All posts by Ken

1.4 The 13 Tribes of Israel

There are 12 tribes of Israel, right? But why aren’t the Levites counted as one of the tribes? Don’t they qualify? We’ll look at that today.

As I promise in the podcast, here are the sons of Jacob and the 12 tribes of Israel side by side:

Sons of Jacob         Tribes of Israel
Reuben                       Reuben
Simeon                       Simeon
Levi                              Judah
Judah                          Dan
Dan                              Naphtali
Naphtali                   Gad
Gad                             Asher
Asher                         Issachar
Issachar                   Zebulun
Zebulun                   Benjamin
Joseph                     Ephraim
Benjamin                Manasseh

Also, I failed to mention it before, but Joshua used to be known as Hoshea until Moses changed his name. He’s not the first person in the Bible to get a new name.

Thanks for listening. Be strong and courageous. Have I not commanded you?

Ken Lanning
July 25, 2015
Clinton, MO

1.3.5 JJR Apology and Correction, The Death of Joshua


There is no real episode this week or next. I apologize. I won’t be able to get a new episode written and recorded this week or next as I’ll be indisposed, as they say.

Also, Joshua’s death isn’t described in the last eight verses of his book. So listen for my important correction.

Be strong and courageous. Have I not commanded you?

1.3 The Book of Joshua and The LORD

Knowing when a book was written and who wrote it can help us understand the contents of the book. We don’t have the luxury of knowing these things about the book of Joshua from the Bible. We have traditions that tell us who might have written it, but there is nothing definitive. The Bible itself doesn’t even tell us who wrote it.

When it was written is a little bit of a mystery as well. It describes events that most historians say didn’t happen. However, we’ve determined that there was a group of people in Canaan by around 1200 BC because the name for these people, Israel, appears on a stele that dates from around that time. So though we’ve yet to empirically prove that the Israelites took Canaan by force as described in Joshua, we do know they did come to occupy and live in Canaan by 1200 BC, we just don’t have any copies of Joshua that date to this time.

The oldest known copies we have were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and they date to somewhere around 250 BC to 70 AD. Scholars generally agree that Joshua wasn’t compiled and recorded in its present form until after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. However, there are hints in the text itself that indicate the book is much older, perhaps just a few years removed from the events in the book. No matter when the book was compiled, we know these stories must have been handed down to succeeding generations orally, just as the Israelites were commanded to do.

And we covered Moses and Joshua in previous episodes, but today we talk about another prominent character, the LORD. The LORD’s involvement cannot be overlooked. Indeed, he’s really the center of our story.

I hope you enjoy episode three. Thank you for listening and bearing with me as I tweak the format and the audio. Be strong and courageous. Have I not commanded you?

1.2 Moses and Joshua and the History of Ancient Israel

In this episode we look at Moses just a little more. Moses has to be considered the greatest leader in the history of Israel. Raised as an Egyptian and with all the privileges of royalty he still recognized the suffering of the Israelites and sought to free them from their Egyptian oppressors. Of course, Moses was actually born into a Hebrew family but ironically because the Pharaoh ordered Hebrew baby boys to be murdered he came to be raised by the Pharaoh’s daughter.

Though Moses has gone down in history as one of the most iconic leaders of all time history for the most part does not recognize him. His name does not appear in any ancient source outside of the Bible. Historians and archeologist believe that Moses most likely represents a number of leaders who did or did not actually lead a contingent of Hebrews out of Egypt and was developed by many generations of oral tradition.

Nevertheless, in this podcast we take the biblical writers at their word and compare that with what history can actually tell us. Per the biblical writers Moses was a great man and the Hebrews actually owe existence to him since the LORD offered to wipe them out and start over with Moses. Moses’ greatness and humility can be seen in the fact that he did not accept the LORD’s offer and pleaded with the LORD to spare his people, in spite of them wanting to fire him and go back to Egypt.

However, in the eyes of the LORD, Moses messed up big time at Meribah and was told he would not be able to enter Canaan. His mess up came due to, once again, the complaining of the Israelites. Moses died in the wilderness and the LORD himself buried him at an undisclosed location.

Before he died Moses appointed Joshua as his successor. There was no drama in this change of leadership. There were no other rival factions. The people accepted Joshua as the leader and he would be the man to lead them into Canaan. And who is Joshua. In today’s episode I will introduce you to the man we’ll get to know better over the next several weeks.

Thank you for listening. Be strong and courageous. Have I not commanded you?

Ken Lanning
Clinton, MO
June 27, 2015

1.1 Background and History

In this episode we look at the background and history of Israel that brings them to the banks of the Jordan River. This is the inaugural JoshauJudgesRuth podcast. Through this podcast I’ll look at the history of ancient Israel through the eyes of the Old Testament writers, beginning at the book of Joshua. Though I’m beginning at Joshua, we’ll be referencing and going back to Genesis through Deuteronomy in many episodes.

We don’t know a lot about ancient Israel, and in fact the Bible is our only source of information for much of the Israelites’ early history. But the Bible wasn’t written as a history book and so it can be difficult to establish a narrative that reconciles with modern day archeology based on Hebrew scripture alone. Very little, if any, archeology corroborates specific stories from the books of Moses and Joshua and so many historians and archeologists see the Pentateuch and Joshua as an origin myth. The stories are set in the general milleue of ancient Palestine but the details are largely legend.

I’d like to look at these stories and explore what we do know about the people and places described in the Old Testament, assuming that the biblical writers are telling the truth, but also letting history and archeology tell us their side of the story as well. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they don’t, but that’s what makes it interesting.

Thank you for listening and, as always, be strong and courageous. Have I not commanded you?