People of the Promised Land: Joshua
Joshua: A Good News Book
After 40 years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites had a new leader: Joshua. Moses is dead. God commissions Joshua, Moses’ protege, to “be strong and courageous” and to lead His people into the Promised Land.
Who is Joshua?
When we meet him in Joshua Chapter 1 in the Bible, Joshua is the oldest man in Israel, probably in his nineties. For the last 40 years since the Exodus, Joshua has been Moses’ right-hand man. The Book of Joshua is the story of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan and the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people in bringing them into the Promised Land.
When Was The Book of Joshua Written?
Dates bury based on when scholars date the Exodus, but the concensus is that the Book of Joshua was written by an eyewitness (perhaps Aaron’s grandon, Phineas, Joshua 24:33) within a generation after the events of this book. This time frame is either 1400-1380 BC or 1250-1230 BC.
What Events do the Book of Joshua Cover?
A good outline of the book of Joshua is:
- Joshua Chapters 1-5: Preparing to conquer the land
- Joshua Chapters 6-8: The fall of Jericho and Ai
- Joshua Chapters 9-12: Victory in the southern and northern territories
- Joshua Chapters 13-22: Allotment of the land
- Joshua Chapters 23-24: Covenant renewal and death of Joshua
The events of this book probably did not take longer than 7 years, although Joshua lived longer until around 1375 BC. Remember that only key events were recorded; there were many, many more battles and skirmishes not recorded.
What Tasks was Joshua Commissioned For?
Joshua was commissioned by God to accomplish 2 main tasks.
- Direct a military campaign to take control of the land God had promised
- Parcel out the conquered land amongst the tribes
What are the Main Themes of the Book of Joshua?
- Obedience. Once inside the land of Canaan, the Israelites had learned that wandering around for 40 years was not something they wanted to repeat, so they followed God’s instructions precisely, even though it must have seemed crazy to them at times. Marching around a city, blowing trumpets isn’t exactly a common military tactic used.
- God is in charge. He leads the Israelites and gives them the land on His terms. Nothing in history happens unless God says so
The Life of Joshua
Born as a slave in Egypt, it’s safe to assume Joshua had a not-so-easy childhood. Born as Hoshea (Hebrew for “save”), Moses changed his name to Joshua (or Jehoshua), meaning “Yahweh is salvation”, making his name theophorous or bearing the name of God. He was one of the 12 spies sent to scout the land of Canaan. He led the Israelites for the rest of his life, conquering Canaan and distributing the land, until he died at 110 year old.
Highlights in the Book of Joshua
We will read about Rahab, the prostitute who hid the spies Joshua had sent to scout Jericho. We’ll read about the fall of Jericho, one of the most famous stories in the bible.
Joshua is one of the few in the bible who had unwavering faith, loyalty, and obedience to God. Many compare Joshua to Jesus since he lead people to God’s earthly promised land, while Jesus leads people to a heavenly promised land. Joshua usually consulted God, but the bible records one time he did not: when he made a treaty with Gibeon despite God’s warnings never to do so. This is to show us even Joshua messed up, but he self-corrected and got on the right path again.
Through Joshua’s example, we see how a life God-led yields great rewards and blessings.
The same holds true for our lives: Follow God. Receive rewards. That’s His promise.