Joshua – Bible Study Commentary
Come in, and receive God’s promises!
About this book
A Bible text and commentary on the book of Joshua. Written by Brian Rowlands. April 2005.
1 Lessons from the Book of Joshua
The Book of Joshua has many lessons for us. It teaches us to accept the good things that God provides for us.
The *Israelites had been slaves in Egypt. God had set them free with the help of Moses. At first, they did not trust that God had done the right thing. Most of them died in the desert because they did not believe. Only Joshua and Caleb believed. ‘The *Israelites had walked about in the desert for 40 years. But all the men had died who were old enough to fight at the beginning of their journey. This happened because they had not obeyed the *Lord’ (Joshua 5:6).
Joshua and Caleb reached the *promised land with those who had been born in the desert. The journey had taken about 40 years. Now they were ready to enter the land.
Moses had said, ‘God brought us out of Egypt. He will bring us in and give us the land’ (Deuteronomy 6:23). The Book of Joshua is all about this. God brought the *Israelites out of Egypt to take them into the *promised land. The *Israelites did not know completely the goodness of God until they entered the *promised land.
When we read the Book of Joshua for the first time, it appears to be all about unpleasant wars. The *promised land already had its own inhabitants. God said that they were evil people because
· they *worshipped false gods (Deuteronomy 20:18);
· they *sacrificed their children to their gods (Deuteronomy 12:31);
· they practised magic (Deuteronomy 18:9-11).
The inhabitants did not want the *Israelites to live in the *promised land. So, the inhabitants would oppose the *Israelites. The *Israelites would have to kill the inhabitants before they could enjoy the promises of God.
In the Book of Joshua, God is saying to his people, ‘Come in! Come in to the *promised land. Come in to all that is best for you.’ ‘I brought you out to bring you in.’
The Book of Joshua is like a lesson for us today. The book shows us what God wants to do for all Christians. Many Christians are like the *Israelites who died in the desert. God has saved them from judgement. But they do not realise all the good things that God has for them. They let other things get in the way of these *blessings.
It is important to read the Book of Joshua with this in mind. It is not just a history book! The Book of Joshua has important lessons for all Christians. And the Book of Joshua shows us what God wants to do for us here and now. God brought us out to bring us in.
‘The *Lord has kept every one of the promises that he gave to you. You know that deep in yourselves. He has not failed to keep one of them. The *Lord has kept every good promise’ (Joshua 23:14, 15).
2 About Joshua
Joshua was a helper to Moses. We read a lot about Joshua in the Books of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Here are just three examples.
· Joshua led the army against the *Amalekites. While Joshua was fighting, Moses lifted his hands up in prayer to God (Exodus 17:8-16). Joshua knew the value of prayer.
· Joshua went with Moses up Sinai mountain when God gave the *Israelites instructions about the *ark (Exodus 24:13 – 25:8). Joshua had actually been with God.
· Joshua was one of 12 men that Moses sent in secret to look at the *promised land. Only Joshua and Caleb brought good news back (Numbers 13). Joshua had *faith that God would provide.
Joshua’s name in the Hebrew language means The *Lord is my *Saviour. (The Hebrew language is the language of the *Old Testament.) The name Jesus in the Greek language means the same. (The Greek language is the language of the *New Testament.) God used Joshua to save the *Israelites. Jesus is our *Saviour.
Think about this: God was preparing Joshua to be the leader of the *Israelites. Joshua was ready for the job that was ahead of him. We should allow God to prepare us and to use us in his work.
3 What the book is all about
1. Prepare for God’s *blessing 1:1 – 5:12
God prepares the leader 1:1-9
Joshua prepares the people 1:10-18
Joshua sends two men to look over the land 2:1-24
The people cross the river Jordan 3:1-5:1
*Circumcision and *Passover 5:1-12
2. Take God’s *blessing 5:13 – 12:24
The first *victory – Jericho 5:13-6:27
Defeat then *victory at Ai 7:1-8:29
Joshua reads God’s law to the people 8:30-35
The *Israelites become friends with their enemies from Gibeon 9:1-27
The *Israelites defeat the Amorites 10:1-28
The *Israelites defeat the towns in the south of the country 10:29-43
The *Israelites defeat the towns in the north of the country 11:1-23
A list of all the kings that the *Israelites defeated 12:1-24
3. The extent of the *blessing 13:1 – 21:45
The land that *Israel had not yet taken 13:1-7
The land that Moses gave to Reuben, Gad and Manasseh 13:8-33
Joshua divides the rest of the land 14:1-19:51
*Cities of *refuge 20:1-9
Towns for the *Levites 21:1-45
4. Accept God’s *blessing 22:1 – 24:33
The *tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh return home 22:1-34
Joshua says ‘Goodbye’ to his leaders 23:1-16
Joshua says ‘Goodbye’ to the people 24:1-13
The people promise to serve God 24:14-27
The death of Joshua 24:28-33