Joshua 1:1-18, Joshua 2:1-24, Joshua 3:1-17, Joshua 4:1-24, Joshua 5:1-15

English: Moses striking the rock

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Figures 055 The Battle Between the Israelites ...

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The Children of Israel Crossing the Jordan (il...

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English: English translation of hebrew version...
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Joshua 1

1Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,

2Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

3Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.

4From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.

5There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

6Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

7Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.

8This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

9Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

10Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,

11Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.

12And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying,

13Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.

14Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them;

15Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD’s servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.

16And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.

17According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.

18Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.

Joshua 2

1And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

2And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country.

3And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.

4And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were:

5And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.

6But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.

7And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.

8And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;

9And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.

10For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.

11And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

12Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token:

13And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

14And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.

15Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.

16And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way.

17And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.

18Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.

19And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.

20And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear.

21And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.

22And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not.

23So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all things that befell them:

24And they said unto Joshua, Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.

Joshua 3

1And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

2And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

3And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.

4Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.

5And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.

6And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

7And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.

8And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

9And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God.

10And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.

11Behold, the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.

12Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.

13And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the LORD of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.

14And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;

15And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)

16That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.

17And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

Joshua 4

1And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,

2Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,

3And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

4Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:

5And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:

6That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?

7Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

8And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.

9And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.

10For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over.

11And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people.

12And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them:

13About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.

14On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.

15And the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,

16Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.

17Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.

18And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.

19And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.

20And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

21And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?

22Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

23For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:

24That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.

Joshua 5

1And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.

2At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.

3And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.

4And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.

5Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised.

6For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

7And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way.

8And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.

9And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.

10And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.

11And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.

12And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

13And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?

14And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?

15And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

A Bible Study

“The Journey’s End: An Inheritance is Given”

I. 1:1-12:24 The Battle for the Inheritance

A. 1:1-5:15 Preparations
B. 6:1-12:24 The Battle Joined

II. 13:1-21:45 The Division of the Inheritance

A. 13:1-7 Introduction: Allotment Before Full Occupation
B. 13:8-33 The Land East of the Jordan
C. 14:1-19:51 The Land West of the Jordan
D. 20:1-9 Cities of Refuge
E. 21:1-42 Cities for Priests and Levites
F. 21:43-45 Comprehensive Review

III. 22:1-24:33 Terms of the Inheritance

A. 22:1-9 Charge to East-Jordan Tribes
B. 22:10-34 No Idolatrous Altars
C. 23:1-24:28 Joshua’s Charges to All Israel
D. 24:29-33 Close of an Era

Title & Theme

Joshua is a story of conquest and fulfillment for the people of God. After many years of slavery in Egypt and 40 years in the desert, the Israelites were finally allowed to enter the land promised to their fathers.

When Deuteronomy ends, the book of Joshua begins. The tribes of Israel are still camped on the east side of the Jordan River. The book opens with God’s command to move forward and pass through the river on dry land. Then it relates the series of victories in central, southern and northern Canaan that gave the Israelites control of all the hill country and the Negev. It continues with a description of the tribal allotments and ends with Joshua’s final addresses to the people. The theme of the book, is the establishment of Israel in the promised land.

Earlier in his life Joshua was called simply Hoshea (Numbers 13:8,16) meaning “salvation.” But later Moses changed his name to Joshua, meaning ”The Lord Saves” or “The Lord gives glory.” When this same name (the Greek form of which is Jesus in Matthew 1:21 ) was given to Mary’s firstborn son, it became the most loved of names.

In the Hebrew Bible the book of Joshua initiates a division called “The Former Prophets” which includes also Judges, Samuel and Kings. All of these books are historical in content but written from a prophetic standpoint. They record the time in the Old Testament history from the death of Moses to the fall of Judah in 586 BC.

Author & Date

It is very hard to tell the time and the author of this book. Many features suggest the some of the book was written within Joshua’s own lifetime, others point to a time somewhat later. The account of the long day when the sun stood still at Aijalon is substantiated by a quotation from another source, the Book of Jashar (10:13). This would hardly be natural for an eyewitness of the miracle, writing shortly after it happened. Also, there are 12 instances where the phrase “until this day” is employed by the author.

It seems safe to conclude that the book, at least in its early form, dates from the beginning of the monarchy. Some think that Samuel may have had a hand in shaping or compiling the materials of the book, but in fact we are unsure who the final author or editor was.

Date & Historical Setting

At the time of the Israelite migration into Canaan the superpowers of the ancient Near East were relatively weak. The Hittites had faded from the scene. Neither Babylon nor Egypt could maintain a military presence in Canaan, and the Assyrians would not send in their armies until centuries later.

As the tribes circled east of the Dead Sea, only the stronghold of Edom offered any resistance. Moeb was forced to let Israel pass through her territory and camp in her plains. When Og and Sihon, two regional Amorite kings of the Transjordan, tried to stop the Israelites, they were easily defeated and their lands occupied.

Biblical archaeologists call this period the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200 BC) Much of the data from archaeology appears to support a date for Joshua’s invasion to be around 1250 BC. This fits well with an exodus that would then have taken place 40 years earlier under the famous Rameses II, who ruled from the Nile delta at a city with the same name (Exodus 1:1). It places Joseph in Egypt in a favorable situation. Four hundred years before Rameses II, the pharohs were the Semitic Hyksos, who also ruled from the delta near the land of Goshen.

The man Joshua

Joshua himself was born in Egypt. He became Moses’ right-hand man during the exodus and desert wanderings. He was a fine military commander (Exodus 17:8ff) In the lawgiving at Sinai he was Moses’ companion (Exodus 24:13). Joshua was one of the 12 spies sent by Moses to reconnoiter the land. He and Caleb alone had the faith and courage to recommend an advance (Numbers 14:6ff) and in consequence were the only ones to survive the 40 years of wandering. When Moses died, Joshua was an obvious choice to succeed him in leading the nation (Deuteronomy 34:9)

And now to our study of the book of Joshua…

A. Israel enters the promised land (Joshua chapters 1 – 4)

Chapter 1

This account of Joshua’s accession is one of the great chapters of the Bible. Moses is dead: but God’s promise and purpose for the nation will continue. The keynote of this prelude to the conquest is the repeated call to be strong and take courage (Joshua 1:6,7,9,18)

1:8 “This book of the Law…” see Deuteronomy 31:24-36. Joshua was with Moses when the law was given at Sinai.

1:11 “Within three days” Either the events of chapter 2 have already taken place, or the meaning is simply “soon.”

1:13 “Remember the word…” Cf. Numbers 32

Chapter 2 – Rahab and the spies

Jericho, the city of palm trees, lies just west of the River Jordan. Joshua’s intention was to make his first thrust into the center of Palestine, driving a wedge between north and south. Jericho stood directly in his path, an obvious first target.

Rahab’s action in harboring the spies stemmed not from fear but from belief that Israel’s God is the true God (cf. Hebrews 11:31, which commends her faith, not her immorality).

Rahab’s house was built on or into the city walls, with a flat roof on which produce could be spread out to dry–in this case flax, from which she would spin linen thread.

Her house was somewhere the spies might go to with no questions asked; and no doubt a good place to pick up information.

The Israelites kept their promise to her (Joshua 6:22ff). Rahab was naturalized, married Salmon, and through her son Boaz became an ancestress of David, and of Jesus himself. (Cf. Ruth 2-4; Matthew 1:5)

Chapter 3 – The Israelites cross the Jordan

It was spring, and the river swollen with melted snows, when God took His people across Jordan. As the priests stepped into the floodwater, a blockage at Adam, 16 miles up river, dammed the stream, leaving 20 or 30 miles of riverbed dry.

Could this happen? In 1927 earth tremors caused a collapse of the high clay river banks at the same spot, and the Jordan was dammed up for over 21 hours.

3:3 “The ark of the covenant” containing the tablets inscribed with the law. It was a visible symbol of God’s presence with His people – and of his leading and guidance.

3:5 “Sanctify yourselves” i.e. “prepare yourselves before God!” By ritual purification and moral self-scrutiny.

Chapter 4 – The memorial stones

Two piles were made. One where the priests had stood in the eastern edge of the river, the other at Gilgal, their base-camp on the west Both were to serve as a perpetual reminder of the greatness of God.

This is the same stretch of Jordan where John the Baptist’s ministry and Jesus’ baptism took place.

4:23 “For you…for us” Not many of these who had crossed the Red Sea now remained. Of the over-20’s at the time the spies were sent out only Joshua and Caleb still lived.

B. Israel Circumcised (5:1-12)

The rite of circumcision had not been practiced because the covenant itself was, so to speak, in suspension for 40 years as a result of the people’s disbelief and disobedience (Numbers 14)

Now the circumcision of the new generation marks the renewal of the old relationship between God and his People.

5:2 “Flint knives” Bronze tools had superseded stone by this time, but the traditional tools are used for the religious rite.

5:12 “Manna ceased” See Exodus 16:13dd. This special provision of God had never failed through all the years in the wilderness. Now it was no longer needed.

C. The Fall Of Jericho (Joshua 5:13 – 6:27)

The conquest of Canaan was a holy war God was at the head of the army No one knew this better than Joshua, after his experience of 5:13ff. Israel knew it, as the ark of God’s presence led the forces.

And Israel’s enemies knew it, and quaked (2:10-11; 5:1). It was a war of nerves for the men of Jericho; day after day the encircling troops, the trumpet-blasts, the silent army, building up to the great climax on the seventh day.

6:18 “Things devoted to destruction” The city and all its contents are dedicated utterly to God. It becomes sacrilege then, for anyone to take anything for himself.

6:23 “Outside the camp” Until such time as they were “cleansed” by a period of purification.

6:26 “Cursed…be the man” The mound lay in ruins for 400 years, until Ahab’s reign. Then Hiel rebuilt Jericho – and fell heir to the curse. (cf. 1 Kings 16:34)

D. Achan’s Defiance (Joshua chapter 7)

Because of Achan’s sin (see 6:18) 36 men died at Ai, and the whole nation was shamed before their Canaanite enemies. God requires absolute obedience; and the disobedience of one individual affects the whole people of God.

7:2 “Ai” Ai in Hebrew means “the ruin.” It is usually identified with et-Tell (meaning “the ruin” in Arabic) just two miles east of Bethel.

7:13 “Sanctify yourselves” A series of purifications to be undertaken by every Israelite in preparation for meeting with God, as before a solemn religious feast or a special assembly called by the Lord. Here God summons His people before Him for His judgment. See also Joshua 3:5

7:14 “Which the Lord takes” The guilty man was discovered by means of the sacred lot, the two stones kept in the high priest’s breastplate. It is not now known exactly how this was done. When the lots are cast, one of the tribes is “taken by the Lord” so that the search is narrowed until the Lord exposes the guilty person. The lots may have been the Urim and Thummim from the ephod of the high priest (cf. Exodus 28:30; 1 Samuel 2:28)

7:25 “Stoned him…burned them” i.e. the stolen goods, unless his family were also in the know and therefore to blame (cf. Deuteronomy 24:16)

E. Ai Conquered (Joshua chapter 8)

The evidence of the mound at Et-Tell is difficult to accord with the Biblical record here. This suggests that this may not be in fact the correct site of Ai. However other Biblical scholars and archaeologists suggest that it may be. What is important here is the fact that Joshua’s flight and ambush strategy makes capital out of Israel’s previous defeat.

From Ai, Joshua moves north to establish himself at Shechem, in the valley between Mt Ebal and Mt. Gerizim. In God’s name he takes possession of the land. The covenant is sworn as Moses had commanded (cf. Deuteronomy 27)

8:3 “30,000” This may refer to the total force, unless there were two ambushes (cf. 8:12) But high numbers In the Old Testament present a real problem for some.

8:9 “Bethel” The place where Jacob had his vision. A well-fortified and prosperous city during Israel’s early days In Egypt; somewhat declined by Joshua’s day. Either on this campaign (Bethel and Ai were only 1 ½ miles apart) or later, the king of Bethel was defeated (cf. Joshua 12:16)

F. The Campaign In The South (Joshua chapters 9 – 10)

Chapter 9 – Gibeon tricks Israel into a treaty

Gibeon was an important city about six miles north of Jerusalem. The treaty obtained by such cunning (even to the pretence that that news of the recent victories at Jericho and Ai had not reached them. cf. verses 9-10) This also included three other cities (verse 17)

Israel could not draw back from a treaty sealed in friendship (a meal eaten together see vs.14). It still held good in David’s day; The worst they could do was reduce the Gibeonites to slave status (see verse 21)

Chapter 10 – Alliance of the five Amorite kings; the “long day”

The treaty with the Gibeonites promptly involves Israel in war. All five Amorite Kings are killed at Makkedah and their city-states (all except for Jerusalem) are destroyed in the campaign following the rout at Beth-horon.

All the strategic cities of the south fall before Joshua’s army. Israel now controls the land from Kadesh-barnea in the south to Gaza on the west, and as far north as Gideon.

10:12-14 “The long day” Usually taken as an extension of daylight. The fact is we do not know precisely what happened on that day except that it involved divine intervention. Some have suggested the events to be a prolongation of darkness.

Recently it has been suggested that there may have been an eclipse of the sun. Joshua’s surprise attack was at dawn (as the positions of sun and moon in verse 12 also indicate). The hailstorm increased the gloom and consequent confusion.

10:13 “Go Down” May simply mean “come” or “go”

10:13 “Book of Jashar” A book of songs praising national heroes.

10:24 “Put your feet upon the necks” A customary gesture of total subjection.

10:41 “Goshen” A town south of Hebron, not the Goshen in Egypt.

G. The Northern Campaign (Joshua chapter 11)

The powerful king of Hazor, commanding his vassals, assembles an even more formidable alliance than that of the south. But with no more success.

Although the strategic cities were in Israel’s hands within a short time of their entry into Canaan, mopping-up operations took a great deal longer (see verse 18)

11:1 “Hazor” A vast metropolis of 40,000 people, many times the size of Jerusalem in David’s day. The lower city which Joshua destroyed was never rebuilt.

11:8 “As far as Great Sidon” Tyre had evidently not yet risen to prominence.

11:21 “The Anakim” The colossal race who struck fear into the hearts of the spies (cf. Numbers 13:33)

11:22 “Gaza, Gath, Ashdod” All Philistine strongholds. Gigantic Goliath came from the city of Gath. (cf. 1 Samuel 17:4)

H. The List of The Defeated Canaanite Kings (Joshua chapter 12)

Thirty-one kings are listed in this chapter.(Including those defeated under Moses ) The list rounds off the section of the conquest of the promised land.

I. The Division of The Land (Joshua chapters 13 – 21)

Not all the land allocated had been completely subdued. And not every tribe realized its ideal by conquering all its allotted territory. In several places the writer comments on the situation in his own day. (Example: Joshua 15:63)

13:1-7 Land still unconquered

13:8-14 The land east of Jordan

13:15-23 The tribe of Reuben

13:24-28 The tribe of Gad

13:29-33 The half-tribe of Manasseh

14:1-5 The land west of Jordan

Note that the inheritance of each tribe is decided by lot, by the high priest.

14:6-15 Caleb claims Hebron

Forty-five years after the spy episode (cf. Numbers 13-14) Caleb remains a man of unwavering faith. Despite 10:21ff there are still Anakim survivors to deal with (cf. Joshua 15:14; Judges 1:16-15,20)

Hebron became Levite property (21:11-13) but Caleb retained the surrounding land and villages.

Chapter 15 – The tribe of Judah

Judah’s inheritance included Caleb’s lands and also Jerusalem, or part of it (cf.18:28). But the city remained unconquered when Joshua was written (see verse 63)

Chapters 16-17 – Joseph’s sons: the tribes of Ephriam and Manasseh

They were to have extended their territory by clearance and conquest. But the horses and chariots of the Canaanites holding the plains deterred them.

Chapter 18

18:1-10 The move to Shiloh; the land survey; the inheritance of the seven remaining tribes.

18:11-28 The tribe of Benjamin
Jerusalem seems to have been partly on Judah’s land, partly on Benjamin’s (cf. 15:63; Judges 1:8; 21)

Chapter 19

19:1-9 The tribe of Simeon
Simeon’s people, whose land was part of Judah’s territory, became absorbed into the larger tribe.

19:10-16 The tribe of Zebulun

19:17-23 The tribe of Issachar

19:24-31 The tribe of Asher

19:32-35 The tribe of Naphtali

19:40-48 The tribe of Dan

19:49-51 Joshua’s city

Chapter 20 – The cities of refuge

See also Numbers 35:6-34; Deuteronomy 19:1-13. The cities were a safeguard against vengeance and blood-feud, protecting those who had caused an accidental death.

Chapter 21 – The cities of the Levites

The Levites receive no tribal inheritance: God is their inheritance. But they are given 48 cities, with pasturage, by the other tribes. This ensures that the leaders of the nation’s faith and worship life are dispersed amongst the tribes of Israel.

J. The Tribes Settled On The East Of The Jordan Return Home; The Altar Of Witness (Joshua chapter 22)

Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh have fulfilled their obligations to help in the conquest. Now they return home, with Joshua’s blessing, and a share of the spoil. Fear that, once across Jordan, Israel may at some future time disown them prompts the building of the altar which caused such misunderstanding.

This was neither a sign of idolatry, nor a second sanctuary. It was a token of solidarity with the rest of Israel to whom they were bound by faith and worship of the one true God.

21:17 “The sin of Peor” When Israel worshipped Baal (cf. Numbers 25)

21:20 “Achan” For his sin 36 men died (cf. Joshua 7)

21:22 “The Mighty One, God, the Lord” A solemn oath, twice repeated, and used as an oath is using all three names of God: El, Elohim, Yahweh.

K. Joshua’s Last Days

Chapter 23 – Joshua counsels the leaders

Some years have elapsed since the division of the land. Joshua has reached the end of a long life, and is appointing no single successor. It is therefore vital to ensure that the leaders keep the law and remain faithful to God–the God who keeps His promises to His people. (cf. Joshua 24:14 and 21:45)

Chapter 24 – Joshua and the nation renew the covenant

Here, as in Deuteronomy, the covenant patter follows that of contemporary treaties.

The King’s title (verse 2a) is followed by a rehearsal of his past favors (:2b-13) The stipulations are made in verses 14-15, with warnings on the consequences of disobedience. (verses 19-20)

Joshua’s own readiness to commit himself wholly to God remains unwavering at the end of a long life. The eagerness of the people to follow him in renewing the covenant is in itself sufficient tribute to his leadership.

Verse 31 is an indication of the strength of this man’s influence for good!


Concordia Self Study Bible – New International Version Robert G. Hoerber Editor Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO. 1986 287-323

Concordia Self Study Commentary Robert R. Roehrs Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO. 1979pp. 141-156

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This book serves as the connecting link between the Pentateuch and the later historical books; its name is derived from the principal character, Joshua, Chapters 1 to 23 describe the conquest of the land and its division among the tribes of Israel. In the final chapters (23-24) Joshua, somewhat after the fashion of Moses, exhorts the people in a series of farewell addresses “to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses,” and solemnly challenges them to the renewal of their covenant commitment to God.