*The picture in this entry is a wall of Jericho, the Bible tells us that the wall near Rahab did not fall down, but the rest of the walls fell. God did this to spare Rahab and her family, which indicates that Rahab lived near the Northern Wall. Archaeology proves the fall of Jericho. (Picture Credit to Oxford Bible Church.)
This is the sixth Book Overview in a series of 66 Books. These overviews are written so that it may provide readers with details about the book, things that they may have missed, and will hopefully peak your interest so that you will read the book, the entire Bible in fact, as God wants us to do. Now, onto the Book of Joshua.
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Authorship: Evidence indicates that the authors of Joshua are Joshua, Eleazar, and Phineas. Joshua 24:26 tells us, "And Joshua recorded these things in the book of the law," before his death. the usage of "we" in Joshua 5:1,6 seems to indicate that the earlier chapters were written by Joshua, with later additions, speaking of the death and burial of Joshua, were written by Eleazar and Phineas. All evidence points to Joshua as the "basic composer" of the book that bears his name. There are allusions in the later chapters to events that occurred after the death of Joshua, found in Judges, such as Othniel's capture of Kirjath-sepher. (Joshua 15:13-17, Judges 1:9-13)
Written: Joshua was written between 1400-1370 BC. Moses died in 1405 BC, and Joshua became the leader of Israel, along with Caleb. Joshua died around 1379 BC. The later material, therefore, was probably written between 1379-1370 BC.
Summary: "Joshua record the events of Israel's entrance into Canaan-The Promised Land." (NIV)
Overview: Joshua 1-12 - Conquest of Canaan
Joshua 13-22 - The dividing of the land among the tribes
Joshua 23-24 - Joshua's Call to the Nation (Probably written by Phineas and Eleazar.)
Joshua 5:13-6 - The Account of the Fall of Jericho.
Joshua 10:12-14 - Joshua's "Long Day," when the Sun stood still. (See entry: Curiosities in the Bible, Part One)
The first 12 chapters of Joshua tell of the conquest of Canaan, which occurred between 1406-1400 BC. Chapters 13-24 talk about the division of the land among each of the tribes. Joshua lies apart from Numbers and Judges in that it emphasizes that God blesses his people, his true followers, when they obey him.
Disobedience of God's commands leads to decline in spiritual life. Several books in the Bible evidence this - when Israel would continually disobey God, time and time again, they would be given over to hands of their enemies - even being captives in Babylon. (See Ezra, Nehemiah)
As you read the Book of Joshua, specifically Chapters 22-24, which show us a concept of commitment and love for God, examine your heart to see which areas still need to be "conquered" to make your love and commitment to God whole-hearted.
*Points: The Fall of Jericho found in Joshua 5:13-6 is a interesting account. The commander of the Lord's Army, probably Michael the Archangel, comes to Joshua and tells him to give this command to the Israelites: "March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of ram's horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in." This came to pass. Joshua sent spies to the city to see if any could be saved, but only a woman and her family who harbored the spies was saved, because of her faithfulness - her name was Rahab.
Joshua 3:1-17 tells of the Crossing of the Jordan. Much like the crossing of the Red Sea, (See entry: The Parting of the Red Sea) the leader, Joshua, gave the Israelites a command: those who carry the Ark of the Covenant, "When you reach the edge of Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river." (Joshua 3:8) The priests did so. They walked into the river, and the river - on one side, piled up. The other side, stopped flowing - it was "completely cut off." (Joshua 3:16) Verse 17 tells us, "The priests who carried the ark of the covenant stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed crossing on dry ground." What a wondrous account.
In Genesis 50:25, we are told, "And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, 'God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place." So, after more than four hundred years, the bones of Joseph were buried in Canaan, as per his request. Moses and the Israelites took his bones with them when the Exodus occurred, and his request is fulfilled in Joshua 24:32, which says, "And Joseph's bones, which the Israelites ha brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob brought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph's descendants." Jacob bought the land in Genesis 34.
After 400 years of slavery in Egypt, 40 Years of Walking in the Desert, and several more with Joshua, the Israelites finally came to the Promised Land: Canaan. Joshua was the last ruler of the Israelites in the same way that Moses was. However, the Israelites again rejected God. Dark times were ahead for Israel. Even though they continued to reject God, God still had plans to save them. These were the people who would rescue Israel from their enemies. "This was the day of the JUDGES."
Next Book Overview: Book of Judges
Previous Book Overview: Book of Deuteronomy