The Conquest Of Jerusalem In Joshua And Judges Are The Biblical Authors Confused? -- By: Brian N. Peterson

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 28:1 (Winter 2015)
Article: The Conquest Of Jerusalem In Joshua And Judges Are The Biblical Authors Confused?
Author: Brian N. Peterson


The Conquest Of Jerusalem In Joshua And Judges
Are The Biblical Authors Confused?

Brian N. Peterson

The oft-cited “contradictions” of what tribe was allotted and conquered (or did not conquer) Jerusalem in the periods of the conquest and judges is often marshalled as clear textual evidence that the Bible is not a trustworthy source of history (cf. Jos 15:63; Jos 18:28; Jdg 1:8, Judg 1:21). However, in propounding such a position one needs to answer the obvious question of why an author or an editor would allow blatant contradictions to stand, especially when they appear in such close proximity to one another (e.g., Jdg 1:8 and Jdg 1:21). Are we to think that the ancients were inept when it came to critically evaluating their own statements? Now while it is true that the biblical authors did not always record history in a twenty-first-century fashion, there still has to be a logical reason why the authors recorded Judah’s (Jos 15:63), and then Benjamin’s (Jdg 1:21), unsuccessful attempts to conquer Jerusalem only to be followed by Judah’s success the second time around (Jdg 1:8). In the discussion that follows I will re- examine these “contradictory” passages and conclude that the oft-cited inconsistencies may be more apparent than real.

Proposed Solutions

A number of possible solutions to the textual dilemma regarding Benjamin’s and Judah’s separate vying for Jerusalem have been proposed.

1. Jos 15:63 and Jdg 1:21 may reflect two different periods when both tribes attempted to dislodge the Jebusites from

Leen Ritmeyer

Artistic reconstruction of the City of David.

the stronghold on Jerusalem’s eastern hill—both with little success.

2. Jos 15:63 and Jdg 1:8 may reflect two separate periods, when Judah failed to defeat Jerusalem the first time only to later succeed.

3. Jdg 1:8 may be a situation in which Judah only captured the city, bu...

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