DATE: 1400-1370 B.C.
While Joshua is identified as the author of this book (24:1-26), there are a few sections (15:13-17, 24:29-31) that must have been written by another. It’s thought that these passages were probably added by Eleazar the priest or by Eleazar’s son Phinehas. Joshua was an eyewitness to many of the events and he recorded them shortly after they took place (6:25).
The book describes the conquest and division of the land of Canaan. It exposes the corrupt and brutal nature of Canaanite religion. God commanded to kill the inhabitants of Canaan and rid the land of the sins of prostitution of both sexes, infant sacrifice, religious syncretism, and more. Having failed to do so, Israel later engaged in many of the sins of the heathen nations including idolatry and false religion.
Joshua was born in Egypt and his given name Hoshea means salvation. Moses changed his name to Joshua (Num 13:16) which means God is Salvation. It’s thought that Joshua might have served in Pharaoh’s army which would have prepared and qualified him to command the Israelites against the Amalekites at Rephidim (Ex. 17:8-16). Joshua served as a minister (personal attendant, (Joshua 1:1) to Moses during the year at Mount Sinai (Ex. 24:13). As the representative of the tribe of Ephraim, Joshua scouted the land of Canaan with the other eleven spies and, along with Caleb, had faith that they could enter the land and be victorious with God’s help. The Lord told Moses to commission Joshua as his successor (Num. 27:18-23) who would lead the people in their conquest of Canaan. Joshua’s outstanding qualities were faith, courage, obedience, and devotion to the law of God.
The book of Joshua emphasizes (1) the faithfulness of God to give Israel the land of Canaan (cf. Gen. 13:15); (2) the importance of the written law of God (Josh. 1:8; 8:32-35; 23:6-16; 24:26-27); and (3) the holiness of God in judging the sins of the Canaanites (cf. Deut. 7:1-6).
OUTLINE OF JOSHUA
I. Entering the Land of Canaan, 1:1-5:15
A. The Commission of God to Joshua, 1:1-9
B. The Command of Joshua to the People, 1:10-18
C. The Canvassing of Jericho: Rahab and the Spies, 2:1-24
D. The Crossing of the Jordan River, 3:1-17
E. The Commemoration of the Crossing, 4:1-24
F. The Circumcision of the People, 5:1-12
G. The Commander of the Lord’s Army, 5:13-15
II. Conquering the Land of Canaan, 6:1-12:24
A. Conquest of Central Canaan, 6:1-8:35
1. Victory at Jericho, 6:1-27
2. Defeat at Ai: Achan’s sin, 7:1-26
3. Victory at Ai, 8:1-29
4. Worship at Ebal, 8:30-35
B. Conquest of Southern Canaan, 9:1-10:43
1. Deception of the Gibeonites, 9:1-27
2. Destruction of the Amorite coalition, 10:1-43
C. Conquest of Northern Canaan, 11:1-15
D. Summary of the Conquest, 11:16-12:24
III. Dividing the Land of Canaan, 13:1-24:33
A. Instructions to Joshua, 13:1-7
B. Division of Transjordan, 13:8-33
C. Division of Canaan, 14:1-19:51
1. Introduction, 14:1-5
2. Inheritance of Judah, 14:6-15:63
3. Inheritance of Ephraim, 16:1-10
4. Inheritance of half-tribe of Manasseh, 17:1-18
5. Survey of remaining land, 18:1-10
6. Inheritance of Benjamin, 18:11-28
7. Inheritance of Simeon, 19:1-9
8. Inheritance of Zebulun, 19:10-16
9. Inheritance of Issachar, 19:17-23
10. Inheritance of Asher, 19:24-31
11. Inheritance of Naphtali, 19:32-39
12. Inheritance of Dan, Josh 19:40-48
13. Special inheritances, 19:49-51
D. Cities of Refuge, 20:1-9
E. Cities of the Levites, 21:1-45
F. Joshua’s Farewell Messages, 22:1-24:28
1. To the two-and-a-half tribes, 22:1-34
2. To the rulers, 23:1-16
3. To the people, 24:1-28
G. The Death of Joshua, 24:29-33
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