The Book of Joshua
The Lord will fight for
23:10: “One man of you puts to flight a
thousand since it is the LORD your God who
fights for you just as he promised you”
1. The HISTORICAL SETTING
a. Historical Scope: about 20 years
b. As the book of Joshua begins:
1. Where is the nation of Israel? On the east side of the
2. What is the basic spiritual condition of the nation?
Bold and courageous: they are a new generation!
c. The twofold responsibility God sets before
1. To destroy the population of the land
2. To divide and inhabit the land
2. Outline of Joshua
I. Entering the Land of Canaan (1-5)
II. Conquering the Land of Canaan (6-12)
III. Dividing the Land of Canaan (13-22)
IV. Joshua's Final Charge to Israel (23-24)
3. Purpose of Joshua
To display God’s power by giving Israel the
promised land, thereby dividing it equally
among the tribes, and to reaffirm his
covenant with the new generation.
4. The “Former Prophets” (or “Historical Books”)
Hebrew Bible (Former English Bible (Historical
Samuel (both 1 and 2) Ruth
Kings (both 1 and 2) 1 Samuel
A. Joshua is commissioned by YHWH
several themes laid out in 1st chapter
1. Divine sovereignty (1:2-5; 24:1-13)
2. Human responsibility (1:6-9; 24:14-15)
3. Tribal Unity (1:10ff; cf. ch. 22)
1. Leaders in Judges?
2. Prophecy of a leader in Ruth
3. Leaders in Samuel?
B. Jericho is spied out (2)
a. Theological Significance of Rahab?
First significant non-Israelite to express faith in Israel’s
Cf. Gen 12:3 “through you all the nations will be blessed”
God’s intention is to reach the nations through Israel (not
reach Israel instead of the nations).
b. inclusion of “outsiders/nations” in Joshua
C. The nation of Israel crosses the Jordan
Clearly, the ark and priests are the focus.
What’s the point?
Power of God emphasized: 3:9-13; 4:5-7; 4:21-24;
The power of having a “God-with-ness”
Evokes the Exodus
The "Captain of the Host" appears to
What is the theological
God will fight for the
Israelites if they obey,
and against the
Israelites if they don’t
obey (i.e. treat Him as
The Three Campaigns of
1. Central campaign
2. Southern campaign
(Josh 9-10). triggered by
the treaty with Gibeon.
3. Northern campaign
(Josh 11). Jabin of Hazor
assembleS a large army
The conquest of Jericho (Josh 6)
1. Small city
2. God’s the one fighting
3. The walls fell “flat” (lit. “in
4. Test of obedience (Josh
The conquest of Ai (7:1-
Achan contrasted with Rahab
Why the severe punishment of Achan
Kherem regulation (kherem = “under the ban” or
“devoted to destruction”)
Ma’al (“break faith”)
Corporate solidarity (Achan)
The Battle (ch. 8)
“God works through miracle; God works through
human planning and strategizing” (Hamilton, 44)
SOUTHERN campaign (9-10)
Deut 20:10-12, 15-16, “When you approach a city to
fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace. And it
shall come about, if it agrees to make peace with you
and opens to you, then it shall be that all the people
who are found in it shall become your forced labor and
shall serve you…Thus you shall do to all the cities that
are very far form you, which are not of the cities of
these nations nearby. Only in the cities of these peoples
that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance,
you shall not leave alive anything that breathes”
The NORTHERN Campaign
a) Not much “ink” for the northern
b) Did Joshua and the Israelites Conquer
the Land or Not?
Comprehensive defeat? (i.e. “No one left standing”)
(11:23; Josh 21:43-45; 23:14)
No comprehensive? (Cf. 13:1-2; 16:10; 17:12-13;
18:2-4 [Judges 1-2])
III. Dividing the land of Canaan (13-22)
Significance of the land division?
The fulfillment of God’s Land Promise (Gen 12:1-3)
Different views on Land fulfillment
1. Literal Fulfillment in Joshua.
2. Spiritual Fulfillment in Jesus
3. Literal fulfillment in 1948.
4. Partial Fulfillment in Joshua, complete fulfillment in all
creation at the end of time.
Joshua's Final Charge to
a) 24:1-28: God’s sovereignty and human
a) 24:1-13 = past indicative of what God has done
a) cf. 23:10:
b) 24:14-15 = imperative flowing from God’s great
a) Cf. 23:11-12
Excursus: The Ethics of “Holy War”
1. Common grace extended to the Canaanites (Gen
"Have not commanded you?
15), and some responded Iandthis graceDo notBeRahab; cf.
to courageous. (i.e. be
Gibeonites) terrified; do not be discouraged, for the
LORD your God will be with you
2. not “ethnic cleansing”
Divine punishment, wherever you go” (D. Rumsfeld, 3 April
2003 in reference to America's invasion
1. “There is a huge moral difference between arbitrary
violence and violence inflicted within the moral
framework of punishment” (Wright, OT Ethics, 476)
2. Capital punishment vs. random murder
3. Fulfillment of a covenant promise, not arbitrary
4. God’s people as a theocratic nation
5. OT as an unfolding drama