The Fear Factor: The Motif of Fear in Joshua 1-12 in the Light of ANE Sources

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This paper will investigate the role fear plays in the account of the conquest of the land (Jos 1-12), in the light of a general sketch of the role it plays in ANE sources according to the following categories: ``freeze'', ``follow'', ``flight'' or ``fight''.Fear drives the separate episodes of the conquest, as well as its general setting. It strikes both the Israelite attacking forces and the local inhabitants of the land.Fear also appears in the encouraging formula ``fear not'' from oracles promising victory before battle.In Assyrian royal inscriptions the king does not fear, while fear of the Assyrians and their god's splendor prevents the conflict - the enemy either submits to the conquering king or runs away.Fighting is never described as a reaction to fear.Rather, it is attributed to the enemy's hubris and reliance on false power. In the book of Joshua flight is not a valid option because of the.erem ideological framework of the conquest. Fear of the Israelites either causes paralysis (Jericho) or motivates surrender (Rahab and the Gibeonites).In the light of the role fear plays in the Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions, initiation of coalitions and fighting the Israelites are an unlikely reaction to fear. In the one case that fear prompts action (10:2), the verse is an addition to the account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-115
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2021


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