Joshua Preface

written and compiled by Gary Kukis

Joshua Preface

Preface and Acknowledgment

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

Chapter Links for Joshua

P reface: I began this book back in the middle of the year 1998 and finished (more or less) in the middle of 1999. This is a very detailed commentary on the book of Joshua—probably more so than you are used to seeing. It runs over 600 pages and is, to my knowledge, the most thorough and comprehensive commentary on this book. When I began writing this, I had already finished exegeting several books of the Bible, and several other portions of books, none of which was I satisfied with the final result. With Joshua, I am fairly happy with the final result. The reason I began this book is that I was not being fed at church, and have thus far not found a single church which deals with God’s Word in the detail and with the respect that I think is appropriate. After years of faithful church attendance, I began to do a great deal of the study for myself, until my church attendance decreased and my personal study increased. This was not a choice I made lightly nor altogether consciously, nor is it a choice that I recommend to any other believer. Christians, apart from other Christians, tend to become antinomian or, at the very least, goofy and dogmatic (words you might apply to this commentary). We are a group effort; however, there are times that a person has to leave the group for awhile—but that time is related to group effort, and that’s where I am at this time. If you just flat out stop going to church, citing what I have written here and your unhappiness with your present church, you are a damned idiot who is just looking for any way out. There are outstanding study aides out there. To name two: the late J. Vernon McGee has a broadcast found in almost every single city in the United States and several places abroad where he goes through the Bible in five years, hitting every book, and a vast majority of the verses. Every believer should find where McGee is and listen faithfully for at least five years, if not ten. A second resource, if your church is not giving you what you need, is Bob Thieme. His tapes from the mid 60’s through the mid 70’s are extraordinary. You may not like him personally, but he does some of the best Bible teaching that I have ever heard. One need not have financial concerns, as these tapes are sent out as needed, without regard to one’s financial ability to support his ministry. I first heard about Bob when I was a very poor student in California. I listened to his tapes, was pissed off at him for several months (although I continued to listen), and listened to an hour of Bible teaching every single day for about the next twenty years. Not once during that time did I find myself added to some strange quasi-Christian mailing list as a result of my association with his ministry; nor did he even once send me a letter telling me the desperate straights that his ministry was in, and could I just send him whatever was in my heart. For a long time, I was unable to support his ministry, and later, I was able. I always received his tapes faithfully, regardless.

A cknowledgment: Don’t think that I just got this whiff of inspiration and sat down to write and what resulted was this book of Joshua. I first of all had twenty years of teaching under the ministry of Robert B. Thieme Jr., for which I will be eternally grateful. He set me straight on hundreds of doctrines and pointed me in the right direction when it came to Biblical exegesis. What has impacted in particular with regards to this book is his teaching of dispensations. Now, EVERYONE in the community of believers is a dispensationalist. I have found that no matter how much a believer holds to the false doctrine of covenant theology, you can push that believer in to a corner where he will finally admit that some things were done differently in the Old Testament than are done now. That is the most fundamental tenant of theological dispensationalism, and all believers with any kind of an opinion will agree to this, if you push them hard enough (which I have done). From there, it is simply a matter of degree. Now, the problem with most cults or believers who begin with the Old Testament is that they become confused in our relationship to the Law of God. Bob’s teaching kept me from falling into that sort of trap. For any brand new believer who wants to read the Bible for himself, you should never, ever start in the book of Genesis. The place for the unbeliever or the new believer to start is at the very beginning, which is the book of John in the New Testament.

Now, it would be impossible to name all the shoulders that I stand upon, primarily because I don’t know their names. However, I would venture to guess that I am standing on the shoulders of probably 2000-5000 believers who devoted their life to studying, to teaching, to archeology, to the written word; they no doubt had a great barrage of people who prayed on their behalf, acting as blockers for a quarterback. A great pastor might receive all the attention and admiration of his congregation, but what you never see is the hundreds and thousands of prayers offered on his behalf by ten times as many people which allow him to proceed. Any pastor who thinks he stands on his own is a fool. You may never know the names of the people who prayed on your behalf, or the blocking that they did on your behalf, but God knows, and these prayers will become a part of the permanent record in heaven.

Now, let’s see if I can be specific in terms of the people that I know of that I am beholden to. Had it not been for Bob Thieme’s ministry, even though I quote him sparsely throughout my exegesis, I doubt that I would even be doing this in the first place. Even if I had proceeded without his original direction, my exegetical approach would be a sorry shadow of what it is today. When quoting the Bible, I primarily use the NASB, judging it to be one of the very best translations, hitting a tremendously well-placed midpoint between ultra literal and understandable. I rarely quote from it word for word, and for this I apologize. Often, when using the NASB, I give my bastardization of it. I tend to replace Lord with Jehovah, shall with will, and I take several other liberties as well. My intention is not to denigrate this excellent translation, nor to obfuscate the passage at hand, but to facilitate understanding. If a person is to own but one Bible, this should be it. I am also deeply beholden to Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, Rotherham’s The Emphasized Bible, Owen’s extremely helpful Analytical Key to the Old Testament (my crutch), the NIV as well as over a dozen other English translation of the Holy Scriptures. When it comes to commentaries, I have been lucky to have stumbled across Keil and Delitzsch’s Commentary of the Old Testament, McGee’s radio broadcasts converted into book form and Barnes’ Notes. I would have been able to do nothing without my BDB Lexicon or Gesenius’s excellent lexicon; and I have been so thankful for the use of Wigram’s The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance of the Old Testament. Obviously, I used Strong’s Concordance as well. I can’t let this go without mentioning The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible; ©1976, which has been an outstanding resource for a lot of the nitty gritty material. In fact, for this study, I used roughly 100 different books and translations, and I tried to do my best to give credit where credit was due. I will list all of the authors from whom I specifically drew in the Bibliography section of this book; but my point is, I am standing on the shoulders of at least these 100 men (and any translation or book may have had multiple contributors). All of these men had training, had a Christian background, and learned what they learned from other teachers and authors who likewise stood upon the shoulders of hundreds, if not thousands, of dedicated men. And this is only an allusion to the people whom I can see, so to speak. Behind this are the prayers and financial support of thousands upon thousands of believers whose names will not be known to us until eternity. My point in all this is that we are a team effort. And when it comes to something which I have stated dogmatically and unequivocally that you disagree with, just get over it and move on. You will find out I was right in eternity, and you may even come to that conclusion before that.

Gary Kukis

April 11, 1999

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

Joshua Table of Contents




Name of the Book


Brief Synopsis




The Name of Joshua




The Age of Joshua


Joshua the Man


General Introduction


The Time Period of the Book of Joshua


The Ideal Time to Invade Canaan


The Time Period During Which Joshua Was Written



Arguments Against the Authorship of Joshua

Arguments in Favor of the Authorship of Joshua


Style of Writing and Translation


The Vocabulary


Literary Style


The Authority and Canonicity of the Book of Joshua


Reference by Joshua to Previously Written Scripture

Passages in Numbers and Deuteronomy Recalled in Joshua


Order and Location in Hebrew Canon


The Historicity of Joshua


The Canaanites


The Military in the Book of Joshua


Miracles and the Voice of God in the Book of Joshua


Brief Outline

Book I: Joshua Conquers the Land of Canaan

Book II: Joshua Distributes the Land of Canaan to the Israelites



A More conventional Outline

Part I: Joshua and Israel Cross over into the Land of Promise (Joshua 1–5)

Part II: Joshua and Israel Conquer the Land of Promise (Joshua 6–12)

Part III: Joshua distributes the land to Israel (Joshua 13–19)

Part IV: Addendum to the book of Joshua


Commentaries about Joshua


My Personal Prejudices


Fundamental Philosophical Questions


The Purpose of the Book of Joshua



Parallels Between Joshua and our Lord Jesus Christ


Personal Acknowledgment and Source Materials

Famous Verses



Joshua at a Glance

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

Chapter Links for Joshua



Joshua Introduction

The Israelites Take the Land

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:


Arguments Against the Authorship of Joshua

Arguments in Favor of the Authorship of Joshua

Passages in Numbers and Deuteronomy Recalled in Joshua

Conquering Canaan (a map showing the route of Joshua)

Parallels Between Joshua and our Lord Jesus Christ

Joshua at a Glance

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

Chapter Links for Joshua

B ackground: Several hundred years previous, God had promised Abraham to give to his posterity the land to which God had sent Abraham. Abraham never owned the land that God sent him to—he had only been given a promise. This promise was held to by Israelites for hundreds of years even to the point where Joseph, the son of Jacob, the grandson of Isaac and the great grandson of Abraham, refused to have his body interred in Egypt, where he ruled, but asked for it to be buried in the Land of Promise. Long after Joseph died, all of Israel remained in Egypt, and were placed into slavery, with nothing but a promise of land from God. Joshua was destined to turn that promise into reality. McGee describes the background thus: In the book of Genesis Israel was born. In the book of Exodus Israel was chosen. In the book of Numbers the nation was proven. In the book of Leviticus it was brought nigh by the blood. In Deuteronomy it was instructed. Now in the book of Joshua, it faces conflict and conquest.

The events of the book of Joshua take place 40 years after the exodus out of Egypt and 39 years after the Israelites entered into Canaan the first time. Immediately prior to that half-assed invasion, twelve spies had been sent to scope out the Land of Promise. They all agreed that the land was beautiful and filled with prosperity; however, the majority report was that the inhabitants were too big and too fierce for Israel to fight. “We were as grasshoppers in their sight.” (paraphrase of Num. 13:35b). The two spies were presented the dissenting, minority report were Joshua (the Hebrew equivalent of the name Jesus) and Caleb (the Hebrew equivalent of the word Dog). They believed God and were willing to go into the land and take it. It was God’s will, originally, for them to go into the land and to take it. The ten spies had gone throughout the congregation and told everyone who would listen that they could not defeat the giants of the land. God was ready to destroy this people and Moses interceded for them again for the umpteenth time. At that time, God pronounced a judgment upon the Israelites, that he would kill those who were adults and save only their children alive. At the time that the book of Joshua takes place, the older generation had been killed off by war, pestilence and direct judgment. Moses had also died. The only ones who remained from the previous generation were Joshua, Caleb and Eleazar, the high priest. Everyone else is forty or younger. The two million Jews had marched from the encampment, which was in Beer-sheba or somewhere in the wilderness of Zin; eastward, to the other side of Dead Sea, and then northward until they stood on the eastern side of the Jordan river, across from the fortified city of Jericho. They had had several skirmishes in the previous year, and had conquered a great deal of land east of the Jordan river. Moses spends a few days and perhaps as long as a month or two speaking to the Israelites the Word of God. For the first time, Moses recognizes that God was speaking through him. At the end of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses dies and the people mourn for thirty days. So, at the opening of the book of Joshua, Joshua is the new leader of the Israelites, appointed by God and confirmed by Moses; and God will give him the command to move out across the Jordan to take Jericho.

One author commented that the people of Israel showed better morale under Joshua than under Moses, but this is not exactly correct in its implication. Under Moses, for most of his time in power, was gen X, a wicked and evil generation that God loathed. Under Moses, for the latter portion of his office and under Joshua was the generation of promise, who were much more faithful to God’s Word than were their fathers. The difference was not a difference between Joshua and Moses, but of the generations under them.

Name of the Book: In the Greek Septuagint, this book has the name Iêsous Nauê (Ίησους Ναυη) [pronounced ee-ay-SOOCE NOW-ay], which we render as Jesus Nauê in the English. It is Joshua’s full name in the Greek.

Brief Synopsis: The book of Joshua is easy to break down—there are two main sections and an addendum. In the first half of the book, chapters 1–12, Joshua leads the Israelites into the land and they conquer the peoples there. In the second half, Joshua 13–21, the land is divided up. The last few chapters are Joshua’s swan song to his people.

Synopsis: After Moses died on the east side of the Jordan, Joshua took the people across the river. God held the river back to allow all of them to cross over. On the other side, they set up camp in Gilgal and sent spies out to spy out Jericho, the first city for them to attack. The spies are helped by Rahab, a prostitute and resident of Jericho. The spies return and Joshua attacks (and defeats) Jericho. A smaller city, Ai, is sitting up on a hill, and Joshua sends in a smaller force to subdue it. The Israelites are routed instead and it turns out that one of their soldiers from Jericho had stolen some items which were under the ban, or, corban—dedicated to God (all of Jericho was to be burned). When this person was rooted out and executed, then Joshua attacks Ai, using cunning and military strategy.

Then the Gibeonites, an indigenous people in the land, beguile Joshua and make a treaty with the Israelites. Their former allies, five other cities in southern Palestine, attack Gibeon. My thinking is that this was sort of a pre-game warm-up for them. Joshua send men to help out the Gibeonites and these five kings are routed, along with their cities. Joshua conquers the remainder of southern Palestine.

In Joshua 11, Joshua moves against northern Palestine. This latter campaign was actually the longer and more grueling of the two campaigns, although we have fewer details given here. The kings which were defeated are listed at the end of Joshua 12.

For the next nine chapters, the land is distributed between the twelve tribes. For many, this will be even more difficult to bear than the begat passages. There is a bit of narrative when Caleb requests a particular plot of ground; however, other than that, we just have city after city given out to the various tribes of Israel.

In chapter 22, Joshua blesses the 2½ tribes who remained with Israel to conquer the land west of the Jordan, even though they had claimed land on the other side. When they return to their land, they build a huge altar by the Jordan, causing ten representatives of the other tribes and led by Phinehas, to descend upon them, threatening warfare for establishing a false altar. When the 2½ tribes made it clear that they viewed the altar as a memorial and not as an additional altar from which to sacrifice animals. This satisfies the delegation, who then return. In Joshua 23, we read Joshua’s swan song, he last message to Israel. In Joshua 24, misplaced in terms of time, but not a problem other than that—gives the message Joshua prepared immediately upon having finished his portion of Scripture. This Scripture is finalized and the latter portion of Joshua deals with the deaths of Joshua and Eleazar, as well as their burials and the burial of Joseph’s bones.


The Name of Joshua: There is no “J” in the Hebrew language, despite our many English derivations such as, Joshua, Job, Jacob, Jonathan, Jedidiah, etc. Joshua’s original name was Hôwshêa׳ ( ַע ֵשה) [pronounced hoh-SHAY-ahģ], which means salvation (Strong’s #1954 BDB #448), a name which is found only in Num. 13:8, 16 and Deut. 32:44. Moses had renamed him Joshua, which is spelled Yehôwshûa׳ ( ַע ֻשה  ׃י) [pronounced yehoh-SHOO-ahģ]. It means whose salvation is Yehowah or Yehowah is salvation. The English equivalent from the Greek is Jesus. Strong’s #3091 BDB #221.

Joshua: We first meet Joshua back in Ex. 17:9–13, where he fought against Amalek as Moses, Aaron and Hur observed the battle from the hill. In this passage, it appears as though Joshua is the one leading the attack, although later in the writings of Moses he will be called a young man. If you will recall, when Moses lifted his arms, the battle was in favor of Israel, and when he dropped them, the battle went in favor of Amalek. Aaron and Hur took turns holding Moses’ arms up. Now, this passage carries with is some implications. Two artisans, skilled in carpentry and in work with precious metals are named in Ex. 31. They certainly didn’t dabble in these skills as a hobby after work as a slave to the Egyptians. The Egyptians no doubt trained them in these skills and were therefore chosen by God to oversee and to participate in the making of the tabernacle and its furniture. Moses chose Joshua to lead Israel in battle against Amalek in that passage. It is highly unlikely that Moses simply drew a name out of the hat and put him in charge; and it is unlikely that he and Joshua were best buds, so he put him in charge. Joshua had likely had military training. According to ZPEB, foreigners were commonly employed by the Egyptian army, so it would not be unlikely that some of those of Israel had participated in military training or military campaigns. Certainly, Egypt would not have employed a large number of Jews in the armed forces, as that could cause some problems; however, I am certain that on some missions, they would rather sacrifice some slaves rather than some Egyptians. ZPEB further supposes that Joshua came to the attention of Moses because he organized an undisciplined mob of slaves to march in organized columns. This is supposition built upon innuendo; however, in some way, Joshua’s military prowess became known to Moses.

By Ex. 24:13, Joshua is called a minister to Moses. To me, this is almost a meaningless term. The NKJV version calls Joshua Moses’ assistant and the NIV calls him an aide to Moses, terms which I think a lot more meaningful. By Ex. 32:17, Joshua had apparently become Moses’ constant companion with respect to all matters spiritual. At this point, it is apparent that Joshua is unaware of the idolatrous calf worship occurring in the camp of Israel as he meets Moses at his return from speaking with God on Mount Sinai. When Moses used to leave the camp of Israel to go outside to speak to God, Joshua would remain at the entrance of the tabernacle (or, tent of meeting—Ex. 33:11).

We also find Joshua in the book of Numbers, one or two years out of Egypt. He is first presented as someone who hears two men prophesy in the name of Jehovah and he is concerned, and tells Moses about it. Moses indicates that he is happy to hear that someone other than he and Joshua are filled with the Spirit (Num. 11:26–29).

As the Israelites approach the Land of Promise from the south, Joshua’s name pops up again. Prior to making an invasion, Moses does the prudent thing and sends in twelve spies. One of the spies is Joshua; another is Caleb. All twelve spies come back testifying that the land that God had promised them was everything that He had promised. No hesitating or doubtful account is given by all the spies of the fertility and attractiveness of the country; but in view of the strength of its cities and inhabitants, only Joshua and Caleb are confident of the ability of the Israelites to take possession of it. Caleb and Joshua gave the minority report; they were the only two who were ready to go into the land of Canaan and conquer it. The recognized that the land was as beautiful and as fruitful as God has promised and they were willing to trust God’s promise that He would give the land to Israel. Their reports and exhortations, however, are overborne by the timidity and dissuasion of the others, who so entirely alarm the people that they refuse to essay the conquest of the land, desiring to return to Egypt...and attempt to stone Joshua and Caleb. The other ten spies mentioned the size of the inhabitants of the land (“We were as grasshoppers in their sight”). These ten spies do more than voice their opinion. They went out to the people in the camp that night and stirred them up against invading the Land of Promise. By morning, the entire congregation was in a tizzy, all expressing fear and apprehension about going into the land. For this reason, every adult of age 20 and over was sentenced to death and they all died within 38 years, with the exceptions of Joshua, Caleb, Moses and Eleazar (who, surprisingly enough, is never mentioned in the exception list, but was excepted nonetheless). This all took place in Num. 13–14.


His given name was actually Hôwshêa‛ ( ַע ֵשה) [pronounced ho-SHAY-ah], which means salvation. Strong’s #1954 BDB #448. Hôwshêa׳ is found only in Num. 13:8, 16, and Deut. 32:44. Moses renamed Joshua in Num. 13:16 to Yehôwshû‛a, as we have seen above. This indicates that Moses probably did not write Exodus as it happened, but much later—perhaps during the 38 silent years. It would be natural, after several years of association with Joshua for Moses to refer to him as Joshua. However, when approaching the time that he re-named him, then Moses would have gone back to Joshua’s given name and at that time make reference to the change.

What is most significant about Joshua is that he was filled with the Holy Spirit. When God spoke to Moses about his successor, and chose Joshua, God points out that in Joshua was the Spirit (Num. 27:18; see also Deut. 34:9). Joshua was formally ordained as Moses’ successor in Num. 27:21–23 by the laying on of hands of the high priests, Eleazar. Moses, in speaking to the people, makes mention again that Joshua would be his successor in Deut. 3:21–28.

Joshua was called the servant of God (Joshua 24:29), a title bestowed Abraham (Gen. 26:24), upon Moses (Ex. 14:31 Num. 12:8 Deut. 34:5) and will be later applied to Samuel (1Sam. 3:10), David (2Sam. 3:18 7:5) and to Elijah (2Kings 9:36). This same title has also been applied to Israel (Isa. 41:8) and to the prophets in general (2Kings 9:7). Servant of God was even applied to a foreign kings who carried out the will and purpose of God (Jer. 25:9).


NIV Study Bible: This title is a special title used to refer to those whom the Lord, as the Great King, has taken into his service; they serve as members of God’s royal administration.

If there is any word to describe Joshua, it would be humble. For forty years, he operated in the shadow of Moses. There is no indication that during those 38 years in the desert (after Israel stopped moving forward) that Joshua somehow tried to improve his position or tried to get Moses to retire. Once the campaign to take Canaan had been completed, Joshua did nothing to gain a position of leadership over Israel. Although it was common in those days for someone to rule over a city or a country, Joshua assumed no such position. In between times, we are told that God exalted Joshua (Joshua 3:7 4:14). Joshua was willing to accept whatever authority that God invested in him and did not require any more. When God gave him military directions, Joshua followed them implicitly (Joshua 6:2–5).

The Age of Joshua: When we first meet Joshua, in Ex. 17:9, Moses would have been about eighty years old at that time. Joshua would, of course, be younger—he was one of the top generals of his day. He is called a young man at the time of the exodus (Ex. 23:11). I am thinking that thirty would be too young for Joshua at that time and fifty or sixty might be too old. Since he was chosen with Caleb, they were likely contemporaries and roughly the same age. This would make him about forty (see Joshua 14:7). Lilley, in Douglas’ New Bible Dictionary, has him as thirty at this time. Therefore, at the time of the beginning of the book of Joshua, he is about 80 years old. This is not an exaggeration—it is his actual age. One incredibly goofy author that I read claimed that the age of Moses (which he incorrectly said was 130) and the age of Joshua were not their actual ages, but represented the great number of achievements that they could claim. That is, Moses had accomplished enough in his lifetime for almost two lifetimes. Certainly a man like Moses, with so many remarkable exploits to his credit, must have lived a very long time indeed—almost two normal life spans—to have achieved so much. As we have studied in the book of Genesis, man, at the beginning, was capable of longer life. Just as dogs, over the past several centuries, have been bred in such a way to produce many different breeds, man has done much the same thing over his 6000–10,000 years or so of history. The result has been that, even though Adam and his progeny were capable of a very long and healthy life, down to the time of Noah, immediately after Noah we see a quick decrease of age, culminating in the accepted average age of around 70 years. Now, if we take families and in-breed these families, we would see further degeneration and shorter life spans. Also, we have had in our recorded human history, much shorter life spans. In the dark ages, men lived to their 30's and 40's; even in American history, a life span of 70 years was not common until the 19th and 20th centuries. Joshua begins the book at around the age of eighty; he will live to be 110 (Judges 2:8); he will spend roughly seven years conquering the land (see Joshua 14:7, 10). That will give him about twenty years to build his city and to semi-retire. It is most reasonable to suppose that he wrote the bulk of Joshua during these final twenty years.

I should append all of this with the note that Josephus states that Joshua ruled over Israel for twenty-five years after the death of Moses, making him 45 at the time of the exodus and 85 when invading the land of Canaan. He would have been 92 when the invasion was complete, and he would have had another 18 years to live and complete the book of Joshua. We do not know on what basis Josephus obtained this information, and he may have reasoned it out just as we have.

Joshua the Man: Throughout this book, one has to look carefully to get who Joshua is. His character and personality are well-hidden behind the events and the legal recordings found in this book. Trent Butler writes (and I paraphrase): This is the result, perhaps, of the nature of the Near Eastern biography with its emphasis upon the office more than upon the office-holder. The individual character traits of Joshua disappear behind the official of Moses carrying out the commands of the Torah, as well as the spoken words of God...the author never takes the time to step away from the action of the book to tell us much about himself. It is actually through Joshua’s vocabulary and the amazing thing that he does in Joshua 3 that gives us insight into Joshua’s character. He is a case in point of John the Baptizer’s statement, “I must decrease while He must increase.” (John 3:30).

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

General Introduction: There are two items which I need to cover right up front. Whereas Joshua is a separate book from the Pentateuch, it reads as a continuation of the writings of Moses. If you will notice below:

And Joshua ben Nun was filled [with] a Spirit of Wisdom since Moses had laid his hands upon him. So the people of Israel listened to him and they kept doing in which Yehowah commanded Moses.

Deut. 34:9

And Joshua ben Nun was filled with the Spirit of Wisdom since Moses had laid his hands upon him. Therefore, the people of Israel listened to him and they kept doing that which Yehowah commanded Moses.

And a prophet has not arisen since [then] in Israel like Moses whom Yehowah had known face to face;

Deut. 34:10

And a prophet has not arisen since that time in Israel like Moses whom Yehowah had known face to face;

With respect to all the signs and the wonders which Yehowah sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land;

Deut. 34:11

With respect to all the signs and the wonders which Yehowah sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land;

And with respect to all the mighty hand and with respect to all the great [or, unyielding] fear [or, fearful deeds] which Moses did in the (two) eyes of all of Israel.

Deut. 34:12

And with respect to all the mighty hand and with respect to the mighty fearful deeds which Moses performed in the sight of Israel.

And then it came to pass after [the] death of Moses, servant of Yehowah; then said Yehowah unto Joshua ben Nun, minister of Moses, to say,

Joshua 1:1

Now, after the death of Moses, the servant of Jehovah, Jehovah spoke to Joshua, son of Nun, the minister to Moses, saying,

The point of showing this is to indicate that Joshua (1) recognized that it was his turn to keep track of Israel’s direct dealings with their God, Yehowah; (2) that is it likely that Joshua is the author of both the end of Deuteronomy and the book of Joshua; and (3) the book of Joshua continues much like the next chapter of the same book. It is as though this were simply written on the next scroll. You might be concerned because you are thinking that no one is supposed to add or to take from the Word of God. This is true. However, Joshua is one of the author’s of the Word of God, and, as such, he carries on a tradition well-established in the book of Genesis, but somehow lost in time. The book of Genesis had several different authors who almost seamlessly tied their narratives together. We will jump from author to author, without even a word to indicate that has been done. What happened was that one author would pick up the scroll of the previous author and continue from there. Joshua did the exact same thing with the book of Deuteronomy—he picked up the last words of Moses, added the proper epilogue to Deuteronomy, and then continued to record the history of Israel without missing a beat. Other than the difference of vocabulary and grammar, and the huge impression made by the separation of the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua, we would not notice that we have moved from one author to another.


Barnes: The conquest of Canaan by Joshua has other and vastly grander significances than its mere dimensions as a fact in history seem at first sight to suggest. It is not to be regarded simply as the invasion of a little district about as large as three average English countries by a tribe of nomads from the Arabian deserts. It was also the accomplishment by God of a purpose reveal of old; it was an essential element in the plan ordained by Him for the preservation amongst men of His Law, Will, and Word; it was designed to foreshadow in many important particulars His future dealings with mankind at large. But for the special help of God, the Israelites could not have effected the conqeust at all, for they were hardly superior to the Canaanites in numbers, and were destitute of chariots and horses, and of all the more elaborate equipments for which Canaan abounded. God was pledged to their forefathers to give them this land; whatever then might be necessary to give effect to this promise it belonged to His faithfulness to accord; and the Book of Joshua consequently is an essential sequel to the Pentateuch as declaring the thorough fulfilment by God of the covenant made by Him through Moses with Israel, and thus as illustrating His inviolable faithfulness.

The next important thing that you should recognize is the parallels implied. Moses is wholly and fully associated with the Law in the minds of the Jews and in the minds of we Christians. In fact, the first five books of the Bible are often called the Law of Moses, even in the Bible (Joshua 8:31–32 2Kings 14:6 Luke 24:44 1Cor. 9:9), even though Moses did not originate these laws. He was God’s human representative on this earth. Now Moses, representing the Law, could not lead Israel into the Land of Promise, because he was weak. Throughout the final couple years of his life, we have one recorded lapse of leadership in the life of Moses and for that lapse, he could not enter into the land—he could not lead his people into the land. To remind you of what that lapse was, the people, at the beginning of their journey to the Land of Promise, became thirsty and grumbled about this amongst themselves and to Moses. God told Moses to strike a boulder with his rod and out from that boulder would come a raging torrent of living waters. This represented God judging our Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross. God struck Him as with a rod and out from our Lord comes our salvation. The second generation faced the same test and failed just as miserably. They had no water and they began to grumble about it again. Moses went to God and was carefully instructed to speak to the rock and out from it would come living waters. You see, there was no more need for the rock to be judged or to be struck, as God has already done that. Instead, Moses struck the rock twice with the rod. God still gave the Israelites water, as He is a God of grace, but because this was disobedience on the part of Moses, and since this ruined the perfect analogy of salvation, God did not allow Moses to enter into the land. There was a second important point that this illustrated: the Law was weak, like Moses; and it cannot save; it cannot deliver. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did, sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin. He condemned sin in the flesh in order that the legal requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Rom. 8:3–4). Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Hell, no! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based upon law. But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus christ might be given to those who believe...therefore, the Law has become our pedagogue to Christ, that we may be justified by faith (Gal. 3:21–22, 24). Someone else had to lead Israel into the Land of Promise. Israel had to look to another man for salvation and deliverance. That person was Joshua, whose name means salvation is of Yehowah; and our English transliteration of this name from its Greek equivalent is Jesus. Moses, who was weak, who represented the Law, could not lead God’s people into the Land of Promise; only his spiritual successor, Joshua, or Jesus, could lead God’s people into the Land of Promise. So, although Moses on the one hand ruined one good analogy, his failure stands as a rectification of that analogy, and presents us withe ven a better analogy. For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good tings to come and not the true image of things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near (Heb. 10:1). Deliverance did not come through Moses but through Joshua. We are not saved by the Law, we are saved by Jesus Christ.


Barnes: It is impossible altogether to pass by the typical application of this verse [referring to Joshua 1:1]. Moses, representing the law, is dead; Joshua, or, as that name is written in Greek, Jesus, is not bidden by God to do what Moses could not,—lead the people into the Promised Land. Joshua was “Moses’ minister,” just as Christ was “made under the Law;” but it was Joshua, not Moses, who wrought out the accomplishment of the blessing which the Law promised.

What is important is that we do not overdo these parallelisms nor should we ever think that this are not actual historical events, written instead as allegories of what was to come. These books of the Bible are first and foremost historically accurate (at least, the autographs are). There are outstanding incidents—e.g. Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac, Moses striking the rock once to produce gushing water—which clearly portray the gospel. Now, I have heard that there are some people who take this to an extreme and try to set up some parallel between water baptism and Israel’s crossing of the Jordan River. Although I have not seen a full treatise on this, on the surface, this is taking the use of analogy and parallelism too far. The sacrifice of our Lord on the cross for our sins is the most significant historical event insofar as we are concerned. That is our only access to God and it is probably the most dealt with topic in the Bible. Water baptism, on the other hand, is a ritual which was certainly apropos for the first century, but a ritual that even then was divisive (1Cor. 1:11–17). Those who see water baptism every time the term baptism occurs in Scripture are generally legalists who add water baptism to their list of things which must be done to secure salvation (a list which is generally about 4-7 items long). So, let me point out: the priests stood with their ankles in the Jordan River, carrying the Ark of the Covenant. The people crossed the Jordan dry. Stones from the land were piled in the midst of the dried Jordan River and stones from the river bed were placed on dry land. None of these events has anything to do with water baptism with regards to any sort of parallelism.

The Time Period of the Book of Joshua: According to the Scofield Reference Bible, the conquest of Palestine began around 1407 bc, although some Bible scholars list this as occurring much later. 1407 bc was roughly the date of the death of Moses. Archeologists refer to this period of time within which the events of Joshua fall, as the Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 b.c.). The primary reasons for this date is that the ruler of Egypt during the time of the Exodus would have been Amenhotep II, whose father, Thutmose III, was known to have used slave labor in his various building projects. This time period seems to be more suitable, given the numbers found in Judges 11:26 and 1Kings 6:1. Barnes suggests 1490 b.c. for the exodus and 1450 b.c. for the invasion of Canaan.

There are actually two popular and disparate dates given for the time of Joshua. Some historians give the date of Joshua’s invasion as 1250 b.c., based primarily upon archeological findings and dating the exodus as occurring during the reign of Ramses II, who ruled from a city of the same name (see Ex. 1:11). This was covered in more detail prior to our exegesis of the book of Exodus.

The Ideal Time to Invade Canaan:


From the NIV Study Bible: 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. Moab was forced to let Israel pass through her territory and camp in her plans. When Og and Sihon, two regional Amorite kings of Transjordan, tried to stop the Israelites, they were easily defeated and their lands occupied.


Werner Keller wrote: About the same time as Israel was standing by the Jordan ready to march into the Promised Land, fate was advancing upon Mediterranean Troy and the days of the proud stronghold of King Priam were numbered. Soon the Homeric heroes of Greece, Achilles, Agamemnon and Odysseus would be arming for the fray—the hands of the timepiece of history were moving towards 1200 b.c. Israel could have chosen no better time for invasion. No danger threatened them from Egypt. Under Ramesses II Egypt had indeed known a last period of glory during which it had consolidated its power in Palestine, but even the might of Egypt crumbled in the political upheavals which marked the transition between the Bronze and the Iron Ages. Its influence in Canaand eclined rapidly. Torn by internal feuds between the innumerable petty kingdoms and principalities of its city-states, and sucked dry by the corrupt politics of Egyptian occupation, Canaan itself had shot its bolt. Every since the expulsion of the Hyksos about 1550 b.c. Palestine had been an Egyptian province. Under the Hyksos a feudal system had broken up the old patriarchal social structure as it had existed in the towns of Abraham’s day. Under an aristocratic ruling class, which was self-centred and despotic, the people were reduced to the level of subjects without rights, and became mere plebeians. Egypt left this feudal system in Palestine unaltered. Native princes could do as they pleased: they had their own armies, which consisted of patrician charioteers and plebeian infantry. Bloody warfare between the city-states did not worry the Egyptians. All they were interested in was the payment of tribute, which was supervised by strict and inflexible Egyptian inspectors. Garrisons and defence posts tacitly lent their activities the necessary weight. Gaza and Joppa housed the most important Egyptian administrative centres. By means of labour levies—supplied by feudal lords—roads were built and maintained, the royal estates of the fertile plain of Jezreel south of Nazareth were managed and the glorious cedar forests of Lebanon were felled to the ground. The commissioners of the Pharaohs were corrupt. Often the troops’ pay and rations were misappropriated. Whereupon they took the law into their own hands, and mercenaries from Egypt and Crete, Bedouins and Nubians plundered defenceless villages. Under Egyptian rule the land of Canaan bled to death. The population shrank. Patrician houses of the 13th century b.c. are more primitive than they had been in earlier times, as is shown by excavations. Objects d’art and jewellery of any value are rarer, and gifts deposited with the dead in their tombs are of poorer quality. Fortress walls have lost their old solidity. At the end of the 13th century b.c. a great new wave of foreign peoples surged down from the northern Aegean. By land and water these “Sea Peoples” flowed over Asia Minor. They were the fringes of a great movement of population to which the Dorian migration to Greece also belonged. The impetus of these foreigners—they were Indo-Germanic—was directed to Canaan and Egypt. For the time being Israel, waiting poised by the Jordan, had nothing to fear from them. And the Canaanites were divided and weak. Israel’s our had come.

Historians, in general, paint the following picture: Pharaoh Amenhotep III (1417–1379 b.c.) had lost interest in his Asiatic properties. Although the Hyksos dynasty of several centuries previous had set up a feudal system in Canaan under Egypt, those who administered over these cities were often corrupt, thus causing a further division between Egypt and the land of Canaan. Many of the kings in Canaan had stopped paying tribute to Egypt and even revolted against Egypt, although some of them did send letters to the pharaoh of Egypt requesting aid and asking for resolution to petty disputes which they were having (these are the Tell el-Amarna letters). The Egyptians apparently did not answer these letters. We must also keep in mind that Moses had just completely devastated Egypt at the hand of God. Egypt’s economy had been ruined, its entire army destroyed. It would take the Egyptians at least 40 years to recover. This would explain in part why Egyptian presence seems to be lacking during the invasion of the Israelites, and why the letters of Amarna went unanswered. We will hear nothing of the Egyptians in the books of Joshua and the Judges.

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

The Time Period During Which Joshua Was Written: This is actually quite simple to determine. In Joshua 6:25, we read: However, Rahab, the prostitute, and her father’s household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent out to spy Jericho. The phrase to this day indicates that this narrative was not recorded immediately after the conquest of Jericho, otherwise such a phrase would be rendered meaningless. You just wouldn’t say, and here she is, Rahab the prostitute, living with the Israelites to this day, one week after being rescued from Jericho. This indicates that this was written much later in her life, at least several years later, and probably after Joshua’s conquest of the Land of Promise. My opinion is that Joshua wrote this during his retirement from the battlefield, which may have lasted only a few months. We find similar phrases throughout this book (Joshua 7:26 9:26–27).

There is an internal proof which indicates that the author of this book lived very close to the time during which these events took place.


Bear with me through a long quotation from Keil and Delitzsch: Several towns occur with different names, e.g., Beth-shemesh and Ir-shemesh (ch. 15:10 19:41; 21:16), Madmannah and Beth-marcaboth, Sansanna and Hazar-susa (ch. 15:31; 19:5), Shilchim and Sharuchen (ch. 15:32; 19:6), Remeth and Jarmuth (ch. 19:21; 21:29), or in other smaller differences. For variations of this kind may be sufficiently explained from the fact that such places were known by two different names, which could be used promiscuously; [let me insert here that the Israelites were conquering cities which belonged to other people; there would be the city name given by the indigenous people, there would be various transliterations of this into other languages, there would be the name by which this city was known to other peoples (e.g., we called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Russia), and there would be the name given this city by Israel—therefore, a particular city could have several names] whilst in other cases the difference in the name amounts to nothing more than a different mode of writing or pronouncing it: e.g., Kattah and Kartah (ch. 19:15; 21:34), Eshtemob and Eshtemoa (ch. 15:50; 21:14), Baalah and Balah (ch. 15:29; 19:3); or simply in the contraction of a composite name, such as Ramoth in Gilead for Ramoth-mizpeh (ch. 21:36; 13:26); Bealoth and Baalath-beer (ch. 15:24; 19:8), Lebaoth and Beth-lebaoth (ch. 15:32; 19:6), Hammath and Hammoth-dor (ch. 19:35; 21:32). If the author, on the other hand, had drawn from later sources, or had simply given the results of later surveys...there can be no doubt that much greater uniformity would be found in the different lists.

My thinking is that the majority of this book was written in two sittings. Joshua finished the book of Deuteronomy, adding on the last couple chapters and the appropriate narrative, and then he began the book of Joshua. I don’t know that he even got past the first chapter. It is possible he wrote in this book from time to time throughout his campaigns to take control of Canaan, but I think that he did the majority of the writing after the distribution of the land. With these things fresh in his mind, along with copies of the real estate records of his day, he completed the book in semi-retirement, and called together much of Israel afterward to give them a message at Shechem and to officially append the books of Moses (Samuel will do that same thing in 1Sam. 10:25).

in the second portion of the book, there appears that some editing may have occurred. There is some confusion as to which cities belonged to which tribe. It is possible that the list found in Joshua was updated (although it should not have been) by men who did not recognize that the book of Joshua was not merely a listing of real estate holdings, but that it was the Word of God. Case in point: it is likely that Dan was first given the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol (which had different names). When Dan forsook those cities, Judah moved in and took them from the heathen which occupied them—principally the families of the Zorathites and the Eshtaolites (who also renamed the cities to reflect the their present occupation of the cities).

It is my thinking that Phinehas edited the last few chapters of the book of Joshua, adding in two speeches of Joshua (his deathbed speech of Joshua 23 and his speech to celebrate the finishing of his book in Joshua 24, given perhaps a decade earlier) and appending the book with the deaths of Joshua and his contemporaries. There were evens important to Israel which occurred during the life of Joshua, found in the first chapter or so of the book of Judges, but this did not specifically deal with Joshua and were left out. There was, however, one incident which took place during the life of Joshua which he took no part in which was appended to his book. This is the latter portion of Joshua 22—the building of an altar by the eastern 2½ tribes of Israel. This took place almost immediately after the land distribution and Phinehas handled the situation, as well as recorded the incident.

Authorship: It does surprise me that there is some discussion in this area. Even Keil and Delitzsch write: The origin of the book of Joshua is involved in obscurity, as we can neither find out its author, nor determine with certainly the date of its composition. Barnes wrote: No sufficient evidence exists to enable us with certainly to name the author. That he was one of “the elders that overlived Joshua” (xxiv. 31) is probably, for the book appears to have been written by one coeval with the events recorded, and, indeed, an eye-witness of them.

There is an extremely important point which is often ignored when examining the authorship of these various books of Scripture. The Bible indicates itself that much of Scripture was lost or partially destroyed and then recovered during the reign of Josiah (2Kings 22:8). In recognizing the importance of the Word of God, there were obviously then times in the history of the Jews where they had to take what they had of the sacred texts and copy them, and, in many instances, piece them together. Therefore, we often find phrases like, and so it is known even until today. That is, later editors, in piecing Scripture together (the book of Joshua and Judges are prime examples of this), often affirm name changes or update or clarify geographical references. Given what Scripture says about itself and about its history, these are things which one would naturally expect to find. This in no way indicates that the books of the Bible were written in full centuries after the fact.

The book is named Joshua. The most logical person to finish the book of Deuteronomy and then to continue in the book of Joshua is Joshua. And, at the end of Joshua, we read: And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the Law of God; and he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of Jehovah (Joshua 24:26). Furthermore, the style and vocabulary of this book indicates someone other than the speaker in the book of Deuteronomy (Moses). Where you would expect details because Joshua was there, you get details. Where you would expect information to be sketchy because he was not there, the information is sketchy. For instance, when it comes to the actual invasion and destruction of the city of Ai, there are precious few details (Joshua 8:19–20). The same is true for the confederation of city states against Israel (Joshua 9:1–2) and the confederation in favor of allying with Israel (Joshua 9:17). Now, what Joshua would have observed—what the appearance of the Gibeonites were and just what was said between them, along with the conversations with the representatives of the people; these things are dealt with in greater detail in Joshua 9. Unless one goes completely outside God’s Word and bases his thinking upon some grand theory, there is no reason to believe that anyone else other than Joshua wrote this book, with the exception of a couple of chapters.. The NIV Study Bible makes an allusion to the fact that Joshua uses the plural pronoun we in Joshua 5:1 and us in Joshua 5:6. In that context, this would also indicate that the author was a participant as well. Barnes writes: The spirit of the narrative in the former or historical portion of the book, and the graphic yet spontaneous rendering of details, which it everywhere presents, bespeak one who saw what he describes. And, there is one more thing I should add: Jewish tradition also has Joshua as the author of this book. This is not the clincher, by any means, as some Jewish tradition is pretty flaky, but it is additional evidence in favor of the authorship of Joshua. Furthermore, the topographical information which abounds in the latter portion of the book is of such a nature, and is presented in such a form, as strongly to suggest the use of written, and apparently contemporary documents. Some parts of this information are minute and accurate.

Another theory which is out there is that there are two authors for the book of Joshua who pretty much took on equal tasks. One wrote the first half and the other the second half and the reason cited for taking such a position is that the vocabulary between the first and second half of Joshua is so different. Let me explain why there are two very different vocabulary sets: we are dealing with entirely different subject matter. In the first half of this book, Joshua and Israel conquer the land of Canaan; in the second half of the book, the cities and the land is distributed to the various tribes of Israel. Had Dr. Seuess written all of this book, he would have used a different vocabulary for the second half than he did in the first. Had Mark Twain or Earnest Hemingway written the book of Joshua, the vocabulary used in the first half would have been dramatically different in the second. When it comes to the realm of Bible study, we find some of the greatest scholarship known to literature and science; and we find some of the weakest. And, so there is no misunderstanding, even though I occasionally rib Albert Barnes or Keil and Delitzsch for getting something wrong, apart from their careful analysis of Scripture, my personal studies would be sorely lacking.

An interesting aspect to the book of Joshua: his book begins with a great deal of detail—almost obsessive detail (however, with a less than interesting vocabulary; whereas Moses could say the same thing twice and make it sound different, when Joshua repeated himself, he pretty much repeated himself). For the first couple of chapters, you almost feel that Joshua is telling us too much. You want him to tone down the narrative. Then, as time passes and more city-states are conquered, we find less and less detail. In this book, in these last few years of Joshua’s life, you would expect him to become less and less involved with the actual attacks on the other peoples of the land. Therefore, there would be fewer and fewer details. Also, in recording Scripture in his advanced age, he might have become a little worn out with some details and wrote fewer details as he wrote. However, an even more correct appraisal of this is that when we begin and end an enterprise, we recall that first year and that last year in much greater detail than we recall what is in-between. Joshua’s recollection of his first year ruling Israel is going to be strong, as will his last year. Personally, I recall my first year of teaching in Humble better than I recall my 10th year, ten years ago (as of this writing). If I were to record the details of what occurred during my years of teaching, there would be much greater detail from the first couple years and the last couple years, and less detail of what happened in between. That is just how a person’s mind works. This is exactly what we would expect to find in the book of Joshua.

In the final three chapters of Joshua, there is an abrupt change of style. It is most apparent in Joshua 22. Joshua was not what you would conclude to be a cleaver man—he did not reveal the same penchant for complex sentence structure and intricate thinking as did Moses and Job. However, although we only will look at the Hebrew with some care in every fourth or fifth verse in the bulk of Joshua, once we reach Joshua 22, we find a lot more nuance, ellipsis and idiom. Also, prior to this, every chapter, save one, involves Joshua directly. He was there and he observed what occurred. The exception to this was chapter two when the spies entered into Jericho and stayed with Rahab the prostitute. However, Joshua debriefed these men, getting a full account of what occurred directly from them (and, it is possible that either they had already recorded their report and gave it to Joshua or a secretary at the debriefing recorded what they had to say. In Joshua 22, not only do we experience a change of style, but we find a slight change in vocabulary. I need to explain this. We will not find words in this chapter unknown to Joshua and a majority of the words Joshua has already used in the previous twenty-one chapters; however, we do not have the repetition of words from verse to verse. Throughout much of the book of Joshua, Joshua finds a few words which work really well and he stays with these words. We will find the same word used a half-dozen times in any given chapter. In other words, Joshua is not a literary genius. However, in Joshua 22, we find more of a variance of vocabulary. The words which are repeated really have no synonyms which would fit into the context. Finally, apart from style and use of vocabulary, the most glaring difference of Joshua 22 is that Joshua is not there. He does not take place in any of the action. We do not see Joshua giving any particular orders; he does not debrief the men upon their return; Joshua is not in this chapter whatsoever. For these reasons, my thinking is the author is Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the high priest, who is still alive, but much older, like Joshua. Phinehas is the spiritual successor to his father; he is the only person given by name in the book of Joshua who seems to have any spiritual potential. It seems apparent that Joshua got his start as the acting the amanuensis for Moses. Finishing the book of Deuteronomy and beginning the book bearing his name was a natural progression. Phinehas, the younger spiritual leader of that time, would have been a very logical person to act as the amanuensis of Joshua. And it would be a natural progression for him to record this incident and then to finish the book of Joshua. In the KJV, when we go from one author to the next, we don’t really notice it, because all of the authors use King James’ English. However, in the Hebrew, the change of style is glaring. It reaches out and grabs you.

When determining who actually authored the book of Joshua, it is in these final chapters where Keil and Delitzsch came to an abrupt twist of logic. They made the assumption that the person who authored the first sentence also authored the last. Their reasoning up until then was superb. They point out how Sidon would be called Sidon the Great during the time of Joshua and for awhile after his death, but would be upstaged by Tyre during the monarchy in Israel. They reason that since Caleb was 85 at the end of the seven-years war, and that he saw the capture of Hebron and Debir (which some authors try to say occurred after the death of Joshua), it would be reasonable to assume those events occurred prior to Joshua’s death (or, very soon thereafter). However, Keil and Delitzsch then err by stating that the author had to be someone who crossed over the Jordan with Joshua and survived him, and their Scriptural references are the passages where Joshua’s death and burial are presented. Now listen carefully: if the authorship of Moses of the Torah is not questioned because his death is recorded in the book of Deuteronomy, then it would be more likely for a successor of Joshua to follow tradition and end the book of Joshua with Joshua’s death.

Now, I noted earlier that we have some exceptions. In Joshua 22:10–34, we have an incident which involved twelve representatives from Israel and the heads of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh. The sentence structure is somewhat different and more complex; there are more wâw conjunctions rather than wâw consecutives (Joshua is just the opposite); and the vocabulary is more varied. Joshua is never mentioned by name, nor is his presence even alluded to. The only person mentioned by name is Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, and I see him as the writer of this part of the chapter, and of the narrative portions of what follows. I believe that he personally arranged the final two chapters of this book and wrote the epilogue. Someone else will come along and tack on what amounts to an additional two verses (not found in most English Bibles, but found in the Septuagint), however we will handle this at the end of this book.

What about the possibility of a different author? There are two primary reasons for maintaining that someone else authored Joshua: (1) the capture of Debir by Othniel is found in Joshua 15 and it is suggested that this occurred after Joshua’s death. Although this incident probably occurred after the distribution of land, it did not necessarily precede Joshua’s death or his writing of Scripture. In fact, if Judges is in any kind of chronological order, this incident is presented in Judges 1, whereas the death of Joshua is mentioned in Judges 2. (2) The second reason for this position is Joshua 15:47–48, where the tribe of Dan captures Leshem (or, Laish). This incident is also recorded in Judges 18. There are two possible explanations for this: this occurred prior to the death of Joshua, yet was recorded late in the book of Judges, or, these few verses in Joshua 15 were added in after the book was written. There is no question that there are some significant problems with the entirety of the text of the book of Joshua. There are at least two verses missing from the distribution of land section (which are found in the Septuagint); and there are about a half-dozen verses found in the Septuagint which are not found in the Massoretic text of Joshua. However, just because someone later on fooled with the text or, just because some verses dropped out due to old and messtup manuscripts, does not preclude Joshua from being the author of the lion’s portion of the book which bears his name

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

It might be best to take this in points:

Arguments Against the Authorship of Joshua

1.        We find the phrase until this day used twelve times, indicating that this book was not written immediately after the events took place (Joshua 4:9 5:9 6:25 7:26 8:28, 29 9:27 13:13 14:14 15:63 16:10).

2.        When the sun stood still, this is substantiated by a quote from another book, which is unusual for an eyewitness account.

3.        There is no indication that Joshua would know the details of the events of Joshua 22:10–34

4.        This book records the death of Joshua.

5.        Two of the events which are mentioned in the book of Joshua possibly occurred after the death of Joshua (the conquest of Debir by Othniel and the conquest of Laish—or, Leshem—by the Danites).

Arguments in Favor of the Authorship of Joshua

1.        Jewish tradition supports the authorship of Joshua.

2.        The author of this book uses the pronouns we and us, indicating that he was a participant in the events (Joshua 5:1,6).

3.        The book bears the name of Joshua.

4.        This book covers the exploits of Joshua and the majority of the material of this book are things which Joshua would be well acquainted with.

5.        There are at least two occasions in the book of Joshua where he is specifically said to write down or to direct something to be written down. He told his men to make a survey of the land that was still to be distributed (Joshua 18:8) and he is aid to record the words of the Law (Joshua 24:25).

6.        With the exception of the bulk of Joshua 22, the vocabulary is fairly simple and straightforward. The style is much different from the style of Moses or Job. This would indicate a different writer.

7.        The style of the writer is very similar to the style of the speeches given at the end of Joshua. What might take Moses two chapters to expound on, Joshua will cover in two verses. We are dealing with a military man whose strength is not literature.

8.        NIV Study Bible: The thoroughly at ease with the antiquated names of cities, such as “the Jebusite city” (15:8, 18:16, 28) for Jerusalem, Kiriath Arba (14:15; 15:54; 20:7; 21:11) for Hebron, and Greater Sidon (11:8; 19:28) for what later became simply Sidon. The point here is that if a person wrote this several hundred years later, then these would not have been the names used for these cities. They would have used the more recent, conventional names for the same cities.

9.        Even though the phrase until this day is found a dozen times in Scripture, this does not mean that the author wrote several hundred years later. What is most likely is that Joshua did not keep a diary (or, a journal), but once the war was over, settled down to his piece of land and wrote the majority of the book there. He may not have even begun the book for the first ten years. This is supported by the fact that Rahab is said to be living in the midst of Israel to this day (Joshua 6:25), which pretty much places that phrase within the lifetime of Rahab. Therefore, the other times this phrase is used, it could certainly refer to still being the case during the lifetime of Joshua, which again, goes along with the idea of him writing these things down years later. If you would like to peruse those passages, the idea that they are still true 10–20 years later is not a breach upon the context any of these passages. Keil and Delitzsch: For even in giving names, the remark that the new name has remained to this day is of greater significance at the end of ten years than after an interval of a century, since its permanence would be fully secured if it made its way to general adoption during the first ten years.

10.      The event of the long day is such an extraordinary event, that it would be natural to seek corroboration of that event. Joshua quotes from a book of another eyewitness. It is also possible that there are problems with this passage, which we will cover at that time.

11.      Of the two events mentioned which occurred after the death of Joshua: one probably occurred prior to his death and the other was very likely a gloss (added after the completion of Joshua’s book). It is very likely that Phinehas completed this book and it is possible that he included the information from Judges 3:8–11 concerning Othniel’s capture of part of Caleb’s inheritance (mentioned in Joshua 15). I personally think, however, that this did occur prior to the death of Joshua.

12.      I think we can reasonably conclude that Joshua was the author of the book which bears his name, with the exception of a few passages at the end, ¾ths of chapter 22, and perhaps a gloss here and there.

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

After all this discussion, it has come to my attention that the Talmud lists Joshua as the writer of the book of Joshua and Phinehas as the writer of the last five verses. I am impressed that they are so close to having it right.

Having said, all of that, allow me to present another view, which is persuading me more and more. I believe that we can reasonably assume that Joshua wrote the final portion of the book of Deuteronomy, and we have discussed that back in the book of Deuteronomy. It would have been an insult to Moses to not record his death. Joshua no doubt continued to wield the pen as well as the sword and record Joshua 1–12 (or more). His last chapter would have been Joshua 24 (which was added after chapter 12, 13 or whatever). As far as Joshua was concerned, that was the end of the book. During the distribution of the land, it would not make sense for Joshua to be the one recording the distribution of the land. He probably wrote a few chapters into this distribution unit, but the portions where who got what cities was likely recorded by someone else—perhaps Phinehas. The result is that we have probably two historical documents, and perhaps three. We have what Joshua himself wrote; we have the recording of the distribution of land, which he and Phinehas directed. We have the incident of the latter 3/4ths Joshua 22 (likely recorded by Phinehas). Then we have the final two chapters of the book of Joshua, most of chapter 24 written by Joshua to end his book, and the speech of Joshua 23 (his last) written (or, spoken) by Joshua, although the incident recorded by someone else. We do not know if these were all pieced together a few decades later or whether one author added on where the previous one left off (ala, Genesis), although the former seems to be the more likely. Since most of Joshua 24, apart from the ending, appears to have occurred prior to Joshua 23 (which I think are his final words), I would think that the arrangement of this material occurred after it was recorded. When this was all pieced together into a narrative whole (which does not preclude the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), some glosses were added (e.g., Joshua 19:47).

Now, the piecing together is less of an ordeal than you would think. Joshua wrote the first dozen or so chapters, including some information on the distribution of the land, and then concluded with Joshua 24. He directed the writing of the distribution of the land. Phinehas likely recorded that as well as Joshua 22. After Joshua’s death, Phinehas, in reading the scroll of Joshua, could see that having just a portion of the land distributed, was incomplete, so he inserted what he recorded, Joshua 13 (or so) through Joshua 22. He was present at the death of Joshua, and recorded his last words, and added that as well. What this gives us is, essentially, one insertion by one man, who was filled with God the Holy Spirit. As he inserted this portion and copied it at a later date, he probably added one or two historical points. Then Phinehas (or, whoever) left the ending of the book that Joshua had intended (Joshua 24), adding a few details of his death at the end. My point being is that we do not have an unnatural editing of the existing materials, or anything which would detract from the inspiration of God’s Word. We have one lengthy insertion, a few glosses, and an addendum of a few verses, all probably done by the same person, Phinehas.

Style of Writing and Translation: In the reading that I did with regards to this study, one of the more humorous suggestions was that the person who wrote Deuteronomy also wrote the book of Joshua. Only a person completely ignorant of the original languages would ever make such a statement. The vocabulary and sentence structure are completely different from one book to the next. Even in the English, you can get a taste of the difference. If you study Joshua’s speech in Joshua 24, where he recounts the history of Israel in order to make a point; he does this in about a dozen verses. Moses recounts the same events in about a dozen chapters at the beginning of the book of Deuteronomy. Moses was able to take the same material and elaborate, develop and embellish it. From the standpoint of the original languages, the differences between Moses and Joshua are striking. You can tell that Moses was well-educated and erudite; and that Joshua was a man of limited intelligence. I say this in no way to belittle or to denigrate Joshua. If I had to choose between being saved with a low IQ and spending eternity in the lake of fire with a high IQ, I would choose the former without a second thought. Joshua revealed a great humility and devotion and he didn’t mind playing second fiddle; and he didn’t mind taking over the reigns of power. He did what God required of him. And when God’s assignment for him had been completed, he stepped down. We may wonder why Joshua did not take over a position of leadership of Israel as a result of their successful campaign in Canaan. There was no reason for him to do so. God had not laid out the option of king of Israel, or leader of Israel for Joshua. He was to conquer the land as their commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and that was the extent of his commission. Most people who had tasted that sort of power would not be so quick to relinquish it. Furthermore, it is unlikely that a rulership of Joshua would have been opposed by many in Israel. However, Joshua, once he conquered and distributed the land, was out of a job and he did not look to go where God had not led him.

After spending about a half a year studying the first third of the book of Job, it was nice to get into Joshua, where the vocabulary was limited and the sentence structure simpler. The exegesis for this book is much easier than Deuteronomy as well. There are several reasons for this. (1) Joshua is not as smart as Moses or as Job. His vocabulary and sentence structure are more limited. (2) Being a man of action, the book of Joshua is primarily narrative, which is going to be simpler than poetry and often simpler than the speeches of Moses.

One of the most noticeable things in this book is the continued use of the wâw consecutive rather than the wâw conjunction. Again, this is because Joshua is a man of action rather than a man of words. He is not a General Douglas MacArthur. The second thing that you will notice is that the vocabulary of Joshua is far more limited than the vocabulary of Moses or of Job (or, any of Job’s friends). It was quite common to find a word here or there throughout their writings which occurred but once or twice. However, the vocabulary of Joshua is found throughout Scripture perhaps 20 times and even hundreds of times. The change between the leadership and the styles of Moses and Joshua must have been tremendous. We look at them as just two old Bible guys and in our untrained eye, they are almost indistinguishable, except that Moses did more stuff. Even at the most superficial level, that is totally incorrect. Just an examination of the vocabulary indicates how totally different these men are. What we should get from this is quite clear: God uses all kinds of people with varying levels of intelligence, extremely different personalities, and diverse backgrounds. One of the things which Thieme said, when I first began to study under him, is that he is not the mold for the Christian personality. If you go to a church where people as a whole are copying the vocabulary and personality of the dominant members of the congregation, then you are in a church of psychos. I recall going to one church where the women copied even the vocal inflection of the pastor’s wife. That is messtup—totally. God can use anyone, regardless of their intelligence level, their human status, their personality. At the time of this writing, I am corresponding with a convicted murderer on death row, an ex-husband of a relative of mine. Although I do not know the extent of his crimes or his previous behavior, I know that God is using him as I write to do His will. God works through this man to reach other prisoners for Jesus Christ. God can take any person at any time in their life, regardless of their background, regardless of their vocabulary, regardless of their IQ; if a person can understand the gospel, then that person can be used of God. And he does not have to change his personality or his vocabulary or his looks. The only similarity between Moses and Joshua is that they both speak of themselves in the 3rd person.

One other point should be added to the style of this book: Joshua writes this some time after the events occur (this in hinted at in Joshua 4:9). He operates by the stream of consciousness that we might find in an older, but clear-thinking man. Joshua thinks in terms of events—this happened, then this happened, then this happened. However, prior to most events, he, as commander in chief of the forces of Israel, had to issue orders, so prior to most events, we have Joshua issuing orders. However, Joshua did not just issue orders out of the blue—God commanded him, so Joshua obeyed these commands. Now we do not have a situation where God came to Joshua every hour on the hour, gave him marching orders, and then Joshua obeyed, getting his people to do what they were to do. God came to Joshua once and awhile, gave him a set of directives, which Joshua followed. One set of orders from God might require several sets of orders from Joshua to several different sets of people. Since Joshua thinks in terms of events, it seems as though God appears to him quite frequently, but the reality is that one appearance and command from God can be split up and strewn throughout several chapters.

Finally, let us again note, but with less detail, that the end of the book of Joshua, beginning with chapter 22, appears to have a different writing style than the previous portion. The vocabulary is less repetitious, there are far fewer wâw consecutives and more wâw conjunctions, and the style is more complex and literate. For this reason (and others previously stated), we have hypothesized that Phinehas wrote the final few chapters of this book. Now, fi what has been said is not in enough detail, Keil & Delitzsch’s Commentary on the Old Testament; ©1966 Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.; Vol. II spends over a half dozen pages on the authorship of this book (and, unfortunately, don’t quite nail it down correctly, bypassing some of the most obvious points which I made).

The Vocabulary: I was a third of the way through the book of Job when I came back to Joshua. I had a greater interest in Joshua and exegeting Job, quite frankly, was wearing me out. It was a very difficult book to work with. By the time I got three verses into Joshua, I knew that I was probably spending too much time with the vocabulary, if anything, because it is a much easier book to translate. My impression is that Joshua has a much simpler vocabulary than does Moses. Whereas Moses was a man for all seasons, Joshua had a fairly limited vocabulary and his sentence structure and vocabulary appear to be fairly simple (at least, through the first two chapters of this book). We have certain simple words used again and again (see the exegesis of Joshua 2:3). I say this in no way to denigrate Joshua, but simply as an observation. Not everyone who wrote a portion of God’s Word was a scholar. Not every pastor teacher has an extensive vocabulary. We are born with what we are born with and we can modify this somewhat. However, if you have two people with an IQ difference of 40 points, no matter how much work the lower IQ puts in, his vocabulary will not be as extensive as the smarter one’s.

Literary Style: The beginning of Joshua, as well as the end, is essentially history. At the end, we have Joshua’s attempt at speech-making, not his strong point, but what he had to say was effective enough. For those who found the speeches of Moses moving and awe-inspiring, you will not be quite as enamored by Joshua’s. Few men could turn a phrase as Moses did. Even apart from divine revelation, Moses was a great man of history. Joshua was great, in his own way, but that was limited, and that shows up in his literary style. We will have real application from this book to our lives, but it is highly unlikely that you will unearth that on your own. During the second half of the book, we have essentially large lists of cities and which tribe own which cities. Included are description of the boundaries of these tribes. All in all, sometimes less than inspiring, but, nonetheless, inspired. We have already mentioned vocabulary: when it comes to vocabulary, Joshua’s is much simpler than Moses’ or Job’s. There are not going to be a lot of verses where the meaning hinges precariously upon obscure Hebrew words or cleaver nuances of grammar. Joshua is a fairly straightforward author, somewhat of a meat and potatoes author. For those of you who hate delving into the Hebrew, you will like Joshua because their will be less occasion to do so. Often, in a verse, we will look at only one or two words, to get a fuller grasp of the passage (or, of those words) and only rarely will we stop to smell the grammatical flowers.

The Authority and Canonicity of the Book of Joshua: Our internal evidence for this is found in several places. God speaks to Joshua at the beginning of the book (Joshua 1:2–9). Although God speaks to Joshua throughout the book (e.g., Joshua 5:2 7:10–15), it is equally possible that some of these incidents look back to what is written in God’s Word and what God had said to Moses or to Moses and Joshua. At the end of the book of Joshua, where Joshua 24:26 reads: And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the Law of God; and he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was by a sacred place of Jehovah.

Joshua is mentioned several times throughout the Old Testament, although I am not aware of any quotations attributed to his book. He is mentioned in the first two chapters of Judges and 1Kings 16:34.

Precious little of this book is quoted in the New Testament. Insofar as I know, only Joshua 1:5b is found quoted by the author of Hebrews: Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5 Deut. 31:6 Joshua 1:5). You will note that this was said by God both in the book of Deuteronomy as well as in the book of Joshua. Interestingly enough, it at first appears as though Joshua’s name is not found in the New Testament. However, his name, in Greek, is Jesus, and it is found in Acts 7:45. Also, the name of Rahab the prostitute (from Joshua 2) is found in Matt. 1:5 Heb. 11:31 James 2:25.

Reference by Joshua to Previously Written Scripture: At the time of Joshua, there was now extent a Bible, of sorts. It certainly included Exodus through Deuteronomy, and might have contained Genesis or Job. J. C. J. Waite has an excellent chart in Douglas’ New Bible Dictionary which I will reproduce here with many modifications: The author’s original intention with regards to this table, I believe, was to show that the person who wrote parts of Deuteronomy and Numbers also wrote the book of Joshua. Although that position is fallacious, the comparisons are still important. Joshua was with Moses during most of the incidents which were recorded in Numbers and Deuteronomy, and he essentially carried out the commission entrusted to him. The similarities in phrasing are easily attributed to the fact that Joshua is not a great writer nor was he a great orator like Moses, and, since he studied God’s Law (Joshua 1:4 8:34), his wording is going to be quite similar. Some people can read a passage, grasp it’s meaning, and restate it marvelously. Others, like Joshua, can read a passage and decide, I can’t say it any better than that, and quote it. By the number of quotes that you find in this exegetical study of the book of Joshua, you can see that I fall into the latter category as well. This, however, in no way implies that I wrote any of the works that I quote from.

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

Passages in Numbers and Deuteronomy Recalled in Joshua








1:38 31:7–8, 23

The commissioning of Joshua

God commissions Joshua in Num. 27:18–21 and Moses publically recognizes Joshua’s commission in Num. 27:22–23 and Deut. 1 and 31 and God privately commissions Joshua in the first chapter of Joshua.




Extent of the land promised to Israel

Slight differences in phrasing. This land has never been fully taken by Israel. This promise was made to Abraham in Gen. 15:18.




The inheritance and responsibilities of the eastern tribes

Direct reference to Deuteronomy, although phrasing differs. This is repeated in Joshua as these 2½ tribes had given their word to Moses, but not to Joshua. Joshua later recognizes their faithfulness in Joshua 22:1–9.



  11:29–30 27:1–28:68

Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim.

Joshua abbreviates this considerably, yet mentions the ark and foreigners. Interestingly enough, the cursing and blessing is only alluded to in Deut. 11, but then covered in detail in Deut. 27.



2, 3


Conquests in Trans-Jordan

Numbers is primarily narrative while Deuteronomy has more geographical data (although, Num. 32 provides a great deal of geographical data). Deuteronomy, obviously, is going to provide much more detail.




Joshua is to divide the land

Numbers is more on point; the passage cited in Deuteronomy has to do with simply entering the land.

13:8–13 13:15–33


2:32–37 4:46–49

A description of the Trans-Jordan land given by Moses to the 2½ tribes

Distinctive description of Aroer in Joshua and Deuteronomy. Moses gave this land to the 2½ tribes.




Joshua and Eleazar are to apportion the land

Joshua and Eleazar mentioned again with respect to concluding this responsibility in Joshua 19:51.




Caleb’s inheritance

The mention in Numbers and Deuteronomy are simply general references to the preservation of Caleb. Joshua 14 deals with a special inheritance given him and is a rare passage which is covered in a future book as well (Judges 1:11–20).




The southern border

The southern border is mentioned in two separate contexts; in Joshua, it refers to the southern portion of the inheritance of Judah, and in Numbers, it is a specific description of the soon-to-be southern border of Israel.




Zelophehad’s daughters

The daughters come to Joshua and demand what Moses had promised them.




Sanctuary towns

Joshua assumes the procedure detailed in Num. 35:24ff; omits the division of the land (Deut. 19:3) and the fate of the guilty applicant (Deut. 19:12). Deuteronomy omits the Trans-Jordan towns (Joshua 20:8 Num. 35:14) and the acceptance procedure (Joshua 20:4). Joshua adds nothing new other than the names of the cities. Prior to that, he states the minimum information necessary to identify what these cities are for.




Levitical towns




1:6–5:33 8:1–11:32


Joshua summarizes the history of Israel from Abraham to the crossing of the Jordan. In the first passage in Deuteronomy, Moses only goes back as far as Mount Horeb. It is here where it is obvious that Moses is both a tremendous writer and expositor, and that Joshua just got by in these areas.




The taking of the land of Canaan.

What Moses promises the people, Joshua fulfills.




God has given the various inhabitants of Canaan into the hand of Israel.

This had been promised as far back as Ex. 23:23, 28.




God sent the hornet in before Israel.

This was also mentioned in Ex. 23:28.



6:10–11 19:1

God gave to Israel lands, homes and vineyards which Israel did not cultivate or build.

Joshua is looking at this in retrospect.

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

As we study the passages above, you will see how natural they will appear, Numbers being written as a narrative, Deuteronomy written as a series of sermons or speeches, detailing what has gone before; and Joshua written as a narrative and a fulfillment to many of the promises which had been made to Israel as well as a fulfillment of many of the instructions given by God to Israel. The fact that these passages are similar in subject matter does not mean that the same person wrote these passages; simply the something was ordered by God (often found in Numbers), stated again by Moses in his farewell messages (Deuteronomy) and fulfilled or obeyed by Joshua during his brief leadership over Israel. The idea that there is any evidence that the same person wrote these passages is like saying the same person wrote all four gospels. Furthermore, if these passages were missing from the book of Joshua, it would lose a great deal of its claim to authenticity. What we find in this book is exactly what we would expect to find written by a man who is chosen to succeed Moses.

Further, what is extremely important, is that Joshua held up the writings of Moses as the guide to Israel. “Be very firm, therefore, to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left.” (Joshua 23:6).

Order and Location in Hebrew Canon: The Hebrew canon is separated into three sections: the Torah (or the Pentateuch), the Nebhiim (or the prophets), and the Kethubhim (or, the writings). The book of Joshua, surprisingly enough, is found as the first book of the prophets (these books are found in this order: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings—which are known as the former prophets; and Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the Twelve, who were known as the latter prophets).

The Historicity of Joshua: One of the problems of this book is making it jive with archeological evidence. The book of Joshua makes it appear as though the Israelites in a very short amount of time ran roughshod over the area of the Land of Promise, conquering a portion of what God had planned for them to conquer. Explanations for this include Barthel, who claim that Joshua was more symbolic of several different military rulers who took the land over a period of several hundred years. This, of course, assumes that what is found in the Bible is inaccurate in general, carrying a germ of truth here or there, requiring someone as brilliant as Barthel to distill out this truth. My own opinion is that there was no archeological evidence of the Hittites until the 20th century; however, for 19 centuries or so, you have detractors of Scripture saying that it was totally inaccurate because these nonexistent people play such a prominent part in the Old Testament (they are mentioned 48 times). Now that we know these people exist (we have such artifacts as a military treaty made between the Hittites and the Egyptians from the 13th century bc), the historical record of the Bible is vindicated (as has happened many times before).


ZPEB: The Amarna tablets how that the Book of Joshua accurately portrays the political situation in Canaan—a country divided into numerous small feudal city-states prone to war with one another. It is perhaps significant that none of the extant Amarna letters come from or mention Jericho, Ai, Bethel, or Gibeon, cities destroyed or controlled by Joshua and the Israelites. Cities not captures or not permanently occupied by Israel are those from which letters were sent to Egypt requesting help—Jerusalem, Gezer, Lachish, Jarmuth, and Eglon.


There are certainly a lot of theories which have cropped up because we do not have the archeological evidence to support the quick conquest of the Land of Promise by Joshua, as presented in this book. In fact, Barthel writes that the book of Joshua was not written for the benefit of scholars and historians in the remote future but for the more immediate descendants of the combatants themselves, to preserve the memory of the great feats of arms which their ancestors had achieved. In other words, it is a heroic saga, like “Beowulf” or the Arthurian legend, in which dates and place names are not as important as personalities. Joshua is a heroic rather than a historical figure, a composite of many different men who lives in several different centuries. The authors of the Book of Joshua wanted to recapture the excitement and the emotional impact of these events, not to re-create the exact circumstances in which they took place.

However, had the book of Joshua been written for the immediate descendants of the armies which went before, one would have expected to find a more accurate recounting of the events. Furthermore, many families would have felt slighted had their recent ancestor made up a part of the composite Joshua. In other words, it is incongruous for the Jewish tradition to have treated this work of literature as not only an historically accurate record of what had occurred, but as the Word of God, and yet for this book to be intentionally historically inaccurate, something which several generations would have known. Many families would have felt slighted and would have taken steps to correct this intentionally allegorical book, as the Israelites were a learned and literate people. In other words, there is no reason to think that this book is anything different than it presents itself to be—an accurate recording of a little over seven years of history. As for the lack of archeological evidence, recall that the command of God was to completely annihilate some peoples. Even all of their possessions were burned. You try to find archeological evidence on a site where all the possessions of a people were destroyed by fire. It can’t be did.

The Canaanites: The Canaanites who inhabited the land indicate a culture rich with items superior in general to those things found with the Israelites with regards to clothing, pottery, weapons, and other artifacts. The Israelites had come out of slavery with things which had been given them by the Egyptians; however, there is no indication that they did much by way of creation of anything during the 38 years that they cooled their heels in the desert.

Man’s history began with monotheism and degenerated into polytheism. Most groups of people worshipped a pantheon of gods who were at war with one another periodically. Often there would be a god of war who would lead them into battle. Some of their gods would be at odds with one another and wars between them would break out as well. Now, what happened in reality is that the god’s fortunes often depended upon the nation’s fortunes in battle. Thus, the major gods of Egypt took differing role in the heavenly realms as the different dynasties came and went. The gods of Babylon took new forms and identities as historical fortunes changed or as the whims of the kings gave loyalty to one rather than the other. Much of the book of Exodus was an attack upon the gods of Egypt, a subject that we covered during that time period. Jehovah God showed that he was the God of the Universe, a God over all gods—Israel’s God in battle, as well as the only true God. God did not gain this position by his actions; rather his actions showed Who He was. Historical acts only gave evidence of eternal reality. God was the only God in heaven and on earth. With this foundation, we begin to understand Jesus and the miracles of our Lord better than we did before. Most people are under the delusion that the main reason for Jesus to heal people was to end their suffering. This is absolutely wrong and makes a mockery of our Lord. God could have ended suffering, illness and all defects on this earth with the wave of His hand. As our Lord cured one man of blindness, several were born blind or were caused to go blind at the same time. Thousands endured blindness at the same time. Just as Lazarus was being raised from the dead, a hundred other people died at the same time. If our Lord came for the purpose of alleviating suffering, then He did a damn poor job of it. But, every single person He healed died. Everyone one of them had moments later of depression and sadness; all of them died. The healing was a temporary healing (not meaning that a blind person would return to being blind, but that all the people that Jesus cured still eventually succumbed to death. And this is not because our Lord did a poor job of healing them, but because Jesus healed as part of His message. He was the Messiah; He was God in the flesh. When He came to this earth, He had power and dominion over all. The miracles that He performed proved that. No man could dispute His miracles or His healings. These were not various so-called healings done in a church which lack authenticity and documentation. I recall one of the few times I went into a holy roller church and the congregation was running all over the damn place laying their hands on people to make them well. They stopped at one person and were about ready to leave, when one member of the group said, “Let’s pray through until our sister is completely healed.” (or words to that effect). The pastor flashed her a dirty look, then hung around praying for another minute or so, and then moved on. There are people who offer great sums of money for proof of just one miracle of healing. There are holy roller churches who make desperate bids for financial support all the time. You would think that the easiest way for a church to make a little extra cash, as well as drum up some great publicity, is to tout a few well-document healings before a skeptic and take his money. But they don’t because they cannot really heal. But, what our Lord did was genuine and the authenticity of His miracles essentially went unquestioned. But the purpose of these miracles was to prove to those around Who He was so that they would have the chance to believe on Him. Obviously, I have strayed somewhat from the subject...


It is quite important to note that the Canaanites were a very degenerate people. God had given them time to straighten up—several hundred years in fact—and they had not. ZPEB: The chief emphasis [of their religions] was upon fertility and sex. The Ras Shamra (Ugaritic) tablets reveal the licentious and brutal characteristics of Baal, Anath, Ashtoreth, Asherah, and other deities. The extant relics of fertility cult practices and serpent worship unearthed at Beth-shan, Megiddo, Hazor, Gezer, etc., and evidence of child sacrifice as in a foundation at Dothan bear mute testimony to the need for strong measures on the part of the invading Israelites. Since sacred prostitution and other religious practices were spiritually contaminating, one can understand why God commanded Israel to exterminate the seven nations in Canaan..God’s people [were] endangered through contact with such idolatrous peoples.


Rotherham: Their very worship was grossly sensual and revoltingly cruel. In honour of their deities women surrendered their virtue. Their sacred places were brothels. The generative organs were openly represented by disgusting symbols. The people had holy (!) prostitutes, male and female...Lustful gods are cruel, and demand to be worshipped with human blood. Hence, to the king-idol Molech, the Canaanites, with some continuous nations, immolated theirs sons and daughters.

In the entire city of Jericho, there were but one family who were positive toward the gospel. Throughout the entire peoples of the land, only one group, the Gibeonites, were positive toward the gospel. Quite obviously, we are not commissioned today to remove any nation from the earth whose inhabitants do not respond to the gospel; however, this was the specific assignment of the Israelites, given them directly from God. God was aware that the Canaanite peoples would not change and therefore ordered their destruction. The only similar thing that we have today is the concept of human rights which we impose on other nations. In theory, it sounds great; however, in practice, it is very political.

It is difficult for some people to relate to the divine order of the destruction of thousands of Canaanite peoples, as this is pretty much unique in history. We have an abundance of signs and miracles to indicate that God was in fact a part of this entire campaign. Given the situation between the Jews and the Egyptians, it would have been possible for them to have taken over Egypt. That was not God’s plan. The Israelites could have remained on the east side of the river, having captured a great deal of land there—that was not God’s plan. They could have stopped with the conquering of southern Palestine. Again, that was not God’s plan. After conquering northern Palestine, they could have spread out further—again, not God’s plan. God had given them a particular piece of real estate to conquer and, apart from God’s assistance, these former slaves and sons of slaves would be highly unlikely men to invade the land which they did. However, God required that the Canaanites be destroyed and required Israel to do it. Finally, Barnes, quoting Bishop Butler, points out that man has no right to either life or property except as granted by God; when this right is revoked by God, then they cease to have any right at all in either. And in the case before us the forteiture decreed by God was merited, and the execution of it was therefore righteous.

In this book of Joshua, the nature of war is never explained to us. It is given as something which simply is. In the book of Joshua, the only thing that would have been wrong would be for an Israelite to decline to participate or for one to be fearful. God had given them the land, He had clearly condemned the Canaanites who lived therein (Lev. 18:24–28 Deut. 9:4–6 18:12) and His command was clearly for Joshua to take the people of Israel into the land and to take it by force (Joshua 1:1–9). There are no other considerations apart from those.

The Military in the Book of Joshua:


Barnes: The invasion of Canaan by Joshua was evidently a carefully and skilfully conducted enterprise. An army marching upon Canaan from the south would find its path intercept by range after range of heights, each, in the days of Moses and Joshua, bristling with towns and fortresses. The progress of such an army could be but slow, and at every step would be met by better organized resistance from an increasing number of enemies. When Israel, after forty years expiation of the revolt at Kadesh, again arose at the command of God to resume the long deferred enterprise on Canaan, the host was conducted round the whole south-east corner of the land and directed upon its comparatively defenceless eastern flank above the Dead Sea. The whole of the strong military positions and fenced cities in the “south country” and the “hill country” of what was subsequently the territory of Judah were thus taken in reverse and rendered comparatively useless.

Now, like it or not, the military plays a very prominent place in the book of Joshua. Joshua is the second-in-command over the forces of Israel (God is first). God required that Joshua take his army into Israel and destroy entire towns, as well as their populations (the reasons were noted above). And, a very important consideration, even though the troops of Israel are supported by God and God has guaranteed them the land, Joshua employs several sound military tactics. As Barnes wrote: In these campaigns of Joshua it is impossible not to see the traces of strategical skill no less conspicuously than that presence of immediate and Divine suggestion and succour which the narrative asserts. Firstly, he enters into the land in the middle and splits the land in half between the north and south. Then he attacks the cities mostly individually. This is known as divide and conquer. In addition to this, Joshua will flush out the men of Ai with a bogus retreat; he will capture key fortresses along the major trade routes; he used surprise attacks, he ambushed, he outflanked the opposing armies, he employed night marches, rapid marches by a flying column; and the towns were completely captured and often burned to the ground to prevent them from rising up again. Furthermore, there were no long sieges against cities, which wore down morale, but Joshua’s troops went into and immediately took the city under siege. There was never any intentional military sloppiness on the part of Joshua, including the incident in Joshua 7 where his army was repelled by Ai. Throughout the book of Joshua, he showed good military sense. Even though God had given the land to the Israelites through Joshua, this was no excuse to him to do less than his best, which included outstanding and well thought-out stratagems and tactics.

Conquering Canaan (a map showing the route of Joshua); from Precept; accessed June 19, 2016.



Miracles and the Voice of God in the Book of Joshua:


Let me begin with a quote from Barnes: The miraculous element has led some commentators to treat the book as altogether unhistorical. But it must not be forgotten that the miracles of the Book of Joshua do not stand alone. The grow as it were naturally out of the Divine interpositions on behalf of Israel in the days of Moses, and are but the close of a series of extraordinary providences begun in Egypt, and described in Exodus and the books following.

That being said, there are surprisingly few miracles or grand events which take place in this book of Joshua. I know that there are Pentecostals and holiness types who say, “My God is a God of miracles.” Or, “My God is not bound by your theology.” God speaks to Joshua a half dozen times in this book, but the circumstances are never made clear. That is, we don’t know if Joshua was sleeping and God spoke to him in a dream, whether Joshua went off alone and God spoke to him audibly, and, once or twice, it is possible that God spoke to him through what Moses wrote. In the beginning of this book, God says, “Moses, My servant, is dead.” Therefore, this had to occur apart from Moses and anything which Moses said or did. The fact that God told Joshua to go in and to take the land, did not in any way preclude his taking normal precautions and proceeding as a military man would. God speaks to him in chapter 1, and Joshua sends spies into the land in chapter 2. Moses did as well and there is nothing in Scripture which causes us to think that either man behaved inappropriately. What occurs in Joshua 3 is incredible, and often ignored. We have no divine direction other than God has told Joshua back in the first chapter that it is time to take the land that God has given them. Between the land and the people is the River Jordan, raging as it does in the Spring. Joshua sends a few priests with the ark to stand out in the water, and he has the people gathered around them. He instructs them to watch. Joshua simply knew that God said it was time, he and the people had to cross the Jordan, which meant that God had to provide a way. God did specifically tell Joshua to get the priests with the ark out into the Jordan and told him to have everyone else in ready to cross over the Jordan, but then, God had said, the waters would stand in a heap. So Joshua gathers all of the people around him and the priests and the ark and sends the priests out to the Jordan to stand in the water, while everyone has given them a wide berth, in order to observe them. And then the river stopped flowing. This was not necessarily a miracle (as we will discuss when that time comes), but it was a tremendous act of God and a tremendous act of faith on the part of Joshua. Joshua did not take this for granted and set up two memorials of stones to commemorate this event. The miracle of the manna also ceased once they crossed over the Jordan River. These stones were a result of God’s command as well. God wanted a memorial to what had been done.

The city of Jericho appeared to be impregnable to the Israelites. Their method of attack was completely unconventional and ordered by God. There was a reason for this. This was to be the first city taken in the Land of Promise and the taking had to be spectacular so that this would be noised throughout the land. The Israelites circled the fortress once each day for six days, carrying with them the ark of the covenant. On the seventh day, they got up early and marched around the city seven times. On that seventh time, the people shouted, the priests blew horns, the walls came down, and Israel took Jericho.

After a failed attempt to take the next city, Ai, God speaks again to Joshua, while he was lying on his face, prostrating himself before God. God tells him how to root out the evil which would prevent Israel from taking the city of Ai. God speaks again to Joshua several times in the next chapter, assuring him that he will be able to take Ai, which is perhaps a continuation of his speaking to Joshua in the previous chapter. Joshua uses military tactics to take the city of Ai, and, again, there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that this was a mistake on the part of Joshua.

There was one great event and one incredible miracle in Joshua 10 when Joshua began to move against the cities in southern Palestine. Part of the attack of Israel was aided by great hailstones which came down and struck their enemies. However, the most incredible miracle of all was the miracle of the long day, recorded in Joshua 10:12–14. This will require a lengthy discussion, which we will give to it in Joshua 10.

God speaks again to Joshua prior to an attack on the northern kings, and this is apparently the night before Israel struck. God simply gave Joshua assurance that they would be able to emerge victorious from battle. God again speaks to Joshua to tell him that it was now time to distribute the land in Joshua 13. When God speaks to Joshua in Joshua 20, it is unclear whether this is a new thing, or whether Joshua is recalling what God said to Moses about the cities of refuge. These were the last two times that we have Joshua recording God speaking to him.

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

Brief Outline: Whereas Genesis has a particular type of an outline which can be followed, so does the book of Joshua. We typically like to place chapter headings, section headings, etc. in our literature as it more or less prepares us for what is to come. In fact, in the middle of Joshua, I decided to start giving a title to every chapter. This provided both symmetry on the first page and a very short introduction as to what was to follow. Joshua has key verses throughout which act as section headings:

Book I: Joshua Conquers the Land of Canaan

Joshua 1–12

1.        Now it came to pass after the death of Moses, servant of Jehovah, that Jehovah spoke to Joshua ben Nun, Moses’ servant (Joshua 1:1)

           a.        Joshua assumes command of Israel.

           b.        Spies are sent into Jericho and they stay with Rahab.

           c.         The spies return and Israel crosses the Jordan.

2.        Now it came to pass when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how Jehovah had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their heats melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer, because of the sons of Israel (Joshua 5:1).

           a.        Israel is circumcised and they observe the Passover.

           b.        Israel defeats Jericho.

           c.         The sin of Achan.

           d.        Israel defeats Ai.

3.        Now it came to pass when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan, in the hill country and in the lowland and on all the coast of the Great Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, heard of it, that they gathered themselves together with on accord to fight with Joshua and with Israel (Joshua 9:1–2).

           a.        Israel is beguiled into a treaty with the Gibeonites, men who lived in Palestine.

           b.        Joshua honors this treaty.

4.        Now it came to pass when Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard that Joshua had captured Ai, and had utterly destroyed it (just as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king), and that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were within their land, that he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty (Joshua 10:1–2).

           a.        Adoni-zedek allies himself with four other kings and attacks Gibeon.

           b.        Men from Gibeon come to Joshua, asking for his help.

           c.         Joshua defends Gibeon and defeats the five-king alliance.

           d.        Joshua conquers most of the remaining cities in southern Palestine.

5.        And then it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor heard, that he sent to Jobab, king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron and to the king of Achshaph and to the kings who were of the north in the hill country, and in the Arabah—south of Chinnereth and in the lowland and on the heights of Dor on the west (Joshua 11:1–2).

           a.        Joshua surprise attacks this coalition and defeats them, sending them off in several directions.

           b.        Joshua pursues them and captures many of the cities in northern Palestine.

           c.         A list of the kings defeated east of the Jordan is given.

           d.        A list of the kings defeated west of the Jordan is given.

Book II: Joshua Distributes the Land of Canaan to the Israelites

Joshua 13–21

6.        And then Joshua was old; he advanced in the days and so Yehowah said to him, “You are old; you advanced in the days and the land remains a great increasing to possess it. This [is] the land the remaining [portion]: all regions of the Philistines and all of the Geshurites, (Joshua 13:1–2). This is the first place where we break tradition with the previous portion of Scripture, indicating that this is a new portion of the book.

           a.        God instructs Joshua to divide up the land

           b.        Joshua parenthetically notes what land had already been distributed to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Machir (the half tribe of Manasseh).

7.        Bookends: Now these are the territories which the sons of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua ben Nun, and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel apportioned to them for an inheritance (Joshua 14:1). These are the inheritances which Eleazar the priest and Joshua ben Nun and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel distributed by lot in Shiloh before Jehovah, at the doorway of the tent of meeting. So they finished dividing the land (Joshua 19:51).

           a.        Special distribution to Caleb.

           b.        From Gilgal: distribution of land to Judah, Ephraim, and to west Manasseh.

           c.         From Shiloh: distribution of land to Benjamin, Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan.

           d.        Six cities of refuge are assigned (Joshua 20); the priests are assigned their cities (Joshua 21).


Joshua 22–24

8.        Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 22:1).

           a.        Joshua personally honors the 2½ tribes for their faithfulness.

           b.        Phinehas investigates a possibly idolatrous situation.

9.        Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders and their heads and their judges and their officers (Joshua 23:2a). Joshua’s final message to Israel.

10.      Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel and for their heads and their judges and their officers (Joshua 24:1a). The epilogue to the book of Joshua.

           a.        Joshua reviews the history of Israel’s relationship to God and calls upon the people to serve Him.

           b.        The deaths of Joshua and Eleazar. They and Joseph’s bones are all buried in the land.

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

A More conventional Outline: You will note that the outline above is sometimes more detailed and does not always match the divisions of a chapter when I exegete a verse. Joshua 13 is a prime example.


More Detailed Outline of the Book of Joshua

I.         Part I: Joshua and Israel Cross over into the Land of Promise (Joshua 1–5)

           A.        Joshua assumes command under God (Joshua 1:1–18)

                       1.        God gives Joshua marching orders (vv. 1–9)

                       2.        Joshua orders the people to prepare to cross the Jordan (vv. 10–11)

                       3.        Joshua reminds the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh of their obligations (vv. 12–18)

           B.        Spies are sent into Jericho (Joshua 2:1–24)

                       1.        The spies lodge in the home of Rahab, a prostitute (vv. 1–7)

                       2.        Rahab’s testimony to the spies and the agreement struck between Rahab and the spies (vv. 8–21)

                       3.        The spies return to Joshua with their report (vv. 22–24)

           C.        Israel crosses the Jordan (Joshua 3:1–4:24)

                       1.        The priests carrying the ark first walk into the water and the water is cut off. The people then cross over the Jordan on dry ground (3:1–17)

                       2.        Joshua instructs twelve representatives, one from each tribe, to each take a large rock from the Jordan, where the priests are standing, and to haul these over to the western shore to set up as a memorial to their crossing. Twelve stones are also placed as a memorial in the middle of the Jordan, where the feet of the priests were, also as a memorial (4:1–10)

                       3.        All Israel camps in Gilgal and a twelve stone memorial is set up in Gilgal as well (Joshua 4:11–24)

                       4.        Israel is circumcised before entering into battle (5:1–15)


II.        Part II: Joshua and Israel Conquer the Land of Promise (Joshua 6–12)

           A.        Israel attacks Jericho (Joshua 6:1–27)

                       1.        God commands Joshua as to how he should take Jericho (vv. 1–11)

                       2.        Joshua follows God’s plan exactly (vv. 12–27)

           B.        Israel attacks Ai (Joshua 7:1–8:29)

                       1.        One Achan ben Carmi steals from God’s possessions (Joshua 7:1)

                       2.        A smaller detachment is sent to conquer Ai and they are defeated (Joshua 7:2–4)

                       3.        Joshua prostrates himself before God, asking why they lost (Joshua 7:5–9)

                       4.        God tells Joshua about Achan (Joshua 7:10–15)

                       5.        Joshua singles out Achan and Achan is executed (Joshua 7:16–26)

                       6.        Preparation for the attack upon Ai (Joshua 8:1–17)

                       7.        Israel attacks and defeats Ai (Joshua 8:18–29)

           C.        An altar is built to God on Mount Ebal and Joshua speaks the words of God to all of Israel (Joshua 8:30–35)

           D.        The treaty between Israel and Gibeon (Joshua 9:1–27)

                       1.        The nations west of the Jordan conference to unite against the Israelites (vv. 1–2)

                       2.        The dissenting vote appears to be the Gibeonites, who send representatives to Joshua at Gilgal who are made to appear as though they have traveled from an extremely long distance away (vv. 3–5)

                       3.        This envoy from Gibeon beguiles Joshua into making a pact with them (vv. 6–16a)

                       4.        Israel finds out the Gibeon and her allied cities are within the boundaries of the Land of Promise—in fact, the next cities they were to strike. Joshua chooses to honor his word and to honor the pact made with them, although the Gibeonites would handle the most menial tasks for Israel to fulfill their portion of the treaty (vv. 16b–27)

           E.        The southern campaign (Joshua 10:1–43)

                       1.        Joshua defends Gibeon against the attack of a five-king coalition (vv. 1–10)

                       2.        Joshua pursues and defeats this coalition, hanging the five kings who desert their troops (vv. 11–27)

                       3.        Joshua carries on a successful campaign against southern Palestine, taking several key cities and taking control of major areas throughout the south (vv. 28–43)

           F.        The northern campaign (Joshua 11:1–23)

                       1.        Joshua faces and defeats a northern king coalition against Israel (vv. 1–9)

                       2.        Joshua takes other key cities in the north in a long campaign (vv. 10–23)

           G.        A summary of the successful campaigns of Israel (Joshua 12:1–24)

                       1.        The kings defeated and land taken east of the Jordan under the leadership of Moses (vv. 1–6)

                       2.        The kings defeated and land taken west of the Jordan under the leadership of Joshua (vv. 7–24)


III.       Part III: Joshua distributes the land to Israel (Joshua 13–19)

           A.        Lands and peoples still to be conquered (Joshua 13:1–6)

                       1.        Those remaining in the south (vv. 2–3)

                       2.        Those remaining in the north (vv. 4–6)

           B.        A Parenthetical Distribution of lands east of the Jordan (Joshua 13:8–33)

                       1.        The land conquered by Israel east of the Jordan (vv. 8–12)

                       2.        The pockets of resistance east of the Jordan (v. 13)

                       3.        Levi’s inheritance (v. 14)

                       4.        The inheritance of Reuben (vv. 15–23)

                       5.        The inheritance of Gad (vv. 24–28)

                       6.        The inheritance of Machir, the half-tribe of Manasseh (vv. 29–31)

                       7.        Summary and exception of Reuben (vv. 32–33)

           C.        Joshua Returns to the Distribution of the Land (Joshua 14:1–20:45)

                       1.        Land distributed from Gilgal (Joshua 14:1–17:18):

                                   a.        Special case of Caleb (Joshua 14:1–15)

                                   b.        Judah (Joshua 15:1–62)

                                               (1)       The borders of Judah (Joshua 15:1–12)

                                               (2)       Caleb, Othniel and Caleb’s daughter, Achsah (Joshua 15:13–19)

                                               (3)       The inherited cities of Judah (Joshua 15:20–62)

                                                          (a)       The cities in the Negev (vv. 21–32)

                                                          (b)       The cities of the Shephelah (vv. 33–47)

                                                                      i)         Northeast portion (vv. 33–36)

                                                                      ii)         The cities of central Shephelah (vv. 37–41)

                                                                      iii)        The cities of the southern portion of Shephelah (vv. 42–44)

                                                                      iv)        The cities of Philistine sea coast (vv. 45–47)

                                                          (c)       The cities of the hill country (vv. 48–60)

                                                                      i)         Southwest hill country (v. 48–51)

                                                                      ii)         Slightly more northern hill country (vv. 52–54)

                                                                      iii)        Eastern hill country, next to the wilderness (vv. 55–57)

                                                                      iv)        Towns more northern than those above (vv. 58–59)

                                                          (d)       Septuagint insert—those cities lying south of Jerusalem

                                                          (e)       Wilderness cities (vv. 60–61)

                                                          (f)        The persistence of the Jebusites in Jerusalem (v. 62)

                                   c.         The inheritance of Joseph’s children (Joshua 16:1–17:18)

                                               (1)       The southern border of Ephraim and Manasseh (Joshua 16:1–4)

                                               (2)       The inheritance of Ephraim (the border and the cities are intermixed (Joshua 16:5–10)

                                               (3)       The inheritance of Manasseh (Joshua 17:1–11)

                                                          (a)       Introduction (vv. 1–2)

                                                          (b)       The unusual case of Zelophehad’s female children (vv. 3–6)

                                                          (c)       The borders and cities of Manasseh (vv. 7–11)

                                               (4)       The problems of the sons of Joseph (Joshua 17:12–18)

                                                          (a)       These two tribes cannot take possession of all their cities (vv. 11–12)

                                                          (b)       Ephraim and Manasseh express dissatisfaction with their inheritance, which Joshua disregards (vv. 14–18)

                       2.        The remainder of the Promised Land is distributed from Shiloh (Joshua 18:1–21:45)

                                   a.        The tribes move to Shiloh and men are set out to divide up the remaining land into equal parts (Joshua 18:1–10)

                                   b.        Benjamin’s inheritance (Joshua 18:11–28)

                                               (1)       The borders of Benjamin (vv. 11–20)

                                               (2)       The cities of Benjamin (vv. 21–28)

                                   c.         Simeon receives her inheritance in the midst of Judah (Joshua 19:1–9)

                                   d.        Zebulun’s inheritance (Joshua 19:10–16)

                                   e.        Issachar’s inheritance (Joshua 19:17–23)

                                   f.         Asher’s inheritance (Joshua 19:24–31)

                                   g.        Naphtali’s inheritance (Joshua 19:32–39)

                                   h.        Dan’s inheritance (Joshua 19:40–48)

                                   i.          Joshua’s inheritance (Joshua 19:49–50)

                                   j.          Conclusion (Joshua 19:51)

                       3.        Special cases (Joshua 20:1–21:45)

                                   a.        Cities of refuge west of the Jordan (Joshua 20:1–9)

                                   b.        Cities of the Levites Joshua 21:1–45)

                                               (1)       The Levites approach Joshua, asking about the cities that they might occupy (vv. 1–3)

                                               (2)       The general division of the three tribes (vv. 4–8)

                                               (3)       The inheritance of Aaron (vv. 9–19)

                                               (4)       The inheritance of the Kohathites (vv. 20–26)

                                               (5)       The inheritance of Gershon (v. 27–33)

                                               (6)       The inheritance of Merari (v. 34–40)

                                               (7)       Summary of the land given to the Levites (vv. 41–42)

                                               (8)       God fulfills His promises (vv. 43–45)

           D.        The tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh return to their inheritance, having received Joshua’s blessing (Joshua 22:1–9)


IV.       Part IV: Addendum to the book of Joshua (Joshua 22:10–24:33)

           A.        The incident of the second altar (Joshua 22:10–34)

                       1.        The 2½ tribes build an altar by the Jordan, which comes to the attention of Israel (vv. 10–12)

                       2.        Phinehas takes a delegation of ten to meet with a delegation of the 2½ tribes in Gilead (vv. 13–20)

                       3.        The 2½ tribes explain that it is a non-functioning altar (vv. 21–29)

                       4.        Phinehas and company are satisfied with the explanation and return to west Israel (vv. 30–34)

           B.        Joshua’s farewell message given on the last day of his life (Joshua 23:1–16)

           C.        A very memorable message of Joshua given at the time that he completed his book (Joshua 24:1–28)

           D.        The burials of Joshua, Eleazar and of Joseph’s bones (Joshua 24:29–33)

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

Commentaries about Joshua: Some commentators teach that Canaan is analogous to heaven and that the Jews going into Canaan, the Land of Promise, is much like out ascent into heaven. The book of Joshua is all about going into Canaan and it is a book about warfare, conflict, destruction and killing. Thieme called it a blood and thunder book. We will not experience warfare, conflict, destruction or killing in heaven. Canaan is not a type of heaven. It is more analogous to our Christian life here on earth. God has provided for us a type of Canaan in which we live. He gives us great earthly blessings, although all around us is warfare, conflict, destruction and killing.


As Thieme described it, Canaan is a type of phase II existence. Crossing the Jordan is faith-rest and it puts you in a place of battle with victory. On the other side of the desert is lack of faith, defeat, and reversionism.

My Personal Prejudices: Several things should be obvious: I believe that the Bible, both testaments, is the Word of God. I have covered this in great detail in my Study of Inspiration. I adhere to a majority of the conservative viewpoints of Scripture—that Joshua wrote the book of Joshua, that he was a real historical figure who existed, and that God operated in his life on behalf of Israel. I also believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son, His only begotten, and our only hope of getting out of this world alive and our only hope with regards to a relationship with God.

Fundamental Philosophical Questions: In the book of Joshua, we have the Israelites going into a land which had already been settled by other peoples, and not only had God now given the land to the Israelites, but had also instructed them to destroy the peoples of the land. Now, this is pretty stern stuff. As Thieme described it, when you have rabid animals, you isolate and destroy them. The Canaanites of the land were a rabid people with a whole host of degenerate practices. They were a human cancer which needed to be cut out. They were way beyond rehabilitation and they had completely rejected the gospel. Thieme describes this as capital punishment on a large scale. This concern will be dealt with several times throughout this book and in great detail when we arrive at Joshua 6.

The Purpose of the Book of Joshua:


Keil and Delitzsch: The book of Joshua is not intended merely as a continuation of the history of Israel from the death of Moses to the death of Joshua, still less as a description of the acts of Joshua only. The purpose of the book is rather to show how, after the death of Moses, the faithful covenant God fulfilled to the children of Israel, whom He had adopted as His people of possession through the mediation of His servant, the promise which He had made to the patriarchs; how the Canaanites were destroyed, and their land given to the tribes of Israel for an hereditary possession through the medium of Joshua, the servant of Moses, whom he had consecrated ass leader of the people through the laying on of hands and by putting some of his honour upon him. As the servant of Moses treading in his footsteps, Joshua finished the work which Moses was not allowed to bring to a conclusion on account of his sin at the water of strife, viz., the planting and establishment of Israel in Canaan the land of its inheritance, which the Lord had selected for His dwelling (Ex. 15:7) and chosen as the nursery ground of His kingdom. As Joshua simply carried on in this respect, and brought to completion, the work which Moses had begun, arranged, and set on foot, the book of Joshua is naturally connected very closely with the books of Moses.

The Word of God follows God’s hand in the lives of His people. It is the recorded history of God dealings with man. In several books, this is obvious: Exodus, Joshua, the books of the prophets, and the gospels. In other books, God’s hand is more subtle, e.g., Ruth, Esther, II and I2John. However, the idea that we would have the promise of God to Moses to give to his people the land; to have points in the life of Israel where Moses argued for their lives on the basis of God’s character and how He would be perceived in this world; and then to skip over the initial fulfillment of same would make little or no sense. We do have dry spells, you might say, some of which are glossed over in a few verses (the 400 years of slavery of Israel to Egypt, the 400 years of quiet prior to the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and from John’s revelation on the Island of Patmos until today (the personal testimony of goofy holy rollers aside). What I mean by quiet is very little direct, overt, undeniable acts of God. Now, I can personally point to hundreds of situations and occurrences in my life that I attribute directly to God. Some of them, the lightening for instance, would be dismissed by others as my vivid imagination; and others as the natural, day-to-day, random occurrences of life, that I have made into something that they are not. However, even the most vociferous critics of Moses, Elijah and Jesus Christ at some point in time backed off with regards to their display of godly power. The scribes, pharisees and Sadducees gave up disputing the authenticity of the miracles of our Lord and tried, instead, to catch our Lord in theological inconsistencies (“Is it right for you to heal on the Sabbath?”—Matt. 12:10b). Without the book of Joshua, we would have a distinct and unfillable gap in the history of God’s dealings with the Jews, who were, and are, His people. Furthermore, God’s Word stands as witness to the conditional aspect of His covenant with His people. “However, You did bear with them for many years, and you admonished them by Your Spirit through Your prophets, yet they would not give ear. Therefore, You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.” (Neh. 9:30). “Thus Jehovah of armies has spoken: ‘Dispense true justice, and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother, and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’ But they refused to pay attention, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears from hearing. And they made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which Jehovah of the armies had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore, great wrath came from Jehovah of the armies. ‘And it came to pass that just as He called and they would not listen, so they called and I would not listen,’ says Jehovah of the armies; ‘But I scattered them with a storm wind among all the nations whom they have not known. Thus the land is desolated behind them, so that no one went back and forth, for they made the pleasant land desolate.’ ” (Zech. 7:9–14). In the first half of the book of Joshua, we find the fulfillment of the promises that God had made to Israel over the previous half of a millennium; and in the final two chapters of this book, we have the careful admonishment of Joshua to God’s people, to listen to and to obey God’s Word.

It is a bit more difficult to understand the purpose for the second half of the book of Joshua, where the land is being distributed. Obviously, these several chapters could have been summed up with a sentence (And lots were cast and Joshua gave to the individual tribes of Israel the portion of their inheritance). However, they stand in the Word of God for several reasons: (1) We tend to be so we-centric that it never occurs to us that parts of God’s Word are not written specifically to us. I don’t know if this comes out of the goofy idea that, when you are in a jam, you close your eyes, open the Bible, and put your finger of a verse of Scripture which is to get you out of your jam e.g., ...and from Heshbon as far as Ramath-mizpeh and Betonim, and from Mahanaim as far as the border of Debir (Joshua 13:26) or if you think that just because you are stupid. However, every 49 years, all the land which had changed hands for whatever reason was to revert back to the tribe and people who originally owned it and this was a permanent record, probably kept elsewhere besides God’s Word, to establish what city belonged to which tribe. (2) The second portion of the book of Joshua was the fulfillment of the promise that God had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (3) Geographically, this helps us to place the various tribes throughout the land, which helps us to better understand several of the incidents which occurred throughout the Bible. (4) These chapters allow us to determine where specific cities were located.

Analogies: The most written about analogy concerning Joshua is the contrast between Moses and him. Moses is closely related to the Law and Moses could not lead his people into the Land of Promise. Joshua, whose name means Savior, is the one who takes the people into the land and conquers the land before them. The Law can only take us so far. It reveals where we fall short of God’s glory, but it cannot save us. Only our Savior can save us and take us into the Land of Promise. This analogy will be pursued in greater detail in Joshua 1.

One of the great analogies of the Bible is the covenant with the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites are Gentiles who occupied the land of Canaan and had been placed by God under a sentence of death. God had told Joshua to go into the land of Promise and to completely destroy the indigenous peoples there. As destruction drew near to them, the Gibeonites sent our an ambassadors, misrepresenting from whence they came, and desirous of a covenant with the Israelites. All they had in mind was self interest and their primary concern was self-preservation. They came to Joshua in sin and deception and Joshua made a covenant with them, guaranteeing not only that he would not attack them, but that he would protect them from outside forces. These are Gentiles who at that point in time develop a long-term relationship with Israel. They call up Joshua for help in Joshua 10, and he delivers them. Our Savior will do the same. He will take us in whatever state that we are in, condemned to death by His justice; yet he will commute our sentence—all we must do is have faith in Jesus Christ. If we trust in Him, He will make a pact with us to deliver us from His wrath and to protect us in this life. All we have to do is go to Him, Jesus (Joshua), our Savior, and place our trust in Him.

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

Parallels Between Joshua and our Lord Jesus Christ


Jesus Christ

Joshua follows Moses (Num. 27:18–23 Deut. 1:38 3:28 31:7–8, 23 Joshua 1:1–9).

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). For Christ is the end of the law with reference to righteousness to each one because he believes, for Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based upon the law will live by the righteousness (Rom. 10:4–5). But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith. However, now that faith has come, we no longer need a tutor (Gal. 3:23–25).

What Moses (who brought us the Law) could not do, the one who followed him, Joshua, accomplished. Moses: “Jehovah was angry with me also on your account, saying, ‘Not even you will enter there. Joshua ben Nun will enter there; encourage him, for he will cause Israel to inherit it.’ ” (Deut. 1:37–38; see also Num. 20:12 Deut. 3:23–28).

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God could, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin—He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the legal requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us (Rom. 8:3–4a; see also Acts 13:38–39 Heb. 10:1).

Joshua led his people to victory (Deut. 1:38 Joshua 1:1–9 12).

Jesus Christ leads us to victory. But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us (Rom. 8:37). Jesus Christ delivered us from so great a death, and He will deliver us, He on Whom we have set our hope. And He will deliver us (2Cor. 1:10; see 2Cor. 2:14 as well).

Joshua appeals to God when Israel suffers defeat (Joshua 7:6–9).

My dear children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world (1John 2:1–2).

Joshua distributed Israel’s inheritance (Joshua 13–21). “Now therefore, apportion this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and to the half-tribe of Manasseh.” (Joshua 13:7).

Furthermore, we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will...He Who is the pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption, to the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:11, 14). But to each one of us, grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host a captives and He gave gifts to men.” He gave some apostleship, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastor-teachers (Eph. 4:7–8, 11 Psalm 68:18).

The plan to capture Palestine was not original with Joshua. This was delivered to him from Moses and he simply obeyed. Much of what he obeyed was written in Scripture. Just as Jehovah had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that Jehovah had commanded Moses (Joshua 11:15).

Our Lord Jesus Christ also followed the plan of God, expressing the specific desire not to come into contact with our sins, but going forward with His sacrifice in obedience to God the Father. “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him Who sent Me.” (John 5:30). “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him Who sent Me.” (John 6:38). And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death on a cross (Philip. 2:8).

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

Personal Acknowledgment and Source Materials: Whereas the Barnes series was incredible in the exegesis of the book of Job, it is merely good for the book of Joshua (which is more than can be said for most commentaries). However, McGee’s commentary on the book of Joshua is outstanding and you will find a plethora of quotes from McGee in this exegetical study. When it comes to original writing and original thought in the exegesis of the Bible, I offer very little. My intention is that you will understand and grasp what is in the Word of God, its primary meaning, its symbolic meaning and its implications and applications. It is not as though I am the first person to understand the meaning of the majority of the passages that we will cover. Once in a great while, I might offer some small insight that has been rarely offered or, perhaps, not suggested at all by previous authors and expositors. However, in the main, I have collected the correct opinions and exegetical truths which have been offered since the canon of Scripture has been completed. My intention has never been to put together some entirely new body of work, but to act more as an editor, drawing from a great many sources with the purpose that you will understand and appreciate the treasure which God has laid up for us in His Word.


One book which I began to really appreciate in my study of Joshua is Alfred Edersheim’s Bible History Old Testament. This book often reads like a travelogue, giving us great insights into the geography, making for an enjoyable, poetic read. He brings alive some of the mountains and valleys, the vantage points, the traveling done by Israel. For instance, From Ai and Bethel the direct route northwards leads by Shiloh to Shechem (judges 21:19). The journey would occupy altogether about eleven hours. Of course, Israel could not have realised at the time that they were just then traveling along what would become the great highway from Galilee to Jerusalem, so memorable in after history. Leaving the sanctuary of Shiloh a little aside, they would climb a rocky ridge. Before them a noble prospect spread. This was the future rich portion of Ephraim: valleys covered with corn, hills terraced to their tops, the slopes covered with vines and olive-yards. Onwards the host moved, till it reached a valley, bounded south and north by mountains, which run from west to east...Travelers speak in rapturous terms of the beauty of the valley of Shechem, even in the present desolateness of the country.

I thoroughly enjoy reading Edersheim’s descriptions as I plough through the book of Joshua, as he has an eye for natural detail and a poetic voice that Joshua lacks. Just as McGee’s commentary is much more fun to read than that of Keil and Delitzsch, Edersheim provides a pleasant diversion and important additional information.

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

Famous Verses: Because we have very few times that God addressed the people through Joshua, we have fewer verses in this book than most which are famous and/or inspiring. This book is simply a workingman’s (perhaps, I should say, soldier’s) approach to the history of the events which transpired during the life of Joshua. Half of the book is given over to the distribution of specific cites and the description of where certain boundaries are, also less than inspiring and certainly not quotable. I have included a lot of verses, many more than you have ever heard, below. I have included those which might be significant to you and those which make important points in the book of Joshua.

Literal translation:


A Freer translation:

“Moses, my servant, has died; and now, arise, pass over this Jordan—you and all of the people—into the land which I am giving to them, to [the] sons of Israel.”



“Moses, my servant has died. It is now time to get up and go over the Jordan—both you and all the people—and go into the land which I have given to the sons of Israel.”

“A man will not be able to take a stand with reference to your faces all [the] days of your life; as which I was with Moses, I will be with you; I will not forsake you and I will not leave you.”



“No man will be able to stand in opposition to you in your sight all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you—I will not leave you nor forsake you.”

“A scroll of the Law the this will not depart out from your mouth and you will study [by repeating it to yourself] in it daily and night in order that you may preserve to do according to all the writing in it for then you will make prosperous [or successful] your way [or, journey].



“The scroll of this Law will not depart from your mouth; furthermore, you will continue to study it carefully every day and every night and you may accord your actions to all that is written therein, which will result in success and prosperity in your journey.

“Did I not command you, ‘Be strong and be firm; do not be terrified and do not be discouraged?’ For with you, Yehowah your God in all which you go.”



“Did I not command you to be strong and to be firm? Do not be terrified and do not become discouraged. For Jehovah your God is with you wherever you go.”

And then Joshua ben Nun sent from the Shittim two men spying [i.e., going on foot in order to scope something out] surreptitiously, to say, “Depart, see the land and Jericho.” And so they departed and they came into a house of a woman—a fornicator (and her name, Rahab) and then they laid down there.



And then Joshua ben Nun sent out from Shittim two men to go on foot in order to scope out the land surreptitiously, saying, “Go, view the land and Jericho.” And so they departed and they came into the house of a prostitute—whose name was Stormy (Rahab)—and they lodged there.

Then she said to the men, “I have known that Yehowah has given to you the land and that your terror has fallen upon us and that all [the] inhabitants of the land have melted away from before your faces.



Then she said to the men, “I know that Yehowah has already given to you this land and that a fear of you has fallen upon us and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away in your presence.

“For we have heard how Yehowah caused to dry up waters of the sea of reeds from before your faces in your coming out of Egypt and what you did to two kings of the Amorite that [were] beyond the Jordan to Sihon and to Og, which you destroyed them.



“For we have heard how Jehovah dried up the waters of the sea of reeds before you as you exited Egypt and we have heard what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan in Sihon and Og, that you destroyed them.

“And so we heard and then our heart melted [with fear] and a spirit in a man was not yet standing from before your faces for Yehowah— your God—He [is] God in the heavens above and in the earth beneath.



“So we heard all this and our hearts melted with fear and no man even had the courage to stand up to you for we know Jehovah your God is the God in the heavens above and in the earth beneath.

“And now, swear, I respectfully implore you, to me by Yehowah that I have done with you grace and you will do, moreover—[even] you—with a house of my father grace and you have given me a pledge of reliability.



“And now, I respectfully implore you to swear to me by Jehovah that as I have dealt graciously with you, that you will likewise deal graciously to the house of my father and that you will give me no uncertain assurances.

“And you will have caused to survive my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters and all which to them and you will have caused to deliver our souls from death.”



“And I trust that you will see that my entire family and their personal possessions will be delivered from destruction.”

Then the men said to her, “Our soul instead of yours, to die; if you do not make known this word [of] ours and it will be in a giving of Yehowah to us the land and we will do with you graciously and faithfully.”



Then the men said to her, “Our life is offered in exchange for yours, just so long as you do not make known this business of ours. When Jehovah gives us this land, we will deal with you graciously and faithfully.”

“Look, we are coming into the land; a hope-cord of thread of the scarlet the this you will bind in the window which you let us down through it—and your father and your mother and your brothers and all [the] house of your father you will gather unto yourself the house.”



“Listen, we are coming into the land. This scarlet hope-cord of thread you will tie to the window—the one which you have used to let us down with—and you will gather your father, and your mother, and all of your brothers, along with the entire household of your father into your house.”

For forty years, sons of Israel walked in the wilderness until a finishing of all the nation [or, the entirety of the generation]—men of the war, those coming forth out from Egypt who did not listen in a voice of Yehowah, Who swore—Yehowah to them—to not let them see the land which Yehowah swore to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing of milk and honey.



For forty years, these sons of Israel wandered in the wilderness until there came an end of that entire generation; i.e., the men of war who came out of Egypt and who did not listen to the voice of Jehovah; the same Jehovah Who swore to them that they would not see the land which Jehovah had sworn to their fathers to give to us—this land flowing with milk and honey.

And their sons He raised up instead of them. Joshua circumcised them for they were uncircumcised for they had not circumcised them in the journey.



And He raised up their sons instead of them; and Joshua circumcised them who were uncircumcised as their fathers had not circumcised them along their journey from Egypt.

And so, Yehowah said unto Joshua, “The day I’ve rolled away a reproach of Egypt from you [all];” and so they called a name the place the that Gilgal until the day the this.



Also, Jehovah had said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore, they named that place Gilgal, which remains its name until this day.

“And seven priests will carry seven horns—the jubilations (horns) [or, possibly, ‘the ram’s horns’] —before faces of the ark and in the day of the seven, you will encompass the city seven times and the priests will be blowing in the trumpets.



“And seven priests will carry seven ram’s horns [or, horns of jubilation] before the presence of the ark and on the seventh day, you will circle the city seven times while the priests blow on the trumpets.

“And it has come to pass, in a drawing out [or, prolongation] of in a horn of the jubilation, in your hearing a sound of the trumpet; all the people shout a great shout and wall of the city will fall down under it [lit., her] and the people will go up a man straight before him.”



“And it has come to pass, during the prolongation of the horn of the jubilation, while you are hearing the sound of the trumpet; the people will shout loudly, causing the wall of the city to collapse. Then, each man will advance on the city.”

“And now, behold, Yehowah has caused me to live, as which he said, these forty and five years since Yehowah spoke the word the this unto Moses when walked Israel in the wilderness; and now, behold, I [am] the day a son of five and eighty years.



“And now, observe, that Jehovah has kept me alive, as He had promised for these 45 years since He had spoken this word to Moses when Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, observe, I am 85 years old.

“Still I [am] the day strong as that in a day of Moses sending me; as my strength [or, power] then and as my strength now to the war and to go out and to come in.



“I am still today as strong as I was in that day that Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so it is now, either to war, or in any activity.

“And you [all] will be strong to keep and to do all the writing in a book of the Law of Moses to not turn from it right and left.



“And you must be steadfast to keep and to do all which is written in the book of the Law of Moses, and not to deviate from it to the left or the right.

“ ‘And so I gave to you a land which you had not labored in her and cities which you had not built, and so you dwelt in them; vineyards and olive yards which you did not plant, you keep eating.’



“And I gave to you a land in which you had not labored; cities to live in which you had not built; and vineyards and olive yards, from which you eat, but did not plant.’

“And now revere Yehowah and serve Him in completion and in truth [and stability]; and put away gods which served your fathers beyond the River and in Egypt and serve Yehowah.



“Now therefore, give to Jehovah the proper respect and devotion and serve Him completely [or, wholly] in truth and stability; furthermore, discard entirely other gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt; serve Jehovah.

And so wrote Joshua the words the these in a book of a law of God. And so he took a stone great and so he set it up there under the oak which [is] in a sanctuary of Yehowah.



Then Joshua wrote these words in the book of the Law of God. Afterward, he took a large stone and set it under the oak, which is a sacred place of Jehovah.

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

Miscellaneous: When I received Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, I was initially disappointed. However, I have since begun to appreciate some of its features. No particular author is named in this book, but there is a series of charts which seem to summarize the book better than most outlines (I don’t know about you, but when I see an outline like mine which is more than 10 lines long, I tend to skip over it). However, the following is a modification of the chart found in this book.

Joshua at a Glance


Conquest of Canaan

Settlement of Canaan










Preparation of Israel

Conquest of Canaan

Settlement of East Jordan

Settlement of West Jordan

Settlement of Religious Community

Conditions for Continued Settlement


Entering Canaan

Conquering Canaan

Dividing Canaan

Behavior in Canaan





Jordan River


First Gilgal and then Shiloh

Timnath-serah and Shechem

Time Period

1 month

7 years

1 month

5–25 years

Joshua Preface

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Joshua Introduction

Table of Contents for Introduction

Chapter Links for Joshua