Book of Joshua

"The doomsday book of Israel," especially Joshua 13-23. Authenticated by Scripture references to the events recorded in it (Pa. 78:53-65; 28:21; Habakkuk 3:11-13; Acts 7:45; Hebrews 4:8; 11:30-32; James 2:25). Joshua after destroying the kings, so that Israel had rest from war in the open field, divided generally the land; but this is quite consistent with the after statements that years passed before the process of division was completed and the allotments finally settled. Joshua was directed to divide land not yet in Israel's actual possession (Joshua 13:1-14:5). God designed that Israel should occupy the land by degrees, lest the beasts should multiply and the land be desolate (Exodus 23:28-30); for instance, though the kings of Jerusalem and Gezer were slain, their people were not rooted out until long after. The slackness of Israel to extirpate the accursed Canaanites was also a cause of non-immediate possession (Joshua 11:16,23; 12:7,10-12; compare Joshua 15:63; 16:10; 17:1,16; 18:1,3; 19:51). Joshua is based on the Pentateuch (to which it is joined by the conjunction "now" or "and" at its beginning),"now" but distinct from it. Compare 13:7 with Numbers 34:13; 13:17 with Numbers 32:37; 13:21,22 with Numbers 31:8; 13:14,33; 14:4, with Deuteronomy 18:1,2; Numbers 18:20; Numbers 21 with Numbers 35.

UNITY . The book evidently is that of an eye witness, so minute and vivid are the descriptions. The narrative moves on in one uninterrupted flow for the first 12 chapters of Joshua. Jehovah's faithfulness is exhibited in the historical fulfillment of His covenanted promises, with which the book opens (Joshua 1:2-9, the programme of the book).
1. The promise, Joshua 1:2-5, is fulfilled (Joshua 2-12), the conquest of the land by Jehovah's mighty help, "from the wilderness and this Lebanon unto ... Euphrates ... and the great sea (the Mediterranean) toward the going down of the sun." The limit, the Euphrates, was not
2. 1 Samuel 6:14-18.
3.the people expressing still their resolution to serve Jehovah, Joshua made a covenant between God and them; and wrote the covenant and the words spoken on both sides in the law book of God, adding it to that written by Moses, and set up a stone as a memorial on the spot, under a terebinth tree by the sanctuary (or place hallowed to Jehovah by Abraham), and as a visible silent witness of their engagement. His influence under God kept them faithful both in his own time and that of the elders who outlived him. A pious warrior, almost without blemish, one who learned to command in advanced age by obeying when a youth, ever looking up to Jehovah with childlike faith, worshipping with devout prostration the Captain of the Lord's host, dispensing kingdoms yet content at the last with a petty inheritance, as disinterested and unselfish as he was brave, generous, and patriotic. Joshua typifies Jesus whose name he bears (Acts 7:45; Hebrews 4:8). Moses representing the law could not bring Israel into Canaan; that was reserved for Joshua. So Jesus perfects what the law could not, and brings His people into the heavenly inheritance (Acts 13:39; Hebrews 4; 7:19-25). He leads His people through a Jordan-like flood of troubles and death itself without being overwhelmed (Isaiah 43:2). He bruises Satan under their feet (Joshua 10:24; Psalm 110:5; Malachi 4:3; Romans 16:20). Jesus is the minister of the true circumcision(Joshua 5:2-9; compare Romans 15:8; 2:29; Colossians 2:11,13). Joshua was buried in the border of his inheritance in see TIMNATH SERAH (which see: probably now Kefr Haris) in Mount Ephraim, on the northern side of the hill Gaash (Joshua 24:30). The Septuagint adds: "there they laid with him in the tomb the stone knives with which he circumcised the children of Israel in Gilgal ... and there they are unto this day." If this addition of the Septuagint be trustworthy, it will be a curious proof that flint knives lay in situ for 12 centuries, from the 16th to the third century B.C., the date of Septuagint. At all events it shows that flint knives are no proof of a barbarous race ages before the historic period; such knives were used by civilized races in the historic times. M. Guerin professes to have discovered at Tigne (Timnath Serah), Joshua's tomb. In the hill there one tomb has a vestibule, into which the light penetrates. There are 300 niches for lamps. The vestibule admits to two chambers, one with 15 receptacles for bodies, the other but one; many sharp flint knives were found on removing the dirt from the floor of the tomb, as also in the Canaanites was the drawback to the completeness of Joshua's work (Joshua 18:3); after their long nomadic life the people were slow in settling down in separate homes; fear of the foes' attack too made them shrink from the trouble of defending themselves severally: a root of bitterness left which bore deadly fruit under the judges. A long time after Jehovah had given rest unto Israel from all foes, Joshua, now old, convened all Israel (Joshua 23) represented by their heads, judges, and officers, to either Timhath Serah his home or Shiloh the sanctuary, and exhorted them to love and serve Jehovah ("be ye very courageous to do all that is written in the law, turn not aside to the right or to the left," Joshua 23:6; the same as God had enjoined Himself, Joshua 1:7), constrained by His past benefits, His promises of future help, and His threats of leaving the nations to be snares, scourges, and thorns to vex and destroy Israel in the event of apostasy. Again he gathered all the tribes with their heads and officers to Shechem, as being the place where Abram received God's first promise of the land after his migration into Canaan (Genesis 12:6,7); more especially because here Jacob on his return from Mesopotamia settled, and removed his household's strange gods (Genesis 33:19; 35:2-4), just as Joshua now wished Israel to renew the covenant binding them to renunciation of all idols. Here too Joseph's bones were buried (Joshua 24:32). Joshua was buried at 110 years of age in Timnath Serah. His piety comes brightly out in his dying exhortation:
(1) God's call to Abraham was one of pure grace, not for his merit; Israel's fathers and Terah had "served other gods"(Joshua 24:2,14; Genesis 31:53; 19:34), but Jehovah has through miraculous interposition brought Israel to the promised land; put away therefore all the gods ye served in Egypt (Leviticus 17:7; Ezekiel 20:18; Joshua 24:14); but, if not,
(2) choose you (if you are bent on self destruction) which idols you like, "but as for me and my house (Genesis 18:19) we will serve the Lord" (compare Ruth 1:15; 1 Kings 18:21; John 6:67; Luke 10:42). When the people, self confidently (like Peter, Luke 22:33), promised faithfulness, Joshua replied "ye cannot serve the Lord," i.e. without putting away heart idols (for they had no wooden, stone, or metal images to put away): Deuteronomy 6:5,6; Matthew 6:24. See Joshua 24:23, "put away the strange gods which are IN you," heart idols, inconsistent with the service of Jehovah who is "a jealous God" (Ezekiel 20:39). On actually reached until Solomon's reign (1 Kings 4:21), and the full realization awaits Christ's millennial reign (Genesis 15:18; Psalm 72:8); but the main step toward its fulfillment was taken. Joshua's conquests, though overwhelming at the time, could only be secured by Israel's faithfully following them up.
II. The promise, Joshua 6-7, that Joshua should divide the land is recorded as fulfilled (Joshua 13-22).
III. The means of realizing this two-fold promise, "only be very courageous to do ... all the law ... turn not to the right hand or to the left ... this book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do all that is written therein ... for then thou shalt have good success .... Be strong and of a good courage for the Lord thy God is with thee wheresoever thou goest" (Joshua 1:7-9), are urged upon the people in detail by Joshua as his last testimony (Joshua 23:24). The connection and method traceable throughout prove the unity of the book. The variety in the style of the historical compared with the topographical parts is what we should expect. The "three days" (Joshua 1:11) are not the time within which the crossing actually took place, but the time allowed to the people to prepare for crossing: prepare victuals to be able to leave Shittim within three days, so as to be ready to cross Jordan. The spies sent from Shittim to Jericho (the key of Canaan) on the same day as Joshua gave this charge to Israel had to hide three days after leaving Jericho, so that they could not have returned until the evening of the fourth day after they were sent (Joshua 2:22). The morning after this Israel left Shittim for Jordan, where they halted again; three days afterward they crossed, i.e. eight days intervened between their being sent and Israel's crossing. The drying up of Jordan is the counterpart of the drying up of the Red Sea under Moses, Joshua's master and predecessor. Throughout the warlike and the peaceful events of this book, comprising a period of 25 years (compare <061407> Joshua 14:7-10) from 1451 to 1426 B. C., God's presence is everywhere felt. Joshua is His conscious and obedient agent.

AUTHOR . That Joshua wrote the book is probable because
(1) he certainly wrote one transaction in it (Joshua 24:26), and scarcely any but Joshua himself is likely to have written the parting addresses, his last legacy to Israel (Joshua 23-24).
(2) None but Joshua could have supplied the accounts of his communion with God (Joshua 1:1 ff; 3:7; 4:2; 5:2,9,13; 6:2; 7:10; 8:1; 10:8; 11:6; 13:1,2; 20:1; 24:2).
(3) Joshua was best qualified by his position to describe the events, and to collect the documents of this book; it was important that the statement of the allotments should rest on such a decisive authority as Joshua.
(4) He would be following his master and predecessor Moses' pattern in recording God's dealings with Israel through him; 24:26 looks like his own subscription, as Moses in Deuteronomy 31, both being followed by an appendix as to the author's death.
(5) In Joshua 5:1,6, he uses the first person, "we passed over"; and in Joshua 6:25, "Rahab dwelleth in Israel even unto this day"; both passages imply a contemporary writer. Keil gives a list of phrases and forms peculiar to this book and the Pentateuch, marking its composition in or near the same age. Judges 3:1-3; 1:27-29, repeat Joshua 13:2-6; 16:10; 17:11, because Joshua's description suited the times described by the inspired writer of Judges. The capture of Hebron and Debir by Judah and its hero Caleb is repeated in Judges 1:9-15 from Joshua 15:13-20. Possibly the account of the Danite occupation of Leshem or Laish is a later insertion in <061947> Joshua 19:47 from <071807> Judges 18:7. So also the account (Joshua 15:63; 18:28) of the joint occupation of Jerusalem by Israel and the Jebusites may be an insertion from Judges 1:8,21. In the case of an authoritative record of the allotment of lands, which the book of Joshua is, the immediate successors who appended the account of his death (probably one or more of the elders who took part in Joshua's victories and outlived him: "we," Joshua 5:1,6; 24:31; Judges 2:7) would naturally insert the exact state of things then, which in Joshua's time were in a transition state, his allotments not having been taken full possession of until after his death. The expulsion of the Jebusites from Jerusalem at the beginning of David's reign proves that Joshua and Judges were written before David. The Gibeonites were in Joshua's time (Joshua 9:27) "hewers of wood and drawers of water" for the sanctuary "even unto this day," but Saul set aside the covenant and tried to destroy them; so that the book of Joshua was before Saul. The only Phoenicians mentioned are the Sidonians, reckoned with the Canaanites as doomed to destruction; but in David's time Tyre takes the lead of Sidon, and is in treaty with David (Joshua 13:4-6; 2 Samuel 5:11).