Thursday, March 29, 2007

Yehoshua 12

(See introduction in post on Yehoshua 6)

Chapter 12 of Yehoshua is one of those chapters of Tanach which is a lot more exciting if one learns it with an Atlas Da'as Mikra open alongside. It consists of a list of the kings whom Bnei Yisroel defeated when they entered the land. In the first half of the chapter, the conquests of Sichon and Og in Transjordan are rehashed. In the second half, the 31 kings who ruled in Israel proper are listed; some of them are familiar, some less so:

* The kings of Yericho and the Ai, the first two cities conquered by B'nei Yisroel (chapters 6-8)
* Adoni-Tzedek of Yerushalayim, Hoham of Chevron, Pir'am of Yarmus, Yafia of Lachish, and D'vir of Eglon - the five Emorite kings in the south who declared war on Giv'on because of its sealing a peace treaty with Bnei Yisroel, and who were defeated by enormous hailstones and by the heavenly bodies that kept watch together in the Ayalon Valley* until Bnei Yisroel finished destroying the enemy (chapter 10 in general and specifically 10:36-37, 31-32, and 34-35)
* Horam of Gezer, who attempted to defend the city of Lachish. (10:33) According to Atlas Da'as Mikra, the two cities are approximately 10 miles apart; perhaps Gezer was somewhat of a regional power?

* The king of D'vir (10:38-39)
* The kings of Geder and the far southern cities of Chormah and Arad
* The king of Livna, whose city was conquered immediately after Makeida (10:29-30, see below)
* The king of Adullam, located between Yerushalayim, Chevron, Yarmus, and Lachish. Interesting they didn't join the alliance (perhaps they were a smaller city?)
* The king of Makeida, whose city was conquered the same day that the five kings of the south were killed (10:28)
* Beis-El, a neighboring city to the Ai (see Bereishis 13:3). These 16 kings all reigned in the future territories of Shim'on, Yehuda, and Binyamin (to be precise, Beis-El and Gezer were actually in southern Ephraim - and ADM is ambiguous about Makeida - but they were right near the border).

* The kings of Tapu'ach, Cheifer, and Afeik, located in the heartland of the country later inhabited by the tribes of Ephraim, Menashe, and Dan.

* The king of Lasharon and Yovav of Madon, kings who reigned near the Kinneret, the latter of whom was allied with...
* Yavin of Chatzor, the head of the northern alliance that gathered at Mei Marom in the far north of Israel to fight against Bnei Yisroel after their successful exploits in the south (11:1), and
* The kings of Shimron (M'ron) and Achshaf, junior partners in the alliance. These five kings (six cities, as M'ron is a city distinct from Shimron) reigned in the far north, in the lands of Asher, Naftali, Yissachar, and Zevulun.

* The kings of Ta'nach and Megiddo, further to the southwest
* The king of Kedesh, the northernmost of the cities mentioned
* The kings of Yokn'am of Karmel, of Dor of the Dor region, of Goyim of Gilgal, which are in the northwest of the country.
* And the king of Tirtzah, which is in the hills of Ephraim in the heartland.

To summarize, the first 8 kings are kings of the south which have some storyline associated with them, while the next 8 were from other cities in the south. The next three kings were from the central region. Next are listed the 4 kings who organized the northeastern resistance, preceded by Lasharon (who may be one of the cities that are mentioned implicitly in 11:2-3) for reasons unclear (It is additionally curious that Madon is mentioned before Chatzor, a more central member of the alliance that was closer to the battlefield and most likely destroyed first). The last 7 kings are all in the (lower) northwest, with the exceptions of Kedesh which is in the far north and Tirtzah, which is in the hills of Ephraim.

If the list in this chapter is meant to be nearly chronological, it would mean that Bnei Yisroel entered the land in Binyamin (the northern extent of the southern region), proceeded in a cycle around the south, conquered the cities in the central region, moved up along the plain of the Jordan to to battle with the kings arrayed at Mei Marom, and then swept to the southeast to destroy the other cities of the north, interrupting in the middle to return to Kedesh in the far north and concluding with Tirtzah. If one wishes to view this chapter as being chronological where no other priorities exist, though, one must resolve why D'vir, Livna, and Makeida are listed in the reverse order of their conquest.

This chapter completes the conquest section of the book; the rest of the book is devoted to the division of the land.
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* To hedge off a potential question, the ancient city of Ayalon - and its neighbor Sha'alvim - were in the territory of Dan, but it's in the far south, right near the borders with Yehuda and Binyamin (and the valley covers more territory than just the city).

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1 Comments:

At 8/03/2007 1:40 PM, Blogger prof said...

hello
you can write some biographies of personnalities of jewisheritage.fr
shalom

 

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