Israel in the Land: Settlement, Exile, Return
At the end of the book of Exodus, God forbids Moses to enter the land promised to the Israelites. He is buried on the top of a mountain overlooking the land, and the Israelites are on the edge of their inheritance. In the book of Joshua, Moses’ second-in-command took the Israelites through the center of Canaan, dividing the country in half. In the book of Judges, the picture changes. Instead of a lightning-fast conquest, the Israelites must fit themselves into a complex society, not displacing the native peoples, but rather living alongside them. According to the book of Judges, the Israelites faced two challenges. First, they had to coexist with peoples who were wedded to the agricultural cycles of the land and worshipped the various Canaanite gods and goddesses. Second, the Israelites struggled against being dominated and even occupied by some of the city-states in their territory.
The Christian Theological Tradition, 4th ed.