The author of the Book of Joshua was Joshua according to the
Bible and tradition.
Date - From 1451 to 1425 BC Approximately
Main Theme - The Conquest of Canaan
Types and Shadows - In Joshua Jesus is the captain of the
Joshua background, archaeology, maps, and images.
Quick Overview of Joshua. – –1-11 – –The conquest of the land
of Canaan. – – 12-22 – – the dividing of the promised land
among the tribes of Israel, the appointment of the cities of
refuge. – – 23-24 – – the assembling of the nation of Israel,
Joshua's last appeal and exhortation, Joshua's death and
Hebrew Name of Joshua - Yehoshua "Yahweh is salvation"
Greek Name - Iesous (Greek form of the Hebrew)
This book is named for its chief character, Joshua, whose name means "Jehovah is salvation." The Greek form of this name is Jesus. The first appearance of Joshua is as the leader of the forces of Israel against Amalek (Ex. 17:8ff). The manner in which he is introduced into the story indicates that he was already well established as a leader. Later, he accompanied Moses to the foot of Mt. Sinai, but did not make the ascent with him (Ex. 24). In Ex. 32-33 he is also found in close association with Moses. No doubt, the years which he spent with Moses greatly influenced his spiritual development. The aspect of his life for which Joshua is most often remembered is his having brought back a positive report from the land of Canaan after serving as one of twelve men sent to spy out the land (Num.13). From this it can be seen that the experience and spirit which were Joshua's equipped him well for his duties and responsibilities as the leader, of God's people.
The book may be regarded as consisting of three parts which may be analyzed as follows :
1) The Conquest of Canaan (1-12). This includes the preparation for and crossing of the Jordan (1-4). After the crossing, they camped at Gilgal. Here they circumcised all the males who were born in the wilderness, as circumcision had not been observed since the departure from Egypt. Gilgal was also the scene of the keeping of the Passover and the cessation of the manna. 5:13-6:27 tells of the miraculous destruction of Jericho and the salvation of Rahab. The crime and punishment of Achan is discussed in ch. 7. In ch. 8, the narrative records the avenging of the defeat which Israel had suffered at the hands of Al because of the sin of Achan. The latter portion of this chapter tells of the setting up of the stones on Mount Ebal. The stratagem of the Gibeonites is the topic of ch. 9. In ch. 10 is contained the story of the conquest of Southern Canaan, with the aid of Joshua's long day. Chs. 11-12 describe the conquest of Northern Canaan and give a list of the defeated kings.
2) The Distribution of the Territory (13-22). This provides a record of the area which was assigned to the various tribes (13-19), the appointment of the six cities of refuge (ch. 20) and the forty-eight cities of the Levites (ch. 21), as well as the departure of the Transjordanic tribes to their home.
3) Joshua's farewell addresses (23-24). The first of these is a speech of encouragement and warning. The second recalls the history of Israel, with emphasis on divine interventions on their behalf. At the close of this speech, Joshua issued the famous statement, "choose you this day whom you will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (24:15).
The book closes with an account of the renewal of the covenant and the death of Joshua and Eleazer.
The Book of Joshua (Hebrew: Sefer Y'hoshua ספר יהושע) is the
sixth book in the Hebrew Bible. This book stands as the first
in the Former (or First) Prophets covering the history of
Israel from the possession of the Promised Land to the
Babylonian Captivity. The book of Joshua contains a history of
the Israelites from the death of Moses to that of Joshua.
After Moses' death, Joshua, by virtue of his previous
appointment as Moses' successor, received from God the command
to cross the Jordan River. In execution of this order Joshua
issues the requisite instructions to the stewards of the
people for the crossing of the Jordan; and he reminds the
Reubenites, Gadites, and the half of Manasseh of their pledge
given to Moses to help their brethren...
I. Title and Authorship.
The name Joshua signifies "Yahweh is deliverance" or
"salvation" (see JOSHUA). The Greek form of the name is
Jesus (Iesous, Acts 7:45; Heb 4:8). In later Jewish history
the name appears to have become popular, and is even found
with a local significance, as the designation of a small
town in Southern Israel (yeshua`], Neh 11:26). The use of
the title by the Jews to denote the Book of Joshua did not
imply a belief that the book was actually written or
dictated by him; or even that the narratives themselves were
in substance derived from him, and owed their authenticity
and reliability to his sanction and control. In the earliest
Jewish literature the association of a name with a book was
not intended in any case to indicate authorship. And the
Book of Joshua is no exception to the rule that such early
writings, especially when their contents are of a historical
nature, are usually anonymous. The title is intended to
describe, not authorship, but theme; and to represent that
the life and deeds of Joshua form the main subject with
which the book is concerned.
With regard to the contents of Joshua, it will be found to
consist of two well-marked divisions, in the first of which
(Joshua 1-2) are narrated the invasion and gradual conquest
under the command of Joshua of the land on the West of the
Jordan; while the 2nd part describes in detail the allotment
of the country to the several tribes with the boundaries of
their territories, and concludes with a brief notice of the
death and burial of Joshua himself.
1. Invasion and Conquest of Western Israel:
Joshua 1: Renewal of the Divine promise to Joshua and
exhortation to fearlessness and courage (1:1-9); directions
to the people to prepare for the passage of the river, and a
reminder to the eastern tribes (Reuben, Gad, and half and
Manasseh) of the condition under which they held their
possession beyond Jordan; the renewal by these tribes of
their pledge of loyalty to Moses' successor (1:10-18)...
I. Form and Significance of Name.
The name Joshua, a contracted form of Jehoshua (yehoshua`),
which also appears in the form Jeshua (yeshua`, Neh 8:17),
signifies "Yahweh is deliverance" or "salvation," and is
formed on the analogy of many Israelite names, as Jehoiakim
(yehoyaqim), "Yahweh exalteth," Jehohanan (yehochanan),
"Yahweh is gracious," Elishua or Elisha ('elishua`,
elisha`), "God is deliverance," Elizur ('elitsur), "God is a
rock," etc. In the narrative of the mission of the spies in
Nu 13, the name is given as Hoshea (hoshea`, 13:8,16;
compare Dt 32:44), which is changed by Moses to Joshua (Nu
13:16). In the passage in Deuteronomy, however, the earlier
form of the name is regarded by Dr. Driver (Commentary in
the place cited.) as an erroneous reading.
The Greek form of the name is Jesus (Iesous, Acts 7:45; Heb
4:8, the Revised Version (British and American) "Joshua,"
but the King James Version "Jesus" in both passages), and
this form appears even in the passages cited above from
Nehemiah and Deuteronomy. In Nu 13:8,16, however, Septuagint
has Hause. The name occurs in later Jewish history, e.g. as
that of the owner of the field in which the ark rested after
its return from the land of the Philistines (1 Sam 6:14,18),
and appears to have become especially frequent after the
exile (Ezr 2:40; Zec 3:1ab, etc.). It is also found (Jeshua)
with a local signification as the name of one of the
"villages" in Southern Judea, where the repatriated Jews
dwelt after their return from Babylon (Neh 11:26).
II. History of the Life of Joshua.
The narrative of the life of Joshua, the son of Nun, is
naturally divided into two parts, in which he held entirely
different positions with regard to the people of Israel, and
discharged different duties. In the earlier period he is the
servant and minister of Moses, loyal to his leader, and one
of his most trusted and valiant captains. After the death of
Moses he himself succeeds to the leadership of the Israelite
host, and conducts them to a settlement in the Promised
Land. The service of the earlier years of his life is a
preparation and equipment for the office and responsibility
that devolved upon him in the later period...
Named from Joshua the son of Nun, who is the principal
character in it. The book may be regarded as consisting of
1. The conquest of Canaan; chs. 1-12.
2. The partition of Canaan; chs. 13-22.
3. Joshua's farewell; chs. 23,24. Nothing is really
known as to the authorship of the book. Joshua himself is
generally named as the author by the Jewish writers and the
Christian fathers; but no contemporary assertion or
sufficient historical proof of the fact exists, and it
cannot be maintained without qualification. The last verses,
ch. Jos 24:29-33 were obviously added at a later time. Some
events, such as the capture of Hebron, of Debir, Jos 15:13-
19 and Judg 1:10-15
of Leshem, Jos 19:47 and Judg 18:7
and the joint occupation of Jerusalem, Jos 15:63 and
probably did not occur till after Joshua's death.
(It was written probably during Joshua's life, or soon after
his death (B.C. 1420), and includes his own records, with
revision by some other person not long afterward.)
(saviour, or whose help is Jehovah). His name appears in the
various forms of HOSHEA, OSHEA, JEHOSHUA, JESHUA and JESUS.
1. The son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim. 1Ch 7:27
(B.C. 1530-1420.) He was nearly forty years old when he
shared in the hurried triumph of the exodus. He is mentioned
first in connection with the fight against Amalek at
Rephidim, when he was chosen by Moses to lead the
Israelites. Ex 17:9 Soon afterward he was one of the twelve
chiefs who were sent, Nu 13:17 to explore the land of
Canaan, and one of the two, ch. Nu 14:6 who gave an
encouraging report of their journey. Moses, shortly before
his death, was directed, Nu 27:18 to invest Joshua with
authority over the people. God himself gave Joshua a charge
by the mouth of the dying lawgiver. De 31:14,23 Under the
direction of God again renewed, Jos 1:1 Joshua assumed the
command of the people at Shittim, sent spies into Jericho,
crossed the Jordan, fortified a camp at Gilgal, circumcised
the people, kept the passover, and was visited by the
Captain of the Lord's host. A miracle made the fall of
Jericho more terrible to the Canaanites. In the great battle
of Beth-horon the Amorites were signally routed, and the
south country was open to the Israelites. Joshua returned to
the camp at Gilgal, master of half of Israel. He defeated
the Canaanites under Jabin king of Hazor. In six years, six
tribes, with thirty-one petty chiefs, were conquered.
Joshua, now stricken in years, proceeded to make the
division of the conquered land. Timnath-serah in Mount
Ephraim was assigned as Joshua's peculiar inheritance. After
an interval of rest, Joshua convoked an assembly from all
Israel. He delivered two solemn addresses, recorded in Jos
23:24 He died at the age of 110 years, and was buried in his
own city, Timnath-serah.
2. An inhabitant of Beth-shemesh, in whose land was
the stone at which the milch-kine stopped when they drew the
ark of God with the offerings of the Philistines from Ekron
to Beth-shemesh. 1Sa 6:14,18 (B.C. 1124.)
3. A governor of the city who gave his name to a
gate of Jerusalem. 2Ki 23:8 (In the reign of Josiah, B.C.
4. Jeshua the son of Jozadak. Hag 1:14; 2:12; Zec
contains a history of the Israelites from the death of Moses
that of Joshua. It consists of three parts: (1.) The
the conquest of the land (1-12). (2.) The allotment
of the land
to the different tribes, with the appointment of
refuge, the provision for the Levites (13-22), and
of the eastern tribes to their homes. This section
compared to the Domesday Book of the Norman
conquest. (3.) The
farewell addresses of Joshua, with an account of his
This book stands first in the second of the three
(1) the Law, (2) the Prophets, (3) the "other
Hagiographa, into which the Jewish Church divided
Testament. There is every reason for concluding that
tradition of the Jews is correct when they assign
of the book to Joshua, all except the concluding
last verses (24:29-33) were added by some other
There are two difficulties connected with this book
given rise to much discussion, (1.) The miracle of
still of the sun and moon on Gibeon. The record of
it occurs in
Joshua's impassioned prayer of faith, as quoted
from the "Book of Jasher" (q.v.). There are many
given of these words. They need, however, present no
if we believe in the possibility of God's miraculous
interposition in behalf of his people. Whether it
was caused by
the refraction of the light, or how, we know not.
(2.) Another difficulty arises out of the command
given by God
utterly to exterminate the Canaanites. "Shall not
the Judge of
all the earth do right?" It is enough that Joshua
that this was the will of God, who employs his
agencies, famine, pestilence, and war, in the
government of this world. The Canaanites had sunk
into a state
of immorality and corruption so foul and degrading
that they had
to be rooted out of the land with the edge of the
Israelites' sword, in its bloodiest executions,
wrought a work
of mercy for all the countries of the earth to the
very end of
Jehovah is his help, or Jehovah the Saviour. The son of Nun,
the tribe of Ephraim, the successor of Moses as the
Israel. He is called Jehoshua in Num. 13:16 (A.V.),
and Jesus in
Acts 7:45 and Heb. 4:8 (R.V., Joshua).
He was born in Egypt, and was probably of the age of
with whom he is generally associated. He shared in
events of the Exodus, and held the place of
commander of the
host of the Israelites at their great battle against
Amalekites in Rephidim (Ex. 17:8-16). He became
or servant, and accompanied him part of the way when
Mount Sinai to receive the two tables (Ex. 32:17).
He was also
one of the twelve who were sent on by Moses to
explore the land
of Canaan (Num. 13:16, 17), and only he and Caleb
encouraging report. Under the direction of God,
his death, invested Joshua in a public and solemn
authority over the people as his successor (Deut.
people were encamped at Shittim when he assumed the
(Josh. 1:1); and crossing the Jordan, they encamped
where, having circumcised the people, he kept the
was visited by the Captain of the Lord's host, who
spoke to him
encouraging words (1:1-9).
Now began the wars of conquest which Joshua carried
many years, the record of which is in the book which
name. Six nations and thirty-one kings were
conquered by him
(Josh. 11:18-23; 12:24). Having thus subdued the
Joshua divided the land among the tribes, Timnath-
serah in Mount
Ephraim being assigned to himself as his own
SHILOH -T0003375; PRIEST -T0003001.)
His work being done, he died, at the age of one
ten years, twenty-five years after having crossed
the Jordan. He
was buried in his own city of Timnath-serah (Josh.
24); and "the
light of Israel for the time faded away."
Joshua has been regarded as a type of Christ (Heb.
4:8) in the
following particulars: (1) In the name common to
Joshua brings the people into the possession of the
Land, as Jesus brings his people to the heavenly
Canaan; and (3)
as Joshua succeeded Moses, so the Gospel succeeds
The character of Joshua is thus well sketched by
"Born a slave in Egypt, he must have been about
forty years old
at the time of the Exodus. Attached to the person of
led Israel in the first decisive battle against
17:9, 13), while Moses in the prayer of faith held
up to heaven
the God-given 'rod.' It was no doubt on that
occasion that his
name was changed from Oshea, 'help,' to Jehoshua,
help' (Num. 13:16). And this name is the key to his
work. Alike in bringing the people into Canaan, in
his wars, and
in the distribution of the land among the tribes,
miraculous crossing of Jordan and taking of Jericho
to his last
address, he was the embodiment of his new name,
help.' To this outward calling his character also
It is marked by singleness of purpose, directness,
decision...He sets an object before him, and
follows it" (Bible Hist., iii. 103)