Friday, October 6, 2017

Joshua: Chapter 3

The moment of crossing 
Waters gathered
Waters dried

[For full chapter, click here
"This day I will begin to magnify you in the eyes of Israel, and they will know that as I was with Moses, I will be with you" (3: 7) God declares to Joshua, as the nation prepares to cross the Jordan river into the Land. Indeed, the crossing of the river is set up as a prallel to the three of Moses' greats acts. The "three days" (3:2) days of waiting echoe the lead up to the revelation at Sinai. The splitting of the Jordan is set up as a recreation of the Splitting of the Sea. And the choice of "twelve men, a man for each tribe" (3:2) alludes the the  initial senidng forth of the spies.

Throughout, the chapter focuses on the act of crossing (a'v'r), and the liminal edges between one state at the next, the literal "edges" of the river.

This crossing that Moses could not make marks the transformation of the people of Israel from wandering nomads into a settled nation (goy). TCutting off the last vestiges of connection to Moses and the encampment he had so carefully set up, what hapens next, No longer do  the "pillar of fire" and cloud show the way. A new "path" (derekh) must be found, and this chapter picks up on the key words of the opening chapter--teh nation as a whole must learn to walk with Joshua.

The Ark of Covenant moves into prominence. Rather than being carried in the middle, as it was in teh desert, it leads the way, a physical marker that God's presence will accmpany Israel in this passing. "a living God is amongst you" (3: 10). 

The closingof the chapter, with the waters piling up on one side, while drying on the others, is a graphic presentation of this moment of transformation.] 

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