Journey the Word

The Promised Land: From Joshua to Judges (Journey the Word 5)

Joshua, one of the two spies with a good report about Canaan, challenged the Israelites to have courage, but the Israelites did not want to enter the Promised Land. About forty years later, Joshua stood on the outlying areas of the Promised Land, for God had given His People another chance at entering.

The Canaan conquest

Joshua 1-24

Joshua was Moses’ successor to lead the Israelites into Canaan. God promised to never leave him nor forsake him. God parted the Jordan river so the people could enter across dry land, which was similar to the Red Sea being parted for Moses and the Israelites as they left Egypt. The conquest for Canaan would begin with breaking down the walls of Jericho.

When Jericho fell, Rahab and her family were spared because of their faith and assistance to Israel. Soon, Joshua and his army would move through central Canaan. When they were near Shechem, which was between Mounts Ebal and Gerizim, Joshua and His People assembled to worship God. Joshua built an altar on Mount Ebal, and the priests presented offerings to the Lord while Joshua would read the Law of Moses. Reading the Law reminds people of the Mosaic Covenant.

Soon, Joshua would conquer cities in southern Canaan, and have many victories in the north as well. The Israelites quickly settled in Canaan, and different territories they were able to annex throughout the land to specific tribes of Israel. Lastly, Joshua would bid farewell as he died at age 110 and buried in the Promised Land.

The Time of the Judges

Judges 1-21

Since Joshua died, the tribes were without a central leader, and even though the Lord was their King, they needed someone to rule the people on the earth. Now, the book of Judges notes there was much sin and deliverance. To rule the people, Judges were needed over the tribes.

Idolatry was rampant during this time, as people believed in different deities that ruled over many facets of life. Especially prominent was Baal and Ashtaroth during this era. The Israelites turned to these other gods, instead of our One True God. Therefore, God sent oppression because of Israel’s sins. During their time of desperation, they cried out to God, and eventually God raised up a leader to deliver Israel from the oppression.

The most notable judges included Deborah, Gideon, and Samson. Deborah helped lead Israel to defeat King Jabin, Gideon led extraordinary military victories, and Samson helped accomplish God’s purpose of breaking the dominance of the Philistines over Israel.

With the success of each judge, Israel had experienced times of peace; however, Israel eventually went back to idolatrous ways, which caused more wars and oppression.

We see this cycle happen to Israel in the book of Judges, which occurs throughout human history interestingly:

Sin and disobedience => Oppression => Repentance => Deliverance => Peace (and it restarts after this).

List of Judges

#JudgeYearsCaptivity/Servitude
1Othniel40The children of Ammon and Amalek served Eglon for 18 years.
2Ehud18none
3ShamgarN/Anone
4DeborahAbout 40Shortly after the 40 years of peace after her reign, the Israelites were allowed to be oppressed by the Midianites, Amalekites, and children of the East. God chose Gideon to free the people and condemn their idolatry.
5Gideon40none
6Abimelech3none
7Tolah23none
8Jair22none
9Jephthah18none
10Ibzan7none
11Elon10none
12Abdon8none
13Samson20none

Ruth’s story

The book of Ruth seems to be set during the latter part of the judges’ reign. The story begins with a famine, which caused Naomi and family to move from Bethlehem to Moab. Naomi’s husband and two sons died in Moab. Naomi needed to return to Bethlehem, and therefore, Ruth joined her.

While in Bethlehem, Ruth worked among the poor, and obtained leftovers in grain fields. Boaz heard of Ruth’s unwavering dedication to Naomi, and had compassion for Ruth. By the end, Boaz married Ruth, which was neat to see God’s Love shining through this story.

Timelines of events during Joshua and Judges

  • 1406 BC – Joshua succeeds Moses as Israel’s leader (Joshua 1).

  • Israelites spy the Promised Land, Rahab hid them (Joshua 2). Rahab was a hero of faith and righteousness (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25).

  • God parts the Jordan and lets the Israelites walk on dry land (Joshua 3-5).

  • Israelites march around Jericho for 7 days, and the walls fall down, and they conquer the city. Rahab and family are spared (Joshua 6).

  • Israel renews their covenant at Mounts Gerizim and Ebal (Joshua 8:30-35).

  • Gibeonites tricked Joshua into a peace treaty (Joshua 9).

  • Joshua divided the land among the Tribes of Israel (Joshua 13-22).

  • Israel renews the covenant and Joshua dies (Joshua 23-24).

  • 1300 BC – Israel forsook God. Soon, Othniel, Ehub, and Shamgar would be judges to lead Israel (Judges 1-3).

  • Deborah was a judge who partnered with Barak to defeat oppressors (Judges 4-5).

  • Gideon defeats the Midianites (Judges 6-8). Barak and Gideon are listed as heroes of faith (Hebrews 11:32).

  • 1200 BC – Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon lead Israel (Judges 10-12). Samson fought the Philistines with incredible strength (Judges 13-16). Jephthah and Samson are heroes of faith (Hebrews 11:32).

  • About 1100 BC – Idolatry, violence, and war happened among the Tribes of Israel (Judges 17-21). Ruth married Boaz and has a child that is the ancestor of King David (Ruth 1-4).

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