SEAN - This is Ancient Israel 101, from their refusal to enter Canaan all the way to the genocidal campaign against the Ammorites - starting with King Sihon. These stories are much more upsetting (for the the modern reader) than what is supposed to be happening in Israel-Palestine these days. For the believing Jew, Messianic Jew, or Christian, though, Deuteronomy 1-2 is the noble history of God taking a rebellious people and making a nation for Himself out of them. Yahweh is the direction behind the nations' rise and fall.
Based on ESV.com's Chronological Bible In a Year schedule. If anyone would like to join in, this blog's comments sections would be a good forum in which to share insights from the text.
The Nation Made in God's Image
The doctrine of imago dei tells us that God made homo sapiens (humans) in His own image - meaning that we represent Him upon the Earth. That's what we carry inside of us as individuals. As a God's chosen nation (Deuteronomy 1.31) Israel carried that in them as a group: God made His judgments of the people known through Israel's leaders (Deuteronomy 1.17) and brought a reckoning to the Canaanites through Israel's armies (Deuteronomy 2.34-36) - Israel was the right hand of God's judgment, the expression of His decisions about the nations. In that respect, God made Israel in His likeness, after His own image. Whether that is still true of modern Israel is a whole different discussion, and a complicated one. But it seems to have been true in Old Testament times, as King Sihon of Heshbon found out (Deuteronomy 2.24).
God Remains Faithful
This will get covered later in the book (I think), but Israel is still a nation in God's image even when they are disobedient and unbelieving. God disciplines them so severely because of His love for them, not in spite of it. Although they disobeyed (1.26-33) God still chose to work through that nation (2.25).
Assorted Interesting Bits
- The picture [top] is of the brook of Zered (2.13-14)
- The site in 1.1-2 is super detailed - memorial site?
- The Anakim were giants (1.28). Not impossible. See next post.
- Yahweh is still the true God of Edom, a Pagan nation (2.5)
- Yahweh also fights for Pagan nations (2.20-23)
- The conquest of Canaan started before Jericho (2.31-33)
- God hardened Sihon's heart; even free will is His to revoke (2.30)
- Israel slaughters women and children - commits genocide (2.34)
Other comments and observations can be found in the comments section! Join in!