The biblical book of Joshua describes the conquest and settlement of the land of Canaan by the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua, who succeeded Moses as the leader of the Israelites.
The book is divided into two main parts: the conquest of the land and the distribution of the land among the twelve tribes of Israel. The conquest is described as a series of military campaigns, in which the Israelites, with God's help, defeat the Canaanite kings and take possession of the land.
After the conquest, the land is divided among the twelve tribes of Israel, and Joshua is appointed as the leader of the nation. The book ends with Joshua's final address to the people of Israel, in which he urges them to remain faithful to God and obey His commandments.
The book of Joshua is part of the "Former Prophets" section of the Tanakh, which also includes the books of Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, and 2 Samuel. In the Hebrew Bible, this section is known as Nevi'im (Prophets). The "Former Prophets" tell the story of Israel from the conquest of Canaan to the Babylonian exile, focusing on the leadership of the judges, kings, and prophets who guided the Israelites during this time.
Key Theological Concepts
- Covenant faithfulness
- Throughout the book, Joshua repeatedly emphasizes the importance of remaining faithful to the covenant between God and Israel.
- God had promised to give the land of Canaan to the Israelites, and in return, they were to obey His commands and worship only Him.
- The book shows that God is faithful to His promises, and the Israelites must be faithful to their covenant obligations.
- Divine sovereignty
- The book of Joshua highlights God's sovereignty over all things, including the conquest of the Promised Land.
- It is through God's power and provision that the Israelites are able to defeat their enemies and take possession of the land.
- The book emphasizes that the success of the Israelites is not due to their own strength, but to God's divine intervention.
- Holiness and obedience
- The book of Joshua stresses the importance of holiness and obedience to God's commands.
- The Israelites are commanded to consecrate themselves before the conquest of Jericho, and they must obey God's commands throughout the book.
- Disobedience to God's commands results in defeat, as in the case of Achan, and obedience leads to success.
- Judgment and grace
- The book of Joshua shows both God's judgment and His grace.
- The Canaanites are judged for their sin and idolatry, and their destruction serves as a warning to others.
- At the same time, God shows grace to the Israelites, providing for their needs and forgiving them when they repent of their sin.
- The book emphasizes the importance of strong and faithful leadership.
- Joshua serves as an example of a leader who follows God's guidance, is faithful to the covenant, and prepares his people for success.
- His leadership inspires the Israelites to remain faithful to God and to take possession of the land.
- Preparation for Conquest (Joshua 1-5)
- God commissions Joshua as Moses' successor (Joshua 1:1-9)
- Spies are sent into Jericho (Joshua 2:1-24)
- Crossing of the Jordan River (Joshua 3:1-17)
- Circumcision of Israelite males at Gilgal (Joshua 5:2-9)
- Observance of the Passover at Gilgal (Joshua 5:10-12)
- Conquest of the Land (Joshua 6-12)
- Conquest of Jericho (Joshua 6:1-27)
- Defeat at Ai and Achan's sin (Joshua 7:1-26)
- Renewal of covenant at Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim (Joshua 8:30-35)
- Deception of the Gibeonites and alliance with them (Joshua 9:1-27)
- Conquest of southern Canaanite kings (Joshua 10:1-43)
- Conquest of northern Canaanite kings (Joshua 11:1-23)
- Division of the Land (Joshua 13-22)
- Inheritance of the land by the tribes of Israel (Joshua 13:1-21:45)
- Establishment of the cities of refuge (Joshua 20:1-9)
- Building of the altar of the witness by the eastern tribes (Joshua 22:1-34)
- Covenant Renewal and Joshua's Farewell (Joshua 23-24)
- Joshua's exhortation to Israel to serve God faithfully (Joshua 23:1-16)
- Covenant renewal at Shechem (Joshua 24:1-28)
- Joshua's final speech and death at 110 years old (Joshua 24:29-33)