Homilies on Joshua

Homilies on Joshua

Translated by BARBARA J. BRUCE
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Homilies on Joshua
    Book Description:

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    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1205-0
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-vii)
    (pp. viii-viii)
    (pp. 1-22)

    Son of a martyr who would die a confessor, the most eminent theologian of the early Church, founder of biblical science, father of Christian mysticism, heretic.¹ This was Origen of Alexandria . . . or, at least, how he has been viewed by noteworthy persons both in his own day and in ours. Who was this man? What drove him? Why such a divergence of opinion on his place in Christian history, and why the resurgence of interest that today calls forth new translations of his homilies?

    In this introduction, we will review some answers to these questions to help...


      (pp. 23-25)

      In the inspired books, it is recorded that for the construction of the tabernacle everyone made offerings according to their ability.¹ For example, powerful persons and leaders of the people brought gold, silver, and precious stones. Others presented crude metals and wood that resisted decay. Certain ones gave scarlet cloth and purple cotton, while others gave linen; all to be used for the vestments of the priests and the robe of the high priest. Even poorer persons, each offering red hides and goat hair, were not spurned. In fact, the well-known Bezalel is said to have been filled by God...

    • HOMILY 1
      (pp. 26-36)

      God gave the name that is above every name”¹ to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For this “name that is above every name” is Jesus. Because this is the “name that is above every name, at the name of Jesus, every knee is bowed of those in heaven and on earth and beneath the earth.”² And because this is “the name above every name,” for many generations it was given to no one.

      Moses wrote the book of Genesis, where we read of Abraham and of those who were begotten by him. As many as possible of these persons...

    • HOMILY 2
      (pp. 37-40)

      It is necessary for us to explain the death of Moses. For if we do not understand how Moses dies, we shall not be able to understand how Jesus reigns.

      If, then, you should observe that Jerusalem is destroyed, the altar forsaken, that there are no sacrifices, victims, or libations; nowhere priests, nowhere high priests, nowhere services of the Levites—when you see all these things cease—then say, “Moses, the servant of God, is dead.”²

      If you see no one “coming three times a year into the presence of the Lord”³ neither to offer gifts in the temple, nor...

    • HOMILY 3
      (pp. 41-50)

      Moses distributed the inheritance of the land across the Jordan to two and a half tribes: Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh.² But for the remainder of the tribes, it was Jesus and not Moses who divided the land.

      A pact was initiated with those two and a half tribes who had received land across the Jordan, according to which the men, after leaving their women and children in that land, themselves fought with their brothers until they also achieved their inheritance.³ It was therefore fitting, after the death of Moses, who had initiated the pact, for Jesus...

    • HOMILY 4
      (pp. 51-58)

      To a sinner, all creation is an enemy, just as it is written concerning the Egyptians: The land fought them, the river fought them, the air itself and the heavens fought them.² But to the just person, even things that seem inaccessible are made plain and easy. The just person crosses the Red Sea as though on dry land, but if an Egyptian wishes to cross, he is overwhelmed, and no wall of water will be made for him on the right and on the left.³ Even if the just person enters a dreadful wilderness and wasteland, food is provided...

    • HOMILY 5
      (pp. 59-66)

      Concerning those, indeed, who passed through the Red Sea, the Apostle said, “All were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”² But concerning those who passed through the Jordan, we also can proclaim that all were baptized into Jesus in the Jordan, so that those things that are reported to have happened in the Jordan may hold the sign of the sacrament that is celebrated through baptism.

      But note what is written: “And the people hastened and crossed the Jordan. And it came to pass when all the people had passed through, the ark of the covenant...

    • HOMILY 6
      (pp. 67-73)

      The ones who were disobeying the commands of God are called uncircumcised.² From this it is understood that those who do not obey the commands of God are named the uncircumcised.³ But because God loves every soul, he did not utterly abandon either the circumcised or the uncircumcised. For he sent Jesus, who circumcised both the worthy and the unworthy at the same time; not Jesus the son of Nun—for that one did not circumcise the people with a true and perfect circumcision—but Jesus our Lord and Savior. For he is the one who truly cut off the...

    • HOMILY 7
      (pp. 74-84)

      Jericho is overthrown by the trumpets of the priests. For when the noise of the trumpets resounded, immediately the circle of walls was thrown down.²

      We had said before that Jericho may possess the sign of the present age, whose forces and defenses we see to have been destroyed.³ For indeed the strength and defenses that that world used as walls was the worship of idols, the deceit of divinations directed by the skill of demons and devised by diviners, soothsayers, and magicians. By all these most powerful walls, as it were, this world was encircled. Moreover, as though with...

    • HOMILY 8
      (pp. 85-94)

      We plead with you, O hearers of the sacred scrolls, not to hear with disgust or distaste those things that are read because the narration of them seems to be less pleasant. For you ought to know that those things that are read are indeed worthy of the utterance of the Holy Spirit, but in order to explain them we need the grace of the Holy Spirit, as the Apostle says, “But to one the word of wisdom is given through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit.”² This grace, therefore, we ourselves need...

    • HOMILY 9
      (pp. 95-108)

      After jesus overthrew ai, that is, chaos, and removed all the inhabitants, it was fitting that he offer to the exalted God of all some tribute worthy of so great a victory.²

      Let us see, therefore, what it is that he does after the victory. “Jesus built,” it says, “an altar to the Lord God of Israel on Mount Ebal, and he made it just as Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded the sons of Israel. For it is written in the Law of Moses that the altar be made out of whole stones, in which iron has not...

    • HOMILY 10
      (pp. 109-114)

      In my father’s house are many mansions,”² says the Word of God. Yet even the resurrection of the dead will not exhibit an equal glory of those rising again, for “there is one flesh of birds, another of cattle, and even another of fish. There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies; but the glory of heavenly things is one thing, that of the earthly, another. One glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, another glory of the stars. Star differs from star in glory; thus also, the resurrection of the dead.”³

      Therefore, many differences of those who...

    • HOMILY 11
      (pp. 115-119)

      After the friendship and association with the sons of Israel, all those who at first were friends became enemies to those who united themselves to the sons of Israel. Jebus, king of Jerusalem,² after summoning the other four kings as allies, undertakes to assault the Gibeonites, who had received a pact of peace from the sons of Israel. But when the Gibeonites see that five kings had conspired against them for battle, they do not rely on their own strength and forces, but send for Jesus, asking for auxiliary troops. And, with divine permission, Jesus appears, hastening to bring aid...

    • HOMILY 12
      (pp. 120-124)

      If those things that were dimly sketched through Moses concerning the tabernacle or the sacrifices and the entire worship are said to be a “type and shadow of heavenly things,”² doubtless the wars that are waged through Jesus, and the slaughter of kings and enemies must also be said to be “a shadow and type of heavenly things,” namely, of those wars that our Lord Jesus with his army and officers—that is, the throngs of believers and their leaders—fights against the Devil and his angels. For it is he himself who strives with Paul and with the Ephesians...

    • HOMILY 13
      (pp. 125-129)

      All these things, which happened figuratively to them, were written for us, for whom the end of the ages has arrived.”² When he who is “outwardly a Jew” reads these things, that is, someone who has the exterior circumcision in the flesh, he thinks it is nothing else but wars being described, the destruction of enemies, and Israelites conquering and seizing the kingdoms of nations under the leadership of Jesus. For he does not know what it is “to be a Jew secretly” by the circumcision of the heart.³ But the one who is “a Jew secretly,” that is, a...

    • HOMILY 14
      (pp. 130-137)

      When that israel that is according to the flesh read these same Scriptures before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, they understood nothing in them except wars and the shedding of blood, from which their spirits, too, were incited to excessive savageries and were always fed by wars and strife. But after the presence of my Lord Jesus Christ poured the peaceful light of knowledge into human hearts, since, according to the Apostle, he himself is “our peace,”² he teaches us peace from this very reading of wars. For peace is returned to the soul if its own enemies...

    • HOMILY 15
      (pp. 138-150)

      Unless those physical wars bore the figure of spiritual wars, I do not think the books of Jewish history would ever have been handed down by the apostles to the disciples of Christ, who came to teach peace, so that they could be read in the churches. For what good was that description of wars to those to whom Jesus says, “My peace I give to you; my peace I leave to you,”² and to whom it is commanded and said through the Apostle, “Not avenging your own selves,”³ and, “Rather, you receive injury,” and, “You suffer offense”?⁴ In short,...

    • HOMILY 16
      (pp. 151-156)

      Certain attentive persons even before us have observed in the Scriptures that presbyters or elders are not so called because they have lived to a great age, but they are honored by this title for their maturity of thought and venerable dignity of life, especially when there is added to presbyter this phrase that follows: “full of days.”² For if any “presbyter” or “elder” seemed so named because of his great age, who would have been even more fitting to designate by this name than Adam, or surely Methuselah or Noah, who clearly are declared to have lived far more...

    • HOMILY 17
      (pp. 157-162)

      Just as those who submit to the Law, which is the “shadow” of that true law, diligently serve a “shadow and copy” of “heavenly things,”² so those who divide the inheritance of the land in Judea imitate the “copy and shadow” of a heavenly division. Thus truth was in heaven, “but a shadow and copy” of truth was on earth. And as long as this shadow remained on earth, there was an earthly Jerusalem; there was a temple, an altar, and a visible worship; there were priests and high priests; and there existed regions and towns of Judea and all...

    • HOMILY 18
      (pp. 163-167)

      Let us learn from the Law how the distribution of the land was assigned by necessity, the distribution that is said to have been made first by Moses and second by Jesus. Not that we might keep both, but by learning the nature of both, we might possess that one alone that is transmitted by Jesus our Lord.

      Thus, Moses distributed the land that is across the Jordan, but Jesus and the leaders of the tribes of Israel distributed this that is a holy land and “good land.”² You see, therefore, that when that true inheritance of a holy land...

    • HOMILY 19
      (pp. 168-172)

      Moses distributed an inheritance; Jesus also distributed an inheritance. It is not written, however, concerning the distribution of the inheritance by Moses, “the land ceased from wars”; but in the distribution by Jesus the preface to the discourse begins, “And the land ceased from wars.”² If, therefore, you wish to be made worthy to pursue the inheritance from Jesus and if you wish to claim a portion from him, you must first end all wars and abide in peace, so that it may be said concerning the land of your flesh, “The land ceased from wars.”

      2. Then afterwards, although...

    • HOMILY 20
      (pp. 173-183)

      If it is possible for some to ascend “to the holy and good land, the land of the living,”³ where there is no death, if someone were worthy to rise up through the spirit to behold these things, that person is able to know more truly the diversities of inheritances and places and names that are described in these passages.⁴ But since it is difficult to find a soul so learned or so filled with the grace of the Spirit, we ourselves endeavor meanwhile for the sake of general encouragement, with the help of your prayers and the Lord’s assistance,...

    • HOMILY 21
      (pp. 184-188)

      The sons of judah wanted to destroy or do away with the Jebusites in Jerusalem, but “they could not, and thus the Jebusites have dwelt with the people of Judah in Jerusalem up to this day.”²

      Beginning with the literal interpretation, we wish to inquire of those who think these verses can stand firm according to the letter why it says, “Up to this day.” For Holy Scripture always employs this expression in order to signify the duration of the age, as when it says, “Do not depart from the Lord in this day,”³ that is, as long as the...

    • HOMILY 22
      (pp. 189-194)

      For the third time, the Canaanites are said to live among the people of Ephraim. But let us observe the order of the remarks in each instance, that is, what the first discourse, which says the Canaanites are with the people of Ephraim, comprises and what the second, and the third. For if we observe more carefully how the Canaanites are said for the third time to be with the sons of Ephraim, and if, with the Lord assisting us, we shall be able to investigate the order of the remarks—what is reported to have been done first, what...

    • HOMILY 23
      (pp. 195-203)

      In the usual practice of people, when something is distributed by lot, the lot seems to fall by chance, one thing to one person and another to another; but in Holy Scripture it is not so. Several times I asked myself if the holy fathers would ever have committed to the casting of lots a judgment about something so great and important. And had this been done among the saints, it would not seem extraordinary now in the case of other persons or nations, since there was nothing uncommon in these things that are said to have been distributed by...

    • HOMILY 24
      (pp. 204-207)

      A short time ago, it was mentioned that the sons of Judah were not able to drive out the Jebusites who dwelt in Jerusalem, and that the sons of Ephraim were not able to expel the Canaanites dwelling in their midst.² Again, the present reading reports things similar to these about the Amorites, saying, “The Amorite continued to dwell in Elom and in Salamin, and the hand of Ephraim was made heavy upon them.”³

      The word “Amorite” means “bitter” or “bitterness.”⁴ Therefore, dwelling in Edom (which means “those who strike violently”)⁵ or in Salamin (which is interpreted “peaceful ones”)⁶ bitternesses...

    • HOMILY 25
      (pp. 208-214)

      All the sons of israel received their own lots in the land, but for the Levites God alone suffices for an inheritance.² Notwithstanding, since the Levites accept tithes and firstfruits from the children of Israel according to the precept of God, it was also fitting that they accept tithes of land and of habitations, as I shall so mention, for this is to have received “tithes of all things.”³

      For that reason, “in Selon in the land of Canaan, the heads of the families among the sons of Levi drew near to Eleazar the priest and to Jesus the son...

    • HOMILY 26
      (pp. 215-221)

      It was said above that the sons of Israel gave a lot to Jesus on Mount Ephraim and that, when he had accepted the lot, “Jesus built a city there and dwelt in it.”² But now Scripture repeats the same things again so that it may add this, that “in that city that he had built and in which he dwelt, Jesus concealed the rock swords,” that is, the knives made from stone, “with which he circumcised the sons of Israel in the wilderness.”³ Whence we also must repeat the exposition and explain what was added so that, God granting,...


  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 233-233)