Joshua 1

Joshua Addresses the Israelites

1 After the death of Moses the servant of Yahweh, Yahweh said to Joshua son of Nun, the assistant[a] of Moses, saying,
2 "My servant Moses [is] dead. Get up and cross the Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I [am] giving to them, to the {Israelites}.[b]
3 Every place that the soles of your feet will tread, I have given it to you, as I promised[c] to Moses.
4 From the wilderness {and the Lebanon},[d] up to the great river, the river Euphrates, all of the land of the Hittites, and up to {the great sea in the west},[e] will be your territory.
5 No one will stand before you[f] all the days of your life. [Just] as I was with Moses, [so] will I be with you; I will not fail you, and I will not forsake you.
6 Be strong and courageous, for you will give the people this land as an inheritance that I swore to their ancestors[g] to give them.
7 Only be strong and very courageous {to observe diligently the whole law}[h] that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn aside from it, [to] the right or left, so that you may succeed {wherever you go}.[i]
8 The scroll of this law will not depart from your mouth; you will meditate on it day and night so that {you may observe diligently all that is written}[j] in it. For then you will succeed [in] your ways and prosper.
9 Did I not command you? Be strong and courageous! Do not fear or be dismayed, for Yahweh your God is with you {wherever you go}."[k]
10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,
11 "Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people: 'Prepare your provisions;[l] {in}[m] three days you [are to] cross the Jordan to go possess the land that Yahweh your God [is] giving you to possess.'"
12 To the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh Joshua said,
13 "Remember the word that Moses Yahweh's servant commanded you, saying, 'Yahweh your God [is] giving rest to you, and he is giving[n] you this land.'
14 Your wives, your little children, and your livestock, they will remain in the land that Moses gave to you beyond the Jordan. {All of the best fighting men}[o] will cross armed in front of your families; they will help you
15 until Yahweh gives rest to your families as well as to you. They will take possession of the land that Yahweh your God [is] giving to them. Then you will return to your own land and take possession of it, [the land] that Moses the servant of Yahweh gave you beyond the Jordan {to the east}."[p]
16 And they answered Joshua, saying, "All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you will send us we will go.
17 Just as we obeyed Moses, so will we obey you. Only may Yahweh your God be with you, as he was with Moses.
18 Whoever {rebels against your orders}[q] and does not obey your words according to what you commanded us will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous."

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Joshua 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

Here is the history of Israel's passing into the land of Canaan, conquering and dividing it, under the command of Joshua, and their history until his death. The power and truth of God in fulfilling his promises to Israel, and in executing his justly threatened vengeance on the Canaanites, are wonderfully displayed. This should teach us to regard the tremendous curses denounced in the word of God against impenitent sinners, and to seek refuge in Christ Jesus.

The Lord appoints Joshua to succeed Moses. (1-4) God promises to assist Joshua. (5-9) Preparation to pass over Jordan. (10-15) The people promise to obey Joshua. (16-18)

Verses 1-4 Joshua had attended upon Moses. He who was called to honour, had been long used to business. Our Lord Jesus took upon him the form of a servant. Joshua was trained up under command. Those are fittest to rule, who have learned to obey. The removal of useful men should quicken survivors to be the more diligent in doing good. Arise, go over Jordan. At this place and at this time the banks were overflowed. Joshua had no bridge or boats, and yet he must believe that God, having ordered the people over, would open a way.

Verses 5-9 Joshua is to make the law of God his rule. He is charged to meditate therein day and night, that he might understand it. Whatever affairs of this world we have to mind, we must not neglect the one thing needful. All his orders to the people, and his judgments, must be according to the law of God. Joshua must himself be under command; no man's dignity or dominion sets him above the law of God. He is to encourage himself with the promise and presence of God. Let not the sense of thine own infirmities dishearten thee; God is all-sufficient. I have commanded, called, and commissioned thee to do it, and will be sure to bear thee out in it. When we are in the way of duty, we have reason to be strong and very bold. Our Lord Jesus, as Joshua here, was borne up under his sufferings by a regard to the will of God, and the commandment from his Father.

Verses 10-15 Joshua says to the people, Ye shall pass over Jordan, and shall possess the land; because God had said so to him. We honour the truth of God, when we stagger not at the promise of God. The two tribes and a half were to go over Jordan with their brethren. When God, by his providence, has given us rest, we ought to consider what service we may do to our brethren.

Verses 16-18 The people of Israel engage to obey Joshua; All that thou commandest us to do we will readily do, without murmuring or disputing, and whithersoever thou sendest us we will go. The best we can ask of God for our magistrates, is, that they may have the presence of God; that will make them blessings to us, so that in seeking this for them, we consult our own interest. May we be enabled to enlist under the banner of the Captain of our salvation, to be obedient to his commands, and to fight the good fight of faith, with all that trust in and love his name, against all who oppose his authority; for whoever refuses to obey him must be destroyed.

Footnotes 17

  • [a]. Or "servant"
  • [b]. Literally "sons/children of Israel"
  • [c]. Or "spoke"
  • [d]. Literally "this Lebanon"; "Lebanon" in Hebrew means "white mountain"
  • [e]. Literally "the great sea of the setting sun"
  • [f]. Or "in your presence"
  • [g]. Or "fathers"
  • [h]. Literally "to keep [and] to act according to the whole law"
  • [i]. Literally "in all that you go"
  • [j]. Literally "to keep [and] to act according to all that is written"
  • [k]. Literally "in all that you go"
  • [l]. Hebrew "provision"
  • [m]. Literally "for in still"
  • [n]. Hebrew "he gave"
  • [o]. Literally "All the mighty warriors of the troop"
  • [p]. Literally "to the sunrise"
  • [q]. Literally "defiles against your mouth"

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JOSHUA

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.

\\INTRODUCTION TO JOSHUA 1\\

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.

Joshua 1 Commentaries