The author makes this lesson a commentary on contemporary issues (inclusiveness and hospitality) rather than a study of the texts themselves. In the process, she makes this Bible study a pretext for advocating her political biases. That is to say, the story of Rahab is not about insiders and outsiders, or the “marginalized” in society. Rather, it is a story about grace, faith, and obedience.
As for the story of the Gibeonites, read it carefully—especially 9:14-15. The leaders of Israel, without asking “direction from the Lord,” make peace with the Gibeonites. As a consequence they are tricked, but ultimately held to their vow not to destroy them. The Scriptures do not gloss over the errors that Israel makes as they move in to take over the land. This is an example. Again, this has nothing to do with “insiders and outsiders.”
On Page 64, the author writes about God having a “dream” for God’s world. According to the author, it will be a world of inclusive communities living in peace with one another. This is a poor use of words. God doesn’t dream about the future. It will become a reality when the Kingdom of God comes in its fullness. True peace will only be achieved when Jesus Christ comes again.
As you study the story of Rahab, I would encourage you to read it as it is written. It is the story of a woman who is given faith by God to believe, and testifies to the two spies sent by Joshua that “the LORD your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below” (Joshua 2:11). Late into the lesson plan (page 66), the author makes this point, and also mentions that Rahab is included both in the genealogy of Jesus (Mt. 1:3, 5), and as part of the “great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 11:31). But, a long discourse on insiders and outsiders is hardly the point. Unfortunately, the author’s personal agenda consistently take priority over her study of the text, and fails to do justice to the clear and plain meaning of God’s Word.
This particular lesson is a good example of what happens when we read our own ideas into scripture (eisegesis) rather than read out of scripture (exegesis) what it means to say. Unfortunately, this year’s study of Joshua has been full of confusion rather than clarity because of the inability of the author to separate her experience and closely held political convictions from the biblical account of Joshua.