Joshua leads Israel in conquering Canaan. Jehovah empowers the judges to deliver his people from oppression
CENTURIES before Israel entered Canaan, Jehovah promised that land to Abraham’s descendants. Now under Joshua’s leadership, the Israelites were about to take possession of the Promised Land.
God had judged the Canaanites worthy of destruction. They had saturated the land with extremely degrading sexual practices as well as with wanton bloodshed. Therefore, the Canaanite cities conquered by the Israelites were to be completely destroyed.
Before entering the land, however, Joshua sent out two spies, who stayed in the city of Jericho with a woman named Rahab. She received the spies into her home and protected them even though she knew that they were Israelites. Rahab had faith in the God of the Israelites, having heard about Jehovah’s saving acts in behalf of his people. She made the spies swear to her that she and her household would be spared.
Later, when the Israelites entered Canaan and came against Jericho, Jehovah miraculously caused the collapse of Jericho’s walls. Joshua’s troops dashed in and destroyed the city, but they spared Rahab and her family. Then, in a swift six-year campaign, Joshua conquered large sections of the Promised Land. Afterward, the land was distributed to the tribes of Israel.
Near the end of his long career, Joshua called the people together. He reviewed with them Jehovah’s dealings with their forefathers and appealed to them to serve Jehovah. After Joshua and his close associates died, however, the Israelites left Jehovah to serve false gods. For some 300 years, the nation did not consistently obey Jehovah’s laws. During that time, Jehovah allowed Israel’s enemies, such as the Philistines, to oppress them. But when the Israelites called to Jehovah for aid, he raised up judges—12 in all—to save them.
The period of the Judges recounted in the book of Judges began with Othniel and ended with Samson, physically the strongest man who ever lived. The basic truth demonstrated over and over again in the thrilling account recorded in the Bible book of Judges is this: Obedience to Jehovah leads to blessings, disobedience to calamity.