Joshua and Zionism – from trouble to hope


1882 is considered the year in that started the Zionist movement. In this year, the first Zionist settlement was established.

The village was founded in a swamp area in the Sharon and was called Petah-Tikva.

Joshua leads the sons of Israel into Canaan

The Taking of Jericho

When the people of Israel entered Canaan from the east, they were not considered Zionists. Zion at that time was a place that they did not hear about yet.

They were commanded to conquer the country from the seven Canaanite nations that inhabited the land.

The first city they conquer and destroy was Jericho. Two spies were sent to the house of Rahab who hidden them. Then the people of Israel marched around the city during seven days and in the seventh day they blew the trumpets and the walls fell down. No doubt that God was with the people of Israel!

Joshua warns the people not to take anything from the city as it is under a ban.

Then, they went on to conquer the second city – Ai, But they fail badly… Something went wrong. Joshua cried to the Lord and asked – Why is that Lord? and the answer came clearly:

Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction (Joshua 7:11-12)

The Lord instructed Joshua how to find the person that did wrong. It came out that it was Achan from the tribe of Judah.

Interestingly, in Chronicles, the name changes from Achan to Achar:

The son of Carmi was Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the accursed thing (1 Chronicles 2:7)

This is interesting, because the Hebrew word for “trouler” in the Bible is “Ocher” which is from the same root of the name “Achar” and literally means “bring trouble or darkness“.

Achan with all his family were sentenced to be stoned. Where did that happen? let’s read:

Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day (Joshua 7:26)

The Hebrew root A.Ch.R. appears three times in our story:

  • Achar (or Achan) – the name of the sinner
  • Ocher – adjective that means troubler or literally “darkens”
  • Achor – the valley where he was stoned.  Near Jericho.


A prophecy of hope

Let’s move to another book in the Bible. Hosea.

Hosea, speaks about the restoration of Israel.

In the second chapter of the book he compares Israel to a treacherous wife. He describes all her harlotry and unfaithful ways.

But then the Lord takes her to the desert, and there, after all her lovers have left her, the Lord restores Israel. Then Hosea prophesies:

Then I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the valley of Achor as a door of hope (Hosea 2:15)

This verse takes us back to the story of Achan in the valley of Achor.

The Zionist movement begins

In the year of 1872, a few families from Jerusalem tried to buy a land in Jericho and to build a new agricultural village. The name they wanted to give to the village is Petah-Tikva – which means “Door of hope” to fulfill the prophecy of Hosea.

They were not successful in buying the land in Jericho, but ended up buying a swamp area in the Sharon from an Arab family in Jaffa.

The life was too hard in the swamp, and after three years the village was abandoned.

Seven years later, in 1882, the village was restored by new settlers. This year marks the beginning of the first wave of Zionists moving to Israel and building new settlements.

The location of Petah Tikva in the Sharon instead of Jericho is a fulfillment of another prophecy:

Sharon will be a pasture land for flocks,
And the valley of Achor a resting place for herds (Isaiah 65:10)

The Zionist movement, just like Joshua, brought the people of Israel back to their land.

And the city of Petah Tikva is a symbol of the restoration of Israel.

The Red mountains of Edom



When you drive in The Arava road down the road toward Eilat, you can see the towering mountains of Edom. Those mountains are made of granite and are notable red.

When you read the Bible in Hebrew, it is no surprise that the mountains of Edom are red: the word Edom in Hebrew (אֱדוֹם) is derived from the word red (Adomאדוֹם).

The Edomites, the ancient people who lived in Edom were the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob.

And this is the genealogy of Esau the father of the Edomites in Mount Seir. (Genesis 36:9)

Here we see that there is another name for Edom and this is Seir. The name Edom and Seir are interchangeable in the Bible.

For example:

You shall be desolate, O Mount Seir, as well as all of Edom. (Ezekiel 35:15)

The Hairy and Red Esau

The name Seir in Hebrew means “hairy” (שֵׂעִיר). So the mountains of Edom have two names, each has an attribute: Edom – “red” and Seir – “hairy

When Esau was born, as the firstborn twin brother of Jacob, we read that he was “red” and “hairy“. We also hear that he was called Esau because he was hairy

And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. (Genesis 25:25)

Those two characters of Esau: Red and Hairy play critical roles in his life and his struggles with his twin brother Jacob.

As we remember, Jacob deceived Esau twice:

First time, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a red stew:

And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom. (Genesis 25:30)

Second time, Jacob steals the blessing of Esau. In order to do so, his mother put fur on his body, so Isaac, whose eyes were dim, would think that this is the “hairy” son – Esau:

And she put the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck (Genesis 27:16)


The story goes on, and after the double deceiving, Jacob has to run away from Esau to Aram. When they meet after many years, Jacob is still afraid that Esau will kill him.

But Esau is happy to meet him!

But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept (Genesis 33:4)

The reconciliation, between Israel (Jacob) that deceived his brother and the deceived brother has special meaning in the future and restoration of Israel.

Who is this who comes from Edom,
With dyed garments from Bozrah,
This One who is glorious in His apparel,
Traveling in the greatness of His strength?—

“I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?

“I have trodden the winepress alone,
And from the peoples no one was with Me.
For I have trodden them in My anger,
And trampled them in My fury;
Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments,
And I have stained all My robes.
For the day of vengeance is in My heart,
And the year of My redeemed has come.

(Isaiah 63:1-4)

This beautiful prophecy of Isaiah speaks about the year of redemption.

The redeemer will come from Edom (perhaps a symbol of a betrayed brother?) and will be red like one who treads in the winepress. But the red color is in fact blood!



Judea and Samaria – The heart of the land of Israel


So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. (Joshua 21:43)

The book of Joshua tells us, in chapter 21,  how the sons of Israel conquered the whole of the land of Canaan.

But then in chapter 23, Joshua says:

See, I have divided to you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from the Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, as far as the Great Sea westward. And the Lord your God will expel them from before you and drive them out of your sight. So you shall possess their land, as the Lord your God promised you.  (Joshua 23:4-5)

This is not clear. Did Israel conquer the whole of Canaan or are there still Canaanites in the land?

In the book of Judges we get the picture: Although the whole of the land was divided between the tribes, there are still many big cities that remain to be conquered:

27 However, Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land … 29 Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer … 30 Nor did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron or the inhabitants of Nahalol … 31 Nor did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Acco or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob… 33 Nor did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh or the inhabitants of Beth Anath (Joshua 1:27-36)

The map below shows the borders at the end of the book of Joshua.

The pink areas were taken by the sons of Israel, and the green is the remaining land:


Look carefully at the shape of the conquered land – Does this shape looks familiar?

Now look at the map of Israel in the years between 1948 – 1967 and compare to the map of the conquest:

The conquest of Joshua                                                 Borders of Israel between 1948-1967

compare conquests of joshua with israel

You will find, surprisingly, that the two maps are mirrors for each other!

In the time of Joshua, Judea and Samaria were the main land (in pink), while the rest (in green) is the remaining land.

But in modern Israel, the remaining land of Joshua is the state of Israel, and Judea and Samaria are the “remaining land”!

As much as Judea and Samaria are not considered part of Israel by most of the international community, It is in fact the heart of the land from which the sons of Israel started their conquest.

Anyone who supports the historical right of Israel and the Jews of their historical land, cannot take Judea ans Samaria out of it as it is the “Heart of the Country”.