1. Exposition

What is 2:6–9 reminiscent of?

Judges 2:6–9 (ESV)

6 When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land.

This passage is a near duplication of Joshua 24:28–31. Yet there are noteworthy differences, which shows that the narrator is not simply recording history, but history with a theological purpose: this is “a case of the author doing things with what he is saying. The death of Joshua had already been noted in Judges 1:1, to introduce the military failures of the Israelite conquest. Now the restatement of the hero’s demise…explores the theological underpinnings of these Israelite debacles."1 In Joshua 24 the verses are used to end a story, while in Judges 2 they introduce the account of a new era after Joshua. This explains the difference in sequence: Judges 2:7 corresponds to Joshua 24:31, and Judges 2:8–9 to Joshua 24:29–30. Additionally, Judges 2:6 clearly cannot mean (like Joshua 24:28) that Joshua dismissed the people from the national assembly at Shechem, for the previous verses have not spoken of this. The verse must rather have a broader meaning, as indeed can be seen from the added statement that 'they went to take possession of the land.'2