Monday, October 27, 2003

Giant Cities

(Judges by James Jordan: chpt 1, pg 13)

Caleb's inheritance is with that of Judah's. He has been graphed into the covenant and because of his faithfulness, along with that of Joshua's, during the spy mission to Canaan he was given his choice of land. He headed strait for the land of the giants whose imposing stature caused his people to loose faith in God's promises. We are told that Judah is to be at the head of the "mopping up" campeigns in the Promised Land. Since Judah was chosen to be the kingly head, it was Judah's job to lead the rest of Israel in waring against the enemies of God. But we're told in Judges 1:18 that Judah didn't complete its job.

Judah had taken the city of Arba (Kiriath-Arba) whose name had been changed to Hebron, and that city had been named after "the man who spawned the race of giants known as Anikim" (pg 6). It was from this race of giants that the five Philistine tribal cities emerged. The book of Judges says that Judah took Hebron (Kiriath-Arba), and they took Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron--three of the Philistine cities. "That's wonderful," Jordan says, "but there were five Philistine cities. How about Gath and Ashdod? (pg 13)" All five of the cities were part of Judah's inheritance but they never claimed all five when they were told they could.

It's here that the story of David and Goliath comes to mind. In the book of I Samuel the story is told of the Philistine capture of Israel's Ark of the Covenant. It's interesting that the Philistines took the Ark to the temple of Dagon--in Asdod, one of the two cities Judah neglected to claim. The other city they neglected came back to haunt Israel in the form of Goliath of Gath.

Israel had an illigitimate king at the time. Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin, not of the divinely appointed kingly tribe of Judah. The way in which the Ark was returned seems to be a flaunt from the enemies of God or at least a reminder that Judah had a chance to rule over the Anikim during the time of Joshua and Caleb. With the ark, the Philistines sent gold tumors (stones) as guilt offerings to the Lord--one for each of their five cities. This imagery is again brought up in David's confrontation with Goliath. Thus, we see the legitimate heir of Judah sets right the mistake of his tribe by using the first of his five stones to take out Gath.

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