The Jews distinguish the prophets into former and latter; the first of
the former prophets is Joshua, or Sepher Joshua, the book of Joshua, as
it is commonly called in the Hebrew copies; the Syriac inscription is,

``the book of Joshua, the son of Nun, the disciple of Moses:''

in the Arabic version it is reckoned a book of the judges, which adds,

``the first among the judges of the children of Israel was
Joshua, the son of Nun, the twenty eighth from Adam, who
reigned over Israel after the Prophet Moses.''

This book bears the name of Joshua, either because it is concerning
him, his actions and exploits in the land of Canaan, or because it was
written by him, or both; though some ascribe it to Ezra, and others to
Isaiah; but it must have been written before the times of Ahab, as
appears from \\#1Ki 16:34\\; and even before the times of David, as is
clear from \\#Jos 15:63\\, compared with \\#2Sa 5:6\\; for though mention
is made in it of the mountains of Judah and of Israel, from whence some
have concluded, that the writer must have lived after the times of
Rehoboam, in whose days the kingdom was divided; yet we find the
distinction of Israel and Judah took place before, even in the times of
David and Asaph, \\#Ps 76:1\\; It is most likely that this book was written
by Joshua himself, as the Jews in their Talmud {a} assert; and, indeed,
who more fit for it than himself? and if written or put together by
another, it is most probable that it was taken out of his diary,
annals, or memoirs; and though there are some things recorded in it,
which were done after his death, these might be inserted under a divine
direction and influence by Eleazar, or Phinehas, or Samuel, to each of
whom some ascribe the writing of this book, just as Joshua is supposed
to add some verses concerning Moses at the end of the Pentateuch:
however, be it wrote by whom it may, there is no doubt to be made of
the divine inspiration and authenticity of it by us Christians, since
some histories recorded in it are taken from it, or referred to, in
\\#Heb 11:30,31\\; and the promise made to Joshua is quoted, and applied
to every believer, \\#Heb 13:5,6\\; and the Apostle James refers to the case
of Rahab, her character and conduct in it, \\#Jas 2:25\\. The subject
matter of this book is Joshua's taking upon him the government of the
children of Israel, after the death of Moses, by a divine commission,
exhortation, and encouragement given him to engage in war with the
Canaanites; his conquests of them, the division of the land of Canaan
to the children of Israel, and their settlement in it. It is of great
use not only to give us the geography of the land of Canaan, and the
history of the church of God, from the death of Moses to the times of
the judges; but shows the exact fulfilment of prophecy, and the
faithfulness of God to his promises in giving the land of Canaan to
Israel, according to those made to their fathers, and the justice of
God in punishing the Canaanites for their abominable sins, as had been
foretold; and the wonderful care, of God, and his love to the people of
Israel in preserving and protecting them, and in settling them in such
a good land, notwithstanding all their murmurings, ingratitude, and
unbelief, in the wilderness; and may serve to lead us to Christ, whose
type Joshua was in the whole affair here related: his name has the
signification of the salvation of the Lord in and he is by the Greek
writers, and so in the New Testament, called Jesus, a Saviour, \\#Ac 7:45\\
\\#Heb 4:8\\; and as they agree in their name, so they do in their state,
condition, and character; Joshua was a servant of Moses, Christ was
made under the law, and became subject to it, both moral and
ceremonial; and also in their office, Joshua was the governor of
Israel, and the commander of their forces, for which he was well
qualified with wisdom, courage, and integrity; Christ is King of
saints, the Leader and Commander of the people, who has fought their
battles for them, being abundantly qualified, having the spirit of
wisdom, counsel, might, and of the fear of the Lord, resting on him.
Joshua was a type of Christ in various actions of his; in leading the
people through the river Jordan, an emblem either of baptism, or of
afflictions, or of death itself, in which Christ is with his people,
and carries them through; in saving Rahab and her family, so Christ
saves the worst and chief of sinners; in receiving the Gibeonites, who
submitted to him, as Christ does all that come to him; in his conquest
of the several kings of the Canaanites, so Christ has conquered all the
spiritual enemies of his people, sin, Satan, and the world; in bringing
and settling the people of Israel in the land of Canaan, their rest,
and dividing it to them by lot, which Moses might not do; so Christ
only brings souls into the true rest, into spiritual rest here, and
eternal rest hereafter; in whom they obtain the inheritance of the
heavenly glory by lot, and by whom only they enjoy salvation and
eternal life, and not by the works of the law. This book contains an
history of Joshua, of his government, his acts and deeds, from the
death of Moses to his own; how long that was is not certain; the Jewish
chronologers {b} observe, that the time of his principality we find not
in the text; though they {c} say he succeeded Moses when he was
eighty two years of age, and governed Israel twenty eight years;
Eupolemus {d}, an Heathen writer, says thirty years. Christian writers
commonly make his reign to be twenty seven years {e}; but an Arabic
writer {f} stretches it further to thirty one years; he says, he took
the government of the people in the seventy ninth year of his age, and
reigned thirty one; but it seems more probable that he was ninety three
years of age when Moses died, who lived to be an hundred ten, so that
only seventeen years intervened between the death of the one and of the
other; seven years Joshua was in subduing the land, and ten years more
were taken up in dividing it to the people, and settling them in it,
and in the government of them; after which Eleazar might rule ten years
more, whose death is mentioned in it; so indeed the book may be
reckoned an history of twenty seven years, though Joshua lived only
seventeen of them. The Chronicle, to which the Samaritans give the name
of the book of Joshua, is a spurious work; an epitome of which
Hottinger {g} has compiled, and translated out of the Arabic exemplar
into Latin.

{a} T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2.
{b} Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 7. 2.
{c} Seder Olam Rabba, c. 12. p. 33. Juchasin, fol. 10. 1.
{d} Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 30.
{e} Tertullian, Lactantius, Eusebius, Augustin. apud Hottinger.
Thesaur. Philolog. l . 2. c. 1. sect. 2. p. 960. so Ben Gersom in
Jud. 11. 26. & Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. p. 25.
{f} Elmacinus apud Hottinger. p. 524.
{g} Ad Calcem Exercitat. Antimorin.


Moses being dead, the Lord directs and encourages Joshua to take the
command of the children of Israel, and go over Jordan with them, and
take possession of the land of Canaan, and divide it to them; giving
him gracious promises and strong assurances of his presence, and some
good advice with respect to his conduct, \\#Jos 1:1-9\\; upon which Joshua
orders the people to be ready in three days to go along with him,
\\#Jos 1:10,11\\; and particularly addresses the Reubenites and Gadites,
and half tribe of Manasseh, and puts them in mind of what Moses had
ordered, and they had promised, to go along with their brethren, and
assist them in conquering the land, \\#Jos 1:12-15\\; which they readily
agreed to do, and promised obedience to him in all things,
\\#Jos 1:16-18\\.

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