Joshua to monarchy
Sung Psalm 78:55-60 (note v 60 Shiloh)
Reading I Sam.1:1-21
It is reckoned 280,000 men had been circumcised before or at the first Passover in Egypt (now at the edge of Canaan all aged 38 or over) which left 720,000 under age 38 and born in the wilderness, needing circumcised at Gilgal.
Do we reckon the Passover was kept in the time of Joshua or the judges?
Hos.9:15 would suggest not for several reasons:
- The idolatry of the people (The idols of Ur and Egypt Josh 24:14)
- The choice of Saul (rejecting God as king) and his foolish behaviour with Amalek.
- All the reprobate at the time of Joshua.
But Judges 2:7 suggests they did keep it even though that period was characterized by idolatry and defeat by their enemies followed by the raising up of judges to liberate them.
II Kings 23:22 mentions a great Passover unsurpassed SINCE the judges.
I Samuel 1 descibes Elkanah and his two wives going up to Shiloh for a great pilgrimage feast and Elkanah was a Levite (Kohathite) I Chron.6:35.
From Judges 21:19 and Joshua 18:1 we learn that Shiloh was the place where the tabernacle was set up and hence the destination for the Passover pilgrimage for hundreds of years till Jerusalem in the time of David.
But Shiloh fell eventually to the Philistines who carted away the ark (Jer.7:12-14, 26: 6,9, Psalm 78:60).
So when and where was this great Passover in the time of the judges?
We can narrow it down to the time of the last and greatest judge Samuel who was also a prophet (greatest since Moses), a Levite and Nazarite, a kingmaker and brought up in the tabernacle by Eli. It must have taken place at Shiloh before the ark was taken and Eli’s sons killed and during Saul’s time before his death with Jonathan, during which time it changed hands several times between Israel and the Philistines.
How was it reckoned to be a great Passover? Numbers of pilgrims or sacrifices? Depth of devotion? Presence of a godly King? We don’t know.