By the Rev. Mary Holder Naegeli
Monday I gave a rundown on the plot elements and poetic licenses issued for the second installment of The Bible on History Channel. Today let’s go back to a theme that was evident in the first episode and see if it carries through the second. That would be the voice of God: what God said, to whom, and how they knew it was God talking. In the first episode, you remember that Noah, Abraham, and Moses all reported hearing God give them specific instructions, which in all cases were preposterous but necessary for God’s plan to unfold. In week two, as the Israelites stand on the verge of claiming God’s promise, they contemplate the taking of Jericho. It looks like an impossible task, but the two spies who gather intelligence bring back the report that “their walls are strong, but their hearts are not.” With the confidence that their victory is sure, nevertheless, the leaders of Israel must still make a decision about how to approach the formidable structure of Jericho’s walls.
God sends “a commander of the Lord’s army,” presumably an angel, dressed for battle to tell Joshua what to do. The coming battle will be a psychological one, in which God will split the rock himself. All the warriors have to do is walk around the walls of Jericho, shouting praise to God, blowing their horns, and standing. They follow instructions to the letter, and the city falls into their hands.
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