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Bible Book Summary: Joshua

Joshua

The Biblical story of Joshua is a story of faithfulness. As the assistant of Moses, the book’s main character saw firsthand the ups and downs the Nation of Israel experienced through their wilderness journey. It is the first book of history, after the Books of the Law, but really is a consummation of the previous five book’s teachings.

Author and Date

The first book of history in the Old Testament, Joshua, does not name its author. However, it is widely believed that the most likely candidate to have penned this history was the story’s main character Joshua. Even the Talmud ascribes the authorship of the book to Joshua, with the exception of the account of his death — something that was most likely written by an assistant Joshua trained. Many scholars will point to a date of around 1405-1385 B.C. for the book’s composition. 

Theme

The book highlights the faithfulness of God to His people. Having been born into Egyptian slavery, Joshua saw the first part of God’s redemption as the Israelites were rescued from their bondage. Then, the book of Joshua recounts the history of the follow through, the faithfulness of God to Israel in giving them the Promised Land and allowing them to rest. 

Joshua
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Particularly, in the book of Joshua comes one of the best declarations of faith. As the Israelites had seen the faithfulness of God, they still chose poorly in adhering to all he commanded, eventually even chasing after other gods. Prior to his death, Joshua declares, “…choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh 24:15b).  

Background and Purpose

The historical background of Joshua is intrinsically connected to the Exodus that occurred 40 years prior. Israel had been wandering through the plains of Moab for 40 years and had yet to reach the Promised Land. This was not due to some deficiency in God’s promise, but their own lack of conviction in his promise. Yet, God proves faithful as he directs them through the conquest of their enemies, even holding the sun in the sky for 24 hours so they could defeat their foes (Josh 10:1-15). 

The ultimate purpose of the book is the fulfilled promise that God made to Israel’s forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The promise that they would be blessed and a blessing to those around them. 

Christ in Joshua

Though Jesus isn’t explicitly seen in the book, or prophesied about, the name “Joshua” means Yeshua, “Yahweh is salvation,” which points to the work of Christ. Additionally, Joshua is given a vision of the “commander of the army of the Lord” (5:13-14), who is Jesus prior to his incarnation. This commander is the leader who went before the people of Israel and 

Key Verses

  • 1:8-9
  • 5:13-14
  • chapter 6, the Fall of Jericho
  • 24:14-15

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