Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Can Poetry Help You Understand the Bible?

In 2010, I attended a writer’s retreat at Laity Lodge in the Hill Country of Texas. I was part of the poetry seminar, led by poet and professor Scott Cairns. Our overnight assignment was to write a poem about a Bible passage we found troublesome.

I chose Joshua 5-12.

One of the main themes in that section is herem, a Hebrew word meaning destruction of essentially everything. In that section, before a number of battles, God tells Joshua and the Israelites to commit herem when they defeat the foe. That means killing every living thing – men, women, children, domestic animals and livestock. 

The command is given several times, and the Israelites obey (one tries to hold on to some treasure and gets death for him and his family as a result). At Jericho, only the prostitute Rahab and her family are spared, because she had protected the spies. Every other living thing in the city is put to the sword.

The passage is clear. God told the Israelites to do it. 

To continue reading, please see my post today at Christian Poets & Writers.

Photograph by Watari by Unsplash. Used with permission.

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