I was recently tasked with creating a few coloring pages on the first few chapters of the Book of Joshua, which is one of the bloodiest, most horrific bits of Jewish folklore around. Before I began, I had to pacify the pacifist within, and convince myself not to create gratuitous scenes of gore to make a statement on the monstrosity of war. Instead, I did some research, packed up all the baggage I bring to the Old Testament, and tried to look at the story through new eyes.
As a kid, these stories were largely illustrated for me with smiling Israelites cheering after battle, which I found really creepy, considering the ghastly narrative. Yes, these stories' victories point to a deeper meaning that life is hard, God is Love, and Love always wins. And while Deuteronomistic history is meant to be digested metaphorically, it seemed an injustice to the depth of the story to only focus on victory without highlighting the difficulty of getting there.
Not that I think my little coloring pages really do the story any more justice... Read more