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Showing posts from March, 2019

March 31 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 90 David's family situation continues to spiral.  In today's reading, David's family is torn apart by rape.  As a consequence, David's son sets his eyes on his father's throne.

DAILY READINGS2 Samuel 13-15 & Psalm 90

DAILY NOTES 1 Samuel 13:1-14

Amnon was David's first born son (3:2).  That may shed light as to why David seems to deal with him so easily (Verse 21).  Although he does kind of the same thing later with Absalom.Tamar is Absalom's full sister, half sister to Amnon.  Amnon is lovesick with her.  He devises a plan, with the help of a friend, to have her enter his chamber (bedroom).  Since she was a virgin, she didn't go out and about.  She remained in her house, perhaps protected.  Tamar knows what will become of her if Amnon goes through with his wishes; she will be left aside, unable to marry (see Verse 20).  She seems willing to have become married to Amnon, but his lust clouds his judgement.  Then, because he's so upset about w…

March 30 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 89 In today's reading, the righteous king slips.  Although his people do not know what he has done, God does.
DAILY READINGS2 Samuel 9-12 & Psalm 89

DAILY NOTES 2 Samuel 9

David shows "the kindness of God" to Saul's remaining son, Mephibosheth.  Remember him from Chapter 4? 2 Samuel 11 This chapter tells the story of David and Bathsheba.  Notice how David tries to cover his deeds.  It seems all is unknown to everyone (except Joab), but the next chapter will show us that it was not unknown to God.Verses 20-21 recall a previous story.  Do you remember which one?  Which book? 2 Samuel 12 Nathan uses a story to illustrate David's sin.  David condemns himself by condemning the rich man who took the poor man's lamb.  As David said, "he had not pity."Verse 11 is a turning point in David's reign. Nathan tells of a time when David will suffer because of what he has done.Although Nathan tells David he is forgiven--well, his sin is put away and he sh…

March 29 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 88 Now that Israel has one king, it's a good time to consider the role of Israel's messiah.  Check out today's Bible Project video that explains how Jesus fits the narrative of messiah.

DAILY READINGS2 Samuel 4-8 & Psalm 88
DAILY NOTES 2 Samuel 4-5

The murder of Ishbaal, Saul's surviving son, prompts all the people to anoint David king over the entire kingdom.Notice that over the last several chapters, David does not approve of these political murders.The first act of David, as the narrative is concerned, is to stand against the Jebusites.  These are the people Joshua did not drive away (Joshua 15:63).  As a result of their conquest, David makes Jerusalem the capital of the kingdom.  David continues to rise in stature and respect. 2 Samuel 6 After establishing Jerusalem as the capital, David's next effort is to bring the ark to the capital.  It is the nation's most sacred object and it belongs in the nation's capital.Initially, the ark proves dangero…

March 28 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 87 We're beginning a new book today!

2 Samuel picks up where 1 Samuel ended.  Watch today's Bible Project video for an introduction to what the book is all about.

DAILY READINGS2 Samuel 1-3 & Psalm 87
DAILY NOTES 2 Samuel 1

As much grief as Saul gave David, David now mourns his loss.  We're given further details of Saul's death.Does David kill the man out of his grief or his mere respect for God's anointing? 2 Samuel 2 Samuel has anointed David before in private.  Now, David is anointed publicly by the people of Judah.Saul's son, Ishbaal, his only remaining son, is anointed king, too.  David's & Ishbaal's troops battle.  David wins.The death of Asahel, depicted in verses 18-23, comes to play in the next chapter. 2 Samuel 3 David's "house" grows while Saul's becomes "weaker and weaker."Abner served in Saul's house, but is accused of a crime by Saul's son, Ishbaal.  Abner reaffirms that Saul's house will b…

March 27 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 86 Ever notice these books don't end with happily ever afters?  
Remember that we are reading an entire story of God told over many years.  The individual books help us follow that story, but we do well in remembering it's still one complete story.
Today, we're finishing 1 Samuel.  As we read, we'll see how far Saul has fallen.  Ultimately, what God said would happen, happens.
DAILY READINGS 1 Samuel 28-31 & Psalm 86

DAILY NOTES 1 Samuel 28

This chapter is devoted entirely to Saul's encounter with a medium.Notice that Saul had previously expelled mediums and wizards.  This could be a sign of his former faithfulness.Saul's fear overwhelmed him.  He is up against a Philistine army he does not think he can defeat.Since Saul could not hear from God, he seeks a medium to "inquire of her."  What did he want to know (from God or the medium)?  He asks Samuel what he should do.  So, is that asking whether to flee or fight?  Samuel confirms what he has …

March 26 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 85 David is still on the run.  By the time we finish reading today, he will have left Israel to get away from Saul.  Even then, David is still fighting for his people.
DAILY READINGS1 Samuel 25-27 & Psalm 85

DAILY NOTES 1 Samuel 25:1

Samuel dies.  He is the last of the prophets of the time before there were kings.  But don't worry, he'll be back ;) 1 Samuel 25:2-13 David seeks relief from Nabal.  David reminds Nabal how he has brought no harm to his shearers while they were with David.  As a return gesture, Nabal should offer David's men provision as they journey.Nabal refuses.  He does not ask his people if they story David told is true.  David prepares to kill Nabal. 1 Samuel 25:23-28 Nabal's wife, Abigail, brings provision (gifts) to David in hopes it will deter him from killing her husband.She pleads with David for 8 verses.Notice the actions of the fool (Nabal) and the clever one (Abigail).  Abigail means "Father's joy."   1 Samuel 26 The highli…

March 25 + Daily readings

DAY 84 No daily notes today.  You'll notice in today's reading that David is on the run.  He is traveling from place to place to escape Saul.

Do you have any notes that you'd like to share?

DAILY READINGS1 Samuel 21-24 & Psalm 84

OTHER OBSERVATIONS When Jonathan and David meet again, Jonathan tells David that he knows David will be king.  He also tells him that his father, Saul, knows David will be king.  Later, after David spares Saul's life, Saul will confess this.
That makes these chapters all the more disturbing.
Why is Saul so bent on pursuing David?  At one point, only the threat of a Philistine raid takes Saul away from his chasing David.  Is is merely jealousy?  Madness?  That evil spirit?  What is Saul hoping to (re)gain by killing David?  Did you notice how quickly Saul turns from his anger against David at the end of Chapter 24?  
How long do you think that will last?
Stay blessed...john

P.S. Today's psalm is a joyful psalm, but convicting if we'…

March 24 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 83 The relationship between Saul and David worsens.  David is now Saul's enemy.  

DAILY READINGS1 Samuel 18-20 & Psalm 83
DAILY NOTES 1 Samuel 18 Saul's delight for David quickly turns.  Saul is jealous of David's success and the fact that everyone else seems to like David more than him.Of course, we have to think about what this evil spirit from the Lord might mean.Saul tries to kill David.  He even devises a plan to have him married into the royal family so that he can create a snare for him.What does it say about David that, even after Saul has tried to kill him, he still finds it an honor to be married to the family?David escapes Saul's traps.  So, from here on out, the text says that Saul considered David an enemy.  Think he knows what it means to love your enemies? 1 Samuel 19 Verse 5 reminds us of David's fight with Goliath.  At this point, David has fought other times.  What makes that battle so significant?Michal helps David escape from Saul.  She e…

March 23 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 82 It's time to meet David.  In today's reading he is anointed king; he will be king later.  He also takes a place in Saul's court and gets a major victory against some tall guy.
Pay attention to how the text begins to illustrate the fall of Samuel while describing the rise of David.  Keep note of some of what's said about each man; those little commentaries about their character or their attitude.  

DAILY READINGS1 Samuel 15-17 + Psalm 82
DAILY NOTES 1 Samuel 15:1-9

Samuel told Saul to totally annihilate the Amalekites. "Do not spare them."Some commentaries have said that even the animals should be killed because the people were sorcerers.  They would use the animals in their rituals.Kenites were descendants of JethroSaul spares King Agag and the people keep the best of the animals. uh oh. 1 Samuel 15:10-23 Samuel is angry to find out, from God, that Saul has not followed through with the commands of God.  He cried out to the Lord all night.  What do you …

March 22 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 81 Well, that didn't last too long.  Saul's story began with humility and favor.  Today, a bit of impatience gets the best of him and things begin to unravel.
DAILY READINGS1 Samuel 13-14 & Psalm 81

DAILY NOTES 1 Samuel 13 Remember when Samuel told Saul to wait 7 days for him (10:8)?  Then again, remember 11:1?  I'll let you think on that.Saul, feeling the people "slip away" (literally, scattering), decides he must take the responsibility to do the offerings.  As he finishes, Samuel arrives.  Consequently, Samuel prophesies that Saul's "kingdom will not continue."   1 Samuel 14 Saul's son, Jonathan, shows himself to be a military hero.  He sends the Philistines into panic and, as a result, the Hebrews work together to defeat them.Saul commands his troops to take an oath to not eat anything before sundown. Jonathan does not hear this and eats; he even gets others to eat because the troops are "faint."  Notice Jonathan's attit…

March 21 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 80 Today, we're reading about Saul's inauguration as king.  In a few short chapters, we read about where he comes from, what makes him different than others, maybe a bit about his humility and his first act of military power.
Let us know if you notice anything else?
DAILY READINGS1 Samuel 9-12 & Psalm 80
DAILY NOTES 1 Samuel 9

We are introduced to Saul.  His family is wealthy and he is a handsome young man.Saul goes to search for his father's lost donkeys, but ends up meeting Samuel.  So far, Samuel does not give Saul any indication what is to come.  He only treats Saul to a special dinner that has already been prepared with other guests.  He also gives him a place to sleep and assures him the donkeys are okay! 1 Samuel 10 Samuel anoints Saul as king of Israel.  That day Saul begins to prophesy as he joins a band of prophets.Notice some of the expected behavior of prophets.For some reason, Saul told his uncle about meeting Samuel, but he did not mention being anoint…

March 20 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 79 Today's readings represent a transition for the Israelites.  After a series of defeats, having the ark captured from them and the sons of Samuel taking advantage of their role as judges, the people will ask to be led by a king.  So, no longer will judges rule over them, as God arranged.  
DAILY READINGS1 Samuel 4-8 & Psalm 79

DAILY NOTES 1 Samuel 4

Israel's defeat by the Philistines sparks what seems to be the downward spiral for the people.The ark is captured by the Philistines because the Israelites have decided to bring it out as a sort of weapon of war.  Did God ever say to do that?The prophecy against Eli and his sons comes to pass.  And wasn't that a horrible way to die? 1 Samuel 5 The ark makes its way through Philistine territory, creating havoc for the people who hold it.  No one wants it! 1 Samuel 6 The Philistines send the ark back--good riddance for them!  When some of the Israelites receive it, it had been gone for seven months, they rejoiced and gave…

March 19 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 78 With the start of a new book, we have a great Bible Project video to describe what 1 Samuel is all about.

DAILY READINGS1 Samuel 1-3 & Psalm 78

DAILY NOTES 1 Samuel 1:6-7

A barren woman carried shame, and probably guilt.  The rivalry between Elkanah's wives seems based on his greater love for Hannah; Peninnah "provokes" Hannah, because of her barrenness.   1 Samuel 1:11 Hannah makes a vow to God that if she has a son she will give him to God.  What if she had a daughter?He will live as a nazarite.  Remember Samson? 1 Samuel 1:12-18 The priest Eli sees Hannah praying and thinks she is drunk.  What might that say about the way she was praying?  What might that say about him?Hannah has been pouring out her soul.  What a way to pray!Eli gives her a blessing, that her prayer would be granted.  Did he know what the prayer was? 1 Samuel 2:1-10 Hannah's prayer after leaving Samuel. 1 Samuel 2:11-17 Eli's sons are introduced.  Not only are we to know about Eli'…

March 18 + Daily readings & notes

DAY 77 Compared to some of what we've read so far in the Bible, today's story (the whole book of Ruth) is a refreshing break.  Although the book begins in tragedy, it ends in triumph.  
Let's finish the book of Ruth today--but first watch today's Bible Project video:

DAILY READINGSRuth 1-4 & Psalm 77

Verse 1 connects the story of Ruth to the time of the judges.There is no concrete connection between the death of Naomi's husband and sons and the famine.  Initially, Naomi is at the center of the tragic events.Naomi is left with out a husband or sons, but nothing is said about the daughters-in-law.Naomi tells her daughters-in-law to go back with their family.  One does, Orpah, but the other stays with her, Ruth.Naomi recognizes Ruth's steadfast determination to stay.Naomi tells her people to call her by a different name: Bitter Ruth 2 Boaz is introduced as a member of Naomi's family.  He is prominent and rich--that comes into play later.R…

March 17 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 76 We're finishing the book of Judges today.  The judges have ruled over Israel, but the people have strayed from God.  Things are not as they should be.  By the book, the tribes of Israel have been fighting against one of their own.

DAILY READINGSJudges 19-21 & Psalm 76


No one is given a name in this chapter.  A Levite takes a concubine for a wife.  She gets angry and leaves to go back to her father's house.The Levite goes to her and the father-in-law and he enjoy several days of eating and drinking together.The Levite eventually leaves with his wife and they travel to Gibeah; they get no help from anyone else along the way.They stay at the home of a man from Gibeah.  While they are there, the men of Gibeah rise against the Levite.  The man of the house refuses their attack and offers both his daughter and the Levite's wife instead.  The men "wantonly" rape the wife.  The impression is that she is dead--although the text never expli…

March 16 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 75 Here's a question to ask yourself (or others) as you begin to bring the book of Judges to a close: What did the judges do for the people?  
We're finishing reading about Samson today.  He is the last judge written about in the book.
DAILY READINGSJudges 16-18 & Psalm 75

DAILY NOTES Judges 16:1-3

The Philistine elders seek to kill Samson while he is with a prostitute.  Yep, that's your Bible!He performs a feat of strength and they are unable to defeat him. Judges 16:4-22 Samson falls in love with Delilah.  There's no indication the love is reciprocated.  Quite the opposite, she willingly, repeatedly works to have him given over to the Philistine leaders.Perhaps Samson just likes jokes.  Remember his riddle at his last marriage?  Maybe he feels as if he is joking around with Delilah when he gives her several false answers to her question.What makes her believe the final time?  Is it the inclusion of his vow to God?  Did his attitude change?I apologize, but Vers…

March 15 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 74 Samson judged Israel for 20 years and gave us a few interesting stories along the way.  DAILY READINGSJudges 13-15 & Psalm 73


Samson's mother is barren, but is visited by an angel  and told she will "bear a son."She is given certain prohibitions and her son is to be a nazarite to God.The parents don't seem to completely realize the angel of the Lord has visited them.  It isn't until he ascends in fire.They believe (trust, hope?) the man's words and look forward to the day they come true. Judges 14 Samson chooses a wife from the Philistines.  The Philistines rule over the Israelites.  His parents ask him why he didn't choose someone from his own people.Samson comes off as pretty bratty, no?Maybe he would have come up with a riddle anyways, but trouble for Samson begins when he defeats a lion and later takes some honey from bees that are flying around its dead body.After Samson marries, he gives a riddle about the honey to th…

March 14 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 73 If you haven't already heard the story, after today, you'll be able tell the story behind this picture.  Blessings!
DAILY READINGSJudges 9-12 & Psalm 73


This chapter outlines the rise and fall of Abimelech.The chapter opens with his desire to rule over the people.  He is confirmed and immediately kills "70" brothers, except the youngest who is able to hide.The younger brother offers a curse to the leaders who selected Abimelech because he killed his family.Abimelech goes into battle and is, somewhat, successful. He then turns his attention on the people of the city (not the troops).  A woman standing in a tower throws a millstone on Abimelech.  He is close to death, but orders someone to kill him so it can't be said he was killed by a woman.  #MachoMan Judges 10 Two judges, Tola & Jair, are mentioned.The people turn from God again.  This time, when they cry out, God says he will not deliver them.  It is later stated, however, th…

March 13 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 72 Are you familiar with Gideon?  Do you know why the people who leave Bibles in hotel rooms call themselves the Gideons?  
Well, let's read about Gideon first and found out about the Gideons later.
DAILY READINGSJudges 6-8 & Psalm 72

DAILY NOTES Judges 6:1-10

The Israelites are oppressed by the Midianites.  They are forced to flee to the mountains and caves.  The Israelites were "impoverished" and the land was "wasted."  The Israelites call out to God.  A prophet arose to confirm their current situation is due to their turning away from God.  Scripture doesn't tell us who the prophet was, but Jewish commentary offers a name. Judges 6:12 Gideon is approached by an angel of the Lord.  He is called a "mighty warrior."   Judges 6:22 After the sign Gideon asks for comes to pass, he believes he has seen the angel of God and believes what he has told him.   Judges 6:25-27 God commands Gideon to pull down an altar to Baal.  The altar belongs to his …

March 12 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 71 We're focusing on Deborah today.  You'll read about one of her military conquests and what is called The Song of Deborah.  If you want to do a bit of studying of the text, compare Chapter 5's description of things that have happened with Chapter 4's description.  Let us know what you come up with.
Happy reading!

DAILY READINGSJudges 4-5 & Psalm 71 DAILY NOTES Judges 4 This chapter tells of the prophetess Deborah's military conquest.  There are many conversations to be had about her and her role.How did she become a prophetess?What she the only woman?Are prophets and judges the same?Barak is summoned by Deborah to plan the attack against Sisera.Deborah ensures Barak that the plan will work and that credit will be given to a woman! #GirlPowerSisera is defeated by a woman, but someone we did not think of.   Psalm 71 The psalmist realizes that if he is going to ask for God's continual protection, he should be willing to give his continual praise (verse 6)…

March 11 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 70 We're starting the book of Judges today.  

DAILY READINGSJudges 1-3 & Psalm 70

Joshua 1
Accounts are given of the tribes failures to drive out all the nations.   Joshua 2 Israel's unfaithfulness is outlined throughout this chapter.  Consequently, God's anger is kindled against them.  There are, however, judges that are raised by God to deliver the people.They are military heroes.   Joshua 3 The account of 2 judges, and a third whose actions are not described. Psalm 70 A prayer of deliverance from enemies.This is an urgent prayer--God do not delay! OTHER OBSERVATIONS You'll notice that the new generations do not know the Lord or what he has done.  I have trouble with that.  How do they not know?  Did they not pay attention to their parents, elders?  Did they not listen.  Did they choose not to know?
Answers to those kinds of questions might help us, as the church, to figure out our mission for today.
Stay blessed...john

March 10 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 69 We're finishing the book of Joshua today.  The people have entered the land, conquered the nations and are ready for rest.  Joshua has one final word to give the Israelites before he passes.

Let's hear those powerful words again.

DAILY READINGSJoshua 22-24 & Psalm 69

DAILY NOTES Joshua 22:4
A reminder that the land was given as rest for the people. Joshua 22:10-12 As the Reubenites, Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh go home, they fear their ties with the people of Israel will be cut in future generations.  So, they build an altar as a witness for future generations of their take with Israel.  The rest of Israel see this as the others turning away from God and were prepared to go to war against them. Joshua 22:30 The Israelites believe the testimony of the Reubenites, Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh. Joshua 23 Joshua reminds the people that God's blessings and curses are still relevant. Joshua 24:15-16 Joshua instructs the Israelites to make a choice of w…

March 9 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 68 This is, by far, the most chapters we've read in a one day.  You'll see, however, that some of them are pretty short and most follow the same pattern.  The Israelites have conquered the promised land and now it is time to allot the land to the different tribes.

Since you've got a little more reading to do and since a lot of it is names of territories and cities, I won't include any notes today.

DAILY READINGSJoshua 13-21 & Psalm 68

OTHER OBSERVATIONS Here's an assignment for you.  We believe scripture to be "God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).  Can you find those elements in today's reading?

Stay blessed...john

March 8 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 67 The word of the day is conquest.  Joshua and the Israelites continue their advance into the promised land.  Every nation that rises against them is defeated.  A recurring theme to pay attention to is that of the Divine Warrior.  This is a role God plays in Holy War literature.  
God continually stands with the Israelites in battle, often participating (see Joshua 10:11, 15).  It's an interesting observation to watch for.
DAILY READINGSJoshua 9-12 & Psalm 67


The Gibeonites hear of Israel's victory and devise a plan to make peace with them so that they are not defeated.  Remember how Jacob's cunning ways play out for him?  Their plan is to act as if they have come from a far away place.  That would entitle them protection from the Israelites.The plan works.  Joshua makes peace with them and a covenant.   Joshua 10 The Israelites defeat another group of nations.  God fights for them. Joshua 11 A telling of the nations Joshua and the Israelites de…

March 7 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 66 Joshua prepares the people for battle.  They have crossed the Jordan into the land God had promised them and now it is time to overcome the nations.   DAILY READINGSJoshua 5-8 & Psalm 66

DAILY NOTES Joshua 5:1
All the kings beyond the Jordan heard about the Israelites movement, that they had crossed over (again).  As a result, their hearts melted and their spirit was gone.  They are fearful of what is to happen to them. Joshua 5:2-9 The Lord tells Joshua to circumcise the people.  They had not practiced circumcision, the sign of the covenant between them and God, since they were in the wilderness.Now, all that they faced in Egypt, everything they were and everything endured is "rolled away."  They are, officially, a new people.
Joshua 5:15
The command of the army of the Lord gives Joshua the same instructions Moses was given at the burning bush. Joshua 6:1-16 The city of Jericho has closed itself.  No one is leaving or entering because they feel the threat of the Isr…

March 6 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 65 We're entering a new land today.  We have a new leader, but we still have the same God and the same promise.  As we've read, you can almost feel the rise of expectation building as Moses gives his final commands and blessings and as Joshua takes his new place among the people.
Today's Bible Project video illustrates a review of what the book of Joshua is about.  It gives a great outline you can follow to understand the book better.

DAILY READINGSJoshua 1-4 & Psalm 65

DAILY NOTES Joshua 1:1-9
God gives Joshua the command to leave the people into the new land since Moses has died.Joshua is reminded that the Lord will go before the people; no one will be able to stand against them because of God's power.  Still, Joshua is reminded 3 times to be strong and (once very) courageous.The law of God is to remain in the mouth of Joshua (and the people).  They are called to meditate on it day and night. Joshua 1:13 This new land was to be a "place of rest" for …

March 5 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 64 Since we're finishing the book of Deuteronomy today, and since the ending has a lot of song to it, how about we finish it with this great performance of Moses' song.  It's inspiring!

DAILY READINGSDeuteronomy 32-34 & Psalm 64 DAILY NOTES Deuteronomy 32:47

All this that the Lord has spoken through Moses is no "trifling" matter, or, better said, an empty word.
Deuteronomy 33

Moses offers a final blessing over the tribes of Israel. Deuteronomy 34 The Lord allows Moses to see the land the people will enter.  The servant of the Lord, Moses, dies.  Joshua takes Moses' place.   OTHER OBSERVATIONS We have just finished reading the Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the Bible.  These are the cornerstone of the Jewish faith.  We cannot over estimate their importance to the faith of so many for so long.  
If you thought it was strange following the people in the desert, hang on!  While we've spent the last several books hearing (and hearing again) about ritua…

March 4 + Daily notes & readings

DAY 63 We're winding down our reading in Deuteronomy.  The people have the law of God before them; they have a new leader commissioned over them.  God ensures them that they can bold and do not have to fear the people, and that, even though the Lord is sure they will turn away, there will be a way back to God's grace.
DAILY READINGSDeuteronomy 30-31 & Psalm 63

DAILY NOTES Deuteronomy 30:1-5

A foreshadow of what to expect from the people.Although God has outlined the curses that the people will face if they turn away, God promises to receive them again and return them, assuming/knowing they will be exiled. Deuteronomy 30:6 Again, we see that what matters most to God is that the people love God will all their heart. Deuteronomy 31:1-3 Moses prepares the people to cross over without his leadership.  They can be sure of God's presence and victory. Deuteronomy 31:7 Joshua is recognized as the next leader of the Israelites.  Moses' command is to be "strong and bold.&qu…