Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Friday, May 20, 2005

Holy War

Daily Readings
Proverbs 27 + Joshua 10 + Nahum 1 + Ephesians 5

Quote of the Day
For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Ephesians 5:8, 9

Daily Text: Joshua 10:5-14, 25, 42

Holy War
From chapter ten these passages have been selected because they reflect the ‘doctrine’ of holy war, that is the belief that God was fighting for Israel. In retrospect the exiles read Joshua and knew that God was on their side and if he was there once he could and would be again. Joshua honored the treaty with Gibeon and marched all night from Gilgal to Gibeon to come to their rescue. Soggin suggests an 8-10 hour march could have accomplished this. At dawn Joshua strikes and the enemy is routed. But is it Joshua and his army that makes the difference? The credit is given to YHWH. Hailstones big enough to kill were more efficient than Joshua’s army. What is important here is the attribution to God’s help, without being too particular about why the hailstones didn’t also kill Joshua’s men in the thick of the fray. The battle was won on God’s account, and then there is this wonderful ancient piece of poetry (vss. 12, 13) quoted from the Book of the Upright or Book of Jashur (a transliteration) or perhaps even more accurately Book of Songs [416:130]. If the first title is accurate this is a collection of odes and songs to Israel’s great leaders and refers to their righteous conduct. It is only quoted one other time in the bible in II Samuel 1, but it may well have been used many times without attribution. It was quite ancient by the time Joshua was written and the poems may go back to the time of Joshua at least.
It is a miracle story, and its use confirms the holy war theme in this chapter. God is for Israel. No question. He would even interrupt foundations of the universe for those he loves, simply to give Israel time for an extending mopping up exercise. Was there ever such love? No, never, for the king of love is our savior.

X. J. Kennedy

Earth stopped. The Holy City hit a mountain
As a tray of dishes meets a swinging door.
Oceans lunged to converge, one with another.
He who had called that halt stood bemused there.

Who would have thought a simple invocation…?
As brazen leaves, troops fell. His walking stick
Tapped as he limped across a foiled battalion.
Sun and moon hung stone still, their axles stuck.

No cricket sprang from upright walls of grass.
Clouds swung in bunches, wingless. Who could look
Long on so high a carnage: all creation
Crushed like a sprig of heather in a book?

Futile to wail, wear sackcloth, tear his tongue out—
How could he feel commensurate remorse?
At last the sun, God resting noncommittal,
Rose in confusion and resumed its course.


Blogger Norm said...

Joshua 10:13 is the verse that Martin Luther used to oppose Copernicus and the Roman Catholic church used to justify their position against Galileo.

Galileo (1564-1642) was the father of experimentation and inventor of the telescope. He proved that the sun does not rotate around the earth (an idea discovered but not proven by Nicolaus Copernicus 21 years before)

“And yet it moves.”: Galileo as he rose from signing a recantation -forced on him by the Inquisition in Rome- of the Copernican theory that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the solar system. Galileo was banished from the Catholic church because of this. In 1983 Pope John Paul II admitted that the Catholic church had been unjust in this banishment.

9:26 AM  

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