would be followed from the city. Then the 30,000 would ambush the city of Ai and it would be delivered to them by the Lord. They were commanded to burn the city.

9 Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Beth-el and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people.
10 And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.
11 And all the people, even the people of war that were with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came before the city, and pitched on the north side of Ai: now there was a valley between them and Ai.
12 And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Beth-el and Ai, on the west side of the city.
13 And when they had set the people, even all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.

The men went in the night and prepared to ambush the city. Joshua and his people approached the city to fight.

14 And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city.
15 And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
16 And all the people that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city.
17 And there was not a man left in Ai or Beth-el, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel.
18 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city.
19 And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire.
20 And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers.
21 And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai.
22 And the other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape.
23 And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua.
24 And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword.
25 And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.
26 For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
27 Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the Lord which he commanded Joshua.
28 And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day.
29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.

Not knowing of the ambush that awaited him, the king of Ai took his men out to fight against the Israelites. The men with Joshua, began to flee and were followed by the people of Ai. The city was left open for the taking. The Lord told Joshua to point his spear towards Ai. At that, the men ambushed the city and burned it. The men of Ai had nowhere to go, so the Israelites were able to go against them and destroy all of them. They brought the king to Joshua. The people and city were completely destroyed and they only took the spoil and cattle, as they had been instructed. The king was hung and his body left at the gate of the city on a pile of stones.

30 Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in mount Ebal,
31 As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings.

Joshua gave thanks to God, by building an altar of whole stones in mount Ebal. The Israelites gave burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord.

32 And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.
33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.
34 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.
35 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.

The blessings and cursings were given at mount Gerizim and Ebal, as they had been commanded by the Lord through the prophet Moses. In Deuteronomy 11:29, we read, “And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.” (See also Deuteronomy 27).

Here, the Israelites are blessed for repenting of the wrong previously done, and being strictly obedient to the directions of the Lord. Joshua made a copy of the law of Moses, which was read to the people of Israel. We can see here the importance of keeping a record of the word of the Lord. They had been given the commandment to make and keep this record, while Moses was the prophet. Joshua understood the importance of this commandment, and followed through just as they had been instructed to do. The people of Israel would fall without the commandments in the teachings by the leaders. We also need the scriptures to teach us what is right and how to keep our lives focused on the true and living God. When we stop looking to the word of God, we stop living it and that leads to destruction physically and spiritually. I am so glad to have the scriptures in my life and the blessings keeping the commandments brings.

Joshua Chapter 7

The people of Israel, had the city of Jericho delivered unto them by the Lord. By following the directions given to Joshua, they brought the walls of the city down. They had been instructed to destroy the city, take the worthy treasures for the Lord, and to leave the forbidden things alone. The Israelites were not a perfect people, however, and this chapter begins with their transgression.

1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.
2 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth-aven, on the east side of Beth-el, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai.
3 And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.
4 So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.
5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.

A man named Achan, from the tribe of Judah had not followed the commands with strictness, but had taken something forbidden. The manual I am studying teaches that “a possible meaning of “accursed thing” is something God tells us not to do but that we do anyway.” Achan had made a curse come upon Israel, by going against the commandments given to the people. The whole of Israel was held accountable for his actions. Without a knowledge of this thing, Joshua continued to lead the army of Israel. He sent spies to the land of Ai and they returned to tell Joshua that they did not need to send all of their army, because the number of men in Ai was few. Joshua sent 3,000 men, which were defeated and fled from the men of Ai. Some of the Israelites were killed in the fight, and they began to have fear.

Why had the Lord deserted his people at this time? When we make promises or covenants with the Lord, He is held by an eternal law to fulfill his part of that covenant. If however, we choose to break our covenants, as the man Achan did, the Lord does not have to keep his part any longer. This principle is taught to us in Doctrine and Covenants 82:10, which reads, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” The Israelites no longer had the promise that the Lord would be with them.

6 And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.
7 And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!
8 O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies!
9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?

Joshua mourned and took his questions or complaints to the Lord. He asked why the Lord had brought them there, if they were going to be delivered up for destruction. He said they would have been better off if they had remained on the eastern side of the Jordan. Joshua did not know how to continue to lead the people if they were afraid to face their enemies, and was worried about what the other nations would think of the Israelites and their God.

I find it interesting that the same kind of words are written here from the words of Joshua, which the Israelites had used to earn 40 years of wandering. Joshua had been one of two, who showed faith in God at that time, when the children of Israel felt they would have been better off back in Egypt. The Lord would not punish Joshua for the thought at this time, but would show him why the people had been forsaken during their fight. I think the Lord’s response was different, because he knew the heart of Joshua, just as he had known the heart of those unfaithful Israelites before him.

10 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?
11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.
12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.
13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.
14 In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the Lord taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the Lord shall take shall come by households; and the household which the Lord shall take shall come man by man.
15 And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.

The Lord told Joshua to rise, and said that their had been transgression in the law given to Israel. Joshua was told that something forbidden was taken from Jericho and given a place within their stuff. Because of this, they could not stand up against their enemies and God would not be with them unless they destroyed that which was forbidden. The Lord commanded Joshua to sanctify the people and they were to be led to find it among the tribes and families of Israel. When it was found, that person, and all that was his, was to be destroyed by fire.

16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken:
17 And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken:
18 And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.
20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:
21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

Joshua did as he was commanded, and was lead by inspiration to the man Achan, of the family of Zarhites, in the tribe of Judah. Joshua asked Achan to confess his wrong to God by telling Joshua what he had done. Achan confessed that he had taken an item of clothing, some silver and gold. He had hidden them in the ground of his tent, which shows that he knew it had been the wrong thing to do. I think we can be the judge of our own actions, by looking to see if we try to hide them from anyone. Justification is a form of hiding our actions as well, when we know within our hearts and minds that we have done something wrong. The only thing that hiding these things does, is to delay the consequences. There will always be consequences, either in this life or after it, when the opportunity to repent has passed.

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it.
23 And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord.
24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.
25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.
26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.

Messengers were sent to find the items and bring them to Joshua to be laid before the Lord. The forbidden items, Achan, and all his household and belongings, were taken to the valley of Achor and destroyed for his transgression. The Lord no longer held his anger towards the Israelites.

The natural man in us, assumes that when we sin or transgress the law, we are going to be the only ones affected by that choice. This is simply not true and this idea is one of the tactics that Satan uses to ensnare us, and is entirely selfish. If we had a clear idea the effects of our choices on others, I wonder how often we would choose the right rather than see others suffer for us. Achan’s choice caused some to suffer the consequence of death, some were left to mourn, and others to probably suffer doubt in their faith. These are only the immediate consequences, while there were more lasting ones we couldn’t possibly imagine. I think that it is important for us to try to keep a larger perspective in life, so that we will recognize how our choices could effect our personal eternal outcome, as well as the effects on the lives, mortal and eternal, of others around us.

Joshua Chapter 6

As the story of the Bible continues, the Israelites were encamped in the land near Jericho. Jericho was a walled city, just West of the Jordan River. The prophet Joshua had previously sent spies into the city, which had learned that the people were greatly afraid of the Israelites and the power of God that was with them. The Lord continued to lead the Israelites in this chapter, which begins:

1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
2 And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

The gates of the city Jericho, were closed because of the Israelites. The Lord had delivered the city into the hands of the children of Israel. Jericho was told to have the men circle the city once a day for six days, with the ark among them. Seven priests were to carry trumpets and go before the ark. On the seventh day, the people were to go around the city seven times. When the trumpets sounded, the people were to shout loudly. At this, the walls of Jericho would fall down and the city could then be taken.

6 And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.
7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the Lord.

So Joshua called the priests to bear the ark and seven priests to carry trumpets before the ark. He commanded the people to encompass the city, and the army of Israel were to go before the ark.

8 And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns passed on before the Lord, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them.

The priests did as they were instructed, and blew the trumpets before them.

9 And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rearward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.
11 So the ark of the Lord compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.

The army of Israel went in front and the people were commanded to remain quiet until they were told to shout by Joshua. They went around one day and them camped for the night.

12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord.
13 And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rearward came after the ark of the Lord, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
14 And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.
15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.
16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city.

They went through this process on each of six days. Then on the seventh day, they encompassed the city seven times, then Joshua commanded the people to shout.

17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
18 And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.
19 But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.
20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
21 And they 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.
22 But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her.
23 And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel.
24 And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord.
25 And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

The people were told that the city was theirs to take, except for the place of Rahab, the harlot, who had hidden the spies previously (see Joshua 2). They were not to touch anything that was accursed, which were those things that were forbidden and to be sacrificed to the Lord. They were allowed, however, to take all the treasures to the Lord’s treasury. The people shouted as they had been commanded, and the walls of the city came down. The Israelites took possession of the city. Every person and animal in the city was destroyed except for Rahab’s family, who were taken out of the city and away from the camp of Israel. The city was then burned.

The fulfillment of the promise made to Rahab, made her faith in their word complete. She risked her own safety by hiding the spies, but it was not in vain. Her family was spared and her posterity continued to live in Israel. In Hebrews 11:31 we read, “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” Her faith not only helped the Israelites, but led to her life being changed for the better. I am a firm believer in the importance of keeping our word both with God and with men. The promises we make are binding and we will be held accountable for them when we are someday judged for our works among men. When we make promises with the Lord, we are always blessed. In Doctrine and Covenants 82:10 we read, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” The blessings of God are so much greater than anything we could gain from breaking a promise or covenant with Him.

26 And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.
27 So the Lord was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.

The people were told that they were not to rebuild the city of Jericho. The nations around them, heard of Joshua and what he had done.

I am sure that the Lord could have easily caused the walls to come down. However, the Israelites acted in faith and obediently encircled the city each day as they were commanded. They showed that they believed in the word of the Lord and that he was leading them to victory. Their faith proceeded the miracle and the power of the Lord was with them. Their actions alone, without faith and the power of the Lord, would not have brought the walls of the city down. This should be a lesson to us, that all things are possible with faithful obedience to the Lord. There will be times in life, when reason would tell us that something would not work. If, however, we have been given a commandment or the inspiration from God to do it, we should follow it. When we are faithfully obedient to the Lord, miracles can happen and we can overcome the challenges we face.

Joshua Chapter 5

The Israelites, under the direction of the prophet Joshua, crossed the Jordan River and camped near the land of Jericho. The Lord had brought them into this land, in such a way, as to make the other nations nervous. This had been promised prior to their crossing the river. The nations would know and fear the people of the living God. This chapter begins:

1 And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.

Fear came upon the people of the land of Canaan. They knew that the people of Israel were a powerful people because of the miracles that God had done for them.

2 At that time the Lord said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.
3 And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.
4 And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.
5 Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised.
6 For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord: unto whom the Lord sware that he would not shew them the land, which the Lord sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
7 And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way.
8 And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.
9 And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.

The Israelite males were circumcised, just as their fathers had been who made the first covenants at Sinai. This was necessary because all those who had been circumcised the first time, had since passed away. The Lord had not required circumcision as they had wandered for forty years. The place they camped, was called Gilgal by the Lord.

10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.
11 And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.

As they camped, they kept the Passover and ate the old grains that came from the land. I think this was new for them, because as a nomadic people, they had been fed by the Lord for forty years, and had not regularly eaten the crops as other people would have done.

12 And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

At that point, the blessing of manna stopped and they began to eat the fruit of the land. I imagine that would have been quite a change for all the people, since all of them were raised from childhood or infancy with daily manna from the Lord.

13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
15 And the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

The captain of the host of the Lord came to Joshua. Joshua worshiped him and then asked what the directions of the Lord were for him. Joshua, much like Moses, was told to remove the shoes he wore, because he was then on holy ground.

This was a time of great changes for the Israelite people. They were finally becoming prepared to take the land and settle there. I am sure this was a time of great excitement and anticipation. These people had never known this kind of life that they were now facing. I am sure that the need for courage and faith in the Lord, was of great importance. They showed their faith, by performing the ordinance of circumcision and renewing the covenants with the Lord. They were becoming more sanctified by the Lord, and allowing Him to lead them. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have each week to renew my own covenants with the Lord, by partaking of the Sacrament. Through this renewal, I know that I can be more sanctified as well. With this weekly renewal and sanctification, I am better prepared to face my own adversaries and the every-day trials of life.

Joshua Chapter 4

The Israelites had followed the instructions of the prophet, Joshua, and went behind the Ark of the Covenant to the shores of the Jordan River. They camped near the river. Twelve men, one from each tribe, were chosen from among the people. They followed the priests who bore the Ark, and when they entered the water, it was stopped in a heap, much like the parting of the Red Sea. The people began to walk across on the dry land. This chapter continues this story as follows:

1 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying,
2 Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,
3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.
4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:
5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:
6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?
7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.
8 And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the Lord spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.
9 And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.

After the people had crossed the river, the twelve men who had been chosen from the tribes, were to gather twelve stones from the ground where the priests stood, who had carried the ark. They were to take the stones with them to the place they camped for the night. Joshua teaches us that the reason for these stones, was to have a monument to be held in remembrance of this event. When their children, or their posterity, would ask what these stones meant, they would teach them that they were to remember when the Lord stopped the waters of the Jordan for the children of Israel. Twelve stones were placed in the middle of the Jordan River, where the ark of the covenant was carried by the priests.

10 For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over.
11 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the Lord passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people.
12 And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them:
13 About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the Lord unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.

When all of this was accomplished, the priests who bore the ark carried it onto the other side of the river where the Israelites were. The men of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh, led the people, armed to fight, just as they had promised. There were 40,000 men prepared to battle in the Israelite army.

14 On that day the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.
15 And the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying,
16 Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.
17 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.
18 And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.

The children of Israel, were able to witness for themselves, that Joshua had been magnified by the Lord, and was indeed the Lord’s prophet. Once the priests were commanded to come out of the Jordan River onto the shores of the other side, the river returned to it’s normal course.

19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.
20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.
21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?
22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.
23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:
24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.

The Israelites camped in Gilgal, just outside of the land of Jericho. The twelve tribes set up the twelve stones as a memorial of what the Lord had done for the Israelites at this place.

I was pondering on the use of stones and the river in this story. Stones are a part of the land, which is what they were able to walk on without difficulty. These stones would have been large enough to remain there for generations, and they cause me to think about the rock of our salvation, who is always there for us. These stones were to stay unmovable and always be a reminder of the strength of the Lord for His people. The Lord is our rock, just as he was the rock of salvation for the Israelites. If we place our trust in Him, he will help us to cross the rivers of trials we deal with in our own lives, as if we are on dry land. The waters will not be able to drag us down, as the river would have done for this people.

Additionally, the Ark of the Covenant was not only a physical representation of the Lord among the people, but a container which held the words of the covenant the people of Israel had made with the Lord. It is a reminder to me, that we need to allow our covenants to lead our lives. If we are willing to put our covenants with the Lord first, to give us guidance and direction, we will be kept safe and find our way to our promised land. I am so grateful for my covenants and have felt the blessings of allowing the Lord to guide me through them.

Joshua Chapter 3

The Israelites were commanded to prepare their things, because in three days time, they would be starting their movement into the promised land. The first city they were going to arrive at, would be Jericho. Joshua, as their leader, sent spies into the land, who returned to say that the people there had heard of the great and terrible things the Israelites had done, and feared them. God had told Moses and Joshua that this is how the nations would feel, and so with faith, the Israelites continued to prepare.

1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.
2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;
3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.
4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.
5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.
6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

Joshua and the people left the camp in Shittim and arrived at the shore of the Jordan River. They stayed there for three days. The instruction was given to the people, that when they saw the ark of the covenant and Levite priests go before them, they were to follow it. They were specifically instructed to have a distance between themselves and the ark, so that the Lord could lead them into this unknown land. The Lord was not going to send them into this land, without his guidance as to where they should go. He would lead them, much like he had led them before with the cloud that went before them in the wilderness. This reminds me of the story of the Book of Mormon, when the family of the prophet Lehi were guided to their promised land by the Liahona, which was a gift from God.

Joshua instructed the people to sanctify themselves because the Lord would do wonders for them. Finally, Joshua gave the command to the priests, to take the ark and go before the people, which they did. This command to be sanctified for the wonders of the Lord, was much like the commandment given to the Israelites at Mount Sinai, when they would witness the glory of the Lord on the mount. They had physically prepared themselves for the journey to come, and now they were being called to be spiritually prepared to receive the blessings of God. I imagine it is a lot like the call for us today, to become worthy to enter temples. The latter-day saint temples are dedicated houses of the Lord, in which the righteous can receive great blessings from the Lord. People must be sanctified to enter, because the spirit of the Lord dwells there.

7 And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.
8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

Joshua is given a promise that the Lord would show the Israelites that he was indeed the prophet of God, just as Moses had been. It is so important for us to have a testimony of the Lord’s prophet, so that we will not doubt that we are being guided by the words of God. I am grateful for the experiences that I have had in my life, which have strengthened my own testimony in the modern prophets, and help me to know that we have a living prophet on the earth today.

God told Joshua to tell the priests that bore the ark, to go into the first part of the water and stand still in it. This was to be an act of faith on the part of the priests. Moses, when he parted the Red Sea, had to first stretch out his hand as an act of faith in God. We can follow these examples in our own lives, by taking a step in the direction of the council we are given by the Lord and his servants. When we go forward in faith, rather than waiting for something to happen first, we can do great things, just as these worthy men of the priesthood would do.

9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God.
10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.
11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.
12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.
13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.

Joshua called the people forward and told them that the Lord would show them that he was there with them and would lead them to victory over the nations of the land. Then, he gave the instructions to the people that twelve men, one from each tribe, were to be chosen. He also told them that as the priests took the ark into the water, the Lord would cut the waters off and cause them to stand up in a heap. This would have been much like the waters of the Red Sea, when Moses parted them by the power of God.

14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;
15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)
16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.
17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

The Jordan River, which is described here as being high water at the time of harvest, was stopped when the feet of the priests went into the brink. I think the additional description of the Jordan, was given so that we could know that the water was not some simple stream, but an overflowing river. Once the water stopped, the people of Israel crossed over on dry land. It is interesting to me to see that the waters mark the journey of the Israelites. The beginning of their journey through the wilderness, involved the parting of the Red Sea and the Israelites crossing the dry land. Then, their journey ends with the waters stopped in the Jordan, and the Israelites crossing the dry land again. Both times, the Lord, who is the living water, made the waters of the earth do His bidding. Both times proved to the people that the prophet was indeed a man of God, chosen to lead them forward. The water was the symbol of the next phase of their lives.

Baptism

Water is a very symbolic thing in the gospel. I can’t help but reflect on the most significant moment in my life that is relating to water, which was my baptism. In my own life, entering into the waters of baptism, marked the next phase of my existence. It is a time I can often reflect on, and remember the decision that was laid before me. Taking that faithful step into the water, has led me on a path of discipleship and great blessings. Additionally, the Lord caused that water to do His bidding, which was to cleanse me and give me new life. I am very grateful for that choice and the opportunities, lessons, and growth it has given to me.

Joshua Chapter 2

The Israelites were encamped on the eastern side of the Jordan River, across from Jericho. This was a city surrounded by a wall. It would be the first city that the Israelites would come to once they crossed the river into the promised land. The Israelites had just been given the direction from the Lord, to gather their belongings and prepare themselves to cross the Jordan into the land of inheritance. This chapter begins:

1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.
2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country.
3 And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.
4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were:
5 And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.
6 But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.
7 And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.

Joshua sent two spies to Jericho. They ended up staying at the house of Rahab, who was a harlot. The king of Jericho learned of their arrival and sent for the men who came to search out their land. Rahab hid the spies and told the men of Jericho that she did not know where the Israelite spies were. She said that the men had come to her, but left when the night came. She convinced them to go search for the spies, when truly, she had hidden them on her roof.

8 And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;
9 And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.
10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.
11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token:
13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.
14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the Lord hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.
15 Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.
16 And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way.
17 And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.
18 Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.
19 And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.
20 And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear.
21 And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.
22 And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not.

Rahab told the spies that she knew God had given them the land and that the people feared them because of the power God had done great and terrible things. The Lord had previously promised the Israelites that the nations would fear their coming, and this was fulfillment of that promise. Rahab must have understood some of the nature of God, even though she lived in a nation that was not following after Him, and was personally living a life of sin. This is a reminder to me, that we are all fallen people in a fallen world. Just because a person is not living righteously, does not mean that they could not do good for others. Those who do good, will be blessed by the Lord and I think that Rahab believed this.

Rahab begged them to spare her, along with her family, because she had helped them. The spies promised her that if she would not tell anyone about them, they would be preserve her family. She helped them to escape the town and told them to hide in the mountain for three days while they were pursued. They made a plan for Rahab to hang a scarlet cloth in her window, so they would know which home to spare. Any of her family that was in the house would be fine, but any outside of their home would not be spared. If she told anyone, they would not be held to their promise. They escaped to the mountain and she tied the cloth in her window. The men who were looking for them, could not find them.

23 ¶So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all things that befell them:
24 And they said unto Joshua, Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.

The spies returned to the Israelite camp and told Joshua what had happened in Jericho. They had greater faith, because the people of Jericho feared the Israelites.

This is a story of faithful actions for Joshua, the spies, and Rahab. Joshua acts in faith, by preparing for their journey and causing the spies to go into the land. The spies faithfully go into Jericho and, continuing in faith, rely on Rahab for protection and help to know about the people in the land. Likewise, Rahab shows great faith in the face of the fear that has come upon her people. She knows her life is in danger now that the Israelites are preparing to come into their land, and she shows her faith by helping the spies. I think that all 4 of these individuals, trusted that the Lord would bless them if they would go forward in their faith.

It is interesting to note, that Rahab was to hang something scarlet from her window. To the Isrealites, a home marked by scarlet had significant meaning. The homes of the Israelites had been marked by the lamb’s blood when they were threatened with the destroying angel in Egypt. The blood had been the thing that saved their people. This thread or cloth would be the thing to save Rahab and her family as well. Both things were representations of the saving power of the Lord. The blood of the atonement of Jesus Christ marks the faithful, to be saved from the destroying power of sin in our lives. I am so grateful for the knowledge of the atonement and reminders such as this story, which help me to remember what it does for me personally.

Joshua Chapter 1

The first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) are called the books of Moses. They tell the history of the prophets and people of God, from Adam and his family, down through Moses and the Israelites. The ending of these books, records that Moses was taken by the Lord and Joshua, who was previously called and set apart by Moses, becomes the new prophet and leader of the children of Israel. The book of Joshua begins with the following:

1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,
2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
4 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.
5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

The Lord speaks to his new prophet, Joshua. Joshua is commanded to take the people into the promised land. The Lord promised Joshua that no man would be able to stand before him, because the Lord would be with him for the rest of his life, just as he had been with Moses. The phrase “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” is quoted a lot, to show that the Lord does not desert those he has called to do his work. In modern revelation we read, “He that seeketh me early shall find me, and shall not be forsaken. (Doctrine and Covenants 88:83)” When we faithfully serve in our callings, the Lord sustains us and guides us.

The Lord tells Joshua to be strong and of good courage in his charge to give the people the land of their inheritance. He is told again to be strong and courageous in order to be strictly obedient to the law. It is not an easy thing, to keep the commandments of God in a world that seems to pull us every other direction. It takes a great deal of strength and courage to stand firm and remain faithful to the covenants made with the Lord. The faithful cannot be selective on the commandments they choose to obey, but must strive to keep all the commandments of the Lord. Joshua is also commanded to meditate on the law day and night. I think this is another way of saying that he needed to study it and then write it upon his heart, so that he would live the law with exactness. If he would do this, he would be successful and prosperous. When we, like Joshua, are strong in the faith and courageously do what is right, studying the scriptures and living the principles found in them, we will have no reason to fear either. The spirit of the Lord will strive with those who choose the right and do the will of the Lord.

10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,
11 Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it.

Joshua began to prepare Israel to cross the Jordan into the land of their inheritance. He did this by giving commands to the tribe leaders, which they were then to give to all the people. They had three days to prepare themselves to travel again.

12 And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying,
13 Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.
14 Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them;
15 Until the Lord have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the Lord your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the Lord’s servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.

Joshua reminded the two and a half tribes who had already claimed their inheritances, that they promised Moses they would go with the rest of the host of Israel, to gain all the lands promised. After they served in the army of Israel, they would be able to return to their homes.

16 And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.
17 According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.
18 Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.

The men agreed to do follow the commands and leadership of Joshua, just as they had been willing to follow Moses, because they knew the Lord was with him. They also decided that those who were disobedient to Joshua, and therefore went against their earlier promise to Moses and the Lord, would be put to death.

“Be strong and of good courage”. There are many times in my life, when I have walked by faith alone and this is a motto that has been able to help me a great deal. Remembering that the Lord can be our strength during trials, is a huge help in these difficult times. I find great hope in the promised blessings of keeping the commandments, and cling to faith in Him and his help to overcome all that I face. We may not be going against men of great stature in battles or facing death, but our trials are our own for a reason and they are not easy. We can all grow from our trials when we face them with all the strength we can and with the courage to do what is right.

Deuteronomy Chapter 34

Moses was the prophet who delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians, through the power and direction of the Lord. He then led the people by the power of the Lord, to Mount Sinai, where he received revelation and taught the people the laws of God. With the priesthood and continued revelation, he led them for the forty years they wandered in the wilderness, before arriving near the promised land. He led their armies into battles, where they were victorious because the Lord was on their side. He taught as the Lord commanded and the people made precious and sacred covenants with the Lord. Moses had not been entirely perfect through his life, and because of a choice he made during his leadership, he was to be taken from the earth before he could enter the promised land. The Lord called Moses to go up into the mountain to die, just as his brother Aaron had previously. This chapter finishes the story of Moses. It begins:

1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan,
2 And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea,
3 And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar.
4 And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.

Moses went into the mount and saw the land as he had been promised by the Lord.

5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.
6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.

Moses was taken by the Lord. In Alma 45 we read the following:

18 And when Alma had done this he departed out of the land of Zarahemla, as if to go into the land of Melek. And it came to pass that he was never heard of more; as to his death or burial we know not of.
19 Behold, this we know, that he was a righteous man; and the saying went abroad in the church that he was taken up by the Spirit, or buried by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses. But behold, the scriptures saith the Lord took Moses unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received Alma in the spirit, unto himself; therefore, for this cause we know nothing concerning his death and burial.

Here we learn that the description of Moses being buried (by the Lord), means that he was taken up by the spirit, which would explain why no one would know where he was buried. Being taken from this world by the spirit, means that Moses was translated and did not suffer through death as most men do (see 3 Nephi 28:1-9, 36-40 for information on translation). In the Bible Dictionary under “Moses”, it teaches that in order to do part of the mission he had on earth after his life, but before the resurrection began, it was necessary for him to be a translated being with a body and not a spirit awaiting the resurrection.

7 And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

Moses did not die of “old-age”, as many do today. He lived to be 120 years old, but is described in such a way to say that he was not a man who was going blind or becoming unable to perform his duties. It causes me to ponder on the scriptures that teach us that men will live to the fullness of their age during the millennium, and then they will be changed to their next state as translated beings are. I am sure it is a great blessing to experience that mighty change without going through the pains and struggles of physical death.

8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

The Israelites mourned over Moses for thirty days, while they remained in the land across the Jordan River from Jericho. I can only imagine the heartache felt when Moses left them, because he had done so much for his people.

9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.

Joshua, who had been called and set apart, to be the next prophet and leader of the people, was made full of the spirit of wisdom. I think this is another way of saying that the mantle of his calling, rested upon him now that Moses had gone. The Israelites knew he was to lead them, and because the Lord had commanded them through the words of Moses, they hearkened to Joshua and sustained him as their leader.

10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,
11 In all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land,
12 And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.

Moses was a prophet of the higher priesthood, who led with great authority and power from the Lord. When he was taken, this priesthood was also taken from the earth. In Doctrine and Covenants 84:25 we read, “Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;”. The experiences that the Israelites had with him as their leader, would stand as examples for the rest of time. He was Israel’s greatest prophet. They would continue to focus on him and his teachings as long as they were a nation. This was necessary in order to establish the word of the Lord among the people. Even if they would not always follow the commandments and would be scattered later as had been promised, they had been established as the people of the Lord, who had the law of Moses, which was the law of the living God. All the earth would continue to be blessed by the Israelites because of the work that Moses did. Moses was one of few men, who ever lived and knew the Lord as personally as he did, even seeing Him face to face. He was more faithful and obedient than most men who have ever lived, which is why he was able to do so many great and marvelous things for the people of his time.

I am grateful for the prophet Moses and for the scriptures which teach me of his life and mission for the Lord. I know that his righteousness and leadership was necessary for us to have the gospel as we do today. His mission did not end with his being taken from the Israelites, but has continued with the need for restoration of keys of the priesthood throughout time. I have enjoyed the study of his life and law, which has strengthened my testimony and helped me gain a greater understanding of the gospel which I live today. I am also grateful for the love of God, to allow us to have living prophets today. I know that these prophets are called for our time and to help us find our way back Home.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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