HOME

TheInfoList




The Book of Joshua ( he, ספר יהושע ') is the sixth book in the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...

Hebrew Bible
and the Christian
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as aut ...
, and is the first book of the
Deuteronomistic history The Deuteronomist, abbreviated as either Dtr or simply D, may refer either to the source document underlying the core chapters (12–26) of the Book of Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos' ...
, the story of Israel from the conquest of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
to the
Babylonian exile The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. After the Battle of Carchemish in ...
. It tells of the campaigns of the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
in central, southern and northern Canaan, the destruction of their enemies, and the division of the land among the
Twelve Tribes The Twelve Tribes of Israel ( he, שבטי ישראל, translit=Shivtei Yisrael, lit=Tribes of Israel) are, according to Judeo-Christian texts, the descendants of the Biblical patriarch Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب '' Yaʿqūb'', g ...
, framed by two set-piece speeches, the first by God commanding the conquest of the land, and, at the end, the second by
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( he, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yəhōšūaʿ'') ''Yēšūʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَعُ ٱبْنُ نُونٍ '' Yūšaʿ ibn Nūn''; la, Iosue functioned ...

Joshua
warning of the need for faithful observance of the Law (''
torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

torah
'') revealed to
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
. Almost all scholars agree that the Book of Joshua holds little historical value for early Israel and most likely reflects a much later period. The earliest parts of the book are possibly chapters 2–11, the story of the conquest; these chapters were later incorporated into an early form of Joshua written late in the reign of king
Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 '' ...

Josiah
(reigned 640–609 BCE), but the book was not completed until after the fall of
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
to the
Neo-Babylonian Empire The Neo-Babylonian Empire, also known as the Second Babylonian Empire and historically known as the Chaldean Empire, was the last of the Mesopotamian empires to be ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia. Beginning with Nabopolassar's coronation as ...

Neo-Babylonian Empire
in 586 BCE, and possibly not until after the return from the
Babylonian exile The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. After the Battle of Carchemish in ...
in 539 BCE.


Contents


Structure

I. Transfer of leadership to Joshua (1:1–18) :A. God's commission to Joshua (1:1–9) :B. Joshua's instructions to the people (1:10–18) II. Entrance into and conquest of Canaan (2:1–12:24) :A. Entry into Canaan ::1.Reconnaissance of
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...

Jericho
(2:1–24) ::2. Crossing the River Jordan (3:1–17) ::3. Establishing a foothold at
Gilgal Gilgal ( he, גִּלְגָּל ''Gilgāl''; grc-koi, Γαλγαλατοκαι Δωδεκαλίθων "Galgalatokai of the Twelve Stones") is the name of one or more places in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebr ...
(4:1–5:1) ::4.
Circumcision Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin The foreskin is the double-layered fold of smooth muscle tissue, blood vessel The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system that transport blood throughout the human body. Th ...

Circumcision
and
Passover Passover, also called Pesach (; he, פֶּסַח '), is a major Jewish holiday Jewish holidays, also known as Jewish festivals or ''Yamim Tovim'' ( he, ימים טובים, , Good Days, or singular , in transliterated Translitera ...
(5:2–15) :B. Victory over Canaan (6:1–12:24) ::1. Destruction of Jericho (6) ::2. Failure and success at Ai (7:1–8:29) ::3. Renewal of the covenant at
Mount Ebal Mount Ebal ( ar, جبل عيبال ''Jabal ‘Aybāl''; he, הר עיבל ''Har ‘Eival'') is one of the two mountains in the immediate vicinity of the city of Nablus in the West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, ...
(8:30–35) ::4. Other campaigns in central Canaan. The Gibeonite Deception (9:1–27) ::5. Campaigns in southern Canaan (10:1–43) ::6. Campaigns in northern Canaan (11:1–15) ::7. Summary of lands conquered (11:16-23) ::8. Summary list of defeated kings (12:1–24) III. Division of the land among the tribes (13:1–22:34) :A. God's instructions to Joshua (13:1–7) :B. Tribal allotments (13:8–19:51) ::1. Eastern tribes (13:8–33) ::2. Western tribes (14:1–19:51) :C. Cities of refuge and levitical cities (20:1–21:42) :D. Summary of conquest (21:43–45) :E. De-commissioning of the eastern tribes (22:1–34) IV. Conclusion (23:1–24:33) :A. Joshua's farewell address (23:1–16) :B. Covenant at
Shechem Shechem (), also spelled Sichem (; he, שְׁכָם, , , ; grc, Συχέμ LXX), was a Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, i ...

Shechem
(24:1–28) :C. Deaths of Joshua and
Eleazar Eleazar (; ) or Elʽazar was a priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the Sacred rite, sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deity, deities. They also have the au ...

Eleazar
; burial of Joseph's bones (24:29–33)


Narrative


God's commission to Joshua (chapter 1)

Chapter 1 commences "after the death of
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
" and presents the first of three important moments in Joshua marked with major speeches and reflections by the main characters; here first
God In monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the ...

God
, and then
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( he, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yəhōšūaʿ'') ''Yēšūʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَعُ ٱبْنُ نُونٍ '' Yūšaʿ ibn Nūn''; la, Iosue functioned ...

Joshua
, make speeches about the goal of conquest of the
Promised Land The Promised Land ( he, הארץ המובטחת, translit. Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping Letter (alphabet), letters (thus ''wikt:trans-#Prefix, trans-'' + ''wikt:litte ...
; in chapter 12, the narrator looks back on the conquest; and in chapter 23 Joshua gives a speech about what must be done if
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
is to live in peace in the land. God commissions Joshua to take possession of the land and warns him to keep faith with the
Mosaic covenant The Mosaic covenant (named after Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, Hebrew romanization, romanized: ''Mōshé'', ISO 259#ISO 259-3, ISO 259-3: '; syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, '. (), also known as Moshe Rabbenu ...
. God's speech foreshadows the major themes of the book: the crossing of the
Jordan River ) , name_native_lang = , name_other = , name_etymology = Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, ''“descender”''), from ירד (yarad, ''“descended”'') , image = 20100923 mer morte13.JPG , image_size = , ima ...

Jordan River
and conquest of the land, its distribution, and the imperative need for obedience to the Law. Joshua's own immediate obedience is seen in his speeches to the Israelite commanders and to the Transjordanian tribes, and the Transjordanians' affirmation of Joshua's leadership echoes
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
's assurances of victory.


Entry into the land and conquest (chapters 2–12)

Rahab Rahab (; Arabic: رحاب, a vast space of a land) was, according to the Book of Joshua, a woman who lived in Tell es-Sultan, Jericho in the Promised Land and assisted the Israelites in capturing the city by hiding two men who had been sent to s ...
, a Canaanite woman of the Bible, sets in motion the entrance into Canaan by the Israelites. To avoid repeating failed attempts by
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
to have notable men of Israel predict the success rate of entry into Canaan mentioned in the
book of Numbers The Book of Numbers (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population i ...
, Joshua tasks two regular men with entering Jericho as spies. They arrive at Rahab's house and spend the night. The king of Jericho, having heard of possible Israelite spies, demands that Rahab reveal the men. She tells him that she is unaware of their whereabouts, when in reality, she hid them on her roof under flax. The next morning, Rahab professes her faith in God to the men and acknowledges her belief that Canaan was divinely reserved for the Israelites from the beginning. Because of Rahab's actions, the Israelites are able to enter Canaan. The Israelites cross the
Jordan River ) , name_native_lang = , name_other = , name_etymology = Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, ''“descender”''), from ירד (yarad, ''“descended”'') , image = 20100923 mer morte13.JPG , image_size = , ima ...

Jordan River
through a miraculous intervention of
God In monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the ...

God
and the
Ark of the Covenant The Ark of the Covenant (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judea ...

Ark of the Covenant
and are
circumcised Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin from the human penis. In the most common procedure, the foreskin is opened, adhesions are removed, and the foreskin is separated from the glans. After that, a circumcision device may be placed, and ...
at Gibeath-Haaraloth (translated as ''hill of foreskins''), renamed
Gilgal Gilgal ( he, גִּלְגָּל ''Gilgāl''; grc-koi, Γαλγαλατοκαι Δωδεκαλίθων "Galgalatokai of the Twelve Stones") is the name of one or more places in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebr ...
in memory. ''Gilgal'' sounds like ''Gallothi'', "''I have removed''", but is more likely to translate as "''circle of standing stones''". The conquest begins with the battle of Jericho, followed by Ai (central Canaan), after which Joshua builds an altar to Yahweh at
Mount Ebal Mount Ebal ( ar, جبل عيبال ''Jabal ‘Aybāl''; he, הר עיבל ''Har ‘Eival'') is one of the two mountains in the immediate vicinity of the city of Nablus in the West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, ...
in northern Canaan and renews the
Covenant Covenant may refer to: Religion * Covenant (religion) In religion, a covenant is a formal alliance or agreement made by God with a religious community or with humanity in general. The concept, central to the Abrahamic religions The Abraha ...
in a ceremony with elements of a divine land-grant ceremony, similar to ceremonies known from
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
. The narrative then switches to the south. The
Gibeonites Gibeon ( he, גִּבְעוֹן, Standard Hebrew ''Giv‘ōn''; ar, جبعون; Tiberian Hebrew ''Giḇʻôn''; in LXX grc, Γαβαων, Gabaon) was a Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic: ; Phoen ...
trick the Israelites into entering an alliance with them by saying that they are not
Canaanites Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have emerged from Common Semitic in the ...
. Despite this, the Israelites decide to keep the alliance by
enslaving Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person (a slaver), while treated as property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved person being made ...
them instead. An alliance of
Amorite The Amorites (; Sumerian language, Sumerian 𒈥𒌅 ''MAR.TU''; Akkadian language, Akkadian ''Amurrūm'' or ''Tidnum''; Egyptian language, Egyptian ''Amar''; he, אמורי ''ʼĔmōrī''; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic lan ...
kingdoms headed by the Canaanite king of
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
attacks the Gibeonites but they are defeated with
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
's miraculous help of stopping the
Sun The Sun is the star A star is an astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of plasma (physics), plasma held together by its own gravity. The List of nearest stars and brown dwarfs, nearest star to Earth is the Sun. Many othe ...

Sun
and the
Moon The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite. At about one-quarter the diameter of Earth (comparable to the width of Australia (continent), Australia), it is the largest natural satellite in the Solar System relative to the size of its plane ...

Moon
, and hurling down large
hail Hail is a form of solid precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until ...

hail
stones (Joshua 10:10–14). The enemy kings were eventually hanged on trees. The
Deuteronomist The Deuteronomist, abbreviated as either Dtr or simply D, may refer either to the source document underlying the core chapters (12–26) of the Book of Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos ...
author may have used the then-recent 701 BCE campaign of the Assyrian king
Sennacherib Sennacherib (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviation_of_logotype,_from__el.html" ;"title="Chiswick_Press_. ...

Sennacherib
in the
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Le ...
as his model; the hanging of the captured kings is in accordance with
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
n practice of the 8th century BCE. With the south conquered the narrative moves to the northern campaign. A powerful multi-national (or more accurately, multi-ethnic) coalition headed by the king of Hazor, the most important northern city, is defeated with Yahweh's help. Hazor itself is then captured and destroyed. Chapter 11:16–23 summarises the extent of the conquest: Joshua has taken the entire land, almost entirely through military victories, with only the Gibeonites agreeing to peaceful terms with Israel. The land then "had rest from war" (Joshua 11:23, repeated at 14:15). Chapter 12 lists the vanquished kings on both sides of the
Jordan River ) , name_native_lang = , name_other = , name_etymology = Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, ''“descender”''), from ירד (yarad, ''“descended”'') , image = 20100923 mer morte13.JPG , image_size = , ima ...

Jordan River
: the two kings who ruled east of the Jordan who were defeated under Moses' leadership (Joshua 12:1-6; cf. Numbers 21), and the 31 kings on the west of the Jordan who were defeated under Joshua's leadership (Joshua 12:7–24). The list of the 31 kings is quasi-tabular: :''the king of
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
, one; the king of
Hebron Hebron ( ar, الخليل أو الخليل الرحمن ; he, חֶבְרוֹן ) is a State of Palestine, Palestinian. city in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judaean Mountains, it lies Above mean sea level, above ...

Hebron
, one''; :''the king of
Jarmuth Jarmuth () was the name of two cities in the land of Canaan Land is the solid surface of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land ...
, one; the king of
Lachish Tel Lachish ( he, תל לכיש; grc, Λαχίς; la, Tel Lachis), known in Arabic as Tell ed-Duweir (), is the site of an ancient Near East, ancient Canaan, Canaanite and Israelite city, now an archaeological site and an National parks and na ...

Lachish
, one''; (etc.; Joshua 12:10–11).


Division of the land (chapters 13–22)

Having described how the Israelites and Joshua have carried out the first of their God's commands, the narrative now turns to the second: to "put the people in possession of the land." Joshua is "old, advanced (or stricken) in years" by this time. This land distribution is a "covenantal land grant":
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
, as king, is issuing each
tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human social group. The predominant usage of the term is in the discipline of anthropology. The definition is contested, in part due to conflicting theoretical understa ...
its territory. The "
Cities of Refuge The cities of refuge ( ''‘ārê ha-miqlāṭ'') were six Levitical towns in the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' ...

Cities of Refuge
" and
Levitical cities In the Hebrew Bible, the Levitical cities were 48 cities in ancient Ancient Israel, Israel set aside for the tribe of Levi, who were not allocated their own territorial land when the Israelites entered the Promised Land. Book of Numbers, Numbers ...
are attached to the end, since it is necessary for the tribes to receive their grants before they allocate parts of it to others. The Transjordanian tribes are dismissed, affirming their loyalty to Yahweh. The book reaffirms Moses' allocation of land east of the Jordan to the tribes of
Reuben Reuben or Reuven is a Hebrew Bible, Biblical male first name from Hebrew רְאוּבֵן (Reu'ven), meaning "behold, a son": * Reuben (son of Jacob). The Portuguese version takes the form Rúben or Rubens (Brazilian Portuguese), in Spanish Rub ...

Reuben
and and the half-tribe of
Manasseh Manasses or Manasseh (;churchofjesuschrist ...
, and then describes how Joshua divided the newly conquered land of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
into parcels, and assigned them to the tribes by
lot Lot or LOT may refer to: Common meanings Areas *Land lot, an area of land *Parking lot, for automobiles *Backlot, in movie production Sets of items *Lot number, in batch production *Lot, a set of goods for sale together in an auction; or a quantit ...
. Joshua 14:1 also makes reference to the role of
Eleazar Eleazar (; ) or Elʽazar was a priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the Sacred rite, sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deity, deities. They also have the au ...

Eleazar
the priest (ahead of Joshua) in the distribution process. The description serves a theological function to show how the promise of the land was realized in the biblical narrative; its origins are unclear, but the descriptions may reflect geographical relations among the places named. The wording of Joshua 18:1-4 suggests that the tribes of Reuben, Gad,
Judah Judah may refer to: Historical ethnic, political and geographic terms The name was passed on, successively, from the biblical figure of Judah, to the Israelite tribe; its territorial allotment and the Israelite kingdom emerging from it, with the ...

Judah
,
Ephraim Ephraim (; he, אֶפְרָיִם/, ''ʾEfrayim'') was, according to the Book of Genesis, the second son of Joseph (Genesis), Joseph and Asenath. Asenath was an Ancient Egypt, Egyptian woman whom Pharaoh gave to Joseph as wife, and the daughter ...

Ephraim
and Manasseh received their land allocation some time before the "remaining seven tribes", and a 21-member expedition set out to survey the remainder of the land with a view to organising the allocation to the tribes of
Simeon Simeon is a given name, from the Hebrew (Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the ...

Simeon
,
Benjamin Benjamin () was the last-born of Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, t ...

Benjamin
,
Asher Asher ( he, אָשֵׁר ''’Āšēr''), in the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament, is an account of the Genesis creation narrati ...
,
Naphtali According to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew languag ...

Naphtali
,
Zebulun Zebulun (; also ''Zebulon'', ''Zabulon'', or ''Zaboules'') was, according to the Books of Genesis Genesis may refer to: Literature and comics * Genesis (DC Comics), a 1997 DC Comics crossover * Genesis (Marvel Comics), a Marvel Comics villain ...
,
Issachar Issachar () was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection ...
and Dan. Subsequently, 48
cities A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped to ...
with their surrounding lands were allocated to the
Tribe of Levi According to the Bible, the Tribe of Levi is one of the tribes of Israel The Twelve Tribes of Israel ( he, שבטי ישראל, translit=Shivtei Yisrael, lit=Tribes of Israel) are, according to Judeo-Christian texts, the descendants of the Biblica ...

Tribe of Levi
. Omitted in the
Masoretic Text The Masoretic Text (MT or 𝕸; he, נוסח המסורה, Nusakh Ham'mas'sora) is the authoritative Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic languag ...
, but present in the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals Roman numerals are a that originated in and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe wel ...
, is a statement that: By the end of chapter 21, the narrative records that the fulfilment of God's promise of land, rest and supremacy over the enemies of the Israelites was complete. The tribes to whom Moses had granted land east of the Jordan are authorized to return home to
Gilead Gilead or Gilad (; he, גִּלְעָד ''Gīləʿāḏ'', ar, جلعاد, Ǧalʻād, Jalaad) is the ancient, historic, biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religio ...
(here used in the widest sense for the whole Transjordan district), having faithfully 'kept the charge' of supporting the tribes occupying Canaan. They are granted "riches… with very much livestock, with
silver Silver is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical ele ...

silver
, with
gold Gold is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elemen ...

gold
, with
bronze Bronze is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appear ...

bronze
, with
iron Iron () is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behav ...

iron
, and with very much clothing" as a reward.


Joshua's farewell speeches (chapters 23–24)

Joshua, in his old age and conscious that he is "going the way of all the earth", gathers the leaders of the Israelites together and reminds them of Yahweh's great works for them, and of the need to love Yahweh The Israelites are told – just as Joshua himself had been told – that they must comply with "all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses", neither "turnaside from it to the right hand or to the left" (i.e. by adding to the law, or diminishing from it). Joshua meets again with all the people at
Shechem Shechem (), also spelled Sichem (; he, שְׁכָם, , , ; grc, Συχέμ LXX), was a Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, i ...

Shechem
in chapter 24 and addresses them a second time. He recounts the history of God's formation of the Israelite nation, beginning with "
Terah Terah or Terach ( he, תֶּרַח ''Teraḥ'') is a biblical figure in the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), ...

Terah
, the father of
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenan ...

Abraham
and Nahor, lived beyond the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia (the "Land Between the Rivers"). O ...
River and worshiped other gods." He invited the Israelites to choose between serving the Lord who had delivered them from
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
, or the gods which their ancestors had served on the other side of the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land they now lived. The people chose to serve the Lord, a decision which Joshua recorded in the Book of the Law of God. He then erected a memorial stone "under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord" in Shechem. The oak is associated with the Oak of
Moreh Givat HaMoreh (Hebrew: גבעת המורה) is a hill in northern Israel on the northeast side of the Jezreel Valley. The highest peak reaches an altitude of , while the bottom of the Jezreel Valley is situated at an altitude of . North of it are ...
where Abram had set up camp during his travels in this area. Thus "Joshua made a covenant with the people", literally "cut a covenant", a phrase common to the
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
,
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
, and
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
languages. It derives from the custom of
sacrifice Sacrifice is the offering of material possessions or the lives of animals or humans to a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as a God (male ...

sacrifice
, in which the victims were cut in pieces and offered to the
deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as a God (male deity), god or goddess (in a polytheistic religion), or anything revered as divine. C. Scott Littleto ...

deity
invoked in ratification of the engagement. The people then returned to their inheritance i.e. their allocated lands.


Closing items

The Book of Joshua closes with three concluding items (referred to in the Jerusalem Bible as "Two Additions"): :The death of Joshua and his burial at Timnath-serah :The burial of the bones of
Joseph Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef (יוֹסֵף). The form "Joseph" is used mostly in English, French and partially German-speaking (alongside "Josef") countries. This spelling is also found as a variant in th ...
at Shechem :The death of Eleazar and his burial in land belonging to
Phinehas According to the Hebrew Bible, Phinehas or Phineas (; , ''Finees'', ) was a Kohen, priest during the Israelites’ The Exodus, Exodus journey. The grandson of Aaron and son of Eleazar, the High Priests (), he distinguished himself as a youth at ...
in the mountains of Ephraim. There were no Levitical cities given to the descendants of
Aaron Aaron ''′aharon'', ar, هارون, Hārūn, Ancient Greek, Greek (Septuagint): wikt:Ἀαρών, Ἀαρών; often called Aaron the priest () and once Aaron the Levite () (Exodus 4:14)., group="note" ( or ; ''’Ahărōn'', Arabic: هار ...

Aaron
in Ephraim, so theologians
Carl Friedrich Keil Johann Friedrich Karl Keil or Carl Friedrich Keil (26 February 1807 – 5 May 1888) was a conservative German Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Martin Luther, a 16th-c ...

Carl Friedrich Keil
and
Franz Delitzsch Franz Delitzsch (23 February 1813, in Leipzig – 4 March 1890, in Leipzig) was a German Lutheran theologian and Hebraist. Delitzsch wrote many commentaries on books of the Bible, Jewish antiquities, Biblical psychology, as well as a history of Je ...
supposed the land may have been at Geba in the territory of the
Tribe of Benjamin According to the Torah, the Tribe of Benjamin () was one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The tribe was descended from Benjamin, the youngest son of the patriarch Jacob (later given the name Israel) and his wife Rachel. In the Samaritan Pentateuch ...

Tribe of Benjamin
: "the situation, 'upon the mountains of Ephraim', is not at variance with this view, as these mountains extended, according to Judges 4:5, etc., far into the territory of Benjamin". In some manuscripts and editions of the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals Roman numerals are a that originated in and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe wel ...
, there is an additional verse relating to the apostasy of the Israelites after Joshua's death.


Composition


Authorship and date

The Book of Joshua is an
anonymous work Anonymous works are works, such as art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairle ...
. The
Babylonian Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has ...
, written in the 3rd to 5th centuries CE, attributed it to
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( he, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yəhōšūaʿ'') ''Yēšūʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَعُ ٱبْنُ نُونٍ '' Yūšaʿ ibn Nūn''; la, Iosue functioned ...

Joshua
himself, but this idea was rejected as untenable by
John Calvin John Calvin (; Middle French Middle French (french: moyen français) is a historical division of the French language French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family The Indo-European languages are a language fami ...

John Calvin
(1509– 64), and by the time of
Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes ( ; sometimes known as Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury; 5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679) was an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first sp ...
(1588–1679) it was recognised that the book must have been written much later than the period it depicted. There is now general agreement that it was composed as part of a larger work, the
Deuteronomistic history The Deuteronomist, abbreviated as either Dtr or simply D, may refer either to the source document underlying the core chapters (12–26) of the Book of Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos' ...
, stretching from the
Book of Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically ...
to the
Books of Kings A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of v ...
, composed first at the court of king
Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 '' ...

Josiah
in the late 7th century BCE, and extensively revised in the 6th century BCE.


Historicity

The prevailing scholarly view is that Joshua is not a factual account of historical events. The apparent setting of Joshua is the 13th century BCE which was a time of widespread city-destruction, but with a few exceptions ( Hazor,
Lachish Tel Lachish ( he, תל לכיש; grc, Λαχίς; la, Tel Lachis), known in Arabic as Tell ed-Duweir (), is the site of an ancient Near East, ancient Canaan, Canaanite and Israelite city, now an archaeological site and an National parks and na ...

Lachish
) the destroyed cities are not the ones the Bible associates with Joshua, and the ones it does associate with him show little or no sign of even being occupied at the time. Given its lack of historicity, Carolyn Pressler in her commentary for the ''Westminster Bible Companion'' series suggests that readers of Joshua should give priority to its theological message ("what passages teach about God") and be aware of what these would have meant to audiences in the 7th and 6th centuries BCE. Richard Nelson explained that the needs of the
centralised Centralisation or centralization (see spelling differences Despite the various English dialects spoken from country to country and within different regions of the same country, there are only slight regional variations in English orthog ...

centralised
monarchy favoured a single story of origins, combining old traditions of an
exodus from Egypt The Exodus (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ...

exodus from Egypt
, belief in a
national god A national god is a guardian divinity whose special concern is the safety and well-being of an ethnic group (''nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), n ...
as "divine warrior," and explanations for ruined cities,
social stratification Social stratification refers to a society's categorization Categorization is the human ability and activity of recognizing shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience Experience refers to conscious , an English ...
and ethnic groups, and contemporary tribes. In the 1930s
Martin Noth Martin Noth (3 August 1902 – 30 May 1968) was a Germany, German scholar of the Hebrew Bible who specialized in the pre-Exilic history of the Hebrews and promoted the hypothesis that the Israelite tribes in the immediate period after the settleme ...
made a sweeping criticism of the usefulness of the Book of Joshua for history. Noth was a student of Albrecht Alt, who emphasized
form criticism 300px, Rudolf Bultmann Form criticism as a method of biblical criticism classifies units of scripture by literary pattern and then attempts to trace each type to its period of oral transmission."form criticism." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Enc ...
and the importance of
etiology Etiology (pronounced ; alternatively: aetiology or ætiology) is the study of causation or origination. The word is derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ε ...
. Alt and Noth posited a peaceful movement of the Israelites into various areas of Canaan, ''
contra Contra may refer to: Places * Contra, Virginia * Contra Costa Canal, an aqueduct in the U.S. state of California * Contra Costa County, California * Tenero-Contra, a municipality in the district of Locarno in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland ...
'' the Biblical account. Albright questioned the "tenacity" of etiologies, which were key to Noth's analysis of the campaigns in Joshua. Archaeological evidence in the 1930s showed that the city of Ai, an early target for conquest in the putative Joshua account, had existed and been destroyed, but in the 22nd century BCE. Some alternate sites for Ai have been proposed which would partially resolve the discrepancy in dates, but these sites have not been widely accepted. In 1951
Kathleen Kenyon Dame Kathleen Mary Kenyon, (5 January 1906 – 24 August 1978) was a British archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a ...

Kathleen Kenyon
showed that Jericho was from the
Middle Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age syst ...
(c. 2100–1550 BCE), not the
Late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
(c. 1550–1200 BCE). Kenyon argued that the early Israelite campaign could not be historically corroborated, but rather explained as an etiology of the location and a representation of the Israelite settlement. In 1955, G. Ernest Wright discussed the correlation of archaeological data to the early Israelite campaigns, which he divided into three phases per the Book of Joshua. He pointed to two sets of archaeological findings that "seem to suggest that the biblical account is in general correct regarding the nature of the late thirteenth and twelfth-eleventh centuries in the country" (i.e., "a period of tremendous violence"). He gives particular weight to what were then recent digs at Hazor by
Yigael Yadin Yigael Yadin ( he, יִגָּאֵל יָדִין ) (20 March 1917 – 28 June 1984) was an Israeli archeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is ...
. The Book of Joshua holds little historical value. The archaeological evidence shows that
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...

Jericho
and Ai were not occupied in the Near Eastern
Late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
. The story of the conquest most likely represents the nationalist
propaganda Propaganda is communication that is primarily used to Social influence, influence an audience and further an Political agenda, agenda, which may not be Objectivity (journalism), objective and may be selectively presenting facts to encourage a pa ...
of the 8th century BCE kings of
Judah Judah may refer to: Historical ethnic, political and geographic terms The name was passed on, successively, from the biblical figure of Judah, to the Israelite tribe; its territorial allotment and the Israelite kingdom emerging from it, with the ...
and their claims to the territory of the Kingdom of Israel; incorporated into an early form of Joshua written late in the reign of king
Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 '' ...

Josiah
(reigned 640–609 BCE). The book was probably revised and completed after the fall of Jerusalem to the
Neo-Babylonian Empire The Neo-Babylonian Empire, also known as the Second Babylonian Empire and historically known as the Chaldean Empire, was the last of the Mesopotamian empires to be ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia. Beginning with Nabopolassar's coronation as ...

Neo-Babylonian Empire
in 586 BCE, and possibly after the return from the
Babylonian exile The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. After the Battle of Carchemish in ...
in 538 BCE.


Manuscript sources

Only two of the
Dead Sea Scrolls The Dead Sea Scrolls (also the Qumran Caves Scrolls) are and religious first found in 1947 at the in what was then , near in the , on the northern shore of the . Dating back to between the and the , the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered ...

Dead Sea Scrolls
feature parts of Joshua: 4QJosha and 4QJoshb, found in and dating to the period. The earliest complete surviving copy of the Book of Joshua in
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
is in the
Aleppo Codex The Aleppo Codex ( he, כֶּתֶר אֲרָם צוֹבָא, romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by huma ...
(10th century CE). The
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals Roman numerals are a that originated in and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe wel ...
(Greek translation) is found in manuscripts such as Washington Manuscript I (5th century CE). A reduced version of the Septuagint text is found in the illustrated
Joshua Roll The Joshua Roll is a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capita ...

Joshua Roll
.


Themes


Faith and wrath

The overarching theological theme of the Deuteronomistic history is faithfulness and God's mercy, and their opposites, faithlessness and God's wrath. In the
Book of Judges The Book of Judges (, ') is the seventh book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language ...
, the
Books of Samuel The Book of Samuel is a book in the Hebrew Bible and two books (1 Samuel and 2 Samuel) in the Christian Old Testament. The book is part of the narrative history of Ancient Israel called the Deuteronomistic history, a series of books (Book of Joshu ...
, and the
Books of Kings A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of v ...
, the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
become faithless and God ultimately shows his anger by sending his people into exile. But in Joshua Israel is obedient, Joshua is faithful, and God fulfills his promise and gives them the land as a result. Yahweh's war campaign in
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
validates Israel's entitlement to the land and provides a paradigm of how Israel was to live there: twelve tribes, with a designated leader, united by
covenant Covenant may refer to: Religion * Covenant (religion) In religion, a covenant is a formal alliance or agreement made by God with a religious community or with humanity in general. The concept, central to the Abrahamic religions The Abraha ...
in warfare and in worship of Yahweh alone at a single sanctuary, all in obedience to the commands of
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
as found in the
Book of Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically ...
.


God and Israel

The Book of Joshua takes forward Deuteronomy's theme of Israel as a single people worshipping
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
in the land God has given them. Yahweh, as the main character in the book, takes the initiative in conquering the land, and Yahweh's power wins the battles. For example, the walls of
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...

Jericho
fall because Yahweh fights for Israel, not because the Israelites show superior fighting ability. The potential disunity of Israel is a constant theme, the greatest threat of disunity coming from the tribes east of the Jordan. Chapter 22:19 even hints that the land across the Jordan is unclean and that the tribes who live there have secondary status.


Land

Land is the central topic of Joshua. The introduction to Deuteronomy recalled how Yahweh had given the land to the Israelites but then withdrew the gift when Israel showed fear and only Joshua and
Caleb Caleb (), sometimes transliterated as Kaleb ( he, כָּלֵב, ''Kalev'', ; Tiberian vocalization The Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian pointing, or Tiberian niqqud (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semi ...

Caleb
had trusted in God. The land is Yahweh's to give or withhold, and the fact that he has promised it to Israel gives Israel an inalienable right to take it. For exilic and
post-exilic The Second Temple period in Jewish history lasted between 516 BCE and 70 CE, when the Second Temple of Jerusalem existed. The sects of Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealotry, Zealots and Jewish Christian, early Christianity were formed during this ...
readers, the land was both the sign of Yahweh's faithfulness and Israel's unfaithfulness, as well as the centre of their ethnic identity. In Deuteronomistic theology, "rest" meant Israel's unthreatened possession of the land, the achievement of which began with the conquests of Joshua.


The enemy

Joshua "carries out a systematic campaign against the civilians of Canaan — men, women and children — that amounts to
genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish t ...
." In doing this he is carrying out '' herem'' as commanded by Yahweh in Deuteronomy 20:17: "You shall not leave alive anything that breathes". The purpose is to drive out and dispossess the Canaanites, with the implication that there are to be no
treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relati ...

treaties
with the enemy, no
mercy Mercy (Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A l ...

mercy
, and no intermarriage. "The extermination of the nations glorifies Yahweh as a warrior and promotes Israel's claim to the land," while their continued survival "explores the themes of disobedience and penalty and looks forward to the story told in Judges and Kings." The divine call for massacre at
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...
and elsewhere can be explained in terms of cultural norms (Israel was not the only
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
state to practice ''herem'') and theology (a measure to ensure Israel's purity as well as the fulfillment of God's promise), but Patrick D. Miller in his commentary on Deuteronomy remarks, "there is no real way to make such reports palatable to the hearts and minds of contemporary readers and believers."


Obedience

Obedience versus disobedience is a constant theme of the work. Obedience ties in the Jordan crossing, the defeat of Jericho and Ai, circumcision and Passover, and the public display and reading of the Law. Disobedience appears in the story of Achan ( stoned for violating the ''herem'' command), the
Gibeonites Gibeon ( he, גִּבְעוֹן, Standard Hebrew ''Giv‘ōn''; ar, جبعون; Tiberian Hebrew ''Giḇʻôn''; in LXX grc, Γαβαων, Gabaon) was a Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic: ; Phoen ...
, and the altar built by the Transjordan tribes. Joshua's two final addresses challenge the Israel of the future (the readers of the story) to obey the most important command of all, to worship Yahweh and no other gods. Joshua thus illustrates the central Deuteronomistic message, that obedience leads to success and disobedience to ruin.


Moses, Joshua and Josiah

The Deuteronomistic history draws parallels in proper leadership between
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
, Joshua and
Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 '' ...

Josiah
. God's commission to Joshua in chapter 1 is framed as a royal installation. The people's pledge of loyalty to Joshua as the successor of Moses recalls royal practices. The covenant-renewal ceremony led by Joshua was the prerogative of the kings of Judah. God's command to Joshua to meditate on the "book of the law" day and night parallels the description of Josiah in 2 Kings 23:25 as a king uniquely concerned with the study of the law. The two figures had identical territorial goals; Josiah died in 609 BCE while attempting to annex the former Israel to his own kingdom of Judah. Some of the parallels with Moses can be seen in the following, and not exhaustive, list: *Joshua sent
spies Spies most commonly refers to people who engage in spying, espionage or clandestine operations. Spies or The Spies may also refer to: * Spies (surname), a German surname * Spies (band), a jazz fusion band * Spies (song), "Spies" (song), a song by ...

spies
to scout out the land near Jericho, just as Moses sent spies from the wilderness to scout out the
Promised Land The Promised Land ( he, הארץ המובטחת, translit. Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping Letter (alphabet), letters (thus ''wikt:trans-#Prefix, trans-'' + ''wikt:litte ...
*Joshua led the Israelites out of the wilderness into the Promised Land, crossing the Jordan River as if on dry ground , just as Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt through the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a North ...

Red Sea
, which they crossed as if on dry land *After crossing the
Jordan River ) , name_native_lang = , name_other = , name_etymology = Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, ''“descender”''), from ירד (yarad, ''“descended”'') , image = 20100923 mer morte13.JPG , image_size = , ima ...

Jordan River
, the Israelites celebrated the
Passover Passover, also called Pesach (; he, פֶּסַח '), is a major Jewish holiday Jewish holidays, also known as Jewish festivals or ''Yamim Tovim'' ( he, ימים טובים, , Good Days, or singular , in transliterated Translitera ...
just as they did immediately before
the Exodus The Exodus (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ...

the Exodus
*Joshua's vision of the "commander of Yahweh's army" is reminiscent of the divine revelation to Moses in the
burning bush The burning bush is an object described by as being located on Mount Horeb Mount Horeb (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. ...
*Joshua successfully intercedes on behalf of the Israelites when Yahweh is angry for their failure to fully observe the "ban" ( herem), just as Moses frequently persuaded God not to punish the people *Joshua and the Israelites were able to defeat the people at Ai because Joshua followed the divine instruction to extend his sword, just as the people were able to defeat the
Amalekites Amalek (; he, עֲמָלֵק, ''‘Ámālēq'', ar, عماليق ''‘Amālīq'') is a nation described in the Hebrew Bible as an enemy of the Israelites. The name "Amalek" can refer to the nation's founder, a grandson of Esau; his descendants, ...
as long as Moses extended his hand that held the staff of God *Joshua is "old, advanced in years" at the time when the Israelites can begin to settle on the promised land, just as Moses was old when he died having seen, but not entered, the Promised Land *Joshua served as the mediator of the renewed covenant between Yahweh and Israel at Shechem, just as Moses was the mediator of Yahweh's covenant with the people at
Mount Sinai Mount Sinai ( he , הר סיני ''Har Sinai''; Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its ...

Mount Sinai
/
Mount Horeb Mount Horeb (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ...
. *Before his death, Joshua delivered a farewell address to the Israelites, just as Moses had delivered his farewell address. *Moses lived to be 120 and Joshua lived to be 110.


Moral and political interpretations

Joshua has become an iconic figure for the Jewish Zionist movement, and many Israeli settlements sit on land taken by force from Palestinians.
David Ben-Gurion David Ben-Gurion ( ; he, דָּוִד בֶּן-גּוּרִיּוֹן ; born David Grün; 16 October 1886 – 1 December 1973) was the primary national founder of the State of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yī ...
saw in the war narrative of Joshua an ideal basis for a unifying national
myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...
for his new State of Israel, framed against a common enemy, the
Arabs The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technica ...

Arabs
. He met with politicians and scholars such as Bible scholar
Shemaryahu Talmon Shemaryahu Talmon (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and th ...
to discuss Joshua's supposed conquests and later published a book of the meeting transcripts; in a lecture at Ben-Gurion's home, archaeologist
Yigael Yadin Yigael Yadin ( he, יִגָּאֵל יָדִין ) (20 March 1917 – 28 June 1984) was an Israeli archeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is ...
argued for the historicity of the Israelite military campaign pointing to the conquests of Hazor,
Bethel Bethel (Ugaritic Ugaritic () is an extinct , classified by some as a of the and so the only known Amorite dialect preserved in writing. It is known through the discovered by French in 1929 at , including several major literary texts, n ...

Bethel
, and
Lachish Tel Lachish ( he, תל לכיש; grc, Λαχίς; la, Tel Lachis), known in Arabic as Tell ed-Duweir (), is the site of an ancient Near East, ancient Canaan, Canaanite and Israelite city, now an archaeological site and an National parks and na ...
. Zionism thus presented the 1948 war (the war which saw the creation of the
State of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is ...
) as a "miraculous" clearing of the land based on Joshua, and the Bible as a mandate for the expulsion of the Palestinians. By the same token, the Biblical narrative of conquest has been used as an apparatus of critique against Zionism. For example, Michael Prior criticizes the use of the campaign in Joshua to favor "colonial enterprises" (in general, not only Zionism) and have been interpreted as validating
ethnic cleansing Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic, racial, and religious groups from a given area, with the intent of making a region ethnically homogeneous Homogeneity and heterogeneity are concepts often used in the sciences ...
. He asserts that the Bible was used to make the treatment of
Palestinians The Palestinian people ( ar, الشعب الفلسطيني, ''ash-sha‘b al-Filasṭīnī''), also referred to as Palestinians ( ar, الفلسطينيون, links=no, ''al-Filasṭīniyyūn''; he, פָלַסְטִינִים) or Palestinian ...
more palatable morally. A related moral condemnation can be seen in "The political sacralization of imperial genocide: contextualizing Timothy Dwight's ''The Conquest of Canaan''" by Bill Templer. This kind of critique is not new;
Jonathan Boyarin Jonathan Aaron Boyarin ( yi, יונתן אהרן בוירין; born September 16, 1956) is an United States, American anthropologist whose work centers on Jewish communities and on the dynamics of Jewish culture, memory and Jewish identity, identi ...
notes how Frederick W. Turner blamed Israel's
monotheism Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciou ...
for the very idea of genocide, which Boyarin found "simplistic" yet with precedents.


See also

* ''
The Bible Unearthed ''The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts'', a book published in 2001, discusses the archaeology of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِيل), offi ...
'' * " The Bible's Buried Secrets" * Ed (biblical reference) *
Transjordan (Bible) Transjordan ( he, עבר הירדן, ) is an area of land in the Southern Levant lying east of the Jordan River valley. It is also alternatively called Gilead. Etymology In the Hebrew Bible the term used to refer to the future Transjordan (regio ...
*
Yom HaAliyah Yom HaAliyah, or Aliyah Day ( he, יום העלייה), is an Israeli national holiday A holiday is a day set aside by custom Custom may refer to: Sense: Customary * Convention (norm), a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted rules, ...


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

*Hebrew and English text:
יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yehoshua''–Joshua
(
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
–English at Mechon-Mamre.org, Jewish Publication Society translation) *
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...
translations:
Joshua (Judaica Press)
translation with
Rashi Shlomo Yitzchaki ( he, רבי שלמה יצחקי; la, Salomon Isaacides; french: Salomon de Troyes, 22 February 1040 – 13 July 1105), today generally known by the acronym Rashi (see below), was a medieval French rabbi A rabbi is a spi ...
's commentary at chabad.org *
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...

Christian
translations
''Online Bible'' at GospelHall.org
** Joshua at Wikisource (Authorised King James Version) ** Various versions {{DEFAULTSORT:Joshua, Book Of 7th-century BC books 6th-century BC books Nevi'im