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Antique Modern Strategy

Publicerad: 2014-02-09


Jon "the edict to cut the Achilles tendons came from God, not from Joshua.”

Yes. But what is the problem?

It is perfectly true that the Israelites were not to acquire horses and chariots or fight in the same way as the other nations. And this very military (and spiritual) asymmetry was ordained by God, just as Christopher mentioned in his post. So I didn’t say it was Joshua’s edict. The text tells us that it was God's master plan, not Joshua’s. Joshua only did what God had told him to do, and he then quickly realized – like Chaim Herzog and Gichon did - that the basic strategy was ingenious. There's no contradiction between this decree and the concrete situation in which this strategy turned out to be the strategically and tactically most superior alternative.

Note that when you disagree on that the edict was from God and not from Joshua, then you missed the point that it actually was the unbelieving ex-President Chaim Herzog and the military historian Mordechai Gichon who said this and not me. None of them are believers of neither Jewish nor Christian faith. I only mentioned that these two men analyzed the battlefield and the striking powers of the forces and the "military asymmetry", and they found out that the whole set-up was genius. Obviously they attributed Joshua for the strategic and tactical genius (and that's also why I pointed out that they were non-believers).

But the point for mentioning all this was that the entire military campaign, including the responsibility for security and civil defense of about 1.2 million nomad people, in the middle of hostile enemies, who they were about to defeat with only foot soldiers against the numerically and technologically superior enemies which allied against them, contains a wide range of case studies which is - by the most skilled strategists and tacticians of our time - still considered being masterpieces of military strategic and tactics.

Why then would God's commandment to not acquire horses and chariots be in conflict with the obvious masterful move to instead incapacitate the horses and destroy the chariots, and then immediately utilize the new asymmetry in which the experienced  Israelite foot soldiers suddenly was far superior the chariot drivers, which they easily hit in the back as the chariot drivers fled in wild panic? In short, there is no contradiction at all; instead the obedience appeared to be solely an advantage for the Israelis, who suddenly realized that they could actually take advantage of this asymmetry.

Now I have several times mentioned the word "asymmetry " in order to hint... that the God of the Bible perhaps isn’t as stupid as many people think he is.  And although it took some time for the coin to drop, now even the Islamists and other terrorists have understood the point with assymetric tactics.

And besides, I also had another reason for mentioning what these two men felt about the military virtues which they attributed to Joshua. The reason why they explored several of those biblical theaters of war in the first place, was because they wanted to investigate the historical credibility of the biblical texts. And their conclusion was interesting. I’ll summarize partly verbatim what they came up with:

If these stories are concocted, which they after their investigations did not hold for likely, but IF they were indeed forgeries, said Herzog and Gichon, then they could only conclude that in such cases some of history's most premier examples of civil defense tactics and military strategy individuals have been on site and there worked out some quite ingenious plans in which every conceivable tactical advantage for an attacker had been exploited to its maximum, while at the same time every conceivable tactical disadvantage for the enemy had been exploited to the maximum. That is, if this really was a forgery then the counterfeiters actually had written a tutorial, including concrete case studies, in the field of strategy and tactics, of absolute world class.

A more modern strategy than the Israelis' ancient strategy of asymmetric warfare does not exist. And according to the Bible, the mastermind behind the main strategies was no one other than God himself.

In short, do not mess around with the God of the Bible. He might outsmart you.  = )

/ / Rolf Lampa

Previously posted at Newton Blog August 16, 2012 at 21:12