Session 4: from Joshua to King David Bible Study in Plain English

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1 Session 4: from Joshua to King David Bible Study in Plain English By Bill Huebsch Session Four: Joshua through David Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings Crossing the Jordan River. The land of Canaan, which God had promised to the Hebrew people, was occupied already by others. It would be a long and bitter series of wars before the Israelites would be settled. As long as the people remained faithful to the covenant God had made with them, they succeeded in their battles. But when they turned from God to the pagan customs of their neighbors, their enemies succeeded instead. As they stood on the banks of the Jordan River, they did not know what a great adventure lay before them. The Book of Joshua tells the first part of this story. What city did Joshua and the Israelites first conquer? Read Joshua 2:1 to find the answer. Find this city on your map. Dateline Joshua led the invasion of Jericho in about 1250 BCE. The Adventure of the Scarlet Cord. Jericho was well fortified. So Joshua sent two spies ahead to find the city s weakness. To blend in, the spies went to a public inn. The king learned of them and sent guards to capture them. But the owner of the inn, a prostitute named Rahab, hid them on the roof and told the guards they had already left. As the spies talked with Rahab, they learned that the people of Jericho were terrified of the Israelites: What did Rahab say to let the Israelite spies know how terrified the people of Jericho were of them? Read Joshua 2:9-11 to find out. The Bible Study in Plain English Version The Pastoral Center Page 1

2 What does a scarlet cord have to do with the success of the Israelites in Jericho? Read Joshua 2:1-21 to find out! Tell Rahab s story aloud in your group or to yourself if you re alone right now. Down came the walls! In the end, Joshua was a victorious leader. The walls of Jericho came tumbling down and the Israelites gradually began to move into the Promised Land. How did the Israelites get through the walls of the City of Jericho? Read Joshua 6:1-20 to find out. A conquering army. There is no doubt that the Israelites fought their way into the promised land. Joshua remained their leader, both in battle and in example. At the end of his life, Joshua gathered the nation of Israel and reminded them to be faithful to God. You have a choice, he told them, to serve the gods of the Amorites, in whose nation they lived, or the Lord. W ho did Joshua say he would worship? Read Joshua 24:15 to find out! Underline this line in your Bible. Copy the last sentence of this verse onto the writing space below. Judges. At this time, the twelve tribes of Israel were not joined into a nation. The tribes were united by their covenant with God, but otherwise, each tribe went its own way. Each tribe had its own leaders and warriors. When a tribe was threatened by an invader, however, all of the tribes would join together under the leadership of a judge for their common defense. The Book of Judges tells the stories of these men and women of faith. The Bible Study in Plain English Version The Pastoral Center Page 2

3 How many judges served Israel during this time? Find the Book of Judges in your Bible and read the introduction provided there to find out! Note this A judge in these ancient times was a charismatic leader, not an official of a court-of-law or a warlord. Dateline The Judges led the tribes of Israel in the 1100 s BCE. Deborah. One of the best-known judges of Israel was Deborah. People traveled for miles to consult her and seek her wise advice. But Deborah was also a woman of action. When the Canaanite army, with 900 iron chariots threatened to overtake Israel, Deborah called the tribes together. She herself rode with the Israelite general, Barak, into battle. In answer to Deborah s prayer, God sent a rainstorm that flooded the plain. The heavy chariots of the enemy were buried in mud. When the Canaanites general, Sisera, took refuge in the tent of a woman named Jael, she killed him. All of Israel praised God for their deliverance at the hands of Deborah and Jael. Deborah sat in an interesting place from where her word went out with power. What was that place? Read Judges 4:5 to find out. Gideon. When Gideon was a young man, the people had accepted the false gods of their Midianite rulers. Filled with love for God, Gideon destroyed the altar built to the god Baal. Raising his trumpet to his lips, Gideon called all of Israel back to God. Trusting totally in the power of God, Gideon overthrew the Midianites with only three hundred soldiers. After Gideon led them to victory in Midian, there was a long period of peace. How long? Read Judges 8:28 to find out. Samson. Samson had promised God to be faithful. In return, God gave Samson great strength. When he was tricked by the beautiful Delilah into breaking his promise to the God, Samson lost his strength. Captured and The Bible Study in Plain English Version The Pastoral Center Page 3

4 blinded by the Philistines, Samson was afraid. But God did not abandon Samson. How did Delilah trick Samson? Read Judges 16:15-22 to find out what happened. Fidelity, Ruth style. There is a short story tucked into the Bible about here, one which tells of the tremendous loyalty of two women, Naomi and Ruth. This story, told in The Book of Ruth, is a reflection of the covenant between the people and God. In the end, Ruth bore a son named Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of a very important Biblical figure. Read Ruth 4:17 to find out who it was. Talk together about why this covenant between God and the people was so important. Flowing from that covenant as Ruth describes it is our own salvation history. Samuel. We turn now to The Books of 1 & 2 Samuel. When Samuel was still a boy, God called him to be a judge. Speak, Lord, said Samuel. Your servant is listening. Samuel grew up to be a very wise prophet and judge, who guided Israel as it grew from a ragged group of tribes into a nation with a king. Samuel s mother was Hannah. After the birth of Samuel she sang a song to thank God. Read her song aloud in your group. It s in 1 Samuel 2:1-10. It s an important hymn and is echoed by the Magnificat of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We ll return to it later. Samuel and Eli. When Samuel was a young boy, he served as an assistant in the temple of the Lord. He lived there every day and his parents visited him often. The priest at the time was named Eli. Samuel served under Eli and did what Eli asked him to. Eli was growing old and weak. He could no longer see very well. One night while he was sleeping Samuel heard God calling him. The Bible Study in Plain English Version The Pastoral Center Page 4

5 Read this story in 1 Samuel 3:1-10 to find out what Samuel experienced that night. Tell this story aloud to each other. Then think about how you hear God s voice calling you in your everyday life and write a few notes about that in this space. Let s Have a King! The people of Israel wanted a leader. They were sick of the corruption and division caused by worthless military leaders. The Philistine army was a huge threat to them - and it kept attacking! They wanted unity and security and they believed having a king, like their neighbors had, would do the trick. So they went to Samuel, the great prophet who spoke on God s behalf, and asked for a king. What was Samuel s response when they asked for a king? Read 1 Samuel 8:1-9 to find out! Saul as the king. With God s blessing, the prophet Samuel anointed Saul king. He was handsome and also taller than everyone else a perfect Hollywood king! Samuel also warned Saul and the people: if they obeyed God, all would go well. (1 Sam 12:14-15) What Saul did is very interesting. Did Saul obey God? What happened? Read 1 Samuel 15:1-9 to find out! The tree of Jesse. God was not pleased with Saul so, with God s blessing, Samuel informed Saul he would not be the permanent King of Israel. But if not Saul, then who would be king? God sent Samuel to Bethlehem, to the home of Jesse. God had chosen a new king from among Jesse s sons. One by one, The Bible Study in Plain English Version The Pastoral Center Page 5

6 Jesse presented his sons, all strong men. And one by one, God rejected each. Do you have any other sons? asked Samuel. What happened next changed history. W hat happened? W ho was chosen as King? Read 1 Samuel 16:10-13 to find out! W rite his name in the writing space below. Anointed. Samuel then took the horn of oil and anointed David as a sign that God had chosen him. From that moment on, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David. Eventually, in an odd turn of events, David became the official harpist and armor-bearer for Saul. Read how it happened that David became Saul s harpist and armorbearer. It s in 1 Samuel 16: Goliath. The Philistines had an aggressive army that just wouldn t give up! They kept trying to conquer the Israelites and the Israelites kept fighting back. One day a Philistine soldier - a huge man named Goliath of Gath - made the Israelites an offer. What was the deal that Goliath offered the Israelites? Read 1 Samuel 17:4-11 to find out! A new hero. To make a long story short, David volunteered for the job of fighting Goliath. This is one of the most well-known stories in the Hebrew Scriptures. But David s words to Goliath are very memorable, too What were those words? Find them in 1 Samuel 17:32-51, paying special attention to verses It s a pretty gruesome tale, isn t it? The Bible Study in Plain English Version The Pastoral Center Page 6

7 A faithful friend. David became quite a hero to the people. So much so, in fact, that Saul became very jealous and even tried to kill David. But David was saved by a very faithful friend. Who was the friend that helped David escape Saul s murderous intentions? Read 1 Samuel 20:1-42 to find out. Tell their story aloud. How did their love and companionship help David escape? Keeping faith. Saul hunted David relentlessly. Yet, David remained loyal to him. One night, David and one of his officers walked into Saul s camp and found Saul fast asleep with his spear thrust into the ground at his head. David s officer wanted to kill Saul. What was David s response to his officer? Why didn t David kill Saul when he had the chance? Read 1 Samuel 26:7-12 to find out! We have a new King! After losing a key battle, Saul took his own life, and David became king. To show God was still the true ruler of Israel, David brought the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem. Then God made an amazing promise to David. W hat was the promise that God made to David? Read 2 Samuel 7:8-16 to find out! W rite the main points of God s promise in the writing space below. Let this promise enter your mind and heart. The Bible Study in Plain English Version The Pastoral Center Page 7

8 Dateline David united the kingdom and established Jerusalem as his capital in about 1000 BCE. Note this This promise to David, that God would provide an eternal kingdom for the Hebrew people, became an important part of Israel s hope for a messiah. Why do you think there is so much military violence in all these stories? Beginning with Joshua, and for many generations after him, the people were at war. How does this help inform your understanding of all the military activity in the Middle East today? David sins. But David wasn t a perfect King, either. Like Saul before him, he had his weaknesses. King David fell in love with another man s wife - and he had her husband killed! Then he married the woman himself. W hat was the name of the woman King David fell in love with? W hat was her husband s name? Read 2 Samuel 11:3 to find out. W rite their names in the space below. A Prophet s Tale. There was at the time a prophet named Nathan whom King David sometimes consulted. Nathan was aware of King David s sin. Nathan prayed for guidance. He realized God wanted him to go and confront King David. So Nathan did. He went to King David and told him a very clever story. What was the story which Nathan told King David? Read 2 Samuel 12:1-13 to find out. Tell Nathan s story aloud to yourself, or to someone else if you can. The Bible Study in Plain English Version The Pastoral Center Page 8

9 A King repents. David realized that he had sinned and admitted it. God spared David s life. But there was more pain to come for David and his wife. What further punishment did they bear for their sin? Read 2 Samuel 12:15-19 to find out! A royal son. David and Bathsheba s first son died as punishment for their sins. But they eventually bore another son who would be blessed by God. What did David and Bathsheba name their second child? Read 2 Samuel 12:24 to find out! Talk together about what that son went on to accomplish? Conclude your study. Take a moment to tell each other what new insights into faith you gained in this study. Then conclude with a brief prayer of thanksgiving. The Bible Study in Plain English Version The Pastoral Center Page 9

10 The Bible Study in Plain English Version The Pastoral Center Page 10

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